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The future of dog poo
Leo Hickman, Guardian
... In an ideal world, dog owners would use widely available biodegradable pet waste bags and take it home to compost (in its own dedicated compost heap - build your own, or buy a ready-made one such as the Dog Poo Mega Tower).
Better still, each park would provide dedicated compost collection points. Currently, the contents of most "bag it and bin it" collection points is sent to landfill. Pet waste could be used to generate an energy source in the form of methane using an anaerobic digester. San Francisco has been trialling just such a scheme. A little more offbeat is dog poo concrete. A German architect called Friedrich Lentze believes all the dog waste collected by local authorities should be passed to the construction industry. "It makes a great mortar with fantastic insulating properties," he says, adding that dung has been used for centuries in buildings. Let's see how estate agents try to gloss over that particular detail.
(15 January 2009)
From east to west, a chain collapses (recycling)
Tania Branigan, Guardian
Millions to lose their jobs as world's largest importer of waste hit by collapse in demand for packaging
... Recycling has become a global industry and China is the largest importer of the world's waste materials, taking in as much as a third of Britain's recyclables for example. Then came the slump, decimating the Chinese recycling industry and leaving Britain, the US and others grappling with growing volumes of recycled waste and nowhere to send it.
"It's a canary in the coalmine: it's the front and back end of industry," said Adam Minter, who runs the Shanghai Scrap blog and specialises in the metal trade. "Until about eight weeks ago, for example, the entire [US] west coast paper market was sent to China and most of it was sent south. It was processed and made into packaging for products that then shipped back to the US ... But when US consumer demand dropped off, that broke the cycle."
Across the scrap trade, prices have halved or worse in a matter of months. Each link in the chain is disintegrating, from factories to scrapyards to collectors ...
(9 January 2009)
Recycled waste could end up in landfill sites, warns watchdog
David Hencke, Guardian
Millions of people who recycle their rubbish could find it becomes a futile exercise due to the government's failure to provide enough facilities to prevent it from being dumped in landfill sites, a report from a Whitehall watchdog warns today.
Homeowners and tenants could also have to foot the bill for fines totalling hundreds of millions of pounds because their council has fallen behind in developing recycling schemes.
(14 January 2009)