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Mount Everest’s garbage problem has reached its peak
Mount Everest – the highest mountain above sea level, a lifelong goal for many climbers and one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World. But it turns out these days it isn’t quite as magnificent up close and humans are the ones to blame. In 1953, a famed explorer Sir Edmund Hillary was the first to reach the 8,848-metre peak. Since then, thousands of people have attempted the journey and it has led to a real tragedy – the once pure nature is now littered with trash and excrement that were left behind. Garbage policies and fines The situation is so dire that Tibet and Nepal have introduced special policies and fines to encourage the climbers to not only clean up their own trash, but also help collect what adventurers before them left behind. Both require each of the climbers to collect at least 8kgs(17,4 lbs) of trash and human waste, with Tibet fining those who fell short $100 for each kilogram not collected and Nepal retaining a $4,000 per team deposit that was paid before the climb. While these penalties seem substantial, they are not substantial enough – many clumbers pay up to $100,000 for their journey and these fines just don’t make a significant dent in the budget. Another important aspect is that Mount Everest is one of the most challenging treks in the world where many have perished. This can make some climbers face a choice between spending their energy on getting down safely or bringing back their own trash and it is hard to argue for the latter. While we’d think that things like discarded food packaging and gear would be the main problem, it is actually the faeces that are making the biggest stink. The excrements that were left behind in unlined ice pits get washed down by the melting snow and then start running down the slope. This not only creates foul-smelling piles of human waste, but also poses a health risk to those dependent on water from rivers that are fed by the glaciers. Unfortunately, even the human waste collected responsibly ends up in dumpsites that are only marginally safer. Long-term solutions are in sight Luckily, the problem of the “highest trash dump in the world” is not being taken lightly and while Eco Everest expeditions and teams of locals venture out to clean up the mountain, experts around the world are looking for better long-term solutions. Mount Everest Biogas Project is hoping to create a biogas plant that will convert human waste into renewable fuel. This will help clean up the dumpsites, minimize health risks for locals and provide them with a new, clean fuel for cooking and heating to reduce dependence on wood and thus curtail deforestation. This will certainly help make this area much more sustainable and preserve the beauty of one of the most breath-taking sights in the world (and will make it smell a lot nicer too!). Have you heard of any other initiatives that are focused on cleaning up Mt. Everest? Or are there perhaps other mountains that are in dire need of attention? Share your thoughts with us in the comments! https://www.whatsorb.com/category/waste Cover photo by: Mari Partyka
Mount Everest – the highest mountain above sea level, a lifelong goal for many climbers and one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World. But it turns out these days it isn’t quite as magnificent up close and humans are the ones to blame. In 1953, a famed explorer Sir Edmund Hillary was the first to reach the 8,848-metre peak. Since then, thousands of people have attempted the journey and it has led to a real tragedy – the once pure nature is now littered with trash and excrement that were left behind. Garbage policies and fines The situation is so dire that Tibet and Nepal have introduced special policies and fines to encourage the climbers to not only clean up their own trash, but also help collect what adventurers before them left behind. Both require each of the climbers to collect at least 8kgs(17,4 lbs) of trash and human waste, with Tibet fining those who fell short $100 for each kilogram not collected and Nepal retaining a $4,000 per team deposit that was paid before the climb. While these penalties seem substantial, they are not substantial enough – many clumbers pay up to $100,000 for their journey and these fines just don’t make a significant dent in the budget. Another important aspect is that Mount Everest is one of the most challenging treks in the world where many have perished. This can make some climbers face a choice between spending their energy on getting down safely or bringing back their own trash and it is hard to argue for the latter. While we’d think that things like discarded food packaging and gear would be the main problem, it is actually the faeces that are making the biggest stink. The excrements that were left behind in unlined ice pits get washed down by the melting snow and then start running down the slope. This not only creates foul-smelling piles of human waste, but also poses a health risk to those dependent on water from rivers that are fed by the glaciers. Unfortunately, even the human waste collected responsibly ends up in dumpsites that are only marginally safer. Long-term solutions are in sight Luckily, the problem of the “highest trash dump in the world” is not being taken lightly and while Eco Everest expeditions and teams of locals venture out to clean up the mountain, experts around the world are looking for better long-term solutions. Mount Everest Biogas Project is hoping to create a biogas plant that will convert human waste into renewable fuel. This will help clean up the dumpsites, minimize health risks for locals and provide them with a new, clean fuel for cooking and heating to reduce dependence on wood and thus curtail deforestation. This will certainly help make this area much more sustainable and preserve the beauty of one of the most breath-taking sights in the world (and will make it smell a lot nicer too!). Have you heard of any other initiatives that are focused on cleaning up Mt. Everest? Or are there perhaps other mountains that are in dire need of attention? Share your thoughts with us in the comments! https://www.whatsorb.com/category/waste Cover photo by: Mari Partyka
