Municipal Waste Management in Poland

Municipal waste management in Poland has changed dramatically since the early ’90s when, as part of Poland’s privatisation program, municipal authorities were freed of their waste management obligations. The combined Polish recycling rate for dry recyclables and organic waste has increased from 5% in 2004 to 21% in 2010, according to a Copenhagen Resource Institute (CRI) study Municipal Waste Management in Poland (2013). Another source provides similar, corroborating statistics, putting the dry recycling rate in Poland at 14% and the composting rate at 7%.

waste-dump-warsaw

The latest Eurostat data (for 2011) shows that the upward trend continuing, with the total recycled and composted reaching 28%. That is rapid rate of improvement, but leaves Poland well below the latest EU-27 average of 40% (25% recycled and 15% composted) – so what prospect is there of Poland reaching the EU’s mandatory 50% target by 2020?

Responsibility for waste disposal shifted to householders, who were left to individually contract any waste collection company of their choice. In the hard economic climate a ‘cheaper-the-better’ mentality prevailed, which did little to encourage sustainable practices. There wasn’t even an obligation on householders even to sign up for waste collection.

Landfilling was – and remains – the most common way of handling waste, but accompanying reporting and tracking methods were inadequate. Statistically, quantities of waste produced were usually larger than those collected, with the missing tonnages usually being dumped in forests or burned in domestic boilers to avoid waste disposal costs. As a result, waste management became largely uncontrolled, with a 2011 report concluding that ‘’waste management is one of the most badly neglected and at the same time one of the most urgent environmental issues for Poland.’’

Waste Management Legislation

Even after joining the EU in 2005, Poland didn’t rush to introduce reforms to improve practices and help to meet recycling targets. Only recently has Poland introduced several pieces of new waste related legislation, including:

  • Act on maintaining cleanliness and order in municipalities (2012);
  • Act on Waste (2012); and
  • Act on management of packaging and packaging waste (2013).

The first of these was revolutionary in that it gave responsibility for municipal waste collection and disposal back to municipalities. Now they are required to organise garbage collection and the separate collection of biodegradable waste and recyclable materials such as paper, metal, glass and plastic. It is expected that the new law will improve waste management control measures on a local level and greatly reduce the illegal dumping and trash burning.

The Act on Waste helps tackle the previous ‘free for all’ amongst collectors – it obliges waste handlers to act in a manner consistent with waste management principles and plans adopted at national level (by the Council of Ministers), regional level (Voivodeship) and local level (Municipality).

Poland has also this year adopted a new National Waste Management Plan, which states that an essential step towards improving the recycling rate in Poland is to increase landfill fees for recyclable, compostable or recoverable material. If acted upon, this could greatly increase the incentive to divert important municipal waste streams from landfill. The Polish market is clearly responsive to cost: in 2008 after landfill tax was significantly raised, there was a substantial reduction in waste being landfilled.

Declaration of bin-dependence

Although Polish citizens have always had to pay directly for waste collection, the new legislation has made some substantial changes to the payment system. There are now three different calculation methods. Each household is subject to a standard fee, which is then adjusted to reflect either:

  • The number of people living in a household;
  • The number of square metres covered by the property; or
  • The number of cubic metres of water used by the household per month.

The first of these options seems to be the most reasonable and has proven the most popular.

Municipalities are left to determine the standard collection fee, which as a result varies from region to region. Some municipalities charge at little as 3 Polish Zloty (around £0.56) per household, per person, per month, while some charge 20 Zloty (around £3.75).

The standard charge is also affected by a declaration made by the householder regarding waste segregation. If a property owner declares that they have separated out recyclable materials then they pay considerably lower fees. In some municipalities, this could be as low as 50% of the usual charge. Only those who declare that they don’t want to recycle pay full price. It’s rare that people do so: who would pick the most expensive option?

The problem is that some householders declare that they recycle their waste while in reality they don’t. Unfortunately, abusing the system is easy to get away with, especially since the new scheme is still in its early stages and is not yet stable. Monitoring recycling participation in order to crack down on such abuses of the system represents quite a challenging task.

Future Perspectives

Transformation periods are always hard and it is common that they bring misunderstanding and chaos. It isn’t surprising that there are problems with the new system which require ironing out, and the new legislation is nevertheless welcome. However, there is still much work to be done to provide sufficient and sustainable waste management in Poland. This will include such measures as educating the population, improving waste separation at source and securing waste treatment capacity.

Perhaps most importantly, Poland needs to take immediate action to develop its municipal waste treatment capacity across the board. If the 2020 recycling target is to be met, the country will require material recovery facilities, anaerobic digestion and in vessel composting sites, and household waste and recycling centres; and if more waste is to be diverted from landfill it will also need energy from waste (EfW) incinerators and mechanical biological treatment facilities.

