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A fully automatic water conditioning system recently installed at the polar bear enclosure at Nuremburg Zoo in Germany has improved visibility for visitors, and safety for staff. Thilo Sporbert of German technology group Siemens' Automation and Drives division, explains how this complex system is likely to be extended.

Waste handling duty of care

A loophole which allowed businesses to put out rubbish for collection too early, and therefore increase the risk of it being scattered around the streets, has been closed.

Ikea begins bag revolution

When Tom Idle visited Ikea to ask UK environment manager Charlie Browne why it decided to charge for its carrier bags, he met a company constantly striving to be the best

Clear benefits

Groundbreaking trials show that recycled glass is not only a highly effective filtration medium but also better for the environment

Research has revealed that the overwhelming majority of the English population now carry their own bags when food shopping following the charge roll-out

Tesco's single-use carrier bag numbers drop by 1.5 billion

On the first anniversary of the carrier bag charge roll-out, UK supermarket giant Tesco has revealed that more than 1.5 billion single-use carrier bags have been saved by its customers in England since the levy's introduction.

The research shows a growth from 51% to 62% in support in England for the carrier bag charge since it was introduced

England sees surge in shoppers using their own carrier bags

The overwhelming majority of the English population now carry their own bags when food shopping following the introduction of the 5p carrier bag charge a year ago, new research has revealed.

The number of plastic shopping bags handed out by retailers in England has dropped from seven billion to just over half a billion within six months

Lidl pledges to remove single-use plastic carrier bags

German discount supermarket chain Lidl UK has today (28 September) pledged to remove single-use plastic carrier bags from sale across all stores in England, Scotland and Wales.

Lidl has pledged to donate at least £1m over a 12 month period, with proceeds going to CLIC Sargent, Keep Scotland Beautiful and Keep Wales Tidy

Lidl uses plastic bag charge to help Keep Britain Tidy

German discount supermarket chain Lidl has today (19 February) pledged to donate a minimum of £1m raised from its 5p plastic bag charge to charity, in a bid to educate children on litter prevention.

The high street chain is avoiding the 5p plastic carrier bag levy by offering handleless bags to customers free of charge

Card Factory defends plastic bag tax avoidance

Greetings cards retailer Card Factory has fended off criticism of it's decision to sell plastic bags without handles as a way of avoiding the 5p carrier bag charge.

The drop in bag use by Tesco customers in store is almost 10% higher than Tesco predicted

Plastic bag use in Tesco's slashed by nearly 80% with new charge

Tesco store customers used 78% fewer single-use plastic bags in the month since the introduction of the 5p bag charge in England.

The 5p charge has been introduced by the Government and aims to reduce the 7.64bn carrier bags that end up in landfill

5p plastic bag charge launches in England

England will today (5 October) follow in the footsteps of the rest of the UK by introducing a 5p plastic bag tax for large retailers.

The 5p plastic bag levy will be introduced nationwide by the Government and will be compulsory for businesses that employ the equivalent of 250 or more full-time employees

Sustainability stats: Plastic bag charge in numbers

From Monday (5 October), England will officially adopt the levy currently used by the rest of the UK which charges consumers for the use of single-use carrier bags in shops and supermarkets.

Currently, 86% of single-use carrier bags end up in landfill. The 5p charges aim to reduce this amount and promote 'bags for life'

Plastic bag use in Wales down 71% since 5p charge

The number of single-use carrier bags (SUCBs) has fallen by over 70% in Wales since a 5p charge was introduced, a new report has found, just weeks before the scheme is launched in England.

Majority of Brits believe all plastic bags should be biodegradable

The majority of Britons believe all plastic bags should be both recyclable and biodegradable, according to a new YouGov poll.

6,000 volunteers cleared 180,000 pieces of litter from British beaches

M&S helps to clear 180,000 pieces of beach litter

Staff and customers from Marks and Spencer (M&S) and volunteers from the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) removed more than 180,000 items of rubbish from Britain's beaches during the Big Beach Clean-up in May.

Overall plastic bag use in the UK has increased 2.4% from 2013-14

UK plastic bag use up again, but single-use charges cut Scottish consumption

Plastic bag use in the UK has increased for the fifth year running, with almost nine billion bags used collectively in 2014, according to data released today (24 July).

So far, the scheme has reprocessed 1,000 tonnes of plastic bags, turning them into 500,000 refuse sacks

Veolia closes the loop on Southwark's plastic bags

Previously unrecycled plastic bags are being turned into refuse sacks thanks to an innovative new process from waste-disposal firm Veolia.

