Roses proposes disposal
Published: 01 Dec 2009
A family Christmas without a tin of Cadbury Roses is almost as unthinkable as going without turkey, mince pies or crackers. But nothing, it seems, is sacred as the famous tins are to be ditched after 70 years with new "greener" square recycled cardboard boxes.
Cadbury say tins are more expensive to produce, but have assured customers that the boxes are a trial and will only be sold in Tesco stores this Christmas, although they may be rolled out elsewhere if customers take to the boxes. They insist the change is motivated by environmental issues. The chocolate maker claims replacing tins with 100% sustainably sourced cardboard will save 201 tonnes of steel a year and cut packaging by 45% per pack. The group said the move would help it to "meet shoppers' ethical concerns."
Chocolate makers have been criticised for the environmental impact of their product, with high levels of packaging and a hefty carbon footprint from transporting cocoa to the developed world.
Yet Cadbury may find a backlash from consumers keen to preserve the traditional components of their Christmas. Moreover, buying boxes rather than tins is not set to save you money because the £8.31 recommended retail price stays the same, although the boxes hold the same quantity of chocolates as the tins.
The move is part of wider efforts by companies to jump on the green bandwagon in the run-up to Christmas.
However, the Committee of Advertising Practice has recently tightened its code around "green marketing" after it emerged that many businesses were issuing exaggerated claims about the environmental credentials of their products. The watchdog has reminded companies that claims about specific environmental credentials should not be used without evidence to back them up.
For more information, see:
- Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations SI 2007/871.
Reduce your Christmas carbon footprint
Published: 01 Dec 2009
All of us here at Cedrec are dedicated and relentless in our pursuit of environmental perfection, as we're sure you all are too! So here's our guide on how to have a festive and green Christmas this year...
Avoid the last minute supermarket dash, and head for your local farmers market or farm shop. A weekly veg box can make life easier and save you a potential drive - which is a big chunk of your food-related emissions. Also go for a free range, preferably organic, turkey. Over 10 million turkeys are eaten in the UK at Christmas, with most having being reared in huge windowless sheds holding up to 2,500 birds each.
Over the festive period £700 million is spent on extra Christmas chocolate. Cocoa beans have halved in price over the last 10 years, but the price of chocolate has increased by two thirds, so it's not the farmers making the extra money. Try to buy Fair Trade products such as coffee, tea, bananas, sugar, orange juice and honey, to make sure that farmers receive a fair price and enjoy better working conditions.
You can also get the party going with organic wine, beer, cider and spirits. Then bask in the knowledge that your hangover will be that little bit healthier.
Over five million Christmas trees are bought in the UK every year, and most are thrown out. This creates enough waste to fill the Royal Albert Hall three times. To combat this you could rent a living tree, which will be delivered to your door in a pot with some feed to keep the tree healthy. When the festive period is over your tree will be collected and returned to the ground. Alternatively, make sure you recycle your tree properly, and don't leave it out in the vain hope that the bin men will take it!
Around 1.7 billion Christmas cards are sent every year in the UK - the equivalent to 200,000 trees. Only a small percentage are made from recycled paper. Why not consider going all Blue Peter and try making your own? Tesco and WHSmith also run a card recycling scheme until the New Year, all in aid of the Woodland Trust.
Most of the extra household waste generated over Christmas and New Year ends up being dumped in landfill sites or incinerated, which destroys potentially useful raw materials and causes pollution. Reduce, re-use and recycle materials that would otherwise be thrown away. Recycle material such as glass, plastic, tin, paper, cardboard, textiles and old electronic devices. You could also donate any unwanted presents to a charity shop.
Environmental review of the year 2009
Published: 01 Dec 2009
This year saw the coming into force of the Climate Change Act 2008 and the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, both of which help to establish a framework for the UK to achieve its long-term goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and to make sure steps are taken towards adapting to the impact of climate change. They have been described as ground-breaking pieces of legislation and set the first legally-binding targets for Governments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050. Scotland however has a far more ambitious interim target of at least a 42% reduction by 2020, as opposed to a 34% goal for the rest of the UK.
