4 Tips On How Smart Manufacturing Can Reduce Environmental Impact

Manufacturing accounts for a massive portion of global carbon emissions, almost a quarter of direct global carbon emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency reports a 23 percent contribution from manufacturing companies in the United States. Varying factors drive this output, but there could be a way businesses could lessen their environmental impact.

Smart manufacturing improves many of these problem areas, leading to better environmental results. Here are four ways smart manufacturing could make a splash by lessening its environmental impact.

How Smart Manufacturing Could Lessen Environmental Impact

How Smart Manufacturing Could Lessen Environmental Impact

Global climate change has evolved into one of the most prominent concerns around the world today. The connection between manufacturers and global climate change is undeniable, leading to understandable concern in worldwide industrialization and economic development.

The manufacturing industry isn’t going anywhere, so changes need to be made. Smart manufacturing can repair and improve areas that affect environmental impact, allowing facilities to remain efficient, productive, and cost-effective without sacrificing the environment.

1. Reducing Production Waste

Many facilities produce enormous amounts of waste every year. By reducing waste output, intelligent technologies can minimize the environmental effect. There are a few ways to implement innovative technology toward lessening production waste:

  • Adopt lean manufacturing to reduce waste production with assured quality.
  • Implement an advanced manufacturing process to minimize wasted material used to make a product. 3D printing is an excellent way to reduce production waste.
  • Incorporate automation in certain areas of the process to minimize the dependence of the process on human intervention. Automated devices can reduce the regularity of human error and defection, resulting in less waste.
  • Utilize greener cleaning materials with water- and bio-based cleaners to reduce water waste.

2. Improved Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is another significant piece of the puzzle. A facility can become more energy efficient in varying areas by incorporating greener, high-end equipment designed to reduce energy consumption in specific tasks.

Additionally, internet-connected sensors can improve the performance of energy management systems, allowing facilities to reduce their energy consumption without impacting production. Intelligent scheduling and AI can also help in the efficiency process, whether at the base equipment level or covering the entire supply chain. IoT-consulting services can enable industrial manufacturing systems to be more intelligent.

robotics in sustainable manufacturing

3. Working Toward Sustainability

Sustainability is a critical factor in reducing a facility’s environmental impact. Facilities can incorporate remanufacturing to restore damaged or defective products to full functionality, allowing the product to become useable again and reducing waste.

Reconfigurable manufacturing, although initially designed to improve responsiveness to a fluctuating market, can help facilities improve and manage wastewater and emissions via system reconfiguration.

4. Adjusted Manufacturing Processes

Changing the nature of the beast is one of the most promising ways to lessen environmental impact. Facilities could switch from a chemical to a physical or biological process, reducing emissions. Additionally, facilities can directly use smart technologies to reduce specific emissions from industrial processes, such as GHG emissions.

Greener inputs can replace traditional forms of energy, such as fossil fuels, which are rapidly depleting and produce carbon dioxide as a byproduct. Alternative renewable energies, such as hydrogen, biobutanol, and bioethanol, could replace fossil fuels.

Bottom Line

Smart manufacturing has the potential to improve manufacturing drastically. It could be the way of the future, increasing sustainability, productivity, and cost-efficacy to reduce environmental impact.

5 Effective Green Marketing Strategies

Becoming an entrepreneur steadily becomes a childhood dream for many young people born in the late 1990s and early 2000s, just like only about 30 or 40 years ago people have dreamt of becoming astronauts, policemen, or firefighters. Indeed, doing business today has become not only profitable but also challenging and overwhelmingly intriguing. At the same time, doing business internationally only spices things up. However, doing business just for the sake of it might easily become boring, especially with the younger people, which will not produce the desired results by any means.

To do business with passion, one must pursue a higher goal, which means something more than just making money. One such great goal is sustainability. Not only it looks cool, but it also serves a great deal to the community at large.

sustainable-habits-for-ecofriendly-home

Doing the Right Things

When you serve not only yourself or your community but the whole planet, you might say that you’re doing something beyond great. Not only you look cool when you do a sustainable business, but you also manage to save your resources, costs, and, oftentimes, life force by following eco-friendly practices. At the same time, it is somewhat easier to start your business following the green trend. Your store or production facility, for example, might not look smooth but it might be sustainable by saving energy and water, recycling and reusing the office supplies, and being generally made out of different materials and objects available at hand.

Yet, at the same time, maintaining and raising a sustainable business might be quite a challenge. Despite the fact that green business is quite a popular thing today, you might observe this only as long as you stay local.

It’s truly hard to maintain the volumes of production viable for the greater audience and you might find yourself either sacrificing some of the green principles you craved or disproportionally increasing your costs as you grow bigger. Yet, one thing can still help with this problem and that is green marketing.

green-entrepreneurship

By following these green marketing strategies, you can at least pay off those massive costs that arise as you expand your green business.

