Top Stories

April 03, 2018


China customs seizes 110,000 tonnes of smuggled waste in 2018

China’s customs authority has already seized 110,000 tonnes of smuggled solid waste this year and uncovered 25 smuggling rings, as the country works to enforce a ban on overseas trash imposed last year. China told the World Trade Organization in 2017 that it would stop accepting imports on 24 types of foreign waste, including paper and textiles, by the end of the year, and that it would eventually ban shipments of all waste products readily available from domestic sources. Citing figures from the General Administration of Customs, state media said this year’s intercepted shipments included 64,700 tonnes of waste slag from mines. So far this year, 52 people have been arrested, and last year 259 people were arrested for smuggling foreign waste. Criminal gangs have also been accused of taking containers of electronic waste from Hong Kong to North Korea and then smuggling them across the border into China in order to circumvent restrictions. (Reuters)

McDonald’s unveils plan to phase-out plastic straws

McDonald’s will start phasing out plastic straws from UK restaurants from May, with the fast food giant ready to trial paper and biodegradable alternatives in response to consumer demand. The company will also keep the straws behind a counter and will only give them out on request. Chief Executive Paul Pomroy announced the phase-out during an interview with Sky News where he noted that consumer demands had shaped the decision to reduce the amount of straws on offer. Currently, 50 percent of McDonald’s customer packaging comes from the preferred sources, and 64 percent of fibre-based packing comes from certified or recycled sources. However, it is estimated that just 10 percent of McDonald’s restaurants are recycling customer packaging globally. McDonald’s joins Waitrose, London City Airport, Hotel du Vin and Costa in agreeing to phase-out plastic straw use in some shape or form. (Edie)


Wartsila backs calls to cut carbon emissions in shipping

Wartsila, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of marine engines, has called on governments and ship owners to give a stronger commitment to reducing carbon emissions, as leaders of the maritime industry gather in London this week for talks on the issue. Jaakko Eskola, chief executive, said the support was needed to give shipbuilders greater confidence to invest in cleaner technology. Emissions from ocean-going ships account for about 2.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, and is forecast to rise steeply because of growing international trade and a slower pace of decarbonisation than other sectors. Maritime emissions are especially problematic because most ships run on fuel oil, which is more carbon intensive and contains more air pollutants, such as sulphur, than fuels used in road transportation. (Financial Times*)

Corporate Reputation

Indonesia threatens to shut down Facebook if privacy breached

An Indonesian cabinet member has threatened to shut down Facebook Inc. if there is any evidence the personal data of citizens is being harvested or the social media giant fails to crack down on “fake news” during upcoming elections. Communications Minister Rudiantara has voiced concerns that individuals or organised groups could exploit social media platforms in a bid to influence the election outcome. The warning extends beyond Facebook to other platforms including Twitter Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google, which owns YouTube, and a host of other social media companies. Both Twitter and Google have previously agreed to work with the government to monitor content. Along with other social media platforms that fail to comply with a 2016 decree on the protection of personal information, Facebook could face severe penalties. Facebook employees could face up to 12 years in jail and a fine of up to 12 billion rupiah ($873,000). (Bloomberg)

Technology and Innovation

EDF Plans to Invest $10B in Energy Storage by 2035

EDF Energy has unveiled a new Electricity Storage Plan, with a goal to develop 10 gigawatts of energy storage around the world by 2035, on top of the 5 gigawatts it currently has in operation. The move comes as other European energy giants, including Enel, E.ON and Total, are also making significant investments in the energy storage sector. EDF is already involved in energy storage technology applications, including batteries and pumped hydroelectric storage. The EDF Group is particularly interested in becoming a leader in residential storage and self-consumption services in France and Europe. Within the next 12 months, EDF plans to launch at least three battery projects including a 49-megawatt battery storage project for Britain’s National Grid, which is set to be one of Europe’s largest battery storage projects. (Greentech Media)


*Subscription required

Image Source: Straws by rkit on PixabayCC0 1.0