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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May 4th, 2018

From rags to riches? Second hand clothing restrictions in East Africa

by Harriet Parke

 

On a recent trip to Kenya, my interest was caught by the ‘mitumba’ (Swahili for ‘second-hand clothing’) stalls. You find them clustered in the vivid, bustling and dust-filled markets at the centre of each town, and even dotted along residential streets. There was a strange dissonance between the unfamiliar surroundings and the rows of  branded t-shirts and shoes, just like you might find in any clothing store in Bristol, festooning the stalls.

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March 23rd, 2018

Green wedding: can your big day have a small environmental impact?

by Alice Morris

 

After spending eight years following each other around the country for different jobs, Kevin, my all-time favourite person, finally proposed to me. I said ‘yes’, and we moved back home to Saddleworth, near Manchester.

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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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April 15th, 2016

Is there a clear vision for environmentally responsible eyewear?

by Amy Slack

 

A time comes in a lot of people’s lives when things start to become a bit blurry. Realising it’s not simply the side effect of a heavy night out, you take the dreaded trip to the opticians and discover that you no longer have perfect eye-sight and would benefit from corrective eyewear. Since that moment in my early 20s, my eyesight has very slowly been getting worse, my prescription changing slightly about every two years. I recently had my annual eye test and, predictably, was told that my prescription had once again changed: I now have astigmatism – great!

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October 23rd, 2015

Should we welcome the return of nappy recycling?

by Hilary Vick

 

The news that nappy recycling specialist Knowaste is looking to open a new facility will receive rather a lukewarm welcome – at least from those of us engaged in trying to minimise the environmental impact of nappies by promoting reusables. Their plan, submitted on 14th September, is for a new absorbent hygiene product (AHP) recycling plant in West London, which would take in disposable nappies, adult incontinence and feminine hygiene products, using autoclave and shredding technology to recover plastics and fibres for recycling.

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September 11th, 2015

Lost in transit: reducing packaging waste in the food supply chain

by Joanne Moss

 

When you think of food packaging, what springs to mind? Cardboard boxes, polystyrene and plastic trays, polythene wrap still predominate, both in consumer packaging and in the material the public rarely sees – the transit packaging that makes sure products arrive at the retailer intact. Much of this material can be recycled, but the waste hierarchy gives prevention top priority – so what scope is there to avoid generating transit packaging waste in the first place?

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