Financing of Solid Waste Management Projects

Financing of solid waste management projects can be pretty overwhelming for the city government, especially if the government see it as a critical part of the service they should render to the citizen and if the citizen also hold it as a basis for measuring the performance of the government and using it as one of the conditions for re-election.

The increasing cost of waste disposal is a cause of major concern in developing nations

Solid waste management entails different aspects. Generally speaking, waste management consists of pre-collection, collection, transportation, storage, treatment, and disposal. The modern hierarchy of waste management includes prevention, minimization, reuse, recycling, energy recovery, and disposal.

All these aspects require proper funding in rendering a good waste management service to the society. As citizens, we hardly give any thought to the different aspects and what it takes to ensure it is carried out efficiently and effectively.

Financing Options for Solid Waste Management

There are four different options for financing of solid waste management projects. The option chosen will be dependent on various factors. The chief factor will be “what is the end goal of providing waste management service to citizen” and this is to be determined by the city government. Therefore, we say finance option is directly related to waste management goal of a city or State.

Public Financing

This primarily involves funding of waste management service entirely by the government through budgetary allocation. The government determines how it will generate the cash for service and this can be through taxation or redistribution of funds generated from other sources like sales of city natural resources or combination of various sources of funds.

In developing countries, this is generally inefficient due to the corruption within the government and lack of proper waste management capabilities in most instances. The government might decide to charge a service fee or not.

Private Financing

This involves infusing funds from the private sector into waste management service and also overseeing day-to-day running of the service. However, the hired company will charge a service fee which will be determined by calculating the amount of invested funds, operating cost, and profit envisaged. This will be spread over a period of time.

This financing option can deliver optimal result in providing waste management service but the private sector needs to be checked in order not to set a high fee that will end up scaring citizens which might lead to citizen abhorring the service.

Public-Private Partnership (PPP)

This is a special type of arrangement which brings together the government and private sector in providing funds and management capabilities for the delivery of waste management service.

All things being equal, this arrangement is best because the government will be able to regulate and have a say in how the service should be delivered especially as it relates to the setting of service fees which might be difficult in the solely private financing option. The PPP can equally be extended to be a Joint Venture (usually termed as Institutional PPP).

Donors and Grants

This funding mechanism is dependent on the interest of the donor organization. While it is a good way to develop a city’s waste management infrastructure, attracting and utilizing grants is solely reliant on what the donor considers as important. Hence, it might be difficult for a city government to dictate how the funds should be distributed among the various aspect of waste management.

Waste management projects based on public-private partnership (PPP) model has more chances of success in developing countries

However, this type of financing can be combined with a PPP arrangement to cater for a specific waste management aspect that is in tandem with the interest of the donor and can be part of the city government contribution to the PPP.

Conclusion

In conclusion, waste management financing is quite dynamic just like many other services and infrastructure provided by a city government and the best option for financing the provision of waste management service can only be made after appropriate due diligence and consultation with relevant stakeholders has been made and observed.

Impact of Whitening Mouthwash on Teeth Whitening Treatment

According to a study published in the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, more than 90 percent of dental and orthodontic patients also request tooth whitening. The fact is, as no less than Inc. magazine recently reported, having a bright white smile you love to show off is important for every goal you have in life. People who smile more tend to make more money, receive more frequent promotions, look younger, have more friends and connections, feel better, live longer, lead better and be happier.

No wonder there is so much demand for teeth whitening services! But how can you tell all the different options apart and figure out which is best for you? And how can you maximize the results of your in-office teeth whitening? Should you use over-the-counter options like whitening mouthwash or will that hurt your results? Find out in this blog post.

How the Teeth Whitening Process Works

The American Dental Association (ADA) highlights how important it is to understand how the process of teeth whitening really works.

Once you understand the basic underlying mechanism behind teeth whitening you will be in a much better position to maintain your teeth whitening results long term.

The ADA explains that there are two basic types of teeth whitening and both are bleaches. The two types are carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide.

Regardless of the bleaching type you choose, the way they work is basically the same. Once applied, the bleaches go to work to dismantle tooth stains bit by tiny bit, almost like a tiny eraser.

How Do Tooth Stains Develop?

Marc Lazare, teeth whitening expert in New York, notes that tooth stains can develop in any number of ways and for a wide variety of reasons.

