Guest Blog: Are you an unwitting polluter?

GUEST BLOG: Eco-conscious consumers are cutting plastic, but confused about how they can help most…

When it comes to recycling, do you have the best of intentions, but not always the information or knowledge to match? Are you an unwitting polluter? In this SustMeme Guest Post, Yanyan Ji, SVP Marketing at Gazelle, a known leader in electronic waste, talks us through the findings of a representative survey of British consumers, which explored their environmental beliefs and lifestyle behaviours, plus, in some cases, the disconnect between the two…

YJ: New research finds 83% of Britons are doing more than ever to cut the amount of plastic they use and throw away. Women are leading this plastic-cutting charge with 90% saying their desire to use less is higher than ever.

However, the survey, which was carried out by the phone-recycling company, Gazelle, also found that over 35 million Brits (57% of those surveyed) are still risking dangerous chemicals leaching into the ground and contaminating our soils and waterways, by throwing away electronic gadgets such as old phones.

The ‘Attenborough effect’ as it’s becoming known is in evidence. Eight out of ten people (81%) who have watched shows like Blue Planet and Climate Change: The Facts say that the programmes have made them re-evaluate their behaviour and consider the environment more.

For example, when at the supermarket, 67% of shoppers now consider environmental factors when choosing what to buy, rather than selecting products solely based on price.

Yet despite Brits’ noble intentions, eight out of ten (81%) of us say that they want to do more to help the environment, but feel confused about what can and cannot be reused or recycled.

Over half (57%) of those surveyed admit to having put a phone, laptop, tablet, charger, or other electrical item in the household bin in the last year. And on average, just one third of us (34%) have recycled our phones or tablets.

Well intentioned, but ultimately ill-informed Brits tend to go online to find out how to reduce their impact on the environment, with nearly 9 in 10 Brits saying that would consult the internet on specific eco-advice.

It’s been estimated that only 15-20 percent of all e-waste is recycled, and the rest ends up in landfill. Our latest research suggests the cause of that isn’t consumers being unwilling to change their behaviour — rather, they don’t always know what to do.

When asked what they recycled, the top ten items were found to be:

  1. Plastic bottles: 92 %
  2. Cans: 88 %
  3. Newspapers and magazines: 86 %
  4. Cardboard: 86 %
  5. Glass bottles: 85 %
  6. Hard plastic containers: 70 %
  7. Batteries: 59 %
  8. Aerosols: 56 %
  9. Mobile phones and tablets: 34 %
  10. Televisions: 26 %

Here at Gazelle, we’re hoping to play our part by making it clearer and easier than ever for people to trade in old phones, get instant payment, and avoid contributing to e-waste in landfill. Our 26 kiosks across the UK will even take phones that are beyond repair, and responsibly recycle them, diverting them from landfill.

Smart. Simple. Rewarding.


More information on Gazelle, what it does to reduce e-waste, plus how to locate a kiosk nearby in the UK, can be found on the company’s website: https://uk.gazelle.com/



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SUSTMEME: Get the Susty Story Straight!

Sustainability: ‘Fashion Economy’ in The Times

New writing… Pleased to say I have had another article published in The Times newspaper, as part of a special Raconteur report on the Fashion Economy.

The piece profiles five pioneering brands employing innovative methods to reuse and recycle everything from textiles, to waste tyres, fire hoses and fishing nets. They are rethinking and remanufacturing the process of creating and crafting how we dress, responsibly. Whether it is upcycling on the catwalk, fully traceable T-shirts, swimwear that helps cut ocean plastic, or footwear and accessories that divert resource from landfill, these trailblazers are embracing the circular economy ethos and restyling sustainability for the 21st century, with transparency and accountability. Cutting waste and fighting pollution never looked so good!

To read the article in full, complete with expert insights and comment, please click the following link:

‘Reuse and recycle: five brands show how it’s done’.

The full 20-page Future of Packaging report is available to view/download here.


 


SUSTMEME: Get the Susty Story Straight!

Explainer: How Microplastics Threaten Our Environment

Microplastic pollution is being found everywhere, literally: it is in our rivers; on our gardens; in the food we eat; it is even now in human poop.

Perhaps the worst aspect of microplastic pollution is that no effective and efficient way of removing the full range of debris has yet been found.

The EU has, however, recently proposed a wide-ranging ban on the use of ‘intentionally added’ microplastics, which if approved into law could see a phase-out starting 2020.

Meantime, recovering plastics from oceans and recycling them before they start to break down into small fragments is one way to fight this kind of pollution. When recycled, these plastics are used to create sustainable products.

This excellent infographic below, from Roman Chaloupka and GreenMatch, tells us more about how Microplastics Threaten Our Environment.

You can view the original, also learn about becoming ‘waste aware’ and fighting pollution, as well as the creators themselves here; plus Follow them on Twitter.

Micro Plastic Pollution

Circularity: The word snowballing down from Davos

New writing… My latest piece for The Hub – the award-winning content platform curated by Mitsubishi Electric – looks at the mood going into Davos and the messages coming out. Located high in the Swiss Alps, Davos is the exclusive venue for the influential annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF). It is where thought-leaders and heavy-hitters from the worlds of politics, economics, business, celebrity and media gather together every January to debate the state of the planet and the big issues, most notably clmate change. Heading into this year’s get-together, the pressure was rising on the international community, particularly in light of the latest IPCC report and sluggish response by national governments to turn talk into action on global warming targets set out in the Paris Agreement. The good news was that the circular economy proved a big story at the summit, with the launch of the Circularity Gap Report 2019 (see video above) truly establishing and evidencing the link with climate change. (Full disclosure: I personally am listed as one of the Contributing Authors on the report.) To learn why a 1.5°C world has to be more than 9% circular, please visit The Hub via the link here and read about ‘Circularity: the word snowballing down from Davos

Circularity: ‘Future of Construction’ in The Times

New writing… Pleased to say I have had another article published in The Times newspaper, as part of a special Raconteur report on the Future of Construction.

BAMB is on a mission: its goal is a systemic shift in sustainable building; its focus, construction waste and material consumption. As the name implies, Buildings as Material Banks (BAMB) reimagines a building as a dynamic repository of value, where tradable material assets can be deposited, data tracked, transferred and withdrawn. Three major changes support the BAMB vision for circular transition: change in design culture, value definition and collaboration. The question is, can a relatively traditional industry such as construction truly embrace the systemic change called for by a circular economy? What would such a shift mean in terms of technology, but more imporantly culture? Furthermore, how might it play out worldwide – across global development markets maturing at different speeds, with different histories of urbanisation? Getting down to project particulars, the article also includes a case study of an inner-city school in Swansea, Wales, which has just set new industry standards, achieving 99.87 per cent diversion from landfill. You can read more about both the scale of the material challenge and the exciting opportunities to close the circularity gap, here:

‘BAMB: Could this be the future for sustainable building?’.

The full 16-page Future of Construction & Development report is available to view/download here.

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