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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.
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Tropical forests globally are being lost at a rate of 61,000 square miles a year. And despite conservation efforts, the global rate of loss is accelerating. In 2016 it reached a 15-year high, with 114,000 square miles cleared.
At the same time, many countries are pledging to restore large swaths of forests. The Bonn Challenge, a global initiative launched in 2011, calls for national commitments to restore 580,000 square miles of the world's deforested and degraded land by 2020. In 2014 the New York Declaration on Forests increased this goal to 1.35 million square miles, an area about twice the size of Alaska, by 2030.
By Cheryl Leahy
Do you think almond milk comes from a cow named Almond? Or that almonds lactate? The dairy industry thinks you do, and that's what it's telling the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
For years, the dairy industry has been flexing its lobbying muscle, pressuring states and the federal government to restrict plant-based companies from using terms like "milk" on their labels, citing consumer confusion.
By Jeremy Deaton
A driver planning to make the trek from Denver to Salt Lake City can look forward to an eight-hour trip across some of the most beautiful parts of the country, long stretches with nary a town in sight. The fastest route would take her along I-80 through southern Wyoming. For 300 miles between Laramie and Evanston, she would see, according to a rough estimate, no fewer than 40 gas stations where she could fuel up her car. But if she were driving an electric vehicle, she would see just four charging stations where she could recharge her battery.
Fire Continues at Texas Petrochemical Plant as Company's History of Violations Gets Renewed Scrutiny
By Andrea Germanos
A petrochemical plant near Houston continued to burn for a second day on Monday, raising questions about the quality and safety of the air.
The Deer Park facility is owned by Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC), which said the fire broke out at roughly 10:30 a.m. Sunday. Seven tanks are involved, the company said, and they contain naptha, xylene, "gas blend stocks" and "base oil."
"It's going to have to burn out at the tank," Ray Russell, communications officer for Channel Industries Mutual Aid, which is aiding the response effort, said at a news conference. It could take "probably two days" for that to happen, he added.
The hillsides dyed orange with poppies may look like something out of a dream, but for the Southern California town of Lake Elsinore, that dream quickly turned into a nightmare.
The town of 66,000 people was inundated with around 50,000 tourists coming to snap pictures of the golden poppies growing in Walker Canyon as part of a superbloom of wildfires caused by an unusually wet winter, BBC News reported. The visitors trampled flowers and caused hours of traffic, The Guardian reported.
A controversial pesticide test that would have resulted in the deaths of 36 beagles has been stopped, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the company behind the test announced Monday. The announcement comes less than a week after HSUS made the test public when it released the results of an investigation into animal testing at Charles River Laboratories in Michigan.
"We have immediately ended the study that was the subject of attention last week and will make every effort to rehome the animals that were part of the study," Corteva Agriscience, the agriculture division of DowDupont, said in a statement announcing its decision.