Monday, 29 November 2010

170 green jobs created at Siemens, Withington


Fantastic news that 170 hi tech green jobs are being created at Siemens, Manchester. Last week on 25th November Manchester City Council approved an application from German electronics multinational Siemens to build a 2 storey, 2,679 sq mtr office and lab on their Princess Road site.

The building will be used to develop technologies for the booming offshore wind industry and will provide a testing and assembly hub for electronic devices for distribution throughout Europe.

It is great that Manchester will have such a hub built here. It demonstrates we have a wealth of skilled people who can perform such key roles in the offshore wind industry. Lets hope Manchester and the UK can capitalise further on the offshore wind and renewables opportunities in future.

Onwards & upwards!


Friday, 26 November 2010

Snowed in during a global heat wave?


I can remember earlier this year during what was, I think, the worst winter for 30 years being out walking the streets of Merseyside in Arctic Conditions. I was going door to door on behalf of Sefton Council with a trusty team of recycling promoters, encouraging the good people of Sefton to participate in the new food waste recycling scheme.

Boy, it was freezing. The cold temperatures caused some of my team mates to remark 'global warming - what a load of old cobblers, I can hardly feel my toes!' or something along those lines. I remember a similar sentiment from others at the time.

With the cold weather at the minute and snow in Scotland and the borders I can just hear some people saying now 'It's freezing - global warming was all made up, turn up the heating'.

To those people and my team mates from earlier in the year I would like to make a few brief but clear points:

1. Climate is not the same as weather. Weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time, and climate is how the atmosphere "behaves" over relatively long periods of time.

2. The surface area of the Earth occupied by the UK is tiny (compared with the whole planet!) hence conditions here are not reflective of the whole planet

3. 2000-2010 will be clearly the hottest decade on record

4. 2010 will be the hottest or second hottest year on record

Yes, it is not good news, some people have even taken the step of going back into denial with the Uni of East Anglia scandal, disinformation, and the complete failure at Copenhagen.

So if you tell me global warming is made up because you can't feel your toes please tell me you're joking, then we can go and sit in a cafe and have a hot chocolate.

Onwards & upwards!


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Thursday, 25 November 2010

Merseyside School set to benefit £900 from US scheme RecycleBank


A school in Runcorn, Westfield Primary School, is set to benefit from the RecycleBank scheme to the tune of £900. They are planning to build a sustainable willow dome outdoor classroom and coppice area with the funds.

The local council operates the RecycleBank scheme which encourages residents to recycle through financial rewards for kerbside recycling.

RecycleBank run a schools scheme which means the rewards can be collected and spent by the school. As such Westfield Primary are collecting for the equipment and encouraging local residents to donate their points.

The scheme is an American initiative which has come to the UK and was taken up by Halton council last year. It may soon be taken up by at least one council in London.

If the scheme leads to greater uptake of recycling and also brings benefits to schools then we are all for the take up of such initiatives by local councils. We must not forget the importance of waste reduction along the way though!

Onwards & upwards!


Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Cheshire MBT Plant Given Go Ahead


Cheshire West and Chester council announced on Friday they were giving the go ahead for a 200,000 tonne a year mechanical biological treatment plant at Lostock Gralam in Cheshire.

Viridor, who propose to build the plant, have scaled back the size of the planned facility from 250,000 to 200,000 tonnes a year after the initial proposal was rejected in June.

The plant will be used to treat waste from Cheshire East and Cheshire West and Chester councils. Once in operation, the plant will produce 130,000 tonnes-a-year of solid recovered fuel (SRF) which is planned to be sent to the incinerator at INEOS Chlor, Runcorn.

The value of the contract is expected to be around £850 million for 25 years.

We think much more could be done to improve recycling rates and reducing waste before we build these hugely expensive waste treatment facilities which create hardly any long term jobs.

Austria and Germany recycled 69% and 65% respectively in 2008, with the UK lagging behind at 35%.

There has already been an example recently where a local council broke its contract by not providing enough waste to an EFW plant. (We're they recycling too well?).

