From the removal of plastic bags for life by leading UK supermarket, a school uniform recycling campaign, here’s what’s making us smile in the world of sustainability this week…
Co-op has become the latest supermarket to remove plastic "bags for life" for sale in all of its stores with concerns that the low-cost reusable bag option has become the new single-use carrier for customers.
The news comes just weeks after rival Morrisons removed their plastic "bags for life", in favour of tougher tear-resistant paper bags. As a result, the Co-op’s own bags have begun to disappear from stores last week with stock expected to be gone completely by the end of the summer in an effort to remove 29.5 million bags for life from sale each year.
As part of the move, the retailer will roll out compostable carriers to all stores to ensure that customers are able to purchase a low cost, low impact alternative bag with a sustainable second use.
Bee hotels, bee stops, and a honey highway are some of the interesting techniques the Netherlands are crediting to keeping their urban bee population steady in recent years, after a period of worrying decline.
Last week, more than 11,000 people from across the Netherlands participated in a bee-counting exercise as part of the fourth edition of the national bee census, spending 30 minutes in their garden recording any visitors. As a result, 200,000 bees and hoverflies were counted, suggesting numbers have remained steady over the years with no strong decline in urban gardens as previously experienced.
Recognising the crucial role wild bees played in the pollution of food crops, a national pollinator strategy was announced to create additional nesting sites for bees. New initiatives emerging from this plan include “bee hotels”, a collection of hollow plant stems or thin bamboo that provides cavities for solitary bees to nest. The strategy signed in 2018 has enabled nature and agriculture to coexist, certifying the Netherlands as the world’s second largest exporter of agricultural products.
Leading school trust, Outwood Grange Academics Trust, which consists of over 30 schools across the North of England, is hoping a new campaign alongside uniform supplier, Trutex can help lower the cost of uniforms by making high-quality recycled uniforms available.
Building on the success of last year’s partnership with Trutex which saw over 600,000 plastic bottles saved from landfill, thanks to Outwood uniforms being made using fabric manufactured from recycled drinks bottles, the new campaign aims to promote the importance of sustainability. To promote their “Made to Last” uniform ethos, each Outwood academy will house a recycle bin that will enable students and their families to donate items of school uniform that they no longer wear or need. These items will then be collected by Trutex to be repaired, if necessary, washed and made ready for purchase as pre-loved uniform items, providing accessibility and sustainability to uniforms.
British retailer, Sainsbury’s, has teamed up with Prevented Ocean Plastic to use more recycled plastic on products by turning plastic collected from the coast into packaging for strawberries and fresh fish products.
Working with packaging supplier Sharpak, the change will see 34 per cent of Sainsbury’s fish and 80 per cent of Berry Garden punnets of strawberries made from the reused material to make it easier for customers to make more sustainable and accessible choices in stores.
After pledging to cut back on their plastic use throughout the store, Sainsbury’s aims to halve the amount of plastic packaging used by 2025. As a result, the update in stores will prevent nearly 12 million plastic bottles – or 297 tonnes of plastic – from entering the ocean each year.