Different stains may be easier or harder to lift. Generally, lighter stains such as yellowing are easier to bleach away, while gray or brown stains are more resistant to whitening efforts. Some stains, such as those caused by mouth trauma or injury, may not respond to bleaching much if at all.

As well, it is important to be aware that teeth whitening treatments generally do not work on dental prosthetics such as implants, bridges, veneers or crowns.

The most common reasons include these:

1. Food and drink

If you have ever had to go to the sink to wash dark blueberry stains off your fingertips, you already understand how food and drink can stain your teeth.

Over time and with repeated exposure (such as that daily morning cup of coffee) your teeth will become increasingly less white.

2. Smoking and nicotine use

Smoking, vaping, snuff, gum and other sources of nicotine can stain your teeth quite badly over time, and the brown stains are some of the harder stains to lift.

3. Injury or trauma

If you have experienced an injury or trauma to your mouth or teeth, injured nerves and blood vessels may cause tooth discoloration.

4. Medication use

Medications used to treat cancer such as chemotherapy and radiation are some of the best-known drugs that can cause tooth discoloration. Another common culprit is the acne medicine tetracycline, which can cause lasting tooth discoloration.

5. The natural aging process

The natural process of aging can also cause the tooth enamel to wear thin and look less white and more yellow over time.

Will Whitening Mouthwash Help or Hurt?

To date, research shows that whitening mouthwash is not harmful to teeth that have been professionally whitened.

While a whitening mouthwash is unlikely to deliver comparable results to the outcome of a professional teeth whitening treatment, even when used consistently over time, it is equally unlikely to degrade or interfere with the results you get from professional teeth whitening.

Too-frequent use of any product designed to bleach and whiten teeth can sometimes cause temporary tooth sensitivity. Patients who experience tooth sensitivity from any tooth whitening product generally find that this side effect fades after a few days of not using the product.

How to Choose a Whitening Mouthwash

According to the ADA, the best whitening mouthwash will also provide other important oral health benefits, such as helping to control tartar and plaque buildup on teeth, guarding against decay and dental caries, fighting back against gum inflammation and infection (gingivitis/periodontal disease) and, of course, improving breath.

The ADA specifies two different categories of mouthwash: cosmetic and therapeutic. It is important to note that a mouthwash can serve both purposes, such as a whitening mouthwash that also provides health benefits such as the ones just mentioned here.

Some of the best whitening mouthwashes will themselves require a prescription from your dentist or orthodontist. These mouthwashes are often recommended as a follow-up to a professional teeth whitening treatment and for daily use after preventative dental care or dental treatment.

The more you can do to improve your overall oral health by brushing, flossing, gargling with mouthwash and choosing your daily menu with tooth health and color in mind, the longer your teeth whitening results will last.

About “Dentist to the Stars” Marc Lazare, D.D.S., M.A.G.D.

Dr. Marc Lazare, D.D.S., M.A.G.D., is one of just one percent of dentists nationwide who has earned the coveted designation of “Master of General Dentistry.” Dr. Lazare is the inventor of numerous dental apps, author of “The Patient’s Guide to Dentistry” and president of two companies now viewed as leading innovators in the field of cosmetic dentistry.

Proactive Prevention of Common Hazardous Waste Violations

In 2019, the EPA levied fines totaling  $170,000 against three Southern California-based companies, namely, Coat Product, Inc., International Aerospace Coatings, Inc., and Goodwest Rubber Linings, Inc. These companies allegedly violated the federal Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) that oversees the proper management of hazardous waste.

Hazardous waste regulations compliance is complex, and businesses of all sizes find them significantly stringent to follow and comply with. If found guilty, the organizations are liable to pay huge fines that can financially wipe out small and mid-size organizations. This article can help businesses stay proactive about preventing hazardous waste violations.

hazardous-waste-violations

Types of Hazardous Waste

Hazardous waste is any solid waste that is listed as a known hazardous waste or exhibits any characteristic among ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, or toxicity. A known hazardous waste is categorized into four lists named F, K, P, and U lists.

 The hazardous waste regulations differ based on the quantity of waste generated by your business.

  • Large Quantity Generators – Businesses that monthly generate more than 1000 kg of hazardous waste or more than 100 kg of acute spill residue or soil, or more than 1 kg of acute hazardous waste.
  • Small Quantity Generators – Businesses that monthly generate hazardous waste between 100 kg and 1000 kg.
  • Very Small Quantity Generators – Businesses that monthly generate up to 100 kg of hazardous waste, or up to 100 kg of acute spill residue or soil, or up to 1 kg of acute hazardous waste.

After knowing your class of hazardous waste generators, let’s understand some of the common hazardous waste violations.

Common Hazardous Waste Violations

1. Lack of Proper Labelling

Proper labeling is critical for notifying government waste haulers, safety personnel, and your employees regarding the accumulated chemical, specifically in the event of an emergency and how long it has been accumulating onsite.

2. Improper Disposal

Businesses dispose of hazardous waste by illegally dumping it due to various reasons, including lack of time and efforts, avoid disposal fees, lack of knowledge about what constitutes hazardous waste, or understaffed or untrained workforce with lack of waste management procedures knowledge.

3. Improper or No Determination of the Waste

Many times, the generators fail to properly determine the waste by testing it or knowing its stream that can attract hefty fines.

4. Improper Management of Expired Waste

Expired chemicals can be extremely volatile and considered hazardous waste. These materials can be dangerous as they are no longer in their original containers and can become less stable or have decomposed due to aging. They are subject to hazardous waste generator requirements as well as the regulatory timeframes in which they can be disposed of or stored.

5. No or Inadequate Waste Manifests

Adequate paperwork is also critical when it comes to hazardous waste. After storing and labeling hazardous waste, you, as a generator, are mandated to complete the Hazardous Waste Manifest that outlines the type and quality of waste. Further, you need to mail its copy to the appropriate regulatory agencies such as EPA and DOT (Department of Transportation).

6. No or Inadequate Training for Employees

Inadequate employee training can lead to improper hazardous waste handling procedures that might result in treacherous spills, toxic chemical reactions, and spreading fire. Also, failing to wear protective gear can expose your employees to radioactive materials, fumes, and other hidden risks that can cost their lives. Not following proper updated standards for employee communication and training can result in hefty fines.

7. Lack of Contingency Plan

A generator should have a written Hazardous Waste Contingency Plan that can be implemented immediately during an emergency, including explosions, fires, and sudden unplanned release of hazardous waste. It’s designed to minimize hazards to the environment and human health during emergencies. Failing to have a contingency plan can result in significant fines.

hazardous-waste

8. Improper Management of Mercury

Mercury and its products are incredibly toxic and can cause chronic and acute poisoning and severe illness if mishandled. Improper management of mercury attracts hefty fines as it can lead to spills and evaporation, risking human lives and the environment.

9. Open Containers

Not closing the containers containing hazardous waste is among the common violations and can be a cause of accidents and physical injuries that can be avoided with a few precautions.

10. No or Infrequent Weekly Inspections

All hazardous waste generators are compelled to perform a weekly inspection of their hazardous waste container storage areas. It’s also a common violation that can be easily avoided by the implementation of standard procedures and compliance maintenance.

How to Prevent Hazardous Waste Violations

Hazardous waste violations and the associated hefty fines can be avoided by implementing standard procedures and giving due diligence during generating, storing, transporting, and disposing of hazardous waste.

  • Follow rigorous labeling of containers with hazardous waste including name and address of your facility, accumulation start date, source or identity of waste, characteristic of waste, mentioning what makes it hazardous, and physical state of the waste.
  • Keep in mind proper licensing and know your waste generator requirements.
  • Understand the “cradle to grave” requirements by RCRA.
  • Comply with hazardous waste management training requirements by providing on-the-job as well as classroom training to your employees on hazardous waste management, storage, and disposal procedures.
  • Contract with a reputed and properly licensed hazardous waste company that will provide proof of proper disposal along with adequate documentation. Closed top mini frac tanks can be ideal for hazardous waste disposal as they ensure safe transportation of chemicals and other volatile substances.
  • Properly determine your waste streams with the Hazardous Waste Identification process.
    • Check if it is solid waste.
    • Check if it’s particularly excluded from RCRA.
    • Check if it’s listed as hazardous waste.
    • Check if it exhibits hazardous waste characteristics.
  • Conduct regular audits. Keep track of expired chemicals to dispose of them properly. Have a centralized purchasing and inventory process for effective organization and inventory management of chemicals.
  • Fill out and double-check the Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest correctly.
  • Create an adequate contingency plan based on your company’s waste generator status. The plan should include contact information of emergency coordinator, emergency equipment location, emergency phone numbers, and more.
  • Conduct regular audits and weekly inspections of the storage area and containers and keep them closed at all times. Maintain a log record. Ensure that the storage area is free from debris and other materials, container tops are free from spillage, containers are in good condition and free from spills and leaks, and the ground is clean and dry. Make sure that the waste is stored in compatible containers.

