Fossil fuels to fail as PPE goes plastic-free

Written by Lori Campbell on 8th Jun 2020

The coronavirus pandemic is set to trigger a £20 trillion fossil fuel industry collapse, reveals a new report, as the first recyclable personal protective equipment (PPE) is unveiled in a bid to tackle single-use plastic. Meanwhile, energy start-up Ripple Energy launches the UK’s first consumer-owned wind farm, Russia’s president Vladimir Putin declares a state of emergency after a giant oil spill in the Arctic Circle and Pandora is to make charm bracelets with silver salvaged from old laptops. It’s the Good With Money weekly news brief. 


Coronavirus crisis could trigger £20tn fossil fuel industry collapse

The coronavirus outbreak could trigger a $25 trillion (£20 trillion) collapse in the fossil fuel industry, according to a new study.

The report by financial thinktank Carbon Tracker found that the value of the world’s fossil fuel reserves is set to fall by two-thirds because the Covid-19 crisis has slashed demand for oil, gas and coal.

The looming fossil fuel collapse could pose “a significant threat to global financial stability” by wiping out the market value of fossil fuel companies, according to the study.

The report predicts that a two per cent fall in demand for fossil fuels every year could cause the future profits of oil, gas and coal companies to collapse from an estimated $39 trillion (£30 trillion) to just $14 trillion (£11 trillion).

It warns that a blow to fossil fuel companies could send shockwaves through the global economy because their market value makes up a quarter of the world’s equity markets and they owe trillions of dollars to the world’s banks.

Kingsmill Bond, the author of the report, said: “Now is the time to plan an orderly wind-down of fossil fuel assets and manage the impact on the global economy rather than try to sustain the unsustainable.”

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First compostable PPE to tackle plastic waste

The first recyclable protective visor has been unveiled as the coronavirus pandemic raises fears of an increase in single-use plastic waste.

The clear visors, created by A Plastic Planet with packaging companies Reelbrands and Transcend Packaging, is made out of paper board and environmental cellulose from wood pulp. The creators say it is recyclable and home compostable.

They will be supplied to delivery company Yodel, which is working with the NHS to deliver Covid-19 tests.

Plastics campaigners have raised concerns that disposable PPE is finding its way into the environment or landfill. In the UK, 761 million pieces of PPE have been distributed since February.

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UK’s first consumer-owned wind farm

Energy start-up Ripple Energy is launching Britain’s first consumer-owned wind farm.

The project gives people the chance to buy a share of a turbine in return for receiving the electricity it produces.

Ripple Energy aims to sign up about 2,000 UK households to crowdfund the £4.3 million construction of the pilot, one-turbine project at Graig Fatha Farm near Coedely, near Cardiff.

Under an arrangement with Co-op Energy, run by Octopus Energy, those who buy a share (for around £1,900) will secure the right to a proportion of the electricity the turbine produces from next year. This will be at a cheap rate covering its low running costs.

Ripple argues that this should be substantially cheaper than if the supplier had bought electricity from other generators at commercial rates in the wholesale market.

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Arctic Circle oil spill prompts Putin to declare state of emergency

Russia’s president Vladimir Putin has declared a state of emergency after 20,000 tonnes of diesel oil leaked into a river within the Arctic Circle.

The spill happened when a fuel tank at a power plant near the Siberian city of Norilsk collapsed on Friday. The power plant’s director Vyacheslav Starostin has been taken into custody until 31 July, but not yet charged. The plant is owned by a subsidiary of Norilsk Nickel, which is the world’s leading nickel and palladium producer.

The Russian Investigative Committee (SK) has launched a criminal case over the pollution and alleged negligence, as there was reportedly a two-day delay in informing the Moscow authorities about the spill.

Ground subsidence beneath the fuel storage tanks is believed to have caused the spill.

Pandora to make charm bracelets with silver from old laptops

Danish jeweller Pandora is to start making its flagship charm bracelets from silver salvaged from old laptops and mobile phones.

The firm has promised to only use recycled gold and silver by 2025 in a bid to cut carbon emissions and make better use of the world’s growing electronic waste mountain.

Around 70 per cent of the gold and silver Pandora uses already comes from recycled sources. However, extending this to 100 per cent will mean convincing its suppliers of chains, clasps and other parts to switch to salvaged sources. “It will take some time before we are all in place, but we will get there,” said CEO Alexander Lacik.

Because it takes less energy to extract second-hand metals than refine mined ore, using recycled silver cuts carbon emissions by two-thirds compared to virgin metal. Recycled gold cuts emissions by 99 per cent.

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