Easy ways to go green at work
London Junk is asking for minimal effort from office workers to help preserve the environment, improve the planet, and boost the green rating of their companies.
The waste disposal expert wants people to make a few simple adjustments in order to make a huge difference to the state of the nation, because while we are keen to recycle at home, the responsibility is too-often forgotten in the workplace.
Harsha Rathnayake, owner of London-Junk.co.uk, believes that the smallest changes could improve the quality of the planet and save companies a lot of money.
Rathnayake said: “We all work tirelessly at home to separate waste into our recycling bins and take old clothes to recycling banks, but when we get to work we seem to throw our attitudes to recycling out the window.
“It’s easy to feel less responsible at work, if there isn’t different recycling bins for example then people tend to think the recycling’s not their responsibility.
“But so much of what we use in an office environment can be recycled, and if everyone you work with chips in then a little effort will go a long way.
“If all offices were to pitch in and make small changes then the impact that would have on our countries’ overall recycling intake would be enormous.
“I’ve seen time and again whilst collecting waste from offices that have gone green just how big an impact it has had on their waste disposal and costs, and I don’t see any reason why this wouldn’t be the same for all business’.”
These are just 6 simple steps that will help you contribute towards a greener office:
Take your own food to work
Bringing your own lunch in containers rather than buying a sandwich and disposing of the packaging not only reduces your waste but it can come with health benefits, as this stops you being tempted to buy pastries and cakes at the local bakery.
Make purchasing decisions based on a greener mind-set
Purchasing higher quality supplies may be more expensive up front, but they often last longer and reduce not only the amount of waste produced, but the longer term costs of having to replace cheaper items. Switching to rechargeable batteries, or even purchasing products that run on solar power rather than batteries is another long-term cost effective strategy.
Travelling to work
We all know that driving to and from work every day has an impact on the environment, and whilst cars are becoming more environmentally friendly we are still a long way from having zero impact. Despite drawing some unsavory headlines in recent months, public transport is a good option if you have reliable and cost effective bus or train services. You could also look to car share if you have colleagues that live in the same area as you. Thirdly, if your company is open to it, working from home just one day a week can make a big impact on cutting your emissions over the course of a year.
Use less paper
There are lots of ways you can reduce paper, only printing when necessary, taking notes on a tablet or phone instead of a notebook or even storing information electronically rather that in paper format. It’s probably the most obvious step we can make but also one of the easiest.
Turn things off
It’s easy to forget to turn lights off when going in and out of rooms but remembering to do so not only reduces energy but also cut costs. There are lots of electronic devices, laptops, printers etc. that don’t need to be left on all the time. Another common sight in lots of offices is a mobile device being left constantly on charge. Try to avoid this, as aside from frying your phones battery it can also use a lot of unnecessary energy.
Dispose of your waste ethically
When it comes to clearing your waste, make sure you use a reputable company that is fully licensed to dispose of it. They will make sure as much as possible is reused and recycled.
Read the January 2017 issue of Energy Digital magazine
Carbon dioxide removal revenues worth £2bn a year by 2030
Carbon dioxide removal revenues could reach £2bn a year by 2030 in the UK with costs per megatonne totalling up to £400 million, according to the National Infrastructure Commission.
Engineered greenhouse gas removals will become "a major new infrastructure sector" in the coming decades - although costs are uncertain given removal technologies are in their infancy - and revenues could match that of the UK’s water sector by 2050. The Commission’s analysis suggests engineered removals technologies need to have capacity to remove five to ten megatonnes of carbon dioxide no later than 2030, and between 40 and 100 megatonnes by 2050.
The Commission states technologies fit into two categories: extracting carbon dioxide directly out of the air; and bioenergy with carbon capture technology – processing biomass to recapture carbon dioxide absorbed as the fuel grew. In both cases, the captured CO2 is then stored permanently out of the atmosphere, typically under the seabed.
The report sets out how the engineered removal and storage of carbon dioxide offers the most realistic way to mitigate the final slice of emissions expected to remain by the 2040s from sources that don’t currently have a decarbonisation solution, like aviation and agriculture.
It stresses that the potential of these technologies is “not an excuse to delay necessary action elsewhere” and cannot replace efforts to reduce emissions from sectors like road transport or power, where removals would be a more expensive alternative.
The critical role these technologies will play in meeting climate targets means government must rapidly kick start the sector so that it becomes viable by the 2030s, according to the report, which was commissioned by government in November 2020.
Early movement by the UK to develop the expertise and capacity in greenhouse gas removal technologies could create a comparative advantage, with the prospect of other countries needing to procure the knowledge and skills the UK develops.
The Commission recommends that government should support the development of this new sector in the short term with policies that drive delivery of these technologies and create demand through obligations on polluting industries, which will over time enable a competitive market to develop. Robust independent regulation must also be put in place from the start to help build public and investor confidence.
While the burden of these costs could be shared by different parts of industries required to pay for removals or in part shared with government, the report acknowledges that, over the longer term, the aim should be to have polluting sectors pay for removals they need to reach carbon targets.
Polluting industries are likely to pass a proportion of the costs onto consumers. While those with bigger household expenditures will pay more than those on lower incomes, the report underlines that government will need to identify ways of protecting vulnerable consumers and to decide where in relevant industry supply chains the costs should fall.
Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, Sir John Armitt, said taking steps to clean our air is something we’re going to have to get used to, just as we already manage our wastewater and household refuse.
"While engineered removals will not be everyone’s favourite device in the toolkit, they are there for the hardest jobs. And in the overall project of mitigating our impact on the planet for the sake of generations to come, we need every tool we can find," he said.
“But to get close to having the sector operating where and when we need it to, the government needs to get ahead of the game now. The adaptive approach to market building we recommend will create the best environment for emerging technologies to develop quickly and show their worth, avoiding the need for government to pick winners. We know from the dramatic fall in the cost of renewables that this approach works and we must apply the lessons learned to this novel, but necessary, technology.”
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and International Energy Agency estimate a global capacity for engineered removals of 2,000 to 16,000 megatonnes of carbon dioxide each year by 2050 will be needed in order to meet global reduction targets.
Yesterday Summit Carbon Solutions received "a strategic investment" from John Deere to advance a major CCUS project (click here). The project will accelerate decarbonisation efforts across the agriculture industry by enabling the production of low carbon ethanol, resulting in the production of more sustainable food, feed, and fuel. Summit Carbon Solutions has partnered with 31 biorefineries across the Midwest United States to capture and permanently sequester their CO2 emissions.
Cory Reed, President, Agriculture & Turf Division of John Deere, said: "Carbon neutral ethanol would have a positive impact on the environment and bolster the long-term sustainability of the agriculture industry. The work Summit Carbon Solutions is doing will be critical in delivering on these goals."
McKinsey highlights a number of CCUS methods which can drive CO2 to net zero:
- Today’s leader: Enhanced oil recovery Among CO2 uses by industry, enhanced oil recovery leads the field. It accounts for around 90 percent of all CO2 usage today
- Cementing in CO2 for the ages New processes could lock up CO2 permanently in concrete, “storing” CO2 in buildings, sidewalks, or anywhere else concrete is used
- Carbon neutral fuel for jets Technically, CO2 could be used to create virtually any type of fuel. Through a chemical reaction, CO2 captured from industry can be combined with hydrogen to create synthetic gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel
- Capturing CO2 from ambient air - anywhere Direct air capture (DAC) could push CO2 emissions into negative territory in a big way
- The biomass-energy cycle: CO2 neutral or even negative Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage relies on nature to remove CO2 from the atmosphere for use elsewhere