Part of the year, I live in Mallorca. In a lovely house on top of a hill, with views over Porreres, a village where the people still like to meet strangers, because tourists are a rare sight there. They are Catalan in name, but even though Barcelona is just over 100 km further, it might as well be a world away. No one here cares about politics, no one cares about the refugee Puigdemont or his puppet prime minister Torra, which he appointed yesterday.Mallorca is already independent because they simply don’t give a hoot about what goes on in Madrid.

What they do care about in Porreres, with its female mayor, is sustainability. Every household receives a certain number of garbage bags per year for the residual waste. Plastic, cans, wood, iron, garden waste, paper, plastic; almost everything can be handed in at the recycling facility. So there shouldn’t be much left to put in your trash, they reason.

If you have more than ten liters of residual waste per week, you can buy extra bags for the insane amount of 60 euros per roll. If that won’t teach you to recycle, what will?

So what is stopping us from following the example of Porreres?

General recycling is becoming pretty mainstream, but where does the waste go?

In the Netherlands, there is a private initiative called ‘Retourette’. They take separating waste extremely serious there; with over 25 different bins for waste (from corks to caps, from electricity wire to aluminum coffee cups), there is a bin for almost everything you don’t want anymore.

From its branches in major cities, the waste is brought to a central point in the country, and once they have enough to make a viable profit, they sell it. Profits go to charity, and if you are a customer, you can add your favorite charity for consideration. For more info: www.retourette.nl/

Waste is slowly becoming more and more valuable, because we realize that the earth will soon run out of resources. The sooner we stop burning valuable materials, the better, so what are we waiting for?




EU finally bans bee killers

Last Friday, the EU member states agreed to a ban on neonicotinoids. These chemical pesticides are used both to protect crops from insects and to coat seeds. A German study last year showed that 75% of flying insects have disappeared in the last 27 years. Due to habitat reduction and pesticide poisoning, the bee population is slowly dying. This will also put food security at a serious risk. After all, (bumble) bees are responsible for the pollination of food crops and fruit trees.

Three different types of neonicotinoids will now be prohibited. The main difference with many other pesticides is that this chemical permeates the plant from root to top. It is a killer for flying insects. Despite the extensive lobbying by manufacturers, agricultