Global Climate Meeting Reveals Opportunities to Save
Lost in all the drama about whether or not a country that relies on oil and gas for its economic livelihood can be an ‘honest broker’ host for COP 28 (the UN Climate Meeting) are a host of other issues and topics being discussed, not the least of which was the announcement of the United States’ commitment and investment to reduce emissions from that sector.
Observers might be left with the idea that reducing (or eliminating) emissions from fossil fuels would be enough to curb climate change. While oil and gas are the largest contributors to atmospheric gases warming our planet, they account for less than a third of the total emissions being released each year.
Fossil fuels are the biggest contributor to climate changing emissions but eliminating them (if we could) will not solve climate change on its own.
Consider food waste: I wonder if some of the 80,000 (!) attendees thought about the food that was prepared for them, and not eaten? Was it collected and used to feed others? Food waste is another primary source of emissions. When food decomposes in fields (if it is not harvested), during transportation or in landfills, it releases methane. A recent study in Maryland, which I highlighted in an earlier post, focused on the fact that landfills in the state release four times the methane estimated to come from natural gas.
That is why there are efforts across the country to try to redirect food waste out of landfills and to use the methane gas that it releases to replace traditional fossil fuel natural gas.
Another ‘hidden’ opportunity is all those chairs, desks and tables. Where did they all come from? And where did they go when the meetings ended? This is where Installnet comes in. While we do not handle food waste, our Ecoserv program redirects ‘gently used’ desks, chairs, tables, bookcases, lamps and more from landfills to community groups and non-profits that can use them.
Recycling is good, but reuse is even better.
Using the EPA Waste And Resources Management (WARM) model, we estimate the emissions prevented from entering the atmosphere by the decomposition of many items. And we are working to make our measurement more specific, down to specific products where we can. But at the same time, there is an additional benefit – every item that is reused eliminates the need to produce a new one, either from virgin materials or by recycling. That reduces energy used and emissions.
And so, as the world reaffirms its commitment to reducing climate change and puts in place plans and targets to meet that commitment, we have part of the solution – sustainable decommissions of offices and other buildings. After all, if you’re throwing it away, you’re just wasting it.
And our natural resources and planet deserve better. And so do schools, first responders, shelters and other worthy organizations that can use these items.
Is your organization ready to join us in getting zero done? Contact email@example.com to learn more.