The City of Vancouver has already cleared its bus stops and beaches of smokers, and now it wants to ensure even the leftover evidence of the much-discouraged behaviour is treated like toxic waste.
The city, with an oft-boasted goal of becoming the world’s greenest by 2020, announced on Tuesday that smokers will be encouraged to dump their cigarettes into fireproof receptacles in the downtown core so they can be recycled.
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Video: In world first, B.C. installs butt bins to recycle cigarettes
The Cigarette Waste Brigade pilot project, which will have 110 such bins labelled Recycle Your Butts Here, is being hailed as the world’s first municipal recycling effort for butts, and could lead to about 2,000 such receptacles in Canada’s third-largest city.
“It’s about how you take a very toxic piece of waste and turn it into something useful,” deputy Mayor Andrea Reimer said at a news conference. “Ultimately, we would like to see everything that is on our streets or waste products in our city, whether they’re in homes, businesses or on the streets, turned into something useful.”
Toronto-based TerraCycle Inc. will process the butts for the cellulose acetate in them to produce plastic pellets that can be used to make shipping pallets and plasticized lumber.
Albe Zakes, a TerraCycle vice-president, said his company intended to launch the project in a larger city, but focused on Vancovuer because Mayor Gregor Robertson began lobbying them several years ago.
“The reason we chose Vancouver is Vancouver chose us,” Mr. Zakes said.
“We would love to do this in New York and Chicago and London and Tokyo and the world’s biggest cities, but we also need buy-in from the city, from the mayors themselves and we found that excitement, that enthusiasm and commitment here in Vancouver.”
City taxpayers will effectively pay $1 for each of the 110 units, but TerraCycle is picking up other costs.
While city officials hailed the project as a green milestone, it prompted heckling from a homeless man, who said the green initiative is cutting off his supply of free smokes.
“I don’t have any cigarettes, and one thing I have done is go around picking up butts, and when they put this sort of thing in, there’s no butts anymore,” he said. “It’s wrong. They’re shafting it to the poor people.”
But Ms. Reimer said higher priorities are at play, noting that targeting butts would help Vancouver meet its greenest city goals.
“As a city councillor the past five years, I cannot tell you how many times I hear from people about the problem of litter on our streets, and most especially cigarette butts, whether it’s downtown Vancouver or in our parks or in our beaches,” she said.
Mr. Zakes put the issue in global terms, calling butts “one of the most pervasive waste streams on the entire planet,” with an estimated 3.5 trillion butts thrown out globally each year, generating about 768 million kilograms of toxic cigarette wastehttp://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/vancouver-has-a-plan-for-smokers-discarded-cigarette-butts/article15391298/
Schools need regulation to prevent industry promotion during clinical training
Most Canadians might be surprised to learn that medical students in Canada are routinely taught by faculty who have financial ties, and work in partnership, with drug companies. Conflict of interest (COI) policies at medical schools are important to ensure that students get an unbiased education based on the best available clinical evidence, free of industry-sponsored, commercially-driven information. After all these students go on to become our doctors, and we want the best doctors education can provide.
So, do medical schools in Canada lack appropriate conflict of interest policies or are they simply not following them?
In a study published this week in PloS One, we examined the COI policies at all 17 medical schools across the country. Our findings reveal a glaring problem, and something that should concern all of us. The majority of medical schools (12 of 17) have generally weak or non-existent COI policies, and four schools had policies that were moderately restrictive. Only one medical school – Western University – had stringent COI rules.
In other words, the bulk of our doctors-in-training in Canada are receiving health information that is potentially biased and misleading.
Here’s a telling example. Between 2002 and 2006, the University of Toronto held a pain management course for medical and other health science professional students that was partly funded by grants from Purdue Pharma LP, the maker of OxyContin. As part of the course, a chronic pain management book – funded and copyrighted by Purdue Pharma – was distributed to the students free of charge by a lecturer who worked in partnership with Purdue Pharma and was external to University of Toronto.
The wording in the book exaggerated both the benefits and the approved uses for these medications, based on the current evidence at that time. Despite recognition of these concerns by the university after a student complained, those who attended the sessions were never informed of the bias or the problematic content of the lectures and book (which was used in a related course up to 2010).
The most poorly regulated areas noted in our study include curriculum selection, receiving free drug samples, visits from pharmaceutical sales representatives and taking part in speaking engagements on behalf of pharmaceutical companies.
Bottom line: Unrestrictive policies allow industry to influence medical residents’ education about appropriate, effective and safe medicines, as well as prescribing choices.
Free drug samples have been found to increase the likelihood that medical residents will choose to provide medications to patients that cost more than equally effective prescription treatments, or other non-pharmaceutical options. Frequent visits by drug sales representatives are associated with influencing prescribing practices, resulting in more frequent prescribing and poorer prescribing quality.
The biggest concern, however, is the lack of education provided to medical students about the pervasiveness and effects of COI relationships with drug companies. Without such guidance, medical students, who will become prescribing physicians, graduate without being fully equipped to deal with either potential conflicts of interest in medical practice, or the influence of industry promotion on clinical judgement.
Our findings mean that industry has the ability to influence the resources provided and information that is taught to medical students. Without effective, stringent policies to regulate industry’s interactions with medical students and faculty, drug companies are granted the ability to be present in medical schools and play notably influential roles in the clinical training of medical students.
If we want the best doctors in Canada, our medical schools need to revise and improve their policies to regulate conflicts of interest between medical faculty, residents and the pharmaceutical industry. These policies should address the medical curriculum and the ways in which relationships with pharmaceutical firms may affect the attitudes and information that is taught to medical students.
