Friday, 18 December 2009

COP15 - Last Chance?

Greetings,

I thought I should probably post something today as it is the final day of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. My previous post hopefully will have given you an idea of what COP15 is trying to acheive. I've been watching some of the news reports and twitter streams to keep up to date but so far things don't look overly positive for a global treaty.

It's really distressing to think that the Kyoto Protocol will finish in 2012, after which there will be no formal framework in place to regulate emissions and control global carbon outputs downwards. Given the potential scale and severity of global warming and the ongoing impacts that unmitigated carbon emissions is having would it be too optimistic to hope that politicians would pull out all the stops and really work together to conclude a meaningful deal? - Especially since it's taken so long to arrange an opportunity for discussions on this scale, it would be a disaster to see the talks fail...

We'll have to wait and see what the rest of the day holds but for the moment there seems to be a dark cloud over Copenhagen.

Onwards & upwards?

Lucy

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Prison Work On Waste Schemes vs. NIMBY Rubbish.

Greetings,

I came across this rather reactionary article in the MEN about a convict working for a local waste contractor who escaped whilst on work duties.

From a social perspective, personally I think it's a good thing for prisoners to be given meaningful work and contribute something useful. I can appreciate that it's not deemed ideal from the point of view of many members of the public, however I think we need to consider our civic responsibilities and recognise that prisoners who find work are less likely to reoffend when they are released.

The fact that this prisoner was based in a Category D open prison shows that the Prison Service felt he was able to contribute to the community and it seems unfair to denigrate the system and deny prisoners the chance to reintegrate into society simply because of the NIMBYism demonstrated by some of the commmenters on the article.

One similar successful scheme I am aware of is Newport Wastesavers, who have also used "lifers" on their round, and who worked really well/hard. Assuming prisoners stick to the agreed terms, are electronically tagged (providing us all with a guarantee that they can't go far in any case) and are appropriately managed, surely the newport scheme is a good example for all involved parties and has a positive social impact upon the prison populace?

Onwards & upwards!

Lucy.

Five Steps To Green Your Christmas

Greetings,

It's getting towards that time of year again, I can't believe it's nearly been a year since I started this blog, time flies when you're having fun!

In the spirit of the season I thought I should put together some suggestions for how to enjoy a fantastic festive break without causing undue harm to the planet and wasting unecessary resources.

So without further ado here are my thoughts, but by all means feel free to post any suggestions you may have in the comments section:

  • Use newspaper to wrap your gifts, not only does this look interesting & different but by recycling the paper instead of buying more it helps to conserve trees.


  • If you are going to buy lights, buy LEDs. They can use up to 80% less energy than traditional bulbs. However please note that it is more environmentally sound to use exisiting incandescant bulbs than to buy new LED bulbs because of the energy used in their manufacture.


  • Plant a tree for xmas and decorate it instead of buying a xmas tree, a live tree can be used for years to come and helps to absorb CO2. Those without the space can consider renting a tree as an alternative.


  • Source local organic food to reduce carbon footprint and to reduce the amount of harmful pesticides used in the manufacture of your groceries.


  • Recycle your wrapping paper, it is estimated that 82 sq km of wrapping paper finds its way into bins in the UK on christmas morning.

One more thing I'd suggest everyone to do, whilst not strictly relating to christmas but certainly in the spirit of the season: Join 10:10 as a new years resolution.

Onwards & upwards!

Lucy.

Monday, 7 December 2009

COP15 - An Overview

Greetings,

You may or may not know, but the COP15 United Nations Climate Change Conference began in Copenhagen today, as such I thought it would be worth posting what it is about and why COP15 is so important.

The primary aim of the conference is for all participating countries to form a binding global agreement to minimise the negative man-made impacts of climate change after 2012. This agreement is to replace the Kyoto Protocol which was agreed in 1997. Such is the level of commitment to this agreement that the EU member states have even agreed to implement binding legislation based upon the outcomes of the conference.

Regardless of the debates concerning its cause, the impacts of global climate change are real and significant and the scientific community has, despite recent media coverage, largely reached a consensus; the COP15 conference will hopefully make political representatives from across the globe acknowledge the dire circumstances we face and the urgent need to act now to make a difference...

You can keep an eye on the latest developments at COP15 via their twitter feed, but also I'm sure there will be a lot of coverage in the press . Meanwhile you might want to consider joining the 10:10 campaign in order to feel part of making positive change happen towards becoming carbon neutral and more 'resource efficient'!

Onwards & upwards!

Lucy.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Recent Flooding Devastates Cumbria

Greetings,

I don't think that there's a single corner of the country that won't have seen by now the distressing plight of the people of cumbria over the last month.

It's a clear indication of the impact of climate change, in 2005 cumbria was devestated by the worst floods in living memory. This disaster was thought to be a 'one in a lifetime' event, something Cumbrians would never experience again in their living memory.

