Myths about waste

Some myths about waste, its disposal and recycling

  1. Disposing batteries as domestic waste is not a problem, so it is not necessary to dispose them in a special place.

Used batteries are characterized by a high content of reusable materials. These will be recovered through a special recycling process. By disposing them in a special place, waste-petit is avoided to pollute the environment with heavy metals such as Cadmium or Lead. Used batteries should therefore be arranged in special places for it, or in any store that sells batteries.

  1. Incineration plants need newspapers and PET bottles to reach the temperature required for combustion.

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Compensate your flying habits

If you want to keep flying …

Air traffic is especially harmful to the environment. According to myclimate a flight from Zurich to Barcelona emits 408 kilograms of CO2; a flight from Zurich to Vancouver 3131 kg-CO2. What do we need to change daily to compensate the emissions of this flight?

To help with the calculation, it’s possible to visit the website, in which its shown the number of “climate points” generated by different consumption habits, like eating, heating, electricity, mobility, etc. For example, the round trip Zurich-Vancouver measures 16,616 km, representing 81.858 “climate points”. Compensating its CO2 emissions requires among other things, reduce or quit meat consumption, use public transportation or bicycle, savings daily household energy consumption, etc.


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Zero waste at home is possible


It seems that it is possible to reduce our domestic waste at maximum. Bea Johnson, born in France and currently living in USA, shows how has she made possible to reduce the waste of her family to less than a kilo in a year.

Vaso zero waste

The important “5Rs” steps that Bea applies for achieving this objective are:

  1. Refuse what you do not need.
  2. Reduce what you need. Having at home just what you really use.
  3. Reuse. Using everything that is disposable on a second alternative and buying second hand.
  4. Recycle only what you cannot refuse, reduce or reuse. By disposing waste in different fractions in order to be recycled (paper, carton, glass, PET…).
  5. Rot. Composting the rest.

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Apps for Sustainability

Technology to serve sustainability

Technology aims to serve and ease human beings’ daily activity. This blog has the goal to show how technology, in particular through some “apps”, support the monitoring, control, recommending and/or fostering sustainable habits in the citizens. Some of these apps are:


joulebugEach time you do something that shows you made an effort toward sustainability, the app rewards you with badges, points and pins. For instance, if you remember to use a reusable coffee mug versus paper cup, points for you! It works in a community, so that you can compare your performance with that of your friends. Also the bonus feature of JouleBug is the option to sync up to utility bills to see just how much is saved each month.

Available: Android, iOS.

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Competences for sustainability

sustainable people

Sustainable development encompasses uncertainty, complexity and challenge. It can only be achieved through the action of people who share the vision of sustainability and has developed some specific competences that provide them with the interest and commitment to act towards sustainability. Which are these important competences? As Wiek et al, 2011 indicated, the key competences for sustainability are:

Systems thinking competence

“ability to collectively analyze complex systems across different domains (society, environment, economy, etc.) and across different scales (local to global), thereby considering cascading effects, inertia, feedback loops and other systemic features.”

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Beyond PARIS 2015 

Strategies to tackle Climate Change

The Climate Summit is over and it has produced what was called a successful agreement among almost all countries in the world. 186 from the 195 participant countries in the summit have already committed to make and implement national plans -and to review them every 5 years- to fight against climate change. The main points treated on the agreement are:

  • The global temperature increase must remain below 2°C by the end of the century
  • By the mid-century it should be reached an “equilibrium” among emissions and the capability to absorb them, mainly CO2
  • It is a legal binding agreement. However the national emission reduction goals will not be binding.
  • A finance of around USD 100.000 million for developing countries as of 2020
  • It will be reviewed every 5 years
  • Every country should made a national inventory of emissions to allow measurement, control and improvement.

According to the national plan strategies set on the table the result of their implementation will be still an increase of 3°C in the global temperature. Therefore the importance of stricter strategies which involve bigger commitment from all stakeholders, including business and civil society; the use of new technologies; and the national 5-year plan reviews. Some strategies from national plans will include some of following elements:

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Ecological footprint

footprint 3The measurement of our impact in the planet

According to the Global Footprint Network, ecological footprint is the measure of how much area of biologically productive land and water an individual, population or activity requires to produce all the resources it consumes and to absorb the waste it generates, using prevailing technology and resource management practices. The Ecological Footprint is usually measured in global hectares.” (Global Footprint Network, 2015). The footprint generally refers to the consumption footprint and according to this definition, each in individual according to its consumption habit (use of water, electricity, heating, transportation, kind of food, etc) requires a space of land and water and therefore produces an impact in the planet, which can be higher or smaller according to this consumption behaviour.

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