Sunday, October 20, 2019

Honey Dew, Dunkin’ toss out Styrofoam cups, but is it enough to save the planet?

I have still yet to hear what is wrong with tossing everything into landfills -- it's cheap and we did it for generations. A lot of Australia's sportsgrounds and public parks were once landfills.  Once the dump is full, you level it off, add rocks and soil and call in the gardeners.

And most landfills were unsupervised dumps.  It was great fun to go to the dump with your rubbish and come back with things other people had tossed out.  That was REAL recycling. I remember it well. Many wives complained that their husbands came back with as much as they threw out

Honey Dew Donuts founder and CEO Dick Bowen never liked Styrofoam cups. They just seemed chintzy, the kind of thing you’d find at a backyard barbecue or in a church basement. “Our coffee was too good for foam,” said Bowen, whose company made the switch from paper to foam two decades ago. “I literally always had a bad taste in my mouth to go to foam. It didn’t feel right.”

Now foam is getting the heave-ho, as Honey Dew strives to be more environmentally friendly. But as Kermit the Frog might say, it’s not easy going green.

Like its giant competitor, Dunkin’, Honey Dew used Styrofoam cups to accommodate customers’ ever-growing demand for bigger portions, and Styrofoam could keep big cups of coffee hot without burning hands. When Bowen opened his first shop in 1973, the biggest size was 10 ounces; today it is 24 ounces. And the Plainville-based chain runs through about 12 million Styrofoam cups a year.

This month, Bowen will say goodbye to the foam cup, as new double-walled paper cups arrive across Honey Dew’s 147 stores in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire. You can’t miss the new cups; not only are they more environmentally friendly, but the beige branding is replaced with a bold new red design.

Corporate America is embracing sustainability. So are millennial customers and municipalities. That means the coffee industry has to deliver a greener product.

Dunkin’ is also on track to eliminate foam cups in New England locations by year’s end, and all of its stores nationwide in early 2020. The change will remove 1 billion foam cups — which are hard to recycle — from the waste stream annually. For customers nervous about change, Dunkin’ assures that its double-walled paper cup “has heat retention properties that are equal to our foam cup.”

Honey Dew’s cups are made from 88 percent renewable resources; the double walls keep the coffee hot and eliminate the need for a sleeve. But are these new paper coffee cups recyclable?

That’s debatable. Coffee companies say yes; environmentalists say not so fast. The new paper coffee cups are lined with plastic and would need to be sorted separately from paper and plastic collections. And few facilities have the right equipment to recycle something made out of mixed materials.

So it’s possible to recycle the new Honey Dew cups — but practically speaking, it’s not going to happen.

That explains the muted reaction from environmentalists. Styrofoam is among the most toxic of plastics, so eliminating it from landfills is a good thing, but they don’t think new paper cups are the best solution.

“None of the systems in Massachusetts accept or collect coffee cups,” said Kirstie Pecci, director of the Zero Waste Project at the Conservation Law Foundation, referring to Styrofoam and the new cups. “Do not put coffee cups in your bin.”

For Pecci, and from the perspective of state environmental officials, the gold standard is to break the habit of using a disposable cup.

“Eliminating Styrofoam in favor of paper cups is, from a public health and environmental perspective, the right thing to do,” Ed Coletta, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, said in a statement. “However, bringing in your own cup beats all.”

Bowen understands the dilemma, but he says Honey Dew is doing its part to help the environment. “It’s in their corner to make this work,” he said of municipal waste facilities.

So how hard can it be to make an easily recyclable coffee cup?

We may have sent a man to the moon, but a truly sustainable disposable cup has been elusive even for coffee kahuna Starbucks. For three decades, the Seattle chain has been working on this issue, even hosting three “cup summits,” two of them at MIT.

Starbucks will tell you their paper coffee cups are recyclable in communities that have the infrastructure. But Starbucks realizes that’s not good enough, and in 2018 committed $10 million to help launch the NextGen Cup Challenge to create an industry consortium to develop a greener cup.

In February, the consortium unveiled 12 winners of the challenge, whose ideas ranged from innovative cup liners to reusable cup services; some of those winners will move onto a next phase of piloting their ideas through an accelerator program.

