Category Archives: Resource stewardship

We know throwaway culture is bad – so why is the market for bottled water growing?

bottled water small.pngThis blog was first posted on Business Green. 

We all want to do the right thing when it comes to avoiding unnecessary packaging, but when different materials have different impacts, it can be hard to choose what sort of container has the best environmental credentials. This can be as true for retailers and producers – the people putting material on the shelf – as it is for the consumer choosing what to buy. Which are better, for instance, lightweight plastic bottles that damage the marine environment when mismanaged or high carbon but highly recyclable glass bottles? What about relatively low carbon cartons that are difficult to recycle, compared to aluminium cans that create toxic waste in production but can then be recycled over and over again? Read more

The next blow to throwaway culture: why we need to lose our thirst for bottled water

refillable smallLast week, in one of her first announcements as Environment Secretary, Theresa Villiers was able to share the good news that the country is breaking its single use plastic bag habit. Use of such carrier bags from large supermarkets has dropped by 90 per cent, thanks to the 5p charge brought in by the government in 2015. The precipitous fall, Villiers said, is “a powerful demonstration that we are collectively calling time on being a throwaway society”. But are the reports of the death of the throwaway society premature? Read more

Systemic solutions are the only way to avoid future environmental problems

leaf-Flockine_PixabayThis post is by Tracey Rawling Church, an independent consultant and non-executive director specialising in sustainable business. It is part of our 40th anniversary blog series.

My relationship with Green Alliance began around a decade ago when I encouraged my employer to join what was then the Resource Efficiency Task Force. As a manufacturer of office printers and copiers, Kyocera had long been a pioneer in resource efficiency, having brought to market in 1992 the first – and still the only – range of ’cartridge-free‘ office printers. Read more

How to win the war on plastic – sustainably

landfill smallThe first episode of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Anita Rani’s War on Plastic documentary detailed the extent of our use of plastic and the devastating impacts when waste from the west – all too frequently – winds up in uncontrolled dumpsites in places like Malaysia, devastating local communities and environments alike.

This shows the shocking failure of the current system and, unsurprisingly, the audience was alarmed and up in arms following their rallying call to fight a war against plastic. But I detected a worrying trend in the weapon of choice that most viewers instinctively reached for: substitution. Read more

How Brexit is already watering down environmental protections

This post is by Libby Peake, senior policy adviser at Green Alliance, and Ruth Chambers, senior parliamentary associate for Greener UK. It was first posted on Business Green.

Hidden amongst the dramatic politics of Brexit, a little noticed but nonetheless highly significant process has been unfolding: the transfer of 12,000 pieces of EU law into our domestic statute book. This has great significance for the environment as 80 per cent of environmental laws come from the EU. While the process is intended to ensure a smooth Brexit through the technical transfer of laws, the pace at which it has been done, as well as the challenge of faithfully replicating European laws at a domestic level, have meant this process has been far from straightforward. Read more

You can’t reach net zero without resource efficiency

Earlier this week, the climate minister, Claire Perry, asked the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) to investigate a pathway for the UK to become a net zero emissions economy. This followed the publication of a major International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report warning that the world must make deep cuts in carbon emissions. These, the scientists say, are necessary to keep warming below 1.5 degrees and ensure the planet remains inhabitable for future generations. For this to be possible, it’s clear that the UK’s, and the rest of the world’s, pathway to these deep cuts has to include resource efficiency. Read more

How not to solve plastic pollution

plastic bottles square“As petroleum came to the relief of the whale,” said an 1878 promotional pamphlet for the world’s first industrial plastic, “so has celluloid given the elephant, the tortoise, and the coral insect a respite in their native haunts, and it will no longer be necessary to ransack the earth in pursuit of substances which are constantly growing scarcer.” Read more

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