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ENVIRONMENT

Carlsberg cans plastic rings to cut waste

Danish brewer Carlsberg said Thursday it was ditching the plastic rings that hold together its six-packs, launching a glued "Snap Pack" aimed at cutting waste and emissions.

Carlsberg cans plastic rings to cut waste
File photo: Henning Bagger/Ritzau Scanpix

Plastic rings pose a serious threat to wildlife and are choking landfill sites, and together with plastic bags are linked to increased ocean pollution.

Carlsberg said its new solution, where the cans are bonded together, would reduce plastic waste globally by more than 1,200 tonnes a year, equivalent to 60 million plastic bags.

The initiative will “reduce the amount of plastic used in traditional multi-packs by up to 76 percent,” the brewer said.

Carlsberg is the latest company to take steps to reduce its plastic packaging, following other multinationals such as Ikea, McDonalds, Starbucks and Adidas.

From 2006 to 2016, global plastic output rose from 245 million to 348 million tonnes, according to the PlasticsEurope trade association.

Anti-plastics campaigning has been vigorous in Europe in recent years, and the EU in May proposed a bloc-wide ban on single-use plastics but did not set a deadline.

Only nine percent of the nine billion tonnes of plastic produced globally to date has been recycled, a recent UN report said.

Some 12 million tonnes per year, mostly in the form of single-use packaging, are dumped into the world's oceans, creating an ecological nightmare, according to Greenpeace.

READ ALSO: Artificial intelligence to taste test Carlsberg's new beers

ENVIRONMENT

‘We still have a chance’: Danish minister’s relief after Glasgow climate deal

Denmark's climate minister Dan Jørgensen has expressed relief that a meaningful climate change deal was struck in Glasgow last night, after a last minute move by India and China nearly knocked it off course.

'We still have a chance': Danish minister's relief after Glasgow climate deal
Denmark's climate minister Dan Jørgensen speaks at the announcement of the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance in Glasgow on Tuesday. Photo: Andy Buchanan/AFP/Ritzau Scanpix

“For the first time ever, coal and fossil fuel subsidies have been mentioned. I’m very, very happy about that,” he told Denmark’s Politiken newspaper. “But I am also very disappointed that the stronger formulations were removed at the last minute.” 

Late on Saturday, the world’s countries agreed the Glasgow Climate Pact, after negotiations dragged on while governments haggled over phasing out coal. 

Denmark is one of the countries leading the phase out of fossil fuels, formally launching the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA) with ten other countries and states at the Glasgow summit on Tuesday, announcing an end to oil exploration last December, and committing to phase out coal by 2030 back in 2017. 

Jørgensen conceded that the deal struck on Saturday was nowhere near far-reaching enough to keep global temperature rises below 1.5C, which scientists have estimated is critical to limiting the impacts of climate change, but he said the decision to hold another summit in Egypt next year meant that this goal could still be reached. 

“The big, good news is that we could have closed the door today. If we had followed the rules, we would only have had to update the climate plans in 2025, and the updates would only apply from 2030,” he said, adding that this would be too late. “Now we can fight on as early as next year. This is very rare under the auspices of the UN.” 

Limiting temperature rises to 1.5C was still possible, he said. 

“We have a chance. The framework is in place to make the right decisions. There was a risk that that framework would not be there.” 

Jørgensen said that he had come close to tears when India launched a last-minute bid to water down the language when it came to coal, putting the entire deal at risk. 

“It was all really about to fall to the ground,” he said. “The assessment was that either the Indians got that concession or there was no agreement.” 

Sebastian Mernild, a climate researcher at the University of Southern Denmark, said he was disappointed by the lack of binding targets and global deadlines in the plan, but said it was nonetheless “a step in the right direction”, particularly the requirement that signatories to the Paris Agreement must tighten their 2030 emissions reduction targets by the end of 2022.

“It’s good that this thing with fossil fuels has got in,” he added. “It’s a pity that you don’t have to phase them out, but only reduce.”

He said the test of whether the Glasgow meeting is a success or failure would not come until the various aspects of the plan are approved and implemented by members states.

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