Ricardo and Recycling Technologies to characterise plastic waste derived clean fuel

• Recycling Technologies’ highly innovative PlaxxTM fuel is created from residual mixed plastic waste that is not amenable to direct recycling and would otherwise go to landfill. The company is working with Ricardo to characterise the use of this recycled, low sulphur fuel as a substitute for fossil based heavy fuel oil (HFO) and diesel in applications such as power generation and marine propulsion

IMG_1652_1-1024x882_webSwindon, 5th July 2016 – In the European Union alone, more than 25 million tonnes of post-consumer waste plastic is produced each year. Of this huge quantity of material, only 26 percent is recycled, with 36 percent going for incineration, while the remaining 38 percent contributes to the ever expanding problem of landfill. In addition to the loss of its material value, the carbon cost of processing this mixed waste is considerable, not least due to transportation, as many regions and states export their mixed plastic waste due to a lack of localised processing facilities. To help address this global issue, Recycling Technologies has developed a machine (RT7000) and is industrialising a process to convert residual plastic waste into a low sulphur hydrocarbon compound known as PlaxxTM. This can be used as a petrochemical feedstock, a manufacturing commodity such as paraffin wax, or as a clean and more sustainable fuel substitute for fossil-based HFO, which also displaces imported oil.

In the project announced today, Ricardo will work with Recycling Technologies to assess the relative performance of PlaxxTM, HFO and diesel when used in an engine of the type and scale typical of power generation or marine propulsion applications. The Ricardo Atlas II research engine will be used for this work: this advanced test engine is capable of efficiently evaluating the performance of fuels in large, multi-cylinder engine designs ranging from 150-200 mm bore and representing engines in the class 0.5 to 5 MW, in a single power cylinder. This can result in a reduction exceeding 90 percent of the test fuel consumed in a typical research or development project.

In the early stages of the Recycling Technologies project, a thorough review of the properties of PlaxxTM as a combustion engine fuel will be carried out in order that a comprehensive test plan can be developed. Back-to-back testing of PlaxxTM against diesel and HFO will then be undertaken over a range of loads using the Atlas II engine. Combustion characterisation will also be trialled based on the measured in-cylinder pressure, power, specific fuel consumption and exhaust emissions. This will help to fully understand the behaviour of PlaxxTM in this type of engine and enable the further refinement of engine and fuel settings for maximum efficiency and low emissions.

“Finding solutions to landfill diversion is a critical challenge facing modern society,” commented Dr Adam Read, Ricardo Energy & Environment practice director for resource efficiency & waste management. “The ability to generate fuels and recover plastics is key to the sustainable management of the world’s resources. As such, assessing the viability of the process during the pilot phase is an exciting and potentially ground-breaking step for Ricardo and the team from Recycling Technologies.”

Adrian Griffiths, CEO Recycling Technologies commented: “The marine industry is a key market as the use of high sulphur oil is increasingly being restricted. Working together with Ricardo on this project, we are now taking steps to get Plaxx™ qualified so that it is fit for use in medium and large marine engines. Plaxx™ is an ultra-low sulphur feedstock and can be adapted for use in any markets where crude oil derivatives are used. Through this pilot project, we hope to qualify Plaxx™ as meeting the new global MARPOL requirements.”

Recycling Technologies has funded its extensive R&D projects through various government funding organisations, including the Knowledge Transfer Partnerships (KTP) and the Energy Catalyst grant with the University of West England (UWE), funded by Innovate UK. There has been additional support from other government funding organisations, such as the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

About Recycling Technologies
Recycling Technologies has created one of the world’s most significant developments in the world of turning waste to energy, by creating a highly commercial distributed solution for a multi-billion pound global problem. Recycling Technologies has been formed to commercialise the development of the plastic recycling technique established originally by the University of Warwick. Some of the UK’s leading experts on Plastics, Waste Management and Engineering Processes make up the Recycling Technologies team that provides direction and delivery for the business. The company provides innovative solutions to help customers achieve financial gains through turning residual plastic waste into a valuable resource. Its flagship machine, the RT7000, converts unsorted residual plastic waste – that is currently disposed of in landfill or incinerators – into a valuable low sulphur hydrocarbon known as Plaxx™. For further information, please visit www.recyclingtechnologies.co.uk