The Adidas concept shoe's upper is made entirely from reclaimed ocean plastics

Adidas showcases shoe made from ocean plastics

Clothing manufacturer Adidas has celebrated its partnership with Parley for the Oceans by creating a prototype shoe made from recycled ocean waste and deep-sea gillnets.

The green gains means the company has already reached 2015 targets on water and waste, while it remains on track to cut emissions by 30% next year

Adidas slashes environmental impact with innovation

Sporting giant Adidas has released its 2014 Sustainability Progress report, revealing more than 20% cuts in emissions, water use and waste over the last six years.

The supermarket chain will donate the funds arising from the bag charge to support community projects across Scotland

Asda donates carrier bag charge to Scottish community projects

Asda has announced it will be donating £145,000 raised from the mandatory 5p charge for single-use carrier bags (SUCB) to community projects across Scotland through a new Community Capital scheme.

Large pieces of plastic can strangle animals such as seals, while smaller pieces are ingested by fish and then fed up the food chain

Full scale of plastic in the world's oceans revealed for first time

More than five trillion pieces of plastic, collectively weighing nearly 269,000 tonnes, are floating in the world's oceans, causing damage throughout the food chain, new research has found.

Over 250 retailers have already registered an interest in Zero Waste Scotland's Carrier Bag Commitment

Scotland launches new carrier bag reporting tool as usage plummets

Retailers signed up to Zero Waste Scotland's Carrier Bag Commitment will now be able to access a new reporting portal that can track how many single-use carrier bags are still being sold and how much revenue is being generated.

Member states will have two choices of policy: to ensure that the average annual consumption of bags does not exceed 90 per person by 2019 and 40 by 2025, or ensure that they are not handed to customers free of charge by 2018

EU prepared for 'historic' vote on rules to cut plastic bag waste

Representatives from the European Parliament and the EU Council will vote on an agreement to cut the use of thin-gauge plastic carrier bags today (24 November).

The polythene industry is working to make the production process of polythene as efficient and wast-free as possible

Plastic bag tax: is the future of polythene surprisingly green?

With the EU set to approve an historic deal to cut plastic bag use, Anthony Brimelow, commercial director of polythene manufacturer Duo UK, takes a look at how technology is helping to 'green' a material that's often viewed as an environmental L'Enfants terribles.

If the talks do not produce an agreement, the proposal will have to be rethought and may be scrapped completely

EU Ministers block scheme to cut plastic bag waste

A group of European Union (EU) Member States - including the UK, Romania, Greece, Croatia and Poland - is blocking a European Parliament proposal to reduce plastic bag use by 80% by 2019, despite 92% of Europeans agreeing that measures should be taken to reduce single plastic bag use.

Customers will be charged 5p for standard single-use carrier bags with 100% of the profits going to charity

B&Q brings carrier bag charge to England

Following the success of mandatory carrier bag charges in Wales and Scotland, B&Q has announced a charging scheme of its own in England; in an effort to encourage customers to re-use old bags and reduce pollution.

Sainsbury's  will stop rewarding shoppers with Nectar points for every bag they reuse from April next year.

Sainsbury's to stop Nectar points for bag reuse

Retail giant Sainsbury's has announced that it will stop rewarding shoppers with Nectar points for every bag they reuse from April next year, as part of wider changes to its loyalty programme.

Every retailer in Scotland will charge at least 5p for each new carrier bag they give to shoppers.

Carrier bag charge: In numbers

On Monday (20 October), Scotland will introduce its levy on single-use carrier bags (SUCB), meaning they can no longer be given away free of charge. To help explain the facts and figures surrounding the levy, edie has compiled a list of carrier bag sustainability statistics.

Douglas McMaster is opening the UK's first permanent zero-waste restaurant in Brighton. Photo: Julia Claxton

Closed-loop dining: Inside the UK's first zero-waste restaurant

Visionary young chef Douglas McMaster is hoping to ignite behaviour change in the hospitality industry as he prepares to open the doors of the UK's first permanent zero-waste eatery in Brighton.

Business Waste says takeaways should think twice before throwing in a bag of salad in with an order

Waste not, want not: Should takeaways say NO to free salad?

Takeaway food establishments throughout the UK are being urged to review their approach to garnishes as startling new research reveals that the vast majority of complimentary side salads are being thrown away.

California is set to become the first US state to ban single use plastic bags

California lawmakers give green light to plastic bag ban

A ban on single-use plastic bags in California is expected to be signed into law after the states senate passed a bill barring single-use plastic bags from retailers from next July.

More than four in ten shoppers admit to throwing away a 'bag for life' after just one use

Bag for life? Millions of reusable shopping bags sent to landfill

Seven out of 10 shoppers are throwing out supermarket 'bags for life' after only a few shops, a new survey has found.

