News in brief | World Environment Day

SocEnv campaign to help restore our ecosystems

In the UK and beyond, the Society for the Environment champions World Environment Day – a UN initiative which takes place on the 5th June each year. The initiative provides a platform for global education and inspiration; shining attention on a particularly pressing environmental theme.

This year, the global theme for World Environment Day is Ecosystem Restoration, as part of the launch of the UN’s ‘Decade on Ecosystem Restoration’ (2021 – 2030).

Earlier this year, Chartered Environmentalists gave their insight into why ecosystem restoration is such a timely choice of theme.

You might think that ecosystem restoration is a problem only for global institutions and Governments. Yet that couldn’t be further from the truth. Imagine if we able to increase our connection with nature, especially in cities, and through this repair and restore all our ecosystems, all around the world… That is our vision in the run-up to World Environment Day (5th June), throughout the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021 – 2030) … and beyond!

To deliver this vision, this year SocEnv has continued to work alongside its key partners Canary Wharf Group, CIEEM, IEMA, Siemens, Skanska, and Wilmott Dixon, in developing the Ecosystem Restoration Hub. Here you will find inspirational resources on the importance of restoring our ecosystems and what we can all do to help!

Sarah Jones CEnv, Environment Manager at Siemens, said: “We all have a role to play in ecosystem restoration, be that from an individual or organisational perspective. At Siemens we work with the Wildlife Trusts to encourage our teams to engage with the natural world through volunteering and participating in #30DaysWild. An enhanced relationship with nature will help us all play a part in delivering on the goals set out by the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration.”

To maximise their combined impact, SocEnv have also teamed up with the National Park City Foundation, as well as the Wildlife Trusts’ 30 Days Wild campaign, which encourages people to do one wild thing each day during the month of June.

To find out more about what you can do to restore our ecosystems and how you can encourage others to do the same, visit


Birmingham Airport redistributes 2.7 tonnes of surplus stock

To mark World Environment Day, Birmingham Airport has highlighted its latest efforts to reduce waste in its drive for a more sustainable future and help local people.

During May 2021, the airport’s on-site shops and restaurants donated 2.7 tonnes of goods and foodstuffs to local charities who are able to repurpose the products, worth an estimated £16,000 at retail prices.

Items including sweets, snacks, soft drinks, bottled water, gift sets, t-shirts, books, stationery, games, toys and travel accessories were kindly donated and will go to support the work of three local charities – Unite4homeless, Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Home Start.

Birmingham Airport’s Head of Sustainability, Tom Redfern said: “As part of our Sustainability Strategy we have committed ourselves to improving recycling rates, embracing the principles of the circular economy and being a responsible neighbour.

“World Environment Day reminds us of the importance of these issues and these figures show we’re making great progress to achieving all three of these aims. There’s lots more work to do but, with the support of our partners, we’re determined to reduce our environmental impact while supporting neighbouring communities.”

The work is co-ordinated by the airport’s commercial waste partner Novati. Senior Corporate Sustainability Manager Darren Andrew said: “We believe that Birmingham Airports success is because together, we’re talking about resource management and innovation rather than waste management and bins.

“It’s essential that we focus on reducing and reusing materials because this has the greatest impact on the environment and the climate crisis. It’s great to be able to deliver a project that positively impacts the local community.”


Waitrose launches new sustainable packaging trial

Waitrose has introduced new reduced plastic packaging for its British strawberries, which will help eliminate 16.89 tonnes of plastic and adhesive this summer.

The new “Air-Light” punnet, which will come via Waitrose’s long time supplier Berry Gardens, is made of 80% recycled material, is more light-weight and incorporates a cushioned design that helps protect the fruit from damage.

This has eliminated the need for a separate bubble pad used in past designs to maintain product quality. In turn, the glue used to fix the pad to the packaging has also been removed.

The punnet, which has been developed by packaging company Sharpak, will be available in select stores and across select lines** as part of a trial throughout the summer. The trial period will be used to ensure product quality is maintained and is expected to roll out more widely next summer if successful.

Marija Rompani, Director of Ethics & Sustainability at the John Lewis Partnership, comments: “Strawberries and cream has been a staple of the summer since they were first introduced to Wimbledon in the late 1800s.

“While many fans will still have to watch events from their living rooms this year, British strawberries are thankfully now in season – meaning a big part of the tradition can still be enjoyed by all, and this further reduction in plastic packaging will help make them taste all the sweeter this summer.”

The British strawberry season has been delayed due to poor weather in May but a bolster crop is now expected from June onwards as the country enjoys sunnier conditions. The warm weather this bank holiday weekend saw strawberry sales increase by 18% compared to the previous weekend.

Waitrose was ranked number one earlier this year in Greenpeace’s league table for its work to reduce single use plastics.


HLP Klearfold creates guide to recycling symbols

Ahead of World Environment Day this Saturday (5th June) HLP Klearfold, the world’s largest producer of innovative and environmentally friendly printed plastic/acetate packaging, has created a useful downloadable guide to the recycling symbols found on plastic packaging in the UK.

It comes after recent research by the company revealed that consumers across the UK want more advice and education around plastic packaging.

HLP Klearfold commissioned a report which used Comparative Linguistics Analysis (CLA) to help unpick the language, phraseology, topics and sentiment of millions of words of public conversations and content online.

The data found that people were 7.4 times more likely to reference the term ‘advice’ when commenting on plastic packaging in 2020 compared to in 2019 and 1.9 times more likely to reference the term ‘know’ (for example “just don’t know”) in commentary on plastic packaging over that same time frame.

The analysis also highlighted that people were uncertain about regulations on how things should be recycled (e.g. from local councils). With statements including “council advice is unclear” and “my present bugbear is the recycling advice on a lot of plastic packaging currently not recyclable”.

This new guide has been designed so consumers can easily identify the symbols, find out what they mean and discover whether products can be recycled or not.


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