Product designers need to retreat from “the Pringles factor” in order to make their packaging more recyclable, an environmental expert has said.
Simon Ellin, the chief executive of the Recycling Association, which represents recyclers, pointed to the snack tube as a prime example of the failure to consider recycling in design – and listed a range of other offenders from Lucozade Sport drinks to whisky packaging.
He spoke as round-the-world sailor Dame Ellen MacArthur launched a $2m (£1.5m) competition to reduce plastic waste and target the 30% of plastic packaging that cannot be recycled because of the way it is constructed.
Straws, shampoo sachets, crisp packets, coffee cup lids and food wrappers were all picked out by MacArthur as products that either could not be recycled because of the multiple layers of materials used, or were not traditionally recycled.
Ellin said the biggest problems came when multiple materials were used in the same packaging. In the case of Pringles, Ellin said: “What idiot designed this in terms of recyclability? We’ve got a cardboard tube, a metal bottom, a plastic lid.
McCartney’s fashion week raison d’être has always been about more than aesthetics. Her pioneering anti-fur and anti-leather stance, widely considered the hippy eccentricity of a Beatles daughter when she launched her label 15 years ago, has since been adopted by Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger and Giorgio Armani. Last week, her brand released its first annual environmental profit and loss accounts, examining the environmental impact of the business from raw material to retail. This focus on sustainability reflects a nascent change across the industry, as fashion responds to a new generation of millennial consumers who expect their clothes to reflect their values.
The finding upends the notion that it is too expensive to do anything about climate change – or that such efforts would make little real difference. Not true, said the researchers. “There is now increasing evidence that emissions can decrease while economies continue to grow,” said Seth Schultz, a researcher for the C40 climate leadership group who consulted on the report. “Becoming more sustainable and putting the world – specifically cities – on a low carbon trajectory is actually feasible and good economics.” The report called on the world’s leading cities to commit to low carbon development strategies by 2020.
A prototype toilet has been launched on a UK university campus to prove that urine can generate electricity, and show its potential for helping to light cubicles in international refugee camps. Students and staff at the Bristol-based University of the West of England are being asked to use the working urinal to feed microbial fuel cell (MFC) stacks that generate electricity to power indoor lighting.