Mount Everest’s garbage problem has reached its peak
Mount Everest’s garbage problem has reached its peak
Mysterious rise in banned ozone-destroying chemical shocks scientists
CFCs have been outlawed for years but researchers have detected new production somewhere in east Asia A sharp and mysterious rise in emissions of a key ozone-destroying chemical has been detected by scientists, despite its production being banned around the world. Unless the culprit is found and stopped, the recovery of the ozone layer, which protects life on Earth from damaging UV radiation, could be delayed by a decade. The source of the new emissions has been tracked to east Asia, but finding a more precise location requires further investigation. CFC chemicals were used in making foams for furniture and buildings, in aerosols and as refrigerants. But they were banned under the global Montreal protocol after the discovery of the ozone hole over Antarctica in the 1980s. Since 2007, there has been essentially zero reported production of CFC-11, the second most damaging of all CFCs. The rise in CFC-11 was revealed by Stephen Montzka, at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Colorado, and colleagues who monitor chemicals in the atmosphere. “I have been doing this for 27 years and this is the most surprising thing I’ve ever seen,” he said. “I was just shocked by it.” We are acting as detectives of the atmosphere, trying to understand what is happening and why Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment, said: “If these emissions continue unabated, they have the potential to slow down the recovery of the ozone layer. It’s therefore critical that we identify the precise causes of these emissions and take the necessary action.” CFCs used in buildings and appliances before the ban came into force still leak into the air today. The rate of leakage was declining steadily until 2013, when an abrupt slowing of the decline was detected at research stations from Greenland to the South Pole. Scientists then embarked on an investigation, published in the journal Nature, to find out the cause. The detective work began by assessing whether there had been changes in how the atmosphere distributes and destroys CFC-11 that could explain the changed measurements. But this factor was mostly ruled out and in the most recent data – 2017 – it appears to have played no role at all. Next, the researchers looked at whether the release of CFC from older materials could have doubled, as required to explain the data. “But we don’t know of any folks who are destroying buildings at a much more dramatic rate than they were before,” said Montzka. Lastly, the team considered whether the new CFC-11 was being produced as a by-product of some other chemical manufacturing process. But they ruled this out too, as the quantities involved are too high, representing a 25% rise in global emissions. You are left with, boy, it really looks like somebody is making it new  “If the increased emissions were to go away [soon], it’s influence on the recovery date for the ozone layer would be minor,” he said. “If it doesn’t go away, there could be a 10-year delay, and if it continued to increase, the delay would be even longer.” The last option is a possibility, as if the new CFC-11 is being used in foams, then only a small fraction will have made it to the atmosphere so far and more could leak out for many years into the future. Michaela Hegglin, at the University of Reading, UK, and not part of the research team said researchers had taken rigorous steps to rule out alternative explanations for the rise in CFC-11 when reaching their conclusion that new production must be occurring. She said: “The study highlights that environmental regulations cannot be taken for granted and must be safe-guarded, and that monitoring is required to ensure compliance.” Prof Piers Forster, at the University of Leeds, UK, said: “This new study is atmospheric detective work at its finest.” Paul Young, at Lancaster University, UK, said: “The Montreal Protocol has been rightly hailed as our most successful international environmental treaty, so the suggestion that there are possibly continued, unreported emissions of CFCs is certainly troubling and needs further investigation.” Montzka said the world’s nations are committed to its enforcement. “I have a feeling that we will find out fairly quickly what exactly is going on and that the situation will be remedied,” he said. Even just the publicity about the new CFC-11 production could lead to its shutdown, he said: “Somebody who was maybe doing it purposefully will realise – oh, someone is paying attention – and stop doing it.” Damian Carrington Environment editor, the Guardian