The record breaking levels of rain experienced across cumbria over the last week have certainly shattered that illusion. When 314mm of rain fell in 24 hours on 19/11, the impact was felt not just locally, but nationally and even globally.

The Cumbria Community Foundation has set up the Cumbria Flood Recovery Appeal, a fund to help those that have lost everything to the floods start to rebuild their lives again. If you would like to do something to help the people of Cumbria through this tragedy you can make a donation online to the fund or ring 01900 825760 to contribute.

Anything you can spare will be sure to make a significant difference to the people of Cumbria, significant numbers of whom will be living in shelters this christmas.

Lucy.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

The Story Of Cap & Trade

Greetings,

I strongly recommend committing ten minutes to watching this video as it lays bare the truths about the real benefits of the proposed 'cap & trade' schemes which are being discussed in Copenhagen:

We need to work towards real solutions rather than turning climate change into another opportunity for traders to make billions with no real benefits to the environment.

Onwards & upwards!

Lucy.

Friday, 27 November 2009

'Road Trains' To Reduce Emissions?

Greetings,

Continuing from my post about how electric cars could increase carbon emissions. I'm interested to by the technology being developed by EU research teams for the introduction of 'road trains'. The premise behind the research is that if vehicles could be remotely controlled by a leading vehicle, they could drive much closer and reduce the amount of air turbulence and resistance they experience, and in theory reduce energy consumption and emissions...

One concern is whether or not having large numbers of vehicles driving in close proximity could prove potentially dangerous under emergency braking situations? I'm not sure how this could reduce the kind of congestion we experience in Greater Manchester and most other urban centres but perhaps those insistent on road travel matched with these boffins will work out to defy the arguably inevitable logic of congestion charging schemes (sigh).

Personally I'd rather see more focus being made on the development of hydrogen vehicles than trying to reduce the outputs of fossil fuelled vehicles... At least there is now a national campaign encouraging drivers to reduce their driving "by 5 miles a week" - every little counts?

Onwards & upwards!

Lucy.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Electric Cars Increase Carbon Emissions!

Greetings,

A recent report published by the Environmental Transport Association (ETA) has urged us to reconsider the purported environmental benefits of electric vehicles. The ETA's research has shows that because of the demand on the national grid the UK would have to build a significant number of additional coal powered or nuclear power stations to meet the demand. The ETA argue that in effect all we would be doing is transferring vehicle emissions from the exhaust pipe to the power station chimney. Without effective sustainable energy sources, the argument for electric vehicles carries very little weight.

One solution supported by the ETA is the installation of Piezoelectric crystals in the road network, which generate electricity through vibrations caused by vehicular passage . Sounds too good to be true? Although at the early stages of development , potentially it seems that solutions like this could make very real contributions to our power demands of the future...

Unfortunately meanwhile, the UK government is committed to the construction of yet more nuclear power stations in the UK even though there is no effective solution to the disposal of the massive amounts of toxic waste generated by the process. It looks like a sustainable solution to our future energy demands is further away than ever. Who is doing the energy conservation advice and awareness so badly needed for Jo Bloggs (household and business) at grassroots level? If you know, please let me know - surely we should have an army of folk doing it by now?

Bring on the smart metering in every building!

Lucy.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Kenco Eco Refill Packaging - Part 2

Hello,

Following on from my post last month about the new Kenco Eco Refill Packaging, I was contacted by a member of their branding team who very kindly clarified a few misconceptions I had about the packaging.

They asked if I had any questions about the new packaging, so I popped a few over to them and here are their responses:
LD: In the process of developing the Eco Refill, at any point was the option of changing the existing lid material to a recyclable metal instead of polypropylene given due consideration?

Kenco: The jar lid minus the paper 'wad' is polypropylene and is technically recyclable – however there are very few polypropylene recycling facilities in the UK which means that in the vast majority of cases the lid is sent to landfill even when people put lids in their green recycling bins. Our R&D team has looked into other recyclable alternatives but we are unable to get the quality & strength we require for the lid using other recyclable materials.
LD: What percentage of consumers who purchase the Eco Refill do you estimate will actually go through the process of registering on the teracycle website, printing postage labels and then sending them to Terracycle?

Kenco: It's early days for our TerraCycle partnership but early signs are promising in terms of redemptions. It is a freepost process, so we hope as many consumers as possible do upcycle. Our partner TerraCycle will donate 2p per returned pack to a charity of choice which we also hope will encourage returns of the Eco Refill.
LD: Do you not think that in truth the process of “upcycling” the Eco Refill does not actually answer the problem of the packaging not being recyclable as once the upcycled bags etc reach their end of life they will be sent to landfill? Hence you are in fact delaying the process of landfilling the product instead of trying to work out an environmental packaging solution to prevent it?

