UK Unveils National Action Plan to Slash Plastic Waste by 2042

The UK government has unveiled a national action plan to eradicate avoidable plastic waste by 2042. The announcement aims to quell concerns of critics regarding the potential negative impacts Brexit could have on the UK’s sustainability performance. The plan outlines actions the government will take over the next 25 years to address the issue, such as extending a 5p charge for single-use plastic bags to all retailers, encouraging supermarkets to create plastic-free aisles and introducing a tax system for single-use plastic packaging, such as polystyrene

Trending: Local Solutions Could Hold the Key to Reducing Global Food Waste

While food industry giants and software companies have played an important role in creating solutions for reducing food waste, local community members are proving to be just as critical in driving the movement forward. Efforts to curb food waste in Europe, the UK and North America are on the rise, with new solutions

Trending: Circular Sportswear Is Next on Sustainable Fashion’s Checklist

Circular design principles continue to infiltrate the fashion industry as fast fashion giants and emerging labels alike turn their attention to sustainable activewear. Despite recent criticism over its decision to send its discarded clothing to Swedish incinerators, H&M continues to stride forward on its mission to accelerate the circular fashion movement. The fast fashion brand has expanded its Conscious Collection to include an activewear

How Do the World’s Recyclers Solve a Problem Like China?

For decades, China has been an open door for foreign waste, importing recycled material from around the world to help feed its manufacturing boom. In 2016, the country imported 7.3 million metric tonnes of waste plastics from developed countries. However, this is all about to change. Last year, the country notified the World Trade Organization its intention to ban 24 types of solid waste material by the end of 2017 — including unsorted paper and plastics. This crackdown on imports, known officially as China’s National Sword programme, took complete

Trending: Food-Focused Tech Solutions Helping Slash Waste While Recouping Revenue

Food waste may be on the rise, but startups across the globe are developing new solutions to drive waste — and costs — down to an all-time low. With US food waste topping $200 billion a year, startup goMkt has developed a new food shopping platform designed to connect consumers with retailers offering special deals on food that would otherwise go to waste. Through its discounted “flash sales,” goMkt helps divert food from landfill while enabling businesses to recoup

Dow Makes Moves to Reduce Marine Plastic Pollution in Japan, Indonesia

According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), up to 8 million tons of plastic waste are dumped into the world’s oceans annually. In 2016, The Dow Chemical Company announced a commitment to spend $2.8 million over the next two years to drive solutions that address global marine debris and litter. Dow is now making good on that promise with new efforts in Japan and Indonesia. In Japan, the company’s Packaging and Specialty Plastics (P&SP) business unit is supporting the launch of the first quantitative research in the Asia Pacific region into the

Trending: Step Change in Design, Recycling Efforts Essential for Addressing E-Waste

In today’s digitally dependent world, e-waste management is a critical issue that requires urgent attention from both the public and private sector. Published by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) — the United Nations specialized agency for information and communication technology — together with the United Nations University (UNU) and the International

Trending: Improved Resource Efficiency Signals Major Win for Circularity in Fashion, Carpet, Steel

Circular principles continue to drive a more sustainable future, as the fashion, carpet and steel industries zero in on resource efficiency and innovative raw materials. Over the last decade, Eileen Fisher has established itself as a leader in the sustainable fashion movement, a position that is largely the result of its ability to successfully integrate circularity into its supply chain. In 2009, the

Closed-Loop Recycling and the Far-Reaching Impact of Local Partnerships

In northwestern Vermont, an innovative closed-loop recycling program is harnessing the synergy of a paper shredder, a paper maker and a paper distributor to provide real-time environmental metrics for Champlain College — a small, but nationally recognized college in Burlington, Vermont. In an effort to keep the loop as local as possible, the college selected the highest-quality local and regional partners available. For many years, Champlain has worked closely with Foley Distributing, out of Rutland, Vermont; SecurShred — a South Burlington-based shredder and e-cycling service provider; and Essity — a global

Sustainable Surf, MAFIA Bags Launch Sustainable Daypack Made Entirely from Waste

Sustainable Surf, a nonprofit focused on protecting ocean health, has teamed up with Swiss designer Yves Béhar and MAFIA Bags, a Bay Area-based brand making bags and backpacks from upcycled sails, to create an urban adventure bag that supports the local community and diverts valuable resources from landfill. Collaborating with Béhar and MAFIA, Sustainable Surf created the Deep Blue Bag, a superlight technical daypack made from upcycled spinnaker sails, climbing ropes from Yosemite Valley and wetsuit/dry suit material. The bag features a slew of functional features — such as a water-resistant wet pocket, weather-proof zippers and external gear loops — geared at enhancing and enabling people’s connection to the outdoors and

Perfect Sustainable Product Design Needs to Start with a Circle

Electronic waste is the world’s fastest-growing waste stream, and according to a United Nations report, it’s projected that 50 million tons of e-waste will be accumulated by 2018. There are many reasons for such a staggering amount of waste — a lot of it starts with the fact that products and devices are replaced by upgraded versions within a few years of owning them and, with around 50 percent of consumers not sure what to do with them once they are finished with them, many end up in landfills and oceans. Another reality is that many tech products live out the rest of their days unused. And with around 30 percent of consumers with tech products lying around the house, compared

Trending: Resource Optimization Is Driving the Future of Food

In the face of climate change, embracing new methods of agricultural production, consuming responsibly and adopting circular business models will be critical to forging a sustainable future and achieving both income and food security. According to research conducted by nonprofit ReFED, sixty-three million tons of food worth $218 billion is wasted each year in the United States — one-third of which is wasted by restaurants and commercial food service businesses. To stop food waste in its tracks, the James Beard Foundation, with support from The Rockefeller Foundation, teamed up with Drexel University’s Center for Food & Hospitality to design and implement a curriculum around

