Keep It Clean!


Uploaded on Jun 6, 2010

‘KEEP IT CLEAN!’ is a curriculum & values-based, environmental rap song. It highlights responsibility for protecting the environment and discusses practical ways for children to help clean up the planet (with emphasis on the 3 Rs – ‘Reuse! Reduce! Recycle’!).
 © 2007 Lyrics by Nuala O’Hanlon Music by Kathryn Radloff.
 * * * *Details:… ‘A Lesson In Every Lyric’®
* ‘KEEP IT CLEAN!’ is available as an mp3 file (Track 3) at:

Waste not, want not… in China


While you often hear Chinese parents tell their kids to notwaste food, the fact is food waste accounts for about 70percent of the country’s mounting garbage production.That’s compared to less than 20 percent in manydeveloped countries, where sorting and processing havebeen the norm since the 1980s. And as China’s waste processing capabilities simply can’t keep pace with theamount of garbage that is being produced, food waste is abigger problem than it might be. “As people’s livesimprove, the catering industry is booming and dietaryhabits are changing, so we’re producing massive amounts of food waste,” Beijing Technology and BusinessUniversity’s Department of Environmental Science and Engineering professor Ren Lianhai says.

“China has a long way to go in terms of better disposal because it lacks a national policy, scientific management and processing methods.”

Beijing was among a slew of local governments to pass regulations in 2011 about trash sorting and food waste disposal, largely because of public concerns about “gutter oil” – cooking oil retrievedfrom drains and sometimes reused by restaurants.

The problem is that governments, NGOs and enterprises are struggling to cook up solutions for kitchen waste disposal and are finding they don’t work or are difficult to implement.

Recipes that are being tried include composting the waste into organic fertilizer using enzymes and earthworms, burning it to create electricity, feeding it to pigs and even using gutter oil as biofuel topower Dutch Airlines’ planes.

“Kitchen waste has become a primary pollution source and imposes serious risks to people’s health and the environment,” Ren says.

Ren, who has studied waste management for more than a decade, explains the dangers of burying kitchen waste in landfills.

China’s food waste is 74 percent water – that’s three times the saturation of US and European kitchen waste. It’s referred to as “wet waste” globally.

The pressure of being buried, combined with the chemical reactions of microbial biodegradation, causes the water to ferment and percolate, forcing hazardous and even carcinogenic sludge toooze out, Ren explains.

And food waste poses sanitation hazards before it even reaches the landfills, he adds.

Take Beijing, for example. The capital’s households produce 11,000 tons of kitchen waste, plus the 2,500 tons that spew out of restaurants, a day. But the municipality’s three large-scale processing plants can only handle 800 tons a day of food waste.

The most common methods of kitchen waste disposal are feeding it to pigs and composting.

While the evidence is inconclusive, many experts worry that turning household kitchen waste intopig slop is dangerous.

Pork is China’s most popular meat and its presence in hog feed creates the risk of homology. Homology is cannibalism among animals that typically don’t eat the meat of their own species in nature and can cause prion infections, such as mad cow disease.

The Ministry of Agriculture has created a panel to study the risks but hasn’t reached a consensus.

Although the practice is common in Japan and South Korea, some of China’s local governments, such as Fujian province‘s Xiamen city, have outlawed it.

Organic composting, though promising, also faces challenges.

Many pilot projects have problems, such as people not sorting their trash, or collectors dumping sorted trash together or waiting too long to pick it up, creating a stench.

“Trash processing is a chain,” Beijing Municipal Commission of City Administration and Environment garbage disposal official Chen Ling says.

“We can’t expect people to sort out kitchen waste if there’s no channel to handle it.”

Ren says the chain’s weak links come from a diffusion of responsibility.

“The dilemma is that experts complain about management, while officials complain about technological deficiencies,” he says.

There are also chemical reasons it’s difficult to compost in China.

Chinese food contains too much oil, especially animal tallow, which coats the waste in a thick cover that seals out oxygen microbes need to biodegrade the waste,” Ren explains.

One solution is to dilute the food waste with other biodegradable trash, such as paper.

Insufficient storage is another problem. Farming is seasonal, but food waste is produced year-round.

And even if there were more storage facilities, compost rots too quickly to last from harvest until the next planting.

In addition, the saltiness of Chinese food means the fertilizer it becomes can make arable landfallow over time, Ren says.

Still, several projects are running that turn kitchen waste into organic fertilizer around the country.

Many NGOs, such as the Fujian Environmental Protection Volunteer Association, exchange organic vegetables for correctly sorted trash.

The produce is grown with the organic fertilizer from their community’s waste, meaning that,theoretically, the melon rind a household throws out can end up back on the family’s table as afresh organic melon.

The association’s founder Zheng Dijian believes it’s all about incentives.

“If people get something out of sorting their garbage, they will,” he says. “If they don’t, they won’t.”

Another kitchen waste use idea being tried out is incineration to create electricity.

Trash in Chaoyang district’s Chaoyang Circular Economy Industrial Zone, in Beijing, iscompressed to wring out the water, left to dry for five days and then incinerated at the 200-hectaresolid waste incineration plant.

About 1,600 tons feed the furnaces a day, creating 220 million kilowatt hours – equivalent to 70,000 tons of coal – annually. About 70 percent of that electricity powers the industrial zone while the restflows into the North China Power System.

But it’s uncertain how – and if – this could work on a nationwide scale.

Ren, who works on a national panel devoted to developing the country’s kitchen waste disposal system, says Beijing’s government plans to build at least one large wet waste processing plant inevery district and county.

The problem is that nobody’s sure what sort of plant they should construct.

The same quandary faces the proposed 100-150 plants to be built nationwide before 2016. Theyshould be able to process a total of up to 30 million tons a year.

“I’m glad to see people are working on this,” Ren says.

“But we still have a long way to go.”



Waste not, want not 

Waste not, want not 

Waste not, want not 

Waste not, want not 




(China Daily 01/19/2012 page18)

2012 : Green New Years resolutions

Energy Saving Trust Recommended logo
Image via Wikipedia

Here are some top tips from Nigel’s Eco Store on living more sustainably. In Shanghai, wife Anne and I do not own our car, we buy locally where we can,  and we recycle and re-use a carry bag when shopping. What are YOU going to do, to be more ‘green’ this year?!/LearnFromNature and

1. We do not have a car – and will buy a bicycle.

2. Wife and I buy local where possible; in China it’s difficult to guarantee to buy without airmiles or ‘organic’ 

3. Flights – we break this a lot, as we love to travel but then undertake walk where we can, to visit natural sites and carbon offset. 

4. We use carry bags, recycle at home and school – all Chinese are particularly good at this. Also we try NOT to buy lots of packaged goods in the first place. 

5. We ensure all technology is switched off properly!

According to the Energy Saving Trust, almost half of the UK’s carbon emissions come from the energy that we use every day – either at home and when we travel. If we’re going to stand any chance of reducing the country’s carbon footprint (and our own), we all need to change our habits (one of the hardest things to do?) and live a more sustainable and eco friendly life.

What better place to start than with some green new year resolutions.

A couple of years ago my new year green resolutions included not to take more than one flight a year, and only to buy eco friendly clothes. I got told off by some that even one flight a year was too much, but I did manage to stick to both of them. (I took a lot of trains, did a lot of walking and didn’t buy many new clothes!)

To help to bridge the gap between good intentions and reality I have come up with five green ideas for 2010 that will also either help to keep you fit or save you money, as well as saving the planet.

A staggering 70 per cent of all car trips are less than five miles – the ideal distance for a quick spin on the bike. So, leave the car at home and start walking or cycling. It’s eco friendly, sustainable and cheaper!. To help, we sell a variety of bike accessories including wind up bike lights and the fantastic cycloc bicycle storage system.

Say no to fast food and supermarkets and yes to organic and local produce.
The production of organic food causes much less environmental damage than conventional agriculture and also helps to reduce pollution by cutting down on food miles which contribute to climate change. One third of all household carbon emissions in the UK come from food miles, so cut back on your supermarket trips and keep it local.

All those cheap flights abroad might save us money, but they are costing the planet. Why not consider taking a break nearer home. Even the most environmentally friendly people can undo all their efforts by succumbing to cheap breaks abroad, especially long haul flights. The world’s 16,000 commercial jet aircrafts produce more than 600 million tonnes of CO2 every year, nearly as much as all the countries of Africa put together. (Source: Friends of the Earth)

New Year usually means out with the old and in with the new – but don’t be so hasty. Help stop the planet going to waste by recycling and reusing what you already have – one of the most eco friendly things you can do is look after what you already have.

Here are our top energy saving tips:

Only boil the water you need for one cup of tea or coffee, rather than half a kettle full, and save cash with each cup. An eco friendly kettle can help.

Cook with the lid on your saucepans. This way you’ll save energy and money with every meal you make.

Switch to energy-saving light bulbs. They may cost a little more, but can save up to 10 times the price over their lifetime and use at least two-thirds of the energy of standard ‘incadescent’ bulbs.

