Eco News Round-Up – Summer 2020


Morrisons is scrapping plastic bags!
Morrisons is running a primary trial in 8 stores where it will replace plastic bags for life with strong paper bags. And strong they are, Morrisons say the paper bags can carry up to 16kg and can manage 13 bottles of wine.
This change has come after evidence that ‘bags for life’ are only being used once before being put in the bin. By making the switch to paper, Morrisons estimates that it will save 90 million plastic bags a year (or 3,510 tonnes of plastic).

If this trial is successful, plastic bags will be removed from all Morrisons stores to make room for paper. This is a massive step forward for supermarkets, hopefully other big chains.

Deutsche Bank ends oil funding

Following an update to its Fossil Fuels Policy, Deutsche Bank has stated that it will no longer finance oil sands and Arctic oil projects. The updated policy has set new limits to funding activities that involve non-renewable fuels, oil, gas and coal and pledge to completely end involvement with coal mining by 2025.

Deutsche Bank believes that by taking this step, it will have a large impact, “In its current form, the Policy sets us ambitious targets and enables us to help our long-standing clients with their own transformation. It will allow us to play our part in protecting the climate and helping the EU to achieve its goal of being climate neutral by 2050,” – CEO Christian Sewing.

By taking such a strong stance against funding non-renewable fuels other large banks may follow suit, encouraging the sustainable switch to renewable.

Oil Spill in Mauritius

Following on with the oil trend, a Japanese cargo ship has grounded off the coast of Mauritius and spilled about 1,000 tonnes of fuel into the water. This has caused an ecological emergency in the area as it is home to a world-renowned coral reef and two protected marine ecosystems.

According to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity this environment is home to 1,700 species, this oil spill could be detrimental to biodiversity as it will have long term effects on animals such as disease, injury, and reproductive capabilities. It is also very harmful for the coral – “The toxic hydrocarbons released from spilled oil will bleach the coral reefs and they will eventually die,”Professor Richard Steiner.

The ship’s captain has been arrested and the shipping company will pay compensation and damages, but the clean up continues and will continue for a while to come.

Human plastic consumption

A study carried out by researchers from Arizona State University that analysed 47 tissue samples of human lungs, livers, spleens, and kidneys showed that they were all contaminated with BPA. BPA is a chemical used to make some plastics including water bottles. What is worrying about this is that this plastic is depositing in the body and not passing through our digestive system.

A study by the University of Newcastle in Australia suggested that humans unknowingly consume roughly 1 credit card sized amount of plastic each week.

Plastics are entering our system as micro plastic, defined as pieces of plastic smaller than 5mm. These plastics may come as tiny fibres in water from plastic water bottles, or plastic that hasn’t been filtered in the water system, and also plastic that has been eaten and absorbed into the meat and fish we eat.