Tesco has re-surfaced a car park in Scotland by using plastic waste.

The supermarket chain has worked in partnership with MacRebur, a plastic road company, to re-surface the car park at the Tesco Extra at Cuckoo Bridge, Dumfries.

This saved over 900 kilograms of plastic from going to landfill. By using the waste plastic, the equivalent weight in fossil fuels has been saved from extraction. The carbon footprint has also been reduced by over a tonne.

Tony McCartney, MacRebur Plastic Road Company, said: “We’re able to take the waste plastics that are otherwise destined for landfill and add them into an asphalt mix to create a stronger, longer lasting, pothole free road surface.”

Kene Umeasiegbu, Head of Environment at Tesco, said: “We are working hard to reduce plastics and reuse and recycle wherever possible. Re-using waste plastics in this way is another example of how Tesco are innovating in the war against waste.”

Tesco have said that they will test the road surface through the winter and if successful will aim to work with MacRebur on future projects to help re-use plastic waste.

Tesco have previously led the charge in sustainable measures and were the first major retailer to remove 5p bags from its stores, resulting in the amount of single use bags sold by Tesco in the last year reducing by more than half. They also have made a pledge for all packaging to be fully recyclable or compostable by 2025.

Read more: Tesco transform recycled plastic into a car park

The South African Government has approved a draft to increase renewable energy generation.

Jacob Zuma, the former President, had proposed expanding the nuclear power sector by adding new nuclear capacity in excess of 9 gigawatt. However, this February, he faced a vote of no confidence and was replaced by Cyril Ramaphosa.

Jeff Radebe, South Africa’s Energy Minister, announced this week to the press that the cabinet had approved the updated Integrated Resources Plan (IRP 2018) which will increase renewable energy capacity and add only a minimal amount of new coal.

Radebe said: “The electricity generation and distribution landscape in South Africa is changing at a rapid pace compared to the period before 2010. In keeping to our climate change commitments, the country has also introduced renewable energy through independent power producers.”

The IRP means that only 1 gigawatt worth of new coal capacity will be added by 2030 and there will be over 15 gigawatt of renewable energy used including hydropower, solar and wind.

South Africa is currently the largest carbon-emitting country in Africa. Radebe says that is important that “There is significant change in the energy mix post-2030 which is mainly driven by decommissioning of old coal power plant that reach their end of life.”

Yesterday, the UK announced plans to invest £56 million into South Africa to develop energy storage technology to help supply secure renewable power in the country.

The UK Government said: “This project, the first of its kind in the region, will use an innovative technology to transform the country’s energy system, supporting South Africa’s long-term commitment to decreasing carbon emissions by developing bold, new renewable technologies – bringing about a climate revolution whilst also enabling the creation of thousands of jobs for young South Africans.”

Read more: Renewable energy to replace nuclear power in...

A survey, produced by Yale, has revealed that Americans are interested in the protection of the environment.

The climate opinion map, published earlier this month, depicts estimates of the percentage of Americans, aged 25 and over, who have particular beliefs, attitudes and policy preferences on global warming. The information comes from a large national survey dataset of 22,000 people which was collected between 2008 and 2018.

Notably, it reports that 70 per cent of Americans think the protection of the environment is more important than economic growth.

The map also shows that 70 per cent believe that global warming will harm future generations but only 41% think that global warming will harm them personally. This could be a problem that is preventing measures to protect the environment.

Interestingly, only 57 per cent of people believe that global warming is caused by human activities. This reflects the President of the United States opinion who has often remarked on his scepticism regarding global warming and climate change.

The data revealed that a massive 85 per cent support funding research into renewable energy sources. However, President Trump already has plans to undo Obama’s climate rule regarding renewable energy. This survey indicates that he may have more opposition than he previously thought.

Andrew Wheeler, acting administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency in the U.S, has previously said: “When it comes to leadership, you can’t lead unless you listen.” This suggests that peoples’ opinions in the U.S. may become more valued.

