Wednesday, March 26, 2008

QUOTE OF THE DAY - One has to suffer for one's art

Sorry, this is just too good:

A BBC Enviro correspondent 'reporting' from a desert island idyll, to which he and team have been dispatched (by tube?) to bring us the scoop on something greenish:

"We stay in the old officers' quarters" and "The head chef, Pong, urges me to try his spicy soups. A little bar overlooking a beach opens most evenings."

Almost as good a quote, only without the rampant lack of irony, is the fine fellow who highlighted it for our attention: 'Only most evenings? Pong! More spicy soup!'


Lunar Dead Centre

Directly following a piece on the splitting of an ice shelf 'due to Global Warming', irony-free zone that is the BBC has just aired a piece on... commercial air travel.

I have now seen it, and see no reason to change what I wrote in advance:

'Looking forward to how the advertised piece on burying one's ashes on the moon is shared.

Whilst exchange may be no robbery, dust for dust, bearing in mind the fuel cost for every gram sent into orbit, I just wonder what the carbon consequences might be?'

Seemed worth a Newswatch serve:

Directly following a piece on the splitting of an ice shelf 'due to Global Warming', and followed by another plastic bag expose (how did David Shuckman get to Midway Island, by the way? Nice work if you can get it)* the irony-free zone that is the BBC has just aired a piece on... commercial space travel.

The commercial relationship is uncomfortable enough, but the mixed messages being pumped out on best environmental practices by consumers is staggering.

Next you'll have a reporter gushing forth with Richard Branson together on the first Virgin Galactic launch!


BBC - Antarctic shelf 'hangs by thread'

BBBC - It seems it has been noted elsewhere, and it appears the airlines are doing well out of... plastic bags. Medium and messenger...hmnnn.

*BBBC - NEW - And lo... the jolly was good.

More Greenwash

This time from BSkyB (Sky) from Marketing Week.

"We became carbon neutral in 2006" Hey, you likely don't even understand what that means!

What a load of self congratulatory dross and bull! Oh my! If it wasn't so self-indulgently and puke inducingly sickly, I wouldn't be able to help myself from rolling around the floor laughing my head off!

Try adding this software to your accounting systems and publish the results if you dare!

From the same publication comes an article in a similar vein from the commercial & trading director of Tesco. But this one failed to raise my hackles hardly one iota. Much less holier than thou 'look how fantastically green we are! (Not)' and much more 'each small step will help'.

"Rather than preying on feelings of fear or guilt to motivate people to change their habits, we are finding simple ways to show people that ­greener living can be easy and cost-effective."

Every little helps.

WE ADD UP ......

.... "is a global warming awareness campaign that uses custom-printed organic cotton T-shirts to get the message out that everybody's efforts are important in the fight to reduce greenhouse-gas-causing carbon emissions." From PrWeb.

US based but I can't argue with the concept at all. Love the fact that the best selling T shirt is the one emblazoned with 'Shower Together'; even beating the old faithful 'Recycle'.

See WeAddUp for more details.

Dons make an offer you can't refuse?

What's not to like?: Oxford University to Develop Free Green Computing Software

It has two of my favourite words in one sentence: 'free' and 'reduce'.

I do have to take issue with this, mind: "No-one sits at their computer for 168 hours a week,"

I think my wife just might on Second Life.

Sins of the...?

Bless. Sam Branson joins Kiss as green ambassador

Worked sooo well for that Guardian Travel Writer's son on CiF recently, as I recall.

Gosh, me and the kids hadn't heard of global warming before now. So such awareness-building is a vital new step. Hope he doesn't have to stay in a holding pattern too long getting there, what with all the other media types en route from looking at the ice-shelf split off to check out the plastic bag situation in Midway Island, plus Zac, Leo et Al making their docos. Hardly any room left for the polar bears and penguins at this rate!

Will he be going Virgin Coconut or Galactic?

NEWS/Commercial PR - Let's worry more about the 95%

Whilst the likes of the BBC send reporters, irony-free, to Midway Island to report 'live' on the scourge of plastic bags (noting that even enviro activists have ceased to play or participate in this distracting minor issue), let's look at some real waste.

The now rather quiet 'Love Food, Hate Waste' campaign highlighted (well, tried to) that the real issue is the vast amount of food that gets wasted.

But even if you strip things to the bone and eat the stalks right to the woody bit, there will still, inevitably be 'scrapings'.

Now, we have an ongoing discussion (with the odd debate) going on with the relative merits of Food Waste Disposal vs. composting already, but to be sure if you are of a mind not to fire it down the sink (if applicable to your area) then there are some instances when even the compost bin may not be suitable.

Which is where the Green Cone can come in. Hence I am happy to share this as another option to you home eco-arsenal.

PR as received and shared, with edits:

GREEN CONE EXPANSION DRIVE TO MEET GROWING DEMAND FOR FOOD WASTE DIGESTERS - providing additional support as local authorities roll-out home treatment products

Green Cone breaks down all types of organic kitchen waste such as fruit and vegetables, raw and cooked meat or fish, bones, tea bags and coffee grounds from the average-sized household, reducing the waste to its natural components of water and CO2 and only a little residue. The Green Johanna for producing high quality compost, generates higher temperatures than traditional garden composters and works by mixing household food waste together with garden waste.

