EU majority bans GM
England is set to be surrounded by GM-free zones, with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all having requested opt-outs from cultivation of GM crops. In all, 19 member states have informed the European Commission that they don’t want to grow Monsanto’s GM maize crop, according to Reuters. The biotech company now has a month to react. In related news, the Scottish Government was accused by the Scottish Conservatives this week of making no economic assessment before deciding on its ban.
Food waste target
Scotland is set to become the first country in the EU with a formal food waste target, according to environment secretary Richard Lochhead. The announcement, at the Scottish Resources Conference 2015 in Glasgow this week, comes as new figures showed that household food waste in Scotland has decreased by an estimated 37,000 tonnes per year – 5.7% overall – since 2009. The United States recently announced a 50% by 2025 food waste reduction target.
The Environmental Investigation Agency wants to see polystyrene containers used by fast food outlets replaced with recyclable/reusable and biodegradable ones. It also wants more coffee shops to provide discounts for customers that bring in their own cups. The recommendations are two of 29 contained with in the EIA’s new report on marine litter. An estimated 4.8 to 12.7 million tonnes of plastics enter the world’s oceans every year due to littering and inadequate waste management; without action from businesses, government and the public this figure could increase to as much as 28 million tonnes a year by 2025, the EIA said.
Low pay in restaurants
Low pay is most prevalent among women, part-time employees, those on temporary contracts and those working in hotels and restaurants, according to new research by the Resolution Foundation. It also shows how low pay has changed in recent decades, and what the coming years might hold – the National Living Wage for example will reduce the prevalence of low pay to its lowest level since 1985, and will slightly improve the UK’s international low pay standing, the foundation noted.
John West the worst for tuna
The UK’s largest tinned tuna brand, John West, has sunk to the bottom of Greenpeace’s 2015 tuna league table. Four years ago the company committed to using 100% sustainable tuna by 2016, but has managed just 2% so far, said the charity. All the major supermarkets use fully sustainable tuna in their own label products.