UK shoppers use an average of almost 11 plastic bags per month

Plastic bag usage on the up, WRAP data shows

The number of single-use plastic bags handed out to shoppers by UK supermarkets has risen for the fourth year running, according to new figures for WRAP.

Jon Lee of the Scottish Grocers Federation; Iain Gulland of Zero Waste Scotland and Tom Brock of Scottish Seabird Centre at the Scottish Seabird Centre, North Berwick

Scottish retailers make Carrier Bag Commitment

Zero Waste Scotland has launched a Carrier Bag Commitment scheme which will see retailers across the country donate proceeds from the 5p carrier bag charge to charitable causes.

Corporate giants will increasingly put aside competitor differences to tackle environmental issues

Co-operation holds the key to ethical and sustainable business

A study commissioned by the Charities Trust has found that large corporations and businesses are set to increasingly set aside differences in order to tackle global issues, singling out climate change as one of the primary challenges that firms will need to tackle together.

A shopper could be faced with having to pay for a bag in some stores but not in others, depending on which material was used

Plastic bag tax 'unnecessarily complicated', say MPs

The Government has ignored calls to include all retailers in the 5p plastic bag charge, despite numerous experts insisting it would reduce litter, slash carbon emissions and cut down on waste.

The announcements in the Queen's speech this morning leave the gate open to developers to offset less stringent energy efficiency measures in new homes. Image: IR Stone /

Queen's speech: win on plastic bags, lose on zero-carbon homes

Despite affirming "My ministers champion efforts to secure a global agreement on climate change", the final Queen's speech before the next general election was decidedly thin when it came to action on sustainability and the environment.

Political visit to plastic film recycling facility by Ed Davey (pictured above).

Energy Secretary visits UK's first plastic film recycling facility

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey has paid a visit to the UK's first shopping bag and plastic film recycling facility in London.

Plastic bag plans for England

Government slammed over bag charge plans

The Government's plans for a five pence charge on plastic carrier bags in England have been slammed by a cross-party committee of MPs.

Co-operative Group lends helping hand to food waste with compostable bags

The Co-operative Group is rolling out compostable carrier bags to hundreds of its stores nationwide, in what it claims is an industry first.

Waste in the capital

Fifty-one vehicles used to clear London's NYE waste

Fifty-one waste vehicles have been employed to clear up waste from central London, which includes more than 15,000 empty champagne bottles, according to Westminster City Council.

A national wish list for waste prevention

In light of the Government's recently published waste prevention programme, Eunomia has produced a short waste prevention wish list - simple measures which could make a real difference

England will be introducing a plastic bag charge in 2015

Councils may be forced to impose England's carrier bag charge

Local authorities should be responsible for enforcing the plastic bag charge due to be introduced in England in 2015, according to Defra.

Degradable plastics specialist offers to collect bags for recycling

Symphony Environmental has contacted Defra offering to accept all of England's oxo-biodegradble and plastic shopping bags for recycling.

Single-use plastic bags can take up to 1,000 years to degrade

Plastic bag levy to be introduced in England - but not until 2015

Following much speculation late last week Nick Clegg confirmed on Saturday that England is to follow Wales and Northern Ireland in introducing a 5p levy on single-use plastic bags. However, the charge will not be introduced until after the 2015 election.

David Cameron leans towards plastic-bag charging scheme

The Prime Minister David Cameron has implied that shoppers could soon be charged for plastic bags in an attempt to reduce their use.

Look familiar? Despite consumers' good intentions they still took home more carrier bags last year than the year before

Bad news on bag use as consumption increases year-on-year

Progress on reducing the number of single-use carrier bags issued in the UK has stalled according to the latest figures from WRAP - in fact, last year saw an increase in usage.

Co-op Group falls behind target as it struggles to curb carrier bag use

The Co-operative Group is to review its reusable bag range following findings that showed carrier bag use has increased across its retail stores during the past year.

Rise in plastics bans forcing firms to consider sustainable alternatives

A growing number of countries are banning unsustainable plastics, meaning UK plastics firms will need to adopt oxo-biodegradable technology quickly if they want to retain their export markets.

Pressure mounts for plastics landfill ban as NI joins bag tax brigade

Northern Ireland has become the latest region within the British Isles to introduce a levy on disposable carrier bags as the European Commission draws up plans to clamp down on their use.

Welsh Environment Minister John Griffiths

Lack of English plastic bag levy mystifies campaigners

A plastic bag charge should be introduced in England where figures show that usage rates increased by half a billion last year, according to Welsh Environment Minister John Griffiths.

