#recycling

Returning wind turbines to Mother Nature

Don’t ask questions. Renewables are there to save the planet. Period. Including wind. That is until decommissioned. In Wyoming, Casper Solid Waste Manager, Cynthia Langston, said that though most turbine blades can be reused, there are some that are simply un-recyclable. So 900 blades are headed for landfill.

Langston said, “These blades are really big, and they take up a lot of airspace, and our unlined area is very, very large, and it’s going to last hundreds of years.”

Fibreglass can be ground down into fine particles. Although there is a lot of work to cut up 80m wind turbine blades to be able to be fed into a grinder.

Blades can be incinerated but fibreglass contains only 25%~30% organic material, so its heat content is low, and its ash content is high. The ash is primarily calcium oxide, which comes from the calcium carbonate, boron, and other oxides in the glass. That heads straight to landfill.

Pyrolysis is the process of chemically decomposing or transforming a material into one or several recoverable substances by heating it to very high temperatures in an oxygen-depleted environment. Pyrolysis is different from incineration, which takes place in an open atmosphere.

Pyrolyzed fibreglass decomposes into three recoverable substances: pyro-gas, pyro-oil, and solid byproduct— all of which can be recycled. In the US, auto tyres are treated this way. However in order to put blades into a pyrolysis reactor, they must be shredded into 2″ pieces (a lot from one 80 metre blade). At about 5000F, the hydrocarbons in the resin decompose into gas. The gas is drawn off and sent through a scrubber, which separates it into pyro-gas and pyro-oil. The pyrogas is very clean and has an energy content similar to natural gas.

In Germany cement maker Holcim is using the polyesters coming from crushed turbine blades for use in cement. Recycling 1000 tonnes of fibreglass material in cement manufacture saves up to 450 tonnes of coal, 200 tonnes of chalk, 200 tonnes of sand and 150 tonnes of aluminium oxide.

Wyoming could theoretically follow the lead of Holcim but presumably, the cost to recycle fibreglass turbines is way more expensive than to bury them.

Have the old ruined the planet for the youth as they prepare for the school climate strike tomorrow?

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As the school climate strikes are prepared for tomorrow, it is worth reflecting on the recklessness of the older generations…or not…

At the store check out, the young cashier suggested to the much older lady that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags are not good for the environment.

The woman apologized to the young girl and explained, “We didn’t have this ‘green thing’ back in my earlier days.”

The young clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations.”

The older lady said that she was right our generation didn’t have the “green thing” in its day. The older lady went on to explain: Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled.

But we didn’t have the “green thing” back in our day. Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags that we reused for numerous things. Most memorable besides household garbage bags was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our school books. This was to ensure that public property (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribblings. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags.

But, too bad we didn’t do the “green thing” back then. We walked up stairs because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But she was right. We didn’t have the “green thing” in our day.

Back then we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts. Wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days.

Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that young lady is right; we didn’t have the “green thing” back in our day.
Back then we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana.

In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us.

When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power.

We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she’s right; we didn’t have the “green thing” back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blade in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn’t have the “green thing” back then.
Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service in the family’s $45,000 SUV or van, which cost what a whole house did before the “green thing.”

We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint.
But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the “green thing” back then?

Please forward this on to another selfish old person who needs a lesson in conservation from a smart ass young person. We don’t like being old in the first place, so it doesn’t take much to piss us off… Especially from a tattooed, multiple pierced smartass who can’t make change without the cash register telling them how much.

The evil plastic industry?

Sadly a post from a former competitor spoke of how no plastic is ‘guilt free’. CM simply replied “all plastic CM uses is 100% guilt free”. Worse, there was an absurd assertion that the plastic industry was going out of its way to keep polluting the world. Is it?

Basically she’s going to have to give everything up. Her credit cards are plastic. No doubt most of her car interior, toys and utensils for her young child contain a lot of plastic. Same for the toothbrush, iPhone,iPad, laptop, desktop and TV.

The article from The Intercept showed the reality of plastic. When the Chinese stopped recycling the world’s plastic waste in 2017 it only proved how far down the cost curve plastic has become.

Think about it. Plastic is one of the most versatile, practical, strong and flexible materials that can be produced at really low cost. The reason why China doesn’t recycle the world’s waste is that it’s not cost effective. If it was they’d still do it. The Chinese didn’t stop it because they felt pangs of “guilt”.

Speaking of guilt. No sooner had the virtue signaling at Coles & Woolworths supermarkets started, both launched plastic toy series to encourage kids to collect the full set.how many plastic bags in one mini shop or ooshie? While shopping the other day. A kindergarten was doing trip to the super market in hi-vis jackets. The store manager handed all the kids a plastic bag full of goodies. Great PR. Hopefully the teachers won’t confuse the kids while teaching the alphabet that plastic is evil and they must feel guilty.

In 2006 the UK Environment Agency did a study on the effectiveness of alternative packaging solutions to HDPE (conventional plastic bags) in terms of lowering environmental impact. It said,

The paper, LDPE, non-woven PP and cotton bags should be reused at least 3, 4, 11 and 131 times respectively to ensure that they have lower [impact] than conventional HDPE carrier bags that are not reused.”

So if conventional biodegradable plastic shopping bags are used to throw out garbage that means 6, 8, 22 and 262 days.

The plastic industry isn’t fighting to pollute the world. Laziness in its disposal is the problem.

60% of mismanaged plastic waste was from East Asia (i.e. China), 11% from South Asia; 9% from sub-Saharan Africa; 8% from MENA; 7% from LatAm; 3% from Europe and 0.9% from North America. Australia doesn’t even get a mention. Our impact is zero.

If all else fails, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau has the answers on plastic use.

Dame Emma jets in to join Extinction Rebellion climate protests

Dame Emma Thompson has joined the Extinction Rebellion (XR) protests in London. Sadly she just needed to jet in from Los Angeles to do so. Hollywood hypocrisy comes in all shapes and sizes. Surely she could have YouTubed her support from her gated mansion to do her bit!

For a group that demands we must be carbon neutral by 2025, there are always exceptions when it comes to themselves. Take the stacked coffee cups in the picture above.

Do these Einsteins realize that the majority of take away wax-lined coffee cups aren’t recycled even though they can feel good about themselves when disposing of it in the right bin? How many people elect to have their brew poured into a ceramic cup? Certainly not this lot.

The cost to recycle the 500 billion (and rising) coffee cups consumed annually is so astronomical (it is hard to separate the wax that stops the cup disintegrating because of the energy intensity involved to do so) that over 90% end up in landfill. No one talks about that 300 million tons of virgin paper used to make these cups! How many of us give it one thought when we need a shot of caffeine? Right?! Although Starbucks is trialing a 5p latte levy for those that elect to use a paper cup.

We pointed out the glaring mistakes made on the XR website earlier in the week. If only they did their homework. No doubt their proposal for citizen assemblies will be stacked with people with little knowledge of the subject matter. Perhaps they can sip on Starbucks lattes as they seek ecological justice.

While XR might claim they didn’t ask for a police presence, sadly public safety requires the Met commit already thin resources. 570 arrests have been made. Lying on the ground, according to XR, stretches the police even thinner as it requires 4 officers to carry them away.

Let’s say they win government support and hit 2025 carbon neutrality. Many industries would need to shut up shop to meet the demands of the protestors. Has XR built that into the manifesto? Of course not. Any price is worth paying when no one has bothered to work out the cost.