It’s been a while since we last spoke and so much has happened in the news that I am unsure where to start; from Copenhagen to geo-engineering and Obama.
I shall start with the shocking news that has eminated from Copenhagen where scientist are reporting that we are on-track for at least a 2degC temperature rise by the end of the century.
Apparaently we are together releasing over 50bn tons CO2e into the atmosphere every year, 2-3% more than predicted. This will likely lead to a minimum 1m rise in sea levels as well as their acidification as they abosorb more CO2 leading to destruction of more eco-systems not to mention the widespread droughts predicted across Australia and Equatorial regions. If this goes above + 3degC we will see the end of the ski industry and above +4 the rainforests will begin to die. Of course it is the poorer nations that will suffer most because they do not have the funds to change..I will not go on as it gets too depressing.
In response to this there has been increasing chatter about finding geo-engineering solutions that operate on a global scale to capture, reflect or absorb CO2. Such solutions as 1500 salt spraying ships in the pacific, or giant sun shades in Space to reflect sunlight!
All pretty depressing and fanciful, but if we are now considering the nuclear option, perhaps we have to go even further to save our skins?
Then on the way to work today picked up a news bulletin that Obama is looking to pass legislation that claws back 90% of all bonuses that have been paid out to companies that have received US tax payer money. He is quoted as saying that individuals must understand that they are the cause of the financial meltdown and that thay must now take responsibility for their actions.
Wow, Cause and Effect, about time some politician got it! If only he could start talking in the same urgent terms about climate change. Could we suggest that he claws back all of the carbon profits from industries that have been polluting our climate with no thought for the consequences for so long?
Seems only fair to me; how about it Obama and Gordon?
I spent a great day at Eco-Build last week. It is so much better than the last time I went ( 2 years ago) and what’s more you get in FREE!
This year they had full support from the UKGBC who had a fantastic range of speakers from Michael Portillo to Margaret Beckett and Germaine Greer ( yes Germaine was talking about green housing). Excellent.
Of course I was there to meet colleagues and to sell Planet Positive. As this was an eco event my sales pitch was easy ‘Could you give me a details of the carbon footprint of your fantastic product’; The responses were varied and somewhat surprising. Not one company could give me any data, some said they were doing it and most said ‘we do not know’!
I was both heartened and dismayed by this. Heartened by the business prospects opening up in front of me, but dismayed by the fact that so few supposed eco-companies actually had the facts to back their claims up. I find this worrying. It;s all very well SAYING that you are green, but if you can’t prove it with facts, then I am sorry to say it, but you are talking GREENWASH!
8th March 2009
ps If you want to get more information on carbon footprinting get in touch! email@example.com !!
Next month Knowaste, a Canadian waste recycling company, will start construction on the UK’s first nappy and sanitary pad recycling centre. Based in Birmingham, it is expected the plant will recycle up to 36,000 tonnes of nappies per year.
The nappies and sanitary pads are collected and transported to the processing plant where they are mechanically sorted. Up To 84% of the components can be recovered within the knowaste process; plastic and textile fibres are recovered and recycled into products such as roof tiles, cladding and bicycle helmets, fibre and super absorbents are sent for composting with the organic waste being used to generate methane.
Provided that there is an end user for the recycled-nappy products, and dependent on the amount of methane produced, this could have serious impact the EA’s Nappy Study (see blog entries below) conclusions.
It is expected that the plant will be operational Autumn 2009 with another three plants planned for the UK, potential sites include; London, Sheffield and Newcastle.
Presuming that they are of the same scale, this could remove a total of 144,000 tonnes of nappy and sanitary pad waste out of an annual national nappy landfill 750,000 tonnes (not including sanitary pads) out of landfill. This is a very positive development by the recycling sector and it will be interesting to see how this influences the nappy industry, national waste disposal policies and environmentally conscious parents’ buying patterns.
Pragmatism rules again and whilst the fundamentalists amongst us might shun such an approach, this at least provides a solution to the vast majority of users who will keep with disposables, whatever the numbers. It also puts a value on waste - just think it may even spurn a new generation of businesses, collecting nappies. The question is will a dirty nappy be worth more that a wet one because of the potential methane available?
Such thoughts take me back to my childhood when the local paper mill offered payment for recycled papers. As a budding environmental business boy I wondered the neighbourhood collecting papers and then taking them down to the mill to get paid my £1 for every trolley load. I remember one day, on a slight detour from my usual round, I knocked on the door of an old lady to ask for her papers. She invited me into her house and showed me into 3 rooms stuffed full of news papers worth at least £100/room!!! . Wow! My eyes lit up and I could already feel the weight of the money in my pocket. It turned out she was a paper hoarder and obsessive collector of papers but try as I might to persuade her otherwise she was determined to keep them and would only part with a few each week….oh, the pain of it, so close and yet so far!
For Ziga however, until the London plant opens and a full study has been completed – We’re sticking with the 2nd hand reusable!
For more information on the Knowaste check out their website www.knowaste.com
2nd March 2009
ps with thanks to Maeve Hall for this research!