September 11th, 2018

Law in disorder: the Environment Agency and the waste hierarchy

by Peter Jones

 

Plenty of legislation is poorly written. Some is badly thought out, or pursues objectionable goals. But I’m only aware of one instance of legislation that is untrue.

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June 1st, 2018

Food for thought: should we stop using palm oil?

by Debbie Fletcher

 

Recently, haunted by images of deforestation and homeless orangutans, I decided to cut palm oil out of my diet. After spending a long time during my weekly shop carefully checking lists of ingredients, I can report that going palm oil free is incredibly difficult. Not only is the stuff present in a shockingly high number of products, in many cases unclear labelling makes it hard to work out whether products contain it or not.

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May 25th, 2018

Sanitary check: a year’s progress on menstrual products

Tampon Applicator Beach Litter

by Katharine Blacklaws and Natalie Fee

 

The ‘Blue Planet Effect’ following David Attenborough’s celebrated documentary series has led to a wide-ranging and popular ‘War on Plastic’. It has been endorsed by both the Prime Minister and the Queen; while organisations across the land, ranging from the BBC and Parliament to small businesses, have taken action to reduce or eliminate single use plastics. But while our cultural acceptance of the ubiquity of throwaway plastic is undergoing a serious challenge, attitudes to the 4.3 billion disposable sanitary products (sanpro) that are used in the UK every year seem slower to change, despite the large amount of plastic they contain. Hardly anyone would flush plastic bags down the loo, but we don’t apply the same standard to sanpro.

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April 13th, 2018

China crisis: what import restrictions mean for Europe

by Ad Lansink

 

Over recent years, the Chinese government became increasingly aware that solid waste being imported into China for recycling also contained large amounts of dirty and hazardous wastes. To ensure the health of its citizens and protect China against serious environmental pollution, in 2013 it launched ‘Operation Green Fence’, which stepped up container inspections with the aim of stopping shipments of illegal and low quality waste. This was followed in 2017 with operation ‘National Sword’, which specifically targeted imports of WEEE and industrial waste.

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July 1st, 2016

Taking stocks: is Brexit possible for UK fisheries?

by Thomas Appleby

 

Britain’s legal bilateral arrangements with its neighbours on fishing rights date back to the middle ages. Yet many fishermen have broken with this international tradition and voted to leave the EU on the basis that Brexit will result in greater fishing rights for British vessels. However, while a vote can be cast in a moment, unpicking 40 years of highly technical regulation could tie British and EU civil servants in knots for far longer than anyone might imagine.

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June 22nd, 2016

Unknown environment? Brexit certainties and uncertainties

by Dominic Hogg

 

Much has been written in recent weeks – tomes, in fact – regarding the EU membership referendum decision that faces UK citizens. Each day, we are drip-fed new opinion, and new faces come to the fore in the media, swearing their allegiance to one or other side. Just occasionally, a little piece of actual evidence surfaces – although few of these appear to be lodging in voters’ minds.

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June 10th, 2016

Resource plumbing: plugging the leaks in the circular economy

by Ad Lansink

 

Zero waste, Cradle to Cradle design and the Circular Economy are all great concepts, presenting attractive targets to work towards. However, their ultimate feasibility is another matter. As we use and recycle products, won’t there always be some loss of material?

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