Nature produces no waste, so why do we?

As nature recycles, reclaims and reuses all of its resources, the problem of waste is only in the human imagination, with resources only becoming waste when used, mixed and thrown away, according to Ian Hargraves, Director of Sustainable Environmental Systems. High recycling rates over the next ten years have to be prepared for by industry by building recyclability and reusability into products.

Sustainable Environmental Systems is now promoting practical solutions to which can assist society in achieving a resource system which more closely reflects the good example set by nature. The Bedminster Method for composting waste can handle mixed municipal solid waste, initially removing metals, and then, following a three day intensive process, glass and plastics with the labels removed. Following six weeks of maturation, a high quality compost is produced, which can even replace peat, saving the UK’s remaining peat bogs. Domestic and industrial plastics removed from the compost can now also be turned into Plascrete, a light aggregate which is mixed with cement and sand to make a building material.

“The world has a need for ‘zero waste’ due to the human population explosion putting pressure on the world’s ecosystems,” said Hargraves. However, the need for managing waste is being taken more seriously, for example in Europe, where it is becoming an important part of Community legislation and thinking, he said.

The first UK Bedminster Composter is currently being planned, which is expected to produce 50 tonnes of compost per day, removing 18 tonnes of plastics per day which can then be used to make Plascrete.

Currently, with 8.6 megatonnes of used paper and cardboard produced each year, with 5.7 megatonnes of other compostables, Sustainable Environmental Systems believes that there is considerable scope for products such as Bedminster and Plascrete.

Sustainable Environmental Systems can be found at ET2001, stand ET031.

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