Friends of the Earth: Waste Services in London 'will Not Accept' Compostable Products

Single-use plastic products that claim to be 'compostable' may not be all they seem, according to campaigners.

Research from Friends of the Earth, an environmental charity, shows that five authoritiesfor dealing with waste in London (representing 25 boroughs) do not accept compostable packaging.

Three of the five waste authoritiessurveyed advised people to throw compostable items into the rubbish, rather than put them into the compost.

Emma Priestland, plastics campaigner at Friends of the Earth, explained: "According to advice [from the waste services] you would have to put compostable products in a normal bin.

"In an ideal situation, it would be placed with food waste," which is allowed to decompose in compostable bin bags.

However, the survey carried out shows waste authorities will not allow compostable plastic products such as coffee cups to remain with this waste, and will instead throw it into landfill.

In email correspondence seen by the Standard, West London Waste Authority confirmed: "Due to problems with identification and to avoid significant contamination, our advice is to compost suitable products through a home composting system or to dispose them into the residual bin."

North London Waste Authority echoed this response and said it did not accept compostable products amongst food waste because "it is difficult for us to identify them from contaminating non-compostable plastics."

South London Waste Partnership, Western Riverside Waste Authority and East London Waste Authority also confirmed compostable products were not left with food waste to avoid a risk of "contamination" of the compost.

Many of the authorities claimed a lack of communication from manufacturers of compostable products meant it was difficult to sort them correctly.

They explained that all compostable products must meet a safety regulation to ensure they can remain with food waste. Whereas food bin bags comply with this standard, waste services appear to be in the dark about whether or not other products are safe to compost.

A spokesman for the South London Waste Partnership said: "Retailers and manufacturers who introduce these new products and material may well have good intentions. But they're currently operating in a bubble.

"They really must start working more closely with the people who collect and treat household waste, to ensure the collection services and treatment infrastructure exist to cope with this new type of material and to handle it correctly.

"Otherwise, the widespread introduction of compostable plastics will only add complexity to a recycling system that many people already find confusing."

Ms Priestland said: "Alternatives to throwaway plastic cups, cutlery and food containers are urgently needed - but compostable products and packaging are not the simple solution that many people think."

She echoed the calls for manufacturers to work more closely with waste authorities, and suggested they should be forced to pay more towards the cost of "dealing with the waste they create."

Sandwich chain EAT. has said its research has suggested recyclable coffee cups, rather than compostable, will be preferable in future.

A spokesman confirmed:"At EAT. we are committed to sustainability and are always looking for ways to reduce our environmental footprint. Having assessed all the options and conducted trials we have concluded that recyclable cups are currently the best option.

"We have also been encouraged by the increasing number of customers bringing in their own re-usable cups, and we expect this trend to continue."

AMT Coffee, which has also started usingcompostable coffee cups, insisted the products can still break down in landfill.

A spokeswoman for the coffee chain said: "Our new bio-compostable cups are the best green option available at the moment in the market.

"Our cups will still breakdown completely even if it ends up in landfill, which we do not have control of with the current waste system in the UK, unlike the regular plastic lined coffee cups used by our competitors. We encourage our customers to dispose of their waste responsibly.

"We are always on the look out to improve our environmental impact and at the moment this is the best option available. If this changes and technology advances we will of course review our offering."

