Jet Fuel From Waste Lowers Emission Levels

There are current research studies that are exploring the potential to reduce carbon emissions from flying by making jet fuel from food waste. Currently, food scraps that are used for energy are mostly converted into methane gas. Researchers have found a way to change the waste into paraffin for jet engines, which would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 165% compared to fossil fuels. Wet waste is composed of food waste, animal manure, and waste water. This wet waste can turn into two different forms of sustainable paraffin that can be combined with regular jet fuel to create a more environmentally friendly jet fuel.

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Whales Could Be Nature’s Solution to Climate Change

Increasing global whale populations could be a possible solution to tackle climate change. Whales play a significant role in capturing carbon from the atmosphere. Each great whale captures 33 tons of carbon dioxide on average. In comparison, a tree absorbs only up to 48 pounds of carbon dioxide annually. 

Whale ecosystems have phytoplankton populations that capture 37 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to how much carbon dioxide is captured by 1.7 trillion trees. Devising strategies to grow whale communities and protect them could greatly help the fight against climate change.

For further information please click here.

Plastic Bags Are Being Recycled into Fabric

Scientists have made fabrics from polythene to reduce plastic pollution. Polythene is a ubiquitous plastic and has potential uses in sportswear and high end fashion. The fabrics are made from polythene fibers that are woven on industrial looms into textiles. They are designed to let water escape and can be dyed into different colors. These fabrics are less damaging to the environment than wool, cotton, linen, silk, nylon, and polyester.

The main challenge is ensuring that these fabrics are comfortable for consumers. If a solution exists for this challenge then it would help the environment greatly since the textile manufacturing industry is responsible for 5-10% of annual greenhouse gases.

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MPs Debate Call for Ban on Non-Recyclable Packaging:











The public has “woken up” and is ready to do more to cut plastic pollution, MPs have been told.

They were debating a petition, signed by almost 250,000 people, urging the government to ban all no-recyclable food packaging.

It is estimated the UK uses five million tonnes of plastic every year – nearly half of which is packaging – and demand is rising.

The petition lists just some of the packaging it would like to see abolished, including cereal box inner bags, plastic fruit and vegetable packets, crisp packets, sweets wrappers and Styrofoam (Reference BBC News 24/06/19).

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Turning Carbon Dioxide Into Cash:











Scientists from round the world are meeting in Germany to improve ways of making money from carbon dioxide. They want to transform some of the CO2 that’s overheating the planet into products to benefit humanity.

Until recently, it was assumed that energy-intensive firms burning gas to fuel their processes would need eventually to capture the resulting carbon emissions and bury them underground. The option is inefficient and costly, so the prospect of utilising some of the CO2 as a valuable raw material is exciting for business (Reference BBC News 24/06/19).

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How Recyclable Is Your Food Shop?


New research suggests almost half of packaging used by major UK supermarkets can’t be easily recycled or recycled at all.

Food is wrapped in packaging to make it last longer but a consumer group says that a lot of it is unnecessary, that more sustainable materials should be used and that recycling labels should be simpler (Reference BBC News 22/06/19).

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Climate Emergency Toolkit Launched for Local Authorities:











Sustainable energy, Ashden, has developed a toolkit to help local authorities realise their climate change plans.

The launch of the Climate Action Co-Benefits Toolkit follows the UK parliament, Scottish and Welsh governments and almost 100 local councils, declaring a climate emergency.

It has been developed with sustainability lead officers from city regions, local authorities and The Grantham Institute at Imperial College London. It builds on the institute’s paper on the co-benefits of climate change mitigation (Reference SmartCitiesWorld 20/06/19).

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The Factory Making Shoes Out of Plastic Bottles:

By 2050, there is expected to be more plastic in the world’s oceans than there are fish.

However, some of the world’s biggest sportswear brands, such as Adidas and Nike, are trying to turn plastic waste into raw material for clothes and shoes (Reference BBC News 18/06/19).

