Newsletter July 2022

cooling of urban environments

This month what might seem like the biggest news story, the signing of the Circular Economy Act into law in Ireland , won’t really impact progressive companies.

If you’ve been waiting for a piece of legislation to oblige you to sort your waste streams or incentivise reusable packaging then you’re not the type of company who’ll be reading this newsletter in the first place.

I’m not knocking the legislation. It’s moving in the right direction, but it’s not revolutionary enough to be of concern to companies already engaged in sustainable practices.

The main features of the new law are as follows;

  • the introduction of a levy on coffee cups when dining in initially, but ultimately extending to take-out and all single-use packaging
  • the allowance of CCTV to monitor fly-tipping spots
  • an obligation on businesses to separate their waste streams
  • an introduction of levies on waste going to landfill, incineration or heat recovery
  • a streamlining of EPA application process to reclassify ‘waste’ materials as ‘by-product’ for use in other processes
  • an end to the issuing of new licences for the exploration and mining of coal, lignite, and oil shale.

Now onto some other circular business and design news, unfortunately with some negative stories to start with.

Some bad news to counteract the good …..

Even with the new pledges made at COP26, the world was still on a trajectory for temperature rises of between 2.4°C and 2.7°C

Global warming of 2C could ‘double’ flooding costs in China compared to 1.5C
Economic losses from flooding in China at 2C of global warming could be double those at 1.5C, research suggests

new study has shown the global oil and gas industry has extracted $2.8 billion in profits from humanity every day for the last 50 years. 

The EU claims it has reduced its carbon emissions. But, if we counted emissions embedded in imports, there would be no overall reduction.


Los Angeles streetwear brand Rose In Good Faith has collaborated with sex toy manufacturer Doc Johnson to create a pair of shoes using plastic recycled from sex toys.

Gucci is partnering with Patagonia, the Ellen McArthur Foundation and The Real Real to go circular.

H&M Group gets gold for compostable Cradle to Cradle collection and yet, H&M is also being sued in New York Over “misleading” sustainability marketing

Asos, Boohoo and George at Asda investigated over eco-friendly claims

The organisation Zero Waste Design offers free zero-waste garment patterns via it’s website

The Built Environment

A new law in France insists on green roofs on all new commercial buildings

The company Urban Canopee provides planting systems that help cool down urban environments (see top image)

17 companies have committed to buying “net zero concrete” in a bid to spur investment in greening up this material

Ilke homes in the UK build housing developments with zero energy bills

A new council housing complex on Dominick Street Lower, scheduled to be completed this year, will capture rainwater in tanks on the roof and pipe it into the homes to flush toilets.


Government publish an interesting report on the potential for Irish grown wool


Cork County Council are funding a Green Festivals Pilot Programme to help make Festivals in Ireland greener

Solar / Energy

Start up offers solar blinds

A St Martins Student develops a low cost solar blanket

A UK government auction has secured a record 11 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable energy capacity that will generate electricity four times more cheaply than current gas prices.

Sono Motors now have solar-powered refrigerated trucks

Food & Beverage

Diageo is planning a carbon-neutral brewery in Kildare that will make its lagers and ales


A great little video on how the office furniture company Vepa are becoming more circular

The US has inflicted more than $1.9tn in damage to other countries from the effects of its greenhouse gas emissions.

In case you missed my post earlier this month, I’m delighted to announce the launch of the Circular Upholstery Textiles Project that I’m working on with 8 Irish manufacturers, in association with IWIN


M&S launches an innovation challenge to find ways to improve shelf life and enable more vertical farming (via Sustainability Works)

Musgrave’s has announced a new fund to help its retailers achieve net zero carbon by 2040 and help make every community in Ireland a sustainable one (via Sustainability Works)

French shops are ordered to close front doors when using air conditioning

A really fantastic handbook for sustainable retail in Ireland


By Autumn 2024, the EU will require a range of rechargeable devices, such as phones, to use USB-C chargers, to reduce electronic waste.


TUD and Springboard are offering a Post Graduate Certificate in Sustainability Leadership, which is open for applications now.

Albert have release a new tool to help editorial teams promote sustainability in their programmes


Electric trucks have already reached cost parity in six cities: Berlin, Paris, Rome, London, Warsaw, and Amsterdam.

From 2035 onward, only new cars and vans with zero CO2 emissions will be permitted in the EU

The advertising watchdog has told Land Rover not to re-run a controversial advertisement suggesting that gardener Diarmuid Gavin was living a more sustainable life by driving one of its vehicles.


If you’d like to discuss how any of these developments will impact your business feel free to get in touch via our contact page.


PS – Forgive me for being a few days late with this newsletter. I’m just back from a lovely break in Barcelona.

Published by Elaine Butler

I am a circular design consultant helping manfacturers prepare for the circular economy