Stay in the Know About EPA Regulations

Besides knowing the common hazardous waste violations and how to avoid them, here are some of the critical EPA laws and regulations you should know if you are dealing with hazardous waste.

  • Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) – The act is aimed to protect human health and the environment from waste disposal hazards.
  • Clean Air Act (CAA) – Its goal is to enhance and protect the country’s air quality.
  • Clean Water Act (CWA) – It intends to prevent, reduce, and eliminate pollution in groundwater and navigable waters.
  • Toxic Substance Control Act (TCSA) – It aims to protect human health and the environment from potentially hazardous chemicals by restricting their manufacture, processing, and use.

Hazardous waste violations are taken extremely seriously, and the associated fines can spell financial doom for small and mid-sized companies. However, well-thought procedures, a disciplined, proactive approach, and routine inspections can help you stay compliant.

Factors to Consider Before Subscribing to Community Solar

So you’ve heard of community solar and are now thinking of subscribing to one. Naturally, you want to know if you are qualified for a solar farm subscription. In this article, we will discuss factors that you need to consider before you sign up for a community solar program.

What is Community Solar?

Community solar or shared solar is one of the biggest renewable energy trends to have emerged in the past decade. Compared to residential solar which is mostly individualistic, a community solar project allows several neighboring households to tap into a single solar farm installation.

what-is-community-solar

Instead of installing panels on residential roofs or backyards, solar farm owners set them up at a central location like an open field or even an open body of water. Since it is subscription-based, you will simply receive a portion of the solar energy generated by these farms. Usually, this power will be coursed through your existing power lines, which means you don’t have to get any new gear just to enjoy your subscription. Sounds promising, right?

Am I Qualified for a Subscription?

Just like traditional solar panels, though, community solar programs are not for everyone. Here are some factors that make you a great candidate for community solar:

1. Your utility provider has a solar project

A lot of local energy providers own or manage their own solar farms. This way, you can buy in and ‘fund’ the community project in exchange for rebates in your monthly energy bill. Supporting these utility-sponsored projects will allow you to reduce your own electricity costs while helping your provider reach their goals in terms of building a more balanced energy portfolio.

Check with your utility provider if they have such a project. If they do, then chances are you are automatically qualified to subscribe to it.

2. You live near a solar farm

Utility providers are not the only entities that can own and manage solar farms. Private companies, non-profit organizations, and even local government units can run shared solar projects that you can easily subscribe to.

Sometimes, members of the actual community come together to pitch in the capital for the solar farm, making it purely community-owned and for the benefit of the general public.

In any case, it is required that you live close enough to a solar farm for a viable subscription.

3. You can’t put up solar panels at home

One of the most important considerations when choosing your solar-generating system of choice is feasibility. PV panels will require you to have ample space at home, not to mention the authority to make such installations on the roof (or even on the ground surrounding your house.)

More often than not, you will not be allowed to make modifications to a rented house, even if it’s for something as beneficial as a solar panel system. In this case, subscribing to a community solar program would be your best bet.

solar-powered-home

Even if you live in your own house, though, solar panels may not always be suitable. Not all roofs can accommodate those installations. If your area gets more shade than sunlight, sourcing your solar energy from a shared solar garden might still be the most cost-efficient solution.

4. You move a lot

Flexibility is a prime benefit of having a community solar subscription, as opposed to investing in your own solar system at home. If the nature of your job or lifestyle is that it requires you to move a lot, it just won’t be practical to invest in your own panels because of the sheer effort it would take you to uninstall, transport, and install them all over again with every move.

Going for a solar farm subscription will give you more flexibility when moving since it’s typically easy to suspend or cancel your subscription to one and just subscribe to a different project that’s nearer the place where you’re moving. It’s also a great way to maintain environmental sustainability with every move.

