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Good News Stories February 2019

Despite it being the shortest month of the year, February seemed to be a busy one. We heard about record-breaking weather, continuous Brexit tensions and Oscar winning performances. But there are a few headlines that we think deserve some extra air-time, so heres our round up of Februarys Good News Stories >>

M&S to transform plastic into playground equipment and store fittings

Marks and Spencer has unveiled a new initiative enabling customers to return non-recyclable plastic packaging which they have pledged to turn into store fittings, furniture and playground equipment for schools.

Shoppers are encouraged to return a variety of plastic packaging from crisp packets, ready meal trays, sauce sachets and cosmetic containers that can be dropped in designated M&S recycling bins.

M&S says it plans to make the take-back initiative available at all of its stores nationwide by the end of the year.

“Customers often don’t know how best to recycle certain types of plastic or where it goes after being collected by local councils. We’re on a mission to provide a greater awareness of landfill avoidance and plastic recyclability, while ultimately helping our customers to give plastic a new purpose and support a truly circular economy,” senior packaging technologist at M&S, Laura Fernandez, says.

The scheme is part of a wider sustainability plan which includes a sleeveless card trial across 119 of its stores as well as a pilot at its Tolworth store which involves removing plastic packaging from 90 lines of fruit and vegetables.

M&S has also promised to ensure all of its packaging is widely recycled by 2022.

Tokyo 2020: Medals to be made from recycled waste

All the medals at the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo will be made from recycled electronic waste, say organisers.

A project was started in 2017 to collect enough electronic waste, including old smartphones and laptops, to implement the scheme. The aim was to collect 30.3kg of gold, 4,100kg of silver and 2,700kg of bronze. Organisers say they are on course to reach those targets in March.

Tokyo 2020 will release the designs of its medals later this year. The recycled metal has been collected from the Japanese public as well as businesses and industry.

‘Fortnite’ studio founder is buying forests to stop them being chopped down

Since its release in 2017 the online game ‘Fortnite’ has gone on to become one of the biggest games in the world and was named ‘Ultimate Game of the Year’ at the 2018 Golden Joystick Awards a few months back.

Founder Tim Sweeney is estimated to have a net worth of $7.18 billion. But Sweeney isn’t just sitting around wasting his money away – he’s actually doing something worthwhile with a decent chunk of that cash. According to Vigor News, Sweeney is reported to have been spending millions of dollars to support conversation projects over the past decade.

In order to help save forest areas in North Carolina, he bought 40,000 acres of land and also donated money to conservation projects – including one that involved an expansion of 1,500 acres to Mount Michael State Park.

In November 2016, Sweeney also donated a staggering $15 million to protecting 7,000 acres of the Box Creek Wilderness, a forest that sits in the foothills of the iconic Blue Ridge Mountains. The next year, he bought 193 acres of land in Alamance County for $1.973 million in order to guarantee the land would not be developed. And just last year he bought a 1,500 acre area known as Stone Hills preventing it from being developed into a golf resort.

With Fortnite continuing to grow, who knows what will be next on Tim Sweeney’s list.

Glastonbury Festival bans single-use plastic bottle sales

Single-use plastic bottles are to be banned from sale at Glastonbury.

A Glastonbury spokesman said more than one million plastic bottles were sold at 2017’s event. Ahead of the impending 2019 event, an announcement on the festival’s website said the containers would not be supplied backstage, nor to catering or production staff. Festival-goers have also been urged to carry “as little single-use plastic as possible”.

Organiser Emily Eavis encouraged ticket-holders to bring reusable bottles and said hundreds of free water taps will be available. Ms Eavis said it is “paramount for our planet” to reduce plastic consumption and that “together we’ll be able to prevent over a million single-use plastic bottles from being used at this year’s festival.”

Etsy becomes the first global ecommerce company to completely offset carbon emissions from shipping

Etsy became the first global e-commerce company to offset 100% of shipping emissions generated by their sellers.

The company has already hit several milestones in their pursuit of sustainability. They are already on track for their 2016 goal of powering their operations with 100% renewable electricity by 2020 and their offices have also fulfilled their goal of generating zero waste two years ahead of schedule. In the meantime, they have also given away thousands of dollars in solar panel discounts to their sellers.

But its not that simple; 98% of Etsy’s emissions are generated solely through the packages that are shipped from their 2.1 million vendors. According to the company, the distance that e-commerce packages travel every day amounts to roughly 133,000 trips to the moon and back – and that’s only for packages shipped in America.

In order to offset the total amount of greenhouse gases that are generated by their customers, Etsy will now automatically purchase carbon offsets for every product that is purchased on their website.

“These purchases support environmental projects, including protecting forests that improve air quality and absorb carbon, sponsoring wind and solar farms that generate clean energy and replace fossil fuels, and developing greener methods for producing auto parts,” says Etsy CEO Josh Silverman.

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