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December 6, 2019

PyroCore sponsor The Future Economy Network event Reduce Waste Post-Haste!

Words and Images have been taken from The Future Economy Network group event write up.

Thursday 28th November saw The Future Economy Network in subscriber TLT’s beautiful Bristol offices with views of the city passing by below as the sky darkened into the evening. The event, “Reduce Waste Post-Haste”, was kindly sponsored by subscribers Pyrocore.

Katherine Piper, Director of The Future Economy Network welcomed attendees, highlighting the benefits of subscribing to the Network and also sharing exciting updates about The Future Economy Network’s Carbon Neutrality Hub in Bristol, Future Leap.

First up, we welcomed Nick Palmer to speak, from our sponsors Pyrocore. Nick set the scene with a black comedy video titled “How to destroy the world”, which outlined the history of rubbish disposal and our attitude towards the earth, sea and space being “bins” for humans. He went on to show that Pyrocore take non-recyclable waste and, through a process called pyrolysis, turn it into energy. The company are also not a traditional waste-to-energy system, where all waste goes to a plant to be converted. Pyrocore use a decentralised system, where the waste is converted into energy at the source of the waste. This saves on energy, fuel and money. He showed how the system is self-sustaining, by running the audience through a visual graph. It also creates other forms of energy such as water, steam and heat. Nick talked about the emissions of the plant and the regulations surrounding them. Pyrocore will also be working to increase the efficiency of waste-to-energy on ships and aircraft carriers. Nick also gave examples of product recovery, for example pyrolyzing carpet tiles to recover the calcium carbonate (this increases the value and works towards a circular economy). In summary, Pyrocore work to derive value from waste where possible.

See slides here.

Next up, Livvy Drake from Sustainable Sidekicks gave us an overview of her 6-week course “Tackling Single Use Plastics in the Workplace”. In summary, her detailed course looks at the background to plastics​, alternative materials​, auditing​, developing a policy and action plan​, working with suppliers and buyers, and delivering behaviour change. Livvy asked the question “are plastics really the problem?” and showed the benefits and costs of using alternatives such as aluminium, glass and paper. Paper in particular is a difficult material because many of our recycling countries are refusing it now. She highlighted the importance of thinking beyond recycling as the only solution, but to look at the waste hierarchy – we must take into account prevention, reuse, diversion and disposal as well. Looking at audits, Livvy outlined the “bin” audit, the “visual” audit, and the “desk” audit. These audits make behaviour change measurable and increase the likelihood of group support and senior management support. She outlined some easy switches any company can make – coffee cups, cleaning products, dissolvable sachets, paper gum tape, and takeback schemes. She outlined the motivational factors behind people’s actions and how we should apply these to promote sustainable behaviour change. Livvy finished her talk looking at City To Sea’s Refill campaign and their incredible work on waste reduction and behaviour change.

See slides here.

After a short break, Ross Watson from Viridor gave the audience an outline of Viridor’s Waste-to-energy plant in Avonmouth. Viridor, under the Pennon Group, look at all things waste management – not just waste-to-energy. Ross gave the background and history of the site, and used informative videos and graphs to demonstrate how the site works and how waste is actually a resource. Ross finished his talk with information regarding their new plastics recovery facility and their commitment to waste reduction in the UK.

See slides here.

Our fourth and final speaker was Trewin Restorick from Hubbub. Trewin focused on behaviour change, the irrationality of humans and the power of “nudge” techniques. Hubbub is five years old and as a result of clever behaviour change tactics, has grown from a £25,000 company to a £6million company. Trewin focuses on what the mainstream audience are genuinely interested in: food, fashion, homes and neighbourhoods, and then incorporates the environment into them. He stressed the importance of big partners to deliver big changes, and the need for great design and experiential alternatives. For example, Hubbub delivered a cigarette butts bin which allowed the passer-by to vote for their favourite football player; this decreased litter dropping by 1/3 in the area. Next, he noted that people may be willing to change, but if they systems are not in place to support it, then behaviour change will never be long lasting. Therefore, his job is a delicate balance between consumer behaviour change, and system change to support the consumers. He finished his talk with examples with Starbucks, Ikea, pumpkin rescue, community fridges and plastic boats.

See slides here.

The seminar finished with some insightful questions to the panel and 60 second pitches from Ecosurety, Samspan, GRN SportswearUniversity of Bristol and Vegetable Diva. The event concluded with some valuable networking and finishing up the delicious selection of pastries, fruit and refreshments. A huge thank you to TLT for hosting the event, and for Pyrocore for sponsoring the event. Without this support we would not be able to do these wonderful inspiring events.

The Future Economy Network look forward to seeing you at another event soon! Details of upcoming events can be found here!

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