If any or all four of these factors are attendant in your case, then you already know that you possess the golden opportunity to try out a community solar program and see how it works out for you.

Solid Waste Management in Kuwait

Kuwait, being one of the richest countries, is among the highest per capita waste generators in the world. Each year more than 2 million tons of solid waste is generated in the tiny Arab nation. High standards of living and rapid economic growth has been a major factor behind very high per capita waste generation of 1.4 to 1.5 kg per day.

Kuwait_Waste_Management

Waste Disposal Method

The prevalent solid waste management method in Kuwait is landfill burial. Despite being a small country, Kuwait has astonishingly high number of landfills. There are 18 landfills, of which 14 sites are closed and 4 sites are still in operation. These landfills act as dumpsites, rather than engineered landfills.

Menace of Landfills

Infact, landfill sites in Kuwait are notorious for causing severe public health and environmental issues. Besides piling up huge amounts of garbage, landfill sites generate huge amount of toxic gases (methane, carbon dioxide etc) and plagued by spontaneous fires. Due to fast paced urban development, residential areas have expanded to the edges of landfill sites thus causing grave danger to public health.

The total land area of Kuwait is around 17,820 sq. km, out of which more than 18 sq. km is occupied by landfills. Area of the landfill sites ranges from tens to hundreds of hectares with waste deposition depth varying from 3 to 30 meters.

All kind of wastes, including municipal wastes, food wastes, industrial wastes, construction and demolition debris etc are dumped at these sites. Infact, about 90 percent of the domestic waste is sent to landfills which imply that more landfills will be required to tackle rapidly increasing volumes of solid wastes.

Most of the landfill sites have been closed for more than 20 years due to operational problems and proximity to new residential, commercial and industrial areas. These sites include Sulaibiyah, Kabed, Al Qurain, Shuaiba, Jleeb AI Shuyoukh, West Yarmouk, AI Wafra among others. Migration of leachate beyond landfill site boundaries is a frequent problem noticed across Kuwait. Groundwater contamination has emerged as a serious problem because groundwater occurs at shallow depths throughout the country.

The major landfill sites operated by municipality for solid waste disposal are Jleeb AI Shuyoukh, Sulaibiyah and Al-Qurain. The Qurain landfill, with area of 1 sq. km, was used for dumping of municipal solid waste and construction materials from 1975 until 1985 with total volume of dumped waste being 5 million m3.

The Sulaibiyah landfill site received more than 500 tons of waste per day from 1980 to 2000 with area spanning 3 sq. km. Jleeb AI Shuyoukh, largest landfill site in Kuwait with area exceeding 6 sq. km, received 2500 tons per day of household waste and industrial waste between 1970 and 1993. Around 20 million m3 of wastes was dumped in this facility during its operational period.

Over the years, most of the dumpsites in Kuwait have been surrounded by residential and commercial areas due to urban development over the years. Uncontrolled dumpsites were managed by poorly-trained staff resulting in transformation of dumpsites in breeding grounds for pathogens, toxic gases and spontaneous fires.

Most of the landfill sites have been forced to close, much before achieving their capacities, because of improper disposal methods and concerns related to public health and environment. Due to fast-paced industrial development and urban expansion, some of the landfills are located on the edges of residential, as is the case of Jleeb Al-Shuyoukh and Al-Qurain sites, endangering the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.

Air Pollution and its Invisible Danger – What You Need to Know

If you’ve been observing the ongoing and high-profile protests from Extinction Rebellion over the course of the last few years, you’ll be aware that air pollution offers a significant threat to the human population.

This is supported by the statistics, which have revealed that almost a quarter of the people in the UK have been exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution with potentially devastating health consequences.

More specifically, a study by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) found that about 15 million in the UK live in areas where the average levels of the toxic particle PM2.5 exceeds the World Health Foundation’s guidelines. But what do you need to know about this invisible danger?

air-pollution-repurcussions

What is Air Pollution and How is it Caused?

In simple terms, air pollution is defined as the presence of substances in the natural atmosphere that may be harmful to the health of humans and other living beings.

Air pollution may also cause long standing damage to the climate or individual materials, while there are different types of air pollutants including particulates, gases and biological molecules.

Historically, the history of air pollution can be traced back to the Industrial Revolution, as developed nations such as the UK began to leverage fossil fuels such as coal to drive economic growth and expansion.