About Ricardo
Ricardo plc is a global, world-class, multi-industry consultancy for engineering, technology, project innovation and strategy. Our people are committed to providing outstanding value through quality engineering solutions focused on high efficiency, low emission, class-leading product innovation and robust strategic implementation. With a century of delivering excellence and value through technology, our client list includes the world's major transportation original equipment manufacturers, supply chain organizations, energy companies, financial institutions and governments. Guided by our corporate values of respect, integrity, creativity & innovation and passion, we enable our customers to achieve sustainable growth and commercial success. For more information, visit www.ricardo.com

Source: Ricardo Media Office

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Growth in electric vehicles sales central to closing emissions gap

  • New frontier of vehicle design represents significant opportunity for the energy sector

  • Electric vehicles play a central role in policy or technology portfolios designed to lower emissions

WECElectric vehicles (EVs) will need to increase their combined market share to 16% by 2020 to achieve the aggressive fuel economy standards set by regulators, according to new research by the World Energy Council.

While EVs currently represent less than 1% combined market share across the world’s largest markets for new passenger cars, they should be considered central to any policy and technology portfolio designed to lower transport emissions.

Christoph Frei, Secretary-General of the World Energy Council, said: “Over the past decade, we have seen the emergence of climate change and fuel price volatility as headline issues that keeps energy leaders awake at night. As a result, many countries have set ambitious fuel efficiency targets for passenger vehicles.

“The innovative role EVs can play in meeting these standards makes for a pragmatic step in closing the emissions gap by 2020. Looking beyond 2020, EVs and innovation in this area present a major growth opportunity not only for car manufacturers but for the energy sector as a whole.”

Over the next five to ten years, passenger vehicle manufacturers will be confronted with regulatory pressure and material penalties, as gains in fuel economy fall behind the required rates of improvement set to address environmental preservation and climate change mitigation.

With a collective annual demand of over 40 million passenger vehicles, three of the largest car markets in the world, the EU, US and China, have all set fuel economy improvement targets of approximately 30% for cars from 2014-2020 (as measured in NEDC gCO2/km), which are expected to exceed forecasted new internal combustion engine (ICE) powered car capabilities.

The World Energy Perspective 2016: ‘E-mobility: closing the emissions gap’, published by the Council in collaboration with Accenture Strategy, examines the growth in sales of EVs as the latest technologies to increase average fuel efficiency and meet these stringent economy standards, set in all three markets, referred to as the “EV gap”. In the EU, the EV gap is 1.4 million, 10% of the estimated 2020 projected passenger sales, in the US, 0.9 million (11%) and in China roughly 5.3 million, 22% of the projected passenger car sales.

The report, which will be presented in the margins of the G20 Energy Ministers meeting in Beijing by Berat Albayrak, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of Turkey, highlights key findings which represent a new frontier and a significant opportunity for the energy sector which will be fully embraced at this year’s World Energy Congress in Istanbul, where global energy leaders will address these and similar challenges.

Murat Mercan, Chair of the 23rd World Energy Congress Organising Committee, said: “These insights are really significant and will help to ensure that our programme will address the right issues at this time of major transition for the energy sector.

We already have over 240 confirmed speakers, from 82 countries, including 44 ministers confirmed for the congress, which will guarantee that the new frontier for the energy sector will be embraced by all.”

Stuart Solomon, Managing Director, Accenture Strategy, added: “To help close the emissions gap through more widespread adoption of EVs, utilities need to play a critical role - not only to ensure a reliable electricity supply, given the added pressure from plugging more EVs into an already stressed grid network, but also by making sure that any added demand for electricity to power EVs increasingly comes from clean power sources.

“Utilities can also play a leading role in bringing together key stakeholders from the automotive, technology and home services industries to encourage customer uptake of EVs through more attractive electricity tariff structures, combined with bundled product offers, such as connected car and home solutions. Customers could realise cost and lifestyle benefits as a result, while new revenue streams could benefit industry players.”

Electricity demand attributed to new EVs can likely be managed with proper planning by utilities and could be further mitigated at the local level with emerging technologies such as vehicle-to-grid (V2G). Faced with a complex array of policy and technology options including hybrid technology, down-weighting technology, off-cycle credit, aerodynamic improvements and many more, it is important for decision makers to understand the potential impact and feasibility of each option.

Key recommendations of the report include:

Industry: Vehicle manufacturers will need to respond to regulatory pressures and shift their product portfolio to avoid material penalties. Additionally, there is an opportunity for vehicle manufacturers and utility electricity providers to partner to deliver a superior value proposition to consumers. By 2020 each market would need an additional:

  • 3.7 TWh (equivalent to 734,000 homes) in the EU
  • 4.5 TWh (equivalent to 367,000 homes) in the US
  • 26.2 TWh (equivalent to 17 million homes) in China

Policymakers: Regulators should examine how proposed fuel requirements can be matched by working with industry through financial and operational incentives in order to achieve desired improvements in CO2 emissions.

