The weekly #goodnewssiren round-up #57

July 02, 2021

From a nationwide ban on single-use plastics to turning London traffic-free, here’s what’s making us smile in the world of sustainability this week… 


New Zealand to ban most single-use plastics by 2025 


As one of the top 10 per-capita producers of landfill waste in the world, New Zealand has announced its ban on single-use products that is set to begin now until 2025. With New Zealanders reportedly throwing away an estimated 159g of plastic waste per person a day, the country has become one of the highest waste generators in the world. To combat this, the ban will include cotton buds, bags, cutlery, plates, straws, fruit labels and some polystyrene products, whilst also providing a fund to help find plastic-free alternatives. 


With New Zealand already banning most-single use plastic bags in the 2019, the new changes are set to remove more than 2 billion single-use plastic items each year – keeping the country’s landfills and environment green and plastic-free! 


England's first hydrogen double-decker buses hit the road in London 


London has become the first city in England to introduce hydrogen-powered double decker buses on the streets with a fleet of 20 new buses launched this week. The hydrogen used to power London buses will come from green sources, emitting only water through combining oxygen and hydrogen in a fuel cell to produce electricity for the buses. 


Joining the 500 electric buses currently in service in London, the newest fleet is set to be rolled out in other cities, including Bristol and Aberdeen to encourage UK transport to commit to zero-emission vehicles. With this latest transport initiative, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is confident that that the new hydrogen-powered buses will move the city closer to the target of ensuring a completely zero-emission bus fleet in London by 2030. 


SpaceX to launch UK-built satellites into space to track climate change 


Three UK-built satellites designed to monitor and tackle climate change and track endangered wildlife have been launched on a SpaceX rocket. Receiving almost £15 million from the UK Space Agency, UK companies developed the trio of satellites that lifted off from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida last Friday in the run up to COP26. 


Two satellites were built by Glasgow-based satellite specialist firm, whilst the third was built in Hampshire with multiple companies contributing technology to help improve our understanding of the environment. Examples include Oxfordshire-based Lacuna Space who created small, yet powerful sensors to help monitor the environment, track wildlife, and help farmers by providing data on the health of cattle and crops and for water and soil management. With these British-built satellites launched, world-class scientists can continue to monitor the environment in remarkable detail. 


Oxford Circus to be turned into pedestrian piazzas this year  


The area around Oxford Circus that connects Oxford Street and Regent Street in London is to be transformed into two pedestrianised piazzas after years of deliberation with work due to start this year on additional planting and seating in the shopping and leisure district.  


Pedestrianizing Oxford Circus junction has been under discussion for many years with poor air quality, congestion and busy traffic being the main reasons for the change. As a result, the area will become traffic-free with reports estimating that the changes will introduce an extra 60 million pedestrians a year.