Cheese Toastie – Wensleydale to Heat 4,000 Homes:


The Wensleydale Creamery has struck a deal to supply the waste whey from its cheese factory to a local bio-energy plant that produces enough renewable biogas to heat 4,000 homes. The Leeming biogas plant, which currently runs on ice-cream residue, will use a process called anaerobic digestion to turn the dairy-based waste into renewable biogas gas.

This process has been used since the 19th century to capture gases that are created naturally when food waste breaks down. Modern anaerobic digestion plants can inject the gas directly into the local grid, and can produce bio-fertiliser too. The project helps tackle the triple sustainability challenge for the UK by shrinking the carbon footprint of energy and reducing waste while helping to develop sustainable farming practices.

Climate Change – UK Government to Commit to 2050 Target:



Greenhouse gas emissions in the UK will be cut to almost zero by 2050, under the terms of a new government plan to tackle climate change.

The UK already has a 2050 target – to reduce emissions by 80%. That was agreed by MPs under the Climate Change Act in 2008, but will now be amended to the new, much tougher, goal.

Britain is the first major nation to propose this target – and it has been widely praised by green groups.

Prime Minister Theresa May said reducing pollution would also benefit public health and cut NHS costs. But some say the phase-out is too late to protect the climate, and others fear that the task is impossible (Reference BBC News 12/06/2019).

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Plant Extinction – Bad News for All Species:

Almost 600 plant species have been lost from the wild in the last 250 years, according to a comprehensive study.

The number is based on actual extinctions rather than estimates, and is twice that of all bird, mammal and amphibian extinction combined.

Scientists say plant extinction is occurring up to 500 times faster than what would be expected naturally.

Researchers say their analysis of all documented plant extinctions in the world shows what lessons can be learned to stop future extinctions (Reference BBC News 11/06/19).

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What Happens to Our Recycling After It’s Been Collected by Our Councils?

War on Plastic with Hugh and Anita: Dumped recycling

‘When we put this in our recycling back in the UK, we think we’re doing the right thing.'#WarOnPlastic #OurPlanetMatters

Posted by BBC on Thursday, 6 June 2019

“When we put this in our recycling back in the UK, we think we’re doing the right thing” (Reference BBC News 10/06/19).

How Plastic Bottles Are Paying for Lessons in Nigeria:

A school in Nigeria is accepting empty plastic bottles from parents and guardians in exchange for payment of their children’s school fees.

Organisations Africa Clean Up Initiative and WeCyclers are working with Morit International School in Ajegunle, Lagos, for the Recycle Pay project (Reference BBC News 10/06/19).

Almost 40% of the Electricity Generated in Northern Ireland from Renewables:




Almost 40% of the electricity generated in NI last year came from renewables, according to government statistics.

Power from about 82 wind farms in Northern Ireland was the main source.

Figures from the Department for the Economy show that between April 2018 and March 2019, 38.6% of NI electricity was generated by those farms, and from the likes of biogas and biomass.

It is a slight increase on last year’s figure, edging closer to Stormont’s target of 40% renewable energy by 2020 (Reference BBC News 06/06/19).

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Britain in Two-Week Coal-Free Record:





Britain has not used coal to generate electricity for two weeks –  the longest period since the 1880s. The government plans to phase out the UK’s last coal-fired plants by 2025 to reduce carbon emissions (Reference BBC News 31/05/2019).

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UK Government to Bring in New Controls on Plastic:










In a bid to limit pollution, the UK government will introduce new controls on single use plastic items next year. The measures cover plastic straws, plastic drinks stirrers and plastic cotton buds in England from April 2020 (Reference BBC News 22/05/19).

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Work on Ware Waste ‘Supersite’ Begins:










A redeveloped waste centre in Ware will be the fist ‘supersite’ for recycling and refuse in the county. Much enlarged plans for the centre on Westmill Road, built on landfill in the 1970s, are designed to handle up to 300,000 visits and 10,000 tonnes of waste a year – four times its current level. There will also be a large ‘ reuse centre’ with dedicated parking where residents can deposit, browse, and buy items.