I also posed a few questions, and had a most helpful reply, as follows:

1) I was keen to get one a while ago to try to complement our composting of green organics, but my wife was resistant as she didn't fancy the notion of decomposing meats, etc on a health basis. Any comment to reassure her... and others... on this point?

A. The meat in a Green Cone decomposes well below ground level and there is at least 9 inches of soil between the decomposing food and the surface of the ground. Therefore, neither smells escape nor may animals, birds etc access it. The system meets all European legislation requirements and the decomposition of food is after all a completely natural process and all we do with the Green Cone is to create the ideal environment for microbial degradation.
2) Our council, Herefordshire, promotes composting via subsidised units. How many councils promote this cone, who are they and do they co-fund?

A. Approximately 30 councils in England and Scotland promote the use of Green Cones and at least one dozen heavily discount them to their residents. Some councils sell the units for as little as £5 and others at £10/£15. Those who have been working with Green Cone the longest include East and West Sussex, Surrey, Wiltshire, Aberdeenshire, Moray etc. Recently a number of others including Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire have started using the product. and since 2002 when the product was first made available, councils have continued to promote them.

3) Bearing in mind CO2 is a by-product, is it an alternative or complement to Food Waste Disposal/Energy from Waste systems? Again, our council is advocating macerators, with subsidy.

A. The primary benefit of the Green Cone is that it produces CO2 as opposed to methane which is produced when organic waste is put into landfill and becomes anaerobic. If a council has a centralised 'energy from waste' plant and effectively uses the energy created ie by using the electricity in a very small development/village or plant etc, then this is very effective and a good environmental use of the waste. However this is seldom possible and to think that you can simple put any electricity production into the grid system for the benefit of all is naive. Furthermore centralised units, if they have feed stock which includes food waste, produce a rather indifferent compost that cannot be used on agricultural land and is therefore only used on motorway verges etc. To find a good use for the amount of compost already being used, because of its indifferent quality, is already a problem. Finally, there are very fixed views on macerators. The water companies really don't like them very much, insofar as they put excessive protein into the sewage system which requires a major anaerobic digestion plant to handle. In certain places in Europe they are not allowed, whereas some councils actually promote their use so it really is "horses for courses"! They are of course much more expensive to buy and also to fit than a Green Cone.

In addition I stumbled across an earlier PR, which sort of ties in, and which I also add here (not sure what 'marketing throughout February' means in practice, but note the final advice about online for where we are timewise now.

TESCO ENCOURAGES CUSTOMERS TREAT HOUSEHOLD FOOD WASTE AT HOME Tesco will be marketing the Green Cone garden food waste digester in more than 70 stores nationwide throughout February. Easy-to-install and standing 70cm off the ground, the Green Cone is simply dug in to the garden in a sunny location where a solar heating effect between the unit’s inner and outer cone promotes air circulation, creating the ideal natural environment for rapid decomposition of the waste. The Green Johanna is designed to stand in the garden on flat ground in a shady position. Waste is tipped in through the lid, with the compost accessible via a sliding door Available online at from 17 March 2008. For further information visit from 11 February 2008.

NEWS/Commercial PR - Because there is no Plan C..ider?

A few days ago I noted a BBC slot about recycling plant pots, which was less than informative on the detail front.

Hence I wrote to one of the protagonists, Wyevale, to see if they could add more. Here is the PR kindly provided about a programme called their 10 Commitments, as supplied, but edited for length to apply just to the topic at hand:

Wyevale announces its sustainability action programme, “Plan Apple”

“Plan Apple”, is Wyevale's action programme to address the key sustainable development challenges facing the gardening industry.
The first action is to offer customers a recycling facility for plastic plant pots. Wyevale is currently trialling a scheme at four stores, which invites customers to return pots to the Wyevale store for re-use or recycling.

While no real critique of Wyevale, I do note the term 'trialling', referring to four outlets, which was not quite how the BBC slot came across, to me at least. Here's hoping what seems to be a worthy and sensible recycling initiative takes off.

I look forward to mentioning it again when it is properly in place, active, and nationwide.


As it was kindly provided, here is a follow-up message to my query:

Plastic plant pots are the gardening equivalent of disposable plastic carrier bags. Wyevale alone sells over 25 million plants in plastic pots every year, and it is estimated that there could be up to 500 million pots sold annually by gardening suppliers.

As the UK’s largest garden centre chain, Wyevale is determined to lead the industry in highlighting the problem - and in doing something about it. It will therefore offer customers a free recycling facility for old and unwanted plastic plant pots, as an alternative to sending them to landfill.

Following a successful trial at its Woodlands garden centre, near Hinckley, Leicestershire, Wyevale is now planning to extend the scheme to 30 of its largest garden centres which commences at the end of May 2008. Further details will be announced in due course.

Observer - Are Bill and Ben trashing the planet? - A bit more on the matter, plus a few new links

And what about Sweep? Or maybe it's just a matter for Sue?

I noticed this more because of the reference to deforestation, which I have always felt to be a woefully unaddressed priority: Soot almost as bad as CO2 for global warming

What surprises me is that there still seems so much that is , forgive the bad pun, 'up in the air' about the causes.

Solutions, sadly, even further behind. Though a thread poster called Michael C has had a decent stab.

May I call you, Al?

Nice to see that help ( is rather outstripping my ability to cope) can be out there: Wikipedia scores $3m donation

Now, how do I get hold of them? I do intend to be sullied by ads, mind.