The biggest takeaway for Peter Senge, an MIT senior lecturer who participated in a cup summit, is that it will take a village: retailers, recyclers, and government. “We all have a stake in nurturing the ‘underground economy’ that can make it economically viable to harvest our waste,” Senge wrote in an e-mail.

Honey Dew began its hunt for the proper paper cup over six years ago. (It has long used paper cups for its smallest size.) Manufacturers were making alternatives to foam, including the double-walled paper cups, but they were too expensive.

Honey Dew also didn’t want to give up its lid design. For some customers, it’s all about the lid. What good is a cup when you can’t sip without spilling? (Eighty-percent of Honey Dew’s business is takeout.)

By the fall of 2018, Honey Dew settled on a cup made by Dart Container Corp. that worked well with the plastic lid design the chain was already using. The new cups began arriving at Honey Dew stores in September. All the foam will be gone by the end of the month. Paper is more expensive, and some franchisees may pass the cost on to the customer. A 16-ounce paper cup, for example, costs 11 cents, while the foam version costs 7 cents.

But the work to reduce plastic waste is not done at Honey Dew. Don Leavitt, the executive who led the paper cup chase, is now onto his next project. “Now that I have the cups under control,” he said, “I’m working on the straws.”


The ‘climate emergency’ no one is talking about

Tens of thousands will die and crop yields will fall dramatically.

While Extinction Rebellion activists glue themselves to the buildings and roads of London, and the great and the good hang on Greta Thunberg’s every syllable, there is a climate event coming that will affect us much, much sooner than the ‘climate emergency’ that is the focus of so much attention.

Just look at the impact it will have on the UK. Tens of thousands of people will die. Infectious disease will skyrocket, sometimes with lethal consequences. The sun will disappear from the sky for large chunks of the day – some northern parts of the UK will soon have less than six hours of daylight per day. Crop production will fall dramatically. Travel will at times be difficult, even impossible. People will flock to shops to purchase protective clothing. We will need to produce and use copious amounts of additional energy, meaning household energy bills will shoot up.

But the UK is lucky – we will not face the worst of it. In many other countries, conditions will be far more extreme. Moreover, top scientists have confirmed that this dangerous climate event will happen every year from now on. Parts of the southern hemisphere will experience similar problems approximately six months later than the northern hemisphere.

This climate event is, of course, winter. It seems ludicrous to describe winter in the terms above, even though everything I have written is true (apart from the need for ‘top scientists’ to confirm its arrival). The temperature drop from summer to winter is enormous, even in a temperate country like the UK. According to the UK Met Office, average daily maximum temperatures in London’s Greenwich Park vary from 23.4 degrees Celsius in July to 8.1 degrees Celsius in January – a drop of over 15 degrees. The difference between the highest temperature in a particular year and the lowest would be even greater than that.

Excess winter deaths do run into the tens of thousands. Colds proliferate, as does influenza, killing a small proportion of the millions who suffer from it. Hypothermia does still, tragically, kill many people. Indeed, cold weather kills far more people than heatwaves. Some winter crops are produced, but, for the most part, we live off stores and imports. No wonder that Game of Thrones meme, ‘Winter is coming’, strikes such a chord.

But the reason most people have no reason to fear winter is down to economic development and human adaptation. Of course, that process is not new. Any society experiencing cold winters would have developed the means to cope or would have disappeared. But the line between survival and destruction must have been a thin one at many times in the past.

Now we live in solidly built homes with plenty of energy to heat them. We also have easy transport and good communications networks. There are always plentiful food supplies, unless a strong bout of snow leaves the local supermarket out of bread, milk and fresh veg for a day or two. We can treat the sick and infirm. Thanks to the advent of cheap electric lighting, the long nights are of little concern.

Clearly, given there are still plenty of excess deaths in winter, there is far more we could do. But we have adapted to winter pretty well. In fact, many people look forward to it, whether it is the prospect of Christmas festivities or paying a small fortune to get chair-lifted up a mountain to slide back down it on skis.

Adaptation and development is how we have always overcome the harshness of nature. And this is worth thinking about in the context of the panic about climate change. Extinction Rebellion founder Roger Hallam warns of ‘the slow and agonising suffering and death of billions of people’ that will apparently result from climate change. But global deaths from natural disasters have plummeted over the past century. And global population is booming, despite declining fertility rates, because almost everyone is living longer than before. There is no reason to expect these trends to go into reverse.