  1. Design your business green. You could have probably used the materials and objects you stumbled upon as you started creating your sign or building the workspace for your employees. Well, as you grow, you can use it effectively. Produce your packaging or even the whole facilities with recycled materials, reuse as much as possible. You can even rebuild the abandoned half-destroyed building into a smaller office for your crew or development team. Not only that will look cool but will also promote you as a 100% sustainable entrepreneur.
  2. Increase online presence. Why even go outside when you can expand your business online. Create a blog if you haven’t done so yet or translate the one you already have. This way you will ensure that more than just one audience will see you. So, it’s worth the effort anyway. Just check out this best translation companies list and look for the one that suits your content the best. You’ll be surprised to find that you don’t have to pay a fortune for such services.
  3. Communicate the green message. Sometimes, simply selling eco-friendly products or having a green design might be not enough, no matter how hard you try. This is where you have to learn to communicate right. And that’s not just about marketing campaigns and blogging like in the point above (yet, you can check out the necessary knowledge for translators to communicate your message in different languages through the best translation service).
  4. Using webinar tools, make sure to let your clients know how they and the environment benefit from their purchase or service you provide. In many cases, one such benefit is financial, which may attract people even more.
  5. Using sustainable web hosting. You might not know it but maintaining a data server is not that all clean and eco-friendly. In fact, running all of the U.S. web servers does as much environmental damage as 5 nuclear power plants. So, partnering with a sustainable data center is a good idea if you truly pursue a sustainable goal. Such a data center will use cutting-edge data science tech, more compact servers and might even be self-sufficient regarding the electricity powering itself with its own solar batteries.
  6. Promote and follow the 3 Rs of sustainability. Those Rs are to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Reduce the number of resources and harmful materials used in your production and main activity. Reuse all materials you can. Recycle the materials that can’t be reused or reduced. This rule is very simple to follow, yet, it largely affects your green mentality and enables your customers to see what you do.

It’s Not Hard at All

Doing the right things and leading your sustainable business through international ventures might seem challenging upon first glance (because it actually is) but the greater the challenge the greater the reward. By letting your customers know that you truly care you get them closer to yourself and vice versa. The bottom line of your pain is that you at least feel better for doing the right thing and being a better person every day.

Green Ways to Travel the Globe

According to a recent report, 87% of travelers want to travel more sustainably, but only 39% say that they accomplish the task on most or all occasions. Well, in a world that often focuses so heavily on comfort and convenience, it’s understandable. Many cultures and individuals are certainly making great efforts to lead eco-friendly lives, but many are still left wondering how to make those changes. Read on to explore a wide array of green ways to travel the globe.

Where You Go

Carefully choose your destination. Shorter distances without air travel are ideal, but obviously, that’s not always possible. So, if you’re planning to travel a little further, look into visiting destinations that value sustainability as well. It will be easier if the surrounding culture has the same eco-goals.

Places like Amsterdam are great because they do not rely heavily on vehicular transportation. They stick to bikes and their own two feet most of the time which makes a huge difference. Additionally, make sure that you’re not visiting a destination that is already overwhelmed with tourists and travelers to the point of causing harm. You don’t want to be a part of the problem.

How You Get There

It’s no secret that air travel is a non-ideal form of transportation right now, but since it is often unavoidable, there are a few small things that can help. First, do your research and choose the most fuel-efficient airline and second passport. When you do, book a non-stop, flight and sit economy.

A significant portion of a flight’s emissions is during take-off and landing, and business select or first class is responsible for three times more emissions than economy seating. And in preparation, pack lightly because an aircraft burns more fuel when it is carrying a heavier weight.

green-travel

But, if you can avoid flying, go for a relaxing train ride. Traveling by train is widely popular in places like Europe and in the United States, you can make it the highlight of your journey.  If you need to rent a car, you can check eco friendly car rental before you book.

Rentagile as a reliable source for EVs & hybrid car rentals.

Where You Stay

Look for accommodations that prioritize sustainability, like those Rutherglen area accommodation. Do your research and look for places that have certifications from a third party, like the Global Sustainable Tourism Council or the Rainforest Alliance. It doesn’t mean that you won’t have the amenities that you may want or need, it just means that they abide by a particular set of global standards that aim for a more “green” operation.

Parting Shot

Even if you aren’t able to choose the ideal location, avoid air travel, or stay at a certifiably eco-friendly hotel, don’t worry. There is still plenty that you can do to lighten the load. Support the local economy, bring a reusable water bottle, carry a rain jacket, take shorter showers and go for ecotourism. Just do the best that you can, and you’ll be on the right track.

Manage Trees With Sustainability In Mind

There is growing concern as forest land outside of conservation areas is steadily decreasing. There has been a disturbing reduction in primary forests of 40 million hectares in the last decade. The total area of forest within protected areas has increased by 94 million hectares in the past two decades and now accounts for 13% of the total of forests globally.

Tree healthcare for humans

Trees are well known for providing oxygen as a result of their photosynthesis process. It is in fact the carbon dioxide (CO2) that is removed during this process therefore helping to mitigate the negative effects of burning fossil fuels ie. CO2 production. The benefits to the world of this process make the existence and importance of the Amazon rainforest especially significant.

