A drinks can recycling programme for people ‘on the go’, has revealed that in 2011 it collected 51 million used cans that otherwise may not have been recycled. Laid end to end, that’s enough cans to wrap around the earth 1.5 times… But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Although there have been reports of an increase in environmental ‘fatigue’ in the British public, recycling has become commonplace. Figures show that recycling has very much become a habit within the home. A Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) report from 2011 revealed that on average, English homes are recycling 41.2% of their waste.
However, some items remain unreported on local authorities’ recycling rates figures because they are used when out and about or at work. Every Can Counts is a programme to help people recycle drinks cans when they are away from home. The 51 million cans it collected in 2011 is equivalent to 774 tonnes of steel or aluminium and makes a saving of around 5,800 tonnes of greenhouse gases.
The programme has also been focusing on recycling drinks cans at outdoor events. Last year Every Can Counts collected one million drinks cans from across 10 music festivals.
Rick Hindley, director of Every Can Counts, said, “The 2011 results confirm that we have established a successful model for encouraging recycling outside the home.
“However, this is just the tip of the iceberg, and we are constantly on the lookout for new ways to help businesses that want to recycle more, as it’s important to keep testing, refining and innovating.”
Tip of the iceberg is right. Last year, almost 9.5 billion drinks cans were sold in the UK alone. The following infographic created by Blue & Green Tomorrow helps put those cans into perspective. Collecting all the UK’s drinks cans over just 10 seconds would enable you to stack up a construction to match the Eiffel Tower for height, if not stability. The number of cans collected over the course of the year would stretch from the Earth to the moon three times. Sadly, only 52% of cans were recycled in 2011.
At the moment, over 700 UK organisations are registered with the Every Can Counts programme with collection points at 1,900 sites. The Every Can Counts programme has also seen success in France, Austria, Romania and Hungary with plans to hit more European markets in the future.
According to Coca-Cola’s 2010 annual report, 1.6 billion global servings of Coca-Cola are sold per day, globally. Coca-Cola have stepped up to the recycling challenge for the London 2012 Olympics and promised to recycle all clear plastic bottles collected as part of their mission to help create a “sustainable Games”.
It’s important to think about recycling wherever you are, and programmes like Every Can Counts help make that task easier. Forgetting for one moment the sheer waste of valuable resources, cans that we don’t recycle will most likely end up in landfill sites, and as we discussed in our latest in-depth report, we are running out of space fast.
Another way to have an impact on what we do with our waste is to consider a more sustainable option when shopping. We recommend taking a look at the Ethical Superstore.
If you are interested in investing in companies that promote sustainable programs then talk to your IFA. If you don’t have one then fill in our online form, and we’ll connect you with a specialist ethical adviser.
Infographics: Ben Willers. Picture source: Quinn Dombrowski.
Road Trip! How to Choose the Greenest Vehicle for Your Growing Family
When you have a growing family, it often feels like you’re in this weird bubble that exists outside of mainstream society. Whereas everyone else seemingly has stability, your family dynamic is continuously in flux. Having said that, is it even possible to buy an eco-friendly vehicle that’s also practical?
What to Look for in a Green, Family-Friendly Vehicle?
As a single person or young couple without kids, it’s pretty easy to buy a green vehicle. Almost every leading car brand has eco-friendly options these days and you can pick from any number of options. The only problem is that most of these models don’t work if you have kids.
Whether it’s a Prius or Smart car, most green vehicles are impractical for large families. You need to look for options that are spacious, reliable, and comfortable – both for passengers and the driver.
5 Good Options
As you do your research and look for different opportunities, it’s good to have an open mind. Here are some of the greenest options for growing families:
1. 2014 Chrysler Town and Country
Vans are not only popular for the room and comfort they offer growing families, but they’re also becoming known for their fuel efficiency. For example, the 2014 Chrysler Town and Country – which was one of CarMax’s most popular minivans of 2017 – has Flex Fuel compatibility and front wheel drive. With standard features like these, you can’t do much better at this price point.
