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Latest news and features from theguardian.com, the world's leading liberal voice

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    Campaigners want end to laws that make donating food more costly than destroying it in country with huge harvests but high infant malnutrition

    From asparagus filling supermarket shelves in the UK to avocados entering the potentially huge Chinese market, Peru’s agribusiness shipments are booming at a time of declining demand for its metals exports, which powered a decade of record-high growth.

    Related: Just growing more food won't help to feed the world | Richard Ewbank

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    OrthoMetals is working with more than half of the UK’s crematoriums to melt down and sell on replacement hips and knee joints

    Our bodies might not live forever, but the prospect of an afterlife beckons for the metal hips or knees we might be carrying. The recycling of prosthetics such as titanium hip replacements and cobalt chrome knee joints from crematoriums is a growing trend across the UK and in some parts of Europe where cremation rates are high.

    Nobody wants their garden of remembrance to be listed as a landfill site.

    Related: Ten eco-friendly funeral ideas

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    The company acts as a broker for recycling companies that receive discarded plastic bottles from individuals in underprivileged communities, encouraging recycling and creating jobs

    A recent list of 100 of the world’s most compassionate business leaders was topped by the usual suspects: Paul Polman, Richard Branson, Muhammad Yunus and Elon Musk. And then there’s David Katz.

    Katz is an entrepreneur based in Vancouver, British Columbia, who for years ran a company he co-founded called Nero Global Tracking, which provides GPS tracking for mobile fleets of vehicles.

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    This New Yorker’s mason jar-sized waste output is enough to make me swoon. Let her eco-friendly excellence serve as motivation, not fuel for resentment

    One early morning a few days ago, I detached myself from my sweaty toddler and crept out of bed. I made a mug of green tea, sat down at my desk and started reading about Lauren Singer.

    I think I’ve finally found my soulmate.

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    Vegetarianism, reusable tote bags and Prius cars are not ‘manly’ enough for some. The answer is not imprinting veggie burgers with grill marks

    Gender plays an important role in who is most affected by climate change – and who is most likely to contribute to it. Women are 14 times more likely to be killed as a result of extreme weather and can continue to be impacted post-disaster by problems like increased domestic violence. At the same time, environmentally-friendly practices such as carrying reusable bags, becoming vegetarian and driving smaller cars are seen as feminine and therefore undesirable for men, who can have higher carbon emissions.

    Consider vegetarianism. According to one study done in Vancouver, a relatively vegetarian-friendly city:“in North America, manhood is still considered a precarious state, easily lost and requiring constant validation. Through purposefully abstaining from meat, a widely established symbol of power, status and masculinity, it seems that the vegetarian man is perceived as more principled, but less manly, than his omnivorous counterpart.”

    Related: What's greener, beef or potatoes? Test your carbon footprint knowledge - quiz

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    Resilient People: Wecyclers began life as a student project – but Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola has since built it into a social enterprise that tackles the Nigerian capital’s waste crisis and empowers low-income communities to turn trash into cash

    As the most populous city in Africa, life in Lagos can present a number of urban challenges. Since 2004, Nigeria has seen a 5% increase in the number of people living below $1 per day, despite recently overtaking South Africa as the continent’s largest economy.

    Of Lagos’s 18 million residents, 60% live in slum neighbourhoods that operate as informal, thriving cities of their own. But Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola, a born-and-raised Lagosian, has a plan to reconnect citizens to the megacity by linking them to out-of-reach municipal services, while also building a network through which community resilience can flourish.

    Trash is currency, and one that’s in every city

    Related: The forced evictions of Badia East, Lagos: 'This is not right'

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    From specially bred dandelions to using recycled tyres in Timberland footwear, the industry is working to take pressure off the environment

    The life of a tyre begins with the rubber tree in south-east Asia, which produces around 90% of the world’s natural rubber supply. The tyre industry consumes around 70% of all natural rubber grown because it offers performance qualities, such as resistance and load-bearing capability, unmatched by synthetic alternatives.

    Increasing car ownership in countries such as India and China is driving up demand for rubber. To meet this, recent research estimates rubber plantations in south-east Asia will have to expand by 8.5m hectares by 2024, with potentially “catastrophic” consequences for forests, primates and endangered birds.

    Related: Shredder sought for five million tyres dumped in Spain

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    Every day millions of internet users ask Google some of life’s most difficult questions, big and small. Our writers answer some of the most common queries

    Recycling is not about rubbish: it’s valuable commodities you’re chucking in your wheelie bin, according to sustainability expert Marcus Gover, not rubbish.

    Related: Recycling rates in England have stalled

    Related: What are CO2e and global warming potential (GWP)?

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    The Great Pacific garbage patch is one of the world’s least talked about environmental disasters. At Kamilo beach in Hawaii, Sophie Thomas from the Royal Society of Arts has documented pieces from the patch washed up on land, including discarded bottles, toothbrushes and toys

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    To celebrate the 24-hour council tweetathon #OurDay, we asked council employees to share pictures via GuardianWitness of their work. From handing out coats for homeless dogs to inspecting loos, here are some of our favourites

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    I tried to recycle my bed to do my bit and save some of the world’s resources. I failed, but there’s still hope – not everyone has given up

    I’ve had a horrible feeling lately that the world is sliding down its final slope, with the brakes off: filthy seas, burned and ruined forests, vanishing species, flattened cities, millions of displaced people, desperate refugees and endless, murderous wars. It is difficult not to abandon hope.