War on Christmas 2017: Fox News Asks If Starbucks Holiday Cups Are Pushing a "gay Agenda"
We're just settling into that dark blanket of panicked consumerism and repeat listenings of Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You" that is the holiday season. Proof positive of this is that familiar outlets have begunwonder aloud, again, if Starbucks is trying to destroy centuries of Christianity via insufficientlyfestive holiday cups - this time, in connection witha perceived effort to push the dreaded "gay agenda."You'll perhaps recall past instances of Starbucks attempting to undermine a two millennia-oldreligionfollowed by 2.2 billion people, once through paper coffee cups that used only green, abstract designs, oronce through cups that were simply all red. As The New York Times notes,a currentstandard bearer for the faith, President Donald J. Trump, assailed thesemi-progressivecorporationduring a campaign stop after its all-red cup came out in 2015 (this is your reminder that the 2016 campaign lasted two years)."I have one of the most successful Starbucks, in Trump Tower," said the then-candidate about the existential threat the coffeemaker presented for believers everywhere. "Maybe we should boycott Starbucks I don't know. Seriously, I don't care. That's the end of that lease, but who cares" He added, "If I become president, we're all going to be saying 'Merry Christmas' again, that I can tell you. That I can tell you."This year's three cups, far from being a simple sheath of holiday color, feature a busy illustrationin which two arms hold hands. It is not clear what genders the bodies attached these hands are supposed to be or what sort of combination thereof they comprise. As a spokesperson for Starbucks told the Times, "This year's hand-drawn cup features scenes of celebrating with loved ones - whoever they may be." The spokesperson added, "We intentionally designed the cup so our customers can interpret it in their own way, adding their own color and illustrations."And interpret they did.As the Times notes,some on the LGBT-advocacy sideperceive it as two men, two women or one or two trans individuals holding hands, which reaffirms Starbucks' efforts here.Naturally, some on the LGBT side are taking it a step further, claiming that their personal interpretation of the genderless appendages is necessarily the only one. As well, some are seeing a lesbian couple in an illustration of two women talking, featured in the announcement video for the new cup (cups have announcement videos these days).It is, of course, wonderful and important that people who are oftenunderrepresented in societycan see themselves in something as mundane (yet ubiquitous) as a paper coffee cup. Yet,sayingthese aredefinitively lesbian, gay or trans images is beside the point. They areopen ones that anyone can project themselves into. Here, all narratives gain equal standing. That Starbucks was able to create suchan open-ended designis a feat and a boon in and of itself.But because it's essentially its job,Fox Newswaded into this non-story in the ongoing Culture Wars. Pairing aBuzzfeed article that notedthat the image was not explicitly heterosexual, not explicitly cisgendered, with a couple of tweets, Fox News'website sold the whole mess as a report ona supposedly massive backlash against thecoffee purveyorfor trying tomake baby Jesus gay.Now, Fox News itself doesn't go very far into actually proving that there is a right-wing avalanche of criticism here. It offers a couple of tweets and not much else. As far as Salon can tell, there's notreally more out there in the way of red-state rage. Matter of fact, look into the comments on that same Fox News post and you'll see that many of the site's readers see the whole matter as a massive serving of nothingburger, be they there to support or slam the right-wing outlet.That Fox News tried so very hard to make this into a thing, however, says quite a lot about where it is and how desperately it misses its foremost fighter in the War on Christmas, Bill O'Reilly. He totally would have made something wonderful of this.Not that it matters, anyway: Everyone, even the hard right, knows coffee cups can't turn you gay. Soy, however . . .
10 Best Reusable Coffee Cups
"Single-use" was Collins Dictionary's word of the year for 2018 - and for good reason. It seems we're finally waking up to the impact that single-use plastic is having on the planet, with documentaries such as David Attenborough's Blue Planet II serving as a rallying cry for us to clean up our act.Takeaway coffee cups form a significant part of the problem. While you may assume that they're recyclable, most single-use coffee cups contain a thin plastic lining.In fact, according to Paul Morozzo, a political campaigner for Greenpeace, the UK throws away 2.5 billion coffee cups each year and less than 1 per cent of these are recycled.He says: "Switching to a reusable coffee cup is a great way to cut your plastic footprint, and lots of businesses now offer discounts to customers who do this - so it's win-win." To help you on your way, we've tried out a wide range of reusable coffee cups and chosen the best on the market.We tested each product on the go over several days, assessing leakproofness, portability, the materials used and whether it kept our coffee hotter for longer.Our final pick ranges from sturdy flask-like models to those designed to look and function like your traditional takeaway cup.Here's our top 10:You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formd from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.The rCup is pretty unique. It's the brainchild of pioneering eco product-design company ashortwalk and environmental consultancy Nextex, and its outer, thermal layer is made entirely from used coffee cups. The companies have developed a hardy resin they call NextCupCycle, which is born from both the plastic and the thick paper of throwaway cups.The final result is the rCup: a sleek, reusable cup with a push-close seal and capacity for 360° drinking. It's also purported to be 100 per cent leak proof, a claim we found to be true regardless of any amount of jiggling in transit. Our coffee was warm enough to drink an hour after pouring too.The rCup is dishwasher safe, 100 per cent recyclable and free of BPA (that's bisphenol A, an industrial chemical that's often used in plastics and that can potentially release harmful toxins). The brand will also replace worn or damaged seals for free.Choose between a 227ml or 340ml cup with a teal, mustard or pink lid, and a black or cream body. All round, it's a reliable option with impressive eco credentials.Buy now Straightforward but effortlessly chic, Frank Green's offering sits somewhere between a small flask and a more traditional cup.While there's now a stainless-steel option available, the Aussie brand's original cup is made from a recyclable co-polymer, that's free of both BPA and BPS (another potentially harmful chemical) and is comfortingly robust. We found the push button on top to be a little stiff, but that's a small compromise given the cup kept our coffee hot for more than five hours. There were no leaks either, even when it was laid sideways at the bottom of a backpack - just remember to screw the lid