July 7th, 2017

Wheels of fortune: the story of the wheeled bin

by Steve Watson

 

For a relative newcomer to our streets and homes, the wheeled bin has come to occupy an important place in both British civic and cultural life. They have  helped change how waste is managed, and – whether as the subject of the Daily Mail‘s ire or being ridden down a dale by the cast of Last of the Summer Wine – media appearances have been frequent.

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June 30th, 2017

Is recycling confusing?

by Peter Jones and Joe Papineschi

 

There’s one thing everyone seems to agree on regarding recycling: it’s confusing. It’s a familiar complaint from countless press articles and broadcast pieces; when surveyed, people say they find recycling confusing; and Defra has taken up the theme. Part of the rationale for WRAP’s consistency programme is to ‘help address confusion’ by encouraging greater uniformity in councils’ recycling services.

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June 2nd, 2017

Myth takes: it’s greener to incinerate paper than recycle it

by Peter Jones

 

When people want to argue that this whole recycling lark has gone a bit too far, they often regurgitate a peculiar factoid: that, on a careful analysis of the pros and cons, incinerating waste paper and card to generate energy has greater environmental benefits than recycling it.

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May 5th, 2017

Grounds for concern: the problem of coffee capsules

by Mark Hilton and Daniel Card

 

With an estimated two billion cups consumed every day, coffee is one of the world’s most popular drinks and has been the fuel for countless projects, essays – and Isonomia blogs. In the UK, the average person consumes 1.7kg of coffee per year. This is less than residents of many of our European neighbours, but still equates daily nationwide consumption of some 70 million cups, with spending in coffee shops now exceeding £3bn per year.

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April 28th, 2017

Myth takes – “Separate streams need separate containers”

by Peter Jones

 

One of the recurring claims in the tabloid press coverage of waste and recycling issues is that if local authorities collect more separate streams of recycling, it means householders having to separate each waste stream into a different container. The view in the popular press is typically that, if householders have to do more source separation it will result in dissatisfaction, confusion, and more contaminated recycling. It’s a view that has little basis in reality.

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March 17th, 2017

Current electrics: WEEE and the circular economy

by Mary Biron-Tolentino

 

The UK is one of the world’s biggest spenders on consumer electronics. According to WRAP, British households and businesses buy around 1.4 million tonnes of electrical and electronic equipment each year.  In financial terms, average spending is around £800 per household, and this continues to grow, despite economic uncertainties and slow wage growth. Looking just at consumer electronics, the market is reported to have growing by almost 10% per annum from 2010-2014, and was estimated to be around £4.4 billion in 2016.

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February 3rd, 2017

Down on recycling: England’s recycling rate

by Peter Jones

 

The recent downtick in England’s household recycling rate has led to wailing and gnashing of teeth in some quarters, and something more like gloating in others. However, there has been little examination of what the numbers tell us about what underlies the change, and thus the appropriate policy responses.

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