Ford is set to launch what it claims will be the most sustainable car on the consumer market next month with its new Focus Electric vehicle, made with recycled plastic bottles.  The global car manufacturer says the initiative will divert around 2 million post-consumer plastic bottles from landfill in total, through the use of Repreve-based interior fabrics which contain recycled PET yarns.  Each Focus Electric car will contain on average 22 recycled PET bottles – Ford says it is the first of its vehicle to have an interior made from 100% clean technology.

Its late February – and a South of England and the Midlands have been told that they are going to be subject to DROUGHT restrictions as two dry winters have dramatically reduced the supply of water. The UK must “find a way to save water” in order to ease the strain on water supplies and reduce the effects of drought, according to environment secretary Caroline Spelman. Farmers have already said that crops – and food prices – will be hard hit by record low moisture levels in soil and bans on farmers extracting water from rivers – with wheat, carrots, outdoors lettuce and salad crops, onions and potatoes all likely to be hard hit.  Organic farmers are better placed as their farms tend to have better soil structure with more organic material dug in and a more varied rotational planting regime, with moisture retaining plants also used. Greenhouse grown crops are also less at risk because of better water management and conservation regimes, with farmers capturing rainwater and recycling water.

Tesco is following on from Marks & Spencer by trialling new packaging to keep its produce fresher for longer and cut down on food waste. The retailer will initially test the packaging out on tomatoes and avocados and estimates it could lead to potential savings of 1.6 million packs of tomatoes and 350,000 packs of avocados each year.  If successful, it could be rolled out across 80% of the varieties of tomato the retailer currently sells. Reports suggest that initial trials further down the supply chain have already been a success.  Supermarket giant Sainsbury’s drive to cut its carbon footprint by 30% by 2020, against a 2005 baseline, is well underway as it switches its 100th store to CO2 refrigeration.

Edie.net reports that Smoothie maker Innocent has been voted the best brand for its environmental approach to packaging according to a new survey . The survey, put together by packaging trade show specialist easyFairs, questioned 289 packaging professionals asking them to name a brand that they really admired for its green packaging approach. In response 10% said Innocent, followed by Marks & Spencer (7%) and Kenco (5%).  Innocent uses food grade recycled plastic in its bottles and its cartons are made from 100% Forest Stewardship Council certified material. The company also adopts a strong sustainable packaging policy when it comes to its products.

And edie.net also reports that the UK marine renewables industry has the potential to supply 20% of current energy demand, cut carbon emissions and offer a more “reliable and predictable” source of energy than other renewables. The Energy and Climate Change Committee (ECCC) report ‘The Future of Marine Renewables in the UK’ concluded that the Britain could become a “leading exporter” of wave and tidal power equipment – if the Government adopted a more “visionary approach” to marine renewables development.  It added that developing a “thriving” wave and tidal industry could generate economic benefits to the UK, as companies export marine technologies, such as equipment, specialist skills and expertise.  Chair of committee Tim Yeo MP, said: “Britannia really could rule the waves when it comes to marine renewable energy.

A facility that claims to the UK’s first reprocessing plant just for carpet and carpet tile recycling has been officially opened in the north of England.  The Econpro WDS facility, located at Upton on the Wirral, will serve the North and Midlands and plans to be operational in April. It will initially offer recovery of post-industrial carpets and tile off cuts as well as take back of fitting wastes and uplifted tiles.  All reprocessed materials will be utilised in the cement and asphalt industries – Econpro says it has developed an intellectual property portfolio with regards to uses for bitumen-backed carpet tiles within the construction sector.

The fashion brand HONEST has launched what it claims is a 100% transparency policy in a bid to prove its sustainability credentials right down the supply chain claiming  it is the first company in the world to share the full cost breakdown of its products by revealing every production detail of every garment, from the origination of fabric to the amount of store mark-up.

Green party MP Caroline Lucas is calling for a £70bn programme of ‘green quantitative easing’ (GQE) to be launched, in a bid to set the country on track for a “genuinely green economy”.

Britain’s dream of leading the world in harnessing the power of the sea is in danger of being sunk by risk-averse, under-ambitious policymakers who are letting foreign rivals dominate a multibillion-pound industry. An influential Commons committee warns that without a “more visionary” approach from ministers and officials, the development of wave and tidal technology will stall and other countries will steal a march on British firms. Experts believe that up to 20 per cent of the UK’s electricity could one day come from devices deployed around the coastline. But the technology is still in its infancy, and a report today from the Energy and Climate Change Committee warns that Britain could cede its pioneering status to other countries unless ministers intervene.  http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/britain-must-act-fast-to-rule-wavepower-world-7179538.html

Its fracking mad!!! Fracking – the extraction of shale gas by pumping high pressure water and chemicals into underground shale – was halted last year after being linked to earth tremors in Lancashire – but drilling companies hope that a decision will so allow them to re-start operations. Common sense tells us its madness, and protesters say fracking will cause water contamination and methane leaks – and we now all await a report by the Department of Energy and Climate Change in the next few weeks. More at http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/feb/25/fracking-plans-pollution-uk-water