Less carbon, less oil, less waste, less cost

July 30, 2013 by  
Filed under Solar Energy Tips

Here are some great ideas for reducing waste – including greenhouse gas, or GHG, emissions – that also reduce costs. Question is, why don’t we adopt these practices here?

B.C. was the first province to introduce a carbon tax, in 2008. Contrary to what critics predicted, the policy has reduced fuel consumption and GHGs without hurting the economy, according to a study by economist Stewart Elgie.

Since 2008, British Columbians consumed almost 19 per cent less petroleum fuel per person than the Canadian average and emitted nearly nine per cent less carbon per capita than the rest of Canadians. Despite lower energy use, B.C.’s economy slightly outperformed the rest of the country. It makes sense: with less money going out the tailpipe or up the smokestack, more money is available for investment.

“The actual experience with carbon taxation in B.C.,” according to Elgie, “appears to be directly opposite to the perceived reality in the federal political debate on this issue.” Should Saskatchewan take a look at B.C.’s approach?

Thanks to efficient waste management, only four per cent of waste produced in Sweden is landfilled. In Saskatoon, 77 per cent of waste was landfilled in 2010, though that percentage is likely lower today with the introduction of city-wide recycling.

Sweden converts a lot of waste to energy, enough to heat 810,000 homes and provide electricity to 250,000 homes. But Sweden has become so effective at waste reduction it now faces a waste shortage! So it imports 800,000 tonnes of trash a year to feed its waste-toenergy system and gets paid by the exporting countries to manage their waste.

One problem that can be associated with waste-to-energy projects is toxic emissions, but Sweden has had strict standards limiting emissions from waste incineration since the mid-1980s. Since then, most emissions have fallen by between 90 and 99 per cent due to improved waste sorting and technical advances.

How about looking at this option in Saskatoon?

Wealth countries, including Canada, throw away as much as 40 per cent of food purchased. Landfills are loaded with food and other organic waste that produces methane, a potent GHG. The European Union has established a landfill directive to significantly reduce landfilling of organic waste. In response, the Irish government enacted strict regulations that emphasize composting and separating food from other waste, and require businesses to implement significant food waste reductions.

Ireland is now a leader in food waste prevention education, providing information and tools that companies and individuals can use to decrease food waste – most of which could be used here.

The Stop Food Waste campaign (www.stopfoodwaste. ie) helps individuals and families

reduce waste. The campaign emphasizes prevention through rethinking how to shop, how to store food and how to cook and reuse food – and provides tips and guides for people to follow.

And the Less Food Waste More Profit guide (www.foodwaste.ie/web-images/Food-Waste-Prevention-Guide.pdf) details specific strategies for purchasing, storage and preparation for companies to implement to reduce food waste.

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