Meanwhile, the policies espoused by the eco-activists would cause far more suffering than the climate change they fear. The government’s Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES) for 2018 makes clear how much we still rely on fossil fuels, despite the subsidies lavished on low-carbon energy: ‘Fossil fuels remain the dominant source of energy supply, but now accounts for 80.1 per cent, a record low level. Supply from renewables has increased, with their contribution accounting for 10.2 per cent of final consumption.’ Yet Extinction Rebellion believes we can reach ‘Net Zero’ emissions – that is, get rid of fossil fuels entirely – by 2025, in just six years. If the eco-worriers got their way, we would face incredible hardship, particularly in winter.

Let’s take a step back and appreciate an incredible human achievement – that winter is no longer anything to fear. And let’s put the panic about the climate into some perspective.


Veganism won’t save the planet

This is a cult of self-righteousness, not a sensible eco-diet.

Three trends this year have proven that the new religion of Gaia has arrived in earnest: environmental catastrophism, the cult of veganism, and the acceptance of outright hypocrisy.

The first is seen in the emergence of Extinction Rebellion / Cult of Greta, with its heady combination of juvenile sanctimony and rampant exaggeration. The growth of the cult of veganism can be seen in thousands switching to the diet and ‘free-from’ foods; Quorn expanding into the vegan market; the current television advert for Tesco; and in Lewis Hamilton, a hugely rich, one-man gas-guzzler, insisting that veganism is the only way to save the planet.

The third manifestation can be seen in Madonna, Emma Thompson and Harry, Duke of Sussex, all lecturing us on the need to cut our carbon footprint, while stamping it heavily with their penchant for flying a lot. It also takes us neatly back to Lewis Hamilton.

Veganism is routinely championed as the principal remedy to climate change. After all, it is something we can all do on a personal level. Except that, as remedies go, it is snake oil. Sure, livestock disproportionately take up valuable farmland, eat food we could be eating ourselves, and emit much methane that exacerbates the greenhouse effect.

But many popular vegan foods eaten by Westerners often have a huge carbon footprint. Unlike milk, cheese and eggs, staples for the more sensible and sustainable vegetarian diet, which can basically be sourced anywhere where humans live, voguish vegan food – and let’s keep in mind that veganism is mostly a voguish, middle-class diet – is rarely local food.

People in Britain who adopt a vegan diet should be eating potatoes, bread, legumes and domestic vegetables. Yet instead, it is often the case that they opt for foreign foods, such as pomegranates and mangos, which are flown in from India; and also lentils from Canada, beans from Brazil, blueberries from the US, and goji berries from China. The demand for even more fashionable foods, such as avocados and quinoa, which come from South America, has pushed up prices to such a degree that people in their country of origin can no longer afford to eat them.

Instead of flaunting your virtuous credentials, or indulging in medieval public displays of self-flagellation and piety, there are other, more practical means of reducing one’s carbon footprint — ones that don’t involve drastically changing our lifestyles and keeping the world’s poor trapped in poverty. These involve furthering electric-car technology, which has in this decade at last increasingly become a viable alternative to petrol and diesel; burying carbon underground; advancing laboratory-produced meat, which will free up millions of hectares of farmland for the growth of crops; refraining from using the internet when you don’t need to (the internet is responsible for roughly one billion tonnes of greenhouse gases a year, or around two per cent of world emissions); wearing more clothes instead of turning up the heating; and even drinking Carlsberg beer that now comes in paper bottles.

None of this will please the purists, however, who are fundamentally waging a war against modernity, and who seek to banish anything that ‘doesn’t really address the problem’. Rather, veganism will remain popular because it is a handy means for whining, complaining and shrieking. It is passive-aggressive showing-off.


Cough up the 'secret science,' climate propagandists!

Dear reader, fellow citizen: I hope you remember a column recently in this space in which I let you know about a monumental development in this whole "global warming" panic. I shared with you the results of a little-reported court trial that detailed the embarrassing exposure of the most quoted "climate expert" as a total fraud!

My purpose is to free us all from this ridiculous "Sky is Falling" scam and its primary "Chicken Little."

Now for a follow up, a Chapter 2 in that story.

I hope you know, as I do, that to bear false witness is to invite a terrible wrath. A case in point, my previous column, "'Trial of the century' just poured cold water on 'hockey stick' legend."

