Dec 12, 2014

Bottling Up Savings with Recyling

Waste Management
Adam Groff
3 min
You probably already know that recycling is great for the planet, but did you know it's also great for the wallet? All across the country...

You probably already know that recycling is great for the planet, but did you know it's also great for the wallet?

All across the country small businesses, major corporations, and households are saving money and the environment by recycling.

Here are just a few ways recycling benefits the United States in some pretty major ways:

Top States for Recycling

Recycling programs are springing up all across the country and cities of all sizes are jumping on board.

From optimized collecting practices to state of the art recycling centers, some states are paving the way for vastly improved recycling methods in the U.S.

They include:

  • San Francisco, California - The City by the Bay had a goal of recycling 75 percent of its waste by 2020. Well, San Francisco has already met and exceeded its goal because it diverts nearly 80 percent of waste from landfills each year. Thanks to the Recology program, the city recycles more types of waste than any other city in the US.
  • Phoenix, Arizona - Through its Phoenix Recycles program, the city under the sun now collects nearly 115,000 tons of recyclable material from households alone each year. The city of 1.5 million reached such a high volume of recycled materials by offering every district easy ways to recycle like curbside service.
  • Hartford, Connecticut - Although the city only has 125,000 residents, Hartford increased its collecting from 8 tons to 16 tons per week with its RecycleBank program, which offers incentives to businesses and households.

Government Incentives

Speaking of incentives, the government is getting involved in the recycling process as well.

As the following article notes, government tax incentives are just 1 of 5 easy ways to save more money while also saving the planet. These incentives are offered to both businesses and homeowners who pledge to make recycling a priority.

For households, many cities have direct incentive programs that give homeowners discounts on their utilities when they meet their recycling goals.

There are also state recycling tax incentives that give cities and their residents tax breaks for recycling. Likewise, the government also offers businesses tax credits for their recycling efforts.

Successful Collecting Methods

When cities make recycling easier for the population, numbers increase exponentially.

Because of this, cities all across the country are implementing more convenient recycling methods in order to boost recycling rates and keep their cities in the green.

Major cities have already adopted the curbside collection, which makes it easier for homeowners to recycle their weekly refuse.

In addition, many cities are also giving residents larger bins with wheels and handles to make getting recyclables to the curb that much easier.

The Impact

Cost savings and convenience are important, but so is the impact recycling has on the environment.

As more cities adopt new ways to recycle, it results in fewer landfills as well as landfills already in operation not filling up as quickly.

Likewise, recycling materials such as plastics decreases production of new plastics, which reduces carbon emissions and greenhouse gasses from plastics factories.

When it comes to recycling and saving, it's plain to see that the U.S. is taking a step in the right direction.

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Jun 25, 2021

UK must stop blundering into high carbon choices warns CCC

Dominic Ellis
5 min
The UK must put an end to a year of climate contradictions and stop blundering on high carbon choices warns the Climate Change Committee

The UK Government must end a year of climate contradictions and stop blundering on high carbon choices, according to the Climate Change Committee as it released 200 policy recommendations in a progress to Parliament update.

While the rigour of the Climate Change Act helped bring COP26 to the UK, it is not enough for Ministers to point to the Glasgow summit and hope that this will carry the day with the public, the Committee warns. Leadership is required, detail on the steps the UK will take in the coming years, clarity on tax changes and public spending commitments, as well as active engagement with people and businesses across the country.

"It it is hard to discern any comprehensive strategy in the climate plans we have seen in the last 12 months. There are gaps and ambiguities. Climate resilience remains a second-order issue, if it is considered at all. We continue to blunder into high-carbon choices. Our Planning system and other fundamental structures have not been recast to meet our legal and international climate commitments," the update states. "Our message to Government is simple: act quickly – be bold and decisive."

The UK’s record to date is strong in parts, but it has fallen behind on adapting to the changing climate and not yet provided a coherent plan to reduce emissions in the critical decade ahead, according to the Committee.

  • Statutory framework for climate The UK has a strong climate framework under the Climate Change Act (2008), with legally-binding emissions targets, a process to integrate climate risks into policy, and a central role for independent evidence-based advice and monitoring. This model has inspired similarclimate legislation across the world.
  • Emissions targets The UK has adopted ambitious territorial emissions targets aligned to the Paris Agreement: the Sixth Carbon Budget requires an emissions reduction of 63% from 2019 to 2035, on the way to Net Zero by 2050. These are comprehensive targets covering all greenhouse gases and all sectors, including international aviation and shipping.
  • Emissions reduction The UK has a leading record in reducing its own emissions: down by 40% from 1990 to 2019, the largest reduction in the G20, while growing the economy (GDP increased by 78% from 1990 to 2019). The rate of reductions since 2012 (of around 20 MtCO2e annually) is comparable to that needed in the future.
  • Climate Risk and Adaptation The UK has undertaken three comprehensive assessments of the climate risks it faces, and the Government has published plans for adapting to those risks. There have been some actions in response, notably in tackling flooding and water scarcity, but overall progress in planning and delivering adaptation is not keeping up with increasing risk. The UK is less prepared for the changing climate now than it was when the previous risk assessment was published five years ago.
  • Climate finance The UK has been a strong contributor to international climate finance, having recently doubled its commitment to £11.6 billion in aggregate over 2021/22 to 2025/26. This spend is split between support for cutting emissions and support for adaptation, which is important given significant underfunding of adaptation globally. However, recent cuts to the UK’s overseas aid are undermining these commitments.

In a separate comment, it said the Prime Minister’s Ten-Point Plan was an important statement of ambition, but it has yet to be backed with firm policies. 

Baroness Brown, Chair of the Adaptation Committee said: “The UK is leading in diagnosis but lagging in policy and action. This cannot be put off further. We cannot deliver Net Zero without serious action on adaptation. We need action now, followed by a National Adaptation Programme that must be more ambitious; more comprehensive; and better focussed on implementation than its predecessors, to improve national resilience to climate change.”

Priority recommendations for 2021 include setting out capacity and usage requirements for Energy from Waste consistent with plans to improve recycling and waste prevention, and issue guidance to align local authority waste contracts and planning policy to these targets; develop (with DIT) the option of applying either border carbon tariffs or minimum standards to imports of selected embedded-emission-intense industrial and agricultural products and fuels; and implement a public engagement programme about national adaptation objectives, acceptable levels of risk, desired resilience standards, how to address inequalities, and responsibilities across society. 

Drax Group CEO Will Gardiner said the report is another reminder that if the UK is to meet its ambitious climate targets there is an urgent need to scale up bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS).

"As the world’s leading generator and supplier of sustainable bioenergy there is no better place to deliver BECCS at scale than at Drax in the UK. We are ready to invest in and deliver this world-leading green technology, which would support clean growth in the north of England, create tens of thousands of jobs and put the UK at the forefront of combatting climate change."

Drax Group is kickstarting the planning process to build a new underground pumped hydro storage power station – more than doubling the electricity generating capacity at its iconic Cruachan facility in Scotland. The 600MW power station will be located inside Ben Cruachan – Argyll’s highest mountain – and increase the site’s total capacity to 1.04GW (click here).

Lockdown measures led to a record decrease in UK emissions in 2020 of 13% from the previous year. The largest falls were in aviation (-60%), shipping (-24%) and surface transport (-18%). While some of this change could persist (e.g. business travellers accounted for 15-25% of UK air passengers before the pandemic), much is already rebounding with HGV and van travel back to pre-pandemic levels, while car use, which at one point was down by two-thirds, only 20% below pre-pandemic levels.

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