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Happy Eco News: May

Beat the Blues with Some Happy Eco News!

Let's start June on a high! We know that tackling climate change can sometimes feel like a daunting task, but don't fret!  Brace yourself for a delightful dose of Happy Eco News that will keep your eco-spirit alive!
May was packed with some exciting eco-happenings that will put a smile on your face. From rises in animal populations to new recycling programs, it's time to celebrate our wins, no matter how big or small they may be!
Seals making a comeback in Belgium
Seals are becoming a more common site on the beaches of Belgium. After vanishing from the scene at the end of the last century, numbers are now on the rise again 
ccording to the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences. Whilst they aren't the easiest to count, estimates are sitting at around 100 to 200 individuals from two species: The Grey Seal and Harbour Seals. 

Belgium has introduced 'seal only' zones, ensuring that people stay at least 30 metres away and don't feed them, as if they're given food they won't learn to hunt properly. 
In 2021, there was a spike in seal mortality dye to a type of fishing net called a gillnet or trammel net. But the good news is these finding changed legislation on this kind of recreational fishing as as a result half as many dead seals washed up in 2022.

According to Kelle Moreau, this is proof that we can enhance and continue to improve the harmony between humans and these lovely marine animals!

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Dolphins Back In the BronxThis sighting of dolphins in the Bronx River is a rare and significant sighting and offers hope for improvements in the rivers ecosystem health. This huge achievement is a result of the collaborative efforts of various groups that work hard to improve water quality and restore habitats. 

 The Bronx River Alliance was really leading the charge in this effort, a non-profit organisation committed to restoring the river ecosystem through education, advocacy, and community engagement. They've teamed up with other fantastic  organisations, such as the New York City Department of Environmental Protection and Riverkeeper, to ensure that the river stays clean and healthy enough for the dolphins.

They've also been working on the removal of toxic waste and pollutants from the river. Additionally, through the implementation of sustainable practices, such as green infrastructure, rain gardens, and permeable pavement, the river’s water quality has improved significantly. The efforts to improve water quality have made it a suitable environment for Bronx rivers gorgeous dolphin visitors.

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Mastercard Developing Plastic Alternatives

A staggering more than 6 billion plastic payment cards are produced and shipped worldwide each year. Most typical cards contain several layers of PVC plastic, with each card containing around 5 grams of plastic. These cards are thrown away every 4-5 years and usually end up in our landfills. 

Since 2018 Mastercard have been working on developing more sustainable options for their users. These options include recycled post consumer plastic (just like our Kind Bags!), bio-sourced plastic produced from either corn or sugar starch and recycled PVC amongst others. 

They are stopping there either! They're also exploring the end-of-life of payment cards, as most materials used in these cards can't be recycled efficiently. The contaminants, such as the chips and magnetic tape, still need to be addressed as they cannot be composted, separated, or removed in the recycling processes. The emergence of new chemical recycling techniques alongside the traditional mechanical processes makes this an emerging option for cards which will likely see further improvement over the coming years. Mastercard is invested in research regarding the chemical recycling of plastics to find ways they can contribute to a more circular economy. And hopefully may inspire other companies to start doing the same!

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Gravity Batteries in abandoned minesSome really electrifying news: repurposed underground mines could possibly store enough energy to power the entire earth for a day! On sunny and windy days our solar and wind farms often generate more power than the grid can use, and according to scientists at  the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), abandoned mines could provide a storage solution.

 They think that turning decommissioned mines into vast gravity batteries they would be able to provide up to 70 terawatts of energy store. This is enough to match the entire world's daily electricity consumption!

Mines would be well-suited to such batteries due to existing deep shafts as gravity batteries require at least 300 metres of fall space to work properly. By embarking on these innovative projects, we also have a chance to help generate revenue for impoverishes mining communities too. 

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Ebay's Certified Eco Friendly Vehicle PartsEbay has launched a certified recycled program that sells recycled vehicle parts from 81 certified sellers. A survey that Ebay conducted showed that recycled vehicle parts can be up to 70% cheaper and additionally all parts are vetted and warranted. 

With parts delays, rising costs, and increasing focus on making sustainable choices, eBay’s Certified Recycled program has the potential to help save money, time, and the environment! A win for everyone!
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Park Life leads the way in sustainabilityParklife festival in Manchester is leading the way in sustainability
 using biofuel in generators, banning single-use plastics, and using eco-friendly “clean glitter”.

The festival will also be sending all reusable food waste to a local project that turns unused food into meals for vulnerable people. Vendors will not be allowed to use single-use plastics, and compostable cutlery, plates, and cups will be required.

The festival is also encouraging festival-goers to use public transport to travel to and from the event. Parklife's dedication to a greener future doesn't come out of nowhere.. The festival has been held at Heaton Park for over a decade and has faced littering issues in the past. The festival's representative expressed their genuine passion for making eco-friendly choices and emphasised their commitment to continuous improvement!

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