Consumers: Consumers should provide feedback to regulators and manufacturers by evaluating the economic and environmental benefits of EVs alongside alternative online transportation methods.

World Energy Council

The World Energy Council is the principal impartial network of energy leaders and practitioners promoting an affordable, stable and environmentally sensitive energy system for the greatest benefit of all. Formed in 1923, the Council is the UN-accredited global energy body, representing the entire energy spectrum, with over 3,000 member organisations in over 90 countries, drawn from governments, private and state corporations, academia, NGOs and energy stakeholders. We inform global, regional and national energy strategies by hosting high-level events including the World Energy Congress  and publishing authoritative studies, and work through our extensive member network to facilitate the world’s energy policy dialogue. Find out more www.worldenergy.org and follow @WECouncil

World Energy Congress

The World Energy Congress is the World Energy Council’s global flagship triennial event that enables dialogue among Ministers, CEOs and industry experts on critical developments in the energy sector. Running since 1924, the 23rd World Energy Congress will be held in Istanbul, Turkey from 9-13 October 2016 with the theme “Embracing New Frontiers”.

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Solar Energy Experts Navitron Predict a Return to Solar DIY

ae097c5ab352b4df_800x800arDespite the subsidy cuts for solar energy which were implemented late last year, it seems like interest in solar power continues to grow, as the UK saw a new record in April, with solar power surpassing coal for 24 hours, according to a recent article by The Guardian. Whilst the rise in solar energy seems to be due to increasing interest in and awareness of the benefits of renewable energy amongst people across the country, as well as the falling prices of solar power technologies, Navitron, a UK leading supplier of renewable energy solutions for both home owners and businesses, have noticed another interesting trend.

According to Jack Knight, Marketing Manager at Navitron, the company has observed a surge in interest for DIY solar solutions. He comments “Whilst we provide a wide range of renewable energy solutions, from solar panels to wood stoves or water turbines, as well as all the ancillaries needed for a hassle-free installation, over recent months we’ve noticed an increase in sales for our DIY Solar Installation Kits.”

“Increasingly more DIY-enthusiasts and home owners are keen to make the switch to green energy and they are opting for our complete DIY solar kits which can be easily mounted and include all the equipment needed to implement the system themselves.” Says Jack Knight. “By choosing to implement their newly bought solar system themselves, people can save on installation costs and start enjoying the benefits of their solar power source from as little as £1300.”

However, Navitron recommends to their customers to make an informed buying decision, ensuring they have all the permissions needed and if they do require any assistance with the installation or any other part of the buying process, Navitron’s team of experts is only a phone call away. Interested parties can contact Navitron on 01572 725512 or email sales@navitron.org.uk. Furthermore, those customers who opt to have their solar power system installed by a professional can choose an installer via Navitron’s extensive national network.

Source: Navitron Ltd

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Eco-friendly Junk Removal and House Clearance specialists Just Clear wins national environmental award

flat clearanceFrom reusing old duvets as dog bedding to safely recycling old televisions, a UK company that collects and recycles over 40 tonnes of people’s junk every week has been recognised for its contribution to the country’s environment.

Having provided a nationwide eco-friendly approach to junk removal for commercial, domestic and trade clients for over eight years, Just Clear has been named Circular Economy Project of the Year at the annual BusinessGreen Leaders Awards.

Just Clear differentiates itself by ensuring all the wide array of material they collect is separated, then re-used or recycled, offering an example of circular economy thinking at its best.

Founder and MD of Just Clear, Brendan O’Shea, says: “While we have been in the business for over eight years, the fundamental goal of Just Clear over the last two years was to reach a state of zero-to-landfill from our property clearance activities, which we have now achieved.

“In the last twelve months alone, Just Clear has spared over 2,000 tonnes of property clearance waste from landfill. It hasn’t been easy - we’ve had to forge so many unique relationships, find avenues for unwanted items that others hadn’t thought of and constantly challenge ourselves to find solutions.

“The environmental and economic benefits of zero to landfill are there to be seen. We are moving things in the right direction, addressing rising landfill taxes and the rate at which they are filling up. By sparing our collected waste from the landfill, we are passing on cost savings to customers, as well as easing their conscience with the second life of their unwanted items.

