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News round-up 23/3

Carrier bag guidance; metals recycler fined; Welsh junk mail; O2 grass phone

Carrier bag guidance

Defra has announced guidance for retailers on the incoming 5p charge for plastic carrier bags.

The charge will come into law on 5 October for all businesses with over 250 full-time employees.

It notes that businesses with fewer employees and those that are part of a larger franchise do not have to make the charge.

Defra has announced that it is considering amending the law to provide exemptions for ‘super biodegradable’ bags following a review into existing industry standards for biodegradability of lightweight plastics.

Press release

Poor health and safety record for metals recycler

Rotherham metals recycler, Meadowbank Vac Alloys, has admitted repeated health and safety failings.

In 2012, the business received 31 enforcement notices from the Health and Safety Executive in a three-month time period for making workers use ‘immediately dangerous’ machines with category ‘A’ defects.

At Sheffield Crown Court, Meadowbank was fined £36,000 and ordered to pay an additional £36,000 in costs after pleading guilty to a breach of the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 and multiple breaches of the Health and Safety at Work.

Press release

Welsh residents urged to ditch junk mail

Recycle for Wales is urging residents to reduce the amount of junk mail by signing up to a mail preference service.

The service de-registers addresses from receiving junk mail and the government-funded organisation hopes that this will reduce the quantity received from the current average of 453 mailed items per year.

Recycle for Wales states that for each tonne of junk mail produced, 17 trees, 7,000 gallons of water and 390 gallons of oil are used.

Press release

O2 makes phone out of grass

The mobile operator O2 has made a prototype of a phone made of grass in collaboration with DesignWorks (see photo).

Commissioned for its ‘Recycle for Rugby’ initiative, the phone was made from recycled components, locally sourced wood (for the buttons) and thousands of blades of grass for the casing.

The grass was freeze-dried within two hours of being cut from Twickenham Stadium before going through a pulping process and combined with an eco-friendly resin to create a hard casing.

Sean Miles, designer at DesignWorks said: “We wanted to give the ‘old and forgotten’ a new lease of life and create a thought provoking prototype which would make people stop and think about recycling in a new and different way.”


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