Richard Simmonite with his Bag Re:Born invention

VIDEO: The carrier bag that could crunch down on plastics pollution

A reusable carrier bag that can be turned into a bin liner has been developed, an invention which could reduce plastic film use in light of taxes on single-use carrier bags.

UPS tests the waters with zero waste drive

Global logistics leader UPS has embarked on a zero waste to landfill programme using two of its sites as "test beds" to trial various minimisation and recovery methods.

Environmental lobbyists call for plastic bag levy

Four leading environmental organisations are calling on the Government to reduce litter and waste by forcing retailers to introduce levies on all single-use bags.

High profile names support campaign for plastic free Olympics

Celebrities throw weight behind 'plastic bag free' Olympic Games

High profile names such as David Attenborough, Richard Branson and Vivienne Westwood have announced their support for the Greener upon Thames campaign, which aims to have the London Olympic Games 2012 plastic bag free.

Plastic bag 'tax' shown to slash usage rates

New figures suggest that charging for single-use carrier bags is a highly effective way of reducing their use, with Wales recording a 22% fall in bags last year.

London 2012 'failing' to deliver on zero waste pledge

Despite a commitment to a zero waste Olympic games, shops and suppliers at London 2012 will be able to hand out plastic bags to visitors.

A blanket ban on plastic carrier bags across Europe could do more harm than good, experts fear

Opinion divided over proposals for Euro-wide plastic bag ban

Legislative proposals for a European-wide ban on plastic carrier bags must be based on sound evidence, experts have warned, amid fears that Euro MPs will bow to political pressure.

Charging for single use carrier bags is set to rise in Northern Ireland

NI announces phased charging structure for plastic bags

Northern Ireland will introduce a 5p charge for plastic carrier bags in April 2013, which will increase to 10p in April 2014.

Plastics industry draws up global action plan for ocean pollution

A global action plan has been launched by the international plastics industry to combat the growing problem of marine litter.

Welsh shoppers show overwhelming support for carrier bag charges

The majority of people in Wales are in favour of the country introducing a charge on single-use carrier bags, new research shows.

Degradable plastics firm slams Tesco for dropping biodegradable bags

Degradable plastics specialist Symphony Environmental Technologies has hit back at claims that biodegradable plastic bags are not eco-friendly - and questioned Tesco's reasons for dropping the carriers.

Tesco makes u-turn on biodegradable plastic bags

Tesco has ditched its 'eco-friendly' carrier bags after research revealed they may be more environmentally damaging than conventional plastic bags.

Baled plastic bags ready for recycling

Exports fuelling growth in packaging waste recycling rates

Growth in the UK recycling market is chiefly being driven by exports with 37% of packaging waste volume being shipped to countries such as India and China, according to a new report.

Plastic bag use jumps 5% in a year

Consumers appear to be returning to plastic bags as new figures show a rise in use from UK supermarkets.

Northern Ireland ponders shopping bag charge

Plans to charge the people of Northern Irelands for the 200 million carrier bags they use every year have gone out to consultation.

About half of all plastics is used for single-use disposable applications

Uptake of bio-plastics hindered by lack of waste knowledge

More accurate and regionally detailed forecasts are needed for plastic waste in terms of its management and environmental impact if greater use of bio-plastics is to be adopted, according to a new report.

The walkway being laid

Waitrose branches out with reclaimed woodland project

A novel plastics recycling project has helped Waitrose unearth, and provide access to, an ancient heritage site by its head offices

Dirty loo habits pollute UK beaches

The latest litter survey from the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) says that sewage-related debris (SRD) from people's bathrooms is one of the major causes of beach pollution.

EA measures supermarket bags carbon footprint

Woven plastic bags need to be reused at least 11 times to have a lower carbon impact than single use carriers, according to research published for the first time.

New Irish environment bill shifts waste focus

The Environment 2011 Bill in Ireland has given the government increased powers to set the levy on landfill and plastic bags.

'Great garbage patch' in Ocean stirs up controversy

Sections of the press have pounced on news this week that a US professor has said the plastic rubbish patch floating in the Pacific Ocean is not as large as has been claimed.

Arrivederci plastic bags

Italy starts 2011 with a ban on plastic bags from shops and supermarkets, making it the first country to ban plastic bags in Europe.

David Cameron visits Polythene UK

Launch of new compostable checkout bag

A company in Oxfordshire is one of the first in the UK to offer a 100% compostable checkout bag.

American Samoa lauded for plastic bag ban

American Samoa continues to reap praise for its decision to ban plastic bags, as the US government is the latest to join those lauding the move.

Plastic fantastic: UK supermarket bag use halved

Plastic carrier bag handouts at UK supermarkets have halved in just four years, new figures reveal.

