More than 4m plastic bottles a week could be prevented from littering streets and marine environments in Britain if authorities adopted the kind of deposit-return schemes that operate in at least a dozen other countries, according to new evidence. A report for the last parliament that was never published suggests there could be a dramatic reduction in the number of bottles littered if people paid a deposit that would be refunded if they returned used bottles. Dominic Hogg, chairman of the environmental consultants Eunomia, who produced the report for the environmental audit committee, said: “We need to address the significant impact of litter in the UK and to cut down on the sources of plastic entering the marine environment. “A growing number of private companies are getting the message that it’s not good for business to be a brand that despoils the beaches and pollutes the oceans,” he said. “A deposit scheme will generate higher quantities of material of … [Read more...] about Could a money-back scheme clean up the UK’s plastic bottle plague?
Curbside recycling benefits
As the streams of fans moved towards the Brandenburg Gate to watch Germany's World Cup matches, few noticed the men and women standing with bags and carts by the entrance to the fenced-off arena, collecting empty bottles. Nadine, a pregnant 20-year-old, had been stationed at the west entrance near the Victory Column since midday, and her shopping trolley was half full. Empty glass and plastic bottles can be redeemed at German supermarkets for eight to 25 cents (6-20p) an item. "Twenty euros should be in it for me today," she said. Asked why she was collecting bottles, Nadine replied: "There are private reasons. But let's just say, I wouldn't be doing it if I didn't have to." In recent months, these Pfandsammler (deposit collectors) have become increasingly controversial, with some cities accused of trying to push them out of their centres. Hamburg now has 160 solar-powered bins that squash rubbish, allowing them to be emptied less frequently. Stuttgart has installed bins that store … [Read more...] about German cities accused of freezing out poverty-stricken bottle collectors
I recently ordered a book from an online shopping site and it came wrapped in several plastic sheets inside a cardboard box. A few weeks before this, sturdy shampoo bottles and already-packaged ‘organic’ soaps came wrapped in bubble wrap and padded with plastic air pillows. Walk into most supermarkets or ‘organic’ stores, and you’ll find eggs, fruits and grains sourced from farms stocked in plastic boxes. The irony of ‘sustainable’ products packed in plastic is baffling. Given the carbon footprint associated with any online order (with shipping and delivery), it’s worrying how many brands choose to only retail online.New initiativesThe government might have set an ambitious target to eliminate single-use plastic by 2022, but it’s not the ban that will work, but reworking marketing strategies and consumer mindsets.The Telangana government’s recent ‘sensitise-incentivise’ campaign is a step in the right direction. … [Read more...] about When will we be plastic-free?
Iceland and the Co-op have become the first supermarkets to support a bottle deposit scheme after the government sought views on the idea to reduce plastic pollution in the oceans. The retailers came out in favour of setting up a mandatory deposit return scheme (DRS) in England and Wales as the environment secretary, Michael Gove, began to review the results of a seven-week consultation on whether to introduce a system to increase recycling rates of plastic bottles and reduce leakage into the oceans. Other leading supermarkets, in a survey carried out by Greenpeace, were non-committal over whether to support a deposit scheme, but none appeared openly hostile. Morrisons said: “With mixed views in the industry, it may be that the government will have to decide which way to go.” Pressure is growing on the government, retailers and consumers to increase rates of plastic bottle recycling, reduce plastic littering and cut marine pollution. Recycling rates in the UK have … [Read more...] about Co-op and Iceland back bottle deposit scheme to reduce plastic pollution
Just over a decade ago, few had even heard of start-up brand Airbnb, founded in 2008 by Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nate Blecharczyk in San Francisco. Roll on ten years and there are seven million Airbnb properties available to rent worldwide. The now-global company has successfully infiltrated not only the holiday market but also the house rental market, with homeowners who might previously have taken on a secure, long-term let, often making more morning from tourists prepared to pay a premium to self-cater. If you can make peace with the constant cleaning and can handle the odd duff guest, then there is, as the homeowners below show, money to be made if you leap over the fence from property owner to holiday rental owner. And you don't even need to be lucky enough to have a second property, a spare room can rack up hundreds of pounds - sometimes thousands - a week in rental, depending on where you live. The brand takes up to around 13 per cent of … [Read more...] about A second salary while you sleep! Airbnb hosts reveal the handsome financial gains reaped from renting out their homes to tourists – with one raking in six figures