2. 2017 Chrysler Pacifica
If you’re looking for a newer van and are willing to spend a bit more, you can go with Chrysler’s other model, the Pacifica. One of the coolest features of the 2017 model is the hybrid drivetrain. It allows you to go up to 30 miles on electric, before the vehicle automatically switches over to the V6 gasoline engine. For short trips and errands, there’s nothing more eco-friendly in the minivan category.
3. 2018 Volkswagen Atlas
Who says you have to buy a minivan when you have a family? Sure, the sliding doors are nice, but there are plenty of other options that are both green and spacious. The new Volkswagen Atlas is a great choice. It’s one of the most fuel-efficient third-row vehicles on the market. The four-cylinder model gets an estimated 26 mpg highway.
4. 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
While a minivan or SUV is ideal – and necessary if you have more than two kids – you can get away with a roomy sedan when you still have a small family. And while there are plenty of eco-friendly options in this category, the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is arguably the biggest bang for your buck. It gets 38 mpg on the highway and is incredibly affordable.
5. 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Diesel
If money isn’t an object and you’re able to spend any amount to get a good vehicle that’s both comfortable and eco-friendly, the 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Diesel is your car. Not only does it get 28 mpg highway, but it can also be equipped with a third row of seats and a diesel engine. And did we mention that this car looks sleek?
Putting it All Together
You have a variety of options. Whether you want something new or used, would prefer an SUV or minivan, or want something cheap or luxurious, there are plenty of choices on the market. The key is to do your research, remain patient, and take your time. Don’t get too married to a particular transaction, or you’ll lose your leverage.
You’ll know when the right deal comes along, and you can make a smart choice that’s functional, cost-effective, and eco-friendly.
How Climate Change Altered this Engineer’s Life
Living the life of an engineer likely sounds pretty glamorous: you are educated and highly regarded, typically have high paying gigs, and with the breadth of knowledge and array of fields of specialty, your possibility for jobs is usually immense. But what if there was something else that needed your attention? Something bigger than just being an engineer, going to work every day and doing the same technical tasks typically associated with the profession?
For Kevin McCroary, that is exactly how it played out. A successful engineer, gainfully employed in a prosperous job, a simple trip to the Philippines made him see that there was a bigger issue at hand than using his engineer training in a traditional profession. This bigger issue was that of climate change. And working as a volunteer for underprivileged children in the Philippines, he saw first-hand the extensive pollution and poverty that existed here and that impacted the livelihood of these kids and their families.
Upon returning home, from his trip to the Philippines he had a new perspective of the impact we as individuals and as humanity have on the earth, and more than that Kevin wanted to know more. He started to do some research and study these human-environmental interactions, and shortly thereafter ended up in Greenland. There, he spoke to a man who had lost his home in a tsunami, and, who, through consistent weather tracking could indeed confirm that the current weather trends were “strange:” there was undeniably a general warming tendency happening in the arctic, causing an array of negative effects.
The combination of these observations, as well as his own research, led Kevin to conclude that something had to be done. With that in mind, he launched his project Legend Bracelet. The mission is simple: create a reminder of the legacy we are leaving behind. As individuals and as humanity, we are leaving behind an imprint on the earth, and the magnitude of it is something that needs to be brought to the forefront of public awareness. The idea is to have a bracelet that can serve as a daily reminder of the impact on the earth that each of us can have every day, regardless of how big or small. The bracelet has two capsules: the first is filled with sand or earth, and the second is empty. As the owner, you are to fill the empty one with your own earth, carrying it with you as a reminder and symbol of your connection and commitment to helping look after our environment.
We are all impacted by climate change, and we all have a responsibility to help. And it can start with something as simple as putting on a bracelet. Support Kevin on his Kickstarter campaign for Legend Bracelet, tell others about it, or take action in your own way and play your part in slowing down the effects of climate change. You may think “but I’m just one person!” You are indeed. But so is he. Every change starts with one.
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