News in brief (11/05/21)

With news on: AO turns fridges into ventilation systems; Tesco scraps soft plastic rings from beers and ciders; Biffa expands Roxby rail infrastructure; and, Agency launches World Ocean Day resources for schools.

AO will supply the Volution Group with recycled HIPS from approximately 63,000 fridges each year

AO turns fridges into ventilation systems

Plastics extracted from old fridges collected from customers’ homes by online electrical retailer AO are to be used to make sustainable ventilation products.

AO will supply the UK-based domestic ventilation fan manufacturer Volution Group with recycled high impact polystyrene (HIPS) from approximately 63,000 fridges each year, collected from the former company’s recycling facility in Telford.

AO will supply the Volution Group with recycled HIPS from approximately 63,000 fridges each year

The HIPS will be used to create ducting components for ventilation systems.

Rob Sant, managing of AO Recycling, said: “We’re so pleased that Volution will be using the plastic from our fridges to create fantastic eco products.

“As a retailer, AO want to take responsibility for the entire recycling process, from start to finish, and we’re proud to be producing high quality plastic that can be easily used in new products.

“The circular economy is really at the forefront of our business ambitions and our investment in plastic is key to fulfilling our long-term goals.”

AO’s recycling facility opened in 2017 and recycles more than 1.2 million appliances every year, collected from customers and the public via the retailer’s ‘Collect and Recycle’ service.

Any plastic collected is cleaned and refined into reusable material at AO’s plastic plant, which opened last year (see story).

Tesco scraps soft plastic rings from beers and ciders

Tesco is to scrap soft plastic rings and shrink wrap packaging from all beers and ciders in its UK stores in “early May”.

The supermarket says the move will lead to 50 million fewer pieces of unrecycled plastic being produced each year.

Tesco says scrapping soft plastic rings and shrink wrap packaging will lead to 50 million fewer pieces of unrecycled plastic each year (picture: Tesco)

Tesco quality director Sarah Bradbury said: “We are working hand in hand with some of the world’s biggest brands to tackle the problem of unnecessary plastic.

“Our mission is to remove, reduce, reuse and recycle so we use as little material as possible and ensure that all the packaging in our stores can be easily recycled.”

Tesco expects to sell its remaining stock in the coming weeks and will not order beers or ciders that use soft plastic rings and shrink wrap packaging in future.

Beer and cider brands who sell to Tesco will now use materials such as cardboard sleeves, boxes or a rigid plastic that can be recycled via kerbside collections for multipacks.

Biffa expands Roxby rail infrastructure

Biffa has expanded the ‘rail structure’ supporting its landfill site in Roxby, North Lincolnshire, so it can transport up to 1,000,000 tonnes of waste per year by train.

With the new rail structures in place Biffa expects to be able to transport 30% of its waste by rail.

Biffa’s ground team at Roxby, North Lincolnshire

Mick Davis, Biffa’s chief operating officer for resources and energy, said: “We want to make sure we’re reducing emissions and minimising our impact on the environment as much as possible and by transporting more waste by rail, we are taking trucks off the road, so fewer trucks, less emissions.

“So far we have saved over 1 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions and we’re on track to reduce our emissions by 50% by 2030.”

Trains carry waste to the Roxby facility from Leeds, Manchester and a site in East London which opened last week (see story).

Trains run six times a week with two services on a Saturday and are loaded overnight. An extra noise barrier has been installed at Roxby for the local community.

Agency launches World Ocean Day resources for schools

The Environment Agency has launched an interactive learning programme about plastic pollution for schools to mark World Ocean Day, which takes place on 8 June.

Primary and secondary schools have been invited to view a series of online films and activities via an interactive map in advance of the event, culminating in a live question and answer session with the Agency and World Wildlife Fund experts on the day.

Schools across England will mark World Ocean Day on 8 June by exploring the journey of plastic with the Environment Agency (picture: Alastair Scarlett)

The resources were created by the Agency’s plastics and sustainability team on behalf of the Interreg Preventing Plastic Pollution project.

Kelly Haynes, the Agency’s STEM engagement officer, said: “By supporting World Ocean Day, we hope to bring to life some of these issues and encourage a circular economy for plastics, helping to protect the future of our wildlife and planet. Everyone can play a part in avoiding unnecessary plastic.

“We hope this interactive learning programme will be a great motivational tool for students of all ages, inspiring them to make small environmental changes in their daily lives by following the avoid, reduce, reuse and recycle lifecycle mantra – doing their bit to help marine life thrive.”

Schools can directly access the primary resources here and the secondary resources here.

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