According to reports received recently, efforts made in Dubai to recycle steel and concrete from demolition sites are being wasted due to contractors refusing to opt for recycled building material produced in the UAE itself. The contractors seem to not take too much interest in the environmental benefits derived from using such material. It takes around 10 dirhams for every truckload of construction-related waste to be dumped in a landfill.
The UAE currently has two recycling plants for turning demolition and construction waste into construction materials. Environmental experts say that using recycled construction material produced locally can assist towards cutting down on CO2 emissions – also helping buildings cut back on their environmental impact.
The boom years in Dubai witnessed a production of 11 million tones of construction-related waste per year, according to Neil Roberts, CEO, Emirates Recycling. With the current rate of construction waste production at 20%, the impact on the environment is still huge.
Emirates Recycling’s Construction and Demolition Waste is able to recycle over 500 truckloads or 3 million tones of construction waste per year.
Having the recycling plants and the recycled material is all worthless if it is not going to be used. Turning the construction waste into CDW (waste generated from processing plants and new building sites and concrete waste) does not complete the full sequence of recycling unless it is actually used.
Experts say the UAE needs a policy change with regards to construction and the use of recycled, locally produced material – encouraging builders towards reusing recycled CDW. Another initiative could be government incentives persuading companies to embrace more environmentally friendly practices.
Recycling is generally all about garbage, glass bottles, newspapers and so on and so forth. A new study however talks about expanding on the practice of recycling miniscule items such as cigarette butts.
Termed as ‘tiny trash’, also cited in the report as an item of garbage found almost anywhere and everywhere – the study outlines ways and means of recycling cigarette butts. Reusing cigarette butts can be done to prevent the corrosion of steel, which incidentally causes big time oil producers an annual sum of a few million dollars. The study’s findings are featured in the ACS’ Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research.
The study was carried out by a team headed by Jun Zhao. In their report they state that annually, around 4.5 trillion cigarette butts are found amongst the trash. Cigarette butts are an eyesore, but other studies indicate even more. Cigarette butts also contain various toxic materials that are quite harmful towards the environment. Cigarette butts thrown into rivers and lakes are quite likely to kill fish as well. Recycling these cigarette butts is one fabulous way of solving these problems – and finding a practical use for it is an act that must be applauded.
The study states that cigarette butts when put in water and then applied onto N80 steel which is used fairly commonly in the oil industry, is a fabulous method of protecting it from corrosion, even under harsh weather conditions. This new find will mean that oil producers will save a lot of money spent otherwise on damages caused by corrosion, and even due to interruptions caused in the production cycle.
Electronics are all the rage, not just in America, but all around the world; and it will continue to be so for many more years. With new products constantly being developed, who cannot resist getting themselves brand new fancy gadgets, be it an iPad or a funky mobile phone. The most important question is: how do you get rid of your old stuff?
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) figures indicate that in 2007, the USA was responsible for turning out around 3 million tones of e-waste. Out of this, a mere 13.6% was recycled. What happened to the rest? It either ended up in landfills or was shipped across to third world countries. E-waste seems to be growing and growing, fuelling concern regarding health and the environment as well.
Electronic items contain various toxins such as mercury, lead, beryllium and arsenic which are responsible for various health issues and even cancer. According to an official at the Natural Resources Defence Council (NDRC), a single electronic item has adequate toxins to seriously affect the health of one person. For example, a CRT monitor contains 4-8lbs of lead.
Taking this into consideration, do not just throw away electronic equipment like you do with normal garbage. If these items get into landfills, the toxins could seep into groundwater and eventually poison the water in the area – posing very serious health concerns. Incinerating it is even worse.
A report by the Government Accountability Office in 2008 indicated that an extensive amount of electronic equipment was sent across to third world countries such as India, Africa and China. In these countries, people tend to take these products apart using their bare hands, which, in turn exposes them to these harmful chemicals. Sometimes, such electronic items are found in unlined pits which means, the groundwater could get poisoned.
While legislation against exporting electronic waste does not exist as yet, it is currently being lobbied for; but until then, it lies in the hand of responsible e-recyclers.
Being a golf player and environmentally friendly at the same time can be difficult. Take into consideration that in the US alone, around 300 million golf balls are discarded or lost, according to estimations. Then think of the discovery made by the Danish Golf Union’s research which indicates that a golf ball takes between 100-1,000 years to decompose under natural circumstances.
If your golf ball lands in a lake, then once it starts to disintegrate, it gradually releases fairly high levels of zinc into the water. To avert such a situation, a Spanish manufacturer of golf balls has a solution. His invention of an environmentally friendly golf ball might just solve the problem. This golf ball, once it hits the water, starts to dissolve – but that is not all; the golf ball’s inside contains fish food.
The manufacturer, Albert Buscato said that he invented this new environmentally friendly golf ball because he thought it would be a great way of improving on the biodegradable sporting equipment available in the market, which is of course limited.
This new golf ball, named Ecobioball has an outer layer of plastic polymer which is recyclable. This outer layer dissolves completely during the course of two days. The inner ball is made completely out of fish food.
The Ecobioball weighs in at 50.5g, which is a tad lighter than the average golf ball, but can be used for practice sessions. These golf balls are meant mainly for single use – which will bring down its price a fair amount.
Today’s Golfer’s David Connor however says the Ecobioball is far behind and is nowhere close to being a biodegradable golf ball of high quality. He cites this to the low performance associated with the Ecobioball, and says convincing golfers to actually purchase single use golf balls could prove to be quite a task.