Plastic-powered plane to fly from Sydney to London

Source: businessgreen.com A British adventurer hopes to help change the face of the airline industry by completing a record-breaking flight from Sydney to London in a single engine aircraft powered entirely by fuel made from plastic waste. Setting off in a Cessna 182 later this year, former aerobatics and Flying Doctors pilot Jeremy Rowsell plans to stop along the 10,000-mile route at Darwin, Christmas Island, Sri Lanka, Oman, Jordan, and Malta, cruising at 5,000 feet for stretches of up to 13 hours, before touching down in London six days later. The diesel engine plane will run on fuel developed by Irish companyCynar Plc, which melts down waste plastics in an oxygen-free environment, a process known as pyrolysis, to create the equivalent of a petroleum distillate that can be separated into different fuels. Cynar says this technique releases absolutely no emissions and the end product is not only cleaner than conventional diesel, it is also of a higher quality, while the small amount of plastics that cannot be converted to fuels are …

Nokia Releases 2011 Sustainability Report and New Company Strategy

Source: Triplepundit.com For a long time, whenever I heard the brand name Nokia, only thoughts of virtually indestructible analog cell phones with the Snake game (remember that? hours of entertainment.) came to mind. These days, however, Nokia stands for much much more, especially in terms of its sustainability and social responsibility initiatives. In fact, Nokia has been issuing sustainability reports since 2002, and 2011 marks no difference in that respect. This past year’s report does, however, reflect several monumental changes in the technology company’s strategy towards sustainability and social responsibility. The 2011 report reflects this new strategy within three central pillars: A partnership with Microsoft to deliver industry-leading smartphones using the Windows phone operating system that meet Nokia’s strict environmental requirements. The goal to connect those with limited economic means to the benefits of mobile communications with the February launch of Asha, a range of devices offering consumers smartphone features like touch screen, QWERTY keyboards, and games at lower, more affordable price points. A focus on “future disruptions” – technology, business, and process areas that Nokia …

Green murder for biodiversity meet!

Source: timesofindia.indiatimes.com How does the city welcome its international delegates for the upcoming CoP-11 Biodiversity Summit? In a shocking irony, the municipal corporation is playing its signature tune of apathy. It has in the last two days chopped off the lush green cover dotting the stretch of road leading to the CoP-11 venue, HICC. The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation has in a master stroke axed over 150-200 trees to widen the road from Hitex to HICC. And what exactly triggered this green murder? This road will be used for vehicles entering and leaving the summit venue. And to support the twisted plan, this leafy stretch has been stripped to its last leaf over the weekend, trees piled up on six trucks and transported . The irony of it all seems lost on the powers that be. The GHMC has put up many hoardings coaxing people to appreciate biodiversity ahead of CoP-11 and planting all kinds of shrubs and trees on road dividers and islands, but the message of conserving this biodiversity …

Too May Eco-Labels ‘Overwhelming,’ Companies Say

Source: Environmentalleader.com Consumers and companies alike are becoming “confused” and “overwhelmed” by eco-labeling, according to a survey of more than 1,000 international companies including Hewlett-Packard, Nestlé, Canon, Sara Lee and E.On. The joint study by the International Institute for Management Development and the Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne concludes that eco-labeling has nearly reached the saturation point with companies and consumers increasingly concerned about the practice’s over-proliferation and credibility. Germany’s Ministry of the Environment introduced the world’s first eco-label, the Blue Angel, in 1978. Now more than 400 are used across 25 industries in 250 countries. Only a minority of customers, called “dark green” in the report, are especially cognizant of the notion of sustainability. Their “light green” counterparts are unaware or uninterested, while “mid-green” consumers may think sustainability is important but they don’t want to take the time to find out why. Because of this, study authors say the idea that the average buyer will spend time sifting through eco-labels is unrealistic. In interviews, companies listed brand strengthening, addressing consumers’ sustainability demands and …

The true cost of food

Source: greenbiz.com Trucost analyzed three common food products: breakfast cereal, fruit juice and cheese. We examined the stages of production from farm and orchard to the supermarket shelf. The embedded carbon, water, waste and pollution were calculated for generic products in each category. (No brand has been harmed in the generation of these metrics!) Trucost then calculated the “natural capital” cost of each of these. For carbon we used the social cost. For water, a local issue, we correlated the volume of water required to produce the raw materials with local scarcity by gathering data on the location of production and pricing water accordingly. To view the full analysis, click on the image below. The percentages show each item’s share of the product’s total environmental impact. Our analysis indicates that, on average, the true cost of a block of cheese should be 18 percent higher than the retail price, breakfast cereal should be 16 percent more expensive and fruit juice 6 percent more. Water is the most significant natural capital dependency for all …

Can Coca-Cola’s new water system be a game changer?

