Archive for Waste Disposal
‘Imagining tomorrow’s America today, FUTURESTATES is a series of independent mini-features — short narrative films created by established filmmakers and emerging talents transforming today’s complex social issues into visions about what life in America will be like in decades to come.’
‘This short film by American director Ramin Bahrani (Goodbye Solo) traces the epic, existential journey of a plastic bag (voiced by Werner Herzog) searching for its lost maker, the woman who took it home from the store and eventually discarded it. Along the way, it encounters strange creatures, experiences love in the sky, grieves the loss of its beloved maker, and tries to grasp its purpose in the world.’
news.sky.com 28th May 2011
The amount of fly-tipping in the UK is set to increase on a massive scale as cash-strapped local councils raise the price of the disposal of bulky rubbish. A survey of 148 councils across the UK by AnyJunk has found that many have increased skip prices by over half. The rate in Bradford went up 100% between 2009-2010, 89% in Glasgow and 67% in Bristol and Bath. These rates are believed to have a direct link with the amount of fly-tipping, which currently costs the taxpayer about £65 million a year to clean up. Currently the punishment for being caught fly-tipping is a maximum fine of £50,000 and five years in jail. But with so much money to be made from the business, some worry that fly-tippers will take the risk. Fly-tipping is defined as ‘the illegal dumping of waste on land that does not have a license to receive it.’
e360.yale.edu 10th February 2011
Quoted from source:
‘A UK-based company this week broke ground on a $130 million plant in Vero Beach, Fla. that company officials say will be the first to produce advanced biofuels from waste on a commercial scale. While other researchers are working on processes to convert waste into fuel, Ineos Bio’s plan would garner revenue from three different streams: taking in plant waste and possibly household garbage; generating electricity; and producing ethanol with significantly reduced CO2 emissions. The facility will use common processes to gasify plant waste, including palm leaves. But while typical ethanol processes use bacteria that eat sugars, this process will use a bacteria found in chicken waste that researchers say consumes carbon monoxide and hydrogen. The remaining gas will be burned for electricity. In tests, the process has produced nearly 100 gallons of ethanol per dry ton of waste, according to the company. By mid-2012, the company expects to begin producing 8 million gallons of bioethanol and six megawatts of electricity annually. About two megawatts of that electricity — enough to power 1,400 homes — will be shared with the local community.’
The Plastiki organisation, led by the adventurer and environmentalist David de Rothschild, has come up with some pretty innovative ways of dealing with plastic waste. Using 12,500 recycled plastic bottles they put together a boat capable of sailing the high seas and travel the world raising awareness on the problems of plastics in the environment. In their travels they have come across a community in Guatemala who have begun using discarded plastic bottles in just as an imaginative way. Supported by the Hug It Forward organisation, children and adults alike take bottles and stuff them with other bits of rubbish to create ‘eco-bricks’, which they then use to make buildings such as the local school.
www.lefigaro.fr 19 January 2011
In what has been called ‘un signe d’ancrage de pratiques citoyennes plus durables’ (‘a sign of sustainable civic practices catching on’), waste production from France’s capital city has fallen for the 9th year in a row. In 2010, Paris produced 2.3 million tons of household waste, down 0.5% from the previous year. Although not quite as significant a drop as between 2008 and 2009 (3%), the decrease does continue a trend that has seen waste fall 7.7% since 2001. In 2010, recycling increased by 2.1% (or 3,400 tons). The Parisian region is made up of 84 municipalities with 5.5 million people. This year, 2011, the budget of Syctom, the waste management organisation, has been increased and hundreds of millions of Euros are being invested into further sustainable waste disposal projects.
http://storyofstuff.org is a great group that makes short films about problems our world faces. This one on bottled water tackles the hypocrisy of the bottled water industry and the benefits of drinking good old bottled water.
e360.yale.edu 24th November 2010
Quoted from source:
‘The chemical Bisphenol A, or BPA, has been much in the news lately. BPA is the building block for polycarbonate plastic — the sort of hard, clear plastic often used in water bottles — and it is found in everything from linings of metal cans, to the thermal paper used for cash register receipts, to the dental sealants applied to children’s teeth. The chemical mimics estrogen, and in studies involving lab animals, exposure to BPA, even at very low doses, has been linked to a wide variety of health problems, from an increased risk of prostate cancer, to heart disease, to damage to the reproductive system.
Frederick vom Saal, a biologist at the University of Missouri’s Endocrine Disruptors Group, is one of the world’s leading researchers on the ill health effects of BPA in humans and animals. He is also one of the most outspoken critics of U.S. businesses and regulators for glossing over, or concealing, the major impact that BPA exposure is increasingly having on human health. Vom Staal is irate that even though BPA is quite similar to another synthetic hormone — DES, or Diethylstilbesterol — that caused myriad health problems in thousands of women in the 1940s and 1950s, federal regulators are only now beginning to take seriously the threat from BPA.’
Read the full interview here at Yale Environment 360.
www.latimes.com 17th November 2010
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has banned plastic ‘grocery’ bags in all shops within its jurisdiction. When the new law comes into effect July next year, 67 supermarkets and pharmacies will stop providing disposable plastics bags with as many as 1000 shops following suit by January 2012. The ban follows similar action taken in San Francisco and Malibu. “Plastic bags are a pollutant. They pollute the urban landscape,” said Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky. ”They are what we call in our county urban tumbleweed.” The law was passed after a board vote of 3-1. The ayes were the three Democrats on the board: Yaroslavsky, Gloria Molina and Mark Ridley-Thomas.The nay was Republican Michael D. Antonovich; Don Knabe, also a Republican, was absent. Mr. Antonovich expressed his concern that smaller retail outlets would be disadvantaged as they would not have access to volume-discounts for paper and reusable bags. “At a time of economic uncertainty, with a large number of businesses leaving our state and community, this would not be an appropriate time … to impose this additional regulation,” Antonovich said. Around 8 billion plastic bags are currently used in LA county alone, an average of 1,600 bags per household. Only 5% of these are recycled. The move by the Board of Directors comes with growing awareness on the US west coast of plastic pollution in the oceans. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a ‘plastic soup’ of human refuse in the Pacific now stretches all the way to Japan in two enormous circulating gyres (pictured).
www.guardian.co.uk 17th September 2010
A study by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has revealed that UK retailers have voluntarily reduced the amount of waste sent to landfill by around 50% since 2005. The report has also found that retailers have made an 18% reduction in CO2 emissions since the same date. Of particular note were Britain’s first zero-carbon store: a Tescos in Ramsey, Cambridgeshire which opened in 2009. John Lewis’ new Cardiff store also achieved recognition with 99% of production waste being recycled. However, the BRC has warned the government not to let its ‘localism agenda and nimbyism’ prevent ‘retailers from meeting national and European environmental targets’. Despite a major growth in sales, UK retailers have still managed to use 4.6 billion less plastic bags between 2006 and 2010. This is still a far cry from France though which has banned plastic bags from being freely distributed in supermarkets.