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Waste & Environment News

March 2017

June 2016

  • Plastic soup

    Earlier this year, 13 adolescent male sperm whales – the largest toothed predators on the planet, which can weigh up to 57,000 kilogrammes (kg) and normally live about 70 years – beached themselves on Germany’s North Sea shore. Five more, thought to be from the same pod, also washed up on the Lincolnshire and Norfolk coastline. All of the animals were found to contain pieces of plastic in their stomach and intestines, including a 70-centimetre engine cover, a 13-metre fishing net and the remains of a plastic bucket. While researchers say that the plastic was unlikely to have caused the whales to beach themselves, the findings are undoubtedly disturbing, and just one of several incidents that have been drawing attention to the problem of plastics in the ocean in recent months. read more...read more...

May 2016

  • Environment Agency fails to meet illegal waste dump target

    News is further blow to organisation under fire after its chairman was discovered to be holidaying during recent floods The Environment Agency has failed to meet its target for shutting down illegal waste dumps that cause heavy pollution and are often run by criminal gangs. The news is a further blow to an organisation that has been under fire because its chairman, Sir Philip Dilley, was discovered to be holidaying in Barbados during the recent floods, instead of leading the response in the UK to the storms. The Environment Agency was supposed to reduce the number of high-risk illegal waste sites from 272 in 2014-15 to 206 in 2015-16. But, by summer, the number of these dumps had increased to 300, which earned the organisation its lowest performance measure, a “red” status. Read more...read more...

  • UK beach litter rises by a third, report finds

    Thousands of plastic bottles clogging up seaside locations, along with cans, glass and crisp packets, with 3,298 pieces picked up for every kilometre cleaned The amount of rubbish found dumped on UK beaches rose by a third last year, according to a new report. More than 8,000 plastic bottles were collected by the Marine Conservation Society’s annual beach clean-up at seaside locations from Orkney to the Channel Islands on one weekend last September. On average, 99 bottles were picked up along every kilometrecleaned by volunteers. It is estimated that plastic bottles can take up to 500 years to break down once in the sea. The charity’s report reveals a 34% rise in beach litter overall between 2014 and 2015, the largest ever amount of litter per kilometre (3,298 pieces) and a record-breaking number of volunteers, just over 6,000, taking part. read more...read more...

  • Biodegradable plastic ‘false solution’ for ocean waste problem

    UN’s top environmental scientist warns bottles and bags do not break down easily and sink, as report highlights the ubiquity of plastic debris in oceans Biodegradable plastic water bottles and shopping bags are a false solution to the ubiquitous problem of litter in the oceans, the UN’s top environmental scientist has warned. Most plastic is extremely durable, leading to large plastic debris and “microplastics” to spread via currents to oceans from the Arctic to the Antarctic, a UN report found. Greener plastics that breakdown in the environment have been marketed as a sustainable alternative that could reduce the vast amount of plastic waste that ends up in the sea after being dumped. But Jacqueline McGlade, chief scientist at the UN Environment Programme, told the Guardian that these biodegradable plastics were not a simple solution. Read more...read more...

  • How to produce nearly zero trash in a year

    Kathryn Kellogg aims to reduce the amount of waste she produces to almost nothing. She buys secondhand, uses cloth bags and glass jars for shopping, composts leftovers, and views recycling as a last resort. It takes great determination, but being vegetarian and lactose-intolerant helps Read more...read more...

  • Changes to waste and recycling services

    Councillors have made the difficult decision to close the two centres, which are owned and operated by FCC Environment on behalf of the council, when Whats Recycled at Household Waste Recycling Centres Sign their current contracts expire on 31 March 2016. Cllr Reg Shore, Executive Member for Waste and Recycling, says: “Our funding from central government is reducing and we need to scale back our spending on services by £170 million over the next four years. As part of this, waste services needs to play its part by cutting its annual waste and recycling budget by £400,000. “Our policy is to make sure that 95% of residents are within a 12 mile radius of a recycling facility, and the closure of these two facilities won’t affect that. Additionally, these sites are not owned by the council and both would require investment by the council to make improvements. Read more...read more...

  • Environment Agency clamping down on illegal waste carriers

    The Environment Agency has been working with the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, local councils and HMRC on Operation Salamander stopping vehicles carrying waste in Thurrock, North Greenwich and Bushy in Hertfordshire today (13 January) All waste carriers have a Duty of Care to ensure they deal with and dispose of waste correctly and should be registered with the Environment Agency. 71 vehicles were pulled over leading to duty of care offences in relation to 26 vehicles stopped. This could lead to potential enforcement action after further investigation. Illegal waste carrier clampdown...read more...