CFCs have been outlawed for years but researchers have detected new production somewhere in east Asia A sharp and mysterious rise in emissions of a key ozone-destroying chemical has been detected by scientists, despite its production being banned around the world. Unless the culprit is found and stopped, the recovery of the ozone layer, which protects life on Earth from damaging UV radiation, could be delayed by a decade. The source of the new emissions has been tracked to east Asia, but finding a more precise location requires further investigation. CFC chemicals were used in making foams for furniture and buildings, in aerosols and as refrigerants. But they were banned under the global Montreal protocol after the discovery of the ozone hole over Antarctica in the 1980s. Since 2007, there has been essentially zero reported production of CFC-11, the second most damaging of all CFCs. The rise in CFC-11 was revealed by Stephen Montzka, at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Colorado, and colleagues who monitor chemicals in the atmosphere. “I have been doing this for 27 years and this is the most surprising thing I’ve ever seen,” he said. “I was just shocked by it.” We are acting as detectives of the atmosphere, trying to understand what is happening and why Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment, said: “If these emissions continue unabated, they have the potential to slow down the recovery of the ozone layer. It’s therefore critical that we identify the precise causes of these emissions and take the necessary action.” CFCs used in buildings and appliances before the ban came into force still leak into the air today. The rate of leakage was declining steadily until 2013, when an abrupt slowing of the decline was detected at research stations from Greenland to the South Pole. Scientists then embarked on an investigation, published in the journal Nature, to find out the cause. The detective work began by assessing whether there had been changes in how the atmosphere distributes and destroys CFC-11 that could explain the changed measurements. But this factor was mostly ruled out and in the most recent data – 2017 – it appears to have played no role at all. Next, the researchers looked at whether the release of CFC from older materials could have doubled, as required to explain the data. “But we don’t know of any folks who are destroying buildings at a much more dramatic rate than they were before,” said Montzka. Lastly, the team considered whether the new CFC-11 was being produced as a by-product of some other chemical manufacturing process. But they ruled this out too, as the quantities involved are too high, representing a 25% rise in global emissions. You are left with, boy, it really looks like somebody is making it new  “If the increased emissions were to go away [soon], it’s influence on the recovery date for the ozone layer would be minor,” he said. “If it doesn’t go away, there could be a 10-year delay, and if it continued to increase, the delay would be even longer.” The last option is a possibility, as if the new CFC-11 is being used in foams, then only a small fraction will have made it to the atmosphere so far and more could leak out for many years into the future. Michaela Hegglin, at the University of Reading, UK, and not part of the research team said researchers had taken rigorous steps to rule out alternative explanations for the rise in CFC-11 when reaching their conclusion that new production must be occurring. She said: “The study highlights that environmental regulations cannot be taken for granted and must be safe-guarded, and that monitoring is required to ensure compliance.” Prof Piers Forster, at the University of Leeds, UK, said: “This new study is atmospheric detective work at its finest.” Paul Young, at Lancaster University, UK, said: “The Montreal Protocol has been rightly hailed as our most successful international environmental treaty, so the suggestion that there are possibly continued, unreported emissions of CFCs is certainly troubling and needs further investigation.” Montzka said the world’s nations are committed to its enforcement. “I have a feeling that we will find out fairly quickly what exactly is going on and that the situation will be remedied,” he said. Even just the publicity about the new CFC-11 production could lead to its shutdown, he said: “Somebody who was maybe doing it purposefully will realise – oh, someone is paying attention – and stop doing it.” Damian Carrington Environment editor, the Guardian
Mysterious rise in banned ozone-destroying chemical shocks scientists
Mysterious rise in banned ozone-destroying chemical shocks scientists
The dirty secret behind the green Norwegian economy
Norway, symbol of global pollution Norway is widely regarded as the most developed, happy and democratic country in the world and is also labeled as one of the leaders of the sustainable economy of the future. However, this environmentally friendly image conceals a reality where the country should be criticized as a symbol of global pollution. That's what James Watkins, a journalist at the Ozy news site, says. In the rich countries, only Sweden and Switzerland have an economy that operates less intensively on carbon dioxide, but at the same time Norway must be one of the largest exporters of oil and gas. Emissions If one would integrate the export of fossil fuels into the ecological footprint of Norway, the sustainable image of the country does not have much left. At present, the country is one of the nations with the lowest levels of carbon dioxide on the entire planet, but including exports, the country would become by far the largest producer in the rich world. The Norwegian export of oil and gas causes about 500 million carbon dioxide annually. The domestic economy barely shows a level of 50 million tons. Per gross domestic product, Norway would even achieve the highest score in terms of emissions within the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). "Of course, the other OECD countries also export fossil fuels, but that relationship shows much less extreme scores," writes James Watkins. "In Canada, the ecological footprint would increase by 115 percent, while Australia would register