Never leave anything on standby. Switch off PCs and TVs when not in use. And unplug your mobile phone charger when you’re not using it. Leaving appliances on standby wastes at least 6% of domestic electricity use in the UK.

When your next appliance breaks down, if you cannot get it repaired make sure you buy an energy efficient replacement. Also take a look at your energy supplier – there are some great deals around for switching to a supplier that uses energy from renewable sources.

Links :!/NigelsEcoStore &

Source :

Two types of small paper bags
Image via Wikipedia


From Topshop to Nike to Primark, brown paper bags are back in abundance on the high street. But are they any better for the environment than plastic bags? The Guardian reports

When we are spending more money than we should in tough economic times at least we are being served the perfect item in which to hide our guilty purchases: the discreet paper bag.

The war against plastic bags seems to have been won on the United Kingdom high street this Christmas. Everyone from classy French label APC to the likes of Nike (complete with swoosh), Topshop and even Primark hand out brown paper bags. An armful of paper bags feels so much less trashy than a swaddling of plastic; they recall the classic brown paper groceries bag of old.

So victory for paper bags – they are the children of trees! – in the war against decadent, dolphin-smothering plastic. Except, like most wars, it is far from clear if it has left the world a better place. Wrap, the government-funded company set up to reduce waste, summarises the drawbacks of paper bags: while from a renewable source and biodegradable, compostable and recyclable, they require far more energy to make and transport than plastic, have less re-use potential and produce methane if dumped in landfill.

“Faced with the question of paper or plastic, the answer should always be neither,” says Reuseit.comAccording to a 2007 study (funded by US plastic bag manufacturers), it takes almost four times as much energy to manufacture a paper bag as a plastic bag. Paper-bag manufacture uses 20 times as much water as plastic and paper requires more energy to be recycled.

Cloth bags are far from perfect. An Environment Agency report this yearfound that a resusable cloth bag would have to be taken out 131 times to reduce its environmental impact to that of a single-use plastic bag. And despite all our fretting, plastic bag use has actually risen. Rather than pitching paper against plastic, we really need to change our habits. Apart from banning ourselves from buying more than we can carry loose in our arms, the obvious solution is a tax on all bags, an economic nudge that if we can’t shop less we should at least reuse those bags stuffed under the kitchen sink.

Source :

Recycling – Is Coke for real?

The Guardian reports Last week, in a bid to get a big green tick, Coca-Cola unveiled an advert campaign urging recycling.

Call me cynical, but:  

* Are these corporations merely jumping on the ‘environmental/sustainability’ bandwagon, so customers will continue to buy/buy more of their goods and services?

* Reports suggest that we cannot cope with the waste we produce and

* With others saying it is working ‘Waste not: recession leads to big drop in amount of rubbish we are throwing away’

* Putting things into recycling is one thing, but unless these recycled items can then actually be ‘re-used’ , recycling would become a process without an end – or purpose.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for recycling and education thereof. But why not take a leaf out of the African book and follow countries like Kenya have goods – including Coke if you must buy it – in re-sellable ‘glass bottles’!   

These giant corporations might respond by saying that they acknowledge waste is a huge problem and ”at least they are trying’.  

But is it all lip service?


Some links (see also Resources): recyclin database glass  recycling



The Story: Coca-Cola’s green marketing falls flat

The soft drink giant’s move shows that sustainability is back on the marketing and advertising agenda, and there are two key events coming up that will propel the issue to the fore – the UN climate change conference in December, where a new worldwide treaty on global warming will be set out; and the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC), the British government’s mandatory CO2 emissions trading scheme, which comes into force next April.

Many brands will be forced to take significant steps to reducing carbon emissions; and to do so, companies will have to remove some choices from their customers such as plastic bags, packaging, posted statements etc. So they will have to find ways to explain why. Brands that get their messages right, using language that keeps customers on board, stand to win.

But it’s not easy to sound sincere when you haven’t bothered in the past. Take car companies: they will now have to tell us not just to use their product less, but also to drive slower. The same applies to many utility companies, which love telling us they are greener than their competitors but have yet to prove their sincerity. But while there are quite a few cases of advertising as green washing, some brands are doing meaningful things. The best example is Marks & Spencer’s Plan A. It has been supported robustly throughout the recession, making it more credible to the public. It is an initiative driven from the top – by M&S’s chairman Stuart Rose.

This brings us back to Coke’s Keep It Going – Recycle, which I think belongs in the insincere category. The company has clearly not thrown money at this campaign and it shows. The ad resembles something my local council could have knocked up. Coke should be leading the way, finding a creative way to encourage consumers to cut their carbon footprints, not just paying lip service.