April Top 10 Sustainability Highlights
1. Extinction Rebellion: Climate Protesters ‘Making a Difference’
You’ve surely already heard about this one. The Extinction Rebellion and its thousands of protesters are calling for three main things from Government: 1) net-zero carbon emissions by 2025, 2) to tell the truth about climate change, and 3) to create a citizens’ assembly to oversee progress. The protests have closed down roads all over London and across the globe. The overall sentiment is that the Government has not done enough or acted with the appropriate urgency to address the crisis – this cartoon attempts to illustrate some of their frustration. The resistance has been a relatively non-violent one, though there have been arrests and charges of vandalism. Climate Activist (and one of our personal heroes) Greta Thunberg gave a speech to MPs and then addressed the crowd – big celebrity moment for the eco-community. More than anything, we look to the rebellion as an excellent way to have reignited passion and conversation for the health of the planet. Whether or not people are frustrated by the road closers or are cheering it on from the sidelines, we are so pleased that once again climate change has been brought back to top of mind for this country and hopefully the globe. And it looks like they’ve already influenced one big one: MPs announce climate change a national emergency.
2. Apple Announces Major Expansion of Global Recycling Programs
Meet Daisy. She’s Apple’s recycling robot. She can disassemble 1.2 million Apple devices a year to recycle parts. Apple claims that through their refurbishment program and with Daisy’s help, they have diverted more than 48,000 metric tons of electronic waste from landfills. They are even able to reuse some of the recovered materials in their own production: cobalt, used to make batteries, is not recovered by Daisy and reused to make brand-new Apple batteries – that’s huge. More big stuff from apple herein.
3. Earth Day 2019: What is Earth Day, When is it This Year and What Are We Celebrating?
Your social media probably told you all about Earth Day on April 22. If you didn’t see thousands of posts pledging devotion for the planet, then don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Earth Day is the annual holiday meant to raise awareness of environmental causes. This year the theme was Protect Our Species. Next year will be the 50th birthday of Earth Day. Awareness is important; even better? Action. This year, some of our team went out litter picking on behalf of Mother Earth. We hope you were able to do a little something special for the planet – and guess what? If you haven’t it isn’t too late! For you, we’ll happily extend Earth Day…not that it’s up to us…but that’s okay anyway.
4. Our Planet Just Launched on Netflix
Have you watched it yet?! We’re in the process. It’s…awe-inspiring. To be honest, we’ve had to check a few times to see if the footage is CGI. Spoiler Alert: it’s not. The shots in this documentary are made with groundbreaking tech and film. Our Planet was filmed in 50 countries and with over 600 crew members. Not only is the documentary absolutely gorgeous, it’s centered around a clear message: our planet is beautiful and precious and we are changing it – but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. David Attenborough communicates that we are all a part of this planet and we can all save it. Seriously guys, this is a must watch.
5. Climate Change has Worsened Global Economic Inequality
According to a Stanford University study, global warming has exacerbated economic inequality. Economic growth is more likely when temperatures are neither too warm or too cold, think about how extreme temperatures impact crops, people’s health, and productivity at work. The gist of the study says that while a little warming has helped drive growth in typical colder countries, like the Nordics, it has stagnated in already warm climates, like India and Nigeria. The study sights sustainable energy as a way out of this rut.
6. Landfill Ban Could Mean Scottish Waste Sent to England
In 2012, Scotland laid out a new set of regulations to reduce waste. One was a ban on biodegradable waste (think food, compostables, garden waste) from going to landfill which will go into effect in January 2021. The great intention here is to reduce waste to landfill and encourage alternative waste-to-resource waste streams. A new report shows that the facilities Scotland has in place to otherwise address the biodegradable waste will likely not be enough and just in year one, there will be about 1.01 million tonnes of waste with nowhere to call home. As of now, it seems that might mean Scotland will export its waste to England’s landfill sites (not good). Otherwise, they will need investment from the government to build additional facilities, but even that will come with challenges.
7. More Than 66 Tonnes of Food Waste Collected in First Week
Wokingham Borough launched food waste collection – yahoo! In just their first week of collections, they received over 66 tonnes of food waste. Apparently, food waste makes up about 30% of their residents’ waste. They hope to cut that by half with these separate collections. The Government will be consulting on whether mandatory food waste collections are the right move for local authorities in an upcoming consultation – hopefully Wokingham can be a shiny example of success.
8. Inciner8 Backs Knife Crime Charity by Transforming Weapons into Gyms
Here’s a creative one. With knife crime on the rise, Merseyside waste management firm Inciner8 and knife-crime charity Steel Warriors have partnered up to do something a bit different. With the melted steel from over 2 tonnes of seized knives, they are building calisthenics outdoor gyms!
9. Edible Seaweed Drink Capsules Trialled at London Marathon
With Lucozade Sport, the London Marathon, 28 April, will be trialing three different waste reduction initiatives. The first is a trial of over 30,000 seaweed capsules – we’ve seen these before and it seems they’re gaining momentum. They’ll also be using Lucozade bottles made from 100% rPET, recycled plastic, which will prevent 7.8 tonnes of new plastic production; of course, they’ll also be collecting and recycling these bottles. And finally, they’ll be using compostable cups which they plan to collect and compost after the event.
10. Drinks Giant Diageo to Remove Plastic Packaging from Guinness and Other Brands
Another one jumping on board! Diageo will be removing all plastic packaging from their beer products. That’s more than 400 tonnes of plastic removed per year. Instead, they’ll be using cardboard materials which are all recyclable. Welcome to the right side of progress Diageo! We’ll drink to that.