on tight and make sure the drinking hole is clicked closed.If you're a design fiend, you'll love the fact that your cup is customisable. Decide between a 230ml or 340ml product and combine colours such as nude rose and harbour mist grey for an up-to-date look. This one's ideal for eco warriors with a keen sense of style.Buy now Hydro Flask is on a self-professed mission to "save the world from the lukewarm". They promise to keep your coffee piping hot and your cool beverages ice-cold for up to 6 hours and 24 hours respectively. Indeed, we found our coffee was warm enough to drink come 3pm, even though we made it just before 9am. Despite its hot contents, the flask's body remained cool to the touch.Hydro Flask's secret is the use of pro-grade stainless steel and a double-wall vacuum design that maintains the temperature of your drink. The lid (dubbed the Hydro flip lid) has a mechanism that can be easily clicked open and shut with one hand, and we found it didn't spill a drop when on the go.Design-wise, it's smart and fuss free. There's a rainbow of 11 colours available, from Lemon yellow to Pacific blue, and you can opt for a size of 354ml, 473ml or 592ml (roughly corresponding to small, medium and large in an average coffee shop). It's also BPA free and not too heavy considering its robustness. A dependable option whatever your lifestyle.Buy now A concept from cookware giant Tefal, this smart travel mug scores highly for its ability to lock in heat. Our coffee was still warm some six hours after we filled it up (Tefal promises four) and our cold drink remained chilly all day too. It's the mixture of stainless steel and soft BPA-free silicone that keeps your brew toasty.You open and close the cup by a simple button on the top, which allows for 360° drinking. Given its sturdiness, the cup is little heavier than some other products tested, but still light enough to carry around without too much fuss. It delivered on its claim to be "100 per cent leak-proof" too.Coming in plain black, blue or red, it's not quite as easy on the eye as some of the other products tested - but what it lacks in aesthetics, it makes up for with sheer quality. This is a practical, no-frills option from a trusted brand.Buy now While every product on this list has green credentials, Ecoffee's cup goes the extra mile. It's made from the fibre of "naturally organic" bamboo which, according to the brand, is the "world's fastest-growing, most sustainable crop". It's free of BPA and phthalates (another kind of chemical) and is completely biodegradable.Though not as leakproof as some other models, the lid is secure, modelled on a traditional takeaway cup, and its soft material makes it comfortable to drink from. Our coffee had cooled within the hour, but the product's light weight and grippable heat sleeve means it's ideal to carry in one hand and drink from on the go.It gets points for style too. You could go for a bold block colour, from eye-popping orange "Mrs Mills" to bright turquoise "Inca", or patterns range from florals to polka dots. Our favourite design is 'Like, totally!' (pictured) with its geometric flowers and rosy pink lid and heat sleeve. Ecoffee Cups are available in 250ml, 340ml, 400ml and 475ml.Buy now As the name suggests, the KeepCup brew range was created with coffee drinkers in mind. It's made from durable, tempered soda-lime glass and its leak-proof design means you can pop it in your bag while travelling (we're pleased to report no spillages).The lid has a nifty "twist and click" plug: a moveable part turns to reveal a small drinking hole, and it can be slipped back into position and snapped shut when you're on the move. Our coffee stayed warm enough to drink for about an hour.The silicone heat sleeve is fixed well, and fully protects your hands from the glass, which can become pretty hot when your coffee is just brewed. The sleeve is also BPA and BPS free.KeepCup has a huge range of products, and you can design your own bespoke cup by mixing and matching the colour of the lid, plug and sleeve. Size options are 227ml or 340ml. A good-value pick.Buy now According to its makers, this simple, stylish cup was designed for "optimistic drinkers and half-full thinkers". It's crafted from thick hand-blown glass, meaning it's hardwearing and also 100 per cent chemical free, so it won't impair the taste of your brew. Sol cups are also microwave and dishwasher safe.A word of warning: the glass becomes extremely hot when your coffee is first poured, but a silicone sleeve keeps your hands protected and adds a pop of colour too. The matching lid snaps on firmly, but is not leak-proof. If you want to slip your cup in your bag, though, you can buy a little waterproof pouch for it - the pouch's silicone interior is waterproof, protecting your things from any remaining dregs of coffee.Pickbetween a 236ml, 354ml or 473 ml cup and 13 tasteful colour options. The attractive box it arrives in means this one makes a lovely gift too.Buy now FOSH, an acronym that stands for "for our sea's health", is dedicated to mitigating the harmful impact single-use plastic has on our oceans. Their stainless-steel coffee cup uses vacuum technology to keep your drinks at their desired temperature, and we found our steaming coffee was still hot enough to drink four hours later.The lid snaps on and off and you drink from a small opening, much like a traditional takeaway cup. Sadly, given this opening, the design isn't leak proof, so it's not one to toss in your backpack. But the 454ml product is perfect for carrying on short journeys, or for sitting upright on your desk after your morning-coffee dash.FOSH's BPA-free coffee cups have style as well as substance too. Creative designs range from a marble effect to a striking graffiti print, while a durable powder coating means they'll stay in tip-top condition. A thoroughly worthwhile investment.Buy now EKOBO has many eco-friendly products in its portfolio, and the brand's reusable coffee cup stands up to the market leaders. It's not spill-proof, and it doesn't keep your coffee hot for much longer than a takeaway cup would, but it deserves recognition for its eco-friendly materials and its elegant design.The cup itself is made from natural bamboo fibre, while the neat silicone top is BPA and phthalate free. The lid can also double up as a coaster once you're settled at your final destination. Its material also means it's tough and the cup's outside is not too hot to touch, even when it's filled with just-brewed coffee. You can pop it in the dishwasher, but keep it out of the microwave.The minimalist designs come in four solid colours: orange-red, yellow, black and off-white, the bamboo's natural colour. If you fancy, pair your new cup with EKOBO's Bento lunch box, which is also made from bamboo fibre.Buy now The aptly named Pokito cup is a winner if you're short on space since it collapses right down to a third of its fully extended size. Depending on your coffee order you can pop your cup up into a range of volumes: 230ml, intended for an espresso, 475ml or the full-size 350ml.The built-in insulation kept our coffee warm for just over an hour, and the spill-proof lid twists on firmly. The slightly fanned base means the cup is near impossible to tip over, and it's extra light too.Both the cup's soft, adjustable body and its harder base, heat sleeve and lid are made from recyclable materials that are BPA free and also dishwasher safe. This is the ultimate in convenience and sustainability.Buy now If you're after a design that replicates the look and feel of your regular takeaway coffee cup - but without the harmful impact on the environment - ashortwalk's rCup delivers. It's also light, leakproof, and we love that it's made from otherwise non-recyclable single-use coffee cups. If you need something that will keep your coffee hot for hours, plump for either the Hydro Flask coffee or the Frank Green original reusable cup IndyBestproduct reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.
