- From waste to resource: Is this the future for plastic?
- Are biodegradable plastic straws a better alternative to paper straws?
- What’s the best state for green energy – and why?
- Businesses call for action on the UK’s Sustainable Development Goals
- The cheapest Chinese electric cars are coming to the US and Europe—for as little as $9,000
1) From waste to resource: Is this the future for plastic?
A UK firm hopes to add value to plastic as a resource and cut back on CO2 emissions because all the work is carried out locally. Charpak collects plastics and recycles them before making them available again locally Inspired by the Sky Ocean Rescue campaign, a region of the UK has created the country’s first local circular economy. The traditional system of getting rid of waste is linear: packaging is made, used and disposed. But the local authority in Cambridgeshire along with a local plastics processor and packaging company have joined together to create a model which is circular. In this way, packaging is removed from bins in the street, cleaned and processed and then recycled back into plastic to be reused by manufacturers and bought by consumers. Recycling plastic is much more energy and time efficient than recycling an alternative.
2) Are biodegradable plastic straws a better alternative to paper straws?
Biodegradable plastics/polymers can be used to make straws that look and feel exactly the same way as our existing fuel based/petroleum based, non-biodegradable plastics. In fact the straws made from a biodegradable polylactic acid (PLA) polymer/plastic are already available on the market.
However, biodegradable plastics only degrade at high temperatures found in commercial composting facilities and therefore require a system to collect and transport them to the facilities. This single fact makes paper, or reusable straws a far better answer for the environment.
3) What’s the best state for green energy – and why?
Much as it’s easy to congratulate Texas for its leadership in green energy production – particularly wind – it’s difficult to declare it the best green energy state when it also generates the most carbon dioxide. But a deeper look shows that it’s difficult to declare Texas as the worst green energy state, either.
Because biggest isn’t always best – and neither is smallest – ChooseEnergy.com analysts developed a better way of evaluating states’ renewable ranking. Using data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, we calculated a state’s percentage of power from green sources, its percentage of electricity generated by burning coal, and its carbon dioxide emissions per electricity generated (1,000 megawatts); these numbers paint a different picture of which states are dirty and which are clean. (Methodology for the Green Index is explained below.) As for Texas, it came in as the 36th greenest state once all factors were considered.
4) Businesses call for action on the UK’s Sustainable Development Goals
The challenges posed by sustainable development and climate change are some of the most pressing issues of our time. Climate-related risks to health, livelihood, food security, water supply, human security and economic growth are projected to increase with global warming of 1.5°C. Development goals are also now an integral part of our global commitments under the UN SDG framework. Action is needed now to ensure that global warming does not hit the 2°C mark and development goals are fully integrated into our national economic plan. The urgency of the change needed cannot be ignored, and businesses, governments and society will play a pivotal role in driving it. However, whilst the challenges may appear large, the opportunities that have arisen – and will continue to do so – from a focus on sustainable development and sustainable financing could outweigh these costs.
5) The cheapest Chinese electric cars are coming to the US and Europe—for as little as $9,000
China already sells more electric vehicles than the rest of the world combined . And there’s a long list of the categories you can choose from—including large buses, sports cars, two-wheeled motorcycles, and zippy scooters. One of the hottest categories in that list is “ tiny cars .” These mini-vehicles can cost as little as $1,000 and, in China at least, you don’t even need a driver’s license to use them. That’s not much of a concern for Chinese users, who are buying these low-speed electric vehicles (LSEVs) like hot cakes.