Lessons Learned from Years with Wellness

Pre-emptive Measures for Cancer

Cancer is a terrible disease which comes in many forms and can easily spread to the other organs of the body, and, even if cancer treatments are progressing thanks to extensive research, still the disease can affect one’s health for a long period of time. In order to keep your health in top form and prevent from getting cancer, there are pre-emptive measures that you can do to have a cancer-free life, as much as possible, and if you have a history of cancer in your family, then you may be at a higher risk, so it’s even a need to take immediate action on these pre-emptive measures.

Stay away from smoking

The number one cause of lung cancer is smoking cigarettes, since the disease attacks the lungs, such that there is difficulty of breathing and, not only that, cigarette smoke contains at least forty different carcinogens, so it’s not just lung cancer that may develop from smoking, but other forms of cancer, like oral and throat cancer and risk of developing other types of cancer. If you’re a smoker, quit smoking to prevent the further development of the disease and embark on a new, healthy lifestyle; however, if there is an issue on dealing with withdrawal symptoms, there are options which may help you eventually quit smoking and these are through vaping alone or vaping with cannabinoid oil.

Drink more water

One way to reduce the risk of developing cancer is to drink as much water as possible everyday, because water flushes out cancer-causing agents, such as toxins, from the body and water also helps in strengthening the immune system of the body, but first, make sure that the quality of water that you’re drinking is not contaminated; otherwise, drink around eight glasses of water daily.

Get an active lifestyle

When you exercise you get as many health benefits, such as: lose weight, improve muscle tone, reduce the risk of various life-threatening diseases – heart disease, stroke, cancer; therefore, make it a habit to devote at least two hours per week of moderate exercise, such as walking, cycling, or swimming, which can make your body fit and healthy.

Have preventive check-ups

There are available medical tests that can help detect early signs of cancer that is on a developing stage, such that if you make yourself available to these tests as routine check-ups each year, like smear tests to check for signs of cervical cancer, breast mammograms to check for signs of breast cancer, this preventive approach may enable health professionals to detect any early signs of cancer or detect indicators that may develop to cancer in the future so that treatments may be acted upon quickly.

Do not take pain for granted

When you are experiencing symptoms of pain and discomfort, do not ignore nor take the symptoms for granted, as the pain can be a signal of a more serious sign of cancer, such as ovarian cancer since this disease is accompanied by frequent bloating, more urgent need to urinate, and mild to severe pelvic pain; therefore, seek medical help when you experience frequent pain in your body.

Biofilters for air pollution control

Biofiltration has always been an existing concept for air pollution control deriving from as early as 1923 where biological methods were proposed to treat odorous emissions.

Advancements in research and technology started in Germany circa 1955 with biofilter treatments applied to address odorous emissions in low concentrations with a high success rate witnessed in Germany in the 1970s.

This success led to further research being developed in the United States and other parts of Europe in the 1980s with external outreach to the rest of the world. By the 1990s, there were more than 500 recorded biofilters in operation both in Germany and Netherlands with a widespread trend starting in the United States.

What is Biofiltration?

Biofiltration is essentially an air pollution control technique involving biodegradation of contaminants. These contaminants are biodegraded by microorganisms that are diffused in a thin layer of moisture referred to as biofilm.

The main use is for the elimination of malodorous gas emissions and low concentrations of volatile organic compounds.

What makes a Biofilter and How does it Work?

The components of a biofilter include a biofilter bed, a support rack, and a fan.

The materials used for the biofilter bed often include peat, compost, soil, gravel, or plastic bits.The support rack is designed to be perforated to allow air flow between the plenum and the biofilter bed allowing contact of the microbes inside the bed material. The purpose of the fan is to collect contaminated air allowing emissions to flow through and for the pollutants to be absorbed in the moisture of the biofilter bed.

The microbes found within the bed material consume and metabolise the pollutants thus reducing the concentrations of the pollutants.

Different Types of Biofilters

There are three main variations of biofilters pertaining to the layout, shape, and bedding media.

On the basis of the biofilter layout, there is a variation for either an open bed which is uncovered and exposed to all weather conditions and a closed bed which contains a small exhaust vent.

