300,000+ Plastic Bottles Recycled in 'Reverse Vending Machines' Test Run in UK
One UK store's attempt to fight plastic pollution has turned out to be a smashing success.
Last year, supermarket chain Iceland became the first UK retailer to install "reverse vending machines" that allow customers to return plastic bottles purchased at the store and receive a 10 pence voucher in return. The program has proved popular, according to figures published Wednesday and reported by The Guardian. Customers had returned 311,500 bottles to date.
"Iceland has continually led the way in the fight against the scourge of plastic since making our announcement to eliminate plastic from our own-label product packaging," Iceland Managing Director Richard Walker said, according to The Guardian. "The launch of reverse vending machine trials in our stores is one sign of this. We've gained hugely valuable insights into both consumer interest and the functionality of the schemes, and it's clear from the results that consumers want to tackle the problem of plastic head on and would be in support of a nationwide scheme."
The store found that customers had earned more than £30,000 through returning bottles so far. Iceland had installed the machines in five locations in Wolverhampton, Mold, Fulham, Musselburgh and Deeside. During the month of November, customers returned an average of 2,583 bottles a day for a daily average return of £250 in coupons.
Iceland said children were especially excited by the machines, sometimes even teaching their parents how to use them, i News reported. Iceland plans to continue the trial of the machines for another six months to assess the environmental impact of placing them in stores nationwide.
Since Iceland first installed its machines, other UK supermarkets Morrisons, the Co-op and Tesco, the nation's largest, have followed suit, but none of the others have yet announced results, The Guardian reported.
In October, UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove said he wanted to work with industry to implement a nation-wide bottle deposit program.
"The success of Iceland's reverse vending machine trial demonstrates that deposit return schemes to boost recycling and tackle plastic pollution are both popular with consumers and eminently doable," Greenpeace UK oceans head Will McCallum told The Guardian. "Michael Gove must deliver on his promise to introduce a deposit return scheme without delay, and ensure that it covers containers of all sizes and materials."
Thirteen billion plastic bottles are sold in the UK every year, and only 43 percent of them are recycled. Seven-hundred-thousand a day end up as litter.
Britain's Prince William interviewed famed broadcaster David Attenborough on Tuesday at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Switzerland.
During the sit-down, the 92-year-old naturalist advised the world leaders and business elite gathered in Davos this week that we must respect and protect the natural world, adding that the future of its survival—as well as humanity's survival—is in our hands.
What's more, the accounting firm predicts that another 21 million electric cars will be on the road globally over the next decade due to growing market demand for clean transportation, government subsidies, as well as bans on fossil fuel cars.
By Matthew Savoca
Plastic pollution in the world's oceans has become a global environmental crisis. Many people have seen images that seem to capture it, such as beaches carpeted with plastic trash or a seahorse gripping a cotton swab with its tail.
Greenland is melting about four times faster than it was in 2003, a new study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found, a discovery with frightening implications for the pace and extent of future sea level rise.
"We're going to see faster and faster sea level rise for the foreseeable future," study lead author and Ohio State University geodynamics professor Dr. Michael Bevis said in a press release. "Once you hit that tipping point, the only question is: How severe does it get?"
Finally, some good news about the otherwise terrible partial government shutdown. A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration cannot issue permits to conduct seismic testing during the government impasse.
The Justice Department sought to delay—or stay—a motion filed by a range of coastal cities, businesses and conservation organizations that are suing the Trump administration over offshore oil drilling, Reuters reported. The department argued that it did not have the resources it needed to work on the case due to the shutdown.
Most people have heard of the Amazon, South America's famed rainforest and hub of biological diversity. Less well known, though no less critical, is the Pantanal, the world's largest tropical wetland.
Like the Amazon, the Pantanal is ecologically important and imperiled. Located primarily in Brazil, it also stretches into neighboring Bolivia and Paraguay. Covering an area larger than England at more than 70,000 square miles, the massive wetland provides irreplaceable ecosystem services that include the regulation of floodwaters, nutrient renewal, river flow for navigability, groundwater recharge and carbon sequestration. The wetland also supports the economies of the four South American states it covers.
By Andrea Germanos
Organizers said 35,000 people marched through the streets of the German capital on Saturday to say they're "fed up" with industrial agriculture and call for a transformation to a system that instead supports the welfare of the environment, animals and rural farmers.
By Patrick Rogers
If you have ever considered making the switch to an environmentally friendly electric vehicle, don't drag your feet. Though EV prices are falling, and states are unveiling more and more public charging stations and plug-in-ready parking spots, the federal government is doing everything it can to slam the brakes on our progress away from gas-burning internal combustion engines. President Trump, likely pressured by his allies in the fossil fuel industry, has threatened to end the federal tax credits that have already helped put hundreds of thousands of EVs on the road—a move bound to harm not only our environment but our economy, too. After all, the manufacturing and sale of EVs, hybrids, and plug-in hybrids supported 197,000 jobs in 2017, according to the most recent U.S. Energy and Employment Report.