Letter from the Editor: Recycling advice from Japan, California and Germany

The question is, do companies want to break the law? I suggest that the answer is no. However, businesses appear to be burying their heads in the sand against the impending European electrical waste directive, according to one edie news story this week. I doubt this technique even works for ostriches – not that it matters as they don’t need to comply with European legislation.

Ostriches may not have the solution, but the Japanese do, having exceeded their targets of recycling 50 to 60% of televisions, air conditioners, fridges and washing machines.

It appears that Californians also take recycling seriously. Two Californian IT consultants are trying to persuade internet giant AOL to consider the full life-cycle of its promotional disks. They have started an ambitious campaign to collect one million of the disks from around the world which they intend to dump on AOL’s doorstep under the full glare of international media.

Meanwhile, the city of Santa Clarita in California is the first US local administration to experiment with recycling its used nappies, aiming to produce paper and plastic from them that can then be made into shoe innersoles, wallpaper and plastic lumber.

Animal waste is coming under the recycling research spotlight in Europe. The German Fraunhofer Institute is investigating how to increase the amount of biogas produced from sewage sludge. The solution, says the Institute, is to use sound waves to mechanically break it down.

And finally, while we’re on the subject of the less appealing end of the waste management spectrum, how do you deal with the unappetising issue of fat-clogged sewers? The answer: dose it with bacteria twelve times a day (see this week’s UK business briefs).

Kind regards

Helen André


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