France gets all next-level with its circular economy ambitions, plus it sacks single-use plastic sacks. 11% of UK electric power could come tidal power, and diggin’ on Ireland’s Ecolution Podcast.
France Gets Next-Level Circular Economy & Sacks Plastic Sacks, 11% of UK Electric Power Could Come from Tides, Ireland’s Ecolution Podcast
OCEAN TIDES COULD SUPPLY 11% OF UK ELECTRICAL POWER
According to a recent article in Science Daily, tidal stream power has the potential to play a significant role in the government’s drive for net-zero. Tidal stream Tidal stream power is technology using the kinetic energy of moving water to power turbines, similar to the way wind turbines use wind, to generate electricity.
Dr. Danny Coles, Research Fellow at the University of Plymouth and the study’s lead author, said: “Our study shows there is considerable evidence to support an estimate that the UK and British Channel Islands’ tidal stream energy resource can provide 11% of our current annual electricity demand.”
Another co-author, Professor Philipp Thies of the University of Exeter, added: “There are still engineering challenges ahead, but this source of low carbon energy is technically feasible and an important element of future net zero energy generation.”
For Britain to achieve its full potential would require around 11.5 GW of tidal stream turbine capacity to be installed. Currently, the nation has just 18 MW. Knowing it took them 20 years to reach 11.5 GW from offshore wind, the British really must put the hammer down for tidal power to help meet the UK Government’s commitment to Net Zero by 2050.
Why does British tidal stream power matter to us? Because America has 95, 471 miles of coastline, more than 25 straits and over 100 estuaries—all where tidal flow could be harnessed to generate electricity.
This study did explore the potential environmental effects of such future developments and found no evidence to suggest that the next phase of tidal stream development will cause significant detrimental environmental impact. It went on to say the physical environmental impacts are expected to be an order of magnitude less than those created by climate change.
DEEPER DIVE: Science Daily, U of Plymouth, Royal Society
FRANCE SACKS SINGLE-USE PLASTIC SACKS
France is introducing a plastic ban for nearly all fruit and vegetables from early next year. The country did it because it currently produces 4.8 million metric tons of plastic annually. Only 16 percent is recycled.
The law was first passed in February 2020 and the environment ministry recently published a list of around 30 types of fresh produce that must be sold without plastic packaging as of January 2022, including aubergines, round tomatoes, oranges, apples, and bananas.
Plastic packaging will be phased out for additional fruit and vegetables over the coming years. Cherry tomatoes, green beans, and peaches must be plastic-free by 2023, endives, asparagus, cherries, and mushrooms by 2024, and raspberries and strawberries by 2026.
Said the environment ministry in a statement, “We use an outrageous amount of single-use plastic in our daily lives. The circular economy law aims at cutting back the use of throwaway plastic and boost its substitution by other materials or reusable and recyclable packaging.”
The new legislation will significantly reduce France’s national plastic production and tie into the country’s broader goals of waste reduction, sustainability, and circularity. Earlier this year, plastic straws, cups, and cutlery were banned nationwide, along with Styrofoam takeaway containers.
France’s environment ministry predicts the ban will eliminate about 1 billion plastic bags annually.
Arash Derambarsh, the city councilor of Paris suburb, Courbevoie, spearheaded the campaign that led to this legislation and told the Guardian that the new anti-waste bill must also come with financial repercussions for transgressors if it is to be effective.
DEEPER DIVE: World Economic Forum, Live Kindly,
FRANCE ALSO GOES NEXT LEVEL ON ITS CIRCULAR ECONOMY GOALS
The recent move by France to put the kibosh on plastic bag waste inside their borders is just one part of their eco-friendly game. It’s just one part of a far-reaching anti-waste and circular economy bill aimed at also banning companies from destroying unsold or returned clothes, cosmetics, and electrical items. Instead, those items must be redistributed or recycled.
A circular economy is a sustainable model of production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible” This ensures the maximum value is extracted from items with minimal impact and minimal waste.
And beginning in 2022, public spaces must provide water fountains to reduce the use of plastic bottles. Jumping onboard the sustainability train, the state-owned French National Railway Company (SNCF) is also taking action against waste. It recently announced that the rail service will no longer sell water in plastic bottles on its services. Instead, the operator will provide recyclable cardboard and reusable aluminum containers.
Also next year, printed media like newspapers and magazines must be shipped without plastic wrapping. And not a moment too soon for harried parents, it will be illegal for fast-food restaurants to offer free plastic toys. Starting in January 2023, France will also ban throwaway crockery in fast-food restaurant for meals consumed on-site.
France began to level up back in 2016 when it passed a law forcing supermarkets to donate usable expired food or face a €10,000 fine for unnecessary waste. Why does anything the country that inspired Republicans to rename “French fries” “Freedom Fries” matter to us?
Legislating a circular economy makes it easier for American cities, counties and states to implement their own circular economy laws…that is until our government grows a pair and performs one hellacious form of federal overreach in a wild bid to save the climate….too soon?
DEEPER DIVE: World Economic Forum, Live Kindly,
IRELAND’S “ECOLUTION” PODCAST
Ecolution is an Irish podcast from RTÉjr Radio, for kids who want to make a difference in the fight against Climate Change. RTÉjr Radio is a children’s news digital radio station of the Irish public-service broadcaster Raidió Teilifís Éireann (Rah-tio Tell-eh-fish Ehrn).
James Dunne, the host, is an 18 year old environmental activist who started the podcast two years ago. According to his intro, James is “part of the Schools Climate Action Network. I’m a beekeeper and overall just a lover of the wonderful world that is our home.”
Throughout his 45 episodes, James meets people, young and old, helping to solve the Climate Crisis by meeting it with real actions. In the latest episode, he teams up with the youth organization Spunout.ie to try and explain what COP 26 is all about.
Established in 2005, Spunout aims to educate and inform youth 16-25 about the importance of holistic wellbeing and how good health can be maintained, both physically and mentally.
Why does the Ecolution podcast matter to us? It gives us two different perspectives—Irish and youth. Hearing from diverse voices in the climate crisis helps us frame and feel commonality and community.
DEEPER DIVE: Ecolution, Sustainable Sleepover Club, Spunout