From the largest seagrass restoration to a new scheme to recycle single-use facemasks, here’s what’s making us smile in the world of sustainability this week…
A Cornish social enterprise has started a Kickstarter campaign, Retask the Mask, to help scale up their idea of melting down blue surgical face masks into cubes of plastic which can be used to make other products, including litter pickers.
Statistics reveal 58 million masks are used a day in the UK, making them one of the most common forms of plastic pollution, with an estimated 1.5 billion masks already entering the ocean. Waterhaul, which specialises in recycling plastic waste and fishing nets from the ocean into functional products, has trialled the project with the Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust, saving the NHS from having to pay £550 per ton to incinerate the masks with full-scale manufacture set to begin in May.
The European wildcat could be reintroduced into the wild outside of Scotland for the first time in over two centuries, thanks to the work of conservation groups.
Wildlife charity, The Wildwood Trust, recently announced plans to start a breeding project with researchers currently looking for a suitable release site and scientists set to manage the potential conflicts with farmers and pet owners that may arise.
With only a population of 300 wildcats remaining in Scotland, the breed has been branded “functionally extinct” due to interbreeding with domestic cats and consistent hunting practices. While a reintroduction is still several years away, the charity aims to build ten breeding enclosures at its bases in Herne Bay, Kent, and Ottery St Mary, Devon in order to help maintain the balance of Britain’s ecosystem.
Volunteers have worked to restore undersea meadows in England's largest seagrass planting effort. With up to 92 per cent of UK seagrass lost to disease, pollution and disturbance over the last century, the LIFE Recreation ReMEDIES programme led by Natural England, will plant eight hectares of biodiverse seagrass meadows off the coast of southern England over the next four years. Volunteer divers will monitor the project below the waves.
Seagrass meadows provide homes for young fish and protected creatures like seahorses and stalked jellyfish. The plant also has an integral role in stabilising the seabed, cleaning the surrounding seawater and capturing and storing significant amounts of carbon – 35 times faster than a rainforest. As a result, the project is also working to protect existing seagrass by helping recreational users of water-based activities to minimise impacts on these sensitive habitats.
Additionally, techniques and evidence gathered within the project will be captured and shared with fellow marine conservation organisations across Europe, allowing them to learn from and replicate.
A new app called Sojo has recently launched, making it easier for users to get their clothes mended and repaired in an attempt to encourage circular fashion as opposed to consistent waste.
Created by a 23-year-old graduate to avoid fast fashion, users simply enter their postcode, choose a local seamster and the service they require, then wait for the garment to be collected by a bike courier. The repaired clothing piece is then returned within five days, bringing new life to an old wardrobe.
Branded as the “Deliveroo service for clothing alterations and repairs”, the Sojo app seeks to popularise slow fashion and sustainable practices through its services with one fixed seam at a time!