Kenco: As a brand we are on a sustainability journey - the current Eco Refill packaging is the most sustainable packaging option available that protects the coffee inside it. Through upcycling we can give the packaging another use, and thereby reduce the amount of virgin materials that would otherwise have been used to make these items. In addition TerraCycle are able to continually upcycle packaging, for example if a shopping bag was to break it can be sent back to TerraCycle to be given a further use. One such way is to grind the plastic down and use it as another material thus avoiding landfill.
LD: Whilst I recognise that there is a minimisation to imbedded transport carbon costs through weight reduction, is Kenco saying that in effect, to have a smaller amount of landfill is more environmentally friendly than a larger amount of recycling?

Kenco: Creating less waste and sending less waste to landfill is more important according to the EU-advocated waste hierarchy. Recycling is just one solution to the waste problem. We already encourage the recycling of our glass jars (with recycling messages on-pack) and the Eco Refill is a simple and convenient way for consumers to send less packaging waste to landfill.

Refilling as a principle makes good environmental sense. Just as consumers have been encouraged to reuse plastic bags when they shop rather than buying new ones, so we are encouraging our customers to make best use of the glass jars or other containers by refilling them.

A June 2008 report from WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) showed that refill systems have the potential to significantly reduce both retail packaging waste and product waste. WRAP also supports our new Eco Refill pack. Richard Swannell, Director of Retail & Organics, WRAP has said, 'We support the development of the new Kenco refillable packaging. It means less packaging for consumers by allowing them to re-use a favourite container . While the refill pouches are not currently recycled in the UK, the move to refills will help reduce the overall waste being sent to landfill.’

Not For Profit organisation Recycle Now also supports refills as environmentally positive packaging choices.
Whilst I'm glad that Kenco responded to me so quickly & it is clear they're trying to do the right thing, I'm not entirely convinced by the strength of their responses.

I've made my case but I guess it's up to you to decide; Kenco Eco Refill packaging, greenwash or sound environmental solution?

Onwards & upwards!

Lucy.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

UK Produces £12bn Food Waste Per Annum

Hi Folks,

A shocking report published on monday by WRAP show just how much food the UK is wasting.

According to their study, every household is throwing away as much as £480 worth of edible food every year; across the country that equates to £12bn worth of wasted edible food, weighing approximately 8.3 million tonnes!!! WRAP states that this could amount to as much as 25% of all food purchased in the UK - and at a time when food poverty still exists - even in the UK!

Clearly something needs to be done to raise awareness and help reduce the level of waste we are all generating - as concern builds about global food shortages we can little afford to waste a quarter of all of the food we purchase.

On the subject of diverting food waste: have you come across FareShare? EMERGE Food is a new subsidiary within the EMERGE Group and we are very proud to be running the North West FareShare franchise and acting as a hub for food surplus deliveries to divert in date food to people in need. If you know someone who could donate food or volunteer please contact Paul Beswick on 0161 223 8200.

And while you're at it: carry on composting!

Lucy

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Kenco Eco Packaging = Greenwash?

Greetings,

You may well have seen the TV and poster campaign by Kenco advertising an Eco-Refill packaging unit for their instant coffee range. The premise behind their green message is that by producing a range of foil sealed sachets consumers can refill their glass jars from the sachets and because the sachet weighs less than the glass jar, they reduce 97% of their waste packaging weight.

The real issue with this is that instead of having a 100% recyclable waste stream, namely glass jars and plastic caps, you now have a composite product which is made of metal foil and plastic clips that cannot be recycled and must instead be sent to landfill! Kenco are working in partnership with Terracycle to offer a recycling solution, consumers must register on the Terracycle website then freepost their pack to Terracycle. There is no alternative in domestic waste collections other than landfill for this packaging solution.

I'm sorry to say it but this looks to be the worst kind of greenwash to me!

Onwards & upwards?

Lucy.

*edited 10/11/09 - To amend postage details re: Terracycle scheme.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Manchester Launches Green Pound.

Greetings,

A great initiative has just been launched in Manchester to help bolster the green economy of the city. The Green Pound voucher is a currency that can be spent in businesses that are committed to helping the environment and a percentage of each voucher is used to fund carbon reduction projects.

Schemes like this could make a real impact upon the levels of carbon and I think that local businesses should do everything they can to support it.

Onwards & upwards!

Lucy.

Manchester Recycling Rates Decrease?

Greetings,

Disappointingly, especially given all the work MCC appear to be doing to reduce climate change, this article suggests some integrity may be lacking. It appears that due to a DEFRA reclassification (quite rightly DEFRA are saying you can't count mashed up household bulky waste and street sweepings going to landfill cover) that the total volume of recorded waste being recycled in Greater Manchester has actually decreased last year by as much as 5%! This is due to MCC wrongly counting landfill as 'recycling'! What next?!?

