November 6th, 2015

Hitting the bottle: the Middle East’s water packaging problem


by Rehan Ahmed


Plastic water bottles are a common feature of urban life in the Middle East, being readily and cheaply available to all sections of society. In some instances, they are even provided free in public locations such as mosques, and this easy availability has seen their use – and subsequent misuse – increase greatly over time. People have come to regard plastic water bottles as a free resource, taking bottles, sipping from them, and leaving them in public places or throwing them away in rubbish bins with their contents only partly consumed.

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December 29th, 2014

Demanding proper treatment: waste protests in India

Mavillipura Tip

by Ranjith Annepu


In a historical first for the nation, 2012 saw several public protests against improper solid waste management erupt across India – from the northernmost state Jammu and Kashmir to the southernmost Tamil Nadu. Fighting for the right to a clean environment and environmental justice, protesters staged large-scale demonstrations, including an indefinite hunger strike and road blocks outside local waste handling facilities.

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December 19th, 2014

Waste in a manger: a materials nativity


by Steve Watson


No nativity scene or play is complete without the presence of the Magi bearing their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the new born messiah. Despite their ubiquity in our picture of Christmas, little is told of them in the Bible except that they travelled from the East following a star, and they are traditionally thought of as wise men or kings.

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December 5th, 2014

Is waste a source of renewable energy?


by Mike Brown


Whenever you look at material produced by the developers and users of energy from waste (EfW) incinerators, you soon come across the phrase “renewable energy”. Vince Cable used the term to describe a new incinerator in Lincolnshire just last week. On the websites of companies such as ViridorSITA, of councils from Glasgow to London, or of the Green Investment Bank, which has stepped in to fund several EfW projects – incineration is consistently referred to in the terms generally reserved for forms of energy such as wind, wave and geothermal.

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July 11th, 2014

Vital statistics: breathing new life into public engagement


By Emma Gowing and Steve Watson


Did you know that if all the waste statistics published in 2013 were cut out and laid end to end they would reach to the moon and back? Ok, we made that up, but no doubt you’ve heard many similar statements relating to numbers of cans landfilled, bottles recycled, and all manner of other waste-related data.

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June 13th, 2014

Football’s footprint: waste at the World Cup


by Peter Jones


It’s possible that you’ve heard that there’s a bit of a football tournament taking place in Brazil. The hosts kicked off proceedings with a 3-1 win against Croatia last night. Any major sports event that brings tens of thousands of people from around the world together to watch a highly charged event in hot temperatures means the consumption of a large amount of pre-packaged food and drink. By now the soft drink cans and fast food wrappers (no alcohol allowed inside the stadium!) will have been swept up from São Paolo’s Corinthians stadium: but how much will be recycled?

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May 16th, 2014

Litter-picking: why bother?


by Erica Rose


One day last May, a bag of litter caused me to have a life-changing revelation. I was on the verge of the A170 in North Yorkshire at the time, 100 metres or so into my first solo litter-pick, the wheelbarrow was almost full and I was just about to turn for home when I spotted the bag in a ditch. It was full of the aftermath of someone’s lunch – cans, sweet wrappers and sandwich-boxes – and as I dragged it out I was angry enough to rant aloud at whoever had dumped it there. The bit that was revelatory (and printable) was when I heard myself saying “What did you think was going to happen to this, Mr Bag-Dumping Moron? Who did you think was going to pick it up? Do you believe in the Crap Fairy or something?!” I stopped. I looked at myself with the bag in my hands. Ah.

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