On the basis of shape, the biofilter could be designed horizontally (which leaves a larger carbon footprint, is relatively inexpensive, and is easy to maintain) or could be designed vertically (which reduces the carbon footprint, uses a lesser surface area, requires more maintenance, and is higher in cost to build).

With regards to the bedding media, there are two variations which are organic compost or synthetic media. Organic compost typically has an effective lifespan of around 5 years while synthetic media has a longer effective lifespan.

Benefits of Biofiltration

The use of biofilters to treat air pollution leaves a positive environmental footprint through the absence of chemicals and toxins. Not only does it benefit the ecosystem, the effectiveness of biofilters is evident in its ability to remove air pollutants at a low operating cost.

Biofilters follow the laws of conservation and mass balance which acts in accordance with mother nature. In setting up a biofilter system, it is critical that developers acquire a detailed understanding of the environmental site, conditions, limitations, components, logistics, and safety measures in order to set up an efficient biofilter system.

How Easy It Is To Replace Plastic Bags

Shopping is everyone’s nightmare when it comes to packing up the goods and getting them home. But there are simpler ways of doing it for the discerning. Supermarket trolleys are renowned for carrying germs and tests have shown even faecal material can be deposited on the handle as well as E.coli and other germs. The best thing is to be independent of these things and its easy to do.

The first thing is to have your own trolley or carrying bag on wheels. Goods can be deposited straight into it without the need of bags to hump them around. They are also able to be cleaned by you and if you are worried about germs in the supermarket then carry some gloves in the pocket of it so hands are always clean.

The next thing is to make your own smaller bags using a cotton material that is easily obtained. The design is simply squares sewn together on three sides and made to different lengths and widths. Things like celery, for instance, required a longer bag while a bunch of bananas or broccoli need wider ones.

Managing the shopping is also important. Put heavy things like tinned goods on the bottom and fruit, and so forth, on the top. Vegetables can be safely carried in the middle but bread and such should be put in last so as not to squash it.

If everyone followed these simply guidelines the number of plastic bags could be greatly reduced. The environment is suffering because of the billions of such containers used on a daily basis. Research shows they can be in the environment for the next 1000 or more years as they will never break down.

Nothing in nature can deal with plastic and until there is a public outcry the situation will remain the same. We are drowning in it now and animals, birds, and sea life are consuming it as food and feeding it to their young. With the decline in species now it is a matter of a few short years before plastic kills off everything.

4 Staggering Facts About Hazardous Waste

Hazardous waste statistics are not very pleasant to look at. Each year more than 5.2 million tonnes of hazardous waste are produced in the UK – mostly by the construction, chemicals, electronics and lubricant oil industries. The production of hazardous waste is growing by an estimated 8 per cent a year but fortunately also the percentage of hazardous waste that goes to landfill (as opposed as re-used or recycled) is quickly dropping. This is because of the stricter regulations and controls that the Environment Agency and the EU have imposed to waste producers and also because of the general greater awareness of the implications of poor hazardous waste disposal procedures.

The first step to a safe, effective hazardous waste management is learning more about the risks that hazardous waste poses. Here are some eye-opening facts about the importance of safely disposing of any toxic waste.

We don’t really know the extent of long-lasting effects of hazardous waste exposure on the human body
People respond to chemical exposure in different ways. Some people may be exposed to a chemical and not get sick. Other people may be more sensitive and have more severe reactions than others. Certain variables play a role in a person’s susceptibility to chemical exposure and adverse health effects such as age, gender, genetics, pregnancy or other health conditions. For foetuses, children, and adolescents, the adverse health effects from exposure to chemicals can be much greater than for adults. The factors that affect their susceptibility include their stage of development and level of activity in their own environment. The human body has the ability to tolerate certain amounts of chemicals and the ability to excrete them. Once a person is exposed to a chemical, it may enter the blood stream, and eventually reach the internal organs. The body will try to filter the toxic elements in order to eliminate them, but it may not be possible to remove all of them. The amount, type, and length of time you are exposed to harmful substances will determine if you are at risk for long-lasting adverse health effects.

Dangers are not limited to illnesses
For instance, a large variety of chemicals can explode. An explosive, is a reactive substance that contains a great amount of potential energy that can produce an explosion if released suddenly, usually accompanied by the production of light, heat, sound, and pressure. Explosive materials may be categorized by the speed at which they expand. Materials that detonate (the front of the chemical reaction moves faster through the material than the speed of sound) are said to be “high explosives” and materials that deflagrate are said to be “low explosives”. There are also some other materials which are merely combustible or flammable if ignited, without exploding. The distinction is not always crystal clear. Certain materials—dusts, powders, gasses, or volatile organic liquids—may be simply combustible or flammable under ordinary conditions, but become explosive in specific situations or forms, such as dispersed airborne clouds, or confinement or sudden release.

Commodities can be killers
We all get in contact with a variety of materials in our everyday life, that are in reality hazardous and need a correct disposal. Here are some examples:

Carbon Dioxide – This non-flammable gas is commonly used to freeze or chill food products during transport to market. Its vapours may cause dizziness or asphyxiation and making contact with the gas or liquefied gas can cause burns, severe injury and/or frostbite.
Sulfuric Acid – It is commonly used in cleaning agents, fertilizer manufacturing, oil refining and wastewater processing. Sulfuric acid is highly corrosive and, if it comes in contact with human skin, it can cause severe burns while inhaling the fumes can cause serious lung damage.
Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) – It’s commonly used as fuel to heat appliances and vehicles as well as in refrigerants. It must be stored in pressured vessels to mitigate the fire risks associated with the mixture of hydrocarbon gasses. In a fire, LPG has the potential to cause major explosions.
Argon (refrigerated liquid) – This refrigerated liquid is commonly used in the production of fluorescent light bulbs. It can cause serious tissue damage if it comes in contact with skin and it can be extremely harmful if inhaled. It must be transported in gas cylinders in an upright position to avoid sudden releases of pressure.
Propane – It is used as a fuel for engines, oxy-gas torches, barbecues, portable stoves and residential central heating. Propane is also mixed with butane to make the vehicle fuel commonly known as liquified petroleum gas.
Chlorine – This volatile substance is highly reactive, especially in the presence of heat. Since chlorine can severely damage lungs and can potentially kill people if leaked, its transportation is best avoided. Chlorine is widely used in swimming pools, water purification and bleach products.
Hazardous waste can be landfilled
In the UK, all waste must be treated before it can be landfilled. This requirement comes from the Landfill Directive (LfD), which aims to reduce our reliance on landfill as a waste management option and minimise the environmental impact of landfill sites. Currently in the UK, there are about 280 landfill sites, but landfills for hazardous waste can only accept hazardous waste. Prior to any load of hazardous waste being accepted at a landfill site, a specialised team will assess the waste and approve its suitability for disposal. Every site needs to train their employees on the classification, handling, management and disposal of most types of hazardous waste. They also need to keep up-to-date with the latest UK and European legislation and most landfill sites provide advice on legal requirements for disposal of all hazardous waste types. Still, in order to reduce the amount of hazardous waste that go to landfill, it is important that waste producers find better ways to manage their waste, continually reviewing how best to manage toxic waste, including whether it needs to be produced at all and whether it can be reused or recycled.

At All Waste Matters, we provide nationwide hazardous waste recycling services to the educational, printing, electronic and healthcare sectors, offering customised collection, treatment, disposal and recycling services throughout the UK. Our extensive Environment Agency issued permit allows us to collect over 99% of all commercial wastes. With over 50 years of experience in the waste management industry, we can not only solve your hazardous waste disposal problems, but also help you reduce the amount of waste produced.

How Easy It Is To Replace Plastic Bags

Shopping is everyone’s nightmare when it comes to packing up the goods and getting them home. But there are simpler ways of doing it for the discerning. Supermarket trolleys are renowned for carrying germs and tests have shown even faecal material can be deposited on the handle as well as E.coli and other germs. The best thing is to be independent of these things and its easy to do.

The first thing is to have your own trolley or carrying bag on wheels. Goods can be deposited straight into it without the need of bags to hump them around. They are also able to be cleaned by you and if you are worried about germs in the supermarket then carry some gloves in the pocket of it so hands are always clean.

The next thing is to make your own smaller bags using a cotton material that is easily obtained. The design is simply squares sewn together on three sides and made to different lengths and widths. Things like celery, for instance, required a longer bag while a bunch of bananas or broccoli need wider ones.

