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SnippETS for 15 November 2018

November 14, 2018

 

 

 

 

Welcome to our latest SnippETS newsletter. This week we take a broad look at the plastics dilemma, both internationally and in New Zealand, then we dig into some ideas on how the private sector can step up when it comes to emissions and sustainability reporting.

 

We also cover two interesting articles on geothermal energy and then we finish off this week’s SnippETS with some achievable projects that you can implement at home to tackle climate change.

 

 

‘Single –use’ has had quite a rise to prominence this year. The rise in awareness over the environmental cost of ‘single-use’ plastics, whether it’s bags or packaging, has meant this phrase has had a lot of air time in 2018. It rightly deserves its place as the Collins Dictionary word of the year. You heard it here first, and no this is not ‘fake news’!

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As the concern over plastic use rises, the New Zealand Government has signed a global declaration to cut plastic waste. Led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme, the Global Commitment brings together governments, businesses and NGOs around the world to address the root causes of plastic waste and pollution, by looking at the big picture.

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We next look at how the world and New Zealand will cut plastic waste under the New Plastics Economy Global commitment. Signatories of the commitment are formally endorsing the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s framework of a circular economy for plastics, which centres on ensuring that plastics never become waste. This article covers five takeaways from the new commitment.

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Here in NZ we see some progress already being made in the re-use of some plastics. Future Post is manufacturing fence posts from milk bottles and single use plastic bags.  A standard post could be made from 208 milk bottles or 1700 plastic bags. The final product will weigh about 10kg and last 50 years.

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Next we look at the rise of plastic free stores in Malaysia. Until recently Malaysia had one zero waste store run by a French expatriate who moved to Kuala Lumpur three years ago. Since May this year another five have opened, and locals are starting to embrace this type of shopping. What’s not to like? Bring your own containers, buy only what you need and do your bit to save the planet!

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In his annual letter to CEOs earlier this year, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink called on the private sector to think hard not just about how it could deliver financial performance but also how it could serve a social purpose. "Without a sense of purpose, no company, either public or private, can achieve its full potential," he wrote.  And when it is a CEO with $6.3 trillion in assets under management, people tend to take note.

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We also take another look at the ramifications of the recent IPCC report.  It seems that, with a combination of business leaders being urged to do more and to find their social purpose, plus disclosing risks, greenhouse gas and sustainability reporting is fast becoming mainstream.  So, whilst the IPCC report was grim reading, there are still some reasons to feel a little optimistic.

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Interest in geothermal energy is “heating up” around the world. This is partially due to geothermal being a reliable and steady source of energy generation (unlike wind and solar), and also because the Japanese geothermal energy plants survived the Fukushima earthquake unscathed, so it is also seen as quite resilient. Many nations are now moving into geothermal energy generation, but it also has some trade-offs. Read more.....

 

 

 

Geothermal can be used not only for electricity generation, now there are some new and clever ways that the resource might also be used. For places where there are always water shortages but the ocean is nearby, it may be possible to desalinate water using geothermal, while receiving usable energy and hot/cold water resource streams.

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We finish this week with a view on some simple things you can do to combat climate change – do more in your garden. Be it growing your own veggies, planting more trees and bushes, composting your organic waste, and reusing your “grey water”, there are things you can do. Now is a great time to start.

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This week in Innovation, scientists are trying to bottle sunlight and turn it into liquid fuel, and significant progress has been made.

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