Category Archives: Circular economy

Will degradable plastics really prevent marine pollution?

In our world of instant gratification, plastic has proved incredibly useful, allowing food and drink to be conveniently packaged and transported for consumption on the go, immediately satisfying our most basic of human needs. Unfortunately, if it is not handled correctly after its brief use, plastic can cause serious environmental problems, as hauntingly documented by Blue Planet II. People are rightly concerned about the pollution accumulating in our seas, and they want an immediate solution.

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Do we really need to pay more to save the environment?

11888996166_2a8ef99842_kThis article was originally published in Business Green.

If I were the type to shout at my radio, I would have spewed righteous vitriol at the Today programme last Thursday morning. Ahead of the launch of the government’s long awaited 25 Year Plan for the Environment, Environment Secretary Michael Gove was interviewed by Nick Robinson about his ‘big vision’ for dealing with the large environmental challenges that lie ahead. Introducing the segment, Robinson asserted: “The question any politician has to face in this field is this: on the one hand, people say they want less plastic and they cheer on David Attenborough, but do they want to pay 25p more for their cup of coffee?”

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Here’s what Theresa May should now do to end plastic pollution

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After years of waiting, we finally have it: this morning, Theresa May launched her government’s 25 year plan for the environment. By far the most talked about aspect of the long awaited and wide ranging strategy is the prime minister’s promise to “demonstrate global leadership” by addressing needlessly produced plastic. This will be achieved, she vowed, through action “at every stage of the production and consumption of plastic”. Bold words indeed.

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How much do we care about owning the products we use?

lotRecent research has shown that the number of people who own their own homes is at a 30 year low and, with growing anxiety about young people being unable to get on the property ladder, the government has started to act. In the budget, Philip Hammond aimed to revive “the dream of home ownership” by abolishing the stamp duty for homes up to £300,000, designed to appeal to the group increasingly known as ‘generation rent’.

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Why Michael Gove should be worried about the UK’s recycling crisis

plastic-bottles-115082_1280Freedom’s Sentinel, Operation Red Dragon, Liberty Shield, National Sword and Green Quest. They all sound like the names given to military interventions of recent years. And, in fact, they all are, apart from one, which is a Chinese government programme aiming to improve the quality of recycling. And, no, it’s not Green Quest (a short lived American operation investigating terrorist financing sources). Rather, the programme seeking to prevent imports of poor quality recyclates is National Sword, a surprisingly aggressive title for such an environmentally beneficial endeavour.

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Let’s not be losers when it comes to resources

Backstreet BritainThis article was originally published on Business Green.

It’s been more than six months since the prime minister triggered Article 50, what’s commonly referred to as “the starting gun” for our departure from the EU. If you imagine Brexit as a race, then, that means that we’re over a quarter of the way through the process that will, in theory, conclude on 30 March 2019 at the latest. At that time, EU treaties – all 750+ of them – and the various laws and regulations that have accumulated over the past 40 odd years – including more than 1,100 pieces of environmental law – will cease to apply here.

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Why a circular economy is good for jobs and growth

equipment for Metalworking production blurred imageThis post is by Marcus Gover, chief executive of WRAP, a longstanding member of Green Alliance’s Circular Economy Task Force, which works with leading businesses to develop practical ways to make the circular economy happen.

I often find myself explaining to people what the circular economy is not. People commonly think that it’s another way of talking about recycling, that it’s the latest passing corporate fad, or that it’s only relevant to the waste and resources sector. None of these things are true.

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How plastic bags helped us grasp the bigger picture

7791437584_617626e707_kThis post is by Dr Colin Church, CEO of CIWM, the leading institution for resources and waste management, and the chair of the Circular Economy Task Force.

In the resource management sector, when a group of ‘strategic colleagues’ meets up, one of the conversations I’ve often heard around the table is a lament as to why politicians and the media are so focused on carrier bags, or plastic bottles, or coffee cups, or any other single product or waste stream in the news that day. They argue that this is deflecting attention from the holistic and more important bigger picture around resource productivity and the circular economy. Given that several of these specific issues featured in Michael Gove’s first keynote speech on the environment recently, I imagine this conversation is live once more. Read more

Three simple ways European product design can help eliminate poverty abroad

5241715320_e3246875fb_bThis post is by Richard Gower, senior associate for economics and policy at Tearfund. This post first appeared on Tearfund’s policy blog.

In poor nations, millions of people already make their living from ‘circular’ trades such as repair and recycling. The way we design our products in the EU – the toxic chemicals we permit and the ease of repair that we require – has a strong influence over their livelihoods. But these impacts are not currently considered as part of the process for setting design standards.

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