As a result of this, large and industrialised nations have produced high levels of smoke and sulphur dioxide for a range of domestic and industrial purposes, creating an omni-present threat to clean air and one that has worsened incrementally over time.

Substances such as nitrogen oxide are also impactful in this regard, with this produced from the reaction of nitrogen and oxygen in their air during combustion.

The threat of this has become increasingly prominent in highly congested areas packed with high motor vehicle traffic, creating a huge and growing pollution challenge.

Health Impact of Pollution and the Reaction of Governments

According to the WHO, air pollution contributes to an estimated 4.2 million premature deaths globally, with conditions such as heart disease, stroke, acute respiratory infections and lung cancer.

Interestingly, worldwide ambient air pollution accounts for 29% of all deaths and disease that involve lung cancer, along with 25% of similar cases related to ischaemic heart disease.

Incredibly, air pollution also contributes to 43% of all deaths and diseases that arise from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which causes significant breathing difficulties and long-term inflammation within the lungs.

china-air-pollution

Fortunately, countries across the globe are beginning to take steps to tackle air pollution, even serial offenders like China. Here, the government is taking direct action to clean up smog-choked skies from years of relentless industrial expansion, primarily by investing $83.4 billion in the renewable energy sector in 2019.

Nations like China are also drawing on innovation and technological advancement, with firms such as ERG Air Pollution Control providing various tools and measures to help tackle air pollution directly.

This includes everything from industrial gas cleaning services to comprehensive air pollution control systems, which help to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change without compromising on economic growth.

How to Reduce Your Digital Carbon Footprint?

Roughly 2.5 billion people around the globe use the internet. Experts predict the energy used to power the internet — as well as the number of greenhouse gases produced — will soon exceed air travel. Your digital carbon footprint is comprised of a number of activities, not just checking email.

Digital activities that have an impact on the environment include:

  • Streaming music
  • Watching Netflix
  • Posting on Twitter
  • Buying an e-book
  • Reading online news

Today’s eco-conscious consumers and businesses are looking for ways to reduce their digital carbon footprints and implement sustainable practices.

1. Reach Out to Tech Companies

Tech companies like YouTube can reduce their digital carbon footprint by changing how their design. In 2016, people streamed about 1 billion hours of YouTube videos each day, producing 10 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) — the same as the City of Glasgow.

For users who only listen to YouTube for the audio, the option to turn off the video could save 100 to 500 Kilotons of CO2e each year — comparable to the carbon footprint of 30,000 homes in the U.K. For consumers, it’s imperative to reach out to your favorite brands and request eco-conscious features.

2. Unsubscribe from Unwanted Emails

In 2018, more than 281 billion emails were sent and received each day, a number that’s expected to grow to more than 347 billion by 2022. Like anyone else, you probably have multiple brands who send you unwanted emails. To reduce your carbon footprint, make use of the unsubscribe button.

Look through your inbox for any unwanted emails you’ve yet to delete. You should also go through your promotions and spam folder. The unsubscribe button is typically at the very bottom of the email. Some brands attempt to hide it by making the text a similar color as the background.

3. Optimize Your Charging Routine

How many digital devices do you charge? There’s the laptop, cellphone, tablet and smartwatch. To reduce your carbon footprint, optimize your charging routine. Once a device is fully charged, unplug the power supply. Not only can you reduce your energy consumption, but you’ll also improve the lifetime of your battery.

Reduce your reliance on fossil fuels by investing in a solar charger. There are many solar charging stations available that range in capability and price. You can find a quality set-up under $50 for a smartphone, tablet and watch. If you want to power heavy-duty devices like laptops and film equipment, you’ll want to research options $75 and above.

4. Hang Onto Your Old Device

In the U.S., 44% of smartphone users said they replace or upgrade their phone as often as their provider allows, typically every two years. Many of these working devices end up cluttering landfills, while others are broken down into usable materials. Consumers and businesses alike can reduce their digital footprint by holding onto devices longer.

If you have a cracked screen, look into DIY tools online, or visit a local shop. The cost is remarkably affordable compared to the latest phone model. If your device is running slow, delete unused or unwanted apps, photos, videos, files and more. Most smartphones have a built-in storage cleaner that can free up space.