Managing the shopping is also important. Put heavy things like tinned goods on the bottom and fruit, and so forth, on the top. Vegetables can be safely carried in the middle but bread and such should be put in last so as not to squash it.

If everyone followed these simply guidelines the number of plastic bags could be greatly reduced. The environment is suffering because of the billions of such containers used on a daily basis. Research shows they can be in the environment for the next 1000 or more years as they will never break down.

Nothing in nature can deal with plastic and until there is a public outcry the situation will remain the same. We are drowning in it now and animals, birds, and sea life are consuming it as food and feeding it to their young. With the decline in species now it is a matter of a few short years before plastic kills off everything.

Global Warming Weather Effect – Fact or Fiction?

Arctic Warming & Climate Change = More Dangerous Hurricanes
Global warming weather effect… fact or fiction?

What happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic. What does this mean to you? Researchers state that Hurricane Harvey which clobbered the entire state of Texas, is the type of extreme storm that we will see more of in a warming world. Epic rainfall rates and rising sea surges have led to catastrophic damage in the great state of Texas.

Using Models to investigate links between climate change and extreme weather
You never can identify a single cause for killer storms. Extreme events always bring multiple factors together at the same time. There is plenty of debate within the scientific community regarding climate change and extreme weather. But notable to point out is the fact that attribution of extreme weather on global warming is based on using models to attempt to recreate historic weather records.

A weather model, also known as numerical weather prediction, is a complex algorithm run by supercomputers to try to predict future weather. Different models and assumptions give different answers. But many see attribution as a start toward quantifying, for instance, the increased risk of extreme rainfall events along, for example, the Gulf Coast due to Arctic and otherwise global warming.

In other words, climate science will never be able to predict weather without errors, but by identifying the data relevant to our ever-crowded, polluted, windy and rainy planet-it’s up to us to take action and utilize the data to take heed of its insights. Will these extreme weather conditions worsen as the global climate change continues?

To what degree does climate change affect hurricanes?
Is it a little or a lot? The degree of affect climate change has on hurricanes is not settled. People naturally want to know “why” or “how” did a catastrophic storm land in their neighborhood. And if possible, people would like to know if there is anything that they can do to minimize future chances of occurrence.

This debate is not yet settled, but many prominent researchers have theories, which they are not hesitant to share with an inquisitive public. There is room for our knowledge to grow, and for new tools like weather attribution to help us manage future risks. What can be done in the future to address future risks? How does renewable energy impact the negative effects of global warming?

Benefits of Renewable Energy Use
Renewable energy-wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, and biomass-provides substantial benefits for our climate, our health, and our economy. Human activity is overloading our atmosphere with carbon dioxide and other global warming emissions, which trap heat, steadily drive up the planet’s temperature, and create significant and harmful impacts on our health, our environment, and our climate.

Increasing the supply of renewable energy would allow us to replace carbon-intensive energy sources and significantly reduce U.S. global warming emissions, which leads to-among many-negative effects on our environment, such as extreme weather.

Climate change made Hurricane Harvey more dangerous
Its difficult to make a distinct connection between killer hurricanes and global warming, but there is a common school of thought who theorize that there is indeed a direct connection between past killer hurricanes Sandy and Harvey and climate change.

Charles H. Greune, a professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at Cornell University, stated “What happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic,” he said in a statement on Wednesday. “Just like Superstorm Sandy, Arctic warming likely played an important role in making Hurricane Harvey such an extreme killer storm.”

Greene took it a step further by identifying how climate change influenced both:

  • the formation of the storm
  • and the path it took

Two storms that resembled one another’s destructive path, Hurricanes Sandy and Harvey, both lingered in a similar way. Instead of veering out over the ocean as do most late-season hurricanes, these storms bee lined for majorly populated urban areas and then stalled, dumping trillions of gallons of water on the areas, resulting in tremendous property damage and loss of life.

Maddie Stone, who holds a Ph.D. in earth and environmental science, said climate change either did or “probably” made Harvey worse.

Factors that Make Hurricanes More Dangerous:
We know that warming sea surface and air temperatures affect storms and produce more extreme precipitation. Indeed, the heaviest downpours in the world have become more extreme.