“By reaching 100 per cent landfill avoidance, we are also hopefully challenging and encouraging our competitors to do the same, but we can forewarn them of the challenges. Already they will know about difficult items, such as mattresses, old TVs and tattered sofas, but they may not be aware of ways to recycling these. We found our solutions through organisations and people with common problems and common goals.”

As an example of Just Clear’s circular economy principles: a hotel in Mayfair, London, which needed a total clearance from penthouse suite down to the basement, contacted the company. Thousands of mattresses, duvets, pillows, sheets, furniture, fixtures and fittings were collected. A large portion was recycled through charities, including providing dog bedding to a local animal shelter. The waste stream was then delicately separated, with plastic and paper distributed on a daily basis through secured sustainable recycling routes. Wood went to Eddie Stobart Biomass, metal and fridges to EMR Recycling and clothes to clothing banks. The organisation also works closely with a selection of reuse networks to rehome unwanted furniture and kitchen equipment.

Traditionally the most difficult item to recycle was televisions and computers, largely due to the lead in their screens. However, in 2012, a company in Kent called Sweeep Kuusakoski, installed the world’s first leaded glass furnace to recycle cathode ray tube (CRT) glass screens. This process has no emissions, creates no waste and avoids exporting hazardous material from the UK and now recycles all Just Clear’s electronics.

Mr O’Shea adds: “To get to where we are has been difficult, but it needn’t be as hard for other businesses trying to get there as much of the leg work has already been done. The solutions we’ve pushed for will now open doors to our competitors, and we are grateful for this, as we are all in it together. When it comes to landfill avoidance, we can put business competition aside and recognise we have an environmental and social duty first and foremost.

“The key message to be learned from our activities is ‘don’t give up’. We’ve been competing against ourselves instead of watching over our shoulder. We are our own biggest rivals and we fiercely drove ourselves through education, innovation, relationship building and environmental policies to reach the golden 100 per cent landfill avoidance figure.

“We’ve found the demand for eco-friendly house clearances to be astonishing and our London based service is now inundated with enquiries from all over the UK. This should serve as strong encouragement for our competitors to consider the appeal of a greener waste stream and disposal habits.”

Highly commended in the same category for their efforts were: O2, Recycle, Refresh, Eco-rating and Refurb Project.


Just Clear is a property clearance specialist, with over eight years industry experience and an eco-friendly outlook on the industry. The company is recognised among its peers as one of the most fundamentally progressive and eco-friendly house clearance companies around. Just Clear is the first to completely avoid the use of landfills. In the last twelve months alone, Just Clear has spared over 2,000 tonnes of property clearance waste from landfill, and in the process, encouraged further recycling solutions to appear.

Just Clear services:

  • House Clearance
  • Probate valuation
  • Office Clearance
  • Garden clearance
  • Junk Removal
  • Rubbish Removal
  • Waste removal
  • Recycling
  • Waste audit
  • Hoarding Clearance

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The GREEN (LIVING) REVIEW does not recommend, approve or endorse the products and/or services offered, as we have no direct knowledge if them. You should use your own judgment and evaluate products and services carefully before deciding to purchase.

Unearthing the true cost of fossil fuels and the true value of photovoltaics

Two new studies published by Carol Olson and Frank Lenzmann in MRS Energy and Sustainability—A Review Journal (MRS E&S) shed light on the true economic, social and environmental impacts of photovoltaics as compared to those of the fossil fuel supply chain.

Olson and Lenzmann, who work at the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands, compared the economics associated with all the major fuel supply chains, including oil and gas, coal and nuclear. They conclude that the current system is weighted heavily in favor of fossil and nuclear fuels at the expense of more sustainable energy sources—revealing that support for renewable energy sources is dwarfed in magnitude as well as in duration in comparison to the subsidies shoring up fossil and nuclear fuels.

The authors’ timely analysis of the historical and current fossil fuel supply chain provides a useful perspective that challenges what they refer to as “limited frames of reference when addressing the consequences of business-as-usual operation of fossil fuel supply chains.” Their extensive commentary looks at the complete subsidy chain both for production and consumption of fossil and nuclear fuels so that it is now possible, for the first time, to compare all the energy options fairly, revealing costs that have historically been hidden along the supply chain.

“The entanglement of the fossil fuel supply industry, banks, commodity traders, and the financialization of commodities currently allows fossil fuel supply transactions to be made in non-competitive ways,” they write.

“The immense capital available to those operating the fossil fuel supply chain affords not only economic advantages, but also allows them to side-step regulation.”