Ottawa Gives Plastics Giant $35m Grant Despite Commitment to Reduce Use of Single-use Plastics
OTTAWA-The Liberal government gave $35 million to a chemical company that makes plastic resins just one day before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to use Canada's G7 presidency to get other nations to commit to reducing or phasing out single-use plastics.The grant to Nova Chemicals was announced in late January as part of the Strategic Innovation Fund, a $1.26-billion, five-year business growth measure that was unveiled in last year's federal budget.The investment is meant to encourage research and development and "secure a long-term commitment to the company's Joffre, Alta., research and development centre," said Karl Sasseville, a spokesperson for Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains."More specifically, Nova Chemicals is using innovative technologies to produce cleaner resources and less undesirable byproducts stemming from production," Sasseville wrote in an email."This could mean making products like plastic food packaging stronger and more easily recyclable. This innovation could also be used in products and applications such as small appliances, automobiles, solvents and food and cosmetic additives." According to a Jan. 23 news release from the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada, the money is also going towards Nova Chemicals' $2.2-billion expansion plan in Sarnia, Ont., including a new polyethylene facility and expansion of an existing ethylene facility.Ethylene is one of the main substances in polyethylene; the expanded plant will allow Nova Chemicals to produce 431,000 additional tonnes of polyethylene a year.Nova Chemicals did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday.Polyethylene is the world's most common plastic material. It is largely used to make plastic bags, food wrap and containers such as water and soda bottles, as well as plastic pails, pipes and bins.An estimated 8 million tonnes of plastic garbage ends up in the world's oceans each year, with single-use plastic food containers among the biggest culprits.A day after the grant was made public, Trudeau hosted a roundtable at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, with the heads of multinationals and several international environment activists and academics.There, he promised Canada would use its year as president of the G7 nations to get the world to address the issue of plastic pollution in the oceans."The other big issue we would very much like to highlight and get the global community to show more leadership on is oceans protection, particularly around plastics and pollution," Trudeau said at the start of that meeting.Later that same day, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said Canada was looking at getting the other members of the G7 to sign a plastics pledge to commit to reducing the amount of plastic that ends up in the ocean.Plastic is often found in the stomachs of marine life; turtles and fish can mistake it for food. McKenna has tweeted repeatedly about the issue in recent days, linking to a Jan. 26 article about the impact of plastic garbage on ocean reefs.Just last week, she responded to a discussion about plastic-lined coffee cups by saying, "Eliminating single use plastics is critical!" Keith Stewart, senior energy strategist for Greenpeace Canada, said it's hard to believe Canada's commitment to reducing ocean plastics when it's providing multimillion-dollar grants to the companies that make them."So limiting single-use plastics gets tweets and producing more of them gets $35 million," said Stewart. "We really should be trying to ban the use of disposable plastics and find better alternatives." Greenpeace has a number of campaigns to convince people to reduce or eliminate their use of single-use plastics such as polypropylene drinking straws and disposable water bottles.Britain's royal family gave the idea a boost this week when Buckingham Palace announced a ban on plastic straws, bottles and non-biodegradable containers at all royal estates, including public cafes at royal residences and staff dining rooms."You know you're getting somewhere when the Queen is on side," said Stewart.Canada has no current plans for a ban or limits on the use of plastic in federal government buildings or official residences, said a spokesperson for Treasury Board President Scott Brison, who oversees a government strategy to focus on recycling and composting.
Jack Knox: From Catwalk to Landfill: Journey of Disposable Wear
News item: Fashion-conscious British Columbians are clogging landfills with discarded clothing."Is that a new shirt?" she asked."Yes," I replied brightly. "I bought it on Satur...""WHY NOT JUST RAM AN ORCA WITH AN OIL TANKER INSTEAD, YOU EARTH-MURDERING MONSTER?!" Just kidding. That didn't happen. For one thing, I haven't chosen my own wardrobe since Mulroney was prime minister. Most days I don't even dress myself ("You're not going out looking like that, are you?" "Of course not. These are just my car-warming clothes. Please remind me of what I wanted to wear.") Nor do I chuck garments in the trash - not out of any sense of environmental responsibility, but because it would simply never occur to me to do so. Fashion be damned, once I wear an article of clothing, the two of us have a till-death-do-us-part relationship, bonded like Trump and Cohen until one of us turns to dust. Ifsomething I own ever shows up in Value Village, you can be pretty sure it's only there because I had something nicer to be buried in. Istill have a souvenir T-shirt that someone sent me from the 1986Gorbachev-Reagan summit in Reykjavik.Maybe it's a generational thing. Comox Valley humourist Harold Macy once wrote a piece in which he chronicled the life cycle of his grandfather's blue denim overalls: "Annually, he bought a new pair, stiff as boards, which he initially saved for church. After a few months, they became his house pair. Eventually, they were worn at the shop, on the tractors and in the barn doing the chores he loved. After a year or so on this duty, they were fit only for wipe rags. Grandma made quilt squares from the few sections that were not threadbare, grease stained or soiled by animals." Contrast that approach with what they're seeing in the Lower Mainland, where the dump deluge is so great that the Metro Vancouver regional district launched a campaign this past week to lower the mountain of clothing piling up in the landfill. For whatever reason - fickleness