Scots urged to make lifestyle changes to reduce waste | Bot To News


GLASGOW TOOL LIBRARY

Lending libraries for items such as tools could be under-resourced

Scots are being urged to make radical lifestyle changes after a new study found that little of what they consume has been recycled or reused.

A new study commissioned by Zero Waste Scotland has called for a shift in business models from selling to more leasing of goods – from cars and furniture to household appliances.

He also suggested shorter trips for leisure and more work from home, while buying fewer clothes and keeping them longer.

As for industry, a Scottish government agency is proposing a fundamental overhaul of the way products are designed in this country and around the world.

A report by Zero Waste Scotland found that Scots recycle or find new uses for just 1.3% of the resources that entered the economy in 2018. This includes raw materials and the energy used to produce and ship them.

The measure covers goods produced in other countries but sold and used in Scotland.

The world average for resource reuse and recycling in a ‘circular economy’ is six times higher than Scotland’s.

Although this calculation has only been used in a handful of countries, Scotland has been shown to have the least circular reuse of resources, even compared to similar European countries.

Making old gearboxes as new

Downloads by John Mackie

John Mackie started the company 45 years ago

John Mackie started out as a car mechanic in Lanarkshire, replacing gearboxes when they broke.

But he realized that they could be repaired at a lower cost, so as a young man he started his own company to do so.

Forty-five years ago, Mackie Transmission was driven by the incentive of manufacturers and owners to save money. It is now the flagship of Scotland’s green economy.

When major manufacturers such as Hyundai or Honda discover a transmission failure during a car’s warranty period, they send it to a workshop in East Glasgow where it is thoroughly cleaned and disassembled.

With nearly 30 employees and an average of more than 20 years of experience in the company, they are experts at identifying problems, reconditioning equipment, testing equipment with their own custom equipment, and shipping it back to the manufacturer in better condition than when it started.

Their goal is to save at least 60% on the price of a new transmission.

With some brands, the company is confident enough in its processes to offer a longer warranty than the original manufacturer.

And he can boast that a new car with a rebuilt Mackie transmission is more reliable than one with a transmission that just came off the assembly line.

What makes this more than just a repair shop is that the data Mackie collects is extremely valuable to manufacturers. Glasgow technicians know better than Hyundai where the weak points of the Korean product are.

Therefore, manufacturers are advised on how to improve their processes and this results in more reliable cars with a longer lifespan.

For John Mackie, it’s not about repairing, recycling or reusing, it’s about remanufacturing – the difference is testing the equipment to make sure it’s at least as good as a new gearbox.

A loan not a purchase

The girl who borrows a drill

Thalia Groucott borrowed a drill to hang the curtain rods

Scotland used to lead the world in public lending libraries.

It is now part of the transition to lending and leasing for many other items.

Larger companies such as John Lewis are shifting away from the conventional model of selling goods to offering services around the goods, including clothing and furniture hire.

Cars are leased much more often than owned, and the number of short-term rental car clubs has also increased.

The entertainment industry has made a major shift from selling CDs, DVDs and games to streaming and download services.

The lending library movement extends to children’s toys to avoid buying new ones at all stages of a child’s development.

And in Glasgow’s Kinning Park is one of an ever-growing network of tool libraries. Borrowers avoid owning every tool they need or might need, often for very infrequent use.

One of those who borrows a drill to hang curtains is Thalia Groucott, 22 years old.

She explained that she had recently moved into a new apartment, and had borrowed a few times drills, furniture sanders and “probably the most exciting thing was a pipe bender”.

“A lot of them are quite specialized and expensive to buy,” she said. “I’ve done these little DIY projects, but it’s not something I do all the time.

“I like that it’s good for the environment and that I don’t have to buy something new all the time so that it doesn’t take up space without a lot of storage space in my apartment.”

And since he works in the same building, it’s a convenient place to drop off and pick up stuff.

Emma Irwin, Shared Library

Emma Erwin has worked for the Share and Repair Network since the project began in March

Emma Erwin has worked for the Share and Repair Network since the project began in March.

She said: “Sharing libraries are similar to book libraries but for borrowing items across Scotland – tools, musical instruments, toys.

“They’re great for the planet and great for people. They mean people can borrow instead of buying, which greatly reduces our consumption and impact on the environment, and reduces what gets thrown away and goes in the trash.

“They’re good for people in a lot of ways – they reduce the money they spend on items, they also help them cut costs. Many libraries lend out thermal imaging cameras to help people make their homes more (energy) efficient.

“We had someone with 26p in their bank account who came into the community library to borrow a tool for some gardening work, then set up a business and now employs other people in landscape gardening.”

What is a circular economy?

According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which advocates for the reuse of resources: “In our current economy, we take materials from the Earth, make products from them, and finally dispose of them as waste – the process is linear. In a circular economy, on the contrary, we stop producing waste.

The Scottish Government is planning a Circular Economy Act in 2023.

Initiatives already planned include the extension of garden waste collections to 2023 and a deposit refund scheme for single-use drink containers. Ministers also plan to create better systems for collecting household waste.

Separate collection of textiles, a levy on all disposable coffee and tea cups and a ban on the disposal of biodegradable waste are planned for the next two years.

Proposals for the draft circular economy law focus on areas where legislation could make a difference, including setting legal targets for waste reduction and establishing a circular economy agency. It is proposed that companies must publish information on the disposal of certain materials and unsold inventory.

The Scottish Government has suggested it could ban the destruction of unsold durable goods.

France has introduced such a ban on companies to destroy clothing, cosmetics, hygiene products, electrical items and other unsold or returned items. Instead of landfilling or incinerating unsold goods, companies should reuse, donate or recycle their unsold products.

Further pressure in legislation could be to strengthen the responsibility of local councils to collect waste for recycling and also the public to use the waste for recycling as intended.

Carbon footprint

The Zero Waste Scotland study looks at several measures of Scotland’s environmental footprint.

One involves imports into Scotland and the resources used in making and shipping them. It excludes the impact of goods made in Scotland and exported to other countries.

This shows that Scotland uses a total of 22 tonnes of the resource per capita, compared to a global average of 12 tonnes.

Another way of accounting for Scotland’s resource consumption is its carbon footprint, including emissions from production processes that lead to imported goods.

This equates to 14 tonnes of carbon dioxide per head in Scotland, compared to 5.5 tonnes globally.

Economy-wide use of oil or gas is led by aerospace, construction, machinery manufacturing, and public services such as health and social care. It extends to the defense sector, hotels, restaurants and food processing.

The report presents several options for moving forward and addressing the challenge on a larger scale, including:

  • A circular food system – in which there is less waste due to excessive shopping, and waste food is processed into energy: less meat consumption and more use of seasonal and local food production.

  • Circular production – in which goods use fewer raw materials and are designed to last longer, to be disassembled and repaired more easily and given a new purpose or broken down for recycling.

  • The transport sector is shifting to renewable energy in lighter vehicles: more car sharing, flexible working from home and fewer unnecessary journeys.

  • In a more circular lifestyle, people would reuse, repair, donate and recycle: less demand for household appliances, renting instead of owning and using shared libraries: more local travel and leisure, and less paper consumption.

  • Buying goods made closer to home, while domestic production is more efficient.

  • Improved recycling and reuse of end-of-life equipment, particularly in the offshore energy sector.

  • More effort for energy efficiency of homes, reuse of building materials and procurement closer to home. Better utilization of buildings with fewer vacancies and secondary homes.

The consultancy which produced the report calculated that such ideas could increase the extent of Scotland’s circularity ninefold, from 1.3% to 11.8% of resources.

Iain Gulland of Zero Waste Scotland admits that a 100% circular economy is neither possible nor desirable, as resources include essentials such as food and buildings. He refused to give a goal for an ideal circular economy.

“Four-fifths of our total carbon footprint comes from manufactured goods, half of which are produced overseas,” Mr Gulland said.

“So our dependence on these produced overseas and our lack of understanding of the environmental impact is part of the problem,” he said.

“Essentially everything we use has a carbon impact, so how can we think about it differently?

“How could we reuse more? How could we shop second-hand, think about the clothes we have, think differently about the products and services we use, and ultimately companies have the opportunity to transform their business models, think about subscription models of leasing and renting instead of selling?”



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