Medical students should be educated by medical faculty using the best available clinical evidence that is unbiased by industry so that when medical students graduate, they are able to provide their patients with the best, most effective, and safest treatments possible.http://v1.nationalnewswatch.com/canadian_medical_schools_have_poor_conflict_of_interest_policies.htm
VICTORIA—Energy-efficient homes have become the norm and in the pursuit of sustainability home owners and designers are returning to a more traditional type, the round home.
But what many residents of circular houses have found is that there are also spiritual and emotional benefits to the shape.
Rebecca Christofferson, clinical counsellor and art therapist, lives in Vancouver Island’s Cowichan Valley and had intended on building a round cob home on her property. But when she realized there was an existing home on the lot she decided to erect a yurt to serve as a guest bedroom, workshop, and spiritual healing space.
“A big part of why I decided to build a yurt was the circular space,” said Christofferson. “The imagery of the nomadic was significant as well, and you don’t need to have it permitted so there is a real freedom with that.”
Yurts are portable homes traditionally used by nomads in Central Asia made of wooden ribs and layers of fabric and sheep’s wool felt for insulation and weatherproofing
“People who have spent time in our yurt have said the world sort of shuts out,” said Christofferson. “It just feels like a huge blanket on the space; it is womb-like. The world slows down and it is energetically quieter.”
Some people have chosen yurts, or gers as they are called in Mongolia, for their tent-like portability. But designer/entrepreneur Lars Chose channels the spiritual qualities he’s identified in round homes with modern performance-building qualities into the permanent structures he creates with his company Mandala Homes.
Chose had been designing and building homes for 10 years as well as working as a psychotherapist before he started Mandala Homes, but it wasn’t until 1995 that he designed and built his first round house.
“I saw where the world was going with the environment and the work I was doing with children and families,” he said.
“It came to me one day that I had an integral role as part of the change that needed to happen in the world.
“I had been studying how modern dwellings take 50 percent of our resources to build and 50 percent of our resources to cool and keep warm, and this didn’t seem right to me—it’s absolutely not sustainable for my children’s children. So I decided to start a company and use the round (shape) as a way to express both an environmentally friendly and a healthy sustainable home.”
As a practising Buddhist, Chose said the beautiful shape, the structural engineering, and the interlocking design fit well with the word “mandala” which has a distinct significance in Buddhism.
According to Chose, mandala means the interconnected whole.
“I believe that we are happiest when we live in an awakened sense of knowing that we are interdependent,” he said.
“There is no separation; it is our greatest pain to think that we are separate. To be in a building that is, literally, shaped to communicate interdependence in a way that you can sense it—experientially, emotionally, psycholologically, and physically—is a powerful experience.
Even though the round spaces created by yurts and designers like Chose create various spiritual connections, other companies like North Carolina’s Deltec Homes got into circular construction for more practical reasons.
The Asheville company began in 1968 supplying buildings to the resort industry.
Joseph Schlenk, director of marketing and sales, said their clients were coming to them wanting a structure that could be durable, energy-efficient, easy to build, and take advantage of outstanding views.
“The original Deltec structure was an A-frame,” said Schlenk. “We learned very quickly that was not energy efficient or durable, and in that same year we developed the polygonal structure, the predecessor to the Deltec structure today.”
Deltec—which now ships hundreds of homes throughout Canada including Baffin Island—has seen a complete shift in their clientele, from 100 percent in the resort industry to 95 percent residential.
“We have a long history of success as far as durability,” said Schlenk. “We have never lost a home because of high winds. The same qualities that make them resistant to high winds also make them very energy-efficient.
“They are aerodynamic. There are not any great significant areas of flat surface where air or wind can build up pressure. It flows around the building so there is very little threat to drafting.”http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/212917-designers-turning-to-circular-houses-for-sustainability-durability-in-wind/
Moringa has recently gained much attention as a new botanical with many promising benefits. While it may be new in the arena of functional foods, it has been revered for centuries as a multi-purpose remedy in Ayurvedic, Siddha, African and South Asian traditions. Moringa is a member of the Moringaceae family, which contains 13 species ranging from small shrubs and slender trees to massive water-storing trees. A tree native to the Himalayan regions of northwest India, it grows in Africa, South East Asia, the Caribbean and South America. Moringa oleifera is the most widely cultivated and consumed of the 13 species, noted for its numerous nutritional benefits.
Although Moringa is said to grow best in hot, semi-arid, low altitude regions, it has adapted to a wide range of climates, rainfalls, altitudes and soil conditions. It is highly resistant to diseases and insects as well as being tolerant to light frost. It is also known for its rapid growth. All parts of the tree can be utilized, most notably the roots, bark, leaves, flowers, seeds and pods.
According to the doctrine of signatures, a plant’s physical structure and outer characteristics signal an intrinsic essence and an essential energetic blueprint of its potential uses. It is perhaps telling that this “Miracle Tree,” as it is often referred to, has so much resilience as well as such a broad applicability. Humanitarian organizations have recognized this unique tree and as such are exploring its application as a nutritional adjunct for malnourished communities.
While no one tree can solve every issue, the unique phytochemical composition of the various parts of the tree offer significant nutritional and medicinal value. Moringa leaves, roots, seeds and bark have been noted in both traditional contexts and in the current scientific literature to demonstrate anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, anti-hypertensive, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-diabetic activities.