According to Eurostat, only 1% of waste in Poland was incinerated in 2011. It has been confirmed so far that an EfW plant will be developed in each of Poland’s 11 biggest cities. Fortunately for Poland, the development of waste treatment installations is quite generously funded by the EU, which covers up to 80% of the total cost: EU subsidy agreements have already been signed for three of the planned EfW plants. The remaining cost will be covered by central, regional and local government.

The CRI paper presents three different scenarios for the future recycling rate in Poland. One of them is very optimistic and predicts that Poland has a chance to meet the 2020 recycling requirements, but each is based simply on a regression analysis of recent trends, rather than an analysis of the likely impact of recent and planned policy measures. What it does make clear, though, is that if Poland continues to progress as it has since 2006, it will reach the 2020 target. How many EU countries can claim that?

Note: The article is being republished with the kind permission of our collaborative partner Isonomia. The original version of the article can be found at this link.

5 Ways Businesses Can Protect The Environment

Over the years, humans have begun to see the negative impact a lot of our behaviors have had on the earth. Whether it is our use of energy, our contribution to growing landfills or a variety of other things, many people are making changes. More and more individuals are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and lead environmentally friendly lives.

While individuals are increasingly doing their part to help the environment, businesses also need to do the same. They are often some of the biggest contributors of the environmental damage being done, and need to find ways to turn it around. With that in mind, this article is going to go over a few ways that businesses can help protect the environment.

1. Adopt More Efficient Processes and Machinery

Many processes and machines that businesses will use end up using a lot more energy or power than they need. Protecting the environment can often be as simple as replacing or changing these processes and machinery to efficient options that exist today.

ecofriendly-manufacturing

For example, a fax machine, which is still used at many companies, can use a lot of energy to work all day. They can generally waste a lot of paper too. Instead, consider using a service like eFax. They allow you to send and receive faxes quickly, all online without the need for a machine. This is only one of several examples of how old, outdated and inefficient processes and technology can be replaced.

2. Reduce Paper Waste

Many businesses create a lot of waste. While this type of waste can depend on your company and industry, it is often things like paper and garbage. In fact, around 26% of the total waste in landfills is paper waste. This isn’t all from companies, but they generally create much more paper waste than residential households will.

While many companies have gone completely paperless, others still have a lot of work to do in that department. Some of the best ways to reduce paper waste are to store files online, use electronic documents and print things less often. In addition to less waste, these online solutions are generally easier and preferred for both employees and customers. Of course, any paper you do still need to use, make sure it gets recycled and isn’t simply tossed in with the rest of the garbage.

3. Use Efficient Light Bulbs

Keeping your office buildings well-lit is an important part of ensuring your employees can comfortably see and do their job. However, with potentially hundreds of light bulbs on for the better part of most days, these lights can use a ton of energy. Instead of using traditional bulbs, consider using energy-efficient LEDs.

LED-lighting-workplace

In addition to saving energy, these bulbs can save money as they take less energy to use. Most will also last significantly longer, and aren’t that much more expensive to buy. This is a quick change that can have a significant impact on how much energy is used and/or wasted at your business.

4. Allow Telecommuting and Remote Work

While the prevalence of remote work has been growing recently, there are still some companies who don’t allow it. By simply allowing people to work remotely permanently, or from time to time, companies can improve their eco-friendliness. The amount of energy used in your office should drop significantly with less people there.

Also, with less people driving to work, your company will lower the emissions it is responsible for creating, even if only by a little bit. In addition to saving the environment, having more employees work remotely will save on energy costs. You could even potentially downsize to a smaller and more affordable office.

5. Clean Up Any Mess You Make

Using hazardous materials or chemicals is sometimes required at many companies for a variety of things. Ensuring you proper waste disposal is of the utmost importance. As a result, be sure to work with a reputable clean-up service who works in an environmentally friendly manner.

recycling-in-offices

If this mess is cleaned up incorrectly, your company could be doing a ton of damage to the environment near your offices, plants or factories. Not only that, but you could find yourself in serious troubles with the government if you don’t do things according to the regulations in your area.

Bottom Line

These are 5 of the many different ways that businesses can help do their part to protect the environment. Many of these methods can also help the business by saving you money or providing an increase to efficiency or productivity.

Behavioral Drivers Behind Food Wastes

By 2075, the United Nations estimates the global population will peak at 9.5 billion, an extra 3 billion mouths to feed by the end of the century. Meanwhile, while we produce about four billion tonnes of food annually, it is estimated that 30-50% of this never reaches our plates. Of the food that does reach us, some western societies throw away up to a third of all food purchased. This has enormous implications for the global environment, from wasting the water used to grow the food to adverse effects on climate, land and biodiversity.

food-waste-behavior

The drivers behind the phenomenal levels of food waste are complex and include public behavior, food pricing, logistical and storage issues. However, given the significant level of waste that happens within the households of societies like the UK and US, it is useful and informative to consider those behaviours that drive this level of waste.

