Recycling

'Plastic Ocean': Installation of wasted materials into art by Tan Zi Xi (Singapore) at sam @ 8Q during the imaginarium - Over the Ocean, Under the Sea exhibition. Photo: Choo Yut Shing via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Government plans to bin the 'latte levy' could undermine Green Brexit plan

Joseph Dutton
| 15th March 2018
This week the UK government announced a consultation on introducing a tax on single-use plastics, as part of its pledge to reduce plastic waste. But earlier this month ministers stepped back from plans to introduce a charge for non-recyclable coffee cups - putting the government’s war on plastic and promise of a Green Brexit under scrutiny. JOSEPH DUTTON investigates

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A Green Alternative to Styrofoam

Laura Briggs
| 1st June 2017
No More Styrofoam presents the WooBox - a new alternative to the use of Styrofoam in food transportation - and a Serbian project that is supported by a crowdfunding campaign that launches today (1st June 2017). LAURA BRIGGS reports

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Tooting Restart Party: together with hosts Transition Tooting, 13 Restarters and 41 participants saved 50 kg of electronics from waste. Photo: www.heatheragyepong.com / Restart Project via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Community repair: a pop-up alternative to the throwaway society

Christine Cole
Alex Gnanapragasam
| 28th April 2017
The ability to repair malfunctioning machinery from toasters and computers to bicycles and lawnmowers is essential to avoid all the waste, expense and pollution of dumping consumer goods prematurely, write Christine Cole & Alex Gnanapragasam. Many of us how no idea how to even begin doing that, but a new 'repair revolution' is sweeping the UK and other countries, with free-to-attend pop-up parties where you can learn the skills and fix your broken stuff.

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Scale representation of the incinerator in situ, near Junction 12 of the M5, providing a highly dubious 'welcome to Gloucester', adjacent to the AONB. Image: GlosVAIN.

Up in smoke: the fight to block Gloucestershire's unwanted incinerator

Dan Hinge
| 24th April 2017
Activists in Gloucestershire are battling to block the construction of a massive incinerator that they see as a blight on the landscape, costly, polluting, wasteful and undermining recycling, writes Dan Hinge. Now the fight, backed by superstar actor Jeremy Irons, just entered a new phase after a tribunal forced the County Council to reveal essential details of the contract it had signed.

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Plastic waste being sorted by hand in Babakan, West Java, Indonesia. Photo: Ikhlasul Amal via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

UK exporting 67% of plastic waste amid 'illegal practices' warnings

The Ecologist
| 13th March 2017
Britain's trade in waste plastic to the Far East is booming. But it's not good news. The exported plastic is meant to be recycled under UK conditions and standards, but often is not, undermining bona fide UK recycling firms who face falling prices, reduced turnover, collapsing profits, and all too often, closure.

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Food Waste - who's to blame?

Laura Briggs
| 27th January 2017
Consumers could be doing far more to help combat global food wastage with relatively little effort according to a new study showing that every year, a third of all food produced ends up being binned. LAURA BRIGGS reports

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The water may be dirty - but the heat is still valuable! Photo: susan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Let's reclaim the free energy in our sewers - we have the technology!

Jan Hofman
Laura Piccinini
| 9th September 2016
First we heat up cold water for baths, showers and washing, write Jan Hofman & Laura Piccinini. Then we chuck all that precious heat down the plughole. So how about recycling our waste heat to warm up water on its way to the boiler or hot water tank, cutting bills and emissions? Or on a larger scale, use the sewage from entire communities as a free energy source for heat pumps?

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Photo: Roderick Eime via Flickr (CC BY).

Hugh's 'War on Waste' is great - but we need to grasp the bigger picture

Sam Earle
| 3rd August 2016
Last week's 'War on Waste' - throwaway coffee cups were the deserving target - was an exemplar of effective single-issue campaigning by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall. But the answers to our waste problems go way beyond recycling. We must begin to plan a societal transition to a post-consumer culture of caring, sharing, and knowing when we have enough.

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Jackson Wanyama, a former worker at the Metal Refinery smelter in Mombasa, Kenya. His wife Linette passed away last October. She used to wash his clothes and had high levels of lead poisoning. He too is suffering from his exposure to lead contamination. P

Dirty business: Africa's unregulated lead battery smelting

Desirée García
Javier Marín
| 3rd March 2016
Africa's car battery recycling industry is anything but green, write Desirée García & Javier Marín on African Environment Day. Toxic emissions from the re-smelting of lead from old batteries is poisoning workers and nearby communities. And among the buyers of the lead are EU car companies, apparently indifferent to the death, disease and contamination they are financing.

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Russia’s informal recycling sector at work. Photo: Minna Halme.

'Recycling is for drunks, addicts and babushkas' - inside Russia's shadowy waste industry

Minna Halme
Lancaster University
| 8th February 2016
Official recycling rates in Russia stand at close to zero, writes Minna Halme. But my study of the potential to develop the sector uncovered widespread informal recycling networks, lurking in basements, stigmatised for supposed links to organised crime, barely tolerated by the authorities. And any ideas of legitimising the shadowy recycling operations are met with frosty official silence.

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Plastic waste on the 'Mayan Riviera', Quintana Roo, Mexico. Photo: John Schneider via Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0).

Fighting the plastic plague in our oceans

Dr Mae-Wan Ho
| 13th February 2015
On current trends the world will contain 33 billion tonnes of plastic by 20150, writes Mae Wan Ho, and much of it will litter the oceans, concentrating toxins and damaging marine life throughout the food chain. The alternative is to classify the most toxic plastics as 'hazardous waste', and for all plastics to be reused and recycled in 'closed loop' systems.

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Vultures pay their respects at a sky burial in Sichuan province, China. Photo: Lycopodium L (CC BY-NC-SA).

Live long, die green and recycle your discarded body

Robert John Young
| 8th February 2015
If you live a green life, you'll also want a green death, writes Robert John Young. Sadly pollution, energy use and methane emissions mean there's no completely green way to dispose of your body. The good news is that a new 'fast composting' technique ticks all the boxes - but it's still under development.

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Grace Lee

Why Aren’t My Fellow Americans Doing More Recycling?

Grace Lee
| 27th July 2012
Grace Lee has just spent a month in Seoul, South Korea working as an intern for the Resource Recirculation Management Division under the Climate Change and Environment Bureau of Seoul City Hall. Here’s what she has to say to her fellow US citizens about their domestic waste…

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