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Economy

How the 5p Carrier Bag Charge has Transformed Scotland’s Shopping Habits

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The Scottish Government introduced the 5p single-use carrier bag charge to retailers across the country in October 2014. Now, more than one year on, I don’t think anyone could have predicted quite how successful the charge has already been.

Data from major grocery retailers, gathered over the first year alone, indicated a reduction in bag use in Scotland of around 80 per cent – equivalent to at least 650 million fewer bags being handed out annually compared to ‘business as usual’ in previous years. It’s now becoming second nature for shoppers to reuse their carrier bags and hopefully to think more about our impact on the environment.

Whilst the primary purpose of the legislation is to clean up our streets and beaches by cutting carrier bag use, retailers are being encouraged to support good causes across Scotland by donating the proceeds of the charge. Figures released to celebrate its first anniversary indicated that more than £7 million had been raised for charity.

At Zero Waste Scotland, we have been working closely with retailers and trade organisations across the country to encourage them to become signatories to Scotland’s Carrier Bag Commitment and pledge to publicly disclose carrier bag sales and donate proceeds to good causes. Signatories to date include retailers and organisations of all sizes, from multi-national clothing brands and supermarkets to tourist attractions and independent retailers.

By signing up to the Commitment, businesses gain access to Zero Waste Scotland’s reporting portal which is an easy way of meeting the legal obligation to record data on the number of bags sold, amount raised and how the proceeds were used, which applies to retailers employing 10 or more full-time equivalent staff.

With the carrier bag charge proving so successful in its first year, now is an excellent time for those retailers who’ve not yet done so to sign up to the Carrier Bag Commitment. Signing up to the commitment through carrierbagcommitment.org.uk is quick and straightforward, taking no more than a few minutes, and providing great publicity for both signatories and the good causes they choose to support.

Retailers and organisations can register for more information at carrierbagcommitment.org.uk and full details of the Carrier Bag Commitment can be found at carrierbagchargescotland.org.uk.

Economy

A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon

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energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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Economy

IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”

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IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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