Trees benefit cities too

Not only are trees a beautiful addition to any city, they also serve a practical purpose by absorbing pollutants. Their presence makes a city appear more vibrant and more friendly. For example, San Francisco is home to 105,000 trees. Tree planting should be kept in pace with tree mortality and tree removal. A tree management plan is essential to ensure sustainability.

Tree management for woodland

Trees should be checked for health and also for the merchantability of the trees. When areas of the woodland require thinning out it is useful to produce a product that has a commercial value. This way waste management has been prioritized and has turned a Liability into an Asset.

The harvested wood/logs can be considered an asset and can be sold as fuel. Always ensure trees are removed when over-crowding is an issue to allow for tree growth of the remaining trees. The woodland is sustainable by including sufficient planting of new trees.

Arborists are trained to evaluate the health and ongoing sustainability of a tree. Oftentimes they can prescribe solutions to prolong a tree’s life, thereby protecting the environment as well as improving surrounding property values.

Most cities have tree service companies that offer trained arborists who can provide consultations. Depending on the depth of the consultation it may be free or at a very low price.

An ISA-certified arborist can make qualified decisions on whether a tree needs to be removed or if it can be saved.

Additionally, during their consultation, they will be careful to not damage the tree further. Trufast Tree Care has a certified arborist on staff for helping with these tree evaluations

Maintaining the urban trees

Your arborist can advise you of local procedures and the law regarding your trees which if not properly managed can become a legal liability. Some types of trees do not take well to heavy pruning, for example the Southern Live Oak is best not located in restricted areas where heavy pruning to clear avenues may be required. It is better to grow it in a larger landscaped area where it can grow with minimal pruning. They often reach 60 to 80 feet in height with a 60 to 100 foot spread.

trees-sustainability

The branches of Live Oak tend to droop as they grow so some careful pruning will be necessary especially as this type of growth can be a problem for vehicular or pedestrian clearance beneath. Many trees are not permitted to be removed without obtaining a tree removal permit first. This is good as it provides some protection for the trees.

Other tree varieties to grow with sustainability

The beautiful red maple is a great yard tree being very tolerant and is able to grow in nearly any conditions but especially in acid to neutral soils. Plant away from paths etc as the roots can raise sidewalks if too close. A good layer of organic mulch should be placed around the roots to feed and help retain moisture.

Presence of trees make a city appear more vibrant and eco-friendly

Another commonly found tree in the US is the Loblolly Pine. When found in plantations it provides the perfect habitat for wildlife such as deer, squirrels making it a very sustainable choice. Being a faster growing tree it requires more regular pruning.

Enjoy our future with sustainability for trees

Sustainability ensures we leave the world in a good state for future generations to enjoy, whilst still meeting the needs of the current population. Keep your trees maintained moving forward and always pay attention to the type of tree and manage accordingly. This way you can enjoy the many beautiful trees around you.

Circular Economy: Past, Present and Future

For a society accustomed to the achievements of a linear economy, the transition to a circular economic system is a hard task even to contemplate. Although the changes needed may seem daunting, it is important to remember that we have already come a long way. However, the history of the waste hierarchy has taught that political perseverance and unity of approach are essential to achieving long term visions in supply chain management.

Looking back, it is helpful to view the significance of the Lansink’s Ladder in the light of the sustainability gains it has already instigated. From the outset, the Ladder encountered criticism, in part because the intuitive preference order it expresses is not (and has never been put forward as) scientifically rigorous. Opposition came from those who feared the hierarchy would impede economic growth and clash with an increasingly consumerist society. The business community expressed concerns about regulatory burdens and the cost of implementing change.

Circular-Economy

However, such criticism was not able to shake political support, either in Holland where the Ladder was adopted in the Dutch Environmental Protection Act of 1979, or subsequently across Europe, as the Waste Hierarchy was transposed into national legislation as a result of the revised Waste Framework Directive.

Prevention, reuse and recycling have become widely used words as awareness has increased that our industrial societies will eventually suffer a shortage of raw materials and energy. So, should we see the waste hierarchy as laying the first slabs of the long road to a circular economy? Or is the circular economy a radical new departure?

Positive and negative thinking

There have been two major transitionary periods in waste management: public health was the primary driver for the first, from roughly 1900 to 1960, in which waste removal was formalised as a means to avoid disease. The second gained momentum in the 1980s, when prevention, reuse and recovery came on the agenda. However, consolidation of the second transition has in turn revealed new drivers for a third. Although analysing drivers is always tricky – requiring a thorough study of causes and effects – a general indication is helpful for further discussion. Positive (+) and negative (-) drivers for a third transition may be:

(+) The development of material supply chain management through the combination of waste hierarchy thinking with cradle to cradle eco design;

(+) The need for sustainable energy solutions;

(+) Scarcity of raw materials necessary for technological innovation; and

(+) Progressive development of circular economy models, with increasing awareness of social, financial and economic barriers.