Much of the hype surrounding Moringa centers around nutritional comparisons in which the leaves are touted to contain ounce per ounce, seven times the vitamin C of oranges, twenty-five times the iron of spinach, ten times the vitamin A of carrots and three times the potassium of bananas. The leaves do in fact contain an impressive array of nutrients ranging from B vitamins to vitamins A, C and E to folic acid, calcium, fibre, selenium, iron as well as chlorophyll and a host of protective antioxidants such as flavonoids, phenolics and carotenoids. The leaves contain the cholesterol-reducing phytosterol, beta-sitosterol. They are also noted for their protein, containing essential amino acids such as tryptophan, lysine and methionine as well as other important non-essential amino acids.
The leaves have gained the most interest as an emerging functional food due to their nutritional profile, their stability when dried and palatable taste. While normally sold as a green powder in capsules or in loose powder form, water extracts of Moringa leaves have been shown to normalize glucose levels in diabetic rat models and show promise for their hepato-protective, anti-ulcer, anti-tumor and cholesterol lowering benefits.
Using a dried leaf powder of Moringa is the easiest way to benefit from its excellent nutrition. Add 1-3 teaspoons of the leaf powder to smoothies, salad dressings, dips, soups, stews, sauces and yogurt daily. Make a delicious spinach-like curry by combining Moringa powder with Turmeric powder, coconut milk and other spices. Combine 1-3 teaspoons of Moringa leaf powder with your favourite superfoods to create an antioxidant rich smoothie.
We will no doubt be hearing much more about this fascinating botanical as new research validates time-tested uses from past traditions. What is perhaps most exciting about this widely cultivated and resilient tree is that it holds the promise to a better life for those most in need of its abundant nutritional gifts.http://www.tonictoronto.com/June-2013/Moringa/
Toronto native Tom Szaky’s company specializes in hard-to-recycle goods like pens, candy wrappers, cigarette butts.
Tom Szaky confesses that he loves going through a garbage bin, any bin.
He’s not shy about it, because by rifling through trash, Szaky can see the potential for his company, TerraCycle Inc., which is dedicated to turning traditionally unrecyclable items into other new goods.
“What’s in a garbage can, it’s our opportunity,” said Szaky, 31, who started his company in 2001 in a dorm room at Princeton University. “It’s pretty bewildering. About 80 per cent of consumer objects are not recyclable.”
That is, until he got into the business.
Szaky, who emigrated from Hungary to Toronto with his parents when he was 7, dropped out of the Ivy League school in his third semester to work full-time on the business that is projected to generate revenues of $18 million (U.S.) this year.
TerraCycle is run as a private company, though it operates more as a non-profit, with a profit target of only 1 per cent of revenues.
“The goal isn’t how much profit can be made here. It’s about how much impact can we make?” he said, adding it has been easier to access capital as a business than as a non-profit.
The company, which operates in 23 countries, including a Toronto office with eight employees, depends on ordinary citizens and big business for its success.
The idea is relatively simple. TerraCycle turns items such as candy wrappers, yogurt containers, chewing gum, sandwich bags and cigarette butts into products like tote bags and backpacks.
It asks individuals, groups, schools or businesses to collect the items. When enough materials have been gathered, these volunteer “brigade” members as they are known, pack them up, print out a free prepaid shipping label and send them off.
In return, the volunteers are paid — two cents for a juice pouch, say, or $1 for a pound of cigarette butts, with the money going to a charity or non-profit of their choice. TerraCycle said it has given $7.5 million (U.S.) to charity to date.
The collected goods are sent to a processing plant to be turned other goods — with part of the costs borne by major sponsors, which include giant companies like Kraft Foods, Nestle, Kimberly-Clark and Frito-Lay.
“We have managed to convince companies to turn the negative into the positive,” he said, noting companies are keen to boost their sustainability efforts.
He adds that without corporate sponsorship, the program simply would not work to cover shipping costs, charity donations and production costs.
To date, TerraCycle has had no competition because it focuses on items that have negative economics — that means items with little economic value of their own, such as empty plastic coffee discs or cookie wrappers.
By contrast, goods that contain aluminum, glass and paper are more readily recyclable because they have a higher value to municipal recycling programs.
Szaky was in Toronto on Wednesday to promote a deal with Imperial Tobacco Canada, which is helping to fund TerraCycle’s efforts to turn old cigarette waste into plastic materials. On Wednesday, they announced a target of collecting and recycling 10 million cigarette filters in 2013.
Studies suggest as many as 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are littered each year worldwide. Since the program started last May, an estimated 5 million cigarette filters have been collected in Canada from businesses including bars and casinos, individual users and non-profits doing community clean-up campaigns.
While Imperial Tobacco and Szaky wouldn’t disclose the financial commitment, Szaky hinted it was in the “six figures,” with a long-term agreement that will increase because costs are expected to escalate as the program becomes more popular. He added that 1.5 million cigarette butts were collected in May alone.
Companies are more likely to commit to sponsorship programs with TerraCycle because of its philosophy of being a non-profit in a business, he said.
“It makes us authentic,” Szaky said. “We are built on the idea of sustainability.”
The idea seems to be working. Earlier this week, Szaky was in Israel, and he noticed the TerraCycle logo on a chip bag.
“I’m in a little country on the other side of the world. And this is a crazy, little idea that is creating change,” he said. “That’s the thrill. It’s not about the profit and loss statement.”http://www.thestar.com/business/2013/06/19/terracycle_turns_trash_into_goods_thanks_to_volunteers_companies.html
Social impact bonds (SIBs) are designed to help reform public service delivery. SIBsimprove the social outcomes of publicly funded services by making funding conditional on achieving results. Investors pay for the project at the start, and then receive payments based on the results achieved by the project.
Rather than focusing on inputs (eg number of doctors) or outputs (eg number of operations), SIBs are based on achieving social ‘outcomes’ (eg improved health). The outcomes are predefined and measurable.
This guide provides introductory information to help commissioning organisations (government departments, local councils and other public service organisations) that are beginning to consider developing a social impact bond. It will also be useful for those are considering investing in a social impact bond, and for organisations that want to deliver a project funded by a social impact bond.
For more detailed information on developing social impact bonds, visit the Centre for Social Impact Bonds Knowledge Box. The Centre for Social Impact Bonds has produced a template legal contract for social impact bond and payment by results agreements. This is a free resource for all SIB developers in the UK and a guidance document on contracting social impact bonds.To gain access to this contract, learn more about the Social Outcomes Fund or receive additional support, contact theCentre for Social Impact Bonds at the Cabinet Office.The purpose of social impact bonds
SIBs provide a number of benefits for commissioners, service providers and investors:
they allow commissioners to attract private investors to fund early and preventative action on complex and expensive social problems
they enable new services to be tried without commissioners having to pay if they don’t work
they can help services to adapt so that they have a greater emphasis on prevention
they can allow greater flexibility for those providing the services to adapt and change the service according to their experience
they can help charities and social enterprises bid for and manage ‘payment by results’ (PbR) projects - projects where the government pays the provider of the service for the results achieved
Payment is based on what the project or service has achieved, not the processes or work that has been done. For example, payments for the social impact bond at Peterborough prison are based on whether or not the project has lowered the rate at which prisoners reoffend, rather than the cost of the project or the number of people working on the project.
Because payment is based on results rather than process, there is more room for innovation and greater freedom to demonstrate solutions that work. The result is better outcomes for the public and reduced costs to Her Majesty’s Government.
The diagram below shows how SIBs work: initial funding is paid for by investors to cover the costs of the project. The provider carries out the project, and the investor is paid by the government according to the results achieved, at specific points agreed in the contract.
Related articles:Agencies weigh in on federal plan to help private sector fund the public sectorhttp://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/story/2013/05/10/mb-social-impact-bonds-winnipeg.htmlHuman Resources Minister Diane Finley on social impact bonds: The idea is worth pursuinghttp://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2013/05/08/human_resources_minister_diane_finley_is_right_to_pursue_social_impact_bonds_editorial.html用消費改變世界：問題是，如何啟動改變?
2011 年9 月，「佔領華爾街」運動在紐約啟動，後蔓延至遍佈全球的大小城市；「佔領中環」運動至
（鄒崇銘等，2012），由於剛好在2011 年9 月截稿，書中並無詳述「佔領華爾街」以至「佔領中環」運動。
鄒崇銘、王慧麟、周嘉慧 主編／在地生活 出版／HK$98
用了Erik Olin Wright 《烏托邦三步走》（Wright, 2010），對社會變革不同策略的比較，佔領運動所代表的，可算是他筆下的「斷裂式變
就正如奧巴馬四年前的競選口號：Change, yes we can ！就在五年之前，奧巴馬大概連造夢也沒想到，自己在一年後便當選美國總統，並且在五年
後朝競選連任的路進發。2012 年9 月，一年時間轉眼過去了，現實中的香港眾多例子，似乎正好引證「夾縫式變革」的星星之
風的中大校長沈祖堯，正致力推動校內的責任採購；Good Lab 在長沙灣「佔領」了一座商場，建立了香港社會企業和年青人社會創新的根據地；我有份參
Wright, E. O. (2010). Envisioning Real Utopias . London: Verso.
- Tags:educational, environmental finance, ethical investment, ethics, green bonds, green business, news, ontario, policy, politics, social impact bonds, sustainable development, transition movement, uk, world
For a country phasing out its nuclear plants, you might expect a downturn in energy production. But Germany has actually seen its power output quadruple between 2011 and 2012. Europe’s leading economy has been pushing for a green revolution, becoming one of the largest markets for solar voltaics and where support for renewables is subsidized by taxpayers. The country’s Federal Statistics Office reported a surplus of 22.8 billion kilowatt hours over the last two years. The government has set a goal to source 80 percent of its electricity from green technology by 2050, leaving the old fossil fuel-based utilities behind. Holland, Austria and Switzerland were the country’s main customers for the extra energy.
While 46 percent of Germany’s power still comes from coal, renewable sources have steadily been chipping away at the dominance of fossil fuels. In 2012, nearly 22 percent of the country’s electricity came from renewables, many of which were privately-owned. According to Reuters, individuals claimed 40 percent of the renewable market, a trend that is beginning to affect the share of the country’s main utility companies. Of the 71 gigawatts of renewables installed last year, the four largest utilities owned only 7 percent.
Despite the erosion of the traditional utilities model in Germany, the country’s energy surplus is evidence that a push towards clean energy can still produce enough electricity to not only power the nation but to export to other countries. Government subsidies have continued to make renewable technologies cheaper, allowing them to work their way towards achieving critical mass and driving down retail prices for individuals hoping to install their own systems. Although Germany still imported electricity from France, Denmark and the Czech Republic last year, the country still continues to break records in solar installation on the continent and set an example for those looking to green their infrastructure.
Fact: Green energy is good for Ontariohttp://www.pembina.org/blog/578
German energy surplus quadruples despite renewable pushhttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/energy/9967564/German-energy-surplus-quadruples-despite-renewable-push.html
Analysis: Renewables turn utilities into dinosaurs of the energy worldhttp://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/08/us-utilities-threat-idUSBRE92709E20130308
- Tags:biofuel, canada, educational, energy production, energy/utility storage, europe, green energy, news, policy, renewable energy, sustainable energy, uk
By 2011, Taiwan was properly disposing of 80% of its industrial waste and 90% of its medical wastes, according to a recent report by Taiwan's Environmental Protection Administration, the country's rate of properly-treated municipal solid waste has reached 99.99%, with recycling at over 40%, and enterprise waste recycling as high as 84%. But Taiwan is determined its sustainable materials management systems can do better.
Achieving zero-waste is a common goal shared by municipalities across continents. For Taiwan, an island nation of 23.2 million people, leveraging sustainable materials management (SMM) systems is seen as the way to achieving this goal.
According to a July report issued by Taiwan's Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), the country's rate of properly-treated municipal solid waste (MSW) has reached 99.99%, MSW recyclingis over 40%, and enterprise waste recycling is at 84%. Latest figures show nearly 3 million tonnes of recycled materials across 33 regulated categories nationwide, an increase of nearly 34,200 tonnes from the previous year.
Taiwan is determined its SMM systems can do better. By 2013, the restructuring and consolidation of 118 agencies and their associated databases will be completed, and the EPA will be renamed the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources. Its export-driven high-tech economy is dominated by resource-hungry industries, including semiconductors and integrated circuits, optoelectronics/photovoltaics, communications technology, consumer packaged goods (CPG), plastics, and textiles. Using 220.8 million MWh of electricity annually, exporting $325.1 billion worth of products, Taiwan has a $466.8 billion GDP (18th in the world) and the world's fourth largest foreign reserves. It imports over 98% of its energy and raw materials.
The EPA sees SMM as the next phase of Taiwan's integrated waste management evolution, and has adopted the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) definition. In late 2005, the OECD stated, "Sustainable Materials Management is an approach to promote sustainable materials use, integrating actions targeted at reducing negative environmental impacts and preserving natural capital throughout the life-cycle of materials, taking into account economic efficiency and social equity." The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) uses the term "Sustainable Resources Management".
Central to SMM (SRM) is control; without it, resource-efficient economic growth would be impossible. The national EPA and its local EPAs work with municipal administrators, industry, academia, NGOs, and other stakeholders on systems to control how resources are used and recycled into new products or incinerated.
The EPA was founded just 25 years ago, in August 1987. By 1990, the 179 new landfills that had been built the previous six years were already rapidly nearing capacity, filled mainly by enterprise waste which greatly exceeds MSW.
The administration needed more mechanisms to bring the breakneck pace of economic growth closer into balance with social and environmental needs. By 1989 the EPA and the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) had created the Joint Waste Reduction Task Force. Programs were implemented targeting industries' waste minimisation, resource reduction, recycling, and reuse. Large corporations were required to pass through IWM requirements to their satellite locations. Multiple programs were implemented by the Industrial Development Bureau (IDB) of the MOEA, the agency responsible for industrial development programs throughout Taiwan, to ensure stakeholders understood the requirements.
Since extended producer responsibilities and sustainable materials management concepts in general were novel to most enterprises in 1990, the IDB encouraged adoption by employing public awareness promotions, awards programs, sector-specific educational training courses, and technical assistance. By the end of 1995, the joint task force had established the National Center for Cleaner Production, to provide deeper life-cycle analysis of CPGs, benchmarking comparisons of selected manufacturing processes to find greater SMM efficiencies. MOEA also co-sponsored nearly 80 R&D industrial waste reduction projects.Financial incentives were also used to help industries engage in SMM at a faster rate.
As a result, within seven years solid waste was reduced by 26,653 tonnes/year, CO2 reduced 58,186 tonnes/year, wastewater reduced 1.3 million tonnes/year, and electricity conserved at 487,000 MWh/year. Today, 14 categories of 33 items (13 types of containers and 20 types of commodities) are "regulated recyclable waste".
The 4-in-1 Recycling System
How has Taiwan been able to achieve these benchmarks since the EPA's founding 25 years ago? The head of the EPA, Minister Stephen Shu-Hung Shen explains: "[The] political will of the people is very strong. NGOs are very strong, and model good environmental stewardship action to the general public."
According to the minister working with NGOs to build consensus is important to changing behaviour, and if people understand the importance of coming to a consensus and adjusting their daily behaviour to protect the environment and the economy, then change will occur. To achieve SMM policy goals, and build buy-in and consensus, the EPA developed a unique, all stakeholder-inclusive, comprehensive mechanism, the '4-in-1 Resource Recycling System'. The first of the four steps saw community-based NGOs organised to promote the source separation of waste.
The second step involved the development of a private recycling industry and the purchasing of recyclables from communities and Municipal Garbage Collection Teams encouraged
The third step saw Municipal Garbage Collection Teams separate and collect MSW and recyclables, and provide a preset portion of the proceeds from the sale of resources to participating organisations and workers.
In the final of the four steps a Recycling Management Fund was established and to efficiently regulate recycling activities, the EPA established the Recycling Fund Management Board (RFMB) in 1998. The EPA sets fees which not only manufacturers, but also importers, must pay into the Recycling Management Fund, which supports program costs (including actual collection and recycling work, subsidies for education, auditing, and certifications).