Let's take a look at this case: The waste will be turned into a waste fuel in 1 process at great expense. The waste fuel will then be taken to Runcorn to be burned in an incinerator, at further expense, and this is now cheaper than landfill!

Surely its time we reduced our waste. Reduce, reuse, recycle.

Onwards & upwards!


Friday, 19 November 2010

3Rs Christmas Gifts


Thinking of ‘going green’ this Christmas? – read on.

Here are some gift ideas I came up with:

3Rs Gift Ideas

1. Give an Experience
2. Charity Gifts
3. Subscription to Spotify
4. Make Something Yourself
5. Use Freecycle
6. Reuse – Ebay/Charity Shop/Car Boot Sale
7. Plant a Tree

1. Give an Experience

Give someone an experience this Christmas and they will have a story about how they went bungee jumping, were a keeper at a zoo, or had afternoon tea at Windsor Castle for years to come.

However be careful when selecting your experience – they can be carbon intensive!

Golf lessons:
Bungee jump:
Spa treatment:

2. Charity Gifts
Adopt a wild animal, save some trees from destruction, help some less fortunate people. Charity gifts are a great way to share some festive spirit this Christmas.

If you donate to a worthy cause your money will go to charity and you will also receive something to give on Christmas Day eg. a card, cuddly toy, certificate.

Adopt an Animal:
Save Trees: ,
Energy Saving Stove:

3. Subscription to Spotify

‘Spotify is a music streaming service offering streaming of selected music from a range of major and independent record labels’ Wikipedia

7 million people are now using Spotify and its not even available outside Europe. Developed by a team in Sweden this music streaming service has been taking Europe by storm since 2008. With 10 million tracks available at the touch of a button and from major record labels including Sony, EMI, Warner Music Group and Universal its not hard to see why.

Where Spotify is available anyone with a PC can access all the 10 million tracks for free. The trouble is you have to put up with those annoying banner and audio ads.

For £4.99 a month you can give the gift of ad free unlimited music to a music loving recipient.

The only trouble is once your subscription expires they might well be hooked….


4. Make Something Yourself

If you like crafts you could use your skills to make a present, and save money and the environment at the same time. Here are a few examples:

Picture book:
Plastic bag crouchet:,

If you live in Manchester, UK there are craft workshops which teach you how to make ‘Junk mail jewelry’, ‘Reuse button bags’ and more:

5. Use Freecycle

Freecycle is a ‘grassoots movement of people who are giving and getting stuff for free in their own towns.’

It is free to sign up and there are 494 groups in the UK alone. Once you sign up you can post on the site offering your unwanted items or requesting items.

Tip: Make sure to send a convincing message to request items as there may be competition. Eg. make them laugh and be flexible

6. Reuse – Ebay/ Charity shops/ Car boot sale

Ebay – you can use the ebay auctions or buy it now but make sure the item is used/ unwanted/ refurbished as a lot of stores on eBay sell new stuff.

Charity shops – If you have an eye for a bargain why not try picking up a gift at a charity shop? You never know you might stumble across a great find. Try not to go with anything specific in mind and you might just find something great!

If you go to a wealthy area you can often pick up the best bargains
Seek out smaller charities
Check out the accessories
Have a chat with the staff to see when items come in. They might offer to find and hold items for you.

Car Boot Sale – If you are prepared to get up at the crack of dawn on a Sunday morning and get there early you may just grab a bargain.

7. Plant a tree
Planting trees to sequester carbon from fossil fuels is not a sustainable solution for global warming and can be used to justify carbon pollution eg. Offsetting long distance flights.

That said planting trees to create or restore a forest can benefit wild animals which live there and can also add biomass to the forest which reduces CO2 in the atmosphere.

The Trees for Life project in Caledonia, Scotland is restoring the Caledonian forest. They planted 250,000 trees in 2008-2009.

Trees for life

Crafty/ Alternative:

For lovers of rock music:
(Reuse) jewelry
Handmade Norfolk Soap
English Wine: Nyetimber Classic Cuvée 2005

Thanks for reading.

Joe White

For further inspiration on green living this Christmas and beyond visit my blog: