Glastonbury Goes Green

June 24, 2008 at 3:34 pm

Glastonbury have launched the ‘Love the Farm – Leave no Trace’ initiative this year in an attempt to make the events of 2008 as eco-friendly as possible.

Following a report that live events such as Glastonbury are responsible for around 75% of the whole of the music industry’s greenhouse gas emissions, organisers have decided to take a greener approach to the famous festival.

The scheme includes giving out free biodegradable tent pegs made out of potato starch to all festival goers. As well as that, they will also be ensuring that all the food tents use wooden cups and cutlery instead of plastic, which is far more difficult and expensive to recycle.

At many of the music festivals this year, car share schemes are being offered to lower the amount of harmful gases emitted in just travelling to the events. Not only that, but a biodegradable two-man tent made out of recycled cardboard and plastic has been invented by young entrepreneur, James Dunlop. He has called his eco-friendly tent the ‘Myhab.’ And do not worry – it is waterproof.

Glastonbury has always believed in the eco-friendly ethic and has had ‘Green Police’ in previous years, who dress up in funny costumes and walk around encouraging people to respect the environment by cleaning up after themselves. Regular visitors to the festival will be happy to know that they will be around this year as well.

Unfortunately, encouraging people to be green is not always enough. A survey carried out by non profit organisation, A Greener Festival, showed that 25% of all festival goers asked said that they would not recycle. And you can not make people recycle.

But some people are trying harder than others. Last year, over 70,000 music lovers signed up to the UK’s I Count campaign to stop climate chaos and show their support and commitment to saving the planet by not leaving a trace.

Go to Glastonbury’s Official Website for more information on the causes and campaigns supported by the legendary festival.

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Evian? Don’t be naive…

June 17, 2008 at 2:47 pm

Drink tap water. It’s brilliant

The words of a water company? Surely not.
Surprising though it may seem, this is in fact a clear indication of Belu water company’s pure motives (although they might add: ‘…but if you are going to drink bottled water, drink ours’). Recycling can be difficult at the best of times but recycling plastic can be especially hard – many local councils still do not collect plastic recycling directly from homes, and, even if they do, the problem remains that a large quantity of the plastic we consume is not consumed at home. The most obvious case in point is bottled water.

We hardly need the figures from the British Soft Drinks Association to confirm the sensible guess that consumption of bottled water has been on the increase recently. Endless marketing campaigns about the benefits of hydration and purity have successfully embedded the idea that bottled water is tastier, cleaner and healthier for you. The result is that, according to Belu, the total spent on bottled water each year amounts to $100 billion. By way of contrast, they estimate that it would cost just $30 billion to reduce by half, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation (part of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals).

So what makes Belu special? It seems that they are offering a fairly ideal solution to the problems of global water shortage and unnecessary pollution through the excessive consumption of plastic and glass used in bottled water. How? By being the first bottled water company to sell water in compostable bottles, which are, wait for it, made from corn (only the lid is conventional plastic). In addition, all profits go to fund clean water projects around the world.

The project has been championed by, amongst others, the Times restaurant critic Giles Coren, who terrorised restaurants that did not offer tap (or Belu) water freely, and there have been signs of a consumer backlash against bottled water. Given the chance, who would not opt for a conscience as clear as their bottled water? If you can have your cake and eat it, then so much the better.

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ASDA launches attack on local authorities’ recycling

June 10, 2008 at 2:07 pm

Supermarket giant ASDA has claimed that thousands of tonnes of packaging are heading needlessly to landfill, simply because hundreds of local councils only collect the "bare minimum” from householders. They will be opposing any "pay as you throw" tax on waste because of a “postcode lottery”, which they claim makes it impossible for many people to recycle packaging, despite the fact that 93% of it is, in theory, recyclable.

The supermarket has found that, according to research carried out by WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Program) during a five month period last year, the variety of materials collected by local authorities differs hugely, even in the same regions of the country. Whilst 85% of councils collect metal cans, 64% glass, 63% card and 62% plastic bottles, the facilities for collecting foil, other plastics and tetrapaks are far scarcer. Top of the league were South Holland district council and North Kesteven council, whilst languishing at the bottom were the Scilly Isles, Solihull, Warrington, Halton and Southampton.

Local authorities and the waste sector have reacted angrily to the claims. Even WRAP itself, whose data has been used by ASDA, has criticised their conclusions, pointing out that they did not take account of recycling banks.

The Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC) has responded by accusing ASDA of blame shifting. They point out that taxpayers do not want to see an increase in council tax to deal with the problem and that the supermarkets should take more responsibility, by providing facilities at their stores or funding kerbside collections.

The waste sector described ASDA’s attack as “misguided and misleading”, undermining the chain’s previous efforts at addressing recycling issues.

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Big Ben sculpture kicks off Recycle Week

June 5, 2008 at 3:20 pm

The launch on Monday 2nd June of the fifth annual ‘Recycle Week’ has seen a number of interesting sculptures appear across the country to highlight the event and to raise awareness about recycling.

Onlookers were thrilled in London’s South Bank when a 6 metre high model of Big Ben made entirely of empty Coke cans was revealed to the public. The sculpture was the work of master sculptor Robert Bradford, who had been commissioned by Coca-Cola to make the model.

Recycle Week has been launched by WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Program), a non-profit company whose aim is to help people reduce their waste, in its bid to raise awareness of recycling in the UK and to inspire more people to take an active role in recycling both at home and at work.

But the Big Ben model was not the only sculpture to mark the event, as a model of the Angel of the North, made by Sam McGeever and constructed from 10,000 mini coke cans, was also revealed to the public. Other constructions to have appeared across the country include one of the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol and one of the Birmingham Bull statue.

London Mayor, Boris Johnson, said that it was a “fantastic initiative” and would do a “huge amount to encourage us all to recycle more”.

However, the models have been criticised by some as a PR stunt on the part of Coca-Cola, arguing that they will almost certainly have no effect on recycling whatsoever. But whatever the argument, the sculptures are certainly pretty impressive and will at least help to create publicity for a worthy event.

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First Recycling Zones hit the UK

June 2, 2008 at 4:12 pm

In a joint project between WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme) and the drinks giant Coca-Cola, the first recycling zone has arrived in the UK.

The zone was officially launched on 23rd May at Thorpe Park, with the plan being to introduce around 80 similar zones across the entire country over the next three years.

The idea is based on the assumption that if people are given the opportunity to recycle outside their home environment, then they will do so. Although people may have the intention to recycle, it does not always happen because it can be inconvenient. By placing recycling bins across the theme park, the hope is that people will recycle because the opportunity is presented to them.

Coca-Cola wanted to promote the scheme due to an awareness of the amount of waste caused by its own drinks products, and the company felt that it was a good opportunity to give something back to the community. Indeed, the focus of the recycling zones will be mainly on drinks cans and plastic bottles.

The scheme has certainly been a hit with the government, who were represented at the launch by the UK’s Minister for Waste, Joan Ruddock MP. She stated that “with a target of increasing the national recycling rate to 40% by 2010, programmes such as the recycling zone from Coca-Cola Enterprises are vital to the UK hitting its targets”.

Coca-cola have estimated that they will be spending £500,000 on the scheme, but funding is also supplied by the locations of the zones to ensure that the project is a group effort. The next zones are planned to be set up at further theme parks, including Alton Towers, as well as shopping centres across the country.

For more information about the scheme, check out the Let’s Recycle website.

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