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    Polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) represent around 92% of total plastic production, while more than a trillion plastic bags are used every single year. Recycling this incredible volume of materials is quite a challenge, researchers have acknowledged. They propose a most unlikely solution to the growing waste problem; caterpillars.

    It is a fact that plastics are largely resistant to biodegradation. However, a happy accident showed that moth caterpillars can quite easily eat themselves out of a plastic bag, so Paolo Bombelli, Christopher J. Howe and Federica Bertocchini (University of Cambridge & Spanish National Research Council) have discovered.

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    Members of the WEEE Forum collected some 2.1 million tonnes of e-scrap last year - up from only 292 550 tonnes in 2002. A total of 17 million tonnes of e-scrap has been collected for recycling or reuse since the Forum’s launch, it was announced at the body’s fifth international conference in Malta where it celebrated its 15th anniversary.

    On average, delegates heard, 8% of end-of-life electronics end up in the household waste bin each year while almost 9.5 million tonnes of e-scrap is generated across the EU (plus Norway and Switzerland).

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    Who says rum and recycling don’t go together? Ever since 15 shipping containers were lost at sea along the Dutch coast in January plastic bottles and wrappers have been turning up on the country’s beaches. This cargo accident sparked an eco-branding idea at creative agency Fitzroy; it has sourced thousands and thousands of Coca-Cola wrappers to create marble-inspired bottle caps for Fitzroy Premium Navy Rum.

    Red and white plastic were practically drowning the Dutch shores, says Fitzroy. The company suggests moving towards a cleaner world by rethinking one of the favourite ways of consuming: drinking.

    And so, Fitzroy launched a dedicated collection scheme, which also allowed it to recycle any glass bottles for the production of what it calls a ‘sustainable chic’ spirits line and the ‘perfect rum and coke mix’.

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    An investment of 120 million Emirati Dirham (US$ 32.6 million) is to be made in the construction of an advanced electronics recycling facility in Dubai, which is scheduled to become operational by the end of this year.

    Enviroserve UAE has been commissioned by Dubai Wholesale City to build the 228 000 sq ft e-cycling plant employing ‘state-of-the-art’ equipment and with a capacity to process 39 000 tons of e-scrap per annum.

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    Since April last year, customers of European perfume and cosmetics retailer Marionnaud have returned some 300 000 perfume bottles for recycling to the company's 500-plus stores in France as part of a recycling initiative with Veolia. Altogether, this haul has amounted to around 60 tonnes of glass and 10 tonnes of plastic packaging.

    According to Marionnaud, only around 50% of people in France currently recycle beauty product packaging while just one in five recycles nail varnish or make-up product containers.

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    US firm GRC Wireless has recycled 7 million mobile phones since its launch 15 years ago. This anniversary year, the company celebrates that 20 000 organisations are participating in its various take-back schemes, earning the parties involved 'millions of dollars'.

    GRC Wireless was founded in 2002 by wireless industry veterans Marc Leff and Henry Garcia. Both founders were involved in the wireless industry since its infancy in the late 1980s, and started looking into phone recycling when they saw the rapidly growing stream of post-consumer handhelds.

    'Our 15 year motto has been ''We Transform Environmental Challenge into Great Opportunity''. We believe in this principle now more than ever,' comments company president Marc Leff.  

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