In past years, the Fund has managed an average "collection, disposal and treatment fee" (CDTF) of $208.5 million/year.
When the EPA evolves into the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MENR), the Waste Disposal Act and the Resource Recycling Act will likely be combined as the ministry leverages its new formidable database.
Since 2000, specific industries have been required to use the EPA's user-friendly online waste tracking and reporting system, the Industrial Waste Control Report System (IWCRS), to report waste within 24 of it being shipped, received, or completely treated. The Waste Disposal Act stipulates that all garbage trucks must pass specifications and maintenance tests, and have permits for transportation and disposal, as well as GPS tracking systems, transmitting the truck's location every 30 seconds to the IWCRS. As of 2011, 5872 trucks had passed the test out of an estimated 7000 in operation nationwide. Industrial hazardous and toxic waste trucks are closely monitored, and employ barcode scanners to check manifests and compare data between generators and transporters' disposal routes. If a truck leaves its route, or enters a water source protection area, alarm systems will automatically dispatch inspectors, who have PDAs connected to the system, for immediate on-site investigations. In 2010, 432 suspected violations were discovered, and 58 citations were issued. The IWCRS is the most visited website of all Taiwanese government websites – approximately half a million businesses, nearly all major industrial waste generators, use the reporting system.
On Dec. 30, 2011, the EPA brought its Illegal Dumping Management System online to create a database of dump sites around using GPS satellites to discover unreported sites. Database auditing and mining assist inspectors in discovering violations, which trigger on-site inspections of waste generators. Stiff fines and penalties are stipulated for corporations and individuals who violate the law, including up to NT$15 million ($500,000) in fines and three years to life imprisonment . The EPA mandates over 10,000 on-site inspections annually, but acknowledges that more inspectors are needed, and has implemented an education, training, and certification system to address any possible false reporting.
As a result of enforcement policies, significant improvements continue to be documented. Between the 2004 implementation of the waste separation policy and 2011, MSW collected dropped 38.4%, recyclables increased 96.6%, and most impressively, kitchen waste collected increased 171.1%. The rate of recyclable materials collected has been calculated by the the EPA to be at 40.4% in 2011 and 10.74% for kitchen waste.
To build on this, by September new regulations for registering, managing and CCTV monitoring of resource recycling will go into effect to improve the 10,000 formal and informal recycling centres around the nation.
In 2010, about 16.8 million tonnes of general industrial waste was reported by industries (generators), haulers (transporters), and treatment, storage and disposal facilities (TSDFs).
The Waste Disposal Act requires 25,861 generators, 4963 transporters, and 865 TSDFs to make online reports on the IWCRS, although over 466,000 firms now use the system. These generators represent 22% of the total generators on the island, and generate 80% of the waste annually. The remaining 20% of waste are generated by small-quantity generators. As of 2011, 80% of industrial waste and 90% of medical wastes have been properly disposed.
Benefits of Technology
The EPA's system provides savings and efficiencies to generators, by allowing generators to self-audit, even enabling parent companies control over reported data of its subsidiaries. Reporting functions are robust, including statistical analysis of temporary storage, permitted quantities, disposal quantity trends, GPS tracking inquiries, as well as automated alert systems.
The IWCRS also permits waste disposal facilities to track quantities as well as condition of post-treatment materials for possible reuse. All waste is accounted for and properly treated. The system audits waste manifests against permits for disposal, treatment, and recycling. Illegal dumping is now nearly under control, with a shrinking number of cases being pursued by the EPA. "We have removed the illegal economic advantages of the violators," states Shen.
The Promise of Zero-Waste
The effectiveness of SMM has resulted in 84% of industrial wastes being recycled, and the remaining 16% treated by the waste generators themselves, or through contracted professional services. Proper treatment of hazardous wastes is now at 60%, and the EPA and MOEA are evaluating ways to improve this rate. In March, the EPA announced a new NT$20 million ($674,000) fund to award grants for R&D into recycling methods and carbon footprint calculations for recycling methods for waste bio-plastics, e-waste, and each category of spent battery - all products posing particular challenges to the recycling system.
It was only in 1984 that Taiwan first began construction of sanitary landfills, and not until 1991 were the first incinerators built. Today, 21 government-owned and three privately-owned waste to energy incinerators treat approximately 20,000 tonnes of MSW daily, generating 8000 MWh/day of electricity. All 150 incinerators in Taiwan are gradually being transformed into regional biomass energy centres. The remaining landfills are being shut down after reaching capacity, and future byproducts of incinerators will be used for land reclamation.
Taiwan's SMM policies have transformed from earlier 'end-of-pipe treatment' to the current 'zero-waste' mechanisms, and rates continue to improve by strategically progressing through step-by-step measures for 'source reduction' and 'resource recycling and reuse'. However, Taiwan's achievements in waste recycling are resulting in over-supply of incineration capacity, and private operators which won contracts based on low bids are seeking other feedstock to replace high-calorific waste like plastic and tyres that are being recycled out of the waste stream.
The treatment of hazardous wastes (HW) needs to improve as well; the latest numbers from the EPA indicate that in 2010, the top three types by volume are: electric arc smelting furnace ash, copper sludge, and waste solution. The EPA is evaluating what can be done to retrofit current mass burn incinerators for better combined heat and power (CHP) energy returns, as contract terms near their end.
