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Recycling firm fined after illegally shipping old nappies and dog waste to China

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A recycling agent in Scotland has been fined £20,000 for illegally shipping 1,300 tonnes of household waste to China

Scottish recycling firm Saica Natur exported bales of used nappies, dog excrement and drinks cans from its plant in North Lanarkshire – but claimed the materials were “waste paper”.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency confirmed the finding and stated that it was the largest single illegal export of household waste from Scotland.

Saica Natur facility / Image: File

The environmental regulator discovered the breach during a routine audit of the facility

The Chief Executive of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency Terry A’Hearn stated that it was the most serious offence that officers had witnessed, adding he was concerned it could “create doubt in the public’s mind” that their recycling would be managed appropriately.

The illegal shipment was loaded inside 51 shipping containers and has been destined for recycling in China.

Sending waste paper directly do China isn’t normal operation for the Scottish recycling firm.

Normally, the company would send waste paper to a paper mill in Manchester, however a fire in June of 2016 meant capacity was reduced and paper was being exported abroad.

Recycling / Image: File

No tolerance for illegal waste

Saica Natur was fined £20,000 at Airdrie Sheriff Court on Tuesday have pled guilty to contraventions of waste shipment regulations on 21 September.

These regulations, set out by the European Commission, are designed to protect developing nations such as China who receive waste from developed countries from potential harms to the environment and health of the population.

Anthony Lucas is reporter, presenter and social media producer with ticker News. Anthony holds a Bachelor of Professional Communication, with a major in Journalism from RMIT University as well as a Diploma of Arts and Entertainment journalism from Collarts. He’s previously worked for 9 News, ONE FM Radio and Southern Cross Austerio’s Hit Radio Network. 

Climate

Could sperm be the answer to solve our plastic problem?

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A team of Chinese scientists have created an eco-friendly plastic made from salmon sperm

Single-use plastics are causing problematic issues for the environment and scientists around the world have been researching alternatives to help combat the world’s climate crisis, by tackling the plastic problem.

Dayong Yang and his team at Tianjin University wanted to create a material that solved these problems.

Strands of DNA from salmon sperm have been combined with a chemical from vegetable oil to create the substance known as hydrogel.

The hydrogel can form different shapes and freeze-dried to remove the moisture, which makes it solidify.

Researchers have already created a cup, puzzle pieces and a DNA molecule from the eco-friendly plastic

According to the team, the creation of DNA-based plastic produces 97 per cent fewer carbon emissions than polystyrene plastics.

Although, as reported in Euronews.green, the new material does have limitations.

It can be recycled using water alone, meaning that it needs to be kept dry.

Waterproof coatings could be added, but this would make it harder to recycle.

Therefore, researchers believe this could be more beneficial for electrical items that need to be dry and other forms of packaging 

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Climate

Adam Bandt: Beetaloo project a “massive climate problem”

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The Beetaloo basin project has been slammed by Australian Greens leader Adam Bandt, who says it will be a major climate problem for Australia

Greens leader Adam Bandt is now calling on the Labor party to prevent “climate crime” and help stop taxpayer-funded fracking in the Beetaloo Basin, telling ticker NEWS the project will will lift Australia’s emissions by 13 percent.

Bandt says the Greens view the Beetaloo debate as the nation’s first post-Glasgow test – with the party set to introduce a Senate motion on Wednesday to block the $50 million Beetaloo Cooperative Drilling Program.

“What part of no new coal and gas don’t Labor and Liberal understand?”

Bandt, says the crossbench had the numbers to pass the motion with Labor’s support.

Australia's government cops criticism over $50 million gas fund
Australia’s government cops criticism over $50 million gas fund

“Gas is as dirty as coal”

It comes after oil and gas giant Woodside confirmed its $16.5 billion Scarborough project in northwest Western Australia would go ahead, one Mr Bandt said would be responsible for “a billion tonnes of pollution”.

The Australian Federal Government says the Beetaloo project would create up to 6,000 new jobs.

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Qantas becomes first airline in the world to launch sustainable initiative for flyers

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Qantas A380

Qantas Frequent Flyers who make sustainable choices at home and when they travel will be rewarded under a new Green membership tier to roll out early next year

The Green tier will sit alongside existing flying tiers, and is designed to educate, encourage and reward the airline’s 13 million frequent flyers for everything from offsetting their flights, staying in eco-hotels, walking to work and installing solar panels at home.

Qantas will be the first airline in the world to reward frequent flyers for being more sustainable in the air and on the ground.

Members will need to complete at least five sustainable activities across six areas – flying, travel, lifestyle, sustainable purchases, reducing impact and giving back – each year to achieve Green tier status. Once achieved, members will be rewarded with benefits like bonus Qantas Points or status credits. These benefits will be in addition to the rewards they get under their existing flying status or as part of Points Club.

The initiative has been driven by feedback from frequent flyers, with research showing almost two-thirds want to be more aware of their impact on the environment and would like support in their efforts to be more sustainable.

While the program will not officially start until early next year, from today frequent flyers who offset their flights, home and car, install solar panels or make a contribution towards protecting the Great Barrier Reef will see these actions go towards meeting their sustainability target as part of attaining Green tier status.

Other environmentally friendly behaviours, like walking to work and contributing to the purchase of sustainable aviation fuel, which significantly reduces the emissions from flying, will also be rewarded after the program launches officially next year.

Qantas CEO, Alan Joyce said sustainability was set to become a core part of the Frequent Flyer program and of the national carrier’s approach more broadly.

“Our customers are concerned about climate change and so are we. There’s a lot of action we’re taking as an airline to reduce our emissions and that means we have the framework to help our customers offset and take other steps to reduce their own footprint.”

JOYCE SAID IN A STATEMENT.

How the programme will run:

From Friday November 26, members can offset their home and car emissions through the Qantas Frequent Flyer program, helping support high quality and verified carbon offset projects in Australia and around the world.

The investment from customers will see the airline, which is already one of the largest private sector buyers of Australian carbon credits, support more conservation and environmental projects.

Among those investments includes restoring local inland ecosystems, reforestation projects, Indigenous fire management projects in Arnhem Land and the development of wind farms in developing countries.

In practical terms, members can use a simple calculator on the Frequent Flyer website to estimate direct emissions from their home and car and choose to offset them for a year at a time.

Members earn 10 Qantas Points per $1 spent when they offset their home or car. The average annual cost to offset home energy for a family of four with two cars would be approximately $200 or 26,000 Qantas Points.

If just 100,000 frequent flyers offset their home and car emissions for a year, the initiative could see a reduction of more than 1 million tonnes of carbon – the same amount that would be saved from installing 170,000 rooftop solar panels.

This initiative complements Qantas’ existing Fly Carbon Neutral, which is the world’s leading offset program, with 11 per cent of customers on qantas.com offsetting their carbon emissions. Qantas matches customer contributions dollar for dollar.

These new initiatives for frequent flyers are an extension of the Qantas Group’s commitment to taking action on climate change and achieving net zero emissions from its own operations by 2050. Qantas was only the second airline in the world to commit to net zero emissions, back in 2019.

Qantas has four pillars that support its net zero target:

  • Working with governments and bioenergy providers on the development of sustainable aviation fuel production in Australia, which the Qantas Group has committed $50 million towards.
  • Investing in next generation and low emission aircraft, which reduce fuel burn.
  • Offsetting emissions by investing in high quality and verified projects.
  • Ongoing work to reduce fuel burn as part of day to day operations, including through smarter flight planning.

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