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plastic pollution, volunteers, plastic ocean

Volunteers clearing plastic from a beach in Mumbai, India. Photo by Hemanshi Kamani/Hindustan Times

Despite the increasing concern about the issue, there is little sign that plastic use is falling. Half of all the plastic ever made was produced in the last 13 years, says investment house Hermes, while output is set to increase by 40% in the next decade.

The plastics problem is a stark illustration of the problems of a global economy that is “overwhelmingly linear”. The linear economy sees goods produced in a “take, make and waste” model that assumes resources are essentially infinite and will always be available to make new products.

The circular economy requires a significant shift in mindset, starting with the design process, which must ensure that goods not only have minimal environmental impact in terms of the use of water, energy and materials, but also that they can easily be repurposed or recycled through a “cradle-to-cradle” approach.

Read the full article here.

By Mike Scott for Forbes.

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Sharks and Starbucks: How brand licensees can impact your value

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For those in the world of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Environmental and Social Governance reporting (ESG), an interesting dynamic is at play in Hong Kong, with a large multinational brand being drawn into the domestic “dirty” laundry of its licensee. The question is whether that local partner, and flagbearer of that brand, is able to find solutions which will not pull the value of the international brand down with its own domestic reputation.

In short, Maxim’s — the licensee of Starbucks in Hong Kong,  Macau, Singapore and Vietnam, with over 180 stores — is also the largest restaurant chain in Hong Kong, and it continues to serve shark fin. This is akin to having a menu option for elephant or rhino.

Read the full article here.

By Doug Woodring for GreenBiz.

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family fun, snorkeling, fishes, under the sea, sea, dive, swim, swimming,

Credit: iStock/Bicho_raro

According to the Family Travel Association, family travel represents 30 percent of the entire leisure travel market and is the fastest-growing segment in the travel industry.

Within families, that means it is up to the adults to foster a sense of responsibility in a new generation of global citizens and environmental stewards. Traveling with kids in a sustainable way not only teaches them to respect and appreciate the world around them, it encourages them to perpetuate those practices.

Read the full article here.

By Gina Decaprio Vercesi for Greenmatters.

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Australia has shown immense dedication to the Sustainable Development Goals with the government, businesses, educational institutions, and individuals showing a strong commitment in building a sustainable future.

Below, we look at a few destinations from “down under” and their sustainability efforts.

Brisbane
The third largest city in Australia ranks high in terms of sustainability because of their efficient and easily accessible transport system. Due to their focus on sustainable activities such as composting, waste management, and recycling, Brisbane won the Dame Phyllis Frost first prize in 2015.

City of Canada Bay (Sydney)
The City of Canada Bay is an area located in Sydney. A common feature for all initiatives introduced by the local administration is the involvement of citizen participation. The city has also launched the Greenhouse Action Plan, with a commitment to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases.

Glenorchy (Hobart)
The small town of Glenorchy, located in Hobart, has been recognised for a project involving the industrial reuse of rainwater, which saves approximately 400 million litres of water a year. Furthermore, the town has taken steps to educate the youth with awareness campaigns on solidarity recycling, compost recycling and urban gardens.

For more examples of other noteworthy sustainable destinations in Australia, have a look at the list compiled by Keep Australia Beautiful here.

Tip for travellers

If you would like to find out which Australian tourism operators, accommodations, and attractions are eco-friendly, then look for accreditation by Ecotourism Australia. The Eco Certification logo is carried by those businesses that are recognised as environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable.

You can visit the Green Travel Guide, published by Ecotourism Australia, to go through their list of all accredited businesses.

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MGM celebrating 10 years of dedication to sustainability

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Credit: MGM

To mark a decade of commitment to sustainability, MGM has released a compilation of achievements over the years, including updates to our employee, community, SME, culture and environment programs throughout 2017. We welcome you to explore more by clicking here.

Find out more about MGM and their monthly Sustainability Newsletter here.

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Mr Pololikashvili presenting at a conference in Asturias, Spain / Credit: Green Matters

On January 1, 2018, Mr. Zurab Pololikashvili took over as Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the United Nations agency responsible for promoting responsible, sustainable, and universally accessible tourism.

GM: Many tourism professionals see sustainable tourism as necessary for the survival of the planet. Can sustainable tourism really make a difference?

ZP: While tourism brings socioeconomic development and inclusive growth to millions of people worldwide, its mismanaged expansion can put fragile environments at risk, deplete natural resources, and disrupt the social structures and cultural values of host communities – the very elements that tourism greatly depends on.

Sustainability is therefore tourism’s fundamental challenge and should be regarded as a comprehensive condition of the sector as a whole. This entails meeting the rising demands of today’s tourists while safeguarding the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of destinations and communities worldwide.