(-) Growth of the global economy, especially in China and India, and later in Africa;

(-) Continued growth in global travel;

(-) Rising energy demand, exceeding what can be produced from renewable energy sources and threatening further global warming;

(-) Biodiversity loss, causing a further ecological impoverishment; and

(-) Conservation of the principle of ownership, which hinders the development of the so-called ‘lease society’. 

A clear steer

As the direction, scale and weight of these drivers are difficult to assess, it’s necessary to steer developments at all levels to a sustainable solution. The second transition taught that governmental control appears indispensable, and that regulation stimulates innovation so long as adequate space is left for industry and producers to develop their own means of satisfying their legislated responsibilities.

The European Waste Framework Directive has been one such stimulatory piece of legislation. Unfortunately, the EC has decided to withdraw its Circular Economy package, which would otherwise now be on track to deliver the additional innovation needed to achieve its goals – including higher recycling targets. Messrs. Juncker and Timmermans must now either bring forward the more ambitious legislation they have hinted at, or explain why they have abandoned the serious proposals of their predecessors.

Perhaps the major differences between Member States and other countries may require a preliminary two-speed policy, but any differences in timetable between Western Europe and other countries should not stand in the way of innovation, and differences of opinion between the European Parliament and the Commission must be removed for Europe to remain credible.

Governmental control requires clear rules and definitions, and for legislative terminology to be commensurate with policy objectives. One failing in this area is the use of the generic term ‘recovery’ to cover product reuse, recycling and incineration with energy recovery, which confuses the hierarchy’s preference order. The granting of R1 status to waste incineration plants, although understandable in terms of energy diversification, turns waste processors into energy producers benefiting from full ovens. Feeding these plants reduces the scope for recycling (e.g. plastics) and increases COemissions. When relatively inefficient incinerators still appear to qualify for R1 status, it offers confusing policy signals for governments, investors and waste services providers alike.

The key role for government also is to set clear targets and create the space for producers and consumers to generate workable solutions. The waste hierarchy’s preference order is best served by transparent minimum standards, grouped around product reuse, material recycling or disposal by combustion. For designated product or material categories, multiple minimum standards are possible following preparation of the initial waste streams, which can be tightened as technological developments allow.

Where the rubber meets the road

As waste markets increase in scale, are liberalised, and come under international regulation, individual governmental control is diminished. These factors are currently playing out in the erratic prices of secondary commodities and the development of excess incinerator capacity in some nations that has brought about a rise in RDF exports from the UK and Italy. Governments, however, may make a virtue of the necessity of avoiding the minutiae: ecological policy is by definition long-term and requires a stable line; day to day control is an impossible and undesirable task.

The road to the third transition – towards a circular economy – requires a new mind-set from government that acknowledges and empowers individuals. Not only must we approach the issue from the bottom-up, but also from the side and above. Consumer behaviour must be steered by both ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ controls: through information and communication, because of the importance of psychological factors; but also through financial instruments, because both consumers and industry are clearly responsive to such stimuli.

Where we see opposition to deposit return schemes, it comes not from consumers but from industry, which fears the administrative and logistical burden. The business community must be convinced of the economic opportunities of innovation. Material supply chain management is a challenge for designers and producers, who nevertheless appreciate the benefits of product lifetime extensions and reuse. When attention to environmental risks seems to lapse – for example due to financial pressures or market failures – then politics must intervene.

Government and industry should therefore get a better grip on the under-developed positive drivers of the third transition, such as eco design, secondary materials policy, sustainable energy policy, and research and development in the areas of bio, info, and nanotechnologies. 

Third time’s the charm

Good supply chain management stands or falls with the way in which producers and consumers contribute to the policies supported by government and society. In order that producers and consumers make good on this responsibility, government must first support their environmental awareness.

The interpretation of municipal duty of care determines options for waste collection, disposal and processing. Also essential is the way in which producer responsibility takes shape, and the government must provide a clear separation of private and public duties. Businesses may be liable for the negative aspects of unbridled growth and irresponsible actions. It is also important for optimal interaction with the European legislators: a worthy entry in Brussels is valuable because of the international aspects of the third transition. Finally, supply chain management involves the use of various policy tools, including:

  • Rewarding good behaviour
  • Sharpening minimum standards
  • Development and certification of CO2 tools
  • Formulation and implementation of end-of-waste criteria
  • Remediation of waste incineration with low energy efficiency
  • Restoration or maintenance of a fair landfill tax
  • Application of the combustion load set at zero

‘Seeing is believing’ is the motto of followers of the Apostle Thomas, who is chiefly remembered for his propensity for doubt. The call for visible examples is heard ever louder as more questions are raised around the feasibility of product renewal and the possibilities of a circular economy.

Ultimately, the third transition is inevitable as we face a future of scarcity of raw materials and energy. However, while the direction is clear, the tools to be employed and the speed of change remain uncertain. Disasters are unnecessary to allow the realisation of vital changes; huge leaps forward are possible so long as government – both national and international – and society rigorously follow the preference order of the waste hierarchy. Climbing Lansink’s Ladder remains vital to attaining a perspective from which we might judge the ways in which to make a circle of our linear economy.