of fashion, consumer culture, the low cost of T-shirts sewn by nine-year-old fingers in 10-cent-an-hour sweatshops - Canadians go through clothing like TMZ goes through Kardashians, buying three times as many clothes as we did in the 1980s.More than half of the trendy fast-fashion garments we buy have the shelf life of a White House staffer, are disposed of in less than a year, says Metro Vancouver. It estimates clothing makes up half of the 20 million kilograms of textiles - that's five per cent of everything in the dump -- trashed there annually. Here in the capital region, the figure is just under six per cent. That's 21 kilograms of textiles per person, piling up in the Hartland Landfill.That highlights a broader reality: As much as we like to think of ourselves as enlightened and green, the typical Canadian churns out more trash than the National Enquirer. We might talk like David Suzuki, but we walk like Goliath. In 2013, the Conference Board of Canada calculated we produce more garbage per capita than anyone else on Earth, 2.7 kilograms a day.Think of how much junk you take for granted, and how recently it came into your life. The normal we grew up with is not, in fact, normal. Most of the disposable items we now take for granted became popular only in the past few decades.The first Heinz ketchup packet was bitten open in 1968. The disposable Bic lighter first flickered in 1973, around the same time the company introduced its disposable razor. The U.S. went from 350,000 tons of disposable diapers in 1970 to 1.9 million tons in 1980; they take up to 450 years to decompose, just like Christmas cake or memories of the Mark Messier-era Canucks.The plastic shopping bags we're trying to get rid of weren't widely used in grocery stores until the mid-1980s. Paper-poly coffee cups took off shortly after that. The cardboard coffee-cup sleeve wasn't invented until 1991. The little splash sticks that Starbucks uses to block the hole in the lid arrived in 2008. BTW,the Recycling Council of B.C. estimates Canadians go through 1.6 billion single-use coffee cups each year (yes, you can throw them in the recycling, but no, you don't).On and on it goes. Every time you buy fast food, it comes wrapped up like a Christmas present. Globally, we use a million plastic water bottles each minute, 91 per cent of which aren't recycled, says Forbes magazine. Just last month, Justin Trudeau threw out a perfectly good attorney general.Why are we in such a hurry to trash the planet? Keep your shirton.
Carlsberg CEO Says Food Packaging Reuse Is One of Most Effective Steps to More Sustainable Future
Reusing food packaging, like recycling paper cups, is one of the most effective steps towards a more sustainable future, the chief executive of Carlsberg has said.Speaking to The Independent , Cees't Hart said that, as head of one of the world's biggest brewers, he "lives by the mantra of reduce, reuse, recycle and rethink"."I think we need all four to succeed. We are pushing the limits for what the future of packaging will look like and think the future holds great opportunities in that respect," he said.Carlsberg has been deeply committed to reducing its environmental impact. In June last year it launched a campaign to crack down on its carbon footprint and water waste.At the end of last year it announced that its Falkenberg brewery in Stockholm was being fuelled 100 per cent by biogas and green electricity. Separately, it said that nine of its sites in China had converted from coal to cleaner energy sources. Overall, 46 per cent of the electricity that Carlsberg uses now comes from renewables and it is striving for a 100 per cent rate by 2022.Asked what he thinks is the biggest challenge companies like Carlsberg face when it comes to enhancing sustainability, Mr Hart said that corporations have "overcome the first hurdle when [they] see that sustainability is not a hurdle at all"."At Carlsberg sustainability is really a part of our purpose and we have incrementally improved our performance for years," he said. He also pointed out that Carlsberg - based in Denmark and famous for brands like Tuborg, Kronenbourg 1664, and Somersby ciders - has seen a 16 per cent reduction in carbon emissions and a 6 per cent reduction in water use at its breweries since 2015.The CEO said that the responsibility for ensuring that corporates and individuals commit to a more environmentallyfriendly way of life has to be shared."With the Paris Agreement and the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, there is a common focus for governments and businesses. Businesses are key to achieving these goals, and I think we and several other companies are showing that we are willing to make real progress today. And not in the distant future," he said. But he also added that the world needs "high ambitions and leadership" and "people willing to deliver on the ambitions".One motivation for business leaders to rise to the challenge of creating a more sustainable company, he said, might be that shareholders and customers are changing their attitude towards ethical issues like sustainability."We are increasingly seeing interest from all sides. From consumers, from employees and from investors. Not to mention our customers. Employees want to work for a business that does the right thing, and investors want a more resilient business. We can deliver both - at the same time," he said.Earlier this year, MPs called for drastic action to tackle the UK's mountain of unrecycled disposable coffee cups, demanding a new 25p tax on every one used - a move backed by The Independent through its Cut the Cup Waste campaign.
Starbucks Pilots Greener Coffee Cup That's Recyclable and Compostable
Starbucksannounced Wednesdayit will pilotnew greener to-go cupsthis year in Vancouver that will be both recyclable and compostable.Vancouver will join New York, San Francisco, Seattle and London to trial different cup options that will bechosen from the NextGen Cup Challenge winners that were announced earlier this month."We know how important this issue is to Canadians," said Michael Conway, executive vice president and president of Starbucks Canada in a media release. "We're committed to being a part of the solution.I'm excited and proud that our customers in Vancouver will be among the first to sip coffee from a greener to-go cup."In addition to the greener cups, the coffee company will roll out new recyclable strawless lids to stores across North America beginning in Toronto. Customers may have already seen strawless lids at select locations but the new lid has been redesigned to be more lightweight. Should paper coffee cups come with a recycling fee?This new lid will have nine per cent less plastic than the current lid and straw. Straws will continue to be available to customers upon request.Progress plans for both initiatives will be revealed at the company's annual shareholders meeting Wednesday.Making recycling to-go cups a realityStarbucks initiated the NextGen Consortium managed by Closed Loop Partners last spring to launch the NextGen Cup Challenge- a challenge to redesign the paperto-go cup to make packaging more environmentally sustainable.The 12winners of the challenge were chosen at the end of last month. One of the