December 27th, 2013

Olive oil processing wastes: a pressing issue


by Catherine Hansen


While olive oil is enjoyed the world over for its culinary and medicinal benefits, its production is integral to both the rural heritage and economy of North African and the Mediterranean. An estimated 2.9m tons of olive oil was produced worldwide in 2012, with some 2.5 million producers in the European Union’s olive sector alone — roughly one third of all EU farmers. This industry offers valuable opportunities, generating both seasonal work on farms and in the off-farm milling and processing industry; but while olive oil production has significant economic benefits, its downside is a surprisingly severe level of environmental harm and degradation.

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October 23rd, 2013

Egypt’s water crisis: a recipe for disaster

by Amir Dakkak


Egypt has been suffering from severe water scarcity in recent years. Uneven water distribution, misuse of water resources and inefficient irrigation techniques are some of the major factors playing havoc with water security in the country. Being more or less an arid country, Egypt is heavily dependent on rain in other countries to support its rapidly growing population and development. The River Nile is the lifeline of the country as it services the country’s industrial and agricultural demand and is the primary source of drinking water for the population.

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August 20th, 2012

Cornwall will count the cost of contracting out

By Bert Biscoe


Cornwall may be a geographically peripheral region, but it has a world-competitive brand as a richly endowed visitor destination and produces inventive, creative brains and ideas. We have also been innovators in business – Cornish miners pioneered the global mobility of skilled labour – and the former Council’s decision to run waste disposal through a company that made it profitable was a wise one. County Environmental Services (CES), the Council-owned, arms-length company that functioned as Cornwall’s waste disposal service, had really only just begun to show what it was capable of when the decision was taken to contract waste management out to SITA.

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May 10th, 2012

Fed up with the food waste scandal

by Tristram Stuart


On Saturday 12th May, Bristol will be the first city outside London to host a Feeding the 5000 (F5K) event. Between 1pm and 5pm, anyone who comes to visit College Green will have the chance to disprove the old adage – there really can be such a thing as a free lunch, thanks to the support of local charities, businesses and volunteers, including some of Bristol’s top chefs such as the Fabulous Baker Brothers, Tom Hunt and the Thali Café.

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December 12th, 2011

We can’t afford to waste phosphorus

by Thomas Vergunst


Demand for it is expected to rise by at least 50% by 2050. China, Morocco, the US, South Africa and Jordan control 85% of global reserves, which, according to some sources, are only expected to last another 50-100 years. The price in the EU rose by 800% in 2008 and the UK imports over 600,000 tonnes each year, at a cost of over £100m. But this isn’t a fossil fuel or a rare earth metal – it is phosphorus, an essential plant nutrient and an element for which there is no substitute. Therefore, as supplies of rock phosphate start dwindling there will be no possibility for shifting to alternatives – we will be forced to improve both the efficiency with which we extract/use the material and the rate at which we recover it from our waste streams.

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November 30th, 2011

Slurry seems to be the hardest word

Peter Jones

by Peter Jones


A talk by Helen Browning, CEO of the Soil Association, on 2 November left me pondering the problems of farming and waste.  Helen is a compelling speaker and, despite battling the after-effects of a cold, tackled a lot of topics with energy and thoughtfulness.

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