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

Sustainable Paper And Pulp Production: A Brief Guide

Paper has many different uses. Receipts, paper bags, cartons, and books all use paper. That being said, the utility of paper is quite clear especially given the fact that the world is going greener by the day. However, while there has been a lot of progress in attaining a green standard in the paper and pulp industry, there’ve also been quite a few challenges.

Also, as our contemporary society has evolved over the years, the demand for paper has increased exponentially. Probably because we use a lot of it. It comes as no surprise then that the world is creating sustainable processes and innovations to increase yields to sustain the ever-increasing demand for paper globally. You’d be right in saying that the rate of innovation, as far as making paper is concerned, is quite rapid.

Unfortunately, paper and pulp production account for some of the pollutions in our society. Also, plenty of water is wasted during the process. As much as 100 liters of water can go into making a kilogram of paper. Moreover, due to poor industry practices, the polluted water that comes out as a byproduct of this process is dumped in places where it shouldn’t be e.g., the ocean. Also, on that note, a lot of energy is wasted in the process. Almost every stage of the paper-making process uses a lot of energy.

guide on sustainable paper and pulp production

Also, in the world’s bid to make the future renewable, wood will be a very important part of this transition. Therefore, sustainable forestry should be instituted as a matter of urgency otherwise it will be hard to meet our targets. Mind you if resources are used improperly, unwanted consequences may arise.

That being said, the following is a brief guide on sustainable paper and pulp production. It details some of the things you need to know about the industry seeing that it’s an industry that’s seen many advancements over the years. It also gives some vital outlooks as far as sustainable forestry is concerned.

1. Sustainable Manufacturing and Harvesting

Wood is the primary raw material in the paper-making process. Paper is made from pulp and pulp is made from fibers (cellulose) found in wood. As such, plenty of wood is required to produce more and to meet demand. Thus, the necessity of sustainable forestry. More forest is needed to harvest and produce more. The move towards sustainable paper and pulp production has to be facilitated by adopting innovative technology. Here’s why:

Since production starts in the forest, you need the machinery to harvest the wood. Sawing equipment like deck saws and saw chains are used to cut and log trees for further processing. To minimize wastage and save time, you need the help of advanced technologies. Reputable brands like Pacific Trail Manufacturing have a wide array of equipment to choose from. They have the most cutting-edge technologies in terms of sawing trees.

Moreover, if sustainability is to be attained in the paper and pulp production industry, it should start somewhere at the source (forest) e.g., if you salvage time savings, money savings, and reduce waste (water and electricity) by using advanced technology when harvesting wood, these costs, and environmental advantages will trickle down the value chain.

Machine technology is more effective and efficient compared to the human hand. Humans are not as fast as computers, robots, and machines. Since machines are more productive, they make fewer mistakes than humans. Mind you, making mistakes may not be good for a business’s bottom line. That’s why the paper and pulp production process is mostly automated. Human involvement is needed before upkeep and maintenance. From source to processing to the end product, every part of the production has some form of automation in it. A sustainable future cannot be secured apart from innovation, information and technology, and machinery.

2. Forest Biodiversity

This establishment of sustainable forests is good for the industry. It allows for the spread and diversification of plant species. Also, if done right, it contributes towards environmental equilibrium. While it is true that some people still engage in irresponsible logging activities, there’s still a concerted effort toward making the paper-making process environmentally sustainable. You certainly don’t want to produce paper at the expense of natural habitats. Also, you do not want to destroy habitats all for the sake of meeting a demand for paper. It makes a lot of economic sense, but it’s morally skewed.

Moreover, when forests are grown specifically for raising trees that will be used in the paper in paper production, we preserve the integrity of the nature reserves surrounding those areas. That’s why it’s important to have regulations in place that govern how sustainable forestry should be done. You need to work with nature lest it works against you.

Furthermore, the whole point of sustainability is to improve productivity without worsening the condition of nature. Otherwise, we will pay a heavy price for disrupting the equilibrium that’s already there. Thankfully we have experts in the field of biodiversity research. Tons of research help people to understand the dynamics of nature, what to look out for, and how we can improve production without damaging our environment.

3. Certification

The objective of certification procedures in forestry is to legitimize the paper and pulp production process. It’s no secret that healthy forests are essential in building a sustainable production process. The paper production industry accounts for a lot of waste as mentioned before. So, if sustainable production is to be attained, regulation is required.

In North America, there are three notable programs in place to help validate processes of harvest and production namely the American Tree Farming System (ATTS), Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), and the Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI). They are all different regarding the key focus areas they intend to address. But the end goal is more or less the same, to instill credibility accountability in forestry.

These programs can elaborate on the practices which are supposed to be followed by all landowners as far as growing trees and sustainably harvesting them is concerned. Those landowners who can prove their certification automatically improve their credibility. They will also have greater access to other markets. The more landowners that partner with such endeavors, the more sustainable the value chain will be. Remember, if any sustainable future is to be secured, it has to start from the source.