Reusable bags are expected to become more popular

Wales plans bag tax for 2011

Welsh plans to introduce a mandatory charge for disposable plastic bags similar to the Irish 'plastax' look set to bear fruit next spring.

Morocco has invested heavily in solar power

Morocco pledges billions to tackle climate change

A raft of sustainability initiatives have been announced by Morocco in a move that could cement the country's reputation as the environmental pioneer of the Arab world.

Plastic-eating bugs could be answer for sea waste

Microscopic lifeforms that congregate on tiny pieces of plastic could protect fish and other sea creatures from toxins.

'Degradable' plastic not so environmentally fantastic, study reveals

Plastic bags marked as degradable may not be as environmentally-friendly as consumers think, according to new research.

Tax paper bags too NGO urges Irish Government

Once seen as a pioneer in tackling the environmental impact of disposable shopping bags, Ireland risks being left behind as other countries introduce more progressive measures to address the issue.

First US charge for paper or plastic bags

A five cent charge for people using paper or plastic bags has been brought in for all business selling food or alcohol.

Northern Ireland keen to cut plastic bag use

Northern Ireland is hoping to follow the example set by its southern neighbor in tackling the waste generated by shops and supermarkets handing out plastic bags to their customers.

Inside the Bywaters MRF at Bromley-by-Bow

North London's twin deal with Bywaters and Greenstar

Two recycling contracts awarded to Bywaters and Greenstar by North London Waste Authority (NLWA) earlier this summer have now rolled into action.

Ireland to double plastic bag tax

Ireland's Environment Minister has told a Dublin conference that the government plans to double the current rate of tax on disposable plastic bags to provide a 'sufficient deterrent' to stop people turning up to the checkout without their own bags.

How to get the point across

For businesses to be successful in the future, they need to communicate their green achievements to increasingly switched-on consumers. Paul Davison gives tips on ways to shout about your environmental credentials in the digital age

National Trust to charge for carrier bags

Visitors to National Trust sites will now have to pay for carrier bags at the charity's shops.


For many businesses, trying to find low-carbon vehicles that are up to the job has been a struggle. But the John Lewis Partnership may have found a solution by holding a competition to encourage suppliers to up their game. Tom Idle reports

Flushing away the old image

Sir Ming Campbell posing with an organic loo was not the best look for the Lib Dems - but that was then and this is now. New leader Nick Clegg does some straight-talking on green issues, but John Alker would like to see the party take a clearer line on the role of the environment

Catching up with Swede success

They did it first, they did it flat-pack - Ikea doesn't need to jump on the green bandwagon because they've been sitting up front and driving it since the mid-1980s. Tom Idle spoke to environment manager Charlie Browne

A national government and industry working group will investigate options to tackle carrier bags

Oz state leads the way in bag wars

One Australian state is going it alone in the plastic bag wars after state and federal ministers failed to reach a national consensus on a ban.

Nearly 4,000 volunteers scoured Britain's beaches as part of the survey (Copyright T Fanshawe)

British beaches 'littered with plastic'

The amount of plastic littering British beaches is at its highest level since records began, according to the Marine Conservation Society.

Customers will soon be unable to use carrier bags for their second-hand bargains (Copyright Help the Aged)

Help the Aged helps the environment

Help the Aged has become the latest high street name to announce measures to fight the bane of plastic bags.

PM promises action on carrier bag blight

Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said Government is ready to take action on the UK's plastic bag problem.

M&S chief executive Sir Stuart Rose has driven the company's green initiatives

M&S to scrap free plastic bags

Marks & Spencer will join the growing ranks of high street retailers charging customers for carrier bags in a bid to reduce the number of bags being used.

Deputy Mayor Nicky Gavron (centre) is joined by Jenny Jones from the Green Party and thelondonpaper distributors at the campaign launch

Bag giveaway highlights plastic bag waste

Shoppers snapped up 10,000 free cotton reusable bags in less than three hours during a giveaway in central London to promote the launch of a campaign to reuse plastic bags.

Peter Garrett said he wanted to

Oz considers bag ban

Australia's government is considering plans to ban plastic bags by the end of 2008.

China to ban plastic bags

China has announced plans to prohibit shops from giving out free plastic bags and to ban ultra-thin bags completely.

Waste & Recycling - Review of the Year 2007

The WEEE Directive and the Waste Strategy Review for England took centre stage in the world of waste this year, with the latter sparking debate over the best ways to tackle the country's rubbish.

Brown reveals climate change plans

Gordon Brown has laid out his plans to reduce the effects of climate change in his first major speech on the environment since taking over from Tony Blair earlier this year.

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