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July 19th, 2013:

VIDEO: Biorefinery Turns Starbucks Waste in Sustainable Products in Hong Kong

VIDEO: Biorefinery Turns Starbucks Waste in Sustainable Products in Hong Kong

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Biorefinery National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society30 August 2012

A new ‘biorefinery‘ intended to transform biowaste into key building blocks for the manufacture of renewable plastics, laundry detergents and scores of other everyday products has been successfully tested using waste from Starbucks in Hong Kong.

A report on the project – launched in cooperation with the Starbucks restaurant chain (NASDAQ: SBUX), which was seeking a use for spent coffee grounds and stale bakery goods – was made the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.

“Our new process addresses the food waste problem by turning Starbucks’ trash into treasure – detergent ingredients and bio-plastics that can be incorporated into other useful products,” explained Carol S. K. Lin, Ph.D., who led the research team at the City University of Hong Kong.

The idea took shape during a meeting last summer between representatives of the nonprofit organisation called The Climate Group and Lin at her laboratory at the City University of Hong Kong.

The Climate Group reportedly asked Lin about applying her transformative technology, called a biorefinery, to the wastes of one of its members – Starbucks Hong Kong. To help jump-start the research, Starbucks donated a portion of the proceeds from each purchase of its “Care for Our Planet Cookies” gift set.

A new kind of biorefinery

According to Lin her team already had experience in developing the technology needed to do it – a so-called biorefinery, which can convert plant-based materials into a range of ingredients for biofuels and other products.

“We are developing a new kind of biorefinery, a food biorefinery, and this concept could become very important in the future, as the world strives for greater sustainability,” added Lin.

“Using corn and other food crops for bio-based fuels and other products may not be sustainable in the long-run. Concerns exist that this approach may increase food prices and contribute to food shortages in some areas of the world. Using waste food as the raw material in a biorefinery certainly would be an attractive alternative,” she continued.

Lin went on to describe the food biorefinery process, which involves blending the baked goods with a mixture of fungi that excrete enzymes to break down carbohydrates in the food into simple sugars. The blend then goes into a fermenter where bacteria convert the sugars into succinic acid.

Succinic acid topped a U.S. Department of Energy list of 12 key materials that could be produced from sugars and that could be used to make high-value products ― everything from laundry detergents to plastics to medicines.

Biorefinery Turns Starbucks Waste in Sustainable Products in Hong KongAdded benefits

In addition to providing a sustainable source of succinic acid, the new technology could have numerous environmental benefits, said Lin.

For example, Hong Kong produces nearly 5000 tonnes of used grounds every year. Currently, this waste is incinerated, composted or disposed of in landfills. Lin’s process could potentially convert these piles of foul-smelling waste into useful products.

Additionally, Lin claimed that the carbon dioxide that is produced is reused during the biorefining process, and that because succinic acid and its products (such as bio-plastics) are made using bakery waste as a renewable feedstock, they are sustainable alternatives to products made using petroleum.

The method isn’t just for bakery waste – Lin said she has also successfully transformed food wastes from her university’s cafeteria and other mixed food wastes into useful substances with the technology.

According to Lin the process could become commercially viable on a much larger scale with additional funding from investors.

“In the meantime, our next step is to use funding we have from the Innovation and Technology Commission from the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to scale up the process,” she said. “Other funding has been applied to test this idea in a pilot-scale plant in Germany.”

The scientists acknowledged support from the Innovation and Technology Commission in Hong Kong, as well as a grant from the City University of Hong Kong.

A video of Lin explaining the technology at the National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society can be seen below:

Video streaming by Ustream

€310m Hong Kong & Macau Waste Management Contracts for SITA

€310m Hong Kong & Macau Waste Management Contracts for SITA

19 July 2013

By Ben Messenger
Managing Editor

€310m Hong Kong & Macau Waste Management Contracts for SITA SUEZ Environnement

SITA Waste Services has won two new 10 year contracts in Hong Kong, worth around €110 million, while one of its subsidiary companies has renewed a €200 million contract in Macau – also over 10 years.

According to SITA – a subsidiary of SUEZ Environnement (Paris: SEV, Brussels: SEVB) – the contracts include the management of the North Lantau Transfer Station, worth €35 million and the marine transportation of dewatered sludge, worth €75 million, while the Macau contract is for cleaning services.