Read more: Survey reveals 70% of Americans favour the...

The Prime Minister is reportedly going to announce the increase of the plastic bag charge this week from 5p to 10p.

This is part of a series of measures designed to encourage the reuse of carrier bags and decrease the UK’s dependence on plastic which has a negative impact on the environment. Currently, 12.7 million tonnes of plastic end up in our oceans each year.

Reports in various Saturday newspapers suggested Theresa May was planning to double the charge and apply it to all retailers which would end the exemption for those employing fewer than 250 people.

This follows May’s desire to extend the scheme in a bid to combat what she termed Britain’s ‘throwaway culture’. A latte levy is also being considered to reduce plastic waste further.

However, Downing Street declined to confirm these reports calling them “speculation.”

Figures have demonstrated that single-use plastic bag sales have fallen by 86 per cent since the 5p charge was introduced.

Mary Creagh, Labour MP and Chair of the Commons Environmental Audit Committee, said “The public has enthusiastically embraced the plastic bag charge since it was first introduced in 2015, which is good news for the environment and for our economy.”

Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, said: “These figures demonstrate the collective impact we can make to help the environment by making simple changes to our daily routines.”

The money raised from the levy totalled £58.5 million, resulting in almost £20 million being donated to good causes relating to charity or volunteer sectors, environment and health.

Yesterday, the Daily Telegraph reported that a senior treasury source has called the additional levy “unnecessary.” This shows a potential backlash to May’s environmental proposals that are due to be announced later this week.

Photo Credit: MichaelisScientists

Read more: Plastic bag levy set to double

The eco-friendly shoe brand has received investment from the Oscar-winning actor.

Allbirds, a San Francisco-based shoe company, use a number of sustainable materials to make their shoes. They have three different types of material:

  • The Wool shoes are sourced from sheep in New Zealand, this uses 60 per cent less energy than materials used in typical synthetic shoes.
  • The Tree shoes are sourced from South African farms that minimise fertiliser and rely on rainwater. This means that, compared to traditional cotton materials, manufacturing uses 95 per cent less water.
  • The Sugar shoes are sourced from Southern Brazil, the sugar cane is a renewable source that grows quickly, removing carbon from the atmosphere in the process. It is a self-sufficient material that is transformed into their SweetFoam shoe sole.

They use recycled plastic bottles for the shoelaces, castor bean oil for the soles and their packaging is made from 90 per cent recycled cardboard.

The shoes will set you back around $95, but they have a ‘confidence in comfort’ scheme where you can trial the shoes for 30 days and if you are not happy with the product you can return them and get your money back.

The brand was founded by native New Zealander, Tim Brown. After years of research he was joined by Joey Zwillinger, an engineer and renewables expert. They have three stores located in San Francisco, New York and Toronto.

Brown voiced his concern on the impact of shoe production on the environment, he said: “Outside of the fossil fuel industry, the fashion industry is the largest contributor of carbon emissions into the environment.”

Earlier this month, Leonardo took to Twitter to provide an official statement on his investment with the brand.

Proud to be an investor in @Allbirds, a company dedicated to creating a more sustainable future by developing new materials and serving as a model for the footwear industry. Learn more: https://t.co/hmAn6cqdg5.

— Leonardo DiCaprio (@LeoDiCaprio) August 1, 2018

If you want to find out more about Allbirds shoes then click here.

Read more: Leonardo DiCaprio invests in sustainable...

Walkers have committed to making their crisp packets 100 per cent recyclable by 2025.

The UK’s largest crisp brand, owned by PepsiCo, have reported that 28 billion extra crisp packets will be produced by 2025 which led to a demand for sustainability from consumers.

38 Degrees, a not-for-profit political-activism organisation, started the petition after it was reported that 7,000 non-recyclable crisp packets are being produced every minute.