5. Download Instead of Stream

Video streaming makes up a large chunk of internet traffic. Data centers that host streaming sites like Netflix, YouTube and Facebook consume around 1% of the world’s electricity each year, a number that’s expected to grow. More demand for this type of technology means more consumed energy.

To minimize carbon output, data centers need to be fed by renewable energy sources, such as solar, hydroelectric or nuclear power. As a consumer, you can reduce the amount of time you spend streaming videos and music each day. Try to download content ahead of time, which puts less strain on networks. If you do stream video, connect to Wi-Fi instead of 4G to consume less energy.

Most of the resources we rely on are finite. It’s crucial to make sustainable choices and reduce your carbon footprint. Reach out to your favorite tech companies and request eco-friendly alternatives. Pare down your inbox and delete any offers for a phone upgrade. You can also invest in a solar charger and reduce your streaming time.

For most of us, it’s impossible to cut out internet use entirely. However, it’s still possible to make eco-friendly decisions.

Biomass Gasification Power Systems

Biomass gasification power systems have followed two divergent pathways, which are a function of the scale of operations. At sizes much less than 1MW, the preferred technology combination today is a moving bed gasifier and ICE combination, while at scales much larger than 10 MW, the combination is of a fluidized bed gasifier and a gas turbine.

biomass-gasifier

Larger scale units than 25 MW would justify the use of a combined cycle, as is the practice with natural gas-fired gas turbine stations. In the future it is anticipated that extremely efficient gasification based power systems would be based on a combined cycle that incorporates a fuel cell, gas turbine  and possibly a Rankine bottoming cycle.

Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle

The most attractive means of utilising a biomass gasifier for power generation is to integrate the gasification process into a gas turbine combined cycle power plant. This will normally require a gasifier capable of producing a gas with heat content close to 19 MJ/Nm3. A close integration of the two parts of the plant can lead to significant efficiency gains.

The syngas from the gasifier must first be cleaned to remove impurities such as alkali metals that might damage the gas turbine. The clean gas is fed into the combustor of the gas turbine where it is burned, generating a flow of hot gas which drives the turbine, generating electricity.

Hot exhaust gases from the turbine are then utilised to generate steam in a heat recovery steam generator. The steam drives a steam turbine, producing more power. Low grade waste heat from the steam generator exhaust can be used within the plant, to dry the biomass fuel before it is fed into the gasifier or to preheat the fuel before entry into the gasifier reactor vessel.

Schematic of integrated biomass gasification combined cycle

The gas-fired combined cycle power plant has become one of the most popular configurations for power generation in regions of the world where natural gas is available. The integration of a combined cycle power plant with a coal gasifier is now considered a potentially attractive means of burning coal cleanly in the future.

Biomass Fuel Cell Power Plant

Another potential use for the combustible gas from a biomass gasification plant is as fuel for a fuel cell power plant. Modern high temperature fuel cells are capable of operating with hydrogen, methane and carbon monoxide. Thus product gas from a biomass gasifier could become a suitable fuel.

As with the integrated biomass gasification combined cycle plant, a fuel cell plant would offer high efficiency. A future high temperature fuel cell burning biomass might be able to achieve greater than 50% efficiency.

Combating Concrete Through Sustainable Building Materials

Around 5% of the world’s CO2 emissions are caused by concrete production, so finding sustainable alternatives is essential to slowing down climate change. Fortunately, there are plenty of materials out there which are perfect for mass home construction, without the same ecological damage. If you want to continue to do meaningful things, such as travel the world or live in safe and comfortable accommodation, then finding alternative building materials is the route to doing this sustainably.

1. Hemp Concrete Substitute

By compacting hemp and lime, it is possible to create a building block comparable to concrete. Unlike concrete, however, hemp absorbs carbon dioxide rather than emits it. This means that during the production process, 1m3 of hemp concrete wall will suck up 165kg of CO2. It is just as durable and robust as regular concrete, but will require cannabis legalisation before manufacture can begin.

In countries where the plant is already legal to produce, then the switch to hemp alternative building material should begin immediately. Hemp plastic is an attractive sustainable building material which holds great potential worldwide.

hemp as a construction material

2. Bamboo and Straw

Wood has long been a popular home building material, but not all plants are equally green. Bamboo has the quickest regrowth time of any plant, meaning that it can be replaced as quickly as it is cut down. It is strong and durable. Meanwhile, straw, when packed tightly, is a perfect eco-friendly insulation material. Together, this makes the most environmentally conscious wooden cabin.