Under the 10-year contract for North Lantau, which started in June 2013, Sita Waste Services will manage waste for the largest of Hong Kong’s islands, including the waste of Hong Kong International Airport, Disneyland Park and Tung Chung New Town.

With a current design treatment capacity of 650 tonnes of municipal solid waste per day, the company said that the transfer station will see its throughput almost double to 1200 tonnes a day in the next few years after completion of upgrading works.

The dewatering contract has been awarded by a new client for SITA, Hong Kong’s Drainage Services Department (DSD1), and has been awarded to the 50-50% partnership between SITA Waste Services and ATAL Environmental.

Under the contract the company explained that two self-propelled ocean going vessels will be designed and constructed for transferring and transporting dewatered sludge from the Waste Water Treatment Plant to the sludge Treatment Facilities.

These new vessels will feature built in diesel-electric hybrid engines, which the company said are more efficient and environmentally friendly.

SITA said that it has already gained over 15 years’ experience in marine transfer of containerised waste while operating and managing six other transfer stations in Hong Kong.

Engineering and the contract will commence on 1 November 2013.

€310m Hong Kong & Macau Waste Management Contracts for SITAMacau

SITA Waste Services, via its subsidiary Companhia de Sistemas de Residuos de Macau (CSR), has also been re-awarded the contract for the provision of urban cleaning services and waste collection and disposal in Macau for a further 10 years.

The contract represents an overall revenue of more than €200 million and will start in November 2013.

Under this contract, SITA said that it will support the community to improve the quality of life of Macau’s residents by reducing waste generation and further increasing the recovery of recyclable waste.

SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT said that it has operated in Hong Kong for over twenty years now, and currently operates two landfill sites handling over 7000 tonnes of waste per day, six transfer stations and seven rehabilitated landfills. It also offers collection, composting and recycling services.

“China’s need for professional waste management services is growing rapidly,” commented Jean-Louis Chaussade, CEO of SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT.

Read More

SUEZ Backs Organic Wastes to Renewable Chemicals Firm in UK
Redcar, UK based Solvert, which is developing technology to recycle organic wastes into renewable chemicals, has been backed by an investment from French environmental services giant, SUEZ Environnement and its subsidiary, SITA UK.

SITA Wins Contracts for 3 Waste Transfer Stations in Hong Kong
SITA Waste Services has won two contracts in Hong Kong for the redevelopment and operational management of three waste transfer stations

VIDEO: Biorefinery Turns Starbucks Waste in Sustainable Products in Hong Kong
A new ‘biorefinery‘ intended to transform biowaste into key building blocks for the manufacture of renewable plastics, laundry detergents and scores of other everyday products has been successfully tested using waste from Starbucks in Hong Kong.

Paraguay Paraguayan landfill orchestra makes sweet music from rubbish


Paraguayan style recycling

recycled orchestral instruments

Govt urged to subsidise recyclers

Govt urged to subsidise recyclers


Calls to government to subsidise waste recycling industry. File Photo

A green group and recycling companies, have urged the government to directly subsidise the industry.

Friends of the Earth says 9,000 tonnes of waste is being dumped in landfills every day, and a quarter of it is recyclable.

The group’s Director of General Affairs, Edwin Lau, says many companies only choose to recycle higher value materials.

He said the governmenet should subsidise these firms to process low-value waste. He said this could help alleviate the burden on the territory’s landfills.

Hong Kong must exhaust all other options before building third runway

Published on South China Morning Post (

Home > Hong Kong must exhaust all other options before building third runway

Hong Kong must exhaust all other options before building third runway

Friday, 19 July, 2013, 12:00am

CommentInsight & Opinion

Albert Cheng

Albert Cheng suggests ways the Airport Authority could raise its handling capacity, not least by better co-ordinating its airspace traffic

The Airport Authority recently ran newspaper advertisements to pave the way for its plan to build a third runway and engage the public over the ongoing environmental impact assessment of the project.

I have always objected to a third runway, mainly because the airport still has not fully utilised the capacity of the existing two runways. Building a third runway is not only a waste of resources; it will also seriously affect the nearby natural environment.

The problem stems from the fact that the director general of civil aviation is trying to play safe and has thus limited aircraft movements to 64 flights per hour for the two-runway system. By 2015, aircraft movements are expected to reach 68 per hour.

This is way below international standards. Take Heathrow for example. Its two runways handle up to 80 aircraft movements per hour.