The recovery of additional challenging materials, such as copper, from the waste stream is another area the EPA and MOEA are evaluating. According to EPA officials, the former models of Build-Operate-Transfer or Build-Operate-Own are also under evaluation.
A combination of the Waste Disposal Act, the Resource Recycling Act, strategic policy mechanisms, and leveraging technology to give enforcement teeth, has already yielded significant positive results in Taiwan. The present and near term sustainable materials management landscape includes a new generation waste to energy systems to replace aging mass burn incinerators operating well below capacity, mining landfills for recyclables, and projects to determine how to capitalise on recovered materials such as copper.
As Taiwan's extensive stakeholder consensus-building programs take root in the remainder of its society and recycling rates continue, policy-makers are seeking greater efficiencies in the next generation of technology.
The reclamation of hundreds of dump and landfill sites will continue to be a priority, as will upgrading waste to energy facilities, collection trucks, and recycling systems. Multinationals, particularly in consumer packaged goods and electronics, have already experienced benefits resulting from Taiwan's SMM policies. This trend is projected to continue across other industries.
Angelina Jao is a Masters Candidate at Harvard Universityhttp://www.waste-management-world.com/articles/print/volume-13/issue-5/wmw-special-recycling-focus/smmart-waste-management-pays-off-in-taiwan.html
Taking Recycling Lessons from Super Singapore http://www.waste-management-world.com/articles/print/volume-11/issue-5/features/taking-recycling-lessons-from-super-singapore.html
How No-Flush Toilets Can Help Make a Healthier World
Inadequate sewage systems and the lack of toilets in much of the developing world have created a major public health and environmental crisis. Now various innovators are promoting new kinds of toilets and technologies that use little or no water and recycle the waste.
My apartment in Kathmandu, where I lived for five years, had a toilet that looked very much like the one in my house in California. Nicer even; it was pastel porcelain and had dual flush.
But although flush toilets in Nepal and the rest of South Asia may work quite well, sewer systems have not kept pace. My toilet and all the others in my Kathmandu neighborhood were connected to pipes that carried the contents of toilets away from our residences and straight into a small river a half-mile away. Stray dogs lapped the water and children played nearby.
The rivers of the Indian subcontinent flow clean and clear from the Himalaya, then become little more than sewers as they run through major cities in the plains. New Delhi’s Yamuna River receives roughly half of the largely untreated sewage of a metropolis of 17 million. The Ganges, the holiest of Hindu rivers, is fouled by raw sewage from tens of millions of people as it flows 1,500 miles from the western Himalaya to the Bay of Bengal.
A movement is gaining momentum to do something about this major environmental and public health problem in South Asia and the developing world. The solution, many experts say, is not to invest in western-style flush toilets and centralized sewage systems but rather to develop toilets and decentralized waste-treatment technologies that use far less water. The latest development in this field is the decision by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to invest $40 million in prize money and financial support to groups working on new toilet technology.
The goal of the Gates Foundation and other international and South Asian initiatives is to construct prototypes of inexpensive toilets that use little or no water and minimal energy. The new toilets must convert human waste into useful (or at least benign) components without using septic systems. Most important, they must protect water sources — rivers, streams, and groundwater — from the water-borne diseases so endemic in the developing world.
------------Effluent Sewers Sustainably Accommodate Growing Communities
Many rural communities that formerly relied on septic systems have outgrown that
technology. Some communities are experiencing widespread failure of aging systems.
Other communities are growing, but their soil conditions won’t accommodate additional
septic systems. Larger communities want to grow, but their existing sewer systems can’t
accommodate new connections. In all these cases, neither conventional septic systems
nor gravity sewer systems are feasible.
Effluent sewers are a proven and sustainable solution for decentralized and rural
wastewater collection across Canada, and in many other countries. Not only can effluent
sewers serve rural areas, but they are also a cost-effective way to serve fringe
development just outside towns that don’t want to expand their conventional sewer
system. Victoria, Prince Edward Island: A Flexible System
Victoria is a small but popular tourist community with a peak season between June and
September. Victoria’s wastewater system, designed by Engineering Technologies Canada
(Stratford, PE), in cooperation with Harland Associates 02 Inc., consists of about 48
STEG systems. Effluent from these flows to a lift station that pumps it to the treatment
plant at a high point on the edge of town away from the tourist area. The effluent sewer
system also incorporates five residential STEP systems and two commercial STEP
systems. Campbell’s Concrete Ltd of Charlottetown, PE manufactured the interceptor
tanks, and Atlantic Purification Systems of Dartmouth, NS supplied the effluent sewer
and treatment equipment.
The treatment system consists of ten AdvanTex AX100 pods, with room to add an
additional five units if the community grows. The modular system accommodates the
large seasonal variation in flows. During the winter months, flows average 22,700 Lpd,
and only one-third of the treatment system is used. During the summer, flows rise to
49,200 Lpd, and the entire modular system is utilized.
After secondary treatment in the AdvanTex pods, the effluent is dispersed to the ground.
The system has two drainfields: a pressure dose sand bed and a drip irrigation system.
The pressure dose bed works all year round; the drip system comes online automatically
in mid-June and goes offline September 22. During these months, both drainfields are in
An extension to the existing effluent sewer is planned for further development expected
to occur on the edge of Victoria in the future.Habitat Acres, Alberta: A Sustainable System
Sten Berg, a farmer, livestock producer, and consultant, wanted to create a sustainable
housing development on 27.5 hectares of his land near Sherwood Park, Alberta. Habitat
Acres, a 29-home planned community, is the result. It includes an 18.2-hectare nature
reserve, two waterfowl nesting areas, and the first self-contained effluent sewage
treatment system ever approved in Alberta.