In the debate of manufactured vs modular cabins, the latter tends to be preferred due to its rigidity and durability, while the former is more affordable. By constructing modular bamboo cabins, however, you are able to produce a long-lasting, energy efficient home at a much cheaper cost.

bamboo as a construction material

3. Reused Plastic Waste

The world purchases a million plastic bottles a minute or 480 billion a year. We need to seriously start thinking about how we can reduce our consumption of single use plastics, but also what to do with the waste in the meantime.

One thing that the bottles can be used for is the construction of houses. When filled with sand and stacked together, they form a durable and insulating wall. In some countries, this is being used as a way to bring affordable housing to those living in poverty. It is certainly a creative way to build homes without using more of the Earth’s precious resources.

Final Thoughts

There are so many alternatives to concrete out there. Governments and construction companies need to come together to move towards sustainable building practices. This will help to ensure that everyone has a safe place to call home, while recycling resources and cleaning the carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

Matthew Stone, Renovare Fuels: Next Generation Renewables

Renewable fuels are playing an ever-increasing role in the UK transport industry. Driven by the UK Government’s efforts to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) stipulates that, from January 2021, fuel suppliers will be required to increase the proportion of renewables within their total sales.

Led by a management team of experienced professionals that includes Business Development Director Duncan Clark, Renovare Fuels could play a pivotal role in helping UK fuel companies meet the strict new criteria being imposed.

renewable-diesel

Biofuels are increasingly being used to power vehicles around the world

The UK transport industry generated 28% of total UK pollution in 2019, making it the country’s most polluting sector. The robust RTFO scheme was implemented to drive sustainability in the industry through the reduction of GHG emissions.

Under the scheme, transport fuel providers who provide more than 450,000 litres of petrol, gas oil or diesel must incorporate a prescribed amount of renewable fuels within their overall fuel sales, or forfeit a per-litre penalty.

Under the terms of the RTFO, the amount of renewables fuel suppliers must include in their products rises every year. The strategy forms an integral part of UK Government efforts to reduce the amount of carbon produced by the transport sector – a vital element of bringing total GHG emissions to net zero by 2050. Fuel suppliers will be required to increase development of renewable fuel components to at least 10.68% of their total supply levels in 2021.

Introduced in the 1980s, standard renewables like biodiesel and bioethanol produce similar levels of carbon dioxide emissions to fossil fuels when they are burned. However, rather than being produced from finite resources, they are derived from biomass feedstocks. These are typically grown specifically for the production of fuel or produced using waste products from other industries, such as agriculture and food. Although biomass produces CO2 when burned, this is offset by carbon dioxide absorbed by feedstock during the production process, effectively creating a closed loop process.

biofuel-powered-vehicle

Lower GHG emissions and empowerment of rural economy are major benefits associated with bioethanol

In 2019, advanced development fuels were added to the terms of the RTFO, enabling fuel companies to integrate next generation biofuels into market supplies in addition to standard renewables.

With the exception of segregated fats and oils and renewable fuels of non-biological origin (RFNBOs), development fuels are synthesised from residual feedstock or sustainable waste. To qualify under the scheme, a development fuel must have a GHG saving of at least 60% more than that offset by fossil fuels. Renewable diesel must be blendable at a rate of at least 25% with conventional diesel, while still meeting the EN590 fuel specification. Fuels which possess these superior carbon neutrality credentials are eligible for double the amount of Renewable Transport Fuel Certificates per kilo or litre compared with standard renewable fuels.

As Matthew Stone – Renovare Fuels’ Chairman – explains, development biofuels overcome many limitations associated with first-generation biofuels. From a physical and chemical perspective, Renovare Fuels’ next generation biofuels are closer to conventional fossil fuels, particularly in terms of performance and end product quality, while producing just three grams of CO2 per megajoule of biomass – which is just 3% of that generated by fossil fuels.

Standard biofuels have a limited impact in reducing GHG emissions, chiefly due to the type of feedstock used and low fuel quality. In contrast, development fuels are much more efficient, since they are specifically designed to eliminate emissions throughout the production process, as well as radically reducing those produced when used as an end fuel. As Matthew Stone points out, next generation development fuels show vast potential, supporting the UK Government’s GHG reduction goals.