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It's easy being 'green'

Published 24th April, 2009 by Neil Nixon

It's easy being 'green'

This was the theme of the BICSc Midlands Spring Study Day. During 2009, BICSc Midlands is considering ‘freedom of choice’ and examining what information might be needed to make selections.

Unfortunately the intended key speaker was not available, so the organisers were very grateful that the support speakers were able to give a day packed full of information and fun. Pauline Barker and Alaco Millard of Matthew Boulton College, now a part of METtraining, gave a well researched look at what impact is made on our world by various manufacturing, delivery and use of products so that we can make ‘greener’ choices. Pauline asked what was meant by ‘green’. It was generally agreed to be environmentally friendly products that have low emissions and are bio-degradable. They should have a low carbon footprint and avoid any unnecessary waste in manufacture or use.

Generally the aim should be to protect and preserve the planet and not all goods advertised as ‘natural’ are always the best - consider poisonous plants. Our watchword should be: ‘Sustainable development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’.

Statistics considered were that for every tonne of rubbish disposed there has been 5 tonnes of waste produced during manufacture and 20 tonnes during the collection of the raw materials. Delegates were asked to state how long decomposition takes and even such innocuous waste as apple cores and cigarette ends take many months to rot while drink cans can last forever. Matter can never be destroyed it can only be transformed.

Following the best buffet lunch served at the Bowls Club with thanks to the steward, his wife and colleagues, further hard work followed. Using this template of sustainability, in the afternoon groups planning to purchase a new piece of equipment decided what factors would influence their decision. These included: reduced energy needs; locally sourced; safe, concentrated chemicals for reduced storage or fewer deliveries; reducing wastage/reclyable/biodegradable; easily maintained for longer life expectancy.