News in brief December | the latest waste and resource news

Waste and resources

Dive into the latest waste and resource news with Circular Online’s news in brief round up.

In this news in brief, Circular Online looks at the Unblocktober Individual of the Year Award winner, WRAP’s new Chair, a new programme promoting aluminium foil recycling, Chorley Council’s climate change artwork competition winners and the YoungPlanet app diverting “£1 million worth of items” away from landfill.

However, to start with let’s explore a new campaign aiming to raise awareness of the dangers of laughing gas canisters.

Leave it out campaign launches to raise awareness of the dangers of laughing gas canisters

Leave it Out campaign

A public-private partnership has launched a public information campaign across four London boroughs to raise awareness of nitrous oxide canisters and their impact on waste management in south London.

In recent months, the Beddington Energy Recovery Facility, operated by Viridor, says that in Sutton it has witnessed thousands of “creamer canisters” that are resulting in increased maintenance and impacts to the operating conditions.

Nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, is a drug that is inhaled from a balloon. It’s stored in canisters that are approximately the size of a 2-litre water bottle and, the partnership says, often contain little or no information about their disposal.

The partnership says that these canisters have once exploded inside the Beddington ERF causing major damage.

Viridor is calling for residents or users of these canisters to not place these canisters in their bins but to check the label and recycle them.

We are deeply concerned by the rapid increase in the sale of these larger 600g nitrous oxide canisters.

Viridor and the South London Waste Partnership have developed the “Leave it Out” campaign, featuring “Noxie” the naughty nitrous oxide canister, to help educate residents in south London about the challenges of disposing of these canisters safely and sustainably.

The partnership says the campaign will roll out across parks, at tram stations, in newspapers and online in the coming months.

Commentating on the campaign, Ellen Daniels, Chief Executive of the British Compressed Gas Association added: “We are deeply concerned by the rapid increase in the sale of these larger 600g nitrous oxide canisters and their impact on the Beddington ERF.

“Nitrous oxide has become the second most commonly used substance among 16- to 24-year-olds, and we must come together to ensure that these canisters are not accessible to those in our communities that want to use this substance recreationally.

“The BCGA welcomes this campaign launch in south London. We are keen to work with partners, including those in the waste management sector, to raise awareness of the issue and work towards an effective solution.”

Loughborough University postgraduate student Wins Unblocktober Individual of the Year Award

Loughborough university

Loughborough University postgraduate student Nuno Santos Silva has won the Individual of the Year prize at the first-ever Unblocktober Awards, a new awards scheme celebrating individuals that “embody the spirit” of the Unblocktober environmental awareness campaign.

Nuno conducted his final dissertation master’s thesis on the prevention of fatberg outbreaks. During his work, he studied the interventions that could change people’s behaviour to ensure they deal with waste in a way that doesn’t contribute to fatbergs.

He aimed to use a behaviour-change approach to investigate the household sociotechnical system surrounding fatbergs. He wanted to discover the underlying reasons and motivations driving how households get rid of cooking oils to help develop interventions to prevent sewer networks from being blocked by fatbergs.

The study also found that there was a willingness to change behaviour if the opportunities for appropriate disposal were available.

Commentating on the win, Nuno Santos Silva said: “This caught me by surprise as somebody had put my name forward; however, I am humbly delighted. People who come across my study think there needs to be more visibility and a better approach to fatberg prevention.

“The most common behaviours displayed when getting rid of cooking oil were either putting it down the sink or toilet or the less harmful methods of bottling it so it could be recycled or wiping it up then putting it in the bin.

“The study also found that there was a willingness to change behaviour if the opportunities for appropriate disposal were available, while other participants took an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ approach.”

The national wastewater and drainage solutions provider, Lanes Group leads the Unblocktober campaign, which is now in its fourth year. Lanes Group describes the award as the first global awareness campaign that challenges participants to change their drainage habits for 31 days to help protect the environment.

WRAP appoints Sebastian Munden as new Chair

WRAP Chair

Sebastian Munden, former Executive Vice President and General Manager for Unilever UK & Ireland has joined WRAP as its new Chair.

Munden, who stepped down from Unilever earlier this year, officially joins the climate action NGO later this month to replace Julie Hill, who was Chair for two consecutive terms.

Sebastian Munden joined Unilever in 1990 as a graduate trainee in marketing, working in many product categories across Europe, Australia and North America. The company became a founding member of the UK Plastics Pact during his time as Executive Vice President and General Manager UK & Ireland, and a co-founder of the Flexible Plastic Fund.

He is also Chair of Ad Net Zero which is working with the advertising industry to deliver sustainable behaviour change and net zero goals by 2030.

I see WRAP as a major force in the fight against climate change.

Sebastian Munden, WRAP Chair, said “I am delighted to join WRAP at this key stage in its twenty-year history. The next few years will be critical for people and the planet. Climate change will only get worse, and resources will only become more strained and less secure unless we act now.

