Chopping trees for the Climate Group

January 14th, 2013 atam Posted in Climate change, Earth, Food, Greenwash | No Comments »

When people talk about going green, what have they got in mind? If you ask someone on the street, chance is the answer will have something to do with using fewer plastic bags and doing some recycling.

Few will mention reducing wasteful use of resources, and certainly absolutely no one will talk about something as arcane as life cycle cost.

But a leader of the Climate Group??

Failing to persuade Hong Kongers to opt for plastic Xmas trees that they can reuse year after year, if they insist on having a Xmas tree, the Hong Kong Environmental Protection Association has done the next-best thing by collecting the now-abandoned real trees for recycling into fertiliser.

This in a place where food waste alone is enough to produce fertiliser for all the greenery in the city, with plenty to spare. And yet, here’s where the association’s collected a 9-metre tree from HSBC – you know, the bank that sends its staff to far-out places to tag trees and track deforestation for their environmental education. You’d expect them to know something about the life cycle cost of the giant Xmas tree-now-turned-fertiliser – the amount of water used in growing it and the energy cost involved in growing it, chopping it down and shipping it to Hong Kong, and finally the cost of removing it for recycling into fertiliser. Water that would have been better used to grow crops for human consumption; energy that could be saved, along with the carbon emissions associated with it. Instead, the bank’s probably patting itself on the back for arranging the tree’s recycling.

Someone from the association expressed the hope that Hong Kongers’ would learn more about the importance of recycling wood and timber. In a place where retail renovations of the same shops happen every year or two as landlords hike rent and drive out tenants, and where homeowners hankering after the magazine look think little of razing their homes every few years to bring in new flooring, new sofas, new shelving, etc etc. Good luck.

Ever ask why there’s so much recycling to do in the first place?


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