Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Head of the EA calling for London's lights to be turned off at night.


The head of the Environment Agency has criticised London’s biggest businesses for leaving their lights blazing throughout the night.

Lord Smith has joined politicians and environmentalists in calling for London to switch off their lights outside office hours.

Whilst every business in the country is obliged to recycle, large parts of Canary Wharf, the Gherkin building and City Hall are lit up late into the night, using unnecessary energy.

EA Chairman Lord Smith said, “Walk down any street in the City this evening and you could be forgiven for thinking that everything was still open and every office tower still full of people.”

Green London Assembly Member, Darren Johnson, said “We are all being told to save energy and do everything we can, yet whenever people go outside they see building after building with their lights blazing throughout the night… City Hall is a real embarrassment, and I cringe every time I walk past it at night.”

This comes two weeks after residents of rural West Cumbria have reacted in anger at being told that their streetlights would no longer be on all night. They believe that this will aid criminal activity, increase road accidents and jeopardise their safety.

Cath Ferguson, chairman of Broughton Moor parish council, said: “We are more vulnerable in rural areas and the last thing we need in areas like Broughton Moor is to lose the little protection that lighting affords.”

So whilst London’s buildings are lit up during the night for no reason at all, the residents of West Cumbria are worried about leaving their houses after hours for fear of their safety!


EMERGE Recycling

Monday, 20 September 2010

Sainsbury's Taken To Court for Excessive Packaging

Lincolnshire county council have now dropped this case against Sainsbury's.


Following my last blog regarding the WEEE Directive and packaging regulations, Sainsbury’s are being taken to court for the excessive packaging of a beef joint.

The joint is wrapped in plastic, and then packaged inside a 20cm by 15 cm plastic tray, with a cardboard sleeve wrapped around the tray.

Sainsbury’s are expected in Lincolnshire court on October 13th, with the case being the first time a major supermarket has been prosecuted for failing to stay within acceptable levels of packaging.

This news came on the same day that Sainsbury’s announced they were ditching boxes for their own brand, basic cereals, and instead using “environmentally friendly bags.” The chain believes using bags rather than boxes for these cereals means 165 tonnes of packaging will be kept off Sainsbury's shelves every year.

Kellogg’s, however, disagree with Sainsbury’s and made it clear that they would not be doing the same. A spokesperson for Kellogg’s commented, "We have no plans in the short term to change our packaging… A box and a thin bag are fully recyclable – bags only use more plastic and is much thicker and harder to recycle. You also need a lot more packaging in transit to limit damage."

So while Sainsbury’s are looking to make changes in how they are going to package in future, they may want to look at what’s already on their shelves. This is just another example that businesses really do need to be careful in how and what they recycle, and also what waste they are producing.

For more information about the Packaging Regulations visit Netregs.


EMERGE Recycling

Monday, 13 September 2010

EA Prosecute WEEE Producer


Aston and Fincher Ltd, a hairdressing supplies wholesaler, last week became the first ever company to be prosecuted for failing to comply with both WEEE and packaging regulations. The Environment Agency discovered this as a result of routine investigations. They were ordered to pay fines, costs and compensation totalling £30,905.11.

It was found that the company had imported a range of electrical items into the UK but had failed to meet the obligations as a producer under the UK WEEE Regulations, which have been in place since 2007. They also found that, from 2001 to 2008, they had committed offences in relation to packaging regulations.

Hannah Wooldridge, an EA officer leading the investigation, commented after the case, “businesses have a responsibility for what happens to their waste and ignorance is no defence.”

Ashton and Fincher’s secretary said that it was not a deliberate intention to evade the regulations, the company had simply not been aware of them.

The WEEE directive is in place to reduce the amount of electrical and electronic equipment being produced and to encourage re-use, recycling and recovery. It aims to improve the environmental performance of businesses that manufacture, supply, use, recycle and recover.

The Packaging Regulations (Essential Requirements) apply to businesses that produce packaged products, design packaging and import or sell packaged goods. Your packaging must be able to be recovered by material recycling, energy recovery, composting or reuse.
You must also have evidence that your packaging complies with the regulations and keep this for at least four years. If these records are requested by the EA, you must supply them within 28 days.

I’d suggest to any business out there that isn’t 100% sure of what’s required of them, to read all regulations and requirements, it’s better to be safe than sorry!


EMERGE Recycling

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Outdoor Clothing Ethics Under Scrutiny


In a shocking and scathing report, the issue of environmental awareness amongst companies making outdoor and sports clothing is finally being addressed!

Many items of outdoor clothing and equipment are heavily dependent on oil based chemicals, resulting in highly polluting toxic waste.

Another concern raised in the report was of the use of nanotechnology, and the toxicity and environmental impacts of nanomaterials and their potential effects on global economics.

Tim Hunt of Ethical Consumer said, “It would be unfair to single out any one company as being the worst of the lot as they’re all as overwhelmingly poor as each other”

However, a number of companies, out of the sixty investigated, have disputed the report as inaccurate and misleading. Richard Cotter, Berghaus brand president, said the company’s ethical stance was “not accurately reflected in this report” and that they were not given a chance to respond. Also, Richard Collier, Helly Hansen vice-president said “on the occasions where the report does reflect specific Helly Hansen activity, we found the research and analysis to be incomplete and misleading.”

Simon Birch, one of the reports authors, said “from where I’m standing it’s the outdoor industry that needs to start taking its environmental responsibilities more seriously. If a company is happy enough to use a mountain in its latest catalogue to help boost its profits, then it’s about time that the same company started to help protect it – and the rest of the environment too.”

Read the report on outdoor gear and let us know what you think!



Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Give Me Tap


A student at Manchester University has come up with an idea to save on buying expensive bottled water and reduce the number of plastic bottles being discarded.

Edwin Broni-Mensah has set up ‘Give Me Tap,’ a business which lets people refill their water bottles in cafes, restaurants and bars around the Manchester area. 41 outlets have already signed up, and all they need to do, is provide a water source.

Edwin Broni-Mensah said: “Give Me Tap helps people reduce their carbon footprint and the waste from discarded plastic bottles, save money, and even helps shop owners too by increasing footfall into their premises. We are making water easily accessible to anyone, anywhere, any time both at home and abroad. Our message is sustainability – stay hydrated, reduce waste and save money.”

Of the 13 billion plastic bottles consumed annually in the UK, only 10% are recycled with the rest going to landfills, so spending just £7 on a Give Me Tap bottle not only saves money, but also the environment! Also, 70% of profits made will fund independent water projects around the world, so what are you waiting for? Buy your bottle now and find out where to get your free refills from!