BBC commits to cutting single-use plastic by 2020
The British public service broadcaster, BBC, has announced its pledge to phase out single-use plastic from its operations within two years.
The announcement was made on the 14 February on the company’s television show The One Show.
By the end of this year, the broadcaster aims to remove all plastic cups and cutlery from its operations.
The initial step of the project will see the firm trial a coffee cup recycling scheme in its Salford department.
This will see the waste management of more than 2mn cups, which are currently used by staff and visitors.
By 2019, the BBC anticipates that it will have removed all plastic containers from its canteens.
The decision was reportedly spurred by the airing of the TV series Blue Planet II, which highlighted the damaging effects of plastic pollution.
"Like millions of people watching Blue Planet II, I was shocked to see the avoidable waste and harm created by single-use plastic," remarked Tony Hall, Director General of the BBC.
"We all need to do our bit to tackle this problem, and I want the BBC to lead the way.”
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.