Resource efficiency is the UK’s missing climate policy

As the UK government lobbies to host crucial UN climate talks in 2020, it can rightly claim to have demonstrated leadership on this pressing global issue. We were the first country in the world to set legally binding budgets for carbon. We have shown it’s possible to grow our economy while reducing emissions to meet the first three legally binding

How far will the UK Plastic Pact get us in stopping global plastic pollution?

Since Theresa May announced, in January, that the government would show global leadership in tackling plastic waste, announcements on the topic have come thick and fast. Last month, the Treasury launched a long awaited call for evidence on taxing single use plastics, followed by a promise from Environment Secretary Michael Gove that England would definitely institute a deposit return scheme

Has the UK really been held back by the EU on waste and resources?

Last week’s anniversary of the triggering of Article 50 was marked, as you’d expect, by many column inches and much airtime, including a BBC Radio 4 programme that caught our attention here at Green Alliance. In The Brexit lab the journalist Iain Martin explored “the opportunities for policy experimentation post-Brexit” and asked “how we could do things differently once the UK

Ten things I hate about how UK recycling is (not) funded

Hatred is quite a strong emotion to feel for inanimate evidence notes intended to show that a company has paid towards recycling its packaging, but bear with me and I’ll explain what’s got me so wound up. Back in 1997, the Packaging Recovery Note (PRN) scheme was devised as the way for the UK to meet EU packaging recycling targets.

Will degradable plastics really prevent marine pollution?

In our world of instant gratification, plastic has proved incredibly useful, allowing food and drink to be conveniently packaged and transported for consumption on the go, immediately satisfying our most basic of human needs. Unfortunately, if it is not handled correctly after its brief use, plastic can cause serious environmental problems, as hauntingly documented by Blue Planet II. People are

Do we really need to pay more to save the environment?

This article was originally published in Business Green. If I were the type to shout at my radio, I would have spewed righteous vitriol at the Today programme last Thursday morning. Ahead of the launch of the government’s long awaited 25 Year Plan for the Environment, Environment Secretary Michael Gove was interviewed by Nick Robinson about his ‘big vision’ for

Here’s what Theresa May should now do to end plastic pollution

After years of waiting, we finally have it: this morning, Theresa May launched her government’s 25 year plan for the environment. By far the most talked about aspect of the long awaited and wide ranging strategy is the prime minister’s promise to “demonstrate global leadership” by addressing needlessly produced plastic. This will be achieved, she vowed, through action “at every

Let’s banish the ghosts of the past and do better on waste in future

Nearly 175 years ago, Charles Dickens ‘invented’ the modern holiday of Christmas through A Christmas Carol, the story of Ebenezer Scrooge’s transformation from miser to the embodiment of festive generosity. The story has been credited with cementing in place many of the traditions we continue to observe to this day, including holding a family feast of seasonal food and drink.

How much do we care about owning the products we use?

Recent research has shown that the number of people who own their own homes is at a 30 year low and, with growing anxiety about young people being unable to get on the property ladder, the government has started to act. In the budget, Philip Hammond aimed to revive “the dream of home ownership” by abolishing the stamp duty for

Why Michael Gove should be worried about the UK’s recycling crisis

Freedom’s Sentinel, Operation Red Dragon, Liberty Shield, National Sword and Green Quest. They all sound like the names given to military interventions of recent years. And, in fact, they all are, apart from one, which is a Chinese government programme aiming to improve the quality of recycling. And, no, it’s not Green Quest (a short lived American operation investigating terrorist

Let’s not be losers when it comes to resources

This article was originally published on Business Green. It’s been more than six months since the prime minister triggered Article 50, what’s commonly referred to as “the starting gun” for our departure from the EU. If you imagine Brexit as a race, then, that means that we’re over a quarter of the way

How green is Sadiq Khan’s new London environment strategy?

According to the RSA, we are living in The Age of the City, where urban areas “are increasingly powerful in national and global politics and are driving economic growth”. In the UK, urban political power has historically been limited, but the rise of directly elected mayors has given strategic powers over

Five simple solutions to Michael Gove’s plastic problem

The scale of plastic pollution plaguing our oceans is alarming. Eight million tonnes of the stuff is being lost to the sea each year. At least 136 species of marine life are affected by plastic entanglement, and many more still – at least 250 species – ingest plastic pieces that can be a million times more toxic than the water

Why the UK could soon face recycling chaos

In 2013, China sent shock waves through the recycling world in the west by launching Operation Green Fence, a campaign that rejected at least 800,000 tonnes of substandard recyclable waste imports and withdrew 247 import licenses. This focused minds in the UK, because we have grown dependent on exports of low quality recyclate, which our producer responsibility system accidentally encourages.

The world unites as Trump pulls out of Paris

Following Donald Trump’s announcement to pull the US out of the Paris Climate Agreement, Green Alliance is publishing a series of blog posts from different voices in response. On the morning of 12 December 2015, I found myself cycling around Paris, not really knowing where I was going but definitely glad to be part of something that felt momentous. As

Why hasn’t the sharing revolution taken off?

This post is by Libby Peake, senior policy adviser on resources at Green Alliance. Perhaps the favourite statistic of those advocating for more sharing in our economy is that the average power drill is used for only 12 or 13 minutes over the entire course of its lifetime. This is especially significant as millions of new household power drills are sold