If only Hong Kong could shake off its conservative management mindset, the airport could almost certainly immediately increase its runway capacity to reach international standards. That way, we could save resources and wouldn’t need a third runway.

In fact, when the airport was still under construction, a British aviation consultant set the hourly aircraft movements at 75. But civil aviation chief Norman Lo Shung-man said aircraft movements could only reach 68 by 2015, rejecting what the consultant had said.

What could be the reasons for these restrictions? One is that our airport cannot increase the hourly aircraft movements due to our restricted airspace. In other words, the airspace congestion problem is not caused by a traffic bottleneck on the runways, but by the limited airspace.

Former civil aviation chief Albert Lam Kwong-yu said previously that the Hong Kong and national aviation authorities had already reached a consensus on how to manage the airspace to the north of the airport. But the current chief appears to have rejected this consensus and chosen a regressive path instead.

That’s why we should look again at the option of expanding air space in the north.

I also wonder about the Airport Authority’s motives for building a third runway. It seems motivated by a sense of grandeur, rather than practicality, and is looking to expand to secure its existence.

A third runway won’t really resolve the problem; even this new runway would not be fully utilised.

Another reason why the runways are underutilised is the lack of professional talent. The civil aviation department blames a lack of locally trained air traffic controllers for not being able to raise the number of aircraft movements.

This is a rather backward-looking attitude. If we have a shortage of controllers, why not recruit overseas professionals? With more air traffic controllers, we can boost runway capacity and the airport would be able to handle more aircraft movements.

Lo and his department just seem full of excuses and are resistant to change.

Another point worth focusing on is synchronising our computer communication system with that of the mainland aviation authority. Hong Kong uses the American Raytheon system at the air traffic control centre, while the mainland uses the French Thales system.

If we can synchronise our computer systems, no doubt we would be able to further enhance communication and help boost traffic capacity.

I am not blindly objecting to airport expansion, but cost effectiveness is important.

At present, our airport is rather busy and congested mainly because of a lack of areas to park aircraft. To resolve this, we don’t need a third runway, but rather a third terminal to increase parking spaces.

With the mainland’s rapid economic development, the role of Hong Kong’s airport as an international aviation hub will gradually diminish, as it is replaced by the airports in Guangzhou and Shenzhen as economic expansion focuses on the Pearl River Delta.

Even if our airport is not replaced completely, the shift of focus will lessen our role and competitive edge. That’s why building a third runway would be ineffective and would only create a white elephant.

Hong Kong needs development, but not ineffective development that ultimately turns into wasteful white elephants and stirs public opposition and discontent.

We should focus our resources and strengths to further enhance our development advantages. We need to always be one step ahead in our mindset to remain in a leading position. To increase our competitiveness and advantages doesn’t mean expansion.

A sensible approach is to increase our airport’s hourly aircraft movements to 75 and build a third passenger terminal as soon as possible. Big is not always effective – substance is far more important.

Albert Cheng King-hon is a political commentator. [1]


Chevron granted access to environmental activists’ email accounts

Chevron granted access to environmental activists’ email accounts

Is oil giant Chevron trying to stifle criticism of its Ecuadorian oil drilling operations by accessing private email accounts of critics?

MDG : organization of indigenous people affected by US oil company Chevron, Ecuador

Indigenous people affected by Chevron activity in Ecuador showing samples of earth and water contaminated with oil. Photograph: Rodrigo Buendia/AFP/Getty Images

Oil giant Chevron has been granted access to “more than 100 email accounts, including environmental activists, journalists, and attorneys” involved in a long-running dispute involving damage “caused by oil drilling” in Ecuador, reports the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) which, with EarthRights International (ERI), is opposing the New York court’s decision says:

After years of litigation, an Ecuadorian court last year imposed a judgment of over $17 billion on Chevron for dumping toxic waste into Amazon waterways and causing massive harm to the rainforest. Instead of paying, Chevron sued more than 50 people who were involved in the Ecuador lawsuit, claiming they were part of a conspiracy to defraud the oil giant. None of the individuals represented by EFF and ERI has been sued by Chevron or accused of wrongdoing.

Both EFF and ERI have warned that Chevron’s subpoenas will have a “chilling effect” on people who would speak out against the oil company’s activities in Ecuador and elsewhere.

The background to the case was reported by Common Dreams staff writer Lauren McCauley:

The oil giant is demanding the records in an attempt to cull together a lawsuit which alleges that the company was the victim of a conspiracy in the $18.2 billion judgment against it for dumping 18.5 billion gallons of oil waste in the Ecuadorean Amazon, causing untold damage to the rainforest.

