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WRAP UK receives $826k to tackle global food waste

The UK’s Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has been awarded $826,000 (€751,970) scale-up funding to “supercharge” action on global food loss.

WRAP’s food waste reduction partnership FLAWLESS (Halving Food Loss and Waste by Leveraging Economic Systems) is among nine public-private partnerships to have received scale-up funding from Partnering for Green Growth and the Global Goals 2030  (P4G).

FLAWLESS sets out to drive action on global food waste and loss by mobilising the financial sector to factor in both financial and environmental performance in their lending and building on existing partnerships in WRAP Global’s three partner countries: Indonesia, South Africa, and Mexico.

UK Government urged to reconsider DRS scheme

A UK behaviour change company has urged the UK Government to reconsider its plans to introduce a deposit return scheme (DRS) for beverage containers after the results of a trial it ran demonstrated ‘sustained behaviour change’.

Greenredeem ran a year-long trial in 25 schools in 2019 which saw students return plastic bottles to an interactive kiosk which allowed them access to educational videos, images and facts on plastic recycling. For every bottle returned, five pence was given to the school to be spent on further educational initiatives. More than 160,000 bottles were returned over the course of the trial.

Parent surveys demonstrated the improved understanding of plastics recycling, with awareness of plastic pollution growing from 88 per cent to 93 per cent and 62 per cent of respondents claiming to recycle all plastic bottles when not at home, up from 56 per cent. The fact that recycling plastic bottles earned money for schools was also a plus, with 75 per cent saying it motivated them to recycle more.

Greenredeem stated that the results showed that such initiatives had a greater effect on behaviour change and cost less than a DRS – which is estimated to cost £1 billion to set up and &814 million each year to run.

New global waste standard developed to drive business circularity

A new global waste standard has been released by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) to enable companies to track their waste generation and encourage a shift towards sustainable business practices.

The GRI’s updated waste standard, GRI 306: Waste 2020 will enable companies to “critically assess” their waste generation throughout the value chain, demonstrating the relationship between materials and waste.

It is hope that the standard will encourage businesses to make changes to design and procurement of materials upstream to embed circular practices in their operations.

Viridor announces UK plastic waste collaboration

Waste management company Viridor has announced a new agreement with Spanish chemical recycler Plastic Energy to process 30,000 tonnes of unrecycled plastic each year.

The proposal would see Viridor deliver predominantly low-density plastic film to a new Plastic Energy plant where it will be turned into an oil product called TACOIL. This would then be used to create new virgin plastic.

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed initially and the project is expected to be finalised by the end of 2023 if feasibility work is successful.

Scottish councils to coordinate HWRC reopening

Scottish councils are planning to reopen Household Waste and Recycling Centres (HWRCs) on 1 June.

Scotland’s recycling centres have been closed since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, but the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) has announced that councils are now ready to reopen.

Councillor Steven Heddle, COSLA’s Environment and Economy Spokesperson, stated by coordinating the reopening of all HWRCs, local authorities hoped to avoid a “disjointed approach” and “confusion” for members of the public.

However, the move is dependent on the assurance that HWRC reopenings “will not negatively impact the Covid-19 infection rate”.

UK plastics export sector calls for government support

The UK plastics export sector has urged the government to increase financial support for companies, amid concerns over the impact of Covid-19 on supply chain operations.

Addressing the House of Commons International Trade Select Committee, Director General of the British Plastics Federation (BPF) Philip Law, speaking on behalf of the UK plastics export sector, called on the government to provide assistance as ‘dual challenges’ posed by Brexit and the coronavirus are set to impact the sector significantly for the foreseeable future.

Law pressed the government needs to look at innovative ways of supporting small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) exporters. These include: exploring the opportunity for virtual exhibitions, helping companies fund foreign language versions of their websites and taking inspiration from international market entry models such as the China Britain Business Council (CBBC), which assists companies secure a foothold in the market by increasing shared office space and expert infrastructure.

Welsh Circular Economy Fund widens scope

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) Cymru has announced that it has ‘widened the scope’ of the £6.5-million Wales Circular Economy Fund to help the Welsh economy become ‘more resilient’ as it responds to the coronavirus pandemic.

WRAP has extended the scope for funding. Now, the fund will support organisations seeking to support the preparation of materials for reuse, refurbishment and re-manufacturing activities in Wales. This includes the production of sustainable goods to assist the global fight against Covid-19, such as personal protective equipment (PPE).

Correspondingly, it has lowered the minimum small-scale grant available to £6,000 from £25,000 previously, while the maximum large-scale grant remains £750,000.

Scottish deposit return regulations become law

The Scottish Parliament voted to approve regulations that will establish a deposit return scheme (DRS) for beverage containers in Scotland.

The legislation will see a redeemable 20-pence deposit placed on on all drinks containers above 50 millilitres and up to three litres in size made from aluminium and steel, glass or PET plastic in an effort encourage consumers to recycle.

Despite the passage of the regulations into law, the start date for the implementation of the DRS has been pushed back from April 2021 until July 2022 due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Europe’s plastics recycling industry experiencing uncertainty, says BIR

A ‘feeling of uncertainty’ is permeating the European plastics recycling industry owing to the impact of Covid-19 on the market, according to the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR).

The BIR stated that the oil price slump is keeping prices low and ‘huge stocks are overhanging the market’, contributing to unease compounded by the fact that ‘European plastics recyclers obviously have little idea themselves how supply… will develop in the coming weeks’.

Disruption to England food waste and recycling services increases

Disruption to English food waste and recycling collection services has increased since last week, according to the latest Covid-19 local authority impacts survey as local authorities report higher than normal volumes of waste.
Just over two thirds (68 per cent) of local authorities (LAs) surveyed report services to be operating as normal, a decrease from 77 per cent last week, and food waste collections operate in only half of councils surveyed.

Currently, the number of recycling collections operating normally has fallen to 74 per cent, a four per cent decrease from last week’s survey, and the number of collections that are experiencing minor disruption has risen to 25 per cent, a rise by six per cent.