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Climate Change – UK Carbon Capture Project Begins:











The giant Drax power station, near Selby in North Yorkshire, has become the first in Europe to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from wood-burning.

Drax burns seven million tonnes of wood chips each year to drive generators to make electricity.

The firm has now begun a pilot project to capture one tonne a day of CO2 from its wood combustion.

The technology effectively turns climate change into reverse on a tiny scale, but it’s controversial (Reference BBC News 8/02/19).

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Climate Change – Where We Are in Seven Charts and What You Can Do to Help:


The UN has warned that the goal of limiting global warming to “well below 2C above pre-industrial levels” is in danger because major economies, including the US and the EU, are falling short of their pledges.

But scientists at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – the leading international body on global warming – argue the 2C pledge in the 2015 Paris accord didn’t go far enough. The global average temperature rise actually needs to be kept below 1.5C, they say.

So how warm has the world got and what can we do about it? (Reference BBC News 18/04/19)

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What Is Fracking and Why Is It Controversial?

Drilling companies suggest trillions of cubic feet of shale gas may be recoverable from underneath parts of the UK through a process known as “fracking”.

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a technique designed to recover gas and oil from shale rock.

Energy firm Cuadrilla has begun fracking in the UK for the first time since the process was halted in 2011 over earth tremor fears. But how does fracking work and why is it controversial? (Reference BBC News 15/10/19)

For further information please Click Here

5 Ways Businesses Can Tackle the Climate Crisis:


Small and medium-sized businesses have been estimated to cause 64% of all environmental impact in the EU so collectively adopting measures to reduce energy, waste and water usage will make a significant impact.

Whilst most SMEs recognise they can and should do more to reduce their environmental impact, often owners and managers struggle to find the time and money to invest in energy savings. Some businesses can also be put off by not knowing what actions to take and thinking that they’ll all be expensive (Reference Low Carbon Workspaces 05/01/19).

Click Here for 5 simple steps that most SMEs can take to reduce their environmental impact without breaking the bank.

Local Energy Update – Brought to You by The Centre for Sustainable Energy Communities Team:

Welcome to your May Local Energy Update. This month’s update includes a couple new funding schemes for community buildings, an exciting new wind-energy ownership model, a blog piece from our Powering Up project as well as recent community energy news stories!

  • Start small to power up …

    Read this new blog piece on our progress on the Powering Up project so far which aims to stimulate sustained grassroots action on energy in three deprived communities. The blog talks about methods that were used to spark residents’ interest in a possible energy project.

  • Grants of up to £4,000 available for energy saving measures in community buildings

    Thrive Renewables has launched round 4 of its Community Benefit Programme. A total of around £30,000 will be available for local groups in eligible areas to apply for grants of up to £4,000 for energy efficiency improvements to community buildings and get some free expert advice for zero-cost solutions. Click here to find out more.

  • New wind-energy ownership model 

    A new ownership model has been created by the start-up Ripple Energy to encourage more on-shore wind development in the UK. Click here to find out more.

  • CEE urges suppliers to support community energy after FiT closure

    In the aftermath of the feed-in tariff closure, Community Energy England (CEE) has called for ‘suitable’ tariffs to be offered to community energy by suppliers. Find out more here.

  • Fund to help communities shift towards zero carbon approved  South Cambridgeshire council has approved plans for a new grant fund to be established to help community groups in the district shift towards a zero-carbon future. Click here to read more.

SustFest19 – What Can You Do Now?

The Sustainability Festival has ended – after a fabulous three weeks. As things wrap up for this year, Catherine Ross, the current chair of the festival organising group, reflects on one of the most common questions asked by people coming to events: “But what can I do that really makes a difference?”

Click Here to read her blog on the Sustainable St. Albans website for five things you can do that really help.


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