News in brief (26/07/19)

With news on: waste food from farming costs UK £1.2b; Merlin attractions get Coca Cola reverse vending machines; Waitrose launches recycled packaging for ready meals; Mansfield MRF gets new welcome sign; N. Ireland figures show municipal waste improvements, and; Binn group launches mental health campaign

A Coca-Cola DRS scheme at a Merlin Entertainments site

Surplus and waste food from farming costs UK £1.2 bn

Surplus and waste food from farming is costing the UK £1.2 billion every year, according to a new study from WRAP which highlights how much food is lost in primary production.

3.6 million tonnes of surplus and waste food from farming is created annually, according to WRAP

More than 1.6 million tonnes of agricultural food waste is created annually, along with 2 million tonnes of surplus food. This is equivalent to 7% of the total UK food harvest.

The WRAP review covers the entire primary production process, from the moment a crop is harvested or an animal is slaughtered through grading, packing and washing, which all result in waste. It also assesses the waste produced by customer rejections.

Sugar beet, potatoes and carrots make up more than half of the overall waste by weight. Nearly 25% of lettuces produced are wasted, compared to 0.8% of milk produced.

Peter Maddox, director of WRAP, said: “This is the most detailed study of food surplus and waste in primary production undertaken for the UK, and a key finding has been the range of waste across all food categories.

“This tells us is there is huge potential to reduce the amount of surplus and waste by promoting best practice, and that’s where our work is now focused.”

Merlin attractions get Coca Cola reverse vending machines

Merlin Entertainment is continuing its relationship with Coca-Cola as it introduces reverse vending machines at its attractions.

Coca-Cola’s reverse vending machines can be found at Merlin Entertainments attractions

Visitors to theme parks including Alton Towers, Thorpe Park, Chessington World of Adventures and LEGOLAND, as well as sites such as SEA LIFE Blackpool and Warwick Castle, will be given 50% off entry at Merlin Entertainments in exchange for an empty Coca-Cola plastic bottle.

The 23 vending machines were launched on July 8 and work alongside Coca-Cola’s Freestyle machine at Thorpe Park, which allows consumers to pre-load money on to an RFID chip in a refillable cup.

Sandra Hazel, group head of being a force for good at Merlin Entertainments, said: “We are delighted to extend this initiative after great success in 2018.

“This partnership is a great way to work together to protect our planet and is just one of the initiatives we are invested in to increase recycling at our attractions.”

Leendert den Hollander, vice president & general manager at Coca-Cola European Partners, said: “Through the bold action plan outlined as part of our sustainable packaging strategy we’re determined to make recycling on-the-go easier for consumers and lead the way towards a robust circular economy in Great Britain.”

Waitrose to use mixed coloured recycled plastic

Waitrose has launched coloured recycled plastic packaging that will be used for its ready meals.

Waitrose ready meals will now be packaged in coloured recycled plastic

The new trays have been produced by Faerch and are mostly made from mixed coloured PET bottles and trays.

This means the packaging will be a slightly different colour each time it is made, depending on the recycled materials used.

The new trays will be widely recyclable and help the supermarket to move towards its target of eliminating all black plastic – which is very hard to recycle – by the end of 2019.

Karen Graley, Packaging Manager at Waitrose, said: “This is an exciting example of packaging innovation that helps us move even more ready meals out of hard-to-recycle black plastic into a rainbow of recycled content that can be recycled again and again.”

Waitrose claims the switch will save 500 tonnes of plastic from going to landfill.

Competition winning sign welcomes Mansfield MRF visitors

Visitors to Mansfield’s Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) will be welcomed by a new sign designed by a pupil from a local school.

Nottinghamshire County Council chairman Kevin Rostance with competition winner Harry Lobley

Harry Lobley, from High Oakham Primary School in Mansfield, created the winning entry in a competition and his sign will be seen by the thousands of visitors to Veolia’s MRF each year.

110 entries were received from children across Nottinghamshire and were considered by a panel of judges from Veolia and Nottinghamshire County Council.

Harry was delighted to see his design and said: ‘I’m thrilled to have won this competition. I thoroughly enjoyed designing the welcome sign and it is great to see it on display.”

James Sas, Harry’s year 5 teacher, said: ‘We are very proud of Harry’s achievement.

“During our school visit to the site, we learnt about their recycling process, which Harry reflected clearly in his brilliant design.”

Wayne Draycott, treatment manager for Veolia said: ‘It was wonderful to see all the creative designs, there was a very high standard to choose from and a tough job for all the Judges to decide upon a winner.”

N. Ireland figures show municipal waste improvements

Northern Ireland’s latest local authority collected (LAC) waste figures shows that local authorities have collected, recycled and recovered as energy more waste than in the same period for 2018.

Northern Ireland reported its lowest ever landfill rates for the January to March period

The data covers January to March this year. 228,142 tonnes of LAC waste were collected, 2.5% higher than the 222,490 tonnes collected between January and March 2018.

A recycling rate of 47.2% was recorded– up from 43.6% last year. The highest household recycling rate was recorded in the east of Northern Ireland by Antrim & Newtownabbey district council which recorded a figure of 52.8%.

The landfill rate for household waste is also down to its lowest ever level for the period, with less biodegradable local authority collected municipal waste (BLACMW) sent to landfill also.

The report notes that the biggest driver away from landfilling continues to be the tax on household waste which is disposed of in this way.

Binn group launch mental health campaign

Binn Group has launched a mental health campaign which will safeguard the mental health and wellbeing of its workforce.

Allan MacGregor, Chief Executive of Binn Group, with a group of employees at the launch of the BeBinn support programme

The BeBinn programme will see the Scottish company publish a booklet dedicated to helping staff identify signs and triggers of mental health issues, from anxiety and stress to addiction and suicide. It also offers tips to ease symptoms, contact details for external help and details of the practical support offered by Bin group.

Binn Group is one of Scotland’s largest independent recycling and resource management companies and has already established an industry first, in-house support service for its 140-plus employees.

Allan MacGregor, chief executive of Binn Group, emphasised the importance of changing attitudes to mental health.

He said: “We are making the change from a traditionally male-dominated tough culture to one that can embrace the mental – as well as physical – issues affecting our staff.

“I’m immensely proud of the pioneering work being done and the support already being given within our own “family”.”


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