New device will help turn the tide of waste in harbours.

HeraldScotland: The UK’s first Seabin in action at Bangor Marina.The UK’s first Seabin in action at Bangor Marina.

Visitors to Lochaber taking advantage of an early glimpse of summer this week encountered one of the latest initiatives to tackle plastic debris in our harbours. The Seabin, which was installed at Mallaig last month, is the latest “floating debris interception device” designed to capture waste before it sinks to the sea floor.

The Seabin involves placing a pump below a mesh bag which sits on the water. Then water and debris are sucked down leaving the waste material in the bag. The device can capture 1.5kg of floating debris daily or about a half ton of debris each year and when installed correctly it uses the wind and water currents to bring the floating debris into the bag. When full, each bag can hold up to 12 kg of debris and the Seabin can also absorb some oil using a simple absorption process.

Seabins are suitable for calm water environments, especially marinas and ports which accumulate the litter that enters the system via users on the water and surrounding waterfront areas and by drifting in from surrounding seas driven by tides, currents and wave action. The Seabin Project, based in Mallorca, was set up by Australian surfers Pete Ceglinski and Andrew Turton, who clearly had a vested interest in reducing pollution.

The project claims that in a given year, a bin can collect 20,000 plastic bottles or 83,000 plastic bags and costs less than £1 a day to operate. The first device in the UK was installed in Portsmouth in 2017, Banff in Aberdeenshire saw the first in Scotland in 2018 and the University of Plymouth is supporting a trial which began in March.

Professor Richard Thompson, Head of the International Marine Litter Research Unit at the university said: “The key solution is, of course, to stop allowing plastic waste to enter the sea in the first place. However, steps to remove litter effectively from the ocean are important too, and we are collaborating in the project to help evaluate the efficiency of this device.”

Ards and North Down Council installed Northern Ireland’s first Seabin at Bangor Marina in November last year with plans for a further one in the town and a planned device at Portaferry. The area’s mayor, Councillor Richard Smart, said: “With 115 miles of coastline, this initiative will help keep our coasts healthy in the fight against the eight million pieces of plastic that find their way into our oceans daily”

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Elgin, where the road ahead is paved with ... plastic.

It could be the Yellow Brick Road toward environmental sustainability but in this case, it’s made of plastic. Springfield Properties has become the UK’s first housebuilder to use waste plastic to build a road on a housing development.

HeraldScotland: Sarah Lakin, contracts manager at MacRebur with Dale Ashelford and Dave Main of Springfield Properties.Sarah Lakin, contracts manager at MacRebur with Dale Ashelford and Dave Main of Springfield Properties.

The new road surfacing material contains waste plastic and will be used initially on a section of road at the company’s Linkwood Steadings development in Elgin. The product reduces the amount of bitumen needed in the asphalt mix meaning that for every tonne of bitumen replaced, the road surfacing carbon footprint is reduced by a tonne of carbon dioxide.

Springfield teamed up with MacRebur, who have developed and patented a way to use waste plastic in roads, alongside asphalt producer Pat Munro. MacRebur uses plastic waste that would otherwise have gone to landfill or incineration. It turns this into granules which are then mixed with a special activator, reducing the amount of fossil fuel required in asphalt production.

Springfield Properties’ North Managing Director, Dave Main, said: “Last year, Zero Waste Scotland reported that non-recycled plastic was costing Scotland £11million a year. They also stated that 20 million plastic bottles were littered around Scotland and that 120,000 tonnes of plastic waste were produced by Scottish households alone.

“The road in Elgin accounts for 20 tonnes of recycled plastic, the equivalent to 17,042 plastic bags or 6,000 plastic bottles, which would otherwise have been consigned to landfill or incineration.

Plastic roads could help to address the increasingly costly problem of potholes. “Between 2014 and 2017, there was a 52% increase in reports of potholes in Scotland alone. MacRebur’s plastic roads have been through tests to meet British and European Standards and are up to 60% stronger than our current roads, which should improve driving quality and reduce maintenance costs,” said Main.

Sarah Lakin, Contracts Manager for MacRebur, said she was delighted to work with Springfield on the project. “We have worked with household names in the commercial sector, the Department for Transport, Highways England and councils to use our product in everything from roads to carparks and racetracks to runways,” she said.

Springfield’s Press and Events Co-ordinator, Dale Ashelford, helped initiate and deliver the ‘plastic road’ project.

The company’s chief executive, Innes Smith, said: “Exploring ways to protect the environment has been a Springfield focus for some time now. Encouraging our staff is an important part of the Springfield ethos.

“This includes taking the time to explore new ideas our employees may have. These ideas can come from anywhere – ideas about roads don’t just have to come from the civil engineering team; this one came from marketing.”

Harvie backs innovative district heating system for Clydebank.

Patrick Harvie MSP, the co-convenor of Scottish Green Party has visited Star Renewable Energy’s Glasgow site to view its recently completed twin water source heat pump to be used at the £250 million Queens Quay regeneration project. The project is due to be installed in September this year, delivered by Vital Energi.

With recent plans for regeneration in the Clydebank area and planned development for new houses and businesses, West Dunbartonshire Council decided that a district heating system will be a low carbon, low emission solution for heating buildings. It was recently announced that gas boilers will be banned in new homes from 2025.

HeraldScotland: Star Renewables’ twin water source heat pumpsStar Renewables’ twin water source heat pumps

The industrial district heat pump will also significantly contribute to the target of reducing CO2 emissions by 25% over the next seven years.

Dave Pearson, Star Renewable Energy Director, said: “This is Scotland’s first large scale water source heat pump scheme, set to provide district heating for homes, business and public buildings such as the Town Hall, West Scotland College and Clydebank Library. It was excellent to welcome Patrick Harvie to view our Glasgow manufacturing facility and receive his support for these ground-breaking renewable heat projects.”

Staycations are convenient way of reducing our carbon footprint.

Stop eating meat and stop flying are among the two most frequently repeated shibboleths of advocates of the low-carbon economy.

According to government figures last year emissions in the UK were falling in line with targets but critics point out that transport now accounts for 26% of the UK’s greenhouse gases compared to 25% from energy supplies – and flying is cited as a major culprit.

A report by Barclays Corporate Banking released today suggested that “staycations” might have the side effect of ameliorating this. The research reveals that the number of domestic tourists from Scotland planning to spend more time on holiday in the UK this year is expected to increase by 29%. And across the UK, millennials (aged 25-34) are driving this demand, as they are most likely to choose a staycation as their main holiday.

Even better, those choosing to staycation are overwhelmingly choosing to stay in Scotland, with nearly seven in 10 (69%) choosing to visit somewhere in Scotland as opposed to the rest of the UK. The next most popular area for Scots to visit in the UK is the north east of England (32%).

The “selfie generation” then are keeping their feet on the ground and employing the most effective way of reducing its carbon footprint.

This article appeared in The Herald on the 23rd May 2019.


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