The quality of data around food waste, as with much of waste data, has historically been poor. To this end, WRAP commissioned groundbreaking research in the UK in 2006/7 to act as a baseline to their Love Food Hate Waste campaign. This came up with the alarming statistic that 1/3 of food bought by a UK household was thrown away. Until this time, there had been no comprehensive research, either by food manufacturers, retailers or interest groups, suggesting the importance of government, or some other dis-interested party, taking a lead on the issue.

Back to Basics

There may be a link between the amount of time spent preparing food, and the skill and effort that goes into this, and the amount of food waste produced. This has led to a loss of confidence in the kitchen, with individuals losing basic skills that allow them to cook with leftovers, understand food labeling, including Best Before and Use By, even basic storing. WRAP had found little evidence of best practice storage advice so carried out the research themselves – leading the (surprising for many) conclusion that fruit such as apples and pears are best stored in the fridge wrapped in a plastic cover.

However, this has masked a larger trend of less time spent in the kitchen, due to demographic changes. This of course begs the question – how should we use this when trying to reduce food waste? Should we encourage people to cook from scratch as a principle?

Although waste prevention and recycling are clearly separated within the waste hierarchy, there are apparent links between the two when considering food waste. There is an urgent need for legislation to enforce separate food waste collections, not only to ensure it was diverted to anaerobic digestion or composting, but also as it led to greater self awareness around food waste. WRAP research has clearly showed a fall in food waste when separate food waste collections were introduced.

Role of Packaging

Historically, packaging has always been a high priority to the public when asked about priorities for reducing waste. However, as awareness of food waste has grown, a more nuanced position has developed among waste managers. While excess packaging is clearly undesirable, and, within the UK for instance, the Courtauld Commitment  has helped reduced grocery packaging by 2.9 million tonnes of waste so far, there is a realization of the importance of food packaging in preserving food and hence reducing food waste.

food-packaging

Making food easily accessible and affordable by many, it could be argued, is one of the crowning achievements of our age. Over the last century, the proportion of household income that is spent on food has plummeted, and there is a direct link to malnutrition and food prices, particularly for children. But does cheap food mean that it is less valued and hence greater wastage? Is the answer expensive food? The evidence from WRAP in the UK is that food waste is still a serious economic issue for households, and underlining the economic case for reducing food waste a major incentive for households, especially as food prices are not entering an era of increase and instability, providing added economic urgency

Political Persuasions

Different political persuasions often differ in the approaches they take to changing behaviours and food waste is no different. In the UK, the Courtauld Commitment is a voluntary agreement aimed at encouraging major retailers to take responsibility mainly for packaging, later growing to encompass food waste, voluntary and so far has seen a 21% reduction in food waste post-consumer.

Meanwhile Wales (in the UK) effectively banned food waste from landfill. Scotland has ensured that businesses make food waste available for separate collection – again it’s only once you see it, you can manage it. Campaigns like the UK’s Love Food Hate Waste have been successful but measuring food waste prevention, as with all waste prevention, is notoriously difficult. But, people are now widely aware of food waste as an issue – we even see celebrity chefs actively talking about food waste reduction and recipes involving leftovers or food that is about to go off.

Food-Waste-UK

There is clearly a balance between food waste and food safety, with a commitment to reducing food waste throughout the retail and catering world, not just at home. By engaging environmental health officers to help deliver this, a potentially conflicting message can be delivered in a nuanced and balanced way. Indeed, environmental health officers in Scotland will be responsible for ensuring that Scottish food businesses present their food waste for separate collection.

Role of Communication

It is worth considering how the message should be communicated, and by whom. The community sector are more trusted by the public than government and the private sector are more effective at imparting personal, deeply held beliefs – the sort of beliefs that need to change if we are to see long term changes in attitudes towards consumption and hence waste production.

Furthermore, communications can engage wider audiences that hold an interest in reducing food waste that is perhaps not primarily environmental. The health and economic benefits of issues and behaviours that also result in food waste prevention may be the prevalent message that fits with a particular audience. So whilst the main aim of a training session might be food waste prevention, this is may not be the external message. And this has wider implications for waste prevention, and how we engage audiences around it.

Municipal authorities tasked with waste prevention will need to engage with new groups, in new ways. They will have to consider approaches previously considered to be beyond their powers to engage new audiences – should they be partnering with public health authorities with an interest in nutrition, or social housing providers that are focused on financial inclusion.

Should waste prevention even be a discipline in itself? After all, across material streams it is a motley assortment of behaviours with different drivers. Furthermore, with the knots that one can tie oneself in trying to measure waste that doesn’t get generated, – therefore doesn’t exist – should we integrate waste prevention in to other socio-economic programmes and position it as an “added benefit” to them?

Note: The article is being republished with the permission of our collaborative partner be Waste Wise. The unabridged version can be found at this link. Special thanks to the author Mike Webster.

