There has been growing investment from food and personal care companies this year in circular economy, according to Ecovia Intelligence.
The circular economy refers to a system in which materials and products are reused and recycled, rather than entering waste streams. Realising its importance, the EU introduced its circular economy strategy in 2018, which plans to have a 65 per cent target for recycling and reuse by 2035.
According to Ecovia Intelligence, growing consumer opposition to single-use plastics is making the food industry focus on packaging. The move to a circular economy also involves the upcycling of ingredients, with new enterprises creating products using food waste (by-products). In the personal care industry, there is also a shift towards sustainable packaging materials, with ocean plastic becoming established.
Ecovia Intelligence expects to see more such initiatives involving sustainable packaging materials, upcycling and recycling of nutrients, as well as new retail formats. However, consumer behaviour is likely to be a major barrier, the analysts found, with consumers being so accustomed to being able to frequently buy low priced products that are easily disposable.
The circular economy will be featured in upcoming events organised by Ecovia Intelligence.
Teapigs, has become the latest company to achieve B-Corp certification.
B-Corp analyses a company’s impact on its workers, customers, community, and environment and to become certified, companies are assessed and audited to meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.
Louise Cheadle, teapigs Co-founder, commented: “We’ve always tried to do the right thing, from having plant-based tea temples, giving back to tea growing communities through our ethical scheme and striving to make teapigs HQ a great place to work – so joining the B-Corp community felt like a natural step for us.
“As a business, we have a responsibility to use our platform and product as a source of good. We’re incredibly excited to join over 2,500 brands globally who share this vision, and we’re certain that this is the start of something big. We’ve always done our best to be the greenest tea company, to give back to the communities that bring us our tea and the community on our doorstep in Brentford and to make teapigs a great place to work. Having B-Corp certification ensures we will continue to meet high standards and keep doing better and better things.”
Worrying data from a coalition of organisations has revealed that a quarter of all food and over a third of fruit and vegetables consumed in the UK contain pesticide cocktails, with some items containing traces of up to 14 different pesticides.
The report, The Cocktail Effect, released by PAN UK and the Soil Association, details evidence of pesticide cocktails in the environment, with mixtures of as many as 10 different chemicals found in UK soil and water. The report warns that post-Brexit trade deals could lead to a rise in the number of pesticides authorised for use in the UK.
Josie Cohen, from PAN UK, commented: “Because of the overuse of pesticides in UK agriculture, we are constantly exposed to a wide array of different chemicals, which can interact to become more toxic, creating a ‘cocktail effect’. Yet the Government continues to assess the safety of just one pesticide at a time. The truth is, we simply have no idea of the human health and environmental impacts of long-term exposure to hundreds of different pesticides.”
The report’s key findings include that in 2017, 87 per cent of pears, 64 per cent of apples and a quarter of bread contained pesticide cocktails. The Government’s testing data for 2018 shows residues of 157 different pesticides, including 63 known, possible or probable carcinogens, and 41 suspected endocrine disruptors. The report also reveals that 67 per cent of the soil tested contained pesticide cocktails, as did two-thirds of samples taken from seven river catchments.
Rob Percival, from the Soil Association, added: “The UK Government has committed to reducing pesticide use, but the support farmers need to transition away from pesticides simply isn’t in place. The Government urgently needs to support farmers to adopt nature-friendly, agroecological approaches that don’t rely on pesticides, including organic, to better protect both human health and the natural world. Brexit poses real threats to food and farming, but it also provides an opportunity to do things differently, if the right policies and legislation are put in place.”