In a context where there is broad consensus in the scientific community that fossil fuels are largely responsible for global warming—with 85% of CO2 emissions coming from fossil fuel combustion—the authors argue that there needs to be a fundamental redesign of the energy market to make it fit for purpose.

“The electricity market, which is unnecessarily complex, is fundamentally only suited for a small club of fuel-conversion electricity providers,” they write, “not for the large number of providers, the public engagement, or the renewable electricity generation required in the 21st century.”

They argue that the price tag of failing to address this issue is too high to ignore: “While [it is] a starting point, an incremental approach is not sufficient to address the systemic changes required to decarbonize the electricity supply in line with the recent Paris Agreement,” a deal signed by all 196 of the world’s countries to pursue efforts to keep global warming below 1.5°C.

“The ‘true cost’ of electricity generation, including the environmental impacts, must be kept in sight,” Olson and Lenzmann write.

Consumers are currently over-paying for fossil fuel infrastructure through a large variety of subsidies even though fossil fuel electricity prices are often kept artificially low. The cost savings of renewable energy generation for consumers, especially with wind and photovoltaics, is extremely competitive especially with a level comparison. When consumers steer decisions themselves, as evidenced in many regional and community-based actions, they more and more frequently choose for renewable wind and photovoltaics not only because of the economic benefits, but also because of the resilience these electricity generation technologies bring to the energy supply. Policy makers should find ways to address the imbalance of subsidized infrastructure, including the energy market, which gives advantages to the fossil fuel supply chain, and which may obscure the economic advantages of renewable energy technologies, such as photovoltaics.

MRS E&S, a journal of the Materials Research Society and Cambridge University Press, encourages contributions that provide viewpoints and perspectives on the all-important issue of how humankind can work towards, and build, a sustainable future.


The contents of this press release refer to two articles by Carol Olson and Frank Lenzmann in MRS Energy and Sustainability, which are linked below.

Bringing the social costs and benefits of electric energy from photovoltaics versus fossil fuels to light

The social and economic consequences of the fossil fuel supply chain

To comment on these articles, or to continue the debate on the true costs of our reliance on fossil fuels, visit the Cambridge Journals Blog.

About MRS Energy & Sustainability--A Review Journal
MRS Energy & Sustainability--A Review Journal publishes reviews on key topics in materials research and development as they relate to energy and sustainability. Topics to be reviewed are new R&D of both established and new areas; interdisciplinary systems integration; and objective application of economic, sociological, and governmental models, enabling research and technological developments. The reviews are set in an integrated context of scientific, technological and sociological complexities relating to environment and sustainability.

The intended readership is a broad spectrum of scientists, academics, policy makers and industry professionals, all interested in the interdisciplinary nature of the science, technology and policy aspects of energy and sustainability. It is published by the Materials Research Society and Cambridge University Press.


  • David S. Ginley, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, USA
  • David Cahen, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel
  • Elizabeth A. Kócs, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA

For further information, go to journals.cambridge.org/mre.

About the Materials Research Society
The Materials Research Society (MRS) is an international organization of almost 16,000 materials researchers from academia, industry and government, and a recognized leader in promoting the advancement of interdisciplinary materials research to improve the quality of life. MRS members are engaged and enthusiastic professionals hailing from physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics and engineering–the full spectrum of materials research. Headquartered in Warrendale, Pennsylvania (USA), MRS membership now spans over 90 countries, with approximately 48% of members residing outside the United States. In addition to its communications and publications portfolio, MRS organizes high-quality scientific meetings, attracting over 13,000 attendees annually and facilitating interactions among a wide range of experts from the cutting edge of the global materials community. MRS is also a recognized leader in education outreach and advocacy for scientific research. For further information, go to: www.mrs.org.

About Cambridge University Press
Cambridge University Press is the publishing business of the University of Cambridge. Dedicated to excellence, its purpose is to further the University’s objective of advancing knowledge, education, learning, and research. Its extensive peer-reviewed publishing lists comprise 45,000 titles covering academic research, professional development, more than 360 research journals, school-level education, English language teaching and bible publishing. Playing a leading role in today's international market place, Cambridge University Press has more than 50 offices around the globe, and it distributes its products to nearly every country in the world. For more information, go to www.cambridge.org.

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Urban Dwellers Drive Massive Deforestation Locally and Abroad

Cities' sustainability efforts may be undermined by urban destruction of forested carbon sinks.