We saw how the vainglorious alarmist climate scientist Michael E. Mann was rendered a humiliating defeat by a fellow scientist, the skeptical Tim Ball. Dr Ball stood for truth and exposed a false witness. As we are taught: "A false witness will not go unpunished, and he who breathes out lies will perish." (Proverbs 19:9)

Dr. Mann is now in a deep hole. His expensive eight-year libel action against Dr. Ball was dismissed "with prejudice," plus the award of substantial legal costs in Ball's favor.

Those who seek to profit from deceit face grave consequences. The Supreme Court of British Columbia has ordered Mann to pay Ball what may be a sum close to $1 million.

But a fool doesn't learn easily from his mistakes.

A belligerent Mann is not only hinting he won't honor the court order to reimburse Ball's legal fees, but he's continuing to mislead his followers and the public into believing his iconic "hockey stick" warming graph remains untainted.

This is not a good place to be. A wise Mann would heed Proverbs 20:17 and know that, "Bread gained by deceit is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth will be full of gravel."

Let no one be under any illusions here about what remains at stake. Quite simply, for the past two decades, Mann's "hockey stick" graph served as the cornerstone of misguided multi-trillion-dollar government policies for "action" on climate change, action that burdens our economy and our freedom.

Many scientists argue that these policies are meritless because climate always changes – and will continue to change – without or without human help. More CO2 is Nature's blessing to life, not a curse, and temperatures today are entirely within natural variation. They are totally the result of changes received from the sun, the source of all energy on Earth.

Now Mann's vanity in seeking to determine scientific matters by resorting to bullying opponents in the courts has backfired spectacularly.

For too long the climate zealots had touted Mann's work as the smoking gun for dangerous human emissions of carbon dioxide, a trace gas known to be beneficial – yes, necessary – to plant growth.

Thankfully, Dr. Ball's triumph is stirring renewed doubt in high places about the science. So, how should we now weigh the credibility of hysterical claims that modern global temperatures are "unprecedented"?

Dr. Mann, a champion for advocates of one-world socialist government, gleefully basked in fame and fortune for 20 years. Touted as a "world-leading climate scientist" his unethical (possibly criminal) actions will bring grave consequences.

Should we now not legally compel Mann – who still says our planet is imminently imperiled – to come clean and reveal the proof Ball demanded from him?

Indeed, Mann will not budge easily from his lofty pedestal and is always quick to claim that other researchers have validated his graph built from "secret science." But the very detailed U.S. Congress Wegman Report cast grave doubts on those "replications'"when it reported:

"… [W]e found that at least 43 authors have direct ties to Dr. Mann by virtue of co-authored papers with him. Our findings from this analysis suggest that authors in the area of paleoclimate studies are closely connected and thus 'independent studies' may not be as independent as they might appear on the surface." [3/91) [2]

On the key issue of Mann refusing to show his secret science calculations, Wegman lamented:

"We were especially struck by Dr. Mann's insistence that the code he developed was his intellectual property and that he could legally hold it personally without disclosing it to peers."

Hold it secret? Is that how governments do science? Hiding in the dark is not what any honest Mann would do.

The astute and victorious skeptic, Dr. Ball has devoted decades of his life to outing this gigantic scientific swindle. He is now vindicated in his claims that Mann would never permit any light to shine on his graph's "secret code" – those hidden r-squared numbers Mann promised, but delayed, and has still failed to release to the court.

Better scientists say those still-hidden numbers that shaped the crooked "hockey stick" graph constitute the root evidence of his crime. In legal parlance the hidden code is the mens rea – or "guilty mind" component proving Dr Mann's intent to defraud.

Even a non-scientist can understand that the closer we look at the claims of these "scientists" the more we see reasons to doubt them. We can see Mann resorted to delay tactics, prolonging the case and finally letting Ball win big and emphatically without having to disclose his graph's "dirty laundry."

We all owe a debt to Dr. Ball for his sacrifice in serving us all as a sentinel for truth against secret and unverifiable government science.

As Matthew 7:15-16 tells us: "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?"

So, where does this all stand now?

His refusal to obey the court and reveal his "outworking" charts has bought Mann a little more time. I support Ball's noble call for a renewed public campaign to shine more light on this grave matter.

