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Environment Agency warns construction sector over illegal plastic waste exports

Waste and construction industry firms have been warned they must take much stronger action to tackle illegal waste exports from the UK, after the Environment Agency revealed this week that almost a quarter of containers for shipping abroad it inspected last year contained waste plastic material.
The Environment Agency said it inspected 1,889 containers at English ports last year and stopped 463 being illegally exported. This, combined with regulatory intervention upstream at sites, prevented the illegal export of nearly 23,000 tonnes of waste last year, it said.
Had it not inspected these containers, the plastic waste would have been illegally exported from the …

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Global Briefing: In-person COP15 biodiversity talks braced for delay to 2022

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The data is in: Renewables confirmed Britain’s top power source in 2020 as fossil fuels continue slide

Low demand for electricity during successive lockdowns saw renewables displace fossil fuels as the dominant source of power on Britain’s grid for the first time ever in 2020, government data has confirmed.
The annual Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES) – unofficially dubbed as the UK’s ‘energy bible’ by energy experts – was published yesterday by the government, officially confirming predictions in recent months reveals that the amount of electricity generated by coal and gas fell to an all-time low in 2020, with power from wind and solar taking the uppper hand on the grid for the first time ever.
Across the …

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Meet Nexii, the green construction company allied with Michael Keaton

Green construction startup Nexii first caught my attention back in the spring when the Canadian company announced a partnership with actor and Pennsylvania native Michael Keaton. The initiative — the creation of a manufacturing plant for Nexii’s “sustainable concrete” alternative Nexiite — will bring at least 300 new jobs to a redeveloped brownfield site in the “Steel City” of Pittsburgh that thrived in the era of industrialist Andrew Carnegie.”I’ve always been interested in design and construction, but I only recently learned the game-changing impact the construction industry can have in improving the environment by adoption of innovative, lower-carbon techniques,” Keaton …

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These entrepreneurs want consumers to reuse wine bottles

Americans aren’t the biggest wine sippers in the world — imbibing a mere 3.2 gallons per person in 2020 versus the 16 gallons guzzled by Portuguese residents, according to estimates from the industry’s primary source of stats. But the habit still translates into a whole lot of single-use bottles: About 4.3 billion of them, many of which find their way into landfills or (maybe) into some sophisticated recycling system where they can be processed and resold along with other types of glass. While glass is highly recyclable, only about one-third of what American’s throw away annually is actually handled that way. So …

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My ESG learning journey

This month, I took on the awesome task of being GreenBiz’s first Green Finance & ESG Analyst and the chair of our annual GreenFin conference. After three years with GreenBiz, I’m thrilled to be taking the reins of this outstanding event and community.From those of you whose work I’ve been following, and those I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, I see a group with a passionate sense of the potential. We are at a critical moment in the history of this planet and if you work in ESG, my guess is that you see the opportunity to meaningfully …

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Nuclear: UK pushes forward with small advanced modular reactor program

The government has set out its suggested approach for constructing the UK’s first Advanced Modular Reactor (AMR) demonstrator today, bolstering its ambition for the next generation of small nuclear power plants to be up and running within the next decade.
As part of a call for evidence launched today today, the government said it was looking to explore High Temperature Gas Reactors (HTGRs) as “the most promising model” for the AMR demonstrator programme, in which it is ploughing £170m investment towards to deliver the first facilities by the early 2030s.
AMRs are typically smaller than conventional nuclear power stations, offering …

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Floating wind: Three Celtic Sea projects move forward in Crown Estate leasing process

The Crown Estate has progressed three floating wind projects forward to the next stage of assessment in its leasing process, marking another major step forward in scaling up the nascent renewable power technology.
Together the projects – which are earmarked for sites in the Celtic Sea off the coasts of Devon, Cornwall and Wales – amount to a potential 300MW of power capacity from wind turbines which, rather than being fixed to the seabed, effectively float on the water, enabling their installation further out in deeper seas where winds are higher.
The Crown Estate announced on Tuesday that each project …

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‘Unique achievement’: Shift from coal to biomass has cut CO2 90 per cent, Drax claims

The Drax power plant in North Yorkshire, once the largest coal power station in Western Europe, has slashed its emissions by 90 per cent in less than 10 years and can now claim to be a “purely renewable power generator”, according to its owners.
In financial results posted today, Drax Group claimed it was now one of Europe’s “lowest carbon utilities”, following the sale of its power plant’s gas assets to VPI last February and the end of commercial coal generation at the site in March.
Coal use at the plant will end completely in September 2022, when existing capacity market agreements come …

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Solarisbank raises $224M at a $1.65B valuation to acquire Contis, expand API-based embedded banking tech in Europe

Embedded finance — the process by which some of the more complicated, but also commoditized, aspects of financial services are built and wrapped in an API for anyone else to implement in their own products for end users — has become a huge cornerstone of how fintech is built today. Now, one of the earlier and bigger movers in the space is announcing a major round of growth funding to build out its own.
Solarisbank, a Berlin startup that provides a range of financial services by way of some 180 APIs that others use to build end-user-facing products (including basic banking and card …

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