News in brief 29/07/16

Keep Britain Tidy campaign targets ‘dirty’ drivers

National anti-litter charity Keep Britain Tidy (KBT) is testing a new campaign to target drivers who litter.

News in brief 29/07/16Almost a third of motorists admit to throwing rubbish out of their car window and, in KBT’s research, the majority of these suggest it is because they believe they are anonymous when doing it. They are also much more likely to do it from a moving vehicle and, although they will do it in a residential area, the majority do not do it in their own neighbourhood.

Posters carrying the message ‘It’s no secret what people think of you’ will be trialled in three council areas – Ashfield, Pendle and Blackpool – featuring images of litter that has been rebranded to include words like ‘slob’ and ‘lazy’ and a car with a personalised number plate ‘D1RTY’.

The images have been developed in accordance with research carried out by KBT that found people care about how they are perceived by others and don’t want to be thought of as ‘disgusting’ or ‘lazy’.

KBT Chief Executive Allison Ogden-Newton said: “Rubbish thrown out of cars blights our road network and creates a negative impression of our country. It also costs millions of pounds to clear up every year and puts clearance crews at risk as they collect hundreds of tonnes of litter from the road network.

“We are committed to testing new approaches that will change behaviour and make our country cleaner for everyone.”

The campaign will be closely monitored to assess the difference it makes in the areas where it is being tested and, if successful, it will be rolled out to local authorities across the country.

Fuel made from unrecyclable plastic waste to be tested in ships’ engines

New research funded by Innovate UK will test whether Plaxx, a fuel made from mixed plastic waste, can be used as an alternative to crude derived fuels in industrial and marine engines.

Plaxx is made from plastic waste from the commercial, industrial and municipal streams that are mixed, laminated, contaminated or otherwise not available to conventional plastics recycling techniques. It is made using the depolymerisation of the plastic and is made up of a mixture of hydrocarbon monomers, like crude oil, but with low levels of sulphur and other organic and inorganic contaminants.

The research will be led by Associate Professor Farid Dailami from the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL), in partnership with Swindon-based Recycling Technologies, developers of Plaxx. The project is also supported by Swindon Borough Council, Crapper and Sons Landfill Ltd, and an international marine insurer.

Associate Professor Farid Dailami said: “This new fuel could have huge environmental benefits as an alternative to heavy fuel oil (HFO) currently used in marine diesel engines and industrial engines. Our research will compare the performance of this fuel with standard diesel fuel in order to gain data on how it performs and to ensure it won’t damage the engine or cause harmful emissions or gases.

“HFO is a fossil fuel which needs to be extracted and refined and therefore has environmental costs and consequences, whereas Plaxx is very low in sulphur and is made from a waste product which otherwise would have to go into landfill or be incinerated. In time Plaxx, as an alternative to HFO, has the potential to benefit local authorities and ultimately tax payers, by lowering the cost of waste management and turning plastic waste into a useable fuel.”

Vanston to leave Cambridgeshire waste role

Paul Vanston is to leave his role as Head of Waste Resources at the newly formed South Cambridgeshire and Cambridge City council partnership in November after just ten months in the position.

Vanston, who joined the new department in Feburary after eight years as head of the Kent Resource Partnership (KRP), will not join another role when he leaves for personal reasons later this year.

In a letter to Mike Hill, Director of Environment at the two councils he explained that the decision was based on the long-distance between Cambridgeshire and Kent and the impact on his family.

He wrote: “I’d like to emphasise my decision has nothing to do with the post itself, the fantastic challenges we’ve been taking forward this year (and will do up to my departure), nor the wonderful team of staff at Waterbeach and Cambourne.

“The service has an incredible future ahead and will, I’m sure, be among the best in the country if all the opportunities are grasped.”

Sustainability or bust for the Women’s Institute

Members of the Women’s Institute (WI) have been recycling old bras into hanging baskets for the WI Sustainable Gardening Hanging ‘Brasket’ Competition 2016.

Every WI group can enter one brasket into the competition, with three entries winning a voucher from the competition’s sponsor, Sutton Seeds. First place will win a £200 voucher, with £100 going to second place and £50 to third.

There is a £200 voucher for 1st place, £100 for second place, and £50 for third place.

The competition states: “Due to their shape, bras are ideal as hanging ‘braskets’ – they can be used singly, in pairs or as bunting! 

“WIs are invited to use their imagination and have some fun at re-using bras as hanging basket containers.”