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Progress to eco-friendly packaging seems slow

Packaging. Can it be recycled? It’s a consumer’s nightmare. Why do we need so much of it? Can’t manufacturers take more responsibility?

A few weeks ago, a champagne company announced that new packaging would reduce its carbon footprint by 60 per cent. Instead of a formal cardboard gift box, a new recyclable wood-pulp skin one would be about a 10th of the weight, reducing in particular transport costs.

This week, the company which makes Pringles announced a trial of new packaging, to 90% cardboard and 10% PolyAl.

Kellogg’s, who produce the popular snack, has been urged since 2017 to make its packaging more recyclable. And now it has acted. But will it make it totally recyclable?

Read More »Progress to eco-friendly packaging seems slow
A forest

I’d love to change career to plant trees

Just how many lockdowns because of pandemics could we have? It’s a reasonable worry, if deforestation – particularly for farming – is pushing animals, which carry diseases, closer to human contact.

But let’s take a step back. Theories include that animals are forced to live closer to humans, increasingly the likelihood of spreading diseases. Or that destruction of habitats, such as forests, disturbs the places that host diseases.

Human-induced land use changes are among the drivers of disease from the forests to communities, one scientist told Unearthed Greenpeace, adding that scientists were agreed on this theory.

A United Nations summit on biodiversity, scheduled for this month, will be told there is a strong link between environmental destruction and unlocking deadly diseases, according to a report in the Guardian.

Read More »I’d love to change career to plant trees

We must all listen to passing Lightship Greta’s message

Extinction Rebellion’s protests have not been as high profile in the news as last year. They took London – and everybody – by surprise at Easter in April 2019 when addressing the climate emergency.

One report even asked whether Extinction Rebellion was itself extinct. The report carried a picture of just a few activists outside Parliament on Monday, the first day of two weeks of planned action.

Anyone who tried to buy certain papers on Saturday might have found they couldn’t, because protesters disrupted their printing. Activists argued that the papers concerned failed to report on climate change properly, or at all. It is frustrating when reading coverage about the climate emergency that the reports are frequent when there is disruption and a supposed lack of police response, but not so frequent about the issue itself.

Read More »We must all listen to passing Lightship Greta’s message
Tea is a traditional part of a cricket

Will Covid-19 kill the traditional cricket tea?

Sandwiches, cakes, crisps, maybe some fruit and a good old English cuppa. Summer would be nothing without cricket – and cricket would be nothing without the traditional cricket tea. Or would it?

Since time immemorial, it seems, a tea has been produced by volunteers. It is gratefully consumed in a convivial break between two sides going out to bat on a beautifully manicured village green pitch.

This has been depicted in any number of television dramas, from an occasional story line to a full backdrop to conversations in Outside Edge in the mid-1990s.

One tea making company even ran “The Great Cricket Tea Challenge” featuring former England captain Michael Vaughan, in 2014.

Read More »Will Covid-19 kill the traditional cricket tea?
City buses

Councils switching to electric waste vehicles show leadership

When Prime Minister Boris Johnson made his “build, build, build” speech this summer, he mentioned wanting to introduce 4,000 ‘carbon zero buses’, to address the climate crisis.

There are several London bus routes which run on non-fossil based fuel, as he well knows from his time as mayor of our capital city.

His recent speech didn’t extend the sentiment to refuse vehicles, however, which was a shame. Nearly a year ago, Westminster council struck a deal with Veolia, their waste recycling contractor, to introduce electric vehicles.

That was five months after the City of London Corporation vowed in April 2019 to become the first UK council to run a fully electric fleet.

Read More »Councils switching to electric waste vehicles show leadership

Help put end to bad cycle signage via survey

Whether you are an experienced cyclist or new to “active travel”, it is worth taking part in the Surrey County Council Covid-19 transport map.

Plenty of people will have found – or rediscovered – cycling in particular since Covid-19 lockdown began. Some people will have done so for pleasure and leisure, others making a firmer commitment to reach work or schools via cycling, or walking more.

Anyone who now takes a bike out for shopping, with children, their family or just to travel from A to B should consider filling in the survey. It gives people the chance not only to put dots on a map with a suggestion for improvements, but to like, support, or disagree with other suggestions.

While it is Surrey wide, it is divided into boroughs. Would you like an extra crossing near a school on a busy road? Would you like better signage? More cycle lanes? What would make cycling or walking safer?

Read More »Help put end to bad cycle signage via survey
Aerosols are recycled in some boroughs, not all

A single Surrey authority could end recycling inconsistency

Devolved Government. It’s an interesting argument, all round. Should Scotland be allowed to have independence? How much authority or “independence” do they already have? Is the United Kingdom important and how does it function with separate regional countries making their own decisions?

It’s not possible to answer all those questions here, but a few news stories this week prompt a few questions. For example, how efficient are we as a nation – with national, regional, county or borough authorities – at making efficient or effective decisions? Don’t forget parish councils, either!


Read More »A single Surrey authority could end recycling inconsistency
PG Tips changed its tea bags to biodegradable

Big stick for single carrots wrapped in plastic

At the start of this month, I asked the major supermarket chains via Twitter what innovations they were putting in place for Plastic Free July.

Many of the major supermarkets have commitments to reducing plastic under their sustainability policies, as outlined on their websites.

But none of them responded, despite their pledges on sustainability. So, I concluded, they didn’t even take advantage of the annual Plastic Free July campaign to show how their commitments on plastics might be working. No innovations to announce: no plastic free aisles; no removal of plastic on eggs, for example.

Meanwhile, a Dutch supermarket chain was shown up by a consumer for wrapping individual carrots in plastic to “protect them”.

Read More »Big stick for single carrots wrapped in plastic
Rubbish outside allotment

Litter tossers have no respect – for area or themselves

It is hard to know which is worse: hundreds of discarded piece of litter, scattered over a reasonably wide area, or dumping rubbish in a concentrated spot, otherwise known as fly-tipping.

One, at best, involves a negligent slip of an item out of a hand, pocket or perhaps a vehicle; the other is a completely deliberate act to avoid disposing of items responsibly, perhaps at cost.

Both types of rubbish disposal could be deliberate, cigarettes or crisp packets flicked from cars for example. And both types of littering have been noted in the Earlswood area in recent days.

One hopes that the Reigate and Banstead Borough Council’s Joint Enforcement Team, whose attention has been brought to the pile of debris outside the entrance to the Earlswood allotments, will find evidence to point to the culprit.

Read More »Litter tossers have no respect – for area or themselves