Lorna Greenwood, Campaign Manager at 38 Degrees, said: “This research proves that big companies, like Walkers, are not taking responsibility for the astounding amount of environmentally damaging plastic waste they are making.”

This prompted Walkers to respond, a spokesman for PepsiCo said: “We are committed to achieving 100% recyclable, compostable or biodegradable packaging by 2025. We have a number of initiatives in place to reduce the amount of packaging we use and at the same time we’re examining the use of different packaging materials, both plant and paper based.”

PepsiCo have also committed to reducing energy use by using alternative sources. This has resulted in around 20% of the UK site's electricity coming from renewable sources. They have reduced transport pollution by reducing travel by four million miles since 2010.

In 2018 they joined the UK Plastics Pact, an organisation that aims to transform the plastic packaging system.

The company have also pledged to eliminate single-use packaging through innovation and re-design. Single-use plastic in the UK is a major problem and the government are already working on plans to ban plastic straws and cotton buds. The UK government are also in the process of increasing the existing plastic bag levy.

Marks & Spencer have already made progress to reduce plastic waste by slashing the amount of packaging used for its crisps and popcorn resulting in 20 per cent less plastic used.

Photo Credit: Arpz

Read more: Walkers’ crisp packets aim to be 100% recyclable...

17 city leaders across England and Wales have teamed up to demand that Theresa May takes necessary action to combat air pollution.

The leaders, which represent over 20 million people across the country, have signed a letter that calls for a nationwide plan to clean up the air. The leaders include Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham.

Mr Khan commented: “Thousands of people across our city and country are suffering from toxic air. London stands side by side with every city in the UK battling to tackle air so lethal it shortens lives.”

Previously, Sadiq Khan has implemented several measures to combat London’s air pollution. This includes; the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone and spending more than £300 million to transform London’s public transport by phasing out pure diesel double deck buses.

The letter is a result of the first-ever National Clean Air Summit which took place in June this year. The letter states “Our country’s polluted air is shortening lives, damaging our children’s lungs and severely impacting on the NHS as well as costing the economy in working days lost.”

It is reported that 40,000 deaths per year are related to air pollution. In England, the total NHS and social care cost due to PM, an urban background pollutant, in 2017 was estimated to be over £41 million.

A government spokesman said: “Although air quality has improved in recent years, with nitrogen oxide emissions falling by 27% and sulphur dioxide emissions down 60%, we recognise there is more to do. That is why we are taking action through our £3.5 billion plan to reduce harmful emissions and our ambitious new Clean Air Strategy which has been welcomed by the WHO.”

This follows a study, conducted in China, which found that high pollution levels led to significant drops in test scores in language and arithmetic.

Read more: City leaders demand action for UK air pollution...

The swimmer has completed his gruelling 348 mile stretch across the English Channel for a sustainable cause.  

His campaign, called the Long Swim, aims to raise awareness of the threat to UK coastal waters from pollution. He has proposed a target of protecting 10 per cent of the 750,000 square kilometres of British coastal waters by 2020. His second, more ambitious, target is to fully protect 30 per cent of all oceans by 2030.

Lewis, a British-South African swimmer and a former event speaker at Climate Action’s 8th Sustainable Forum, said: “I’m undertaking my toughest swim yet, so that I can call on the British Government, and all of the governments of the world, to strengthen our ocean protection. Because doing the right thing has to start at home.”

He began the challenge on the 12th July and he finished the swim today, saying he was “relieved and exhilarated” to be finished.

Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, called Lewis a “brilliant champion for marine conservation zones.”

Mr Pugh has completed several tasks to raise awareness of clean oceans. He said: “I began swimming in vulnerable ecosystems to draw attention to the impact of our actions on the oceans. I saw enormous chunks of ice slide off Arctic glaciers. I swam over bleached coral killed by rising sea temperatures, and over the bones of whales hunted to the edge of extinction.”

Each year billions of tonnes of litter end up in our oceans and it is considerably more than the 250 million tonnes of rubbish generated.