An additional benefit of managing forests is that the paper and pulp industry accounts for a lot of jobs globally. Establishing regulations that protect forests can contribute to protecting the jobs of the many people who are employed in the industry. Throughout the value chain, you will find that there are a lot of people who are employed from the tree cutting to the final product (paper).

4. Renewable Energy

Paper is perhaps one of the most renewable substances on this planet. Paper recycling is quite popular nowadays and it accounts for much of the paper that we use. The fact that paper is recyclable means that it’s a better substitute for non-renewable substances like plastic. The more that our world gravitates towards a pro-paper society, the more inventive people have to be to extract more volumes of paper from waste and landfills.

paper-recycling

Demand is and will most likely stay high. Recycling is going to be a part of the renewable future that the world is aiming towards. A lot of energy is lost in processing and extracting paper. Therefore, innovation will be a constant feature insofar as attaining sustainable paper and pulp induction is concerned.

Also, relying too much on energy can be deleterious because it means that if a power cut occurs, the whole process will be affected. Using renewable energy sources to facilitate production can help. Renewable sources of energy like biomass and solar energy are alternatives to electrical energy.

Although the energy from renewables is hard to harness, it’s possible to create hybrid systems that utilize both renewable and non-renewable energy. If the production process is transformed into a renewable machine as much as possible, less energy is wasted and fewer emissions are produced. A renewable energy cycle can be created wherein most parts of the system are powered by green energy.

5. The Problem of Deforestation

Deforestation is a big problem. Agriculture, mining, and construction projects are the main causes of deforestation. It’s a practice that marks the epitome of unsustainable forestry. Harvesting trees without replacing them will lead to all kinds of problems in the long run.

sustainable forestry

If people make the habit of cutting forests illegally and not replacing them, it could lead to desertification and habitat loss. This also ties in with biodiversity loss which is devastating to maintaining the equilibrium of the environment. Destruction of food chains can have far-reaching effects on the entire ecosystem. That’s why deforestation must be shunned. Also, that’s why forests are being regulated more diligently.

Moreover, deforestation is a barrier to sustainable paper and pulp production. If deforestation is allowed to continue, the hope for building a sustainable paper and pulp production system is futile. It’s like moving forward-backward. That’s why most authorities around the world put punishments in place for people who cut trees without permits or some form of authorization legitimizing their activity. Trees are an important natural resource and they must be protected. If trees are harvested improperly, the effects will be felt across the whole production chain and in the environment.

Conclusion

Sustainability is much sought after in today’s contemporary society. Thus, the drive for efficiency and innovation in production. The pulp and paper industry is no different. There is no determining what the ceiling is when it comes to technological innovation. All that can be ascertained is that any form of progress is welcome. Because if the future is to be green, every opportunity for growth needs to be utilized. All things considered, sustainability is and will always be a worthwhile goal.

Sustainability: What It Means and How It’s Changing

Growing demand for sustainable industrial, commercial and development practices is quickly changing the way the world does business.

New technologies, as well as shifting priorities and new agendas, are needed in order to meet and overcome some of the biggest modern challenges.

What is Sustainability?

Sustainability is a concept that allows organizations to exist, function and even expand the scope of their operations without depleting non-renewable resources or doing excessive harm to the natural world.

pillars of sustainability

Sustainable business practices are essential for dealing with threats caused by climate change, species depletion or pollution. Investing in sustainable infrastructure now could allow businesses to have far higher costs these problems may result in should they be ignored.

Why is Sustainability Important?

According to the GetSmarter Sustainability Report, it’s important to understand the crucial business benefits that sustainability offers. Business practices that are unsustainable have the potential to quickly exhaust precious natural resources, destroy ecosystems and natural habitats or to accelerate the process of climate change.

Sustainability is essential for ensuring clean air and water as well as protecting the natural environment and preventing potentially-catastrophic consequences like widespread extinction or ecological collapse.

The 3 Pillars of Sustainability

The core tenets of sustainability are of particular relevance to corporations, businesses and larger organizations whose actions and operations have the potential to make a greater impact.

1. Environmental Protection

The most often discussed aspect of sustainability – protecting the environment, is an important responsibility. Environmental protection involves finding ways to reduce carbon footprints, minimizing waste and pollution or finding sustainable alternatives for both materials and workflow processes.

2. Social Development

Business practices that are less than ethical can cause no end of problems. Social development efforts typically focus on treating employees and associates in sustainable ways or improving a business’s standing within the surrounding community. Providing staff and associates with fair pay and treatment is essential for ensuring that employees are able to create and maintain a safer workplace and social environment.

3. Economic Development

Reinvesting profits and directing revenue in order to fund sustainable development is another essential concern. While many businesses may find it challenging to strike the right balance between profitability and investing in their own future economic development, doing so can be an issue of paramount importance. Ensuring that future growth, expansion and development can be handled in a sustainable manner is never an issue that should be taken lightly.

sustainable-habits-for-ecofriendly-home

Adherence to the core concepts of sustainability can help to ensure that businesses are able to make more effective choices and direct their actions in a way that will have the most impact. Incorporating the three pillars of sustainability into either a planned or existing business model can lead to long-lasting benefits that no business can afford to ignore. In addition, it will also help you to avoid being a victim of greenwashing.