Global warming factors that may affect hurricanes:

    • Rapidly rising sea levels – The first global warming factor that may make hurricanes more dangerous is rapidly rising sea levels in the sea region’s, for example, of Texas and New Jersey, making the areas more likely to flood.
    • Rising temperatures – The second factor is the rising temperatures in the region which results in more moisture in the atmosphere, bringing more rain to the regions.
    • Global warming may have also contributed to:
      • a deep layer of warm water feeding the hurricane as it intensified near the coast
      • sub-tropical high pressure systems – This phenomena is thought to have possibly stalled extreme hurricanes near the coast with sub-tropical high pressure systems holding a weather system in the middle and causing its route to slow or stall

Kevin Trenberth, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, thinks Harvey was “a bit more intense, bigger, and longer lasting” than it would have been in the absence of climate change.

The New Norm, Killer Storms?

Many researchers agree that killer storms like Sandy and Harvey are the “new norm” as greenhouse gases increase sea levels, which leads to higher surges, which then leads to increased precipitation.

Hurricane Harvey and its remnants have quickly become one of the worst natural disasters in US history. The unprecedented duration and intensity of the storm has sparked a heated debate about how much climate change is to blame. The short answer is that we don’t really know, yet. But attempting to answer that question will help us to better prepare for the future.

The Influence Of Himalayas On The Climate Of Pakistan

The climate of Pakistan is continental as a whole but the high mountains to the north of it gives its climate a peculiar shape.

The High mountains ranges of Himalayas in the North of Pakistan influence the climate of Pakistan in several ways.

Mild Winters

Probably the most pronounced effect of the great mountain ranges to the North on the climate of cities of Pakistan is that the cities of Pakistan are saved from the intense cold of Central Asia during the winter season. To cite a typical example, Multan and Shanghai are located on almost the same parallel but there is a huge temperature difference between their winter temperatures. Multan records a winter temperature of 54 F while at Shanghai it is 38 F. This is because the very high mountains of the North do not let the Cold air to penetrate down into Pakistan. Whereas in case of Shanghai, there is no mountain barrier to protect it from the cold and fierce Siberian wind of the North.

Similarly Tashkent, in Uzbekistan, located on the other side of the mountains faces the full fury of Central Asian wind with temperatures going down as much as 30 F in winter while in Islamabad the winter temperature around 50 F -thanks to the protective shield of Himalayas to the North.

Monsoon Rains

The other most important influence of the high mountains is the steering and containment of monsoon winds. Had there been no mountains to the North there would have been no monsoon. The monsoon coming from the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean are blocked by the high mountains to the north and are forced to rise, thus reaching condensation temperature and copious rainfall results.

Other neighboring countries located on almost the same latitude do not have any rainy season like monsoon. Afghanistan and Iran are the examples. In these countries the summer heat continues to increase till late July and in some cases up to August and then decrease gradually in the subsequent months. While on the other hand due to the influence of very high mountains to the north of Pakistan, monsoon winds are able to bring the temperature down considerably by the end of June and the subsequent month of July, August and September are much cooler than if there had been no monsoon.

7 Tips To Manage Your Chemical Waste Disposal

Chemical waste is a waste that is made from harmful chemicals. It could be a solid, liquid, or gaseous material that displays either a “Hazardous Characteristic” or is specifically “listed” by name as a hazardous waste.

Chemical waste falls under regulations such as COSHH in the United Kingdom. To be considered hazardous, your chemical waste needs to display one or more of these 4 characteristics: Ignitability, Corrosivity, Reactivity, and Toxicity.

Any hazardous chemical waste must be categorized based on its identity, constituents, and hazards so that it may be safely handled and managed. Due to the potential risks associated with the improper handling of chemical waste, its correct management and disposal are vital.

There are strict regulations in place to prevent risks to both the environment and to human health caused by improper chemical waste disposal.

Below, we have outlined some useful tips to follow to safely managing the disposal of your hazardous chemical waste.

1. Identify your chemical waste

Identifying your waste is very paramount, as it is understanding the properties of hazardous waste and how to handle and dispose of it correctly. If you produce, transport, or receive hazardous waste you will have responsibilities under the Hazardous Waste Regulations. You can obtain more information on identifying hazardous waste and the Hazardous Waste Regulations from the Environment Agency. Hazardous waste requires specialist treatment and as such, a proper identification is very important. If you’re unsure if you waste is classified as hazardous or not, give us a call .