Lewis took to Twitter after the swim was complete, he said: “I’ve just touched Dover harbour wall. That’s the end. 530kms in 49 days. I’ve done my bit, now it’s time for Government to do theirs. #TheLongSwim.”

To find out more about Lewis’ story click here.

Read more: Lewis Pugh completes English Channel swim to...

Nissan has begun production for their first-ever electric car designed specifically for China.

The Japanese company is basing the new electric car, Sylphy Zero Emission, on the Nissan Leaf model and it is set to cost around $24,000. It is being produced with a Chinese partner, Dongfeng Motor Group.

According to reports, Nissan plan a lower-priced electric model for next year and want battery-powered vehicles to make up a third of its sales.

Nissan’s CEO, Hiroto Saikawa, said: “We’re confident that the Sylphy Zero Emission, rolling off production line today, will become a main player in the EV market.”

China’s government view electric cars as a promising industry and a way to clean up its smog-choked cities. China accounted for half of global electric car sales last year.

Mr Saikawa said: “Growth in the Chinese market is a critical part of Nissan’s midterm plan, Nissan M.O.V.E to 2022. China is already the world’s largest automotive market but China isn’t just a leader in terms of market size: it stands at the forefront of the development of the industry itself.”

Nissan are pioneers of electric cars. Their environmental vision is “The preservation and protection of the environment is paramount to a sustainable way of living, and electric is the key to achieving it. By changing the way we approach mobility, we change the way we interact with our environment for the better.”

On the benefits of their electric cars, Nissan say “From revitalising the environment to rejuvenating your bank balance, from optimising energy efficiency in the home to enhancing an entire city. Wherever you look, the benefits of Nissan electric vehicles are everywhere.”

Manufacturers including General Motors and Volkswagen also plan to target the Chinese market with the production of electric cars.

Read more: Nissan’s first electric car in production for...

A scheme to use intelligent street lighting is to be given a two-year trial on Australia’s north-east Sunshine Coast.

Smart tech company Telensa has been chosen to pilot the project in the new Maroochydore city centre development.

A major Central Business District is being built on a 52 hectare site on the coast and smart technology is being used from the outset. The hope is that the development will become a new capital city for the Sunshine Coast region, a 100 kilometre long collection of towns, stretching north of Brisbane.

The wireless system uses sensors to recognise movement and only operates when necessary. The sensors can also be used to monitor air quality, traffic, and waste conditions. The new pilot is designed to cut the region’s energy consumption, costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

“We’re delighted to be working with Sunshine Coast Council to make street lighting in Maroochydore smarter and more efficient, with a system that will be responsive to citizens’ needs for decades to come,” said Will Gibson, Founder and Chief Commercial Officer at Telensa. “We’re looking forward to working together on a new generation of low-cost smart sensor applications, enabled by the city’s lighting network.”

Telensa has already deployed its technology around the world with 1.5 million lights installed. 100,000 lights were built in Birmingham, the UK’s second city, and a further 18,000 in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital.

“By making our streetlights smart, Telensa will help us reduce costs and improve the street lighting experience, as well as providing a platform for smart sensor applications,” said Steve Robinson, a councillor at the Sunshine Coast Council, “This deployment is another example of the Council’s commitment to intelligent infrastructure that delivers a safer, smarter, and more efficient environment for our citizens.”

Photo Credit: Sunshine Coast Council

Read more: Smart street lighting to be trialled on...

Legislation has been passed to move the state towards 100 per cent clean energy by 2045.

On Tuesday, the state Assembly voted to approve the legislation, known as Senate Bill 100. Over the next couple of days the bill is expected to be signed by the state Senate.

Dan Jacobson, state director of Environment California, said “This is a response to the threat of climate change and to the inaction in Washington D.C. While we’re not the first state in the country to go to 100 per cent, we will lead many, many other states around the country to go 100 per cent.”

