Green innovation news
November 19 2010
by CCB Team
Central London zone to be the world’s first commercial area to eliminate landfill waste
The Central London area that covers Holborn, Bloomsbury and St Giles has announced that it aims to become to first ever commercial city district to send zero waste to landfill. The area, known as ‘inmidtown’ will use a closed loop system to minimise ‘waste miles’ with waste returning to the area as newspapers, bottles, stationery, building materials and compost. The 550 organisations sited within inmidtown have all been invited to sign up to the Zero to Landfill service which aims to have 500 members by 2012. The service will see 90% of office waste collected for free and competitive pricing for collection of other waste streams, which will provide companies with a guaranteed minimum saving of 10%. The system will use one provider to manage each waste stream for all organisations that sign up and is expected to save member companies millions of pounds over the next two years.
Printer Companies Not Making the Green Grade
The Electronics TakeBack Coalition released a new report card on 19 October which scores computer, television, printer and game console companies on their efforts to take back and recycle old products in the USA. Organisations were scored based on several key criteria including how extensive takeback programmes are, particularly in US states that do not have strong laws requiring them to do so, whether products are being recycled responsibly and not exported and what companies are doing to promote reuse and closed loop recycling. The highest marks were given to Dell, Samsung and Asus but several other organisations scored poorly including Brother, Kodak, Lexmark and Epson. Printer organisations generally had the lowest marks, all failed the scorecard questions except for HP and several TV manufacturers also had low scores including RCA and Philips.
Contact: The Electronics TakeBack Coalition
Sewage project sends first ever renewable gas to grid
A joint venture between Thames Water, British Gas and Scotia Gas Networks will produce enough biomethane gas from human waste to supply up to 200 homes with energy for cooking and heating. The project at Didcot was launched on 5 October is a significant move in the UK’s efforts to decarbonise the gas grid and move towards a low-carbon economy. Biomethane gas will deliver renewable heat to homes through the existing gas network and central heating boilers. Sewage arrives at the Didcot works from 13.8 million Thames Water customers where it is treated. The solid part of the sewage, sludge is warmed up in vats and undergoes anaerobic digestion when bacteria break down the biodegrable material, producing biogas. Commenting on the initiative, Martin Baggs, Chief Executive of Thames Water stated that what the organisation has already jointly achieved at Didicot ‘can be replicated across our network and indeed the whole country. Every sewage works in Britain is a potential source of local renewable gas waiting to be put to use.’
Contact: Thames Water
PepsiCo investigates cellulose packaging for Walkers goods
PepsiCo UK is considering the viability of compostable packaging that is made from renewable resources such as starch (from potatoes), lactic acid (from corn) or cellulose (from trees). Cellulose films such as NatureFlex made by Innovia Films which is derived from managed forestry sources and can be used as industrial or household compost. Alexander van’t Riet, Global Sales and Marketing Director of Innovia Films said the organisation was ‘workign with leading companies like PepsiCo helping to bring the sustainability agenda from concept to products on the shelf.’
Contact: PepsiCo UK
Dell, HP, IBM, J&J, Intel Top Newsweek’s Green Rankings
Newsweek’s environmental ranking of the 500 largest US organisations ranked Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Johnson & Johnson and Intel as the top five leaders. Companies are ranked by their overall Green Score which is made up the environmental impact score, a green policies score and a reputation survey score. Dell scored highly for its robust environmental policies and ambitious goals, several of which it has already met. The organisation also aims to reduce the environmental impact of its products at all stages in their lifecycle, which are estimated to have saved its customers over $5 billion in energy costs. IBM is also praised for its efforts to reduce its own consumption of electricity and water and its products and consulting services that help clients to make their businesses greener.
New biogas power station showcases locally produced energy
A new power station which will be powered by agricultural biomass, including chicken litter and pig manure, is being built near the English town of Cirencester. Fed by local farms that deliver animal waste, as well as corn, wheat and grass, the plant will turn feedstock into biogas in an anaerobic digester. The plant will produce 1 megawatt hours of energy, enough to supply 350 houses with electricity. It is hoped that such sustainable technology will allow production of local power, called ‘distributed energy’, and reduce reliance on fossil fuels, fuel imports and international pressures. Additionally, the capture of methane from waste will reduce the smells normally generated by farms. It is also hoped that local residents will benefit from this low cost alternative to oil, coal and foreign gas.
M&S launches disappearing chocolate box
On 25 October Marks and Spencer announced the launch of the UK’s first compostable pack for chocolates. The company’s entire Swiss chocolate range will now feature trays made from Plantic, a material made from corn starch that breaks down when it becomes moist and is totally compostable. Once put outside on the compost heap the Plantic tray will take around 3 weeks to totally breakdown, or the tray can be put under water where it will dissolve in a matter of minutes.
Contact: Marks & Spencer