a tripling. In Norway, however, there is a tenfold increase. " According to Watkins, these differences can have a major impact, since they have a direct influence on the way in which parties are thought to have the greatest moral duty to deal with  climate change most intensively. Responsibility "Norway accepts no responsibility for its exported emissions," says Robbie Andrew, researcher at the Center for International Climate Research in Oslo. "This can be compared to the sale of weapons to a country that is at war and committed to atrocities and the supplier. not take responsibility because you do not leave the trigger yourself. " According to Watkins, the Norwegian example shows that in a globalized economy there is no point in working solely with national emission data. According to him, this can also be determined in the United States. "Norway is faced with a unique paradox," acknowledges the journalist. "A large part of the enormous wealth of the country is built on the export of its fossil fuel. The Norwegian Oljefondet is the largest state fund in the world with a portfolio of more than 1 trillion dollars. " "This richness is also one of the elements that has led Norway to be one of the best welfare states in the world, and that does not want to endanger most people, so it's almost impossible to find a majority in Norway the production of fossil fuels wants to stop. "Defenders of the Norwegian economy also point out that the country also invests hundreds of millions of dollars in sustainable programs elsewhere in the world. "The moral dilemma can ultimately become an existential crisis for the Norwegian economy," warns Christoffer Ringnes Klyve, chairman of the environmental association Future in Our Hands. "After all, Norway is worldwide leader in electric cars, but is also one of the engines of a trend that will eventually undermine the market for its most important export product - oil. That is a huge national dilemma." https://www.whatsorb.com/category/waste Marc Horckmans, editor express
Norway, symbol of global pollution Norway is widely regarded as the most developed, happy and democratic country in the world and is also labeled as one of the leaders of the sustainable economy of the future. However, this environmentally friendly image conceals a reality where the country should be criticized as a symbol of global pollution. That's what James Watkins, a journalist at the Ozy news site, says. In the rich countries, only Sweden and Switzerland have an economy that operates less intensively on carbon dioxide, but at the same time Norway must be one of the largest exporters of oil and gas. Emissions If one would integrate the export of fossil fuels into the ecological footprint of Norway, the sustainable image of the country does not have much left. At present, the country is one of the nations with the lowest levels of carbon dioxide on the entire planet, but including exports, the country would become by far the largest producer in the rich world. The Norwegian export of oil and gas causes about 500 million carbon dioxide annually. The domestic economy barely shows a level of 50 million tons. Per gross domestic product, Norway would even achieve the highest score in terms of emissions within the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). "Of course, the other OECD countries also export fossil fuels, but that relationship shows much less extreme scores," writes James Watkins. "In Canada, the ecological footprint would increase by 115 percent, while Australia would register a tripling. In Norway, however, there is a tenfold increase. " According to Watkins, these differences can have a major impact, since they have a direct influence on the way in which parties are thought to have the greatest moral duty to deal with  climate change most intensively. Responsibility "Norway accepts no responsibility for its exported emissions," says Robbie Andrew, researcher at the Center for International Climate Research in Oslo. "This can be compared to the sale of weapons to a country that is at war and committed to atrocities and the supplier. not take responsibility because you do not leave the trigger yourself. " According to Watkins, the Norwegian example shows that in a globalized economy there is no point in working solely with national emission data. According to him, this can also be determined in the United States. "Norway is faced with a unique paradox," acknowledges the journalist. "A large part of the enormous wealth of the country is built on the export of its fossil fuel. The Norwegian Oljefondet is the largest state fund in the world with a portfolio of more than 1 trillion dollars. " "This richness is also one of the elements that has led Norway to be one of the best welfare states in the world, and that does not want to endanger most people, so it's almost impossible to find a majority in Norway the production of fossil fuels wants to stop. "Defenders of the Norwegian economy also point out that the country also invests hundreds of millions of dollars in sustainable programs elsewhere in the world. "The moral dilemma can ultimately become an existential crisis for the Norwegian economy," warns Christoffer Ringnes Klyve, chairman of the environmental association Future in Our Hands. "After all, Norway is worldwide leader in electric cars, but is also one of the engines of a trend that will eventually undermine the market for its most important export product - oil. That is a huge national dilemma." https://www.whatsorb.com/category/waste Marc Horckmans, editor express
The dirty secret behind the green Norwegian economy
The dirty secret behind the green Norwegian economy
Forget about plastic: the first #Lego from sugarcane this year on the market.
