Top Stories

July 04, 2017

Circular Economy

Tackle UK’s plastic bottle problem with money-back scheme, ministers told

The UK government is under growing pressure to introduce a money-back return scheme for plastic bottles. The idea has the backing of global drinks company Coca-Cola and comes amid warnings that the worldwide plastics binge poses as serious a threat as climate change. According to an unpublished parliamentary report, more than 4 million plastic bottles a week could be prevented from littering streets and marine environments in Britain if authorities adopted the kind of deposit return schemes that operate in countries like Germany and Australia. “Earlier this year, Coca-Cola said to the Scottish parliament they would back a well-designed deposit return scheme,” said Kate Parminter, environment spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats. “Now that industry are backing this scheme, it is high time the UK government began to throw their weight behind it.” (Guardian)


Body Shop debuts £2m World Bio-Bridges Mission

The Body Shop is to launch a new ‘World Bio-Bridges Mission’, creating a new fund that aims to raise over £2m by 2020 to create 10 ‘bio-bridges’ between some of the world’s most biodiverse habitats. The project builds on successful trials in Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia, where donations from the beauty firm’s customers have helped protect threatened orangutans, tigers and monkeys. The company said that by working closely with local communities it was able to protect and regenerate corridors between healthy rainforest, linking isolated and endangered animals and plant species and allowing them to breed. The project will be run directly by The Body Shop and will be supported by a 13-member Advisory Team of internal and external representatives who will advise on and oversee funding allocation. (Business Green)


Chinese internet giant limits online game play for children over health concerns

All-night gaming marathons will soon end for some Chinese children after the internet giant Tencent began limiting daily playing times on its smartphone smash hit ‘King of Glory’ in order to “ensure children’s healthy development”. Young players will be restricted to one or two hours on the mobile online multiplayer battle game, which boasts 80 million daily users, as concerns grow in China that long periods online are posing a serious threat to the country’s youth. Tencent, which ranks first in the world for gaming revenue, said in a statement that King of Glory was “supposed to bring joy… but excessive gaming brings joy to neither players nor their parents”. Some 24 million young people in China are estimated to be internet addicts. (Guardian)


Lawyers plan to stop UK dropping EU rules on environment after Brexit

A taskforce of environmental lawyers is drawing up plans to stop thousands of EU rules protecting rivers, wildlife, coastlines and air quality from being dropped by the government after Brexit. The EU is the source of most environmental protection in Britain and for 40 years has acted as a monitoring body and enforcer, with powers to fine member states for breaches in the law. There are fears that the complexity and scale of Brexit, and political resistance to European regulations will mean key protections are lost during the rollover into domestic legislation. Richard Macrory, leading the taskforce team made up of members of the UK Environmental Law Association, said: “The last thing we want to find in Britain are a whole lot of legal gaps in the protections. The rollover [in the repeal bill] is going to be straightforward in some areas and more challenging in others. And in some areas unless there are particular agreements made with the EU it is going to be not at all easy.” (Guardian)


Bank of England orders UK lenders to prove consumer credit protections

The Bank of England has handed UK lenders a deadline to show they are adequately protected against consumer credit risks as borrowing continues to soar. While the Bank’s Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) – which has powers to force credit curbs on banks – did not outline any new rules, it said lenders would have until September to demonstrate they had not overstretched themselves. Banks have been keen to lend more widely because profits have been under pressure from record low interest rates. The PRA’s review of the consumer credit market was released just a week after the Bank reintroduced so-called countercyclical capital buffers to ensure banks have reserves to cope with any economic slowdown or sudden shocks. The regulator said it would tell lenders to fix any areas found to be weak and it could introduce measures across the consumer credit sector if weaknesses are found to be widespread. (Sky)

Image Source: Bottle Caps at Wikimedia. CC 3.0.