Eco Steps: Sustainability News for March 25th

Eco Steps: Introduction

Welcome back to Play It Green’s Weekly Sustainability News where every Monday, we bring you three inspiring eco steps of remarkable change. These stories are about people and organisations making our world greener and more sustainable. By sharing these tales, we aim to kick off your week with a dose of positivity.

Our community thrives on hearing about the innovative steps others are taking towards sustainability. So, whether it’s a new technology, a grassroots project, or a global initiative, we’re here to shine a light on the good news. Together, we celebrate the efforts that contribute to a better planet.

Join us as we explore this week’s stories of amazing change. They remind us all of the powerful impact we can have when we work towards a common goal. Let’s get inspired and keep pushing forward in our journey towards sustainability.

Eco Steps: eBay UK Funds Circular Economy Innovation

eBay UK is stepping up to support the circular economy within the fashion industry by providing fresh funding to six innovative small businesses. These businesses are pioneering efforts to reduce waste through creative solutions like clothing rental platforms and pre-owned children’s clothing subscriptions. This initiative is part of the Circular Fashion Innovator’s Fund. This fund is a collaboration between eBay, the British Fashion Council, and the environmental charity Hubbub.

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Among the winners, Swoperz Shines received £25,000 for its subscription service that offers pre-owned children’s clothing. Swoperz is unique for its child-run swapping service, where kids aged six to 16 can exchange clothes and earn tokens for new purchases. This model encourages sustainable habits from a young age and is particularly suited for school uniforms and casual wear.

Highlighting the significance, Swoperz co-founder Vicky Fuller expressed, “The support will truly take us to the next level.” eBay UK’s head of fashion, Jemma Tadd, also remarked, “We are dedicated to empowering the UK’s most innovative thinkers who are pioneering solutions for fashion waste and driving a circular fashion economy. Together, we are truly reimagining the future of fashion.”

Eco Steps eBay is providing funding to promote circularity with a number of its fashion partners
eBay is providing funding to promote circularity with a number of its fashion partners

This support comes at a critical time, as the Ellen MacArthur Foundation reports that a truckload of fashion waste is dumped or burned every second. In the UK alone, over three-quarters of the 1.7 million tonnes of discarded clothing and textiles end up in landfills or incineration annually. With recycling still developing for blended textiles, models like resale, swapping, upcycling, and sharing are vital for creating a circular economy in the fashion sector.

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Eco Steps: Scotland Launches £500,000 Green Hydrogen Competition

Scotland’s Net-Zero Technology Centre has unveiled a £500,000 competition. This is to advance green hydrogen production by supporting innovative electrolyser technologies. The funding aims to enhance Britain’s green hydrogen capacity. This is crucial for meeting the UK’s target of 10GW of low-carbon hydrogen by 2030, with at least half being green hydrogen. Green hydrogen is produced through electrolysis powered by 100% renewable electricity. It separates hydrogen from water, offering a sustainable energy solution.

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The competition is open to a maximum of five projects, with applications due until 14 April. Darren Gee, the Centre’s programme manager, remarked, “Our funding competitions always bring to the fore a dynamic range of technologies that drive progress toward global energy goals.” This initiative is backed by the Scottish Government’s Energy Transition Fund. It highlights the nation’s commitment to renewable energy innovation.

Furthermore, the UK Government recently allocated £21m from its Net-Zero Hydrogen Fund to seven hydrogen projects. This will potentially add 800MW to Britain’s hydrogen production capacity. Among these are initiatives for green hydrogen use in vehicle refuelling at the Sizewell C construction site and RWE’s Pembroke Power Station in Wales.

Eco Steps Scotland's Net-Zero Technology Centre has unveiled a £500,000 competition to advance green hydrogen production
Scotland's Net-Zero Technology Centre has unveiled a £500,000 competition for green hydrogen production

This development underscores the UK’s efforts to bolster its hydrogen economy. As Hydrogen UK’s chief executive Clare Jackson stated, “Such pivotal announcements fortify the UK’s burgeoning hydrogen economy, accelerating us towards meeting our ambitious production targets.”

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Eco Steps: Kingspan Cuts Operational Emissions by 65%

Kingspan, a giant in building materials and design, has significantly reduced its Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 65% since 2020. This aligns with its ambitious 10-year ‘Planet Passionate’ sustainability programme. The company announced a 40% reduction in these emissions in 2023 alone. The success is accelerated by its new internal carbon pricing mechanism. Last year, Kingspan introduced HemKor, its pioneering bio-based hemp insulation product. As well as this it launched product ranges with lower embodied carbon across its flooring, ceiling, and insulated panel lines. 

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With sustainability at its core, Kingspan has now installed solar photovoltaic systems at nearly half of its wholly-owned sites. This initiative boosted its renewable energy generation capacity by 6.8 megawatts in 2023, bringing the total to 42 MW.

“To play our part in keeping global temperature rises within the 1.5C limit, we committed to absolute emissions reductions” stated Bianca Wong, Kingspan Group’s global head of sustainability. Moreover, Kingspan’s focus on innovation led to a €63.5 million investment in research and development last year. The company is driving the development of energy- and resource-efficient solutions. Kingspan also achieved a 33% reduction in waste to landfill and has transitioned 42% of its forklift fleet to electric, alongside converting 475 employee vehicles to electric.

Eco Steps - Kingspan has reduced its operational emissions by 65% since 2020 - an incredible achievement
Kingspan has reduced its operational emissions by 65% since 2020 - an incredible achievement

These strides underscore Kingspan’s commitment to sustainability. Furthermore, it aims to reduce operational emissions by 90% by 2030 against a 2019 baseline, with plans to offset the remainder to achieve net zero. Kingspan’s efforts have earned it a spot on the CDP Climate Change A List. This highlights its role in promoting low-carbon solutions and transparently disclosing climate action plans.

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Eco Steps: Wrap Up

The week’s Eco Steps brought us remarkable advancements towards sustainability, underlining the dynamic shift across sectors towards greener practices. Kingspan’s significant emissions reduction, driven by innovative products and renewable energy investments, sets a new benchmark in the building materials industry. Meanwhile, eBay UK’s funding for circular fashion pioneers highlights the importance of sustainability in the fashion sector, supporting small businesses that are redefining how we think about clothing consumption. Additionally, Scotland’s push for green hydrogen through the Net-Zero Technology Centre’s competition underscores the pivotal role of clean energy in achieving net-zero goals.

Together, these stories showcase the varied paths organisations are taking to contribute to a sustainable future. As we wrap up, we’re reminded of the collective impact of these efforts and the ongoing journey towards a more sustainable world.

Stay tuned for next week’s sustainability news for more inspiring stories of environmental stewardship and innovation.

Play It Green: Empowering Your Sustainability Journey

Ready to take your commitment to sustainability to the next level? Play It Green stands as your partner in creating positive environmental change. From educational resources on sustainable practices and signposting to sustainable services to initiatives like tree planting and social giving, Play It Green offers a holistic approach to environmental stewardship. 

Join us in the journey toward sustainability—embrace eco-conscious practices and be a force for positive change in our world. All whilst staying relevant, meeting legislation and aligning with the values of today’s consumers and employees.

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