EarthRights International has also raised concerns that the presiding judge, Lewis Kaplan, who has been “accused of prejudice against Ecuadorians and their lawyers” made some sweeping and startling arguments in this case:

Kaplan’s decision upheld Chevron’s sweeping subpoena with an argument that is as breathtaking as the subpoena itself. According to Judge Kaplan, none of the accountholders could benefit from First Amendment protections since the accountholders had “not shown that they were U.S. citizens.”

Now, let’s break this down. The account-holders in this case were proceeding anonymously, which the First Amendment permits. Because of this, Judge Kaplan was provided with no information about the account holders’ residency or places of birth. It is somewhat amazing then, that Judge Kaplan assumed that the account holders were not US citizens. As far as I know, a judge has never before made this assumption when presented with a First Amendment claim. We have to ask then: on what basis did Judge Kaplan reach out and make this assumption?

Regardless of what you think of the USA’s first amendment rights, this case has some exceptionally worrying ramifications for people who oppose the environmental destruction caused by multinational oil corporations.

Chevron is one of the “rogue” fossil fuel companies named by global climate activist Bill McKibben in his Rolling Stone article, Do The Math, whose reserves, if burned, amount to a carbon bomb:

According to the Carbon Tracker report, if Exxon burns its current reserves, it would use up more than seven percent of the available atmospheric space between us and the risk of two degrees. BP is just behind, followed by the Russian firm Gazprom, then Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Shell, each of which would fill between three and four percent. Taken together, just these six firms, of the 200 listed in the Carbon Tracker report, would use up more than a quarter of the remaining two-degree budget.

In Australia, environmental groups and individual conservationists were targeted with SLAPP suits (strategic lawsuit against public participation), aimed at destroying community opposition to damaging developments.

David R Baker, writing in SFGate, commented in June 2013 on Chevron’s litigation tactics:

That aggressive strategy has worked wonders, putting Chevron’s opponents on the defensive and convincing many people that the Ecuador suit is a sham.

And you can trace much of that strategy back to a 2008 memo by San Francisco’s master of crisis communications, Sam Singer.

Singer has built up an impressive practice of counseling companies, public agencies and government officials facing controversy. (Chronicle reporter Heather Knight, writing last year in our City Insider blog, called Singer the kind of crisis manager who can make shoplifting politicians seem sympathetic.) In October of 2008, he sent Chevron spokesman Kent Robertson a four-page memo outlining steps the company could take to change public perceptions of the Ecuador lawsuit.

Singer recommended going on the offensive. The company should portray Ecuador’s court system as corrupt, with collusion between judges and the plaintiffs in the lawsuit. Pointing out the leftward tilt of Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa wouldn’t hurt. And Singer recommended “counter attacks” on the plaintiffs and their legal team, particularly lead lawyer Steven Donziger.

It would appear that Chevron is using this subpoena to discourage opposition to its oil drilling operations.

You can read the court documents here (pdf).

British company develops technology to recycle disposable coffee cups

British company develops technology to recycle disposable coffee cups

James Cropper becomes world’s first firm to separate plastic content from cups, leaving pulp fit for making luxury papers

James Cropper recycling disposable paper cups

James Cropper plc has developed technology to recycle disposable coffee cups into high quality paper products, and is opening a £5m plant in Kendal, Cumbria. Photograph: Maitland PR

The British company which makes the red paper for the Royal Legion’s famous poppies has developed the world’s first technology to recycle disposable coffee cups into high quality paper products.

Kendal-based James Cropper, a specialist paper and advanced materials group, will on Wednesday open a £5m reclaimed fibre plant using the ground-breaking new technology at its Cumbria production mill.

Until now, the 5% plastic content of cups has made them unsuitable for use in papermaking. In the UK alone, an estimated 2.5bn paper cups go to landfill every year. James Cropper’s recycling technology separates out the plastic incorporated in the cups leaving paper pulp that can be used in the highest quality papers.

The new facility is being inaugurated today by the Queen and the Princess Royal.

The plant’s process involves softening the cup waste in a warmed solution, separating the plastic coating from the fibre. The plastic is skimmed off, pulverised and recycled, leaving water and pulp. Impurities are filtered out leaving high grade pulp suitable for use in luxury papers and packaging materials.

