E-co friendly?

One of the constant frustrations of my life is the apparent single minded way governments and corporations will spout on about the environment and how this and that should be done to save or improve it and how we all should contribute. On the other hand they still exploit the workforce in other countries where there are less controls over the impact of production on the environment and the sustainability of the ecosystem.

This apparent dichotomy exists because companies must make profits to satisfy their share holders and governments must appease their supporters whilst still increasing the overall prosperity of the country they govern.

In Germany and the UK there has been a successful car scrappage programme designed to re stimulate the car industry, which has been hard hit by the world economic recession. If your car was of a certain age you could claim a set discount off the purchase of a new car. The old car then was destroyed and the metal no doubt recycled. Leave aside the fact that the tax payers where contributing to these schemes, what about the eco-impact?

The old car had already left it’s carbon foot print. It was argued they where less fuel efficient and added to air pollution. New car still add  to the carbon foot print and in the early years would be possibly more fuel efficient. If it was bio fuel that was possibly an advantage and if it was battery powered even better.

Two facts still persist in my mind and they are that the car industry had had boom years prior to the recession so why had they not prepared themselves for the inevitable because it had happened before at least 4 or 5 times over the last 60 years and what about all the spare parts for the cars still available that were being scrapped?

In the case of cell or battery cars how do the batteries get recycled or do we end up with huge piles of spent batteries being set to certain countries for disposal where they pollute their environment?

Would it not be better to look at improving the efficiency of older cars, true there is not so much profit in it and the workforce in the car industry may suffer, but as it is mostly automated so we are led to believe, then re-skilling would be an option. Older cars will need new body panels and parts which have been made already so their use will shift items off stock room shelves which will need replacing and the supply companies will still meet a demand.

It’s a simplistic view I know but it does led me onto another area where we in the West have contributed to the problems of developing countries by our charitablecontributions. As a result of our desire to be clothed we have an insatiable desire for cloths many of which are made with man made  fibres. The good aspect of these garments is that they are hard wearing, the down side is they take years to biodegrade.

Because they are hard wearing after their initial period of being worn they migrate to the back of the wardrobe or cupboard to be eventually replaced by other garments. In a quest to be socially aware and our desire to help others we give these garments to charity shops or organisations that ensure people in other counties and situations are clothed. The net result is that many countries, in Africa for example, end up with vast piles of clothing that can not, once it had been discarded, be reprocessed. It ether remains to slowly decomposed over the centuries in tips or it can be burnt to release toxic fumes into the environment.

Are ther alternative? Yes but they cost money, they are ethically produced and have less impact on the environment where they grow and where they finally end for disposal. But and it’s a big but consumers have to take responsibility for creating the demand. We created the demand for drip dry shirts and cheap fashion cloths so why not more eco- friendly clothing?

2 Responses to “E-co friendly?”

  1. Hi Jon,

    Definitely in-depth thinking Jon.

    You raise valid points that many people including myself
    don’t consider.

    I believe the push to go green will only increase. I’m not so sure what will happen with all the excess between now and then.

    Best wishes,


  2. Hi Alan,
    I read your comment and replied via my blog and took the liberty of including your web site address in the first lines. hope you don’t mind but it did prompt me to muse a bit more about the car and it’s impact on our evironment and our lives.
    Jon Mc

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