Attacking the Plastic Waste Epidemic Head On

We were very pleased to discover this organization called the Plastic Bank. 

It’s predicated on the idea that waste plastic, which is one of the world’s most daunting environmental challenges, possesses what they believe to be an “abundance of opportunity”.

Their site, www.plasticbank.org, lays out the argument in very lucid terms and you come away feeling that you are looking at a very well meaning and more importantly, well structured organization.  

We don’t have to tell you just how much plastic wastes is created in the world every single day. But it’s easily in the millions of tons. It’s something that concerns everyone and should. But the vision of this group is to create plastic exchanges all over the world and be able to sort and funnel this waste plastic to wherever it can be most easily re-purposed.

This is an admirable mission. And probably something that would be of great interest to a number of different types of recycling organizations.

The world is changing and it’s big ideas like this that helping that change be a change for the better.

Are Biofuels Becoming Commercially Viable?

The argument for and against biofuels in the United States has raged back and forth for years. On the one hand, there are people who shout that one should never turn food (typically corn) into fuel. On the other hand are people shouting back that oil won’t go on forever, and they need to find a viable solution now before it’s too late. However, both sides of the argument in America are quickly being ignored. The reason for that is because biofuels have outgrown the argument, and are quickly becoming commercial industries all over the world rather than just in the first world.

The Country’s Needs

Because of advances in technology it’s become possible to create biofuels out of a wider variety of products than just corn. Fuel additives can be made from palm oil, ethanol can be strained from used vegetation, and it’s possible to make fuel from hemp as well as from algae. These are just a handful of the potential solutions. While it might have been Europe and America that took the first, pioneering steps into the idea of biofuels, the rest of the world has left them behind while searching for their own solutions.

The result of this search is that different countries have adapted different solutions based on what is plentiful in their areas. For instance, countries in South America are focusing solutions on the natural products that come out of the rain forest, while companies in Indonesia are looking to the solutions that abundant supplies of palm oil might yield. There is no reason to have a single type of biofuel for the entire world when there are different solutions readily available on so many different countries’ doorsteps just waiting to be utilized.

Sustainability Is Key

When it comes to biofuels and whether or not they’re commercially viable, the keyword is sustainability. This is the reason that the arguments can get so polarized in the United States; so many people view biofuels as either food or fuel. If biofuel was being made from algae, or from witch grass, there would be no argument because the places those plants grow are not the places that one can grow food. Or, take it a step further, if biofuels could be made from something that was generally considered a waste product, then they would be embraced as a way to reduce waste and to recycle even more. Provided that enough of it can be made to meet the demand.

The viability of a biofuel as a solution depends on how much of it a population needs. In parts of Europe where it is more common to take public transportation or to walk, where the need for any fuel will be lower, then a given solution might be quite viable. That same solution may not work in America, where there are huge spaces and where transportation is largely an individual responsibility. However, just because a solution won’t work in one country doesn’t mean another can’t use it.

This post is contributed by Linda Bailey from housekeeping.org. She is a Texas-based writer who loves to write on the topics of housekeeping, green living, home décor, and more. She welcomes your comments which can be sent to b.lindahousekeeping@gmail.com

Thanks, Linda. 

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