Significantly, the Groundwater (England and Wales) Regulations SI 2009/2902 and the Groundwater Regulations (Northern Ireland) SR 2009/254 came into force. They aim to prevent the entry into groundwater of hazardous substances and the pollution of groundwater by non-hazardous pollutants and revoke the previous provisions on the same subject. They do not fundamentally alter the approach to protecting groundwater, but they do replace "List 1" and "List 2" dangerous substances, with "hazardous substances" and "non-hazardous pollutants".
In addition we have also seen the introduction of new Chemicals (Hazard Information and Packaging for Supply) Regulations SI 2009/716 and Chemicals (Hazard Information and Packaging for Supply) Regulations (Northern Ireland) SR 2009/238. They aim to make sure that those supplied with chemicals receive the information they need to protect themselves, others and the environment. Suppliers are obliged to identify the harmful properties of chemicals or hazards and pass this information together with advice on safe use to users by means of labels. They do not introduce any new duties, but bring together all amendments to previous legislation on the same subject.
The much anticipated legislation on environmental liability came into force this year through the:
- Environmental Damage (Prevention and Remediation) Regulations SI 2009/153;
- Environmental Damage (Prevention and Remediation) (Wales) Regulations SI 2009/995;
- Environmental Liability (Prevention and Remediation) Regulations (Northern Ireland) SR 2009/252;
- Environmental Liability (Scotland) Regulations SSI 2009/266.
They implement Directive 2004/35/EC on the same subject and require those carrying out certain activities to prevent, limit and remediate significant environmental damage to protected species, natural habitats, sites of special scientific interest, surface water, ground water and land. Operators of activities such as IPPC installations, waste management operations, discharges to water sources and water abstraction and impounding will be liable for any significant environmental damage, regardless of whether or not they intended to cause the damage or were negligent. However, operators of other activities will only be liable where they are found to be at fault.
Waste batteries and accumulators
In May 2009, new legislation was published which described how battery producers must aid the collection and recycling of waste batteries. The Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations SI 2009/890, require anyone placing batteries on the market to register as a producer and report on waste batteries collected and sent for recycling. They also lays out requirements for the treatment and recycling of batteries.
The Government has a target of collecting waste portable batteries equivalent to 25% of sales by 2012 and 45% by 2016. To meet these targets, battery producers must join a battery compliance scheme, which will inform consumers how to return batteries for recycling. The first compliance period begins at the start of 2010, and from February 2010, some retailers of household batteries will have to accept waste batteries in-store. The legislation compliments the Batteries and Accumulators (Placing on the Market) Regulations SI 2008/2164, which came into force in September 2008, and prohibits certain levels of heavy metals in new batteries and accumulators.
It looks like being another busy year in 2010. Some important issues and legislative changes to look out for include:
- the implementation of the revised Waste Framework Directive 2008/98/EC, by 12 December 2010;
- the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010, which will bring water discharge consents, groundwater authorisations, water abstraction and impoundment, radioactive substances, waste carriers and brokers, mining waste and batteries under the permitting regime;
- an overhaul of the landfill tax system, with proposals to charge a higher rate of tax for some materials, which are currently considered inert;
- A REACH legislation deadline of 30 November 2010. Known carcinogens, mutagens and substances toxic to reproduction made or imported in amounts over 1,000 tonnes per year, and substances toxic to aquatic organisms made in quantities over 100 tonnes per year are subject to this deadline.
Keep an eye on the Monthly Bulletins for the latest information on these subjects, and we will keep you informed and up-to-date throughout 2010.
We hope you've found the bulletins useful and informative over the past year and enjoyed the slightly obscure headlines. In case you have forgotten some of their "finer" moments, here are a few of our favourites! How many low-budget film titles and 70's classic rock references did you spot...?