2. Pay attention to the current legislation

It isn’t just the Waste regulations and the Hazardous Waste Regulations that you need to comply with. You also need to comply with numerous other pieces of legislation such as the WEEE regulations and the EU legislation. If you find waste legislation difficult to understand, do not worry because a professional waste management company can help. At All Waste Matters we have a knowledgeable team of experts with over 50 years of experience in the field that can advise you on the best disposal strategy for your chemical waste.

3. Designate a hazardous waste storage area

Select an area of your facility that is: — Near where the waste is generated — Under the control of trained personnel — Out of the way of normal business activities Label the area with a “Danger — Hazardous Waste” sign and make the area easily accessible and recognizable for the traffic going in and out and for the external inspectors.

4. Store your Waste Properly

Harmful chemical waste must be stored in leak-proof containers that are compatible with the harmful nature of the material. Never mix toxic waste with non-harmful materials. This ensures that your waste disposal activities do not result in reactions or corrosion in the container. Once mixed, the entire waste becomes harmful. Mixing the materials also makes recycling very difficult. Do not store it in a way that may rupture the container or cause leakage. Choose leak-proof containers that have impermeable surfaces and keep them always in good condition. If necessary, transfer waste material to a container that can be securely closed. Keep waste containers closed except when adding waste. When disposing of, it advisable to label the containers ‘harmful waste’ to give a clear description of the contents. Secondary containment should be in place to capture spills and leaks from the primary container, segregate incompatible hazardous wastes, such as acids and bases.

5. Think about the Environment

When deciding on a waste disposal plan for your hazardous chemical waste, consider what impacts on the environmental any proposed disposal solutions may have. Our environment is precious, so it is important that you choose a waste management service that considers the impact that your business’s waste has on the planet. Your designated waste management partner should also advise you on effective ways to reduce your waste. At All Waste Matter we work with you on your specific hazardous waste disposal plan, which should be designed to take inconsideration your social and corporate responsibility with the aim to preserve resources and work towards a sustainable consumption.

6. Choose a responsible hazardous waste disposal partner

A responsible partner is one that is fit to handle hazardous secondary materials and conducts proper disposal or recycling. Some common questions that you may ask when evaluating hazardous waste disposal companies include: What is the company’s history and ownership history? Have they been involved in any contamination? Does the company have a history of environmental compliance? Have they been subject to any enforcement actions? Is the company in compliance with all required permits? What is the general housekeeping at their facility? Does the company employ trained WAMITAB staff? Is the company financially sound? Does it have adequate environmental liability insurance and provisions for necessary closure and clean-up costs if necessary?

7. Promote waste recycling

In most cases it is possible to recycle your harmful chemical waste, including include acids, solvents, oil and metals. Not only is hazardous waste recycling beneficial to the environment, but it also increases the bottom line of your business. You can be sure of production efficiency and cost reduction due to cut costs on raw materials and waste disposal management. Finally, by recycling your chemical wastes, less hazardous waste is sent for treatment and disposal. This means less need for hazardous waste landfills and incinerators, as well as a decrease in energy used for those systems, which ultimately leads to less pollution.

The 7 Most Common Metals That Can Be Recycled

Metal recycling involves the recovery and processing of scrap metal from end-of-life products or structures, as well as from manufacturing scrap, so that it can be introduced as a raw material in the production of new goods. This may involve a number of steps such as identifying, recovering, refining and reclaiming precious or non-precious metals.

Why refining and recovering metals is important

Recycling in general has become increasingly important in our society. We are accustomed to hearing the three R’s of recycling (reduce, reuse, recycle) to include paper, plastics, bottles, cans, and cardboard; however, many people do not know that you can recycle precious and non-precious metal as well.

There is a wide range of reasons why you should refine and recover your metal rather than wasting it. Recycling metal reduces pollution, saves resources, reduces waste going to landfills and prevents the destruction of habitats from mining new ore. Scrap metal is a continuous resource. Because it can be re-melted and reshaped into new products countless times, recycled metal is a resource that will never be depleted. The production of new metal releases a far greater amount of greenhouse gas emissions compared with making products from recycled metal. These emissions may influence climate change and may also cause harmful levels of air pollution in cities, resulting in potential respiratory health problems for the residents.