4 Reasons Why Inflatable Packer is a Must Have

Non-stop operating challenges in the field of the gas, oilfield, and underground mining has led the inflatable technology to become a mainstream go-to solution for those in jobs of high-pressure drilling, borehole measurement, and tunneling. And it is none other than the inflatable packers that have been extensively catering to the niche for over three decades now. The best thing about these tools is that they easily pass through restrictions and they are extremely sturdy to stand all the extremities and challenges of their projects.

With these tools rapidly gaining the ground in almost all parts of boring, sealing and mechanical jobs, it’s probably time to take a look at what makes these testing powerhouses really an unmatched solution in the field of special civil engineering and geotechnical studies. There are a plenty of informative and reliable sources, including http://www.aardvarkpackers.com/products-list/inflatable-packers/ and others that can tell you how these tools work and benefit their users. Another designer and manufacturer is IPI who supply oil, gas, mining and research companies with packers capable of up to 20,000 psi ratings.

What is an Inflatable Packer

As the name suggests, an inflatable packer is a plug equipment that can be extended and used in a wide array of decommissioning projects more specialized in terms of hole temperature and washouts etc. These plugs are both robust and versatile in nature and can be deployed where activities like hydraulic fracturing and high-pressure permeability require an in-depth planning and execution.

It’s the pipe that makes the main body of the packer and its the outside of the pipe that can inflate multiple times its original diameter to offer the space needed for all conventional jobs like coil tubing, pumping injections, tubes, and more.

Types of Inflatable Packers

When you have a clear idea about the job, it will be easy to choose your kind of pick from a wide selection of packers. They are many types, though…

  1. Fixed end packers
  2. Single or sliding end packers available in three styles, non reinforced, partially reinforced or fully reinforced
  3. Inward Inflating Packers ( applications include blow out preventers for mineral drilling rigs for a fraction of the cost of oilfield versions)
  4. Steel fortified
  5. Wire-line packers
  6. Custom packers (metal or other combinations)

Remember, every job needs an inflatable tool that can serve the bespoke purpose.

Uses of Inflatable Packers

As already mentioned earlier, inflatable packers are used in a wide range of energy-optimized fields, including groundwater projects, dewatering, high-pressure mining, contamination, block caving, core drilling, rock blasting and other kinds of stress testing

However, below mentioned is a list of broad range applications where these inflated tools are hugely deployed…

  1. Multi-depth ground consolidation
  2. Unconsolidated material consolidation
  3. Solid rock consolidation
  4. Improvement of mechanical properties
  5. Underground soil injections
  6. Lifting injections
  7. Sealing projects
  8. Injections in foundations
  9. Permeability testing as part of wireline coring
  10. Monitoring wells – isolation of gauges
  11. Hydraulic fracturing for rock stress testing, block caving or rock burst mitigation
  12. Swaging slim line patches to repair well casing

So, now that you know about most of the high-key projects where packers are used, there are certain unique features that make a packer ideal for a job.

  1. Extension capability of the packer’s hose,
  2. High-pressure rating
  3. The interior measurement of the pipe
  4. The exterior measurement of the pipe
  5. Length of the sealing section that complies with the uneven borehole

The real advantage of having an inflated tool with an increased number of features is that it will make sure you can use it in multifaceted projects.

Advantages of inflatable packers

There are four main reasons that make these tools a must-have. They are as follows:

  1. Inflatable packers are reusable

Yes, most of their parts can be used for a great number of times. All the parts from a mandrel, inflation point, rubber element to connectors are exchangeable and their models are available in different lengths.

  1. Material parts are built sturdy

A non-welded packer is made robust and its patented and reinforcing ribs offer a tighter grip in the target areas to withstand challenges and vulnerabilities during and post inflation. What’s more, the packer ensures a uniform inflation between its metal ribs to offer maximum efficiency at disposal operations.

  1. Good use in inconsistent contact pressure

The packer’s metal ribs offer reinforcing anchoring in the end subs. This allows the inflatable tool to optimize its pressure differential holding capacity in varying depths.

  1. Flawless and safe sealing

While the ribs and the high-quality threads of an inflatable packer offer a greater surface preparation, eliminating any need for using crossover sub, welding or epoxy, the larger expansion range of a packer’s valve system provides an extra room for the fluid and the sealing functions, What’s more, all its material tubes and check valves can be cleaned easily when you separate them.

But the benefits of using these tools don’t end just here. There are a tall-list of other advantages too when you buy a packer of this type.

Final Thoughts

In a nutshell, inflatable packers prove extremely efficient where a perfect decommissioning job can add hundreds of thousands of dollars to the ever-flourishing energy industry. Their proven track records make them a must-have for projects like test injections, geological boring, water pressure control and special cases like plugging and abandoning wells just to name a few. The good news is, nowadays these tools are made available just a click away. Just go through the specifications carefully and pick the one that best suits your niche.

How To Choose Solar Landscape Lighting?