Investing in sustainable business practices means investing in our shared future. Businesses would do well to take further action in their efforts to curb carbon emissions, decrease their consumption or resources or to lessen the impact that their operations may be having on the natural world.

The Eco Revolution in Property Investment

Many of us are now making more eco-friendly and environmentally conscious decisions every day. Whether it’s taking our own carrier bags to the shops, having a reusable water bottle or recycling your tin cans – little changes are making a big impact. When it comes to property, the eco revolution has increasingly been making waves. From solar panels to energy efficient light bulbs, our properties are becoming better for the planet. These eco-friendly priorities are also affecting real estate investment, with an increasing number of tenants looking for eco-friendly properties.

Eco-friendly homes are becoming increasingly popular with a new environmentally conscious generation starting to look for rental properties. Young professionals who are living in the city are less likely to buy a home than ever before, so are looking for a rental property that meets their exacting requirements. With many of them choosing to make environmentally friendly choices, like going plastic free or cutting down on how much meat they eat, accordingly they are looking for eco-friendly homes too.

Environmental impact is increasingly on the agenda of consumers in every aspect of their lives. Many are also willing to pay a premium for eco-friendly purchases. Research has shown that UK consumers would pay an average 10% more if they were buying something they thought had a positive impact on society. Property investors would be wise to bear this in mind when looking for new property investments. In an increasingly competitive rental market, the ability to raise prices because of eco credentials is a lucrative option for investors.

Furthermore, 40% of consumers think that sustainability is important when they are making a purchase. The impact of this can be seen in the growing number of brands and businesses that are making their environmental commitments obvious to consumers. It is clear that savvy property investors can be both environmentally friendly and business smart when looking to purchase new properties.

In another study, 80% of tenants believed that their landlords should be considering the environment more, and suggested measures like double-glazing, insulation and eco-modifications. These simple measures can make a large impact on the appeal of a property to prospective tenants. Increasing energy prices are another concern for occupants.

In addition, 55% of renters asked said they would prefer a rental property with a smart meter if it was the same price. Energy efficient measures are both good for tenant’s monthly costs and for the environment so buy to let property investors can be at an advantage if their property offers these.

As of April 2018, buy to let landlords are legally required to have an EPC rating of E or above in their properties. This means that property investors are increasingly looking at new build properties which are already energy efficient and don’t require costly renovations. Tenants can also legally request that a landlord makes property improvements if the EPC rating is F or G.

Developers are increasingly taking sustainability and environmental impact into consideration when building new properties. Properties with energy efficient specifications, like many by RW Invest  are providing investors with lucrative returns and high tenant demand. Recent changes to regulation mean that new build properties need to be energy efficient and this is making a huge impact on the buy to let market.

The trend towards environmentally conscious properties looks set to continue, with eco-friendly qualities high on the agenda of both potential tenants and investors.

Towards Sustainable Biomass Energy

Biomass is one of the oldest and simplest ways of getting heat and energy, and it’s starting to make a comeback due to its status as renewable resource. Some, however, aren’t so sure that using more of it would be good for our environment. So, how sustainable is biomass energy really?

biomass-bales

What is Biomass?

Biomass is organic material from plants and animals. It naturally contains energy because plants absorb it from the sun through photosynthesis. When you burn biomass, it releases that energy. It’s also sometimes converted into a liquid or gas form before it is burned.

Biomass includes a wide variety of materials but includes:

About five percent of the United States’ energy comes from biomass. Biomass fuel products such as ethanol make up about 48 percent of that five percent while wood makes up about 41 percent and municipal waste accounts for around 11 percent.

The Benefits of Biomass

Biomass is a renewable resource because the plants that store the energy released when it is burned can be regrown continuously. In theory, if you planted the same amount of vegetation that you burned, it would be carbon neutral because the plants would absorb all of the carbon released. Doing this is, however, much easier said than done.

Another potential is that it serves as a use for waste materials that have are already been created. It adds value to what otherwise would be purely waste.

Additionally, many forms of biomass are also relatively low-tech energy sources, so they may be useful, or even required for older buildings that need an electrical renovation.

Drawbacks of Biomass

A major drawback of using biomass fuel is that it is not an efficient process. In fact, burning it can release even more carbon dioxide than burning the same amount of a fossil fuel.

While you can replenish the organic matter you burn, doing so requires complex crop or forest management and the use of a large amount of land.  Also, some biomass, such as wood, takes a long time to grow back. This amounts to a delay in carbon absorption. Additionally, the harvesting of biomass will likely involve some sort of emissions.

 Is it Sustainable?

So, is biomass energy sustainable? Measuring the environmental impacts of biomass fuel use has proven to be complex due to the high number of variables, which has led to a lot of disagreement about this question.