The state is set to become the biggest economy in the world to pledge to 100 per cent carbon-free electricity.  

Despite the legislation failing to pass last year, this time around, it is expected that Gov. Jerry Brown will sign the bill. As a result, it will become the second state, after Hawaii, to commit to 100 per cent clean energy.

The bill, introduced by Democratic state Senator Kevin de Leόn, proposes for the state to generate 60 per cent of its energy from renewable sources including wind and solar by 2030. This leaves an extra 15 years to fulfil its promise of 100 percent.

Daniel Kammen, founding director of the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory at US Berkeley, said: “The victory is far more than symbolic. Agenda-setting bills like SB 100 are both vitally important because they clarify other actions that the state is doing to meet its goals, and because they establish a framework against which we can measure our investment in the future.”

California has already made several steps towards sustainability, including the production of the new high speed rail which will run on 100 percent renewable energy.

Read more: California set to run on carbon-free power by 2045

Today, Facebook has committed to powering its global operations on 100 per cent renewable energy by 2020.

The company are also promising to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 75 per cent in the same time frame. They have already met their target of being powered by 50% renewable energy one year early and they aim to double that over the next two years.  

The social network consumes a huge amount of electricity to power its data centres. In 2017, Facebook’s total carbon footprint was 979,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, 62% of this was from their data centres.

However, after its sustainability pledge, it is on track to be one of the largest corporate purchasers of renewable energy.

Bobby Hollis, Director of Global Energy at Facebook, said: “We bring an open and innovative approach to finding renewable energy solutions that can move energy markets forward. Since 2013, we have added over 3 gigawatts of new solar and wind energy to the grids that power our data centres, all while opening those markets for other customers to follow our lead.”

Marty Spitzer, Director of US Climate and Renewable Energy Policy and World Wildlife Fund, said: “Facebook’s involvement has helped engage other companies in signing on to the Corporate Renewable Energy Buyer’s Principles. We now have more than 50 companies demanding clean and renewable energy from utilities across the U.S.”

Greenpeace commented: “Facebook was the first major internet company to commit to be 100% renewably powered and continues to play a leadership role within the sector.”

Last year, Facebook pledged its support for climate action by supporting the Paris Agreement through the We Are Still In initiative. They also set the record for clean power purchases in 2018.

Facebook joins other tech titans such as Apple and Google in a commitment to go green.

Read more: Facebook to run on 100% renewable energy by 2020

Norway’s bottle deposit scheme has allowed for 97 per cent of all plastic bottles to be recycled.

The Norwegian model proposes a loan scheme where the bottle you purchase does not belong to you. Instead, it can be exchanged at the several thousands of reverse vending machines, or over the counter at stores and gas stations in return for cash or store credit.

If the initial incentive is not sufficient, the Norwegian government has implemented an environmental tax on plastic producers which can be reduced the more they recycle.  

If collectively, over the nation, recycling is above 95 per cent then everyone is exempt from paying the tax. Over the last seven years producers have continued to reach this target.

To ensure that people meet the target, they attach a deposit onto the bottle of around 15 to 30 cents which will be redeemed when it is returned.

The scheme reduces the demand to make more plastic. A bottle can be recycled 12 times, the clear bottles are used to re-make bottles and the coloured ones can make new plastic materials.

The model has been welcomed by small shop owners as they receive a small fee for each bottle and it increases business. 

This could be adopted in the UK where only half of all plastic bottles are recycled. Coca Cola have recently introduced, Norwegian-inspired, reverse vending machines across UK attractions. However, it has been reported that the scheme could work across the nation. The UK Government is currently consulting on such a scheme in England.

Kjell Olav Maldum, Chief Executive of Infinitum who runs the Norway bottle scheme, told BBC News: “There are other recycling schemes, but we believe ours is the most cost-efficient.”

He then went onto suggest the model is scalable: “We think it could be copied in the UK – or anywhere.”

Read more: 97% of plastic bottles in Norway are recycled

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