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The Clean, The Green And The Flying Machine: The Future’s Looking Good

It’s not often we get the chance to clean up on good news stories, but gratifyingly we have a trio of upbeat tales to share.

After a massive campaign involving sending empty crisp packets through the post, Walkers bowed to consumer pressure and announced they were bringing in a crisp packet recycling scheme. The news was greeted with enthusiasm by campaigners and an inevitable outbreak of unimaginative “Crunch time for Walkers” headlines from lazy journalists. For any of you who are still struggling, “Litter costs Walkers a packet” doesn’t seem to have been used yet.

Seriously, it goes to show what a difference people power can make; and that when it comes to companies, the bigger they are, the more they can do to have a positive impact on the planet.

A lot of those crisp packets were of course finding their way onto beaches. That’s where our second feel-good story picks up the theme. A nationwide beach clean-up organised this autumn by Surfers Against Sewage and their sponsors resulted in an incredible 35.9 tonnes of marine plastic pollution being picked up. The campaign reckons that’s the equivalent of 8,991 bin bags stuffed with plastic. As a result of the sterling work put in by 21,200 volunteers, nearly 500 UK beaches, river banks and lakes will be a lot cleaner and safer for wildlife.

Our next story leaves us wondering what George Formby would have made of the concept of a window-washing drone. He’d have to lose the line “I’ll climb this blinkin’ ladder till I get right to the top” for starters. Operated from the ground and supplied with water and electricity via a hose and cable, the drone not only cleans buildings, but also wind turbines, which need regular cleaning and de-icing to function properly. This potentially difficult and dangerous task could previously only be done by helicopter or costly heating systems.

Even better, the drone, designed by San Francisco company Aerones, has a potential fire-fighting role. Tethered securely to the ground, it can spray water continuously on the upper stories if required, until the fire is doused.