    Fielding is also feeling rather gloomy. “Jesus Christ,” says he. “Give me a reason to get up in the morning.” But I think that’s rather wet. We must put up a bit of a fight. So I tried to recycle my bed, to save a speck of the world’s resources.

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    Recycling rates stall nationally and have even declined in some areas, down by 0.8% in London and 1.2% in the East Midlands

    England must urgently improve its recycling rates if it is to reach European Union targets by 2020, according to one of Britain’s biggest waste companies.

    David Palmer-Jones, the chief executive of Suez recycling and recovery in the UK, said England is trailing behind the EU after new figures show there has only been a marginal increase in recycling in England over the last two years.

    Related: Recycling rates in England have stalled

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    Supermarket will work with families in Swadlincote to trial ideas such as growing mushrooms in coffee and artificial ‘noses’ that sniff out food spoilage

    Swadlincote, a market town in south Derbyshire, has won £1m from Sainsbury’s to invest in finding ways to halve household food waste.

    The supermarket will work with community groups and the local council next year to test ideas such as growing mushrooms in used coffee grounds, using artificial “noses” that detect whether food is safe to eat and introducing community cook-ups to find new ways of using unwanted food.

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    Under proposed new law, European countries must recycle 65% of their trash, 75% of their product packaging and slash landfill dumping

    Europe has put recycling on the agenda of the Paris climate talks with a raft of new waste targets to cut emissions, with its environment commissioner calling on other countries to follow the EU’s lead.

    Under the new goals, by 2030 European countries will have to recycle 65% of their municipal rubbish and 75% of their product packaging, as well as reducing landfill dumping to a maximum of 10% of overall waste disposal. The targets, some of which are binding, are expected to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2-4% within 15 years.

    Related: Why is recycling important? You asked Google – here’s the answer | Adam Vaughan

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    We asked readers to send us pictures of the community projects at the heart of their neighbourhoods via GuardianWitness. Here is a selection of the best, from the world’s smallest solar powered cinema to community allotments in south Wales

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    City links Free buses in Turin, the ‘horizontal elevator’ of Las Vegas, Japan’s recyling capital and the community at the heart of the Turner Prize feature in this week’s round-up of the best urban stories

    The best city stories we’ve collected this week include temporary public transport initiatives in Italian cities hoping to counter increasing air pollution, and the Japanese town on course to become the country’s first “zero-waste” community. We’d love to hear your responses to these stories: share your thoughts in the comments below.

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    Come Hogmanay, returning Irn Bru’s glass bottles will no longer give fans of “Scotland’s other national drink” a 30p refund, ending the long-standing tradition of ‘looking for luckies’

    We were tiny treasure hunters, looking in hedges, on waste ground, in abandoned buildings, deep in the woods, or in “lucky middens”. Our gold was empty Irn-Bru bottles, known as “glass cheques” because they could be cashed in for the deposit paid with every purchase. The bounty would often come in the form of a trade with local shops or the ice cream van and we would walk away with bags of sweets, crisps, and maybe a pokey hat (ice-cream cone).

    But this form of recycling in Scotland is set to come to an end, marking not just a cultural shift but the loss of a potent symbol – the empty ginger bottle – and the traditions that go with it. On the stroke of midnight on Hogmanay this year, the 30p deposit or “buy back” paid on every glass bottle of manufacturer AG Barr’s soft drinks will no longer be refundable. The makers of Irn‑Bru – known as “Scotland’s other national drink” – announced last August that the cash for empties system would be abandoned as it was no longer economical to wash, sterilise and refill the bottles.

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    From wallets to antibacterial fabric, innovators are turning once discarded fish waste into money

    Since he started working on commercial fishing and crabbing boats as a teenager, Craig Kasberg loved being out at sea. Yet he was bothered by the amount of fish waste he saw being dumped back on to the ocean floor.

    “The seafood industry is behind the times when it comes to byproduct utilisation,” says Kasberg, a fishing boat captain based in Juneau, Alaska. “Even though some companies are making pet food, fertiliser and fishmeal [out of the waste], there’s still a lot being thrown away.”

    Related: The fish farm of the future - interactive

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    Think you’re up to date with all things circular economy this year? Put your knowledge to the test and let us know how you score

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    Discarded fast food wrappers make up much of our rubbish – but we’re a long way off biodegradable packaging

    The charity Keep Britain Tidy (KBT) is urging you to clean up for the Queen’s 90th birthday (cleanforthequeen.co.uk). Cigarette butts are the most littered item on our streets, followed by fast-food and snack packaging, and plastic bags.

    Litter is an ecological nightmare. Our rubbish fragments into bits of plastic that are washed into water courses, poisoning wildlife and choking the ecosystem. Every wrapper or container made from virgin materials that isn’t recycled is a blow to the ambitions of a smarter, more circular economy. KBT’s report How Clean is England? tells us that litter disproportionately affects low-income neighbourhoods, so it is a social justice issue, too.

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