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Argos pioneers over the counter trade-ins for mobiles and tablets

New recycling scheme offers instant quote in stores and payment in vouchers, and may be extended to cameras, satnavs and laptops

Argos is to become the first big UK retailer to offer customers the chance to trade-in their unwanted mobile handsets as part of a new recycling initiative.

The service, which is being offered in conjunction with the “circular economy” firm Wrap, will allow customers to take older handsets and tablets to any of the firm’s 788 stores where they will be paid for the items in Argos vouchers.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

UK economic growth figures to ignite interest rate debate

GDP estimate from the ONS is expected to show the economy expanded by 0.7% in the second quarter of this year

The latest snapshot of economic growth this week will heat up the debate about when the Bank of England will raise UK interest rates for the first time since the depths of financial crisis.

Economists predict official figures on Tuesday will show GDP growth bounced back in the second quarter after a new-year slowdown. Alongside fading worries about the Greek debt crisis and signs of rising living standards, any such recovery in headline growth could fan expectations that the Bank’s policymakers are readying to raise interest rates, perhaps even before the end of the year.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Universities throw weight behind case for keeping Britain in European Union

EU membership ‘overwhelmingly positive’ for universities, say vice-chancellors at launch of pro-Europe campaign

University chiefs are to back Britain’s membership of the EU ahead of the in/out referendum. Vice-chancellors will hail the “overwhelmingly positive impact” of the union as they launch a campaign alongside the shadow business secretary, Chuka Umunna, and pro-European Conservative MP Damian Green. The move comes amid reports that David Cameron is planning to hold the decisive poll in June next year.

Dame Julia Goodfellow, president of the Universities UK group of more than 130 educational institutions, is expected to tell the event in London on Monday that they must “stand up and be counted”. “It is abundantly clear that the UK’s membership of the European Union has an overwhelmingly positive impact on our world-leading universities, enhancing university research and teaching,” Goodfellow will say.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Cross-Channel delays: small businesses call for alternative to M20 queue system

Federation of Small Businesses says Operation Stack, which sees lorries parked for miles along Kent motorway, is badly disrupting the economy

Small-business leaders have called for an alternative to Operation Stack – the system for letting lorries queue on the M20 in Kent when cross-Channel traffic is disrupted – saying it is hurting the economy.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) appealed to the government as Kent police kept the coastbound M20 closed between junctions 8 and 9 to accommodate lorries delayed by disruption caused by migrants trying to enter the Channel tunnel from France.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Top Right Group could see sale or flotation after bankers asked for options

Owners of publisher – in which Guardian Media Group is a minority investor – understood to be considering appointing bankers to examine exit routes

Investment bankers have been asked to come up with future options for Top Right Group, which could include a sale or flotation of the publisher.

Top Right, formerly known as Emap, has seen a recent improvement in profitability on the back of the Cannes Lions advertising festival and its Groundsure environmental data arm.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

BP forecast to report a slide in Q2 profits

Gloomy second-quarter figures from the oil company will be made worse by an extra $10bn provision from the Deepwater Horizon accident

BP is expected to report that its profits are down by more than half despite a recent increase in oil prices.

The gloomy second-quarter figures to be revealed on Tuesday will be made worse by an extra $10bn (£6.5bn) provision that the company will take to pay for the latest legal settlement resulting from the Deepwater Horizon accident.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Joseph Stiglitz: unsurprising Jeremy Corbyn is a Labour leadership contender

Anti-austerity figures have emerged because young people feel badly let down by centre-left governments such as Blair’s, says Nobel economics laureate

A Nobel prize-winning economist has said it is unsurprising that an anti-austerity figure such as Jeremy Corbyn has emerged as a contender for the Labour leadership.

Speaking in London on Sunday, Joseph Stiglitz warned that policies from centre-left governments such as Tony Blair’s had undermined the middle-ground message, partly by entrenching wealth for the very few.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Morrisons buyers demanded one-off payments from suppliers

Internal email from supermarket’s legal team advises buyers to contact them for advice on how to ‘construct arguments that are credible’ in demanding payments

Buyers at Morrisons have attempted to secure one-off payments from about 20 suppliers in a potential breach of a government-backed code, with only “a handful” blocked by the supermarket’s legal team.

A government-backed code prohibits one-off demands and states that supermarkets must not “vary any supply agreement retrospectively”, except in very specific circumstances.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Time to look at national insurance, the ultimate stealth tax

George Osborne has asked the Office of Tax Simplification to see whether the income tax and NICs could remain separate but be better aligned

Lloyd George introduced it. Labour made it the bedrock of its post-war state pension scheme. Nigel Lawson toyed with the idea of abolishing it only to go cool on the idea. What is it? It is national insurance, the little brother to income tax and now the subject of a new review commissioned by George Osborne.

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Source: The Guardian Circular Economy RSS

Circular Ecology Interviewed for Sustainable Lens

Circular Ecology’s Craig Jones was interviewed for Sustainable Lens, by Professor Samuel Mann, which is now available to listen to online. 

Prof. Mann is a geographer working in computing and who has taught and researched at Otago Polytechnic in New Zealand since 1997, including five years as Head of Department. Sam has published over 150 conference and journal papers in the fields of augmented experiences; sustainability; and computer education. 

Craig was interviewed on embodied energy, carbon footprinting and life cycle assessmentExtracts from Craig’s interview include…


“The embodied energy in a disposable battery is fifty times more than the energy that can be extracted from the battery in use.” [implication rechargeable batteries are best]

“Embodied carbon is released in a very short time frame, in fact it’s often worth 15-20 years worth of operational emissions. If you don’t take the opportunity to reduce that carbon you can’t go back, that opportunity has been lost forever.”

“Too many people confuse carbon footprint with sustainability, and too many people confuse environmental benefits with sustainability.”

Recycling is not a benefit, it should be expected rather than congratulated.”

To listen to the full interview, or to read more extracts, please visit the Sustainable Lens.

If you would like to discuss our work please get in touch or sign up to our Circular Ecology newsletter.

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