World Environment Day, which takes place on June 5, is an event designed to raise awareness of what can be done to protect our environment – as individuals or collectively – and what action can be taken at a local, national or global level. Plastic pollution is the theme of the event this year.
John Baxter is the Asset Governance Manager at E.ON Business Heat and Power Solutions, fellow of SOE, IPlantE and is a Chartered Engineer (CEng), Chartered Member of IOSH (CMIOSH) and Chartered Environmentalist (CEnv).
"We’ve already started our single-use plastics initiative – polystyrene boxes, tea cups, salad bowls, sandwich boxes, cutlery - they’re already been changed to recyclable, plant-based materials, so we’re moving it forward very quickly. Also, we’ve been able to reduce our landfill to zero, which has been a long-term target; it has been very difficult to do. So, we either recover it for energy or recycle it for other purposes."
The group has some big emissions proposals, too; it is targeting a 30% reduction of CO2 emissions (based on 2016 values) by 2030 and a 50% reduction of CO2 intensity per customer by 2030. A further commitment to be carbon-neutral by 2050 is also a target.
"We are already well under way to achieve this – partly due to our Uniper operation owning the largest emitters. We have so much more than a conventional operation now; it means we are better placed to meet these targets. Many of our competitors that are still operating large conventional generation will have more difficulties in meeting these targets. Because we’ve got the new industrial emissions directive, and the new standards/BAT (best available techniques), the guidelines that the Environmental Agency are making us follow (Environmental Permitting Regulations) means that over time the emission limits will reduce anyway. It will mean that older, less-efficient generation will have to be phased out. It just won’t be cost effective to retrofit everything up to the same efficiency levels," concluded John.