IPCC REPORT 2018 – What does it mean?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released a new report SR15

If the global temperature rises by 1.5°C, humans will face unprecedented climate-related risks and weather events.  Currently we are on track for a 3 degrees or more of warming if we do not change course.

It’s the final call; the most extensive warning thus far on the risks of rising global temperatures.

Zero Carbon Britain the flagship research project from the Centre for Alternative Technology, has produced a report  Raising Ambition.

 

 

Is plastic ever really biodegradable

Why is this important? The plastic pollution highlighted by the Blue Planet TV Program is plastic that was not recycled or incinerated or put in landfill. If it had been it would not be in the oceans. It’s litter. The same applies to litter in Britain. I believe that the only solution it to make sure that packaging is fully biodegradable. But that leads to problem of what to we mean by biodegradable. There is a lot of Greenwash in this area.

Let’s start with a definition.

Biodegradable: capable of being broken down especially into innocuous products by the action of living things such as microorganisms[1]

The problem is that capable does not mean it will breakdown. To quote Jacqueline McGlade, chief scientist at the UN Environment Programme. “It’s well-intentioned but wrong. A lot of plastics labelled biodegradable, like shopping bags, will only break down in temperatures of 50C and that is not the ocean. They are also not buoyant, so they’re going to sink, so they’re not going to be exposed to UV and break down”[2]

If they need to get to 50oC that will also not happen in the British countryside, not even this Year.

Is compostable an alternative term? Again, this may only work at temperatures above ambient. So, I think compostable can be as misleading as biodegradable.

So, what is the alternative. The best solution is to eliminate single use packaging. But this is utopian. So what alternatives are there.

For some uses paper bags are a good solution. Where paper bags do not work there are alternatives which claim to work but the question I ask is do they breakdown in the environment be that the ocean or the countryside, or even the city.   These alternatives include cellophane and “plastic” made from corn or potato starch.

Searching the web finds lots of products but are they really the solution. I do not know. The term “Home Compostable” look promising but I fear it could become greenwash.

Greenpeace have a useful video here on plastic packaging.

For the more technically minded one informative link is The truth about bioplastics by Renee Cho, Earth Institute, Columbia University  from Phys.org

Ian Caldwell

 

Eco-Chat, Thoughts and Action

Transition Malvern Hills (TMHills) continues to promote and support sustainable projects and initiatives in Malvern and the surrounding area.  We are organising regular meet ups, (under the title of TMHills Eco-Chat, Thoughts and Action), for individuals and groups to discuss how Malvern is making the positive changes needed to reduce our environmental impact.  There will be monthly meetings normally at Greenlink for all that wish to participate in these friendly discussions.

Below is the chats we have currently planned. To keep upto date sign up for our mailing list here. 

  • 11:00 on Wednesday, 14 November 2018

    Topic: How are we doing?

    Location: Greenlink Organic Foods, 11 Graham Rd, Malvern WR14 2HR, UK

Make a difference use less plastic display tour

Transition Malvern Hills campaign to reduce the use of single use plastic in the Malvern Hills area has a display.  This display is going on tour.  The Dates are:

See plasticfree.transitionmalvernhills.org.uk for the campaign  details.

Electric Bike Loan in Ledbury

The electric bike loan scheme is hoping to expand to Ledbury.

Our appeal for funds to have an Electric Bike in Ledbury has been successful in being part of the Ledbury Tesco plastic bag Community Fund. So all tokens deposited in the Ledbury store in May and June will contribute and depending where we are placed amongst the 3 contenders will determine the amount we get. If you are in Ledbury please add your tokens if you shop at Tesco.

Malvern seed and plant swap

The Malvern seed and plant swap will take place in the  Lyttleton rooms, Saturday April 14, 2018 10.00am – 3.00pm

A chance for you to start growing / diversify what you grow / share excess seeds / find new plants / meet like-minded people / contribute to a good cause.

  • Come and find seeds and plants for garden, patio, or pot.
  • Give your divided plants, excess cuttings and seedlings a new home and find something different for yourself.
  • Bring surplus seeds (in date and divided into small quantities) and swap; we have a variety of self saved 2017 seeds, really interesting new varieties from Tamar Organics and flower / veg offerings from Thompson & Morgan and Sarah Raven.
  • Donate unwanted / broken manual tools, sewing machines, good garden sundries.
  • Have some tools sharpened (noon-3pm)
  • Munch a home-made savoury muffin or cake and have a drink while browsing.

Proceeds to Tools for Self Reliance – tools for sale on the day.

Can you help on the day or offer cakes / savouries? if  so contact: Caroll Murphy caroll.a.murphy@gmail.com or  MaggieJo St John mjstj@me.com