When you take a good look around your garden, you may find that there’s so much you can do to make it look better. Among all others, you could consider landscaping your garden. This is a project that’ll make your garden instantly look lovelier. And then, going even further beyond that is landscape lighting. That way, even at night, the beauty of your landscape will still be visible. It’s a great way to make your garden look elegant and homey.

However, as much as this is nice to have, maintaining and switching on solar lights the whole night could be costly. Apart from sprucing up your home, you’ll also want your household to be eco-friendly. Thankfully, solar lights now exist to make this endeavor of yours achievable.

But with the wide range of options out in the market today, how do you choose the right solar landscape lighting for your garden? This article has you covered.

solar-landscape-lighting

1. Match The Light With Its Purpose

First of all, your chosen solar landscape lights should serve the purpose that you intend for it to do. You can choose from three of the most common categories of solar lights, according to use, in the garden. They are:

a. Decorative Accent Lights

These lights are meant to highlight certain features of your garden that you want to illuminate at night. These are usually made of multi-crystalline solar cells that enable them to charge even on a cloudy day. These are also great for sections in your garden with shaded areas such as trees, as these kinds of lights can stay lit for long.

b. Spot Lights

This kind of light has more of a safety feature beyond the decorative vibe it gives. More than anything, the best outdoor solar spot lights are used to mark landscape hazards, including steps on your garden or any rock formation that could potentially be a hazard.

c. Path Lights

These are used for lighting up driveways, walkways, and pathways.

2. Consider The Look You’re After

Another factor to consider when you’re thinking about some of the most popular options is the look you want for your garden or landscape. If you aspire to create a unique landscape that’s not seen often, you will probably want to select some of the more elaborate options available. Technology has also brought forth new designs of these solar lights, so you only need to take your pick according to your preference.

3. Inspect The Manner Of Mounting

Another thing to think about when it comes to some of these popular choices is how they can be mounted. For example, some lights can be mounted right onto your plants, while others require you to mount them directly onto the ground.

If you’re thinking about landscape lights that can be installed directly onto the ground, you’ll need to consider the plants or trees that they will illuminate. Take a good look around your garden to see if you have the appropriate plants around for specific light mounts.

landscape-solar-lights

Some plants also prefer being on the ground rather than hung on the air, so they may require a completely different type of lighting design than you originally intended. Try to find options that would fit this exterior plan of your home.

4. Read Through Reviews Online

Before you even head out to shop, it’s better if you’ve already done prior research online. You might be confused about many options if you don’t know what you want. When window-shopping online, you’ll immediately acquire valuable information like the following:

  • Pictures of how these lights are used in actual gardens
  • Price range
  • Customer reviews
  • Quality

It’s a great idea to shop around and get as much information as possible on the lights you’re considering. If you do your homework, you’ll be able to choose the best solar lights for your backyard.

5. Check Basic Feature Must-haves

Regardless of the type of solar landscape lighting you’ll purchase and the purpose it serves in your garden, there are certain features you should also take extra care to notice among all your options. These features should be present for you to know that you’re bringing home a good quality item:

  • It comes with high-grade glass panels, so they won’t crack and turn cloudy;
  • It has advanced circuitry, so it can store light and charge even when the sky is dark;
  • It uses top-of-the-line batteries or ‘next-generation batteries’ to ensure that it has more charges than ordinary solar landscape lights.

Conclusion

With the vast number of options available today for solar landscape lighting, choosing the best one might prove challenging. But remember that one of the most important aspects of having a beautiful landscape garden is the light system you choose to install. So, you’ll want to make sure that you choose wisely. These are just some of the tips you can take with you when searching for a system that’ll work for your landscape.

4 Challenges Students with Autism Face in College

Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) are complex mental development disorders characterized by social maladaptation and inability to socially interact, communicate, and behave according to the existing stereotypes (repetition of the same actions). Back in the middle of the last century, autism was a fairly rare disease. However, over time, more and more children suffering from this disorder began to appear. Statistics show that the incidence of ASD in children over the past 30-40 years in countries where such statistics are conducted has risen from 4-5 people per 10 000 children to 50-116 cases per 10 000. At the same time, boys are more susceptible to this disease than girls (the ratio is about 4:1).

The Main Causes of ASD

Until now, scientists around the world studying the causes of autism have not come to a consensus. Many assumptions are being put forward. Among the possible factors for the appearance of this disorder in children, some hypotheses are called:

  • genetic predisposition;
  • impaired development of the nervous system (autism is seen as a disease caused by impaired brain development in the early stages of child growth);
  • influence of external factors: infections, chemical effects on the mother’s body during pregnancy, birth injuries, congenital metabolic disorders, the effect of certain drugs, and industrial toxins.

But whether these factors can actually lead to autism in children has not yet been clarified. Autism is seen as a developmental disorder that affects all areas of the human psyche: intellectual, emotional, sensitivity, motor sphere, attention, thinking, memory, and speech.

