The climate change agenda took something of a back seat, while the world battled against Covid-19. But that doesn’t mean the environment didn’t continue to matter a great deal, to many people. So, to celebrate all things sustainability, help share tips for smarter environmental thinking and remind each other just how much our carbon impact matters, we’re inviting colleagues and friends of the business to take part in our quickfire environmental Q&A.
First up, it’s Marcus Brew – managing director at UNTHA UK.
Where do you fit into the environmental sector? Tell us a little bit about your role at UNTHA UK…
In my role as managing director, I control the strategic view of the company, supporting our supply of world-renowned shredders to the environmental sector and helping our customers receive better results from their recycling efforts.
Complete the sentence – the UK is great at recycling…
… tyres, however in previous years the recycling of this bulky waste has been a headache for most waste management specialists, meaning unnecessary amounts of this resource have headed straight to landfill. But, with advancements in equipment during 2020, we made strong growth in manufacturing the right machines for improved recycling results.
Which sector do you think could achieve significant environmental progress this year?
WEEE recycling was the hot topic before the pandemic hit just a year ago. In 2021, with increased government focus, I believe there’s a real conversation to be had here once again, from a financial and business perspective.
What do you wish you’d known about the environment, as a child?
It would be great to have known just how much our natural resources were being consumed and not recycled. We weren’t actively looking at the recycling agenda then, and most waste headed straight for landfill – not just in the UK, but around the globe. If there had been more of a push on closed loop methodology, we wouldn’t see the problems we’re faced with today.
What’s the single biggest threat to the environment, in your opinion?
Knowledge is power, and in this case, the lack of knowledge is our biggest threat. Consumers and industries aren’t informed on the issues changing the world at present. People who aren’t actively working in recycling or waste industries on a daily basis don’t have a clear view of the environmental policies in place, or what they can do to play their part in driving progress.
Share 1 tip to help people be ‘greener’, at work or at home:
Look at what you’re throwing away and question, is it really waste? Equally with your purchases, if it doesn’t look like you can recycle the packaging or the product once its reached end-of-life, consider if you can buy an alternative or avoid it entirely.
Tell us an environmental statistic that you think people need to know:
Waste to Energy plants are constantly hot in the press. Worries swarm the media over the harmful emissions – particularly when housing is located close to a facility – but did you know that in an entire year, their output of Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) and Sulfur Oxides (SOx) is lower than that produced in London’s New Year’s fireworks? People are happy to watch the display up-close, but they unknowingly put themselves near a year’s worth of carcinogenic chemicals, which seem to have no long-term harmful effects.
What’s the best thing you’ve ever reused/upcycled?
At home, we’re big on upcycling furniture. We would much rather repair than search for a ‘new’ item and try to purchase pieces that have a longer lifespan, spending a little more where we can. Finding a home for items we’ve fallen out of love with is just as important too, if everyone did the same it would make a huge difference.
If you were prime minister for the day, what’s the one thing you’d do to improve the UK’s sustainability agenda?
I think I’d need more than just a day! Most importantly, industries need to be engaged with once again and conversations must be had surrounding closing the loop and how it can be pushed forward in a sustained way. Even though more companies have CSR representation, it’s not just the government’s responsibility – industry has a huge part to play.
Complete the sentence – in 100 years’ time, I hope…
… we still have a planet that’s fit for use, for the next generation. We need to do the most we can for our children’s children, and the environmental future of the planet we call home.