Like you, I'm not a scientist, just a citizen. But I can read, and think, and weigh credible evidence. Like you. This debate and the subsequent global, international decisions potentially will change life in unacceptable ways for all of us, our children and our country. We've got to be involved and know the facts!

United in this just cause, we can succeed in bringing evil out into the light and rejoice when the agents of darkness are undone.


Australian miner holds out against activist push

BHP chief Andrew Mackenzie has held firm over the mining giant's membership of mining industry associations in the face of pressure from activist share-holders to quit groups seen as opposing action on climate change. Speaking at of BHP's annual shareholder meeting in London on Thursday night, Mr Mackenzie defended BHP's membership of groups such as the Minerals Council of Australia as the BHP board faced down shareholder resolutions aimed at pressuring the company to quit the group and associated bodies such as Australia's Coal21.

In early October the share-holder push — lead by the Australasian  Centre for Corporate Responsibility and backed by the Church of England Pensions Board — attracted the support of one of BHP's biggest share-holders, Aberdeen Standard Investments. Aberdeen holds about 32 per cent of BHP stock and took the unusual step of speaking out ahead of London shareholder meeting on a resolution calling on BHP to withdraw from groups that lobby for policies inconsistent with global climate change limitation goals — a resolution opposed by the BHP board — saying its research suggested industry lobby groups were a major obstacle to political action on climate change.

But Mr Mackenzie used his address to shareholders to defend BHP's membership of industry groups, saying the company's participation helps it "contribute to the more global solutions also required for a more progressive world".

"For example, I lead a task force across the mining industry, and its supply chains, to make our vehicles greener and safer. "This typifies the vast bulk of the work of all the trade associations we join and we work tirelessly to make sure this kind of work is their major and predominant role," he said

"Mining trade associations, especially, deserve our full engagement "The move to renewables demands a multi-fold increase in the prduction of metals in the dcades ahead, which makes mining one of the most vital components of our low-carbon future."

BHP has said it is again reviewing its membership of industry associations, and has made it clear that its membership of Coal 21— a group originally set up to back research into carbon capture technology but which bankrolled pro-coal advertising campaigns — would end if the body does not focus on its original remit.

The comments come as BHP board set a deadline for the approval of its giant Canadian potash project, a key growth project, as the mining giant's operations had a soft start to the financial year.

BHP said on Thursday its board would make a decision on the $US5.7bn Jansen potash project by February 2021, authorising another $US344m in development capital to prepare the deep underground mine ahead of a final investment decision.

While BHP boss Andrew Mackenzie has consistently pointed to the giant fertiliser mine as a key growth plank for the mining giant, positioning the company to counter slowing growth in its other commodities, the value of the project has divided analysts and investors over its cost and whether BHP risks building the massive mine into an oversupplied market.

BHP declared the decision date as its existing operations put in a slightly softer quarter's performance in the September period, which the company attributed largely to planned maintenance across its major operations.

The comments came as new production figures showed total output from BHP's Pilbara iron ore operations fell 3 per cent from the June quarter to 69 million tonnes as it carried out maintenance at its Port Hedland port operations.

Queensland metallurgical coal output fell dramatically compared to the June quarter, down 21 per cent to 16 million tonnes, due to planned major plant shut-downs at its Goonyella, Peak Downs and Caval Ridge — operated in a joint venture with Japan's Mitsubishi.

Thermal coal output also fell as BHP high-grades its Mt Arthur mine in NSW, down 34 per cent quarter-on-quarter to 4 million tonnes. On a quarter-on-quarter basis only BHP's Escondida copper mine and Caton thermal coal mine lifted production for the period, with total production down 3 per cent for the period on a copper-equivalent basis.

BHP shares closed Wednesday at $36.04. Meanwhile Mr Mackenzie said the global economy was being pressured by trade tensions which were "weighing on consumer confidence and have the potential to impact demand" for BHP's key commodities.

"Longer term our view remains positive. Industrialisation and urbanisation, along with decarbonisation and electrification, will generate demand for energy, metals, and fertilisers for decades to come," Mr Mackenzie said.

From "The Australian" 18/10/2019


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C. S. P. Schofield said...

About styrofoam cups;

I assume that, like almost all kinds of plastic, this material is made from the sludge left over after the refining of gasoline. As such, I would tend to think that the styrofoam constitutes an improvement.

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