Read the full interview with Zurab Pololikashvili here.

By Ethan Gelber for Green Matters

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Useless plastics provide a few minutes of convenience, little utility, and are disposed of in large quantities. / © WWF-Singapore

A supermarket plastic bag serves its real purpose for 30 minutes, the duration of a short commute. In a drink, a straw is utilised for just 5 minutes. The use of a plastic stirrer is even more short-lived: all of 10 seconds.

These items have fleeting lifespans, but they outlive us by a long shot — 400 years, to be exact.

Left in our environment, plastics affect ocean health and biodiversity. The problem does not simply end there.

Read the full article on ‘useless plastic’ and more here.

By Kim Stengert for Medium.

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Credit: Shutterstock

April 22 is Earth Day! Did you know that the environmental movement started close to 48 years ago in 1970, when millions of people took to the streets to protest the negative impacts of 150 years of industrial development?

This year’s Earth Day campaign will focus on ending plastic pollution – it is now your turn to stand up, join in, and take action!

It is important to remember the connection between plastics and climate change since the latter is one of the most pressing issues affecting our planet today. An estimated five ounces of carbon dioxide is emitted for every ounce of Polyethylene Terephthalate produced.  Polyethylene Terephthalate, also known as PET, is the plastic most commonly used to make water bottles.

Earth Day Network’s End Plastic Pollution campaign includes four major components. Educating people worldwide to take personal responsibility for plastic pollution by choosing to reject, reduce, reuse, and recycle plastics is one of them. Find out about the other three here.

With only four days left until Earth Day 2018, here are four things you can do to support #EndPlasticPollution

There are many simple and easy tips to help you go green, keep our earth safe, spend less, and make every day Earth Day. Remember that you can make a difference and be the change every single day of the year.

For more easy reading, check out our tips on how to reduce plastic waste on our beaches and in our waters and 3 easy ways to tackle plastic.

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Credit: WM Media Room

For all the years I’ve worked in the recycling business for Waste Management, I can tell you that the global challenges our industry is facing these days are without precedent.

Simply put, many of the items we all want to recycle are getting hard to market economically. This impacts our business, the environment and the recycling industry as a whole.

Today, the average contamination rate among communities and businesses sits at around 25%. That means that roughly 1 in 4 items placed in a recycling container is actually not recyclable through curbside programs, and this creates enormous problems for the recycling economy.

Read the full article and find out more about the problems for the recycling economy here.

By Brent Bell for Waste Management Media Room.

 

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Credit: Shutterstock

Fancy sipping a smoothie, long drink, coconut water or any other beverage using a straw? Make sure to make the sustainable choice when doing so. In short, refuse single-use plastic straws and choose a reusable alternative. These decisions are key to making our world a cleaner and better place.

Single-use plastic straws simply do not have a place in our society as they don’t get along with our environment. Although single-use plastic straws amount to only a tiny fraction of plastic pollution in our ocean, their small size and light weight makes them one of the most insidious polluters. Not making their way into the recycling bins, plastic straws cause beach pollution and threaten the life of many marine animals.

We therefore invite you to pick a reusable drinking straw of your preference, always keeping it with you and spreading the word to encourage others to join the movement in reducing and preventing plastic waste that harms our environment.

  • Bamboo: Go back to nature with a natural and reusable bamboo straw. They are not only durable but also beautiful. They often come with a handy cleaning brush to wash them out for years of use. You can find some more tips for cleaning and being nice to your straw here.
  • Silicone: Light and unbreakable, silicone is great for its practicality. Choose a silicone straw made from high quality food grade silicone that will help you save plastic straws from polluting our environment and protect your teeth.
  • Stainless-steel: Prefer a very durable and elegant option? Go with a stainless-steel drinking straw which is stain-free, rustproof, and scratch-proof. You won’t have to worry about metallic aftertaste. If you like fine cutlery, complete your silverware collection by purchasing a set of stainless steel straws. Read more about benefits of going stainless-steel here.
  • Glass: Looking for something classy? Go glassy with a clear lead-free glass straw alternative. The durable straws are shatterproof and are ideal for both hot and cold drinks. Both ends are smooth and round which makes the straw comfortable to use and safe. Choose the style and size that suits your lifestyle.
  • Acrylic: This option may be perfect to use in your tumblers. Go with an innovative, reusable, acrylic straw which can bend like normal straws. From birthday parties to holiday get-togethers, colorful reusable straws from food-safe plastic increase the fun at any gathering.

Apart from these, we invite you to chew on innovative ideas such as edible straws. Check out these Eatapple straws which are made from leftovers of Germany’s apple juice production.

Interested in fighting the war against straws? Be inspired by some examples here.

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