To maximize open space and preserve wetlands, Berg wanted to reduce lot sizes from the
usual 0.8-hectare minimum, so conventional septic systems were out of the question. An
Orenco effluent sewer with AdvanTex treatment solved the problem. Onsite Specialties
Inc. of Sherwood Park, Alberta supplied the collection and treatment system.
Each of the 29 lots has a 4500-L concrete interceptor tank, supplied by Alberta Wilbert
Sales - Edmonton. Effluent is pumped to three AdvanTex AX100 pods. After treatment,
the effluent is discharged to a drip irrigation system.
The project at Habitat Acres was a finalist in the 2010 Emerald Awards, presented by the
Alberta Emerald Foundation. These awards ‘celebrate the outstanding achievements by
Albertans committed to protecting, preserving, and sustaining our environment.’
Many areas in Alberta have embraced effluent sewers for providing infrastructure for
new developments on the fringes of existing cities. Alberta Wilbert Sales Ltd has more
than 1500 interceptor tanks installed in areas including Grand Prairie and the County of
Effluent sewers can be ideal solutions for villages and small cities, but there is no limit to
the number of lots connected to the collection network. Many larger cities have
incorporated this technology into their overall sewer management system, where the effluent sewer serves thousands of homes and commercial lots. This allows the city
engineers to choose the best option to serve the various areas in the city, without being
limited to only gravity sewer. Other Benefits of Effluent Sewer Systems
• In most systems that are built to serve new developments, the cost of the on-lot
equipment is included in the homeowner’s mortgage, so upfront investment by the
community or developer is minimal.
• The small-diameter collection lines can be installed in shallow, narrow trenches,
or directional drilled, minimizing disruption in the community. Lines follow the
contour of the land, avoiding difficult and expensive deep trenching.
• Service can begin as soon as the first household in a new development is
connected. No minimum velocity is required for the effluent sewer network as
solids are excluded, simplifying design, installation, and operation.
• Effluent sewer systems are watertight, eliminating infiltration and inflow common
to gravity sewers, and reducing the hydraulic loading on the treatment plant.
• Sludge management is greatly reduced through natural, passive anaerobic
digestion in the interceptor tanks, simplifying treatment plant design and
minimizing life-cycle costs.
• Since primary treatment occurs at each home or business, abuse of the system,
such as disposal of chemicals, generally affects only the household responsible.
• Risks are minimized and distributed as malfunctions generally affect only one
household at a time. In the event of a malfunction or natural disaster, the septic
tank provides reserve holding capacity.
• Properly maintained effluent sewer systems require fewer personnel and less
heavy equipment to service than other sewer systems do.
Together, effluent sewers and media filter advanced treatment form a sustainable and
robust system that uses minimal energy, safeguards groundwater and the environment,
and imposes costs fairly on the users. Communities of all sizes across Canada can benefit
from this proven technology.
Geoff Salthouse is International Project Engineer at Orenco Systems, Inc., Sutherlin,
Effluent-Only Sewers Offer Alternative to Traditional Systemshttp://www.waterworld.com/articles/print/volume-28/issue-8/editorial-features/effluent-only-sewers-offer-alternative-to-traditional-systems.html
Psst, tough guy — time to hit the mat. Really. Yoga for men is in the big leagues now.
Don’t believe it? Just ask former Blue Jay slugger Joe Carter, who is starring in a DVD with Trish Stratus, pro wrestler-turned-yoga instructor, and has been doing yoga for years.
Called Stratusphere Yoga for Men, the 25-minute workout incorporates moves you wouldn’t expect in a traditional class, including lunges, squats and push-ups.
“I used to shy away from yoga because I thought it was for sissies,” says the 52-year-old-old Carter. “I was wrong — it’s a great workout that every man needs to do on a regular basis.”
It doesn’t hurt that major sports teams, including the Maple Leafs and the Argonauts, use yoga in their training. “Guys are clueing in,” Stratus says. “Athletes are discovering that it helps their injuries and even extends their careers.”
Men are a growing market for yoga, says Michael DeCorte, who teaches Jockyoga. comJock YogaEND and says his classes are about 40 per cent men.
“This is a generalization, but when the average male hears the word yoga, they think of spiritualism and things like that,” he says. “But if you want a good workout, I’ll give you one — no chanting, no incense, and you’ll be doing a lot more than touching your toes.”
He says far from lying on a mat, a lot of repetition and stretches work the major muscles.
Stratus, who was a seven-time World Wrestling Entertainment champion, befriended Carter a few years back at a charity golf tournament.
He talked to her about his injuries from playing pro ball for decades, saying he’d give anything to get rid of the pain. Stratus gave him the beginnings of a routine that quickly made him one of the converted.
“I wish I had this workout 20 years ago,” says Carter. “I probably could have won another championship.”
But Stratus says the truth of the matter is that like most men, the baseball legend wouldn’t have even considered yoga two decades ago.
And although she says men have grown from 10 per cent of her classes to 40 per cent, she admits many men are still hesitant.
Her first classes directed to men was called Yoga for Guys Who Like Fries in an attempt to break down the “new age, touchy, feely” image of the discipline.
“Guys still think they’ll look stupid,” she says. “Some think they have to be the best and when they see this 30-something woman who’s way more flexible than them, they don’t like it.”http://www.thestar.com/living/health/article/1283004--joe-carter-s-yoga-routine