150 Companies, NGOs Call for Global Ban on Oxo-Degradable Plastic Packaging

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics Economy initiative has published a statement calling for a ban on oxo-degradable plastic packaging, as evidence emerges linking the material to the mounting microplastics problem. Oxo-degradable plastic packaging is often pitched as a solution to plastic pollution, with the claim that such plastics degrade into harmless residues within a period ranging from a few months to several years. However, a growing body of evidence indicates that oxo-degradable plastics actually fragment

Circular Solutions in Action: Retailers, Recyclers Collaborate to Fight Textile Waste

Textile waste is a 26-billion-pound problem the world is just beginning to recognize. With us consuming more than 80 billion pieces of new clothing each year globally, there’s no question that change is necessary – but what will it take for retailers, clothing manufacturers and consumers to embrace the environmental benefits of reuse? Preliminary steps toward a circular textile economy are taking place, such as Patagonia’s Worn Wear program and H&M’s Garment Collecting initiative, but the goal of “closing the loop” is still barrier-ridden for many brands. One of the largest challenges for brands is a lack of technology to recycle frequently used fiber blends in most apparel. Another barrier for brands

Gold, Silver Flowing Through Swiss Sewers Could Provide Path to Circular Future

Wastewater that’s worth the likes of gold? What would seem like a farfetched concept is reality in Switzerland, where 95 pounds of gold find their way into Swiss sewage each year — the equivalent of US$1,947,925.60. The build up is the result of the country’s iconic watch-making trade, which sees 70 percent of the world’s gold pass through Swiss gold-refining plants each year. So what to do with all this gold? Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology believe the discovery presents a golden opportunity for the tech industry to capitalize on the circular economy. The study was commissioned

Gold Flowing Through Swiss Sewers Could Provide Pathway to Circular Future

Wastewater that’s worth the likes of gold? What would seem like a farfetched concept is reality in Switzerland where 95 pounds of gold find their way into Swiss sewage each year — the equivalent of $1,947,925.60. The build up is the result of the country’s iconic watch-making trade, which sees 70 percent of the world’s gold pass through Swiss gold-refining plants each year. So what to do with all this gold? Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology believe the discovery presents a golden opportunity for the tech industry to capitalize

Trending: The War on Food Waste Rages On … No Thanks to You, Londoners

Around a third of all food that is produced is lot at some point across the food supply chain. Globally, this equates to around 1.6 gigatons (GT) of food waste, of which 1.3 GT is still edible at the time of disposal. A new technology developed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Australia promises to make food waste a thing of the past, transforming discarded fruits and

Trending: The War on Food Waste Rages On

Around a third of all food that is produced is lot at some point across the food supply chain. Globally, this equates to around 1.6 gigatons (GT) of food waste, of which 1.3 GT is still edible at the time of disposal. A new technology developed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) in Australia promises

Report: Digitizing Leftover Garment Data Could Unlock Billions for Fashion Industry

Companies operating in the apparel industry could be missing out on new opportunities for growth by not digitizing data on leftovers from garment factories, says a new report by H&M Foundation Global Change Award winner Reverse Resources. Creating a Digitally Enhanced Circular Economy shows that manufacturers producing textiles and clothes for many of the world’s major fashion brands are spilling an

Depok: The Front Line in Indonesia’s Fight Against Waste

In a country infamous for being the second-biggest contributor of plastic waste to the oceans, a city in West Java has achieved a close to 100 percent segregation rate. This is how Depok transformed its waste system. Waste is rapidly becoming one of the most pressing issues of all time. More than a decade after Bandung’s Leuwigajah dumpsite disaster in West Java

Sans Soucie: Turning Waste Textiles Into Beautiful Clothes

It’s Waste Reduction Week in Canada, and to celebrate, I spoke to some superstar companies reducing waste through product design that are featured in the National Zero Waste Council’s Design Portfolio. Earlier this week, we highlighted food waste solutions from Abeego and Club Coffee. For this final article of the three-part series, I spoke to designer Katherine Soucie

How Companies ‘Seeing Goldmines in Landfills’ Are Refashioning Textiles

Want to subvert the traditional apparel supply chain? You must possess a “little bit of craziness,” according to Giulio Bonazzi, CEO and president of Aquafil, an Italian company that transforms abandoned fishing nets and castoff bits of carpet into good-as-new nylon fibers. Speaking on a panel at the Textile Sustainability Conference in Washington, D.C., last week, Bonazzi noted that his propensity for seeing goldmines in landfills hasn’t always drawn plaudits. In fact, he was often ridiculed. Few if any are laughing now, however. Since Aquafil launched its first Econyl plant in Slovenia in 2011, the company has incorporated its regenerated yarns into swimwear by adidas, Levi’s jeans, bags

Breweries, Bars Latest Crop of Businesses Making Creative Use of Waste

Closed-loop cocktails are officially a thing thanks to Operation Dagger, a popular Singapore-based bar and one of Asia’s best watering holes. Single-use is practically unheard of in this trendy spot, where every ingredient is given a second life, be it a vanilla pod or recycled receipt. “The idea of closed loop for me is an ingredient that doesn’t just have a beginning and an end,” Luke Whearty, Owner and head bartender at Operation Dagger, told CNBC. “If one element of an ingredient is used