SOW2016Washington, D.C.-----Urban centers lie at the root of an important-----and often neglected-----source of emissions: deforestation. According to Senior Researcher Tom Prugh in Can a City Be Sustainable?, the latest edition of the annual State of the World series from the Worldwatch Institute, deforestation caused by growing urban consumption is contributing to massive emissions globally, despite increasing sustainability efforts locally (www.worldwatch.org).

Tropical deforestation accounts for an estimated 3 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year-----equivalent to the emissions of some 600 million cars-----according to researchers at Winrock International and the Woods Hole Research Center.

Urban growth drives deforestation in at least two ways. First, as rural migrants to cities adopt city-based lifestyles, they tend to use more resources. Their incomes rise and their diets shift to a greater share of animal products and processed foods. This, in turn, drives land clearance for livestock grazing and fodder, either locally or in other countries that export such products or their inputs. Meeting the food needs of a rising and urbanizing global population could require an additional 2.7---4.9 million hectares of cropland per year.

"In Brazil, a surge of deforestation in the Amazon in the early 2000s has been attributed to the expansion of pasture and soybean croplands in response to international market demand, particularly from China," writes Prugh. There, economic growth and diets richer in meat products have boosted soy imports from Brazil to feed pork and poultry.

Even in relatively highly productive European agriculture, it takes an estimated 0.3 square meters of farmland to produce an edible kilogram of vegetables, but 7.3 for chicken, 8.9 for pork, and 20.9 for beef.

A second, and likely lesser, factor linking urban growth to deforestation is that cities are often expanding into areas of farmland and natural habitat, including forests. Cities worldwide are growing by 1.4 million new inhabitants every week. Urban land area is expanding, on average, twice as fast as urban populations. The area covered by urban zones is projected to expand by more than 1.2 million square kilometers between 2000 and 2030.

"Ironically, even as urban expansion drives forest clearance for agriculture, it simultaneously consumes existing farmland," writes Prugh. "By one estimate, urbanization may cause the loss of up to 3.3 million hectares of prime agricultural land each year."

"The impact of urban expansion can, in principle, be attenuated by focusing on proven methods of shaping urban form to emphasize compact development and higher densities," writes Prugh. Reducing consumption, however, is more complicated.

The first and most obvious option is to increase the efficiency of economies at delivering human well-being per every unit of resource input. The impact of the dietary share of higher consumption could be reduced sharply by reducing food waste and creating incentives for much lower meat consumption.

Cities also may have a role in determining broader agricultural policies. In addition to reducing meat consumption, it is possible to reduce the impacts of meat production by shifting from intensive, fossil fuel-based livestock systems to more-diverse, coupled systems that emulate the structure and functions of ecosystems.

Worldwatch Institute's Can a City Be Sustainable? (State of the World) examines the core principles of sustainable urbanism and profiles cities that are putting them into practice.

About the Worldwatch Institute: Worldwatch is an independent research organization based in Washington, D.C. that works on energy, resource, and environmental issues. The Institute's State of the World report is published annually in multiple languages (www.worldwatch.org).

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Industry response to The Food Waste Recycling Action Plan

“Positive progress but more must still be done”

PhilipSimpson_webEarlier this month (7 July), WRAP launched England’s first action plan to increase the quantity and quality of both domestic and commercial food waste recycling. Developed in association with local authorities, collectors, waste treatment operators and trade bodies from across the country, The Food Waste Recycling Action Plan aims to encourage greater collaboration across the supply chain.

Presented as a five-step roadmap, the document identifies common barriers to food waste recycling and details collaborative solutions to overcoming these issues. Actions are split across the supply chain, with a lead body given responsibility for the delivery of each.

Commenting on the plan, Philip Simpson, commercial director at ReFood, said: “Forward-thinking initiatives, such as The Food Waste Action Plan, demonstrate real commitment from across the industry to help our environment and boost our economy. Despite considerable efforts, more than 14 million tonnes of food is still wasted across the UK every year – 40% of which is said to be completely avoidable. This figure is one which must be lowered and any initiatives launched to tackle the issue head-on should be wholeheartedly commended.

“Since the launch of ReFood’s Vision 2020: UK roadmap to zero food waste to landfill report, which identified the true scale of the UK’s food waste crisis and provided comprehensive guidance to eliminate food waste to landfill, significant progress has already been made to minimise food waste and implement more sustainable alternatives to general waste disposal.

“In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, for example, stringent legislation is now in place to prevent food waste from ending up in landfill, which has seen recycling rates soar and resulted in significant benefits on an economic level. What’s more, numerous businesses from across the supply chain – the likes of Sainsbury’s, QHotels and The Savoy, for example – have taken matters into their own hands and introduced self-policing ‘zero waste’ standards to realise the benefits of recycling food waste.