categories of the competition was to create innovative cup liners so thatcoffee to-go cups can in fact be compostable and recyclable."Directionally they're moving in the right spot. But it's easy to confuse consumers saying that this is good enough," Calvin Lakhan, a research scientist at York University said. "There's still a lot more room to grow."Current coffee to-go cups are made with paper but are lined with polyethylene plastic or wax making themdifficult to recycle in most jurisdictions.Coffee cups among many items you actually can't recycle, city saysFootprintis a sustainable packaging company in the U.S. and one of the 12 winners of the challenge. According to Starbuckswho announced the winners on their website last month, Footprint"creates cups, lids and straws that are fully-formed fiber based solutions, with an aqueous-based coating that is recyclable and compostable."In addition to Starbucks, Mcdonalds is also one of the lead partners of the consortium including the Coca Cola Company, Yum! Brands, Nestle and Wendy's as supporting partners.The challenge is part of the consortium's $10 million commitment to advance food packaging design.Starbucks isn't the first company to announce changes to their cups in efforts to reduce its ecological footprint.Tim Hortons announced last year that certain locations have begun piloting environmentally friendly lids that are also designed to prevent leaking.Tim Hortons hopes to rebuild its brand with better lid, new marketing campaignLakhan said companies and consumers should be looking at more reusable options. He suggests that instead of consumers buying a new cup every single day, they should bring a reusable cup.Starbucks Canada currently offers customers a 10-cent discount to any customer who brings a reusable cup or tumbler to a company-owned store."If you can bring in your cups that's ten times better for the environment than buying something that has made a marginal change in its composition," Lakhan said."Reuse should always be what we're aiming for when it comes to sustainable coffee."
STATE OF THE ART; More Megapixels for the Money
A LOAF of bread, a jug of wine and thousands of other consumer items: sooner or later, inflation will hit all of them. In one funny little corner of the economic universe, however, that law doesn't apply. It's consumer technology, where prices head ever downward even as power and features improve.Two years ago, this column explored a critical holiday-season question: How much digital camera can $300 buy?The answer was a two-megapixel model (for 5-by-7-inch printouts, tops). Some cameras could show your photos on TV, some could capture jittery movies, some could shoot super close-ups in macro mode, but no one camera offered all of these goodies.To find out just how far we've come in 24 months, I challenged Canon, Casio, Fuji, Hewlett-Packard, Kodak, Kyocera, Minolta, Olympus, Pentax, Samsung and Sony to name their best 2003 cameras with street prices under $300, and then compared the choices.The surprising result is that two years in the great Cuisinart of consumer feedback have puréed most of the eccentricities right out of digital cameras. Looking over their specs, you'd conclude that their makers all worked off photocopies of the same feature list. Except as noted, every model has 3.2-megapixel resolution (enough for spectacular 8-by-10 prints), a 3X zoom lens and a 1.5-inch color screen on the back, a selection of shooting modes (sports, nighttime and so on), a self-timer, a flash, a TV connection, rudimentary digital movies with sound and even a microphone for adding voice annotations to photos. And they're all silver.Most models now take AA batteries instead of expensive, proprietary bricks that, when spent, end your shooting for the day. Not that you'd ordinarily use alkaline AA's, which die in a digicam faster than you can say ''Neveready.'' No, you should use AA nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH) rechargeables, which last much longer. But you'll rest (or shoot) easy, knowing that in an emergency a set of drugstore alkalines will buy you another 15 minutes.So what's left to distinguish digital cameras these days? Mainly size and shape -- ''form factor,'' as the camera companies put it. (Then again, these are the same people who say they're going to ''incentivize you'' to buy their ''impactful photographic solutions.'')For example, if cameras were coffee cups, you'd get barely a sip out of Minolta's amazingly engineered, ultrathin brushed-metal Dimage XT ($290). You've seen slices of Wonder Bread thicker than this camera.So where's the zoom lens on a camera four-fifths of an inch thick? Minolta put it entirely inside the camera, mounted vertically. A prism bends the light inside. As a bonus, you don't have to wait for the lens to extend every time you turn on the camera. The pictures are great; unfortunately, there's room only for a proprietary battery that won't make it through a day of typical shooting.Minolta must have gasped when it saw the new Pentax Optio 33WR ($290). It, too, is a small, thin slab with an internal zoom. The twist is that this camera is ruggedized and water-resistant. You can't scuba dive with it, but you can frolic in saltwater and sand, rinse it under the faucet, and live to shoot another day.Other offbeat Pentax perks include an alarm clock and a time-lapse mode. Still, experienced shutterbugs might miss some of the finer engineering niceties of the Minolta, like quick startup times, aperture-priority mode (for sharp subjects, soft-blurred backgrounds) and shutter-priority mode (to freeze sports action or blur babbling brooks).Once you're out there shooting in the rain, by the way, don't be surprised to see your buddies using the similarly weatherproof, ultracompact, extremely gorgeous Olympus Stylus 300 ($250).Alas, this 2002 model is an aging beauty at this point. It captures only silent movies, offers few manual controls and stores its photos on XD memory cards, an expensive, proprietary Olympus-Fuji format that doesn't fit into printers, palmtops or card readers without an adapter.Sony's DSC-P8 ($300), another diminutive gadget, is one of the few cameras to offer continuous auto-focus, which can be invaluable when you're tracking a moving target. And if you're into using your still camera as a crude camcorder -- that is, with no zooming or self-adjusting exposure during a shot -- this is the camera to get. It can capture 640-by-480-pixel video, big enough to fill your TV, and the movie length is limited only by the size of the memory card. (The P8 accepts Sony's Memory Stick Pro cards, which are available to the affluent in sizes up to one gigabyte.) You even get a focus-assist lamp, which lets the autofocus work even in dim light, where other cameras would flounder.Future Ansel Adamses should note that you can't set aperture-or shutter-priority mode. Otherwise, the biggest sacrifice with this little gem is the proprietary battery, which conks out after about 70 minutes.At the opposite extreme of the size-and-shape scale is the Fuji FinePix S3000 ($300), whose chunky shape suggests a shrunken 35-millimeter film camera. Its standout feature is a 6X zoom lens. With this baby, you can do more than just take pictures of