Source: Greenbiz The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) says it has developed a first-of-its-kind beverage process water recovery system that can cut its water use by 35 percent. According to the beverage giant, the new system meets or exceeds drinking water standards for use in non-product activities and is used for clean-in-place and bottle washing. Coca-Cola said the system takes highly treated process water and further treats it by using a combination of membrane bioreactor, ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis, ozonation, and ultraviolet disinfection. The Atlanta-based company said it believes that its system stands out from current treatment processes used in its business sector. “While we and other members of the food and beverage industry have recycled and reused water for various processes for many years, this pilot is a first-of-its-kind beverage process water recovery system,” said Greg Koch, director of global water stewardship for the Coca-Cola Company. Koch said the benefit of the system could potentially be enormous. “By reusing cleaned and treated water for non-product applications, the new system could potentially lessen …

Thirsty South Asia’s river rifts threaten “water wars”

Source: blogs.reuters As the silver waters of the Kishanganga rush through this north Kashmir valley, Indian labourers are hard at work on a hydropower project that will dam the river just before it flows across one of the world’s most militarised borders into Pakistan. The loud hum of excavators echoes through the pine-covered valley, clearing masses of soil and boulders. The 330-MW dam shows India’s growing focus on hydropower but also highlights how water is a growing source of tension with downstream Pakistan, which depends on the snow-fed Himalayan rivers for everything from drinking water to agriculture. Islamabad has complained to an international court that the dam in the Gurez valley, one of dozens planned by India, will affect river flows and is illegal. The court has halted any permanent work on the river for the moment, although India can still continue tunneling and other associated projects. In the years since their partition from British India in 1947, land disputes have led the two nuclear-armed neighbours to two of their three …

First nationwide water quality survey from Oct

Source: Deccanherald he Union government plans to conduct the survey in two phases – from October 2012 till January 2013 to collect pre-monsoon data and again from March 2013 till May 2013 for post-monsoon data. The nationwide exercise is aimed at gathering ‘authentic data’ on drinking water quality both at source and in households. T M Vijay Bhaskar, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, stated that samples would be collected from about 67,000 households across all the districts in the country as well as from drinking water sources. In a communiqué to state principal secretaries overseeing rural drinking water schemes, he stressed on adherence to “highest standards” during the first ever water quality sample survey to ensure credibility and reliability of the data to be collated. The survey would cover on an average 110 households from about five-six villages in each district. Out of 16,64,186 habitations, 2,16,968 had been identified in April 2005 as ones with poor quality of water. The number of the poor water …

India’s blackout exposes choice between water & electricity

Source: Gigaom Let’s take a snapshot of India right now. In India, there is a drought. This year’s poor monsoon is likely to lead to the third drought in 10 years. But two-thirds of the water India receives is wasted because of inadequate storage and management. India just had a power outage affecting 650 million people, a population twice as large at the U.S.  Most cities in the state of Punjab faced an acute water shortage due to lack of proper co-ordination between the power and the municipal corporations. Water tensions are increasing between countries like India and Pakistan. Before the power grid outage India was “staring at a water drinking shortage.” There is a race to tap India’s coal resources to fuel a whopping 519 GW – nearly 500 power plants – leaving behind massive deforestation and water contamination that could have a ripple effect on the environment and health inside the world’s second most-populous country and neighboring Bangladesh.  Despite places like coal mining in the Jaintia Hills of India being one of the wettest …

Facebook reveals its carbon footprint

Source: Guardian.co.uk Facebook has, for the first time, revealed the carbon footprint of its operations and its more than 900m users’ likes, photo albums and status updates. The data, published on Wednesday, shows that despite the social networking‘s rising star, its carbon emissions are still a fraction of internet rival Google. Facebook’s annual emissions were 285,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent in 2011, compared with Google’s 1.5m tons in 2010.   The vast majority of the emissions (72%) come from the company’s data centres in the US. The annual footprint for each user that’s active monthly is 269 grams, or around the equivalent footprint of a cup of coffee, the company calculated.   Facebook also detailed the mix of energy sources that power its data centres. The majority, 27%, comes from coal power, with the rest coming from renewable sources (23%), gas (17%), nuclear (13%) and the remaining 20% uncategorised.   Greenpeace welcomed the move’s transparency and hailed it as an important benchmark. Gary Cook, Greenpeace International’s senior IT analyst, said: “Facebook has committed to …

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