Some assert that biomass use cannot be carbon neutral, because even if you burned and planted the same amount of organic matter, harvesting it would still result in some emissions. This could perhaps be avoided if you used renewable energy to harvest it. A continuous supply of biomass would likely require it to be transported long distances, worsening the challenge of going carbon neutral.

With careful planning, responsible land management and environmentally friendly harvesting and distribution, biomass could be close to, if not entirely, carbon neutral and sustainable. Given our reliance on fossil fuels, high energy consumption levels and the limited availability of land and other resources, this would be an immense challenge to undertake and require a complete overhaul of our energy use.

How to Improve the Biomass Industry

Biomass could emerge as a major solution to our energy and sustainability issues, but it isn’t likely to be a comprehensive solution. There are some things we can do, though, to make biomass use more sustainable when we do use it.

  • Source locally: Using biomass that comes from the local area reduces the impact of distributing it.
  • Clean distribution: If you do transport biofuel long distances, using an electric or hybrid vehicles powered largely by clean energy would be the most eco-friendly way to do it. This also applies to transporting it short distances.

Measuring the environmental impacts of biomass fuel use is complex due to high number of variables

  • Clean harvesting: Using environmentally friendly, non-emitting means of harvesting can greatly reduce the impact of using biomass. This might also involve electric vehicles.
  • Manage land sustainably: For biomass to be healthy for the ecosystem, you must manage land used to grow it with responsible farming practices.
  • Focus on waste: Waste is likely the most environmentally friendly form of biomass because it uses materials that would otherwise simply decompose and doesn’t require you to grow any new resources for your fuel or energy needs.

Is biomass energy sustainable? It has the potential to be, but doing so would be quite complex and require quite a bit of resources. Any easier way to address the problem is to look at small areas of land and portions of energy use first. First, make that sustainable and then we may be able to expand that model on to a broader scale.

Ingredients of Environmental Sustainability

Global interest in environmental sustainability is on the rise. Businesses and individuals are making efforts to engage in more environmentally conscious practices, thanks in part to a growing worldwide population and dwindling natural resources. Ultimately, sustainability is the practice of finding long-lasting methods of maintaining our existing quality of life while still preserving the environment and natural resources.

Proponents must consider all aspects of environmental sustainability for it be successful. Additionally, eco-conscious thought must be applied to multiple professions to achieve deep-rooted results. Here are three ingredients to ensure the continued success of environmental sustainability.

Economic Incentives

Everyone knows change can be difficult. Making the shift toward more eco-friendly practices is no different. One way to initiate this change is through financial incentives. Money is an essential factor for families and companies. If sustainable options and practices are too expensive the majority of the population can’t afford to implement them, the environmentally-conscious movement will come grinding to a halt.

Environmentally-friendly technology often carries higher upfront costs but pays off through long-term benefits, both to the environment and to individuals. Additionally, companies that invest in environmentally conscious technology can potentially market to a broader range of consumers with similar interests and values.

When considering options to follow more sustainable practices, consumers need to set specific goals they would like to achieve and define their plan of action. This will also help maintain perspective and keep the focus on the long-term incentives, which will keep everyone motivated to continue down the road to sustainability.

Environmental Protection

Another key factor in environmental sustainability is protecting and preserving the environment. Part of this practice includes sustainable use and management procedures. While specific materials may be renewable over time, overuse can deplete these resources and lead to shortages. Industry professionals must give careful consideration to planning how, when and in what quantity resources will be used.

Surprisingly, several sustainable methods exist to renew depleted environmental resources in a fast and environmentally conscious manner. Agricultural practices often strip fields of necessary minerals and nutrients while leaving behind harmful inorganic residuals from fertilizers.

Naturally occurring microorganisms will eventually restore the soil’s nutrients and neutralize noxious compounds, though this process takes a long time. Bioremediation can expedite this process. Industry professionals can introduce higher numbers of the naturally occurring microbes and then create their optimal living conditions by varying the amount of water and food they have available.

Once the harmful pollutants are neutralized, farmers can resume planting operations. In addition to bioremediation, sustainable agricultural practices include rotating crops and using cover crops. Rotating crops and using cover crops can help reduce the occurrence of weeds and the impact of pests. In turn, farmers can use less fertilizer and maintain soil health for more extended periods.

Fostering interest in sustainability at a young age will encourage future leaders

Education

Without proper education, the general public won’t understand the importance of sustainability. This may lead to a decreased demand for sustainable products and procedures, which will foster growth in non-sustainable markets and practices. Future generations will then be left with the task of preserving and repairing the environment.

Fostering interest in sustainability at a young age will encourage future leaders to create innovative solutions to meet the current demands of society through unconventional and eco-conscious lifestyle. The future youth will also need the proper educational background to develop the tools they need to cultivate these solutions.

Environmental education also helps adults understand the impact their choices have on themselves and society. Uneducated adults may not recognize their choices to pollute or use toxic chemicals are degrading the local water supply for their neighbors or are harmful to their health. Once they understand the full weight of their decisions, they will be able to make the most informed choices.

With proper management and forethought, environmental sustainability can be fully achievable in our society today.