The most basic and commonly encountered types of ASD are:

  • Canner’s syndrome;
  • Asperger Syndrome;
  • Rett syndrome;
  • Child psychosis;
  • Atypical Autism.

Depending on the kind of ASD, and the degree of development of cognitive and motor functions, a teenager with this disease can study at colleges and universities. Although it is worth noting that training is not easy for them, and the percentage of those who ultimately drop out is very high – 80%. Often, a person is simply not able to withstand the load (large crowds, noise, certain time frames, etc.) that awaits them.

Despite the mentioned above, there are still people with ASD who managed to graduate from the college or/and university. If you just have this endeavor ahead, and you are determined to challenge yourself and your ailment, here are some tips from those who deserve the highest praise for willpower and fortitude – people with ASD who have acquired higher education and are engaged in what they love.

Challenges that Await a College Student with ASD

Organization Issues

A college student with autism may experience extreme overload following a typical student routine. It is very difficult for them to follow the time frame of classes, the amounts of homework. In addition, collective tasks can be especially difficult, since the teenager experiences anxiety before communicating with others.

Organizing a workday can be a problem too. Things like a class schedule, maintaining health issues, studying, and living in a dorm are difficult tasks, but doable. The main thing is never to be afraid to ask for the help you need.

The need to decide for yourself

When a child with ASD is in school, his parents/guardians, counselors, and tutors decide for the child how to live in this world and how to function. Entering college, a teenager on the spectrum must start advocating for their needs on their own. In the first stage, it can be deeply shocking and overwhelming to the young mind. Natural vegan products can help to boost the morale of students, for example, CBDfx follows strict organic practices.

It is vitally important that they remember that they are not abandoned and that they, as well as at school, can receive support and help when they long for it. The only thing one has to do is to inform about difficulties in time. If a student with ASD has problems with academic papers, for example, they can find assistance at the essay writing service.

The possibility to be unnoticed by a teacher

For the most part, students are noisy young people who like to talk, discuss, and gather in interest groups. All this is very repulsive and incomprehensible to a teenager with ASD. In addition, tutors prefer open to dialogue and discussion students. There is no need to conceal that it is precisely such students who enjoy the attention of tutors most of all.

That is why a young mind with an autism disorder may turn out to be invisible to their professor, taking into account the fact that college students with ASD are very few today. To avoid this problem or to correct its consequences, a personal meeting with the professor is required, at which an amendment to the classes plan, or their form will be approved.

Same requirements for everyone

College tutors place the same requirements and restrictions on all students. There are certain rules for measuring performance, conducting tests and exams, as well as activity in the classroom. For students with ASD, these rules and restrictions can be overwhelming and unworkable. Nevertheless, there is a solution to this problem. Every young mind with an autism disorder has to inform about their disability, thus, they can win some easing or a partial revision of the rules.

By bringing to the knowledge the appropriate authority in college, a teenager may obtain, for example, an exam in a quiet environment, familiarizing himself with a tutor’s notes, or they may be allowed to spend more time on a specific task.

Each student with ASD needs to remember that they have every right to the above-described relief in the rules. Colleges and universities are subject to the law, and they can provide you with these accommodations – it is your right to demand them since you pay for tuition, and they are included in this fee. The only thing, young minds need to understand that, in any case, they must obey educational standards and do everything in their power to get as much as possible closer to them.

We wish patience and fortitude to those young people who, in spite of everything, want to get a higher education and get closer to their dream. You are amazing, and you definitely have to be proud of yourself! Good luck!

Energy Potential of Empty Fruit Bunches

A palm oil plantation yields huge amount of biomass wastes in the form of empty fruit bunches (EFB), palm oil mill effluent (POME) and palm kernel shell (PKS). In a typical palm oil mill, empty fruit bunches are available in abundance as fibrous material of purely biological origin. Energy potential of empty fruit bunches is attractive as it contains neither chemical nor mineral additives, and depending on proper handling operations at the mill, it is free from foreign elements such as gravel, nails, wood residues, waste etc.

EFB

However, EFB is saturated with water due to the biological growth combined with the steam sterilization at the mill. Since the moisture content in EFB is around 67%, pre-processing is necessary before EFB can be considered as a good fuel.

Unprocessed EFB is available as very wet whole empty fruit bunches each weighing several kilograms while processed EFB is a fibrous material with fiber length of 10-20 cm and reduced moisture content of 30-50%. Additional processing steps can reduce fiber length to around 5 cm and the material can also be processed into bales, pellets or pulverized form after drying.

There is a large potential of transforming EFB into renewable energy resource that could meet the existing energy demand of palm oil mills or other industries as well as to promote sustainability in the palm oil industry. Pre-treatment steps such as shredding/chipping and dewatering (screw pressing or drying) are necessary in order to improve the fuel property of EFB.

Pre-processing of EFB will greatly improve its handling properties and reduce the transportation cost to the end user i.e. power plant. Under such scenario, kernel shells and mesocarp fibres which are currently utilized for providing heat for mills can be relieved for other uses off-site with higher economic returns for palm oil millers.

The fuel could either be prepared by the mills before sell to the power plants, or handled by the end users based on their own requirements.  Besides, centralized EFB collection and pre-processing system could be considered as a component in EFB supply chain. It is evident that the mapping of available EFB resources would be useful for EFB resource supply chain improvement. This is particular important as there are many different competitive usages. With proper mapping, assessment of better logistics and EFB resource planning can lead to better cost effectiveness for both supplier and user of the EFB.

A covered yard is necessary to store and supply a constant amount of this biomass resource to the energy sector. Storage time should however be short, e.g. 5 days, as the product; even with 45% moisture is vulnerable to natural decay through fungi or bacterial processes. This gives handling and health problems due to fungi spores, but it also contributes through a loss of dry matter trough biological degradation. Transportation of EFB is recommended in open trucks with high sides which can be capable of carrying an acceptable tonnage of this low-density biomass waste.

For EFB utilization in power stations, the supply chain is characterized by size reduction, drying and pressing into bales. This may result in significantly higher processing costs but transport costs are reduced. For use in co-firing in power plants this would be the best solution, as equipment for fuel handling in the power plant could operate with very high reliability having eliminated all problems associated with the handling of a moist, fibrous fuel in bulk.

Pros and Cons of Buying and Doing a DIY Solar Panel Installation

There’s a number of reasons why people invest in solar energy through solar panel installations on either their homes or other buildings. For some, they want their energy consumption to reduce their carbon footprint and make sure they live environmentally friendly. For others, they may want a power source they can use just in case the power were to shut off for a long period, or may want to earn tax incentives for going green.

But whichever reason you have, you have a choice between buying from a professional solar panel installation company, and going the DIY route. There are a few pros and cons to doing a DIY solar panel installation.

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Pro: You Can Determine Where And How You Want Your Solar Energy

If you have the time to design and build your own solar energy system, you can decide how you want it built and where you want it placed. One of the keys is buying solar panels for either on-grid or off-grid use, because that determines a lot in the scope of your installation.

But if you’re willing to take on the rigors of the installation, you’ll have the satisfaction of seeing solar power going to the areas of your property where you want.

Pro: There Is Some Savings You Can Get

Yes, getting DIY solar panels can save you some money, though it may not be as much as you want. The main area of savings is in the design and labor costs since you’re handling these yourself, but there can still be other costs you incur while taking the project on. For example, you may need storage or battery backups in some cases that may be a hidden cost. Still, you can usually save about a minimum of 10%-20% in overall costs by going DIY.

According to the experts at Unbound Solar, “Even if you extend your payback period by taking out a loan to finance your project, you still enjoy reduced electricity costs from the moment you flip the switch on your PV system.”

Con: Not All DIY Solar Panels Can Be Used On The Grid

While there are a few cases where you can install your own solar panels and remain connected to your utility provider, not all solar systems are designed for that. And some local governments have laws about what kind of solar panels and installations can be done that remain grid-tied. You’ll want to do research on whether you can do this before getting started.

Con: DIY Installation Can Be Quite Complex

While getting your own solar panel kit and building it yourself sounds easy enough, the process can be very intense and require a lot more know-how from the consumer than they might realize. Plus, there are tasks that need to be completed and signed off on by a certified electrician if your solar panels are going to be grid-tied, so you need to be aware of that. It’s usually going to require heavy duty tools and take some man power to get the system installed perfectly.

At the end of the day, installing your own solar panels can allow you to save a lot of money on energy, or get power to areas that it would be difficult to with a utility provider. But if you’re new to installing a solar panel system, you need to carefully consider the cost in both time and money to do it.

Major Considerations in Biopower Projects

In recent years, biopower (or biomass power) projects are getting increasing traction worldwide, however there are major issues to be tackled before setting up a biopower project. There are three important steps involved in the conversion of biomass wastes into useful energy. In the first step, the biomass must be prepared for the energy conversion process. While this step is highly dependent on the waste stream and approach, drying, grinding, separating, and similar operations are common.

In addition, the host facility will need material handling systems, storage, metering, and prep-yard systems and biomass handling equipment. In the second step, the biomass waste stream must be converted into a useful fuel or steam. Finally, the fuel or steam is fed into a prime mover to generate useful electricity and heat.

One of the most important factors in the efficient utilization of biomass resource is its availability in close proximity to a biomass power project. An in-depth evaluation of the available quantity of a given agricultural resource should be conducted to determine initial feasibility of a project, as well as subsequent fuel availability issues. The primary reasons for failure of biomass power projects are changes in biomass fuel supply or demand and changes in fuel quality.