To offset the news that they've been 'comingling' their recycling figures (puns intended) Manchester City Council assures us that actually the level of recycling across the city is continuing to increase year on year... They project that actually the level of recycled waste has risen from 20.28% in 2008 to 21.06% this year. Can we believe them? Let's hope so... Perhaps the Audit Commission should be working out Local Authorities recycling rates for them?

At EMERGE we know only too well that it's hard to engage the public in committing to recycling, but fudging the numbers just doesn't help anyone. Ideally the public need reassurance that what they sort for recycling genuinely doesn't go to waste and arguably they need incentives (such as charges for disposal and free recycling?) as well as smart recycling systems to make it easy and convenient...

Meanwhile some big names (Stella Artois, Coca Cola for example) are now promoting their recycling efforts on billboards and bus stops in Manchester - efforts like this will surely help Manchester and its residents to continue to increase its recycling rates.

Onwards & upwards!

Lucy

Monday, 5 October 2009

EMERGE Vacancy: Finance Controller

JOB TITLE: Finance Controller
RESPONSIBLE TO: Chief Executive
RESPONSIBLE FOR: Financial Administrator

MAIN DUTIES:
To oversee and co-ordinate budgets (including Core department budget) and control cash flow in conjunction with the Management Team.

To provide the Board and Management Team with monthly management accounts and financial performance information.

To manage and supervise the work of the Finance Administrator and other finance-related administrative staff to ensure an efficient and effective finance, ccounting and payroll service to EMERGE.

To take the lead role in ensuring the ongoing financial sustainability of EMERGE in conjunction with the Chief Executive and Board Member with responsibility for finance.

In conjunction with the key staff, ensure that a high level of customer care is maintained re finance.

DETAILS:
Hours: Hours negotiable but within core hours of 8.30-5.30pm: 4 days per week based
on 28 hours envisaged. Must be prepared to work occasional evenings and
weekends as necessary by negotiation.

Probation:
6 months

Pay Scale: £23,690 gross pro rata starting salary.

Base: Based at the EMERGE offices, may require travelling around Greater
Manchester and occasionally further afield.

Duration: Permanent contract.

Application Deadline: 12/10/09 12:00

For more information and to request an application pack, please call 0161 223 8200.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Daily Reviewer Top 100 Recycling Blogs

Greetings,

I just wanted to write a quick line to say thanks very much to everyone at The Daily Reviewer for placing me in their top 100 recycling blogs! You might have noticed my shiny new badge on the right hand side of the page. It's really nice to be commended for the blog and I hope you will all continue to enjoy my musings about recycling and sustainability.

Onwards & upwards!

Lucy.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Green Thinking In The Construction Industry?

Greetings,

I was browsing Twitter and came across a link to this article and was really interested by the use of recycled plastic as a concrete aggregate. The con s truction industry is responsible for generating huge amounts of landfill waste (albeit often inert) , so to see an innovative use of a potentially difficult waste stream being recycled into a useable long-term product is encouraging. I would be interested to know what the long term implications of the product are, for example is it durable? What happens when is it breaks down and what environmental impacts the plastic will have when used in this format?

I’m not entirely convinced that this is the best practical final use of the material, but it’s good to see the construction industry getting its ‘green’ hard hat on.

Onwards & upwards!

Lucy.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Greetings,

A slightly different blog today as I have just been interviewed by someone from The Carbon Trust, who has been tasked with interviewing the 30 most influential environmental blogs at the moment! Their reason for this was to investigate a range of social media tools to communicate their mission about moving the country towards a low carbon economy.

Interestingly, it seems that blogs are increasingly being targetted by organisations as a medium for communicating generally, and many bloggers are being approached by big corporates to promote their specific products. As a much more diffuse form of media I'm sure it could be less transparent about who is saying what and why, although more traditional journalists are not free from corruption

I can assure you that I'm unlikely to be bought off, although I must admit now before it hits the headlines that The Carbon Trust has given me some book vouchers for my time, which I intend to spend on a book that would be helpful here at EMERGE

Onwards & upwards!

Lucy.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Manchester Encourages Green Bus Drivers!

Greetings,

First Bus Group has recently announced the implementation of a bonus policy called DriveGreen for drivers of all 784 of its buses in Greater Manchester. Apparently this scheme could see each driver saving up to 500 litres of petrol per annum, and save First over £44,000 and 132,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide in the first year alone. Schemes like this really show that by making small changes you soon make a significant impact in terms of carbon production. Perhaps they might also consider adding to their bonus criteria careful driving in conjunction with cyclists... savings on limbs and lives might also help reduce carbon (not to mention the zero-carbon impact which cycling provides!)

Onwards & upwards!

Lucy.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

100W Bulbs Banned By EU

Greetings,

Hurray! At long last...

This might have slipped under the radar but just so you are aware effective from the 1st of September this year, it will be illegal to import 100W incandescant pearl or frosted bulbs into the EU. The aim of this legislation is to encourage the use of long life energy saving bulbs, which use only one fifth of the energy of an incandescant bulb, and can last up to seven years before they need replacing.

Whilst some people are lamenting the loss of the incandescant bulb, I am so glad to see that the EU is taking positive steps to reduce the amount of energy being used unnecessarily across Europe.

Ever lighter footprinting!

Lucy.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Bentley - Somewhat Missing The Point?

Greetings,

I was initially encouraged to see that car manufacturer Bentley of all people were making an eco-car, the Bentley Continental Supersports 'Extreme'. Bentley have always been associated with the manufacture of large cars with even bigger engines and so this seemed to be an interesting change of direction for them. (For more information about Bentley's biofuels policy and research see here)

However I am sorry to report that whilst the 'Extreme' runs on a hybrid 85% bioethanol fuel, it is still a 630hp two seat sports car which only does 11.5mpg and emits 388g of carbon dioxode per kilometre. Whilst the 'Extreme' does show a significant improvement upon its counterparts, I just can't see how this type of car is still viable or even, dare I say it, legal in this day and age?

Onwards & upwards!

Lucy.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Airmiles Strikes Again!

Greetings,

I've discovered another moment of genius from the people at Airmiles, they are now rolling out a mobile phone recycling scheme which allows consumers to receive airmiles in return for unwanted mobile phones, not only that but they have the gall to suggest that this scheme is 'environmentally friendly' because your phone is recycled or reused in line with the WEEE directive! This completely green washes over the fact that you will be collecting credits towards air travel through the scheme, completely undermining the benefits gained by recycling the phone in the first place.

Working from these figures, the average phone requires emission of 60kg of CO2 to be manufactured. Sending your phone to be recycled means that you offset a total of 35 miles of air travel (assuming you are travelling long haul) after which you will be contributing a minimum of 0.17Kg CO2 per mile. As most long haul flights are a minimum of 6.5 hours in duration, you could be travelling as far as 550 miles, thus contributing an additional 85Kg of CO2 to the atmosphere.

It always pays dividends to look at the detail in more depth and think about the true environmental benefit of such schemes; in this case there are plenty of businesses out there which recycle mobile phones without trying to bribe you with air travel.

Onwards & upwards!

Lucy.

Monday, 17 August 2009

EMERGE - Recycling In Manchester

Greetings,

I realised the other day that I've been running this blog for well over 6 months now but I've not explained in any depth to you who and what EMERGE is/are and what we do.

EMERGE was set up as a voluntary organisation in 1996 by myself and a group of like-minded individuals, the objectives of which were to help bolster the local economy of Openshaw, engage the wider community in thinking and doing more about sustainable resource management and thereby act as a catalyst to get businesses and households recycling.

We registered the company as limited by guarantee (effectively a not-for-individual-profit basis) in May 1998 and ran on a new business support plus a Princes Youth Business Trust grant and loan but it wasn't until 1999 that we actually employed our first full-time member of staff. EMERGE now collects from over 700 businesses, 125 schools and 7000 households in the Greater Manchester area. We employ 30 local staff from our HQ in Openshaw and recycle a comprehensive range of materials including most dry recyclates and some hazardous waste.

Have a look at the history page on our website for more information about how we have developed since the outset. I'd like to believe that many of the people who work at EMERGE aren't only here because they need to earn a crust, but because they genuinely believe that through high quality recycling services, environmental education and positive engagement we can make a genuine difference to conserving resources and protecting our precious planet now and in the future. Sounds idealistic? Maybe, but I'd say we need more idealism, optimism matched with tenacity in order to sort out the mess we are making!

I've been grafting on some red tape recently and hopefully I should have something quite interesting to tell you about EMERGE soon, we're keeping it under wraps for now but it will definitely put us into a unique position in the recycling industry!

I'll keep you posted, watch this space!

Onwards & upwards!

Lucy.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

The UK's First Eco Kitchens

Greetings,

I've just discovered a great business, Milestone Eco Design based in Ilkley, they have produced the UK's first kitchen made entirely of recycled materials.

Some of the great features include; cupboard doors made from recycled yoghurt pots (at last!), work surfaces made from recycled coffee cups (trivets recommended!), a recycled (and recyclable) steel sink and cabinets made from 50% recycled timber.

Is this the eco-kitchen of the house of tomorrow? I certainly hope so.

Onwards & upwards!

Lucy.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Lets Get Ready To Rumble!

Greetings,

There is an interesting debate/conflict brewing between environmental journalist George Monbiot and leading climate change denier Professor Ian Pilmer. George claims that some of the statements published in Ian Pilmer's book Heaven & Earth, are misleading or misrepresenting the facts about climate change. In response Professor Ian Pilmer has challenged George Monbiot to a face-to-face debate, to which George Monbiot has agreed, provided he answers some of his allegations about the Professors claims in Heaven & Earth.

