Danish app helps reduce electronic waste

Økologiske Råd  (Eco Council) in Denmark has launched a mobile app that lets users know where they can get their electronic products repaired, even if the product was bought in another shop and the warranty period has expired. The idea is to inspire people to repair their electronics instead of throwing them out. The app has been developed as part of a project to promote the repair of electronic equipment, thus reducing the amount of waste.

The app is currently available only in the App Store for iPhones (and only for Denmark), but is also accessible at http://reparationsguiden.dk/. The guide additionally contains information on repairs for kitchen and electrical equipment; furniture and fixtures; textiles; hobby and sports equipment; tools; and art and music equipment. The project was financed by a government grant. More information (in Danish) http://www.ecocouncil.dk/udgivelser/artikler/affald-og-spildevand/2431-ny-app-til-reparation-af-elektronik

Slim your bin with the Rubbish Diet

Would you like a quick and easy way to reduce the amount of waste in your bin? Then sign up to the Rubbish Diet and get tips and support from a whole online community of Rubbish Dieters. Within a month, you should be enjoying a lighter bin and less hassle – and you might even make some savings.

The Rubbish Diet has the broader aim of shrinking the waste train that leaves London six days a week.  It is made up of 26 carriages holding 78 containers of household waste from just six London boroughs: Brent, Ealing, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow and Richmond.  The train’s contents go straight to landfill here in the UK. It’s reckoned that about 67% of its contents could have been recycled first.

The Rubbish Diet is a simple two-step programme: First, you’re asked to check whether you can recycle one more thing and to share your own ideas for avoiding waste. The second step is about making the most of your food.

The programme is tailored to your area and comes in the form of handy emails with tips, links and information about how to get started. Most participants reduce their waste by up to 70%.

Sign up for the Rubbish Diet at http://challenge.therubbishdiet.org.uk/; further information is available at http://www.therubbishdiet.org.uk/wastetrain/ and https://www.facebook.com/westlondonrubbishdiet.

California legislature votes to ban disposable plastic bags

The U.S. state of California has passed a bill banning the use of disposable plastic bags in grocery stores, pharmacies, off-licences and other businesses throughout the state. The bill, which needs to be signed by the governor before becoming law, would usher in the first statewide ban of this type in the United States, starting July 1, 2015. A number of U.S. cities have already banned disposable plastic bags in shops, including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle and Portland, Oregon. The law would allow the sale of reusable plastic bags at grocery stores.

Just 90 companies caused two-thirds of man-made global warming emissions

The climate crisis of the 21st century has been caused largely by just 90 companies, which between them produced nearly two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions generated since the dawning of the industrial age, new research suggests.

The companies range from investor-owned firms – household names such as Chevron, Exxon and BP – to state-owned and government-run firms. Continue reading

Tesco vows to act after study confirms huge food waste

Britain’s shameful waste of food has been confirmed by a new study that shows more than two-thirds of produce grown for bagged salads, just under half of bakery goods and four out of 10 of apples are thrown away.

Tesco, working in conjunction with the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), calculated the food waste “footprint” for 25 of the supermarket’s best-selling products – looking at what was wasted both inside its supermarkets and in the homes of its customers.

The retail giant admitted that 28,500 tonnes of food waste were generated in its stores and distribution centres in the first six months of this year.

It also estimated that uneaten food costs families about £700 a year.

Read the full story at the Independent.

The food gadgets that could save you money

The statistics are pretty alarming: UK households throw away more than 7m tonnes of food a year, more than 60% of which could have been eaten – including about 17bn “five-a-day” portions. That is according to Wrap, the government-funded waste reduction organisation, which estimates the average family wastes nearly £700 a year throwing out unused food.

“A staggering amount of food is bought and then thrown in the bin,” says Emma Marsh, who heads Wrap’s Love Food Hate Waste campaign. “Most of the time it is because people prepare too much food when they cook, or when they buy food they often let it go off, untouched or half-opened.”

Read the full article at The Guardian

Traffic fumes are confusing bees in their hunt for food

Traffic fumes can interfere with the critical odour cues used by honeybees to forage for food according to the first detailed study of how pollution can affect a bee’s ability to find nectar and pollen.

Tests show that the gases emitted by diesel engines mask the complex chemistry of floral odours that honeybees remember and use to navigate their way through their feeding range. Continue reading