The European Union has lifted the five-year ban on solar panel imports from China.

The ban was first put in place in December 2013 after European solar panel manufacturers complained about the loss of business from under-priced Chinese imports.

In a statement, the European Commission said: “After having been in place for almost five years, the EU anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures on solar panels from China will expire at midnight on Monday 3rd September.”

The Ministry of Commerce in China believe that the move will be successful in improving China-EU trade of solar panels to normal market conditions according to their statement.

The European Commission added: “The Commission observed that the market situation has not changed to the extent that would justify a further extension of the measures now beyond the scheduled 18 months. It therefore rejected the EU’s industry request for an expiry review investigation.

China has more solar energy than any other country in the world totalling a massive 130 gigawatts. According to the International Environmental Agency (IEA) China produce 60 per cent of the world’s solar panels.

China are environmental frontrunners where renewable energy is concerned and they remain the largest investor in this type of energy generation.

Other regions have also pledged to increase their renewable energy usage. Recently a report by Green Energy Markets found renewable energy in Queensland, Australia is on the rise and California has committed to being run on 100% clean energy by 2045.

Read more: China’s solar import ban lifted by EU

A recent report by Green Energy Markets has shown that Queensland could see a dramatic rise in renewable energy.

The report showed that, over the last three years, Queensland has already experienced a large increase in renewable energy. However, the report notes that due to prevalent coal power plants in the region some proposed projects, such as the Wivenhoe facility, have not been operated.

The report says: “However, the vast majority of these projects will only proceed to construction if there is new government policy to encourage further carbon pollution reductions in the electricity sector or the closure of existing power plants.”

The former Australian Prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, had recently rejected a key climate policy after he faced a crisis of confidence. However, last week he resigned and the new PM, Scott Morrison, has pledged to stand by the Paris Agreement as he believes that it will not affect electricity prices, his main priority.

Australian Green Leader, Richard Di Natale, has promised to work with the new labour government to get climate change regulation back on track.  

The report also demonstrates the increase productivity of rooftop solar, in 2018 it hit a capacity of 2,000 megawatts, the highest in the country.

Combined increase in multiple renewable projects means that Queensland are set to hit around 25 per cent renewable energy by 2020.

To read the full report click here.

Read more: Renewable energy on the rise in Queensland

Aldi stores across Plymouth are phasing out black plastic trays used for fresh food produce.

A couple of stores in Bradford are also receiving the treatment. This follows Aldi’s promise to ensure all of its packaging is recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.

The replacement trays will save up to 265 tonnes of plastic a year. Frequently, black plastic packaging ends up in landfill because it cannot be identified by machinery that sorts through usual household waste items.

Fritz Walleczek, Managing Director of Corporate Responsibility at Aldi UK, said: “Cutting waste is part of Aldi’s DNA and we have a longstanding commitment to minimise our impact on the environment. One part of that is to prevent plastic going to landfill by using materials that are easier to recycle – like these clear trays – but also to ensure that there is a demand for recycled plastic by using it in products like our pasta pots.”

Aldi are also scraping the packaging of its plastic pasta pots instead using 95 per cent recycled materials, this wall save a further 139 tonnes of plastic a year.

The supermarket chain join several other companies in a bid to reduce plastic pollution, a key issue in the UK currently. Theresa May has recently been reported to be introducing a proposal to increase the plastic bag levy to further crackdown on what she termed Britain’s ‘throwaway culture’.

Aldi is the UK’s fifth largest and fastest-growing supermarket and is a continuous frontrunner in leading the way for environmental protection.

In August, the supermarket also pledged to become carbon neutral by 2019.

Read more: Aldi to phase out plastic packaging in a number...

Lego has announced plans to stop the production of plastic blocks by 2030.

The Lego shapes will alternatively be made from plant-based materials in an attempt to reduce plastic waste.

The Danish company are set to release their new eco-friendly line consisting of 25 various brick shapes that will resemble nature-inspired products.

They will be made out of polyethylene, which is made from sugar cane, and are set to be rolled out in Lego box sets later this year. However, the toy manufacturer admits that this material is not strong enough to make regular Lego pieces.

Lego are investing 1 billion kroner and hiring around 100 people to ensure that its promise is fulfilled.

Lego said: “Resources should be sourced and used responsibly, so they will still benefit future generations. We are constantly in pursuit of more sustainable solutions to our raw materials consumption and our packaging.”

Tim Brooks, Vice President of environmental responsibility at Lego, said: “At Lego, we want to make a positive impact on the world around us, and we are working hard to make great play products for children using sustainable materials. This is a great first step in our ambitious commitment of making all Lego bricks using sustainable material.”

Lego have also committed to reducing carbon emissions by promising 100 per cent renewable energy by 2020 and they are aiming for a carbon neutral supply chain. They are also promoting recycling by encouraging families to recycle or donate unwanted Lego bricks.

Read more: Lego to ban plastic blocks by 2030

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