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ANOTHER PLANET – the good, the bad and the ugly

Good news: Nestle, manufacturers of Aero bars, Kit-kats and Smarties, have announced that they have removed all artificial colouring, flavours and preservatives from their entire product range with Nestle Crunch being the last of 79  products to have artificial ingredients removed. Now colourants from vegetables, fruit and edible plants suc as carrots, radish and lemon are used to colour nestle confectionery.

Bad news: At least 27 people have been killed after powerful storms hit states across the American Midwest. The devastation stretched from the US Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes and according to local police, 12 people died in Kentucky, two in Ohio and 13 in Indiana as more than 90 twisters ripped through seven states. Entire neighbourhoods have been levelled, and many more have been left without power. Houses were flattened, a school had its roof torn off and a prison fence was blown over.

Bad news: An anti-wind farm campaign is set to receive financial backing from American tycoon Donald Trump, who has opposed plans for an off-shore farm to be built near his luxury golf course in Scotland. Mr Trump is fighting a planning application submitted to Marine Scotland last year for an 11 turbine off-shore wind farm near his Menie resort in Aberdeen Bay and has now pledged financial support to the group Communities Against Turbines Scotland (CATS).

Just news: Edie.net reports that the UK Government has backtracked on plans to only allow households with an energy efficiency rating of C or above to apply for green incentives. In response to advice from industry experts, DECC has agreed that homes with a rating of level D or higher will now be eligible to apply for green incentives, such as the Feed-In Tariff (FIT) scheme, which saw subsidies cut from December last year.  As a result of the changes, half of UK homeowners will now qualify for green financial incentives from FITs, but have until April 1 2012 to make the most of the subsidies.

Bad news: The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) is calling on the chancellor George Osborne to reduce the burden on businesses by reforming the UK’s environmental taxes and ditching the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC).

Bad news: Global water supplies are being threatened by the illegal dumping of millions of tonnes of hazardous mine waste each year, according to a new report. An investigation by two leading mining reform groups, Earthworks and MiningWatch Canada, found that mining companies are disposing more than 180 million tonnes of toxic waste into rivers, lakes, and oceans worldwide, threatening vital bodies of water with heavy metals and poisonous chemicals.  Mine processing wastes, or tailings, can contain as many as three dozen dangerous chemicals including arsenic, lead, mercury, and cyanide. The study found that the mining industry has left mountains of such waste from Alaska and Canada to Norway and Southeast Asia.

Better news: Nike claims to have designed out waste with the launch of two lightweight trainers using an innovative manufacturing process. The Flyknit Racer and Flyknit Trainer shoes made their debut last week – both are unique in that they use only the materials needed to knit the upper of a shoe.  Whereas traditional footwear manufacturing processes use a number of materials and cuts, the Flyknit shoes use special yarns knitted together to create one lightweight, form fitting upper.

Good news: All businesses and households across County Limerick in Ireland are required to source an authorised waste collection service under new bye-laws introduced last month. The regulations, issued by Limerick County Council, relate to the presentation, storage and segregation of household and commercial waste. Approximately half of all households in the county are presently without a waste collection service.

Legal news: A Scottish skip hire operator has been found guilty of handling household commercial and industrial waste without a waste license in place. Trading as Murray Mentiplay, Ronald Noble Mentiplay was sentenced to 140 hours community service at Dunfermline Sheriff Court for waste offences at his site in Saline, Fife.  Mr Noble pled guilty to the offences on June 17 2011, which included accepting items such as televisions, refrigerators, computer monitors and freezers, onto the site and failing to provide information on waste carried and transferred.