Reusable cups at Starbucks, EU protects bees and other good news for the planet

With so many horrifying news entering our world each day, you would almost forget that there are also good things going on. I gathered my favorite “Yay for Planet Earth” moments of the past week:

  1. EU votes to ban bee-harming pesticides

The European Union has voted for a ban on pesticides that are harmful to bees and other pollinating insects. Three major neonicotinoid chemicals (imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam) will no longer be allowed outdoors.

It would have been even better if the ban also would have applied to indoor farming in greenhouses. According to Professor James Nieh, a biologist at the University of California San Diego “Neonicotinoids not only contaminate plants, soil, and water, but surprisingly, they stay in the water and soil for a long time after they are sprayed”. This means that eventhough studies found that in greenhouses the effects are not as harmful to bees as outdoors, neonicotinoids have a wider spread negative impact on the environment.

As always there are still improvements left to make, but this is a step in the right direction. Go bees!

  1. Starbucks sees 150% increase in use of reusable cups

Six weeks ago Starbucks started an experiment in 35 shops across central and west London. The concept is simple: Bring your own cup, and you get a 25 pence discount. If you need a disposable one, you pay 5 pence. The major coffee chain saw a 150% increase in people bringing their reusable cup.

Considering that in the UK alone 2.5 billion cups are thrown away each year and a shocking 99.75% are not recycled, Starbucks is making a good move trying to motivate people to bring their own cup.

  1. Italian islands ban single-use plastic with fines up to €500 if you get caught

Antonio Fentini, mayor of the idyllic Italian Tremiti Islands has signed a new ordinance to protect the coast and sealife. From the 1st of May, 2018 all single-use plastic such as cutlery, cups and plates have been banned from the archipelago. Rule-breakers face fines up to €500 and they apply to tourists, locals and businesses. The local authorities hope to eventually roll out more regulations to include restrictions on plastic bottles and polystyrene containers as well.

This doesn’t mean you can no longer enjoy a lovely picknick on the beach, it just means you need to be aware to switch to reusable options.

I sincerely hope more mayors (both on coastal and non-coastal cities) will take steps to protect our precious blue waters!

  1. Hawaii forbids sunscreen to protect coral reefs

The state of Hawaii has signed a bill that bans sunscreens containing chemicals known to harm coral reefs. The legislation prohibits the distribution of sunscreens containing the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate, which cause coral bleaching.

Although the bill will not be effective until 2021, Hawaii is the first place in the world where a law like this will apply. I am curious to see if other places will follow!

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