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ANOTHER PLANET

Water companies need to change their business models to ensure security of supply and support the economy, according to industry watchdog Waterwise. Speaking to edie.net following publication of Defra’s draft water bill , Waterwise policy director Nicci Russell said the proposals, if adopted, would encourage water companies to offer a more “complete package” of services to businesses including advice and practical help in reducing water usage.  However, she added that water companies needed to expand this service to consumers as well if they are to ensure secure water supplies.

Our assessor at Sunrise sent us a glowing report ion the festival saying “Sunrise shines through the clouds” adding that despite the UK’s rain sodden summer  there was “No environmental carnage, even with the apocalyptic (change “apocalyptic” to anything that suits) conditions on site as a result of the weather” and our assssor was delighted that “the peer pressure and collective consciousness present at the  event. – call it what you like but there is a significant proportion of people acting differently, and it is infectious. Bare feet and a course in herbalism coming right up” ! The assessor also highlighted tent recycling company “Camplight” http://www.camplight.co.uk/  They clean, restore and reuse discarded tents; then renting back to  those to have less weight on their shoulders. This and their showers are supporting an embryonic company and it deserves a mention. Well done Sunrise!

Uncertainty around biofuel regulation is likely to have a significant impact on businesses investing in the development of fuel alternatives, says BP Biofuels CEO Phillip New.  Speaking at BP’s Fuelling the Future event, Phillip New said that with more stability and certainty around biofuel regulation, investment in alternative fuels will rise.

The heaviest rain storm in six decades to hit the Chinese capital killed at least 10 people and caused widespread chaos, flooding streets and stranding 80,000 people at the city’s main airport, state media reported. The storm, which started on Saturday afternoon (21st July) and continued late into the night, flooded major roads and sent torrents of water tumbling down steps into underpasses, More than 500 flights were cancelled at Beijing’s capital international airport, the Beijing News said.

Good Energy’s plans to build a new solar farm in Cornwall have sparked an angry response – Good Energy would cover 244 acres with photo voltaic cells in Week St Mary in North Cornwall, just one of a number of similar proposals. Kronos Solar, a German company, have plans for a 25 megawatt 120 acre solar farm near Launceton. Local residents have expressed concern about the farms and Good energy confirmed that at the moment the farms were still in the planning phase. There are currently 12 solar farms in Cornwall, the biggest with an output of 5MW,  with a further 24 awaiting planning permission.

Apple are back in the news again, and back in the doghouse – as it seems the Mac Book Pro with Retina has a glued in battery which has to be thrown away if any repairs are undertaken. Treehugger explains “it means that the glued-in battery is a problem for more than just the user who wants to replace their own battery. Not even professional repair technicians can safely pull the glued-in battery from the top case, and we know this because the pros at iFixit tried for hours. Treehugger also explain that  only Apple is really going to be able to service this laptop, not a local repair shop as onlu Apple (at $179 a pop) will be able to provide the entire top case assembly in order to replace the battery and highlight a tird issue – recycling:  Recyclers need to be able to easily disassemble products to recycle them. Yes, Apple has its own recycling program, so there is at least an option, but are other recyclers going to be able and willing to deal with this laptop? The options may be reduced to larger facilities if anyone but Apple is going to take them. And finally TreeHugger say that there’s the issue of being required to replace what could be perfectly good components of the laptop. It’s simply a waste to have to replace everything attached to the battery, rather than just the battery itself. However Treehugger do point out that Apple batteries have a fairly solid reputation and it’s not necessarily likely that you’ll have to replace the battery before you’re ready to replace the entire laptop adding “We really, really hope that Apple rethinks its design and goes back to removable parts, back to a more user-accessible design.” More here http://www.treehugger.com/gadgets/why-gadget-repairability-so-damn-important.html

Mathematicians are to help the UK stay ahead in offshore wind by working out the most efficient way of packing and transporting the parts needed for wind turbines. Logistics experts from the University of Portsmouth and the University of Le Havre, in France, have won €1.8m in European Union funding to work on the conundrum that the cost of transporting, assembling and maintaining the wind turbines can make them more expensive than less eco-friendly fuels.

Six people were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage after hold a mock medal presentation for three 2012 Olympics Games sponsors. Environmental activists were highlighting the environmental and human rights record of three official sponsors – Dow Jones, BP and Rio Tinto.

Spanish photographer Palindromo Meszaros took a number eerie images in his series “The Line” in western Hungary, where a retaining wall around a reservoir holding an aluminum company’s toxic waste burst in October 2010, sending a million cubic meters of toxic sludge into surrounding towns and countryside – the pictures are amazing (and depressing!) – see them here http://www.palindromo.info/index.php?/project/the-line/

Edie .net report that motorists could soon be held liable for any litter thrown out of their vehicles as new proposals tabled in the House of Lords today by Lord Marlesford  look to increase powers for fixed penalty fines. It is currently a criminal offence to throw litter from a vehicle and while councils have powers to issue fines of up to £80, in practice it is often impossible to prove who within the car was responsible. In June, a new law came into force allowing councils in Greater London to issue a civil penalty for littering to the registered owner of the vehicle, who would be responsible for either paying it themselves or nominating the guilty individual to settle it instead.

Illegal tyre mountains are piling up across the UK as criminal gangs dump them or ship them overseas, creating big problems for legitimate recycling operators. There is now huge demand for used tyres from the Asia-Pacific and unscrupulous firms running out of these countries are undercutting British operators as they are look to buy these tyres by the millions.  An investigation into the illicit activity by BBC Panorama has found that UK tyre recycling firms are being hit badly by a shortage of supply with some facing closure or possible redundancies.  And RK Transport is considering appealing over a £100,000 fine after a prosecution brought about by the Environment Agency. Earlier this month the company was found guilty of illegally disposing of hazardous materials including asbestos at a waste transfer station in Launceston, Cornwall. And Scottish drinks company Whyte and MacKay has been fined £9,000 after a spill from its distillery in Invergordon polluted the Cromarty Firth at Saltburn Pier, said the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). The drinks company pled guilty to carrying on a controlled activity liable to cause pollution of the water environment following a spill of fusel oil in to the Cromarty Firth.

The waste industry has a pivotal role to play over the next few years in educating society about the value of post-consumer products and materials, WRAP chief executive Liz Goodwin has said.

Companies who claim to be ‘zero waste’ can now opt to back up their environmental credentials and validate their declarations. UL Environment has launched a new environmental claim service for businesses, which covers a variety of waste-related activities, from minimisation and landfill diversion drives to recycling rates and energy recovery gains. The company said it developed the validation process in response to growing demand from consumers and customers for a reliable industry benchmark, where self-awarded eco-labels and greenwashing hold little value.