February 2020 - Environmental Highlights
February has been a month of highs and lows across the globe. We're focused on a more sustainable, plastic-free future. Here's our round up of the top environmental headlines for February 2020.
1. Plastic waste exports targeted in new environmental bill
The UK government has promised to review the legislation every two years and has committed to ban plastic exports to poor countries. Teresa Villiers, environmental secretary, said "It sets a gold standard for improving air quality, protecting nature, increasing recycling and cutting down on plastic waste”.
2. First low plastic zone launched in London
Research revealed 95% of people wanted businesses want local business to cut single-use plastic. In response to this seven London boroughs teamed up with the North London Waste Authority who encouraged businesses to sign up to their Charter of Commitment which aims at reducing single-use plastic. In a trial 75% of businesses were able to reduce the amount of single-use plastic supplied to customers, and went on to achieve 'Low Plastic Zone' status.
3. Loop, a plastic-free shopping service is championing the circular economy
Loop is set to extend it's operations to the UK in March. Brand-name groceries are delivered in re-usable containers. There is no wrappers, cardboard boxes or single-use plastic.
4. Portugal joins the Plastics Pact
Portugal has joined the global Plastics Pact network which has an ambitious 2025 target of;
- Finding innovative or alternatives to problematic single-use plastics by the end of 2020
- Ensuring that 100% of plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable
- Increasing collections so that at least 70% of plastic packaging is effectively recycled
- Incorporating, on average, 30% of recycled plastic in new plastic packaging
5. Paros is set to be the first plastic-free Mediterranean island
The Greek island of Paros is part an initiative that is set to be the world's first attempt to tackle plastic waste from a whole system approach. Paros was chosen as it is a small island, the plan is to use this project as an example, scale it and apply to larger communities across the world.
6. The largest ocean clean-up in history - update on The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Using a giant floating barrier to collect the waste over 6 months, 60 bags of trash have been returned to the shore. It might seem a slow process, however the project says that it could clear 50% of The Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 5 years. Conventional methods of clearing the water, like vessels and nets, would take vast sums of money and thousands of years.
7. Italy told to stop using Malaysia as it's plastics dumping ground
An investigation by journalists at Greenpeace highlighted that almost half of the plastic waste imported from Italy to Malaysia was received by companies operating illegally. As these companies don't have the capacity to deal with contaminated or unrecyclable plastic, much of it ends up being dumped or burned.
8. America's 'recycled' plastic waste is clogging landfills
A major survey across the US has found that many plastic items put in recycle bins aren't being recycled.
9. The National Trust ditches plastic membership cards in favour of paper ones
The new annual card will be recyclable and it's thought to save 12.5 tonnes of plastic a year.
10. Nepal tackles single-use plastics.