This year toy manufacturer Lego is launching the first pieces made from vegetable plastic from sugar cane.  #Lego shrubs made from sugarcane Around 60 billion Lego blocks are produced every year. That is a lot of plastic, from oil and a source of waste. In 2012, Lego announced that it wants to look for alternatives by 2030, and in 2015 it also made work of it: the company invested 150 million dollars in a sustainable research center in the Danish Billund. "We have already taken important steps to reduce our climate footprint and have a positive impact on the planet, for example by reducing our packaging, using FSC-labeled packaging and investing in wind farms," ​​said Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, CEO of the LEGO Group, at that time. "There is no clear definition of what a sustainable material is," he added. 'That depends on various factors: the composition of the material, how it is extracted and what happens at the end of the life cycle. We will take all these factors into account in our search for new materials. ' This search now yields the first tangible products: leaves, trees and bushes made of polyethylene, a flexible plastic based on ethanol from sugar cane. Technically speaking, the toy is identical to conventional plastic, and according to Lego, it takes the same time. "With the Lego group, we want to make a positive impact on the world around us, and we work hard on toys from sustainable materials," says Tim Brooks, Vice President for the Environment. 'We are proud that these first elements from sustainable plastic are now being put into production and will end up in the Lego boxes this year. It is an important first step in our ambition to make all Lego blocks from sustainable materials. ' Long road For this Lego still has a long way to go: for the time being, the bio elements make up only 1 to 2 percent of the total number of plastic parts that Lego produces. "It is essential that companies in every industry find ways to make their products with sustainable materials and help create a future where people, the environment and the economy can thrive," says Alix Grabowski of the WWF. 'The Lego group's decision to look for vegetable plastics is an incredible opportunity to reduce the dependency on finite resources, and their work with the BFA will bring them into contact with other companies that think creatively about sustainability.' Source: Ips. Cover photo: Paleonthologist © Lego / Flipimages
This year toy manufacturer Lego is launching the first pieces made from vegetable plastic from sugar cane.  #Lego shrubs made from sugarcane Around 60 billion Lego blocks are produced every year. That is a lot of plastic, from oil and a source of waste. In 2012, Lego announced that it wants to look for alternatives by 2030, and in 2015 it also made work of it: the company invested 150 million dollars in a sustainable research center in the Danish Billund. "We have already taken important steps to reduce our climate footprint and have a positive impact on the planet, for example by reducing our packaging, using FSC-labeled packaging and investing in wind farms," ​​said Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, CEO of the LEGO Group, at that time. "There is no clear definition of what a sustainable material is," he added. 'That depends on various factors: the composition of the material, how it is extracted and what happens at the end of the life cycle. We will take all these factors into account in our search for new materials. ' This search now yields the first tangible products: leaves, trees and bushes made of polyethylene, a flexible plastic based on ethanol from sugar cane. Technically speaking, the toy is identical to conventional plastic, and according to Lego, it takes the same time. "With the Lego group, we want to make a positive impact on the world around us, and we work hard on toys from sustainable materials," says Tim Brooks, Vice President for the Environment. 'We are proud that these first elements from sustainable plastic are now being put into production and will end up in the Lego boxes this year. It is an important first step in our ambition to make all Lego blocks from sustainable materials. ' Long road For this Lego still has a long way to go: for the time being, the bio elements make up only 1 to 2 percent of the total number of plastic parts that Lego produces. "It is essential that companies in every industry find ways to make their products with sustainable materials and help create a future where people, the environment and the economy can thrive," says Alix Grabowski of the WWF. 'The Lego group's decision to look for vegetable plastics is an incredible opportunity to reduce the dependency on finite resources, and their work with the BFA will bring them into contact with other companies that think creatively about sustainability.' Source: Ips. Cover photo: Paleonthologist © Lego / Flipimages
Forget about plastic: the first #Lego from sugarcane this year on the market.
Forget about plastic: the first #Lego from sugarcane this year on the market.