Recovering precious metals from end-of -life products can also generate a good extra income. During these uncertain economic times investors have fallen back to the more stable commodities market, with precious metal prices (Gold and Silver in particular) rocketing as a result. Gold, silver, platinum and other precious metals can still be mined from natural sources. But mining is very costly and in many cases, it is becoming easier and more cost-effective to recover those metals from devices that already contain them. A ton of recycled cell phones actually contains more gold than a ton of gold ore that comes from most mines.

How to identify metals to refine

You can easily use a magnet to separate ferrous from not ferrous metals. Ferrous metals contain iron which in most cases makes it magnetic. If a metal is non-ferrous it doesn’t have iron in it, so it won’t stick to a magnet. Various other tests can be made to determine the type of metal and if it can be recycled or not. The most common is the appearance test, which consists in studying the physical features of the metal. Sometimes this can be quite difficult as there are metals that look similar to each other. Gold and brass, for instance, are often being confused as they have a very similar colour. After a deeper inspection, however, you should notice that gold is heavier and brass produces a bell like vibrating sound if you try to hit it. Other useful tests are the fracture test, which helps you identify a metal by analysing its broken part, and the spark test, which looks at the spark produced by touching the metal to a grinder.

To identify precious metals such as gold, silver and platinum you can also follow some simple rules.

1. Precious metals aren’t magnetic — if the metal attracts the magnet, you know it must be an alloy mixture and not a precious metal.

2. Gold won’t scratch glass — real gold is soft and malleable and won’t leave a scratch on a glass surface like other metals similar to gold do. You can also try to run the gold piece on a section of tile. If the piece leaves a black mark, it doesn’t contain pure gold. High-quality gold pieces will leave a yellow or gold streak on the tile’s surface.

3. Silver feels warm to the touch — silver will feel closer to your body temperature when you hold it in your hand and it is also a great heat conductor.

4. Precious metals rub off differently — if you rub an item against a cloth, real gold will leave no mark. With silver items, expect just the opposite. Real silver or silver-plated items will turn the cloth black.

Common metals that can be recycle and how to identify them

– Aluminium One of most unique qualities of aluminium is that it is quite light — three times lighter than iron. Aluminium is also completely non-magnetic, so it won’t stick to even the strongest of magnets. Aluminium doesn’t rust, which makes it very durable. Typical use in: Drink cans, Window frames, Cooking pots, Food packaging, Boats and aircrafts, Overhead power lines

– Copper Copper has a natural pink tone that can darken to look red, yellow or orange over time. When exposed to excess water or oxygen, copper can turn green or black in places where it has been excessively handled. Copper is notoriously soft, so it can be difficult to keep a piece perfectly smooth when working with the copper. If the copper piece is thin enough, you may even be able to bend it with your bare hands. You may also knock on the piece and listen to the sound that it makes. Real copper will have a deep and mellow sound, as opposed to brass, which can be high-pitched and tinny. Typical use in: Wires, Motors, Roofing, Plumbing, Cookware and cook utensils, Rainspouts

– Brass The word brass refers to any alloy that contains copper and zinc. Different proportions of these metals produce different colours, but the most common types of brass have a muted yellow colour, or a yellow-brown appearance similar to bronze. These brass alloys are widely used in machined parts and screws. The hundreds of different combinations means there is no single way to identify all brass. That said, the colour of the brass is usually distinct enough to separate it from copper. Typical use in: Lamp and plug fittings, Electrical terminals, Locks, Marine engines, Valve guides, Door lock components, Wind instruments, Radiator cores, tubes and tanks

– Gold Gold is a shiny yellow colour and does not have an oxide. Golds melting point is 1064.18°C (1947.52°F). It is very soft and is very heavy. It also has a high electrical conductivity (more electricity can pass through it) which means that the connectors on many cords have gold plating. Gold is nonferrous so it won’t stick to a magnet. Typical use in: Jewellery, Coinage, Watches, Electrical connectors, Artificial limb joints, Dentistry, Computers, Electronics.