In this instance I am most definitely in the green corner!

Onwards & upwards!

Lucy.

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Big Brother - Spying On Your Waste?

Greetings,

I was very interested to hear about the recent scheme of waste tracking which is being implemented by MIT, 3000 pieces of rubbish in London, Seattle and New York will be fitted with hi-tech tags which use mobile phone technology to send out a real time tracking signal. In effect this means that MIT will be able to watch exactly where the waste is moving to in real time.

The aim is to highlight exactly what happens to the waste we throw away and that it doesn't always end up where we think, sometimes it will even end up in a completely different country, where the approach to waste management is not as stringent and as such it can end up becoming a pollutant.

The BBC have written a quite extensive article about the technology behind the transmitters and what MIT are hoping to achieve in the lifetime of the project.

I think that projects like these are great tools to raise awareness of our throw-away lifestyle and that waste doesn't simply disappear when the bin man collects it.

Onwards & upwards!

Lucy.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

South Korea Advocates Environmental Improvement

Greetings,

Some good news from the east, South Korean giant Samsung Electronics has just committed to investing $4Bn to reducing carbon emissions from its manufacturing plants, with the aim of reducing their carbon emissions by 50% by 2013.

This announcement follows on from a statement released by the South Korean government about their $84Bn Green Action Plan. This scheme is aiming to make improvements across the entire national infrastructure including manufacturing, transportation, construction & technology.

It's very reassuring to see one of the world's top ten carbon producers making such a commitment to reduce their emissions.

Onwards & upwards!

Lucy.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Recycling in Manchester, MA.

Greetings,

I was very interested to see what's been happening 'across the pond' in Manchester, Massachusetts. I certainly makes for some interesting parallels with what the latest developments are here in the UK!

They are currently planning a move onto a pay-as-you-throw scheme as the statistics from Gloucester MA show a 13% increase in recycling rates and a 29% reduction in waste incineration since implementation of a similar scheme. Interestingly if these rates could be duplicated in Manchester MA, they could recoup as much as 35% of its spend on disposal through onward sale of recyclates.

Other developments in Manchester MA include the introduction of a single stream recycling scheme, which they hope will help to increase participation and subsequently total recycling rates for the town, as well as reducing the total cost of disposal by as much as $135,000 a year. Across the 5 year scheme they are projecting to make a total saving of $600,000 after costs.

It certainly makes for interesting comparison with recent developments here in Manchester UK. Especially after the announcment of the deal between GMWDA and Viridor Laing to build a series of facilities in Greater Manchester, it seems almost inevitable that the majority, if not all of Manchester will also move towards a single stream recycling system in the not too distant future.

Looks like we have more in common with our US cousins than you might think!

Onwards & upwards!

Lucy.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Best Eco Adverts To Save The Planet!

Greetings,

Apologies for the blatant recycling (pardon the pun!) of someone elses blog post, but just I had a quick look at Materials Recycling Week's latest blog post which linked to a Guardian picture story about 'The Best Adverts to Save the Planet'.

Let me know which you think is the most effective.

Onwards & upwards!

Lucy.

Friday, 3 July 2009

NING - Recycling In Manchester

Hi folks,

Just a quick post to inform you that I've set up a NING social network called: Recycling In Manchester. Please feel free to join and offer your input, I'd love to see this really take off as a hub for like minded people to discuss how we can make a real difference in Manchester.

Onwards & upwards!

Lucy.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Eco Bribes, the Future of Recycling?

Greetings,

I'm not convinced by the latest scheme devised to increase household recycling rates, rewarding households with shopping vouchers. Surely education and encouragement is a better approach than bribing or fining the general public where recycling is concerned? Otherwise where is the incentive to recycle when you are not at home, what reason is there for you to recycle beyond the financial incentives?

The pilot scheme being rolled out in Windsor and Maidenhead is bound to prove to be a success but I have to question whether by educating the general public about the economic and environmental benefits of their domestic recycling, similar successes could be won without the need for backhanders? Any thoughts anyone? Happy to reconsider!

Onwards & upwards!

Lucy.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Manchester Recycles Sewage!

Greetings,

I've come across another interesting development in Manchester; apparently United Utilities in partnership with WRAP are planning to roll out a scheme across Greater Manchester which will involve commercial sewage recycling! Apparently it can be converted into a biomethane which can then be used in place of gas to warm people's homes etc. This limitless supply of sustainable energy presents a great opportunity as it significantly reduces the carbon footprint of gas import and might even represent a significant cost saving to the end user, according to Caroline Ashton - Biofuels Manager, United Utilities.

Whilst at first you might turn your nose up at the thought of powering your home with recycled sewage, it really is the ultimate example of closed loop recycling!

Onwards & upwards!

Lucy.