Tattooed avocados and shampoo bars: the businesses curbing plastics #waste
The first global analysis of all mass–produced plastics refers to the “near-permanent contamination of the natural environment with plastic waste”. From shops offering individually-wrapped bananas to apples packaged in tubes, plastic is everywhere. And news that fish are mistaking plastic debris for food, is just one example of the negative environmental impacts. So where is progress happening? We asked readers to send us examples and here we explore three ways businesses are trying to curb plastics use. Do you have other examples? Add them to the comments below or tweet them to us @GuardianSustBiz and we’ll share the best examples on our Twitter feed over the coming week. 1. Minimising packaging If you’ve been at the receiving end of an online purchase that has come swamped in plastic in an oversized box you’ll know how frustrating it can be. The answer seems simple – pack the product in something smaller and minimise the need for so-called void fillers such as polystyrene chips inside. Yet companies are often constrained by the limited range of box sizes available. Meet Slimbox, a machine which helps companies create customised packaging boxes in-house to reduce cardboard and filler waste. At €25,000 (£23,100) per machine, Slimbox CEO Filip Roose says he’s aware how important return on investment is to his customers. “We’ve calculated that if a company sends at least 30 packages a day then it should get a return on investment after approximately two years,” says Roose. “The more they send, the shorter this timeframe.” As well as reducing costs over time, Roose highlights the environmental benefits: “Yes you reduce packaging use, but you also reduce carbon emissions by being able to transport more packages at once.” Solution for waste of packaging We always owned a printing company. Finding right-sized boxes was one of our daily struggles. To remedy this problem, we built a machine that customizes boxes in-house in every shape en every size, called the Slimbox. The boxes are only made out of recycled paper and cardboard. By this we want to stop the waste of packagingmaterials and save our planet. Sent via guardian witness 2. Refills A number of shops now offer people the ability to bring in their own Tupperware, bottles and jars to refill with items like pulses, nuts, grains and washing-up liquid. 'Ditch plastic straws' – experts and campaigners on how to cut plastic waste   Splosh has taken this concept online, enabling customers to buy concentrated laundry and cleaning product refills, which arrive by post in plastic pouches that can then be posted back to the company free of charge for re-use. “The problem of plastic waste cannot be solved while we still buy from supermarkets, because single-use plastics are essential to their business model,” says Angus Grahame, founder of Splosh.” Splosh’s refillable concentrates, says Grahame, enable customers to cut plastic waste for most laundry, home cleaning and personal care products by around 95%. “We believe the move to the circular economy is about massive new business model opportunity rather than tweaking decades old systems as the likes of Unilever are trying to do,” he adds. “The value destruction to existing brands when it happens, and it will happen quickly, will be awesome.” Splosh.com Splosh laundry detergent: one bottle you reuse countless times. Refills - v concentrated, which top up with water yourself - arrive in the post. Even better, the refills come in boxes that fit through the letterbox and which can be recycled. Finally, you can send back the pouches that the concentrate comes in to be re-used. Sent via guardian witness London’s Borough Market has pledgedto phase out sales of all single-use plastic bottles over the next six months, offering free drinking water from newly installed fountains instead. Similarly, some bars and restaurants have started to ban straws in an effort to reduce the volume of plastics that end up in the oceans. The city of Seattle is taking this a step further next month with its Strawless Septembercampaign to get local businesses to switch to paper alternatives where necessary, and ditch straws altogether where possible. Despite Marks & Spencer’s “apple tubes” and plastic-wrapped plastic cutlery, the company has been exploring innovative alternatives to plastic packaging. By tattooing avocados rather than using produce stickers, for example, it intends to save 10 tonnes of plastic labels and backing paper and five tonnes of adhesive every year. Cosmetics company Lush takes a very clear position when it comes to packaging: the ideal is none at all (approximately half of Lush products can be purchased without any packaging, according to the company website). By creating a solid shampoo bar, Lush claims it saves nearly 6m plastic bottles globally every year. What’s more, since the bars are more concentrated than liquid shampoo, less is needed per wash, resulting in lower carbon emissions from transportation. Refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle. Package free soaps! Lush Cosmetics follows all of these guiding conservation principles. I'm so glad they offer package-free solid bar products, as well as products packaged in recycled pots and bottles. And they've been doing it for a long time! This is nothing new and I remain hopeful that this environmental consciousness will continue to grow among other businesses.