Mark Cropper, chairman of James Cropper plc, said: “Cup waste is a rich source of high grade pulp fibre, but until now the plastic content made this product a contaminant in paper recycling. Our technology changes that and also addresses a major environmental waste problem and accompanying legislation. We are greatly honoured that Her Majesty the Queen and The Princess Royal are joining us on the occasion of our new plant opening.”

Cropper is responsible for the paper in 80% of UK hardbook books, as well as the poppy paper and paper in Hansard, the parliamentary almanac. The company’s main production facilities are in the UK and the US, with supporting sales offices in US, Europe and Asia. Half of its products are exported.

Kennedy brothers rescue of sea turtle ‘violated federal law’ environment agency claims | Mail Online

Only in America ………………………………..

Kennedy brothers told they ‘violated federal law’ when they rescued distressed 500lb leatherback turtle tangled in fishing line

  • Protected species status bars public from touching turtles
  • Agency warns of drowning danger as large species can drag people under

By Jessica Jerreat

PUBLISHED: 17:23 GMT, 17 July 2013 | UPDATED: 11:34 GMT, 18 July 2013




When Max and Robert Kennedy Jr. dived into the sea off Nantucket to free a large leatherback turtle tangled in fishing line, they had the best interests of the endangered animal at heart.

However, their ‘good deed’ violated a law that protects the endangered animals from being interfered with by people, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The Kennedys had been sailing off Nantucket on July 6 when they spotted the 500lb turtle in distress and decided to help.

Sea rescue: The Kennedy brothers dived into the sea off Nantucket to help a distressed leatherback turtle

Sea rescue: The Kennedy brothers dived into the sea off Nantucket to help a distressed leatherback turtle

A video filmed by passengers on their yacht, shows the men struggle to calm the turtle as they cut away the buoy line that was wrapped around its head and fin.

John Bullard, of the NOAA, said: ‘We’ve explained what they’ve done is a violation of the Endangered Species Act and we discourage people from doing it.’

He explained that it can be dangerous trying to help the large turtles, and said there was a risk of rescuers becoming entangled and dragged down.

There was also a risk of being pulled under by a turtle, which can weigh up to 700lb and hold its breath a lot longer than a human can, he told the Huffington Post.

You can get entangled, go under and it can turn into a tragedy,’ Mr Bullard added.

Distressed: The Kennedys cut the line wrapped around the turtle, but were later told their actions violated environmental laws

Distressed: The Kennedys cut the line wrapped around the turtle, but were later told their actions violated environmental laws

Kennedy brothers rescue turtle

Since being alerted to the dangers of the rescue mission, Robert Kennedy Jr released a statement, according to the Cape Cod Times.

‘When we spotted a sea turtle in trouble over the 4th of July weekend, our first impulse was to do what we could to help free the animal,’ he said.

‘But we realize that the action we took was pretty risky, these are large, powerful animals.’

The brothers, the sons of the late Senator Robert Kennedy, are both licensed wildlife rehabilitators.

Max Kennedy spotted the distressed turtle first, signalling what would become a 35-minute rescue operation.


‘It was clearly gonna die, so we went in, and we cut the rope off it,’ Robert Kennedy said a few days after the successful rescue.

However, wildlife officials recommend members of the public call for help, because it is illegal to handle the protected species.

People who approach endangered species can face a written warning and fines starting at $1,000 and rising to $23,000 depending on the level of interaction and intention, according to the NOAA.

Only the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies is certified to handle turtles in the region, and an environmental officer would also have been able to tag the turtle and collect vital information about the species.

Scott Landry, director of marine animal entanglement response for the Provincetown Center, told the Cape Cod Times: ‘We urge people not to do this. We understand that people are very well-intentioned.’

Robert Kennedy Jr

Max Kennedy

Mission: Robert Kennedy Jr, left, and his brother Max, spotted the leatherback while sailing in Nantucket

Protected: The leatherback turtle is so endangered is it against the law for the public to touch them

Protected: The leatherback turtle is so endangered is it against the law for the public to touch them

The Kennedys were able to help the center however, by supplying pictures and evidence of the type of line wrapped around the turtle.

Since being given protected species status in the U.S. numbers of leatherback sea turtles, which can hold their breath for up to 85 minutes, have started to stabilize in the Atlantic.

The number of reports of tangled turtles has increased to 22 in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York this year, up from eight in the same period last year.

Environmental damage costs India $80bn a year

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