Friday, 19 June 2009

Volunteering through EMERGE

Are you looking to get work experience and references?

Are you just hoping to meet some like-minded people?

Would you like to get involved in your community and do something to help the environment?

If so, EMERGE can help you find an environmental volunteering opportunity that suits you interests and abilities.

You may be interested in volunteering as a driver, doing outdoor activities, running events...Whatever your skills and experience, there is an opportunity out there for you.

For details of how to apply, please see our job advertisement.

Onwards & upwards!

Lucy.

Friday, 12 June 2009

WRAP Encourages Kerbside Recycling

Amazing News:

This week WRAP has launched a report which outlines why co-mingled recycling streams are less effective than source segregation of materials in terms of both cost and quality output.

In a leaflet entitled 'Choosing The Right Recycling Collection System' WRAP outlined their opinion:

"kerbside sort systems offer reliable material quality and lower net costs for council taxpayers. They are also capable of capturing the same volume of material as co-mingled schemes."

"Because of our priority for quality materials as a way to improve resource efficiency, WRAP believes that kerbside sort collections should be preferred where they are practical and should be in the majority of local authority areas."


I'm delighted that WRAP has taken this stance as the lead body on developing and improving materials' recycling infrastructure and systems in the UK. Their latest report adds to the body of evidence supporting kerbside sort collection systems. At EMERGE we have known for a long time that source separated collection schemes such the ones we run for councils and for businesses in Greater Manchester produce a far higher quality of material with a massively reduced risk of contamination, as well as engaging people fare more effectively in the process of managing the waste they generate.

More information about how kerbside sort schemes work for councils can be found at the Campaign for Real Recycling website and hopefully this report will be taken into consideration by other councils when they decide how to implement and improve their own recycling schemes.

Onwards & upwards!

Lucy.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Sony Ericsson Launch Recycled Mobile Phone - C901 Greenheart

Greetings,

I'm glad to see another of the major mobile phone manufacturers has decided to produce a handset which is more environmentally sustainable.
The C901 Greenheart is the first product to be developed with Sony Ericsson's sustainablity guidelines in mind.

Featuring a casing made from 50% recycled plastics and their first ever in-phone manual (which reduce the amount of paper produced per phone by 90%), this phone is full of eco-gubbins like a carbon calculating pedometer and light sensors to reduce energy usage. It also comes bundled with a low power charger and a 100% recycled plastic headset.

It is great to see Sony Ericsson joining the ranks alongside other phone manufacturers such as Motorola and Samsung designing and producing products for those of us who are more environmentally minded.

Onwards & upwards!

Lucy.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Sustainable Chocolate Powered F3 Racing!

Greetings,

I came across this and just felt I had to share it with you. Worldfirst Racing have just built a proof of concept racing car which runs on a biodiesel fuel which is derived from vegetable oil and waste chocolate. Not only that but a lot of the vehicles components have been built around sustainable materials, i.e. potato starch coated in flax fibre for the wings and a steering wheel made from 'curran', a carrot derivative! See here for more detail about the technology behind the car.

Just in case you're checking your calendar for the 1st of April, here's a clip of the car in action:



Bear in mind it is often the racing industry which drives forward (pardon the pun) automotive innovation which eventually is passed onto the consumer market, one day we could all be motoring in cocoa powered cars!

Onwards & upwards!

Lucy.

Friday, 22 May 2009

Thank You Manchester! :)

Wow!

What a busy week I've had! Just about recovered from climbing up Scafell aside from a few niggling aches and a wee chest infection!

Last friday I was invited to the Inspiring Women Awards at the Midland Hotel, Manchester. Following a fabulous 3-course meal accompanied by sparkling wine I was presented with the award for 'Social Entrepreneur' which came as something of a shock especially considering the competition! A big thank you to the event organisers and especially to Kath Robinson who nominated me. It's really fantastic that the work everyone at EMERGE and I have done over the years has received recognition in the wider North West community. Not that we're resting on our laurels by any stretch - we've got big plans for expanding the 3Rs (waste reduction, reuse and recycling) and resource efficiency in Greater Manchester, to continue expanding upon the educational and community work we do and to grow as a social business as well.

I've got a mountain of bids, tenders and partnerships to contend with now but before I wade into it I 'd just like to take this opportunity to thank you so much for your support , we wouldn't make any progress without it .

Onwards & upwards!

Lucy.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

EMERGE Climbs Scafell for Fareshare

Greetings,

I'd like to say a very big thank you and congratulations to everyone who took part in the EMERGE Food Big Green Challenge and also a massive thank you to everyone who so kindly sponsored our efforts. We're still counting up all of the donations but it looks like we have raised a considerable amount of money towards an extremely worthy cause in the form of our Fareshare operation diverting surplus food from landfill and to alleviate food poverty locally.

Here's a picture of most of the team at the summit, looking thoroughly sodden! All nine of us made it in addition to another 40+ participants from our corporate sponsor.