The first global analysis of all mass–produced plastics refers to the “near-permanent contamination of the natural environment with plastic waste”. From shops offering individually-wrapped bananas to apples packaged in tubes, plastic is everywhere. And news that fish are mistaking plastic debris for food, is just one example of the negative environmental impacts. So where is progress happening? We asked readers to send us examples and here we explore three ways businesses are trying to curb plastics use. Do you have other examples? Add them to the comments below or tweet them to us @GuardianSustBiz and we’ll share the best examples on our Twitter feed over the coming week. 1. Minimising packaging If you’ve been at the receiving end of an online purchase that has come swamped in plastic in an oversized box you’ll know how frustrating it can be. The answer seems simple – pack the product in something smaller and minimise the need for so-called void fillers such as polystyrene chips inside. Yet companies are often constrained by the limited range of box sizes available. Meet Slimbox, a machine which helps companies create customised packaging boxes in-house to reduce cardboard and filler waste. At €25,000 (£23,100) per machine, Slimbox CEO Filip Roose says he’s aware how important return on investment is to his customers. “We’ve calculated that if a company sends at least 30 packages a day then it should get a return on investment after approximately two years,” says Roose. “The more they send, the shorter this timeframe.” As well as reducing costs over time, Roose highlights the environmental benefits: “Yes you reduce packaging use, but you also reduce carbon emissions by being able to transport more packages at once.” Solution for waste of packaging We always owned a printing company. Finding right-sized boxes was one of our daily struggles. To remedy this problem, we built a machine that customizes boxes in-house in every shape en every size, called the Slimbox. The boxes are only made out of recycled paper and cardboard. By this we want to stop the waste of packagingmaterials and save our planet. Sent via guardian witness 2. Refills A number of shops now offer people the ability to bring in their own Tupperware, bottles and jars to refill with items like pulses, nuts, grains and washing-up liquid. 'Ditch plastic straws' – experts and campaigners on how to cut plastic waste   Splosh has taken this concept online, enabling customers to buy concentrated laundry and cleaning product refills, which arrive by post in plastic pouches that can then be posted back to the company free of charge for re-use. “The problem of plastic waste cannot be solved while we still buy from supermarkets, because single-use plastics are essential to their business model,” says Angus Grahame, founder of Splosh.” Splosh’s refillable concentrates, says Grahame, enable customers to cut plastic waste for most laundry, home cleaning and personal care products by around 95%. “We believe the move to the circular economy is about massive new business model opportunity rather than tweaking decades old systems as the likes of Unilever are trying to do,” he adds. “The value destruction to existing brands when it happens, and it will happen quickly, will be awesome.” Splosh.com Splosh laundry detergent: one bottle you reuse countless times. Refills - v concentrated, which top up with water yourself - arrive in the post. Even better, the refills come in boxes that fit through the letterbox and which can be recycled. Finally, you can send back the pouches that the concentrate comes in to be re-used. Sent via guardian witness London’s Borough Market has pledgedto phase out sales of all single-use plastic bottles over the next six months, offering free drinking water from newly installed fountains instead. Similarly, some bars and restaurants have started to ban straws in an effort to reduce the volume of plastics that end up in the oceans. The city of Seattle is taking this a step further next month with its Strawless Septembercampaign to get local businesses to switch to paper alternatives where necessary, and ditch straws altogether where possible. Despite Marks & Spencer’s “apple tubes” and plastic-wrapped plastic cutlery, the company has been exploring innovative alternatives to plastic packaging. By tattooing avocados rather than using produce stickers, for example, it intends to save 10 tonnes of plastic labels and backing paper and five tonnes of adhesive every year. Cosmetics company Lush takes a very clear position when it comes to packaging: the ideal is none at all (approximately half of Lush products can be purchased without any packaging, according to the company website). By creating a solid shampoo bar, Lush claims it saves nearly 6m plastic bottles globally every year. What’s more, since the bars are more concentrated than liquid shampoo, less is needed per wash, resulting in lower carbon emissions from transportation. Refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle. Package free soaps! Lush Cosmetics follows all of these guiding conservation principles. I'm so glad they offer package-free solid bar products, as well as products packaged in recycled pots and bottles. And they've been doing it for a long time! This is nothing new and I remain hopeful that this environmental consciousness will continue to grow among other businesses.
Tattooed avocados and shampoo bars: the businesses curbing plastics #waste
Tattooed avocados and shampoo bars: the businesses curbing plastics #waste
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