"Poots in cahoots"
"Relight my tyre"
"NIEA meets Poots and leaves"
"Wiltshire men go for a Brazilian"
"Gypsum, tramps and thieves"
"EU barrack Obama"
HSE NI warns construction industry
Published: 01 Nov 2009
In the past 12 months, there have been two fatalities and numerous accidents involving workers falling from cages being used as temporary working platforms in Northern Ireland.
The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSE NI) is particularly concerned about the widespread use of non-integrated working platforms fitted to telescopic handlers and similar machines for work in the construction and agriculture industries. They allow people to be elevated so that they can work at height, but the person in the platform has no control over its height or movement. However, when a fully integrated platform is utilised, all operational controls are transferred to a console within the platform.
- A fully integrated platform has several safety benefits, namely:
- the system has safety interlocks to ensure that the truck is stationary and stabilised before the platform will operate;
- the person in the platform has full control of its movement;
- there is no dependence on potentially unreliable voice instructions;
- the attachment has to be CE marked and therefore properly designed and manufactured;
- a separate truck driver is not required;
- it provides for more precise movement of the platform;
- less time is wasted by poor communication.
A variety of equipment is available for work at height, including scaffolding, tower scaffolds, mobile elevating working platforms (MEWPs), staircases, platforms, and portable ladders. The selection and use of an appropriate and suitable method of access will depend on the nature of the task to be carried out, the frequency of occurrence, the duration of the work and the availability of equipment.
Directive 2006/42/EC on machinery, which is implemented by the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations SI 2008/1597 (coming into force next month), does not permit the use of non-integrated work platforms and hence they cannot be CE marked. However, the HSE NI has accepted that properly designed and compatible equipment can provide a safe system of work, but must only be used for non-routine short duration jobs.
Further information can be found in guidance produced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) “Working platforms (non-integrated) on forklift trucks” Guidance Note PM28 [3rd edition] December 2005.
The heat is on for transport company
Published: 01 Nov 2009
On 19 October 2009, Montgomery Transport Ltd. was fined a total of £75,000 after pleading guilty at Belfast Crown Court to two breaches of health and safety legislation.
The case was brought by the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSE NI) and relates to an incident that occurred on 5 March 2008 at the company's premises in Newtownabbey, County Antrim. A 23 year-old fitter died when a lorry tyre that he was working on exploded. At the time of the incident he was cleaning the lorry wheel with an inflated tyre attached by applying heat to the metal hub with an oxy-acetylene burner. This practice is known to be extremely dangerous and had been going on for the previous two days with no action on the part of the company to stop it.
A subsequent investigation by the HSE NI revealed that Montgomery Transport had not sufficiently assessed the risks involved in the activity. In addition, they had neither developed an adequate safe system of work or supervised the activities of its employees.
Louis Burns, Head of the HSE NI's Major Investigation Team said, "Companies need to properly identify and address hazards within the workplace. Employees need to have proper training and supervision. This case highlights the dangers of applying heat to wheels which have tyres attached. The outcome will be a sudden catastrophic failure, which in this case proved fatal."
For more information see:
- Health and Safety at Work (Northern Ireland) Order SI 1978/1039.
Temporary delay for Directive?
Published: 01 Nov 2009
At the recent TUC conference in Liverpool, the Prime Minister Gordon Brown promised that laws to give temporary agency workers the same rights as full-time employees will be brought into effect within a matter of months. However the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has announced that the implementation of Directive 2008/104/EC, on temporary agency work will now be delayed.
Member States are required to implement the Directive by 5 December 2011, and the proposed reforms include:
- equal access to facilities such as canteens, child care and transport services;
- a right to be informed of vacant posts;
- increased access to job training;
- equal treatment with regard to basic employment conditions, such as holidays, working time, rest periods and maternity leave.
Sick pay and pensions are not however included in the reforms.
The announcement has been met with concern by employers and organisations alike. In particular, the Association of Recruitment Consultancies (ARC) has expressed some reservations as to the "ethics" of giving agency workers equivalent rights. Adrian Marlowe, ARC chairman commented, "What is ethical about adding many thousands of agency workers to the dole queue in the middle of a recession?"