Plastic Oceans Foundation. 'Great Pacific garbage patch' far bigger than imagined, aerial survey shows. The vast patch of garbage floating in the Pacific Ocean is far worse than previously thought, with an aerial survey finding a much larger mass of fishing nets, plastic containers and other discarded items than imagined.
Does the carrier bag charge make us more green? Why does charging for carrier bags encourage environmentally-friendly behaviour, but other initiatives do not?
This is the question being posed here by Lorraine Whitmarsh, Professor of Environmental Psychology in the School of Psychology, Cardiff University and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. You can also read this article in this month’s Society Now magazine, which is out later this week. Latest figures show that in less than a year, the English carrier bag charge has led to reductions in single-use carrier bags of around 80 per cent. But public concern about environmental issues doesn’t typically translate into environmentally-friendly behaviour. The so-called ‘attitude-behaviour’ gap is well-known in this area – most people say they are concerned about the environment, but are reluctant to act accordingly. So, why does charging as little as 5p for a carrier bag apparently work to get people to bring their own bags to the shops?
How scientists plan to clean up plastic waste threatening marine life. Scientists have worked out the best way of removing the millions of tons of plastic waste floating in the oceans – a time bomb that threatens to poison the marine ecosystem.
It is estimated that about eight million tons of plastic debris such as food packaging and plastic bottles are being washed into the oceans each year, where it is broken down into smaller “microplastics” that act as a magnet for chemical toxins ingested by the smallest sea creatures. Plastic bag use plummets in England since 5p charge. Image copyright Getty Images.
Can technology help tackle the world's waste crisis? Image copyright Getty Images In Disney's 2008 animation Wall-E, the eponymous robot is left behind on a deserted Earth to clean up the waste mankind left behind.
If the latest statistics are anything to go by, we're in danger of turning that fictional future into a reality. A decade ago, city dwellers generated 680 million tonnes of solid waste a year, says the World Bank. Now this is 1.3 billion tonnes, and forecast to rise to 2.2 billion tonnes by 2025 - enough to fill a 5,000km-long (3,107 mile) queue of rubbish lorries each day. And the cost of disposing of all this detritus is projected to rise from $205bn (£136bn) to $375bn (£250bn) a year over the next decade. But could technology, which helped create much of this waste, also help deal with it?
Methane munching Much of the world's waste goes to landfill sites, which only add to the pollution problem because they produce methane - a greenhouse gas and significant contributor to climate change. Image copyright Alain Castro Binning it. Ocean Trash: 5.25 Trillion Pieces and Counting, but Big Questions Remain. Could reinvention solve our shopping addiction? Image copyright EpicStockMedia, Thinkstock Swedish retail giant H&M seems an unlikely poster child for ecological living.
The High Street group, which owns brands including Monki and Cos and has more than 4,000 shops across the world, is one of the best known proponents of fast fashion. It's a cheap and reliable source of trendy clothes which can be discarded as soon as another trend comes in. Yet it has pledged to become "100% circular", ultimately using only recycled or other sustainable materials to make its clothes. It's a journey that more fashion firms are beginning to take, with the so-called "circular economy" - which eliminates waste by turning it into something valuable - being seen as a possible solution to the vast amount of clothes that end up in landfill. Image copyright Thomas Concordia, H&M Last year, a fifth of the material H&M used was sustainably sourced, and it has gathered 32,000 tonnes worth of old clothing in the collection bins it has had in all its stores since 2013.
Adidas combines ocean plastic and 3D printing for trainers. Sports brand Adidas has created a concept trainer with an upper made using waste plastic filtered out of the oceans and a 3D-printed midsole created from recycled fishing nets.
Bringing together two of the brand's recent technologies, the 3D-printed Ocean Plastic shoe midsole was unveiled in Paris earlier this week. The project is part of Adidas' continuing partnership with Parley for the Oceans, an initiative that encourages creatives to repurpose ocean waste and raise awareness of the growing issue. "Together with the network of Parley for the Oceans we have started taking action and creating new sustainable materials and innovations for athletes," said Adidas executive board member Eric Liedtke. "The 3D-printed Ocean Plastic shoe midsole stands for how we can set new industry standards," said Liedtke, who previously told Dezeen that the sports brand was planning to conquer the American market using design. Adidas x Parley shoes made from recycled ocean plastic launch. Sports brand Adidas and environmental initiative Parley for the Oceans have released the first batch of running shoes with uppers made using recycled plastic recovered from the sea (+ movie).
Coinciding with World Oceans Day held on June 8, the Adidas x Parley trainers have been launched as a limited edition of 50 pairs to be earned rather than purchased. Those who wish to gain a pair are required to take part in an Instagram competition, submitting a video that demonstrates their commitment to stop using single-use plastic items. Designed by London-based Alexander Taylor, the shoes are made using Adidas' existing footwear manufacturing processes but the usual synthetic fibres are replaced with yarns made from the recycled Parley Ocean Plastic. "This project triggered a new way for me to work and imagine how my studio could adapt and evolve in the future," said Taylor.