the school play; you can inspect the costumes for lint.The S3000's other unusual feature is an electronic viewfinder. When you peer through the eyepiece, you don't see through the camera. Instead, you see a second, internal L.C.D. screen, which guarantees that what you snap is what you framed.It's too bad about the S3000's downsides: a detachable lens cap to fuss with, bulk that won't fit into a pants pocket, only silent movies and those pricey, incompatible XD memory cards.Speaking of oddball designs, on the Kyocera Finecam L3V ($290), instead of a squinty little 1.5-inch screen on the back you get a relatively vast, bright, antiglare 2.5-inch display. (Remember, these are diagonal measurements, so that's a huge difference.) Instead of hooking up your camera to a TV, you can practically get away with setting this big brilliant screen on the mantelpiece.Too bad the super-size screen is this pony's one trick. You don't get aperture- or shutter-priority modes. Movies cower in a corner of the otherwise black screen. And in the time it takes the L3V to get ready for a shot, your adorable child will not only have moved on to a different pose, but probably have gotten married and had children.This roundup's two American entries -- the hefty HP Photosmart 735 ($250) and Kodak EasyShare DX 6340 ($290) -- won't pass any wind-tunnel tests. Yet they offer a simplicity and clarity that make their rivals look cryptic indeed. For example, when you change settings, only these cameras' screens say ''Flash Off'' or ''Sports Mode,'' rather than displaying icons the size of atoms. Similarly, these are the only cameras that tell you how many more pictures your memory card can hold.These are slow, steady cameras, apparently geared for people whose vision is going. (Not only is the Kodak the only camera with diopter adjustment -- a focusing knob on the eyepiece for people who wear glasses -- but the first topic in its manual is: ''Need This Guide in Larger Print?'') Yet apart from their boxy design, you sacrifice very little; the Kodak even offers aperture- and shutter-priority modes.Canon's A70 ($255) is also ungainly-looking. Still, it's hard to find fault with a camera that offers quick startup and shot-to-shot times, shoots crisply as close as two inches away, accepts auxiliary lenses, offers every manual control, includes a low-light focus-assist lamp (for auto-focusing in dim light) and takes sensational photos. Unlike its rivals, it can even capture 640-by-480-pixel movies, big enough to fill your TV screen (although you get only 30 seconds per scene at that size).No, this camera won't pass for a tiny, gleaming fashion accessory. It's more like that unattractive guy from high school who grew up to be a witty, brainy, genius millionaire.The Samsung Digimax V3 has an average-size, average-looking capsule design whose defining characteristics are all internal. Samsung starts you off with a 32-megabyte memory card, for example, and it's equally generous with the different ways you can power this camera: AA's, CRV3's, or even an optional ''brick'' battery. And compared with the muffled tinniness of its competitors, the built-in speaker sounds like James Earl Jones with a megaphone. The plastic controls feel just the tiniest bit cheap. But you'd be hard pressed to find a camera with this many features (including all manual controls) at a price like $230.The only camera that might outdo Samsung in sheer jaw-dropping value is Casio's QV-R40 ($240), the only four-megapixel camera in this batch. (That means you can print 13-by-19-inch prints, or make smaller prints with the luxury of trimming away unwanted background or family members.) It's not only tiny, but fast: hit the power button and it's ready to shoot in one second, a handy bonus for anyone with children, pets or a train to catch.As usual, Casio offers BestShot, a foolproof menu of illustrated shooting situations (Fireworks, Candlelight Portrait, and so on) that makes all the manual settings automatically, if that makes any sense. And just when you thought this model couldn't get any more irresistible, it even comes with a set of rechargeable NiMH AA's and a charger.In short, there's a terrific camera in here somewhere for just about every sort of shutterbug, including the technophobe (the Kodak), the style maven (the Minolta), the outdoorsy types (Pentax), the quality diva (Canon) and the bargain hunter (Casio and Samsung).In any case, your dollar goes much farther than it did two years ago. In fact, only one thing should stop you from jumping on these superb offerings: contemplating how much better and cheaper they'll be in 2005.
Starbucks' Holiday Cups Cause Controversy with Alleged ...
Starbucks' 2017 holiday cups are drawing a lot of attention after a BuzzFeed News reporter suggested the design has a "gay agenda."In addition to featuring hearts, presents and a Christmas tree, the design showcases two people holding hands. BuzzFeed News reporter Venessa Wong suggested that Starbucks' commercial for the cups also features two women holding hands, possibly drawing a connection between the two."While people who follow both Starbucks holiday cup news and LGBT issues celebrated the video, the ordinary Starbucks customer probably didn't realize the cup might have a gay agenda," Wong wrote.While Starbucks did not confirm or deny to BuzzFeed that the hands in question belong to people of the same sex, it did release the following statement: "Each year during the holidays we aim to bring our customers an experience that inspires the spirit of the season, and we will continue to embrace and welcome customers from all backgrounds and religions in our stores around the world."The company also respondedto a customer complimenting the company for featuring a lesbian couple in its design, tweeting it was "happy" the customer liked the new campaign.According to Starbucks' press release about the cups, the design also includes a pair of hands holding red coffee cups at the bottom to give a slight nod to cup designs of years past. It also features ribbons and green and red colors to symbolize the holidays."I like the idea of hands at the center point, a symbol of connection, love and giving joy,"Jordan Kay, the illustrator of this year's cups from Starbucks' Creative Studio, said in a press release. "Whether it's wrapping presents or decorating a tree, writing cards or enjoying a mug of cocoa."Leann Fremar, executive creative director for Starbucks, also said, "This year's cup is intentionally designed to encourage our customers to add their own color and illustrations. We love the idea of everyone making this year's cup their own."The theme of this year's holiday campaign is "Give Good.""Giving Good can be as small as someone opening the door for you or recognizing the people that enrich your life-your child's teacher, a caregiver, a family friend," Fremar added. "The holidays are a time to celebrate all the good we give to each other and our community."Starbucks debuted its first holiday cup in 1997 with its red cup.For more celebrity news, watch E! News at 7 and 11 p.m.
Quebec's Green Party Proposes Deposit System for Reusable 'to-go' Coffee Cups