Onwards & upwards!

Lucy.

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Thursday, 7 May 2009

EMERGE is on Facebook! :)

Greetings,

I'm pleased to announce that as of today EMERGE Recycling is now officially on Facebook: Voila!

Please feel free to take a look at our page and become a fan if you'd like! We would also love for any of our customers to post reviews so that future customers can know what to expect from our services.

Onwards & upwards!

Lucy.

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Thursday, 30 April 2009

UK Wind Turbine Manufacturer Closing

Greetings,

Despite the number of assurances being made by the goverment I was very sorry to read about the closure of the Vestas facility on the Isle of Wight. Vestas are the largest global manufacturer of wind turbines and whilst their main output from that site had been for the US market, there were plans afoot to adapt it when the UK started to adopt the technology.


However it seems they might not get that opportunity and potentially 700 people could lose their jobs. These types of businesses are fundamental to the continuing growth in the UK of a 'green economy' and to future sustainable energy production.

If only hope the Government would bail out the good guys and/or create an upturn in this market in order to prevent the closure of the plant and the potential loss of their skilled workforce.

One step forward, two steps back?

Lucy.

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Friday, 24 April 2009

Foundation Reducing Manchester's Carbon Footprint

Greetings,

A new fund has been launched in Manchester called 'Foundation', backed by the NWDA and managed by Groundwork. The aim of the fund is to provide opportunities for individuals and businesses across the North West to receive funding for carbon reduction projects.

This scheme offers fantastic opportunities for carbon reduction in Greater Manchester, and they already have a number of schemes running in the area, which are already saving approximately 40 tonnes of CO2 per annum. Their website also allows you to make donations which are not only guaranteed to be spent in the North West, but also allow you to genuinely carbon offset for your individual and business carbon footprints.

The project has received an initial investment of £1.6m from the NWDA and it's aim is to generate a further £3m of donations across the next three years. Energy and Climate Change Minister Joan Ruddock MP said: “The work being done in the North West should be seen as an example to everyone of what we need to be doing to meet our ambitious emissions reduction targets.”

This is a very encouraging scheme and I for one hope that they receive the funding and support they deserve to make a positive impact on carbon reduction in Greater Manchester.

Onwards & upwards!

Lucy.

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Friday, 17 April 2009

5 Things You Might Not Know About The WEEE Directive:

1. The WEEE Directive became European law in February 2003 and Britain has been famously slow to adopt the legislation. It was supposed to be implemented by Member States by 13 August 2004 and come into force by 13 August 2005. In the UK it was finally adopted at the beginning of 2007, but full producer responsibility was delayed until 1 July. It imposes responsibility for the disposal of waste electrical and electronic equipment on the manufacturers of such equipment. Those companies should establish an infrastructure for collecting WEEE, in such a way that "Users of electrical and electronic equipment from private households should have the possibility of returning WEEE at least free of charge".

2. All electronic/electrical distributors who are not a member of the DTS (Distributor Take-back Scheme) are obliged to provide a free disposal scheme for household equipment when you purchase a replacement piece of equipment. This does not have to be exactly the same product, for instance, you can swap your big old telly for a fancy new plasma TV and still expect the retailer to take away the old one. If you are not making a like-for-like (i.e. of equivalent type or fulfills the same function) purchase the distributor is not obliged to dispose of your old equipment. So, don’t expect to drop off your washing machine if you are buying a toaster!

3. As a consumer you are in no way legally obliged to separately dispose of your WEEE, you are however strongly encouraged to make use of the free disposal services on offer to reduce the amount of electronic waste going to landfill, and to help save energy and resources.

4. As with most technical areas, there are lots of acronyms related to the WEEE Directive. For instance your council will almost certainly be able to accept WEEE at your local tip for free, but only if your HWRC (Household Waste Recycling Facility, or local tip) is classified as a DCF (Designated Collection Facility), and the DCF is likely to send the material to an AATF (Approved Authorised Treatment Facility) or for export via an AE (Approved Exporter). Most tips are classified now as DCFs. It just means they are allowed to accept WEEE, AATFs are places that are allowed to process WEEE in the UK and the amount they process is recorded and used to measure against the amount of WEEE produced or imported.

5. Product categories included within the WEEE Directive include: large household appliances, small household appliances, IT and telecommunications equipment, consumer equipment, lighting equipment, electrical and electronic tools, toys leisure and sports equipment, medical devices, monitoring and control instruments & automatic dispensers.

If you have any problems when disposing of WEEE, your local council can generally help you, but for further information you can contact the VCA who are responsible for enforcing legislative compliance in the UK. For more information on the WEEE directive see; BERR, The Environment Agency or Netregs.

I hope this helps cast some light on what is quite confusing piece of legislation.

Onwards & upwards!


Lucy.

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