Our Top Three Happy Sustainability Stories for October 10th

Think positive, stay healthy!

The news can be a little ‘heavy’ and anxiety-creating at the moment but here at Play It Green, you won’t find doom and gloom.

What’s the point in focusing on what we already know, things are a bit of a mess, when you can focus on the beacons of light and positivity.

Did you know that thinking positively can have health benefits?

With that in mind, here are our top three sustainability news stories from across our amazing world.

3 step solution - Reduce Repair Regive

Has the worm turned for plastic pollution?

A scientist at the Biological Research Centre in Madrid has made an incredible discovery.

She discovered that wax worms, which are moth larvae that infest beehives, have saliva that contains enzymes that quickly break down plastic bags.

The enzymes are the first known to degrade polyethylene in a matter of hours at room temperature, and this may lead to more affordable strategies for recycling plastic.

Dr. Federica Bertocchini, an amateur beekeeper, made the discovery after cleaning out an infected hive and seeing the larvae had begun eating holes in a plastic garbage bag.

Bags and other packaging that contribute significantly to global plastic pollution use polyethylene, and this accounts for 30% of all plastic production.

The only recycling practised on a large scale today involves costly mechanical methods and results in lower-quality products.

The finding of the enzymes in wax worm saliva, according to Prof. Andy Pickford, head of the Centre for Enzyme Innovation at the University of Portsmouth in the UK, is fascinating.

“The reaction happens within a few hours at room temperature suggesting that enzymatic breakdown may be a route to making use of polyethylene waste.”


A wax worm larvae making short work of a plastic bag

It just goes to show that nature has a solution to most things, we just know where to look and have nature in mind when looking.

Whilst it is early days for this new discovery, it opens up a whole field of research into affordable and practical solutions to plastic waste that don’t end up with plastic in the ocean!

That’s a win for the planet in our eyes!

SailGP leads the way with its Purpose & Impact Report

SailGP, the first climate-positive sport and entertainment brand in the world, has published its first Purpose & Impact Report to highlight the social and environmental achievements, and difficulties, it has encountered so far in its second season.

The whole report, which is available here, supports SailGP’s continuous commitment to incorporating social diversity and sustainability into sports.

It was created to provide open reporting on progress and to motivate other sporting organisations and companies to take action.

One of SailGP’s standout moments was the ground-breaking Impact League, a second scoreboard that runs alongside the Season Championship.

Sail GP Purpose & Impact Report Season 2 (202122) (c) Sail GP

The league awards teams for the positive steps they do to lower their overall carbon footprint and speed forward inclusivity in the sport.

The first winner of the impact league was New Zealand and they earned prize money for their charity partner, Live Ocean Foundation to help research into Kelp Forests.

Other key achievements in Season 2 include the sport’s first event powered entirely by clean energy which was held at the Rockwool Denmark Sail Grand Prix in Aarhus

SailGP global director of purpose and impact Fiona Morgan said:

“We have a very clear purpose – we race for a better sport and a better planet, and this underpins everything we do. We have set an ambition to be the world’s most sustainable and purpose-driven global sports league and this report is the latest example of our commitment to this”.

Being transparent about sustainability is not just about showing people you are doing what you say, it is about showing others how to do it!

We applaud SailGP for their efforts, their transparency and for setting a blueprint for other competitive sports to follow.

Europe’s wildlife makes an exciting comeback

Our final story of the week comes from London, England where UK household name, retailer John Lewis has announced that it plans ‘buy back or take back’ initiatives in all product categories by 2025.

The group is also committed to developing more rental and resale options as it steps up its efforts to be more sustainable.

Under a partnership with the wildlife charity WWF, the group, which owns Waitrose supermarkets as well as a number of department stores, will also invest £2 million over the next five years to restore and protect nature in Norfolk, a major source of meat, cereal, and vegetable products, as well as in India’s Noyyal and Bhavani river basins, where it sources cotton.

Marija Rompani, the director of ethics and sustainability at John Lewis, said: “Delaying action is simply not an option. We all know that we can’t exist without nature; it is essential for our survival and it will play a vital role in solving the problem of climate change. We can’t solve one without the other, the crises of nature loss and climate change are inextricably linked.”

With the help of a third party, Fat Llama, John Lewis has already tried renting out furniture, renting out or buying back clothing, as well as offering discounts to customers who return beauty packaging.

John Lewis launches buy back scheme and other 'sustainable' initiatives

The most recent pledges are more adventurous and call for zero deforestation in the production of key commodities.

Additionally, the group now states that by 2028, all polyester, leather, and man-made cellulose—key raw materials— will come from more sustainable sources, as well as all lumber, cotton, soy, palm oil, cocoa, and cashmere by 2025.

If you are a consumer and want to be more conscious, John Lewis is now offering you the chance to do so and hopefully by shining a light on sustainable practices, other retailers will follow suit!

That’s it for this week – three happy stories of positive behaviour and change that are reasons to be cheerful and will almost certainly lead to a better future!

We salute the changemakers and positive people helping our planet be better and we hope our readers can join them in making what change they can.

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