GSK Consumer Healthcare (GSKCH), has announced today that it is partnering with two global packaging suppliers to launch fully recyclable toothpaste tubes across its specialist and science-based oral health brands, including Sensodyne, parodontax and Aquafresh. The first partnership, with strategic packaging supplier, Albea, which is one of the world’s largest tube manufacturers, will see GSKCH switch its toothpaste tubes from aluminium barrier laminates to the patented Greenleaf laminate. The switch-over will begin with Sensodyne Pronamel tubes, which will be available in fully recyclable alternatives in Europe this July. This will be bolstered by a second partnership with EPL Global to produce tubes in Platina laminate. Both laminates have passed recycling-readiness tests set by the US-based Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) and by Europe’s RecyClass, meaning that the tubes will be recyclable and compatible with existing recycling processes. It is anticipated that the combined moves will see over a billion toothpaste tubes per year recyclable by 2025.
Fraunhofer Institute UMSICHT, SABIC and Procter & Gamble (P&G) have announced their collaboration in an innovative circular economy pilot project aimed to demonstrate the feasibility of closed-loop recycling of single-use face masks.
The billions of disposable face masks used during the COVID-19 pandemic is raising environmental concerns, especially those that have been thoughtlessly discarded in public spaces. Apart from the challenge of dealing with such huge volumes of essential personal healthcare items in a sustainable way, simply throwing the used masks away for disposal on landfill sites or in incineration plants represents a loss of valuable feedstock for new material. “Recognising the challenge, we set out to explore how used face masks could be returned into the value chain of new face mask production,” said Dr Peter Dziezok, director R&D open innovation at P&G. “But creating a true circular solution from both a sustainable and an economically feasible perspective takes partners. We therefore teamed up with Fraunhofer CCPE and Fraunhofer UMSICHT’s expert scientists and SABIC’s Technology & Innovation specialists to investigate potential solutions.”
Ørsted has announced its new commitment to reuse, recycle or recover all the wind turbine blades in its global portfolio of onshore and offshore wind farms upon decommissioning.
The commitment, made on the company’s Capital Markets Day, is part of Ørsted’s strategy to expand its sustainability position and work toward achieving a carbon-neutral footprint by 2040.
“We want to help create a world that runs entirely on green energy, and we want to do it in a sustainable way. That includes moving towards more circular models where we reuse resources and save energy, thereby reducing carbon emissions. That is a big challenge, but we look forward to working on this challenge together with our supply chain,” said Mads Nipper, chief executive officer of Ørsted.
According to Ørsted, between 85% and 95% of a wind turbine can be recycled, but recycling of blades remains a challenge, as they are designed to be lightweight, yet durable, making them difficult to break apart. Consequently, most decommissioned blades are landfilled.
As smartphone sales have skyrocketed, so has the device’s contribution to waste streams and carbon emissions.
Manufacturers will need to conserve resources as 6 of the key elements for mobile phones will run out in the next 100 years. Changes to business models and consumer habits will be needed to tackle electronic waste. The ability to repair phones will be key to conserving resources, tackling e-waste and climate mitigation, and building a circular economy for electronics. Roughly four in ten people globally owned a smartphone in 2018 and that number continues to grow rapidly. This growth is driven by steady sales of the devices – more than 1 billion each year – putting hand-sized computers in people’s pockets.
Researchers developing renewable plastics and exploring new processes for plastics upcycling and recycling technologies will now be able to easily baseline their efforts to current manufacturing practices to understand if their efforts will save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Benchmark data calculated and compiled at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) provide a measurement—at the supply chain level—of how much energy is required and the amount of greenhouse gases emitted from the production of a variety of plastics in the United States. “Today, we employ a predominantly linear economy for many of the materials we use, including plastics,” said Gregg Beckham, a senior research fellow at NREL. “Many people and organizations around the world are looking at ways to make our materials economy circular.”
A UN-backed report funded by the EU outlines a proposal whereby the recycling of certain components and sub-systems within electronic equipment should be mandated by law. The report by the CEWASTE consortium – led by the Switzerland-based World Resources Forum – says this requirement should apply to certain e-waste categories, including: End-of-life circuit boards, certain magnets in disc drives and electric vehicles, EV and other special battery types, and fluorescent lamps. The measure will be essential to safeguard these components against supply disruption, say the authors, who warn that access to the critical raw materials (CRMs) in these products is vulnerable to geo-political tides. Recycling and reusing them is “crucial” to secure ongoing supplies for regional manufacturing of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) essential for defence, renewable energy generation, LEDs and other green technologies, and to the competitiveness of European firms.
Deforestation Efforts Not Making Needed Progress – The New York Declaration on Forests reports that national and global programs to prevent deforestation are falling short of their goals because of a lack of transparency. The nonprofit says, “Progress toward Goals 3 and 4 — reducing deforestation from infrastructure and extractive developments, while supporting sustainable livelihoods — is too slow to protect remaining intact forest landscapes.” Infrastructure projects account for 17% of deforestation, mainly due to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. The organization argues that accountability combined with transparency is required to force economic planners to acknowledge their words and deeds are not aligned. Arctic Thaw Awakens Ancient Microorganisms – As permafrost melts in Siberia, Alaska, Canada and Iceland accelerate, humans are at risk from microbes that have remained frozen for millennia. For example, anthrax broke out in Russia after the disease was released by melting permafrost due to higher ocean temperatures. We cannot know the consequences that will come to pass, but working to prevent the thawing of Northern permafrost by restoring the climate to pre-industrial CO2 levels does offer a path to avoid the risk. Human Pollution Includes Antibiotic-resistant Bacteria – The spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria due to human use of drugs and chemicals in medical and industrial waste is a growing threat to nature. As humans enter the third century of industrialization, the consequences of drug-resistant bacteria impact species worldwide, from Tasmanian devils and flying-fox bats to Australian sea lions. Researcher Michelle Power writes at Phys.org that “we need to use…
Circle Economy has unveiled a resource – Circular Toolbox – to help apparel brands interested in circular business models that extend the practical lifetime of clothes, to design and launch a rental or resale business model pilot on their own in under a year. Circle Economy helps businesses, cities and governments transition to a circular economy.
The Circular Toolbox is a free, online, step-by-step guide. Apparel brands of all sizes interested in circular business models that extend the practical lifetime of clothes can now use Circle Economy’s ‘Circular Toolbox’ to get a rental or resale pilot off the ground in under a year. Circular business models, such as resale and rental, offer commercial opportunities for brands to innovate their business model while expanding the practical service life of clothing – allowing brands to do more with less. When intelligently designed, they can also reduce the total environmental impact of the industry.
“The fashion industry’s sustainability efforts thus far have been dominated by a focus on sustainable materials. While this is a very important driver for impact reduction, with a growing population that is consuming at hyperspeed, it’s becoming blatantly clear that a shift toward using sustainable materials alone is not going to cut it. Increasing the utilisation of our garments is considered one of the most effective ways to reduce the overall impact of the clothing industry. Resale, rental and subscription models promise to do just this: optimise the lifetime and active use of garments and provide pathways to…