Fuel considerations that should be analyzed before embarking on a biomass power project include:

  • Typical moisture content (including the effects of storage options)
  • Typical yield
  • Seasonality of the resource
  • Proximity to the power generation site
  • Alternative uses of the resource that could affect future availability or price
  • Range of fuel quality
  • Weather-related issues
  • Percentage of farmers contracted to sell residues

Accuracy is of great importance in making fuel availability assumptions because miscalculations can greatly impact the successful operation of biomass power projects. If biomass resource is identifies as a bottle-neck in the planning stage, a power generation technology that can handle varying degrees of moisture content and particle size can be selected.

Technologies that can handle several fuels in a broad category, such as agricultural residues, provide security in operation without adversely affecting combustion efficiency, operations and maintenance costs, emissions levels, and reliability.

Consistent and reliable supply of biomass is crucial for any biomass project

Identification of potential sources of biomass fuel can be one of the more challenging aspects of a new biomass energy project. There are two important issues for potential biomass users:

  • Consistent and reliable biomass resource supply to the facility
  • Presence of harvesting, processing and supply infrastructure to provide biomass in a consistent and timely manner

Biomass as an energy source is a system of interdependent components. Economic and technical viability of this system relies on a guaranteed feedstock supply, effective and efficient conversion technologies, guaranteed markets for the energy products, and cost-effective distribution systems.

The biomass energy system is based on the following steps:

  • Biomass harvesting (or biomass collection of non-agricultural waste)
  • Preparation of biomass as feedstock
  • Conversion of biomass feedstock into intermediate products.
  • Transformation of intermediates into final energy and other bio-based products
  • Distribution and utilization of biofuels, biomass power and bio-based products.

Recycling of EPS Foam Packaging

Municipalities and organisations around the world are facing a growing problem in disposal and recycling of EPS foam packaging and products. EPS foam (Encapsulated Poly-Styrene) packaging is a highly popular plastic packaging material which finds wide application in packaging of food items, electronic goods, electrical appliances, furniture etc due to its excellent insulating and protective properties. EPS foam (also known as polystyrene) is also used to make useful products such as disposable cups, trays, cutlery, cartons, cases etc. However, being large and bulky, polystyrene take up significant space in rubbish bins which means that bins becomes full more quickly and therefore needs to be emptied more often.

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Polystyrene is lightweight compared to its volume so it occupies lots of precious landfill space and can be blown around and cause a nuisance in the surrounding areas. Although some companies have a recycling policy, most of the polystyrene still find its way into landfill sites around the world.

Environmental Hazards of EPS Foam

While it is estimated that EPS foam products accounts for less than 1% of the total weight of landfill materials, the fraction of landfill space it takes up is much higher considering that it is very lightweight.  Furthermore, it is essentially non-biodegradable, taking hundreds perhaps thousands of years to decompose.

Even when already disposed of in landfills, polystyrene can easily be carried by the wind and litter the streets or end up polluting water bodies. When EPS foam breaks apart, the small polystyrene components can be eaten by marine organisms which can cause choking or intestinal blockage.

Polystyrene can also be consumed by fishes once it breaks down in the ocean.  Marine animals higher up the food chain could eat the fishes that have consumed EPS, thus concentrating the contaminant.  It could be a potential health hazard for us humans who are on top of the food chain considering that styrene, the plastic monomer used in manufacturing EPS has been classified by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a possible human carcinogen.

Styrene is derived from either petroleum or natural gas, both of which are non-renewable and are rapidly being depleted, creating environmental sustainability problems for EPS.

Trends in EPS Foam Recycling

Although the Alliance of Foam Packaging Recyclers have reported that the recycling rate for post-consumer and post-commercial EPS in the United States have risen to 28% in 2010 from around 20% in 2008, this value is still lower than most solid wastes.  According to USEPA, auto batteries, steel cans and glass containers have recycle rates of 96.2%, 70.6% and 34.2% respectively.

Because it is bulky, EPS foam takes up storage space and costs more to transport and yet yields only a small amount of polystyrene for re-use or remolding (infact, polystyrene accounts for only 2% of the volume of uncompacted EPS foams). This provides little incentive for recyclers to consider EPS recycling.

Products that have been used to hold or store food should be thoroughly cleaned for hygienic reasons, thus compounding the costs.  For the same reasons, these products cannot be recycled to produce the same food containers but rather are used for non-food plastic products.  The manufacture of food containers, therefore, always requires new polystyrene.  At present, it is more economical to produce new EPS foam products than to recycle it, and manufacturers would rather have the higher quality of fresh polystyrene over the recycled one.

The cost of transporting bulky polystyrene waste discourages recyclers from recycling it.  Organizations that receive a large amount of EPS foam (especially in packaging) can invest in a compactor that will reduce the volume of the products. Recyclers will pay more for the compacted product so the investment can be recovered relatively easier.

There are also breakthroughs in studies concerning EPS recycling although most of these are still in the research or pilot stage.  Several studies have found that the bacteria Pseudomonas putida is able to convert polystyrene to a more biodegradable plastic.  The process of polystyrene depolymerization – converting polystyrene back to its styrene monomer – is also gaining ground.