Shopping bags that animals can safely eat

Avani, a company in the Philippines, has developed an alternative to plastic bags that is truly biodegradable – and safe for animals to eat. Called Eco-Bags, the bags are made with cassava root mixed with vegetable oil, and are compostable and biodegradable. They can also be dissolved in less than 150 days when discarded in water. Avani aims to create a range of other eco-friendly products normally made with plastic, including takeout containers, disposable cups and plates.

For more information, see http://www.avanieco.com/product/eco-bags

Hubbub launches campaign to tackle litter in UK waterways

Environmental charity Hubbub has launched the first of a series of campaigns to help reduce the amount of litter going into the UK’s waterways.

According to Hubbub, 300 tonnes of rubbish is cleared from the Thames each year.  Typical city rubbish – small pieces of litter such as travel tickets, food wrappers, disposable crockery and cigarette butts – are a particular problem. Continue reading

Save the date: Public meeting on healthy eating, food waste on 20 September in Ealing

Want to find out more about healthy eating, reducing food waste and improving sustainability? Then come to Ealing Friends of the Earth‘s public meeting on Tuesday, 20 September 2016, at the Vine Room in St. John’s church in West Ealing. The meeting will run from 7pm to 9pm.

Speakers will include Kierra Box, from Friends of the Earth’s food campaign; Roger St Paul of West London Waste; and Jules Tennick, post-graduate in food safety and control. Recycled/ reclaimed food will be served with refreshments on the day.

Venue: St John’s Church, Mattock Lane, West Ealing W13 9LA
How to get there:
By bus:
– E2 and E3: stop on Northfield Avenue, a 2-minute walk from the church
– 207 and 427: stop on Uxbridge Road in West Ealing, a 5-minute walk
By train: West Ealing, a 10-minute walk
By Tube: South Ealing (Piccadilly Line), a 20-minute walk

Hope to see you there.

EU agrees strict targets for reduction of plastic-bag use

The 28 EU member states will be required to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags by 80% by 2025 under new rules agreed by the European Union this week. Countries can decide themselves how to achieve the goal, through measures such as charges for plastic bags or outright bans.

There is already a 5p charge for single-use bags in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and England will follow suit in October, with the money collected to be used for environmental and charitable causes.

Swish your way into a new wardrobe this Saturday at Twickenham Library

Does your wardrobe need an update? Come to the West London Waste swishing (clothes swap) event this Saturday, February 21, at Twickenham Library, and walk away with a new look. At the same time bid farewell to clothing you no longer wear, and send them on their way to a new home.

You can bring up to 10 items of clean clothing (in good condition, please) to the event to exchange for tokens (a maximum of 10). The tokens can be traded for items of clothing others have brought. Continue reading

French FoE shows consumers how to fight planned obsolescence

Calling all French speakers! Amis de la Terre (Friends of the Earth France) has launched a consumer guide to avoiding planned obsolescence in everyday products. Called Comment sortir de l’obsolescence programmée?*, the guide offers tried-and-tested advice, including to avoid throw-away products, buy simply produced goods (so there are fewer parts to go wrong), purchase reparable and good-quality products, and take part in borrowing-and-lending schemes such as Streetbank (see earlier BRAGonline article). Continue reading

Streetbank builds community while helping reduce waste

Do you have something you’d like to give away but don’t want the hassle of transporting it across town or further afield? Or how about a skill or a piece of equipment you’d be willing to lend or would like to borrow?

If so, Streetbank is for you.

Streetbank nutshell

Streetbank is a community sharing and giving website, connecting you with neighbours living within a mile of you. It helps reduce waste, save money, free up space – and build community. BRAG had a visit from Streetbank founder Sam Stephens this week, and we’re on board – its philosophy is very much in line with BRAG’s mission to recycle, reduce and reuse.
Continue reading

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.

Dutch environmental group tackles food waste with ‘doggy bag’ initiative

A Dutch environmental group, Natuur & Milieu, has launched a campaign to persuade restaurant patrons to take home their uneaten food and thereby reduce food waste. Natuur & Milieu has distributed 50,000 doggy bags, accompanied by a starter pack, free to restaurants to encourage their participation in the campaign. The doggy bags were developed with input from catering staff, who were asked what kind of container they preferred.

Restaurant patrons who want to take food home can let their waiter know by means of a Boomerang card, which is available free of charge in many restaurants. The cards come in a number of versions, with messages including “A compliment to the chef” and “I always fancy something tasty in the evening”.Milieuclub wil taboe doggybag doorbreken

Natuur & Milieu said that the Dutch catering industry wastes 50,000 tonnes of food annually, the equivalent of 77 million hot meals.

Before launching the campaign, Natuur & Milieu carried out a survey on food waste, which found that 78% of participants said they hated wasting food, but that 80% of restaurant-goers never take home leftover food. Respondents cited embarrassment (52%) and lack of awareness (55%) as the major reasons for not asking for a doggy bag.

Natuur & Milieu’s partners in the campaign are packaging specialist Depa Disposables, NGO Oxfam Novib and banking group Rabobank.

For more information, see (in Dutch) http://www.doggybag.nu.

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.