The Green Party of Quebec is proposing a provincewide strategy to eliminate disposable coffee cups by replacing them with a deposit system for reusable ones."Anybody who buys a coffee would be able to get it in a reusable cup and would receive a reusable cup in exchange for a deposit," said Green Party Leader Alex Tyrrell told CBC Montreal's Daybreak Tuesday."In much the same way we have with bottles, they could drink their coffee and then bring their cup back and they could get a refund for their deposit."The deposit, he said, would be around $2 or $3 and it would be for a universal coffee cup that would be used by all businesses that sell coffee to go across the province.By making businesses use a universal cup, customers wouldn'thave to bring their reusable mug back to the same coffee shop or franchise to get a refill or their money back.This methodallows coffee drinkers to still buy hot beverages spontaneously without having to cart around their travel mug all day, he explained.Indie caféowners hopefulDominique Jacques, the co-owner of Melk Coffee Bar on Monkland Avenue in the Notre-Dame-de-Grce neighbourhood, said he doesn't know how to avoid using disposable coffee cups."I don't have a solution and I'm actively looking for one," he said."I feel stuck."Jacques said that whatever the Green Party proposes, he thinks big chains like Starbucks or McDonald's will have to adopt the new policiesfor them to work.At the independent coffee shop Cafe 92 on Sherbrooke Street West, managerMarie Paquettesaid they've been giving out reusable mugs, but that customers aren't being charged."If we started charging people with it, it would just discourage them instead of encouraging people," Paquette said.Single-use cups used by Canadians annuallyThe cup program, Tyrrell said, could be expanded to anything from meat packaging to utensils as the Green Party aimsto eliminate all plastic and paper waste in the food and beverage industry by the year 2030.According to the non-profit organization Zero Waste Canada, 14 billion cups of coffee are consumed in Canada every year, 35 per centof which aretaken to go- mostly in the form of single-use cups.Tyrrell said"people are [using] an average of 250 disposable coffee cups per year. We're talking about 1.5 billion cups per year across the province and they're not recyclable."Industry expected to push back against plan"It's a way to really eliminate the millions and millions of disposable coffee cups that end up in the landfill because they're not recyclable," he said.The proposed reusable cup would come in a variety of sizes, Tyrrell said, and a design competition would be held to decide on the best material and most efficient shape.Protests from the industry would be expected, Tyrrell noted, as the larger companies currently operate with very little to no sustainable practices. Many, he added, don't even have recycling."The restaurants would have to install the systems to be able to wash the cups and be able to handle them," he said, adding businesses would save on the cost of buying disposable cups."We expect a certain amount of pushback from them, but I think that's the role of the government to regulate certain industries, especially when they're using huge amounts of resources unnecessarily."This is a way to crack down on waste without impacting people's lifestyle too much, he said, noting there would be public consultation on the issues.The consultations would give industry leaders and citizens an opportunity to give input, he said."Change is always a little bit difficult," Tyrrell said. "Especially when there are stakeholders who have builthuge and profitable businesses onunsustainable practices."Correction : A previous version of this story stated that Canadians throw away 14 billion single-use cups every year. In fact, Canadians drink 14 billion cups of coffee every year, not necessarily from a single-use cup.(Aug 08, 2018 4:39 PM)
Housework Help: a Messy Girl's Guide to Cleaning Your Home
It's rare to find a person who actually looks forward to taking on housework. Over the week, tasks add up very quickly and it can feel daunting to take on such a large list. As a creative individual who houses three rescue cats, I thrive in organized chaos. My desk is always covered in papers, empty coffee cups, paints, books and at least one cat.According to a national survey conducted by polling firm Research & Incite for home-cleaning product manufacturer Vileda Canada, 64 per cent of Canadians prefer to clean their homes by themselves 71 per cent of women and 56 per cent of men. And while I commend those individuals on their ability to perform household tasks alone, I prefer to split the chores with my partner.Over the years I've developed a system that helps me do housework so that I am in control of the situation. I constantly experiment with ways to simplify my house-cleaning routine and while not all methods will appeal to everyone, they might make your large lists feel a bit more feasible.To keep your home clean with minimal effort, it's best to simplify as much as possible.Naturally, having fewer items makes it easier to clean and put things away, but it's not always possible to let some items go. Most of us keep collections of trinkets of sentimental value, and items from our travels. I'm definitely guilty of collecting things, but I've parted ways with things that started losing their meaning or sat there accumulating dust. In short, if it makes me happy, I keep it. If not, it goes to a charity.While housework gets a bad rap, a long time ago I realized that I tend to solve most of the conundrums in my life while doing the dishes or dusting the shelves. The repetitive nature of these tasks helps me clean absentmindedly while thinking about other things in my day-to-day life.If I'm feeling particularly stressed, I ease the workload by listening to music. I'm a fan of Bob Dylan and Led Zeppelin vinyls, but most folks prefer to play music on their smart phones. The immersive nature of headphones definitely has its perks.Much like 36 per cent Canadians, I view cleaning floors as the most challenging household task. Between my creative hobbies, the carnage left behind by my cats and the constant shedding of fur, dealing with floors can be a nightmare. I tackle this issue in two ways.Firstly, I made a rule for the floors: with the exception of the cats' necessities, no clutter is allowed on the floor. Not having to move a lot of things in preparation for cleaning makes the job much easier.Secondly, I've invested in good equipment. Trying to clean with a bad product causes a lot of frustration. I have two go-to floor cleaning items.For carpets, I use a Samsung SC12F70 series vacuum cleaner. It's asthma and allergy friendly, and it picks up dust and cat hair better than any other vacuum I've ever owned.And, for the tile and vinyl flooring, I use a Vileda ProMist Microfibre Spray Mop. Unlike most spray mops, this one has a washable microfibre head that picks up dust, dirt and cat hair instead of pushing them around the floor in a wet mess. Also, it doesn't use batteries. The spray function is triggered by squeezing the handle.Every home comes with its difficulties and maintaining a certain level of cleanliness can be very stressful. Here's hoping that some of these tips will help make household cleaning less of a chore.