GALLERY: Top 10 sustainability stories in October 2015

Plastic bag 'chaos' hits England, Waitrose turns grass into egg boxes and Ford mimics a gecko. Take a look back at October's most talked about sustainability news stories in edie's latest gallery round-up.

Another month on edie means another cluster of green innovation stories. From the aforementioned grass egg boxes and biomimicry through to the construction of Europe’s largest floating solar farm in Manchester, we had sustainable innovation covered right across the board.

Meanwhile, the solar sector continued its fight against the Government’s punitive subsidy cuts throughout the month, with big businesses, green groups, NGOs and politicians all voicing their concerns. And the automotive industry continued to do all it can to move past the recent emissions scandal as car giants introduced a host of new green initiatives.

October was also the month that England followed in the footsteps of the rest of the UK by introducing a 5p plastic bag tax for large retailers. Was there ‘chaos’ at the checkouts, as some of the nationals predicted?

Finally, proving that sustainability takes a backseat to no one, edie made sure that the Rugby World Cup was put under the green microscope; extrapolateing 10 sustainability facts that you might not know about the participating nations…

So, take a look through all of the month’s most-read news stories in our exclusive gallery, and click the links in the descriptions below to read them for yourself.

1) Majority of UK electricity wasted before reaching households

We start with this month’s most-read article. A new report found that the UK currently loses 54% of its electrical energy that is sent to the National grid – that’s enough to cover half of every household’s annual utility bills and is costing us £9.5bn.

2) Europe’s largest floating solar farm makes waves in Manchester

A new 2.7GWh floating solar farm was installed near Manchester last week. The 12,000-panel system was developed by water giant United Utilities at the cost of £3.5m. The 45,500sq.m project now floats on the Godley reservoir in Hyde.

3) Ford boosts recycling by mimicking gecko ‘stickiness’

Humans mimic nature. It’s a tried and test method that has reaped benefits in the past. Early on in the month, the automobile got in on the act as American car company Ford announced plans to mimic the sticky toe pads of geckos to help it boost the recyclability of its car parts.

The company reckons that mimicking the gecko’s pads, which can reportedly support up to 132 kilograms, will help with the recycling of its adhesives and plastics.

4) Environment Agency extends ESOS deadline

One for the energy managers: the Environment Agency (EA) confirmed that if businesses fail to meet the December deadline for complying with the Government’s new Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS), they may be granted a reprieve at least until at least the end of January.

The ultimate deadline now falls on April 29 with those organisations looking to implement ISO50001 for their ESOS compliance given until 30 June to comply.

5) 5p plastic bag charge launches in England

England now follows in the footsteps of the rest of the UK as a 5p plastic bag tax for large retailers was introduced.

While some mainstream media used the new charges to ignite a sense of chaos, here at edie we called a spade a spade and reported the charges for what they were – environmentally sound.

6) £1 solar rescue plan received cross-party backing

The Solar Trade Association was one of a handful of NGOs looking to limit the potential FiT cuts damage as it lobbied for an easier solar transition.

We covered a variety of solar subsidy stories throughout the month, but but a plan to ‘save the solar industry’ by adding £1 on to consumer bills seemed to stir your interest, especially when it received support from a cross-party coalition of 30MPs.

7) Rugby World Cup 2015: Top 10 sustainability facts

The UK welcomed players and fans from around the globe for the Rugby World Cup, many of whom lived in countries drastically exposed to the effects of climate change.

To draw light on the less-represented countries at the tournament, and to show that the sports industry is no shrinking violet when it comes to sustainability, edie produced the top 10 sustainability facts in the build-up to the tournament.

8) Nissan’s self-driving ‘EV of the future’

The Japanese carmaker unveiled what it called ‘the future of autonomous driving and zero emissions’ at the end of the month.

It’s a self-driving electric vehicle (EV) which generates zero emissions and minimises the potential for road accidents. And it looks pretty cool.

9) Waitrose turned grass into egg boxes

Waitrose gave the humble egg box a green makeover as it launched a revolutionary packaging material consisting of ryegrass and paper.

The switch to greener packaging will save 77 tonnes of wood and recycled paper each year and, once extended to other egg boxes in the Waitrose range, will save an additional 382 tonnes.

10) Kingfisher and IKEA poised for business model shake-up

Finally, one of edie’s exclusives this month came when DIY retailer Kingfisher and flat-pack furniture maker IKEA revealed strong desires to move towards the sharing economy and servitisation, as a “natural progression” of their business models.

Kingfisher’s sustainability director Richard Gillies wants to offer more skills-based solutions combined with tool rental schemes, while IKEA’s UK sustainability director Joanna Yarrow unveiled details of a new R&D project to trial a behaviour change programme with its customers. Here’s to the green revolution!

Matt Mace

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