Top Stories

May 20, 2022


New pilot launched for household collection of consumer plastic

A three-year pilot to understand how to incorporate flexible plastics-used in consumer packaging has been launched by an industry-led consortium. The ‘FlexCollect’ project will be the most extensive pilot to date for the household collection and recycling of flexible plastic packaging. The pilot has been initiated by the £2.9 million Flexible Plastic Fund, co-funded by UK Research and Innovation’s ‘Sustainable Plastic Packaging Challenge’ and Zero Waste Scotland. While flexible plastic represents 22% of all UK consumer plastic packaging in 2020, only 8% was recycled. In April, the UK government announced that collections of recyclable plastic packaging would be introduced for all households by 2027. The FlexCollect project will bring together cross-sector expertise of industry government partners and consumer brands such as Mars UK, PepsiCo and Unilever. (Business Green)*


Canada to ban China's Huawei and ZTE from its 5G infrastructure

Canada says it will ban two of China’s biggest telecommunications equipment makers from working on its 5G phone networks. The restrictions against Huawei and ZTE were announced by the country’s industry minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, citing a need to “protect the safety and security of Canadians”. Several nations – including the UK, US, Australia and New Zealand – have already put restrictions on the firms. Mr Champagne said the decision came after “a full review by our security agencies and consultation with our closest allies”. He added that companies that have already installed equipment made by the Chinese manufacturers must now remove it. Canada first announced a review of Huawei equipment in September 2018. A spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in Ottawa accused Canada of working with the US to suppress Chinese companies. (BBC News)


Odey urges Shell to drop appeal against order to slash emissions

Hedge fund Odey Asset Management has called on oil and gas giant Shell to drop its appeal against a Dutch court ruling targeting its climate strategy and instead to fund an independent body to audit the emissions of every oil and gas company. The call from Odey, which has acquired around $70 million of Shell shares, comes as Shell prepares for shareholders to vote on its energy transition strategy. In a letter to Shell’s chief executive, Odey said it would vote for Shell’s strategy even though it had “some sympathy with those questioning its transparency and apparent ambiguity”. Odey has proposed that Shell drop its opposition and instead start its own European litigation to impose the same ruling on all oil and gas companies to create a level playing field. (Financial Times)*


Starbucks fired over 20 union leaders in anti-union efforts in US

Coffee chain Starbucks has fired over 20 union leaders around the US over the past several months as union organising campaigns have spread across the country. The news comes as Starbucks workers have filed petitions for union elections at more than 250 stores, spanning 35 states in the US. Starbucks’ chief executive has led a campaign against the union movement calling it “some outside force that’s going to dictate or disrupt who we are and what we do”. The US National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued complaints against Starbucks over many of the firings, demanding reinstatement and backpay. The NLRB has accused Starbucks of more than 200 violations against federal labour laws since late 2021. A Starbucks spokesperson stated “any claims of anti-union activity are categorically false”. (The Guardian)


Lab-grown meat firms say post-Brexit UK could be at forefront

Britain could become a world leader in cultured meat production post-Brexit by outflanking the EU to bring the hi-tech products to market swiftly, industry leaders say. Cultured meat is grown from animal cells in a bioreactor that can be powered by 100% renewable energy, curbing greenhouse gas emissions and animal cruelty. EU product approvals for the technology will take up to three years but the lab-grown meat sector is hoping a post-Brexit whitepaper on the national food strategy due May 2022 could accelerate the UK process. Figures in the £1.9 billion global industry say they have already had meetings with the UK’s Food Standards Agency on the regulatory framework for the products. Cultivated meat products are already on sale in Singapore, where the evaluation process takes 9 to 12 months. (The Guardian)

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