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article imageSustainability News: Eco-friendly packaging, solar-powered trains

By Karen Graham     Jul 22, 2019 in Business
Across the globe, corporations, businesses and city leaders are working to create a sustainable and circular economy in reaction to the climate crisis. This week, we will focus on compostable six-pack rings and a solar-powered railway.
The UN World Commission on Environment and Development says “sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Sustainable development goes hand-in-hand with the development of a circular economy and encompasses everything from energy and infrastructure, to the wise use of resources and research and innovation in ways to decarbonize our world.
The climate crisis is forcing all of us to look at where we place our priorities in using our natural resources without compromising the needs of future generations. This week Digital Journal takes a closer look at Golden’s Coors Brewing Company and British rail operator South Western Railway (SWR).
Coors debuts plastic-free six-pack rings
Brewers have taken innovation to new heights in minimizing their packaging footprints. For example, Carlsberg is now gluing its can multipacks together rather than using plastics, Corona is dodging plastics all together by using interlocking “screw” cans and Guinness now comes in lightweight cardboard holders.
AC Golden, a member of the Coors family, has come up with a fiber-based six-pack ring that is compostable and plastic-free. The six-pack ring was developed through Footprint, an eco-friendly packaging company. Footprint claims the packaging is able to cope with even the most “extreme” transport and storage conditions, including high humidity, according to Edie.
“With the introduction of Footprint’s six-pack ring, we are changing the game for beverage packaging and distribution by delivering a plastic-free solution that is applied in high volume and performs,” said Jeff Bassett, vice president of marketing at Footprint. “We’re very excited that MillerCoors put its trust in us to roll it out with Colorado Native.”
South Western Railway to trial trackside solar
British rail operator, South Western Railway (SWR) is hosting a public drop-in event in August for a pilot solar energy project called Riding Sunbeams. While the UK has been slower to transition to renewable-powered railways - SWR has come up with something entirely unique.
The project, Riding Sunbeams - is being undertaken by South Western Railways’ partnership between charities 10:10 and Community Energy South and is being funded by Innovate UK and the Department for Transport. Riding Sunbeams will be a world-leading project to connect solar panels directly into electrified rail routes to power the trains.
For the August public demonstration, 135 solar panels will be installed on vacant land near Aldershot Station on the London Waterloo-Alton line. The 30kWp ‘First Light’ demonstrator photovoltaic (PV) array will connect to an ancillary transformer on the traction system to power lights and signaling equipment.
Climate change charity, 10:10 will use the data to design and test systems that can directly supply solar power to the DC traction network. According to 10:10, solar traction power could provide 10 percent of the energy required to power trains on the UK’s third-rail 750V DC electrified lines every year.
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