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Good morning curious.friends,

This week Kit Kat announced they would 'have a break' from plastic packaging in favour of paper that folds into origami - we think this takes folding a pack of Walkers crisps into a triangle to a whole new level! 

We also cover two waste stories - how happy hour is moving from pub to supermarket, and how all of our old electronic devices are impacting the planet!

Reading time is 3:47 minutes.

A new kind of happy hour!

by Imogen Berryman

What's Going On Here?

Supermarket chain, ‘S-Market’ has started a grocery happy hour across their 900 stores in Finland. 

What Does This Mean?

Every evening at 9pm, food that needs to be sold by midnight and would otherwise be thrown away is reduced in cost by a whopping 60%. 

It’s pretty much like the beloved reduced section of most supermarkets except that S-Market has a scheduled time and guaranteed decent price cuts which should encourage more customers to come instore for it. 

The happy hour is part of the supermarket’s campaign to reduce their food waste - great news for their pockets and our planet!

Why Should We Care?

A third of all food produced worldwide gets wasted. In the UK, this accounts for around  10.2 million tonnes every year! In higher income countries like the UK, 40% of this occurs at the retail or consumer stage. 

S-Market aims to reduce the environmental impact of food waste whilst still profiting and sets a good example for other supermarkets to follow. Earlier this year, following the UK government urging food retailers to reduce their food waste - more than 100 supermarkets including Aldi, Asda, Co-op, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, M&S, and Morrisons pledged to halve their food waste by 2030.

Be Curious!

  • Make sure the supermarket don’t pass on the food waste burden to you. Only buy what you will eat, no matter how tempting the price! Tools like Dinner Spinner and Supercook are great for finding a recipe using ingredients you already have.
  • If you’re an avid hunter in the reduced aisle of your local supermarket, make sure you are clued up on how to store the food you find, especially if their use-by-date is the same day.
  • Help fight food waste from hospitality and retail with apps like Olio, Too Good to Go and Karma which rescue unsold food from cafes, restaurants and supermarkets!
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Can we fix it? Yes we can!

by Alexandra Genova

What's Going On Here?

‘Right to Repair’ has been gaining traction in recent months, as big businesses and presidential candidates get on board. At its core, the movement is fighting for a reduction in electronic waste— known as E-waste—by giving more options to the consumer to repair their goods.

What Does This Mean?

Think about the various gadgets you own. How many items could you reasonably fix right now? And if it costs less to fix them than to buy shiny new ones, would you consider it? If you want to fix say, your smartphone, you will normally have to go exclusively to the manufacturer or authorised agent and pay a massively inflated price. This means more money for them, less money for you and—worst of all—more e-waste (more of that later). 
So what is being done about it? One of the worst offenders for manufacturer monopoly—Apple—announced last week that they will allow more large and small repair shops to make "the most common" out-of-warranty iPhone repairs. 
Earlier in the year, the EU announced it would introduce legislation obliging manufacturers to make their products longer-lasting and easier to repair following ratification by European environment ministries. This will come into force in April 2021 and will apply to household products like washing machines, fridges and display screens.

Why Should We Care?

Not being able to fix our electronic goods safely and cheaply often means we buy new ones. And the more stuff we buy, the more waste we generate. According to a 2017 report from the United Nations University, the production of e-waste grew to 45 million metric tonnes globally in 2016, a figure estimated to hike to more than 52 million metric tonnes annually by 2021. 
The cost of mishandled e-waste is catastrophic on every level—polluting air, soil, water, wildlife and human beings. Poorer countries are more likely to have to import e-waste, meaning they are the worst affected. Take Ghana for example, e-waste burning has become so widespread in parts of the country that recent studies have suggested that breast milk could be contaminated by the pollution!

Be Curious!

We have talked about this before; a large part of the fight for environmental justice is in our power as a consumer. It is about taking control where we can—and this is just as applicable to electronics as it is to the food we eat. If we can learn to fix our electronics, we can help reduce this destructive waste. 

If you want to be part of the solution, there are many brilliant organisations lobbying government and teaching consumers how to DIY. Here’s a few:
  • The Re-Start Project helps people learn how to repair their broken electronics, and rethink how they consume them in the first place
  • Ifixit is an open resource repair group with millions of participants
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Other news we found curious...

KitKat is ditching plastic packaging for paper you can turn into origami - Fast Company
M&S announces glitter-free Christmas as they ban non-recyclable sparkles - Telegraph
Thames Estuary seals double in number - BBC
Unilever's Seventh Generation to donate TV ad buy to Global Climate Strike cause - The Drum
A Quarter of Humanity Faces Looming Water Crises - The New York Times
Brexit is stalling Britain from taking vital action on climate crisis, says expert - The Guardian
After bronze and iron, welcome to the plastic age, say scientists - The Guardian
Imogen Berryman
Alexandra Genova

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