“From food to plastics, we must change how we treat our world, the way we use its resources, and reduce waste. I see WRAP as a major force in the fight against climate change, and a key organisation building systemic change through an increasingly global network of collaboration with both governments and business.”

Julie Hill steps down having served eight years as WRAP Chair. Hill has had a 35-year career in environmental policy and politics is presently an inaugural non-executive board member of the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP), Chair of the Institution of Environmental Sciences (IES) and Chair of the Advisory Committee for Social Science (ACSS) for the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

Commentating on her departure, Julie Hill, said “I am delighted to be handing over to Sebastian. He has a long track record of environmental expertise and action, in the context of one of the world’s leading companies, and has the experience and dynamism to take WRAP to the next level.”

A new programme promoting aluminium foil recycling has been introduced by Pendle Borough Council

Foil in love with recycling

As part of the initiative, residents are being encouraged to rinse and recycle their trays, wrapping foil, aerosols, beverage cans and empty food tins.

“Foil in Love with recycling”, a consumer engagement campaign run in partnership with the Aluminium Packaging Recycling Organisation (Alupro), will see advertisements placed on digital street signs and buses, while promotional soundbites in English, Punjabi and Urdu will be broadcast on community radio stations and posts shared on the council’s social media pages.

The programme, which launched in October, will run for six weeks with the aim of increasing the amount of metal packaging recycled by households across the borough.

While we already urge householders to recycle as much of their packaging waste as possible, there’s always more we can be doing.

Speaking about the programme, Councillor Nadeem Ahmed, Leader of Pendle Borough Council, said: “While we already urge householders to recycle as much of their packaging waste as possible, there’s always more we can be doing.

“Working with Alupro to roll out the Foil in Love with Recycling campaign will allow us to engage with residents in a simple but powerful way, encouraging them to think about how best to dispose of their metal packaging.”

Young artists see their winning designs on recycling wagons

Chorley Council recycling truck

The 2 winners of a Chorley Council climate change artwork competition have seen their designs printed on the side of recycling wagons.

Earlier this year, Chorley Council and waste and recycling partner FCC Environment invited young artists to get creative and enter the Chorley Council artwork competition on the topic of climate change.

Entrants were asked to create their design based on one of two climate change-related topics: the little things we can do to help tackle climate change and your climate action pledge.

A shortlist was drawn up from all the entries received and then put to the public vote.

The two winning entries, designed by Jessie age 9 and Olivia age 10, have now been installed on the side of Chorley Council recycling wagons and on 19 November the winners visited the depot, where the trucks are based, to see their designs for themselves.

Competition winner, Olivia, whose design included a bold and colourful statement about stopping climate change, said: “I found it really cool to be able to see a picture I drew on the side of a lorry. I hope this will convince people to get active to help stop climate change.”

Jessie, age 9, who designed her winning entry based on things we can all do to save the planet, said “Both the designs look really great and I am so proud to be doing my bit to help the planet by sharing the message on the side of a recycling truck. I hope lots of people see it and it reminds them of the ways they can do their bit to save our planet.”

Commentating on the competition winners, Councillor Adrian Lowe, Executive Member of Chorley Council (Customer, Streetscene and Environment) said: “We’re keen to engage with residents of all ages on the topic of climate change and this competition was a great way of getting young people involved.

“We received some fantastic designs as part of this competition – it’s fantastic that young people are thinking about climate change and what can be done to tackle it.

“Well done to the two winners, whose designs are looking amazing on the side of the recycling trucks for all of Chorley to see while on their rounds.”

Sustainability platforms help UK parents save £1 million by opting for second-hand toys


The YoungPlanet app has helped parents divert £1 million worth of items away from landfill across the UK, the sustainability platform says.

The YoungPlanet app – a platform used by UK families to give and receive second-hand parenting and children’s items for free – says it has enabled over 30,000 children’s items and toys worth over £1m to find new homes, rather than be chucked away.

In the past 8 weeks, 17,000 new families have turned to finding second-hand alternatives through YoungPlanet, taking the size of their total community to 150,000 users, the app says.

The platform provides a free, cashless platform based on a sharing economy model, in which parents can list or request a range of different children’s items, including clothes, shoes, and toys, as well as baby and nursing equipment.

We aim to provide users with an easy and accessible way to combat rising costs and environmental concerns.

Speaking about the app, Jason Ash, co-founder of YoungPlanet, said: “Not only is our platform tackling national waste by extending the circulation of high-quality items, but our free business model enables users to drastically cut their costs.

“Since YoungPlanet is immune to price hikes and inflation, we’re seeing a spike in the number of items that are being shared through our site ahead of Christmas, with more people favouring pre-loved alternatives over buying brand new.

“We aim to provide users with an easy and accessible way to combat rising costs and environmental concerns, whilst building a community of eco-conscious sharers.”

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