Being Green and Being Clean

Many thanks to the different people who sent through links to various ‘green’ stories that you felt other people might like to see: 1) green jobs in the SouthWest, 2) a website that encourages people to take simple steps to being green, and  3) the impact of fewer resources on daily life in the future, as seen in washing machines.

Firstly: thanks to Debbie who had just seen this article in Insider, a local business publication, and thought others might be interested in it.

Region ‘could miss out on 24,000 new jobs’ |

The South West is at risk of missing out on the opportunity to create 24,000 new jobs in renewable energy by 2020, according to a new report. The ‘Potential Energy – Potential Jobs: building a low-carbon economy in South West England’ report from Regen SW has found that although the region has made progress in doubling its renewable energy it is set to be short of the government’s 15 per cent UK-wide target by 2020. The South West is currently on track to achieve about nine per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. At this rate of growth the number of people employed in renewables is expected to grow from 10,000 people currently employed to some 15,500 by 2020. But if growth accelerates to meet the 15 per cent target this could increase to 34,000 renewable energy jobs by 2020.

Merlin Hyman, chief executive of Regen SW, said: “This report shows we have made great progress in renewable energy in the past year, but we need to redouble our efforts if we are to make the most of the potential to create new jobs and thriving companies exporting their skills and expertise around the world. Renewable energy is a huge opportunity to generate the jobs and investment we need, but we must back key projects like offshore wind farms and put in place a framework to enable the sector to thrive.”

Secondly is a website for an organisation that’s recently asked artists to design posters in support of Earth Hour and to encourage people to reduce their carbon footprints through simple and easy actions.  The posters have recently been featured in the Independent, and are fun, humourous way of approaching what can be a daunting subject.

Lastly, I came across an article on the BBC  saying that in the future it may be in the manufacturers’ interests to make machines that last longer rather than the current built-in obsolescence:

‘The average washing machine contains about 40kg of steel and when a machine is scrapped, a proportion of the steel is lost to landfill. The exact figure is contested, but the loss is probably between 40% and 70%. This profligacy exacts a big cost in energy and emissions, and it’s why Green Alliance and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation are promoting the idea of leasing washing machines.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has been peering into washing machines, too. It points out that a top-end washing machine will do 10,000 cycles – that’s five times as much as a cheap machine. Over the lifetime of the elite machine it will save 180kg of steel. The Foundation says more needs to be done by government to combat built-in obsolescence.

The Foundation’s Jocelyn Bleriot told me: “We live in times when resources are getting tighter and resource prices and availability are becoming more volatile – so we need to safeguard our resources and keep them in circulation at the highest level.

“The ‘take, make and dispose’ model of society we have been living on is facing a lot of challenges at the moment, so it’s important to build machines that are much more durable. But it’s also important to keep upgradeability in mind because we want to be able to capitalise on improved technology in future.”  A paper published by the Royal Society recently suggested manufacturers would need to use fewer materials overall in future and the resource issue is unquestionably enjoying one of its periodic peaks in popularity.’




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