“On the whole, however, England is still lagging far behind and this is simply down to a lack of commitment from those in power. Food is a highly valuable resource and one which mustn’t be squandered, yet without clear guidance from a government level or legislation implemented on a national scale, we will continue to tread water and fail to realise the benefits available.

“In fact, if the UK was to successfully achieve zero food waste to landfill by 2020, we could see greenhouse gases reduced by up to 27 million tonnes, with over 1.3 million tonnes of valuable nutrients returned to the earth each year and savings for the food manufacturing industry of up to £2bn. This said, unless we implement firm legislation, achieving these figures will not be achievable – relying on informal guidance and optional strategies simply isn’t enough.

“The Food Waste Recycling Action Plan is undoubtedly another positive step in the right direction and I personally hope it is seen as a clarion call by businesses and consumers to change behaviours when it comes to recycling food waste.

“In the long-term, however, identifying issues and encouraging best practice isn’t enough. At ReFood, we believe that a government-level ban on all food waste to landfill is essential. From every part of the food chain we need a strict commitment to prioritising recycling and preventing unnecessary waste. A ban on all food waste would not only deliver this, but also provide significant economic and environmental benefits.”

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UN agency head highlights Brazil’s role in promoting family farming and transforming rural communities

Rome, 18 July 2016 – Brazil has a lot to teach the world about the importance of family farmers, said the President of the United Nation’s International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Kanayo F. Nwanze, on route to Brasil where he begins an official visit tomorrow.

“The role of family farmers in feeding the world is undeniable,” said Nwanze. “In Brazil, they produce up to 70 per cent of the country’s staple food. The world has a lot to learn from how Brazil has supported family farmers, giving them the tools they need to succeed.”

While in Brazil, Nwanze will visit two IFAD-funded cooperatives in the State of Bahia (COOPERCUC in Uauá and COOPROAF in Manoel Vitorino) and meet with the Governor of Bahia, Rui Costa.

"For more than 30 years, IFAD has partnered with Brazil to reduce poverty, transform rural areas and sustainably increase the productivity of poor rural people, whilst still protecting the environment. We have worked together to ensure that the technological innovations developed in the country are shared across the continent and beyond. It's an exemplary partnership because we share common goals," said Nwanze.

With a total investment of over US$450 million, IFAD-supported operations in Brazil are the agency’s largest in Latin America and the Caribbean. Two thirds of this amount, approximately $300 million, is made up of contributions from Brazilian authorities and beneficiaries. Six on-going IFAD-funded projects currently being implemented in Brazil are directly benefiting more than 250,000 families in the north-eastern semiarid region of the country.

One of the main features of IFAD-supported projects in Brazil has been their quest for technical innovations and agriculture practices that allow family farmers to face challenges posed by north-eastern Brazil’s harsh environment. Examples include: organic and agro-ecologic production methods; water collection and conservation technologies; and methodologies of participatory planning to take advantage of innovations and traditional knowledge.

Two new projects under design are to expand IFAD-funded operations from the semi-arid sertão where IFAD has operated for the last 35 years to Maranhão’s Amazonian transition area and Pernambuco’s coastal rainforest known as mata atlantica and pre-sertão area known as agreste.

Both projects should be operational by the end of 2018, bringing the total amount of IFAD-supported investment in the country to over $550 million, with more than 300,000 families (around 1 million people) benefitting.

Beyond this, IFAD is supporting a number of programmes to promote innovative agriculture technologies, practices and policies in favour of family farming in Brazil and throughout Latin America.

For example, FIDA-MERCOSUR, an IFAD-sponsored programme, encourages policymakers to share successful policies and practices in favour of family farming across the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR) which includes Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Similarly, between 2011 and 2015, the Agricultural Innovation Market Place invited scientists from Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa to work together with EMBRAPA’s staff to adapt agricultural technological innovations developed in Brazil to their own countries and regions.

Over the next three years, a new IFAD-funded programme - Adapting Knowledge for Sustainable Agriculture and Access to Markets - will allow the extension and adaptation of EMBRAPA-developed innovations to IFAD-funded projects across Latin America.

Last April, IFAD approved a new country strategy for Brazil. According to it, all IFAD-funded operations in Brazil will focus on supporting family farmers by increasing their productive capacities, facilitating their access to essential services (capacity building, investment planning, rural finance and technical support, with special attention to climate-smart technologies), strengthening their organizations and connecting them to markets.

The SEMEAR knowledge management programme, an IFAD partnership with the Inter-America Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), has worked since 2011 to share innovations beyond IFAD-funded projects, so that they benefit other family farmers and inform public policies.

IFAD-funded operations in Brazil work to ensure that marginalized groups, such as indigenous and quilombola (Afro-descendant) communities, agrarian reform settlers, women and youth benefit from project activities.

“Our new country strategy reaffirms our commitment to collaborate with Brazilian authorities in fighting poverty where it is most needed – the poor rural areas of north-eastern Brazil,” said Nwanze.

Press release No.: IFAD/45/2016

IFAD invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition and strengthen resilience. Since 1978, we have provided US$17.7 billion in grants and low-interest loans to projects that have reached about 459 million people. IFAD is an international financial institution and a specialized United Nations agency based in Rome – the UN’s food and agriculture hub.

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Persian leopards set to make roaring comeback in Russia's Western Caucasus

_DSC0455Researchers released three Persian leopards into the Russian wilderness today (15th July, 2016) in the first-ever attempt to reintroduce the species into the wild. The animals are expected to become the founders of a new population of Persian leopards in Russia as part of an ambitious programme to bring the animal back to a region it once roamed in abundance.

The release of the leopards in the Caucasus Biosphere Reserve marks an important moment in the efforts by WWF-Russia and its partners to reintroduce the Persian leopard in the area. The species was once common across almost all mountain areas in the Caucasus region, but populations declined drastically in the 1950s due to human activities such as hunting. There are currently less than 1,000 Persian leopards left in the wild, with the majority being found in Iran.

Rebecca May, WWF-UK’s Asian big cats programme lead comments: “This is a historic moment for conservation and a huge step for our colleagues in Russia. This ambitious project has been in the making for many years but there’s still a long way to go before securing a viable population. These beautiful big cats were once abundant in this region and we’re now one step closer to seeing a bright future for these leopards. We hope to learn from this programme and help other threatened species, thrive once again.”

The three young leopards released – named Victoria, Akhun and Killi – were all born in a breeding centre in Sochi National Park that was built with the support of the Russian government for the reintroduction programme. Already, 14 leopard kittens have been born in the centre since its opening in 2009.

Under the programme, each of the leopards born in the centre undergoes special training for independent survival in the wild. Researchers are hoping to create a population of 50 adult Persian leopards in the region as part of a stable group that can reproduce on its own.

A series of special measures have been taken to prepare the nature reserve for the reintroduction of the leopards. Prey animals such as deer and wild boars have been steadily increased and local communities have been provided with guidelines to be observed in areas where leopards will live.

Steps have also been taken to strengthen protection in and around the territory but a new amendment that allows the construction of large-scale infrastructure in nature reserves threatens to weaken these measures. Plans to expand two Olympic ski resorts in the region could impact the survival of the newly-reintroduced Persian leopards and other species living in the area.

The Western Caucasus is not only critical habitat to the Persian leopard, it is one of the most biologically diverse areas in the country. Russia must uphold the commitments it made during its 2014 Sochi Olympics bid and ensure that protections in the UNESCO World Heritage site are not weakened for businesses and recreational interests.

Following the release today, satellite collars on each of the leopards will provide information on their whereabouts as they adapt to life in the wild. Twenty-four camera traps have also been installed in the reserve along with a mobile response unit placed on stand-by to locate and reach an animal in distress.

The programme for the reintroduction of the Persian leopard in the Western Caucasus is implemented by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of the Russian Federation with the participation of the Sochi National Park, Caucasus (Kavkazsky) State Nature Biosphere Reserve, A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Moscow Zoo and WWF-Russia, with support from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA).

WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organizations, with over 5 million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries. WWF's mission is to stop the degradation of the Earth's natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature, by conserving the world's biological diversity, ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable, and promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption. www.panda.org/news for latest news and media resources.

Source: WWF Press Office

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Watch How this Incredible Public Food Park Feeds 200,000 a Month


It is becoming more apparent that we need to begin reclaiming our food supply through small-scale, wide-spread farming practices. We can no longer rely on Big Food to supply us with the nutritious food we need, and we certainly can’t rely on mega chemical companies like Monsanto to feed us with their genetically modified creations. This is why countless communities are embracing the giving art of local farms and supporting local food businesses. One Incredible Edible park in Irvine, California, formerly 7.5 acres of wasted space, is now an edible park that feeds 200,000 people every month!

Read more here.