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Good News Stories June 2019

We’ve witnessed a lot of change this month, not only in the weather but in politics as well. There have been more protests and marches to highlight the importance of climate change. Recent media attention on the matter has increased Climate Anxiety. And we’re all increasingly aware of what these hotter days hold for the state of our planet.

But there is good news to share, so listen up!

Once again, we’ve rounded up our favourite good news stories from the month of June. We’re delighted to share stories about the companies and citizens that are willing to take an activate roll in fighting climate change. So if you need a pick me up, read on…

WWF to work with Coca Cola and P&G to tackle plastic waste

Coca Cola Bottle

Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble are among the companies partnering with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to come up with solutions to tackle the issue of plastic waste.

A new platform, called ReSource: Plastic, will provide guidance, best practices and tools, including a measurement framework to help quantify reductions in plastic waste. The hope is the hub will inspire companies to act to reduce plastic consumption and improve recycling.

Other companies involved include McDonald’s, Starbucks and Tetra Park, while the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Ocean Conservancy are acting as thought partners.

The move comes as companies respond to growing political and consumer pressure to reduce plastic waste and combatting its impacts. That includes bans on plastic straws, reducing use of plastic packaging and pledging to recycle more.

“While ambitious commitments are the jumping off point for any successful venture, we know that no single individual, organisation, company or government can tackle the root causes of plastic waste on their own,”

Says Sheila Bonini, senior vice-president of private sector engagement at WWF.

“When it comes to the private sector, commitments move companies in the right direction, but to actually fulfil those commitments, companies need a roadmap for navigating the broken plastics system, a collaborative environment that fosters innovation and aggressive goal-setting, and the right tools to make their bold visions a reality.”

633 Divers set world record for largest underwater clean up

Scuba Diver

On June 15th 2019, a record breaking number of divers cleaned up thousands of pounds worth of rubbish from the waters off Deerfield Beach in Florida.

633 divers participated in the ocean clean up project, which earned them the Guinness World Record for the largest underwater clean up ever. Outfitted in wetsuits and scuba gear, they cleared up to 3200 pounds of debris from the shoreline. Deerfield beach is home to a fishing pier, so much of the waste collected was related to fishing activity.

The clean up was part of the Dixie Divers’ annual pier clean up, for this years event a representative from Guinness World Records was present to take an official tally of the participants, the group broke the previous record for the largest underwater clean up set by a team of 614 divers in the Red Sea four years ago.

The waters off Deerfield beach is home to a reef that supports vibrant marine life. Now the area has been cleaned, the city of Deerfield Beach plans to dispose of the waste properly and recycle as much of it as possible.

Waitrose try to wean shoppers off plastic

Jars of Spices

Waitrose has started selling loose cereals, pasta, coffee and other products in a trial to see if shoppers are prepared to ditch plastic packaging.

A refillable zone will be introduced as well as Britain’s first pick n mix frozen fruit section and a borrow-a-box scheme to help shoppers move away from plastic bags.

Initially a trial is being held at the company’s Botley Road supermarket in Oxford, branded Waitrose Unpacked and will run until August 18. If it is successful, the concept will be rolled out to other stores.

Britain’s biggest supermarkets produce 810,000 tonnes of throwaway packaging each year, according to Greenpeace, and Waitrose hopes that the initiative will ultimately save thousands of tonnes of plastic waste.

David Gilmour guitar auction raises $21m for climate change

Guitar

Pink Floyd’s, David Gilmour has raised $21m for climate change by auctioning off 126 of his guitars.

Gilmour auctioned the guitars, which included his preferred Fender models of Broadcasters, Esquires, Telecasters and Stratocasters, through Christie’s in New York on 20th June 2019, promising all proceeds to the charity, Client Earth.

The eight-hour auction saw bidders from 66 countries around the world, with his 1969 Fender Stratocaster “The Black Strat”, which he used to record The Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here and The Wall, selling for $3,975,000, setting the world record for the most expensive guitar sold at an auction.

Gilmour’s 1968 acoustic C.F. Martin Nazareth went for $1,095,000, other highlights were a Candy Apple Red 1984 Fender Stratocaster 57V that went for $615,000, while Gilmour’s rare 1958 Gretsch White Penguin sold for $447,000, a new auction record for a Gretsch guitar, and his Gibson 1955 Les Paul went for $447,000.

Speaking when the auction was announced, David Gilmour said:

“The global climate crisis is the greatest challenge that humanity will ever face, and we are within a few years of the effects of global warming being irreversible. I hope that the sale of these guitars will help ClientEarth in their cause to use the law to bring about real change. We need a civilised world that goes on for all our grandchildren and beyond in which these guitars can be played and songs can be sung.”

John Lewis launches beauty recycling trial

Beauty Products

John Lewis has teamed up with recycling business TerraCycle on a beauty recycling trial for its loyalty programme members. The trial will offer shoppers the chance to recycle empty make-up and skincare beauty products from any brand in exchange for £5 off an in-store beauty purchase.

John Lewis will collect the items for recycling and then pass them on to TerraCycle, which will separate the products into their component parts and then recycle them based on the material they are made from. Plastic, for example, will be repurposed into pellets that can then be used to make new products such as outdoor furniture.

Beauty product packaging is typically difficult to recycle due to the complexity of the material. The trial, which will run for a month, will be offered in the 36 John Lewis stores that offer a full beauty service.

John Lewis senior sustainability manager Martyn White says:

“Our customers are becoming more mindful about what they buy and what happens to products once they’ve reached the end of their first life. Beauty products are notoriously hard to recycle, which can make it hard for customers to know what to do with them, which often means they end up being thrown in the bin. One of our key aims is to make ‘being sustainable’ as easy as possible for customers, so it doesn’t have to be a difficult choice.”

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