– Lead is a dull grey when unpolished but it becomes a lot shinier when polished. Lead has a relatively low melting point, 327°C (621°F). Lead is nonferrous and it is even heavier than iron It’s a relatively soft metal, and can be carved with a pocket knife and is used in pencils. It is commonly used on roofs and in construction. Typical use in: Pipes, Flashing, Gutters, Downspouts, Conductor Heads, Ammunition, Cable sheathing, Weights for lifting, Weight belts for diving, Radiation protection.

– Steel Steel is a dense, relatively heavy material that easily rusts, so the surface must be painted, galvanized, cleaned often, encased in concrete, or protected in some other way. Freshly grinded carbon steel looks shiny and metallic; otherwise it has a dull, dark (but still metallic) colour. On a grinder, steel produces lots of sparks. As a rule, the greater the spark bursts, the higher the carbon content of the steel. Typical use in: Bars, Rods, Rails, Wires, Pipes, Automotive parts, Appliances, Fittings, Flanges, Valves

– Silver is a soft, ductile, malleable, lustrous metal. It has the highest electrical and thermal conductivity of all metals. Silver is stable in oxygen and water, but tarnishes when exposed to sulphur compounds in air or water to form a black sulphide layer. Typical use in: Jewellery, Mirror manufacturing, Dental fillings, Silver nitrate films for photography and radiography, Electrical contacts, Silver-cadmium batteries, Silver-zinc batteries.

At All Waste Matters we have over 50 years of experience in specialist refining of precious metals in a number of industry sectors. We can help you turn seemingly insignificant scraps into profit for your company. We are both silver refiners and gold refiners and thanks to our extensive expertise we can ensure we will return the maximum value of your material.

The Black Swan of Carbon Pricing

“Climate change is perhaps the gravest calamity our species has ever encountered. It makes genocide and ethnic cleansing look like sideshows at the circus of human suffering.”

– George Minbiot, environmental activist and the Guardian columnist

The essence of climate change dilemma is freeloading: carbon dioxide (CO2) inflicts great damage across the world, but the emitting countries shoulder only a marginal portion of the costs incurred. As a result, emission of greenhouse gases (GHG) in 2012 has increased to 149% compared to 1990’s levels, when the Kyoto Protocol envisioned to decrease the carbon emission at least by 5% within 2012. To offset the carbon emission, Enron and Goldman Sachs developed a pricing mechanism under a carbon trading market. Almost 40 countries and more than 20 cities around the world are already using or planning to adopt this carbon pricing mechanism.

While in theory, carbon pricing makes carbon more expensive to produce through tax and Cap & Trade mechanism, how effective is it in practice in reducing CO2 emission to the targeted level?

While carbon tax is the levy imposed on corporate polluters to buy fossil fuels, i.e., coal or natural gas; these companies in reality pass the cost onto their clients and customers. Under the Cap & Trade pricing, obliging countries and corporations have a ceiling for carbon generation. However, the industrialized countries can trade-off the excessive amount with countries with lesser emissions. This process is rather making heavy industries, i.e., electricity generation, cement, fertilizer, iron & steel and so forth delay investing in clean energy by buying cheap carbon footprint from somebody else. Alternatively, these corporations can also cover their emission by investing in CO2 reducing measures in factories (i.e., a tree plantation CSR agency or a windmill firm) located in the developing countries. These measures amount to relocating the CO2 in the same planet relatively easily and pretending to still achieve the climate action goals! The EU carbon trading system, upon lots of consultation with industries, is sanctioning more carbon rights to the participating industries than their current pollution levels.

The fundamental and structural changes required to shift from fossil fuel to clean energy need political consensus, business reorientation and certainly more expense down the line. If we truly intend to avoid the apocalyptic turnout of climate change and repair the damaged earth, this is the minimum bounty we have to pay. Meanwhile, carbon pricing cannot be the silver bullet to the existing climate change action. The Bali Conference, COP21 (Paris Agreement) and the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) also reiterate the urgency by emphasizing on rudimentary incentives such as subsidy shifting from fossil fuels to clean energies, R&D in alternative energies, and synchronized agenda for different political movements. Moreover, transparency and reciprocity within intergovernmental dialogues should also be ensured before climate change becomes another issue of political struggle and ends with hollow victory statements.