Category Archives: Resource stewardship

The secret life of stuff remains a secret to most of us

Electronic circuit board close up.It is nearly ten years since my book The secret life of stuff was published. Those ten years have seen some big changes to the planetary agenda, and the book might have had an even warmer reception had it been published now. But there are aspects of what I was trying to illuminate a decade ago that are strangely still under the radar. Read more

Why isn’t cutting demand at the heart of our energy policy?

intext-blogThis post is by Nick Eyre, director of the Centre for Research into Energy Demand Solutions (CREDS).

The government frequently boasts that the UK has broken the link between carbon emissions and economic growth. Since 1970, the economy has trebled in size, whilst emissions have fallen by about a third. Read more

Setting the record straight: our view on plastic packaging

Fruit DisplayLast week, on behalf of the Circular Economy Task Force, we published an insight into what the grocery sector is really doing about plastic. The report, Plastic promises, has generated considerable amounts of attention and debate, which is gratifying to see. It is especially heartening that it seems to have (finally) got people talking in earnest about why we need to address more than just plastic use and waste if we want a sustainable packaging system. Read more

Why we need more than plastic promises

intext-plasticThe post was first published on Business Green.

In December 2017, Blue Planet II shocked the world with disturbing images of plastic pollution: albatrosses feeding their chicks plastic bags, plankton mistaking microplastic for food and young dolphins potentially killed by plastic toxins. In the intervening two years, plastic has rarely left the headlines. Read more

It looks like ecodesign is one area where the UK will be keeping up with Europe

In-text-image-Kitchen-applicanesThe government indicated last week that it still plans to honour a commitment to match or go further than EU green product rules after Brexit. The evidence – a rather dry draft Statutory Instrument (SI) on power supplies for electrical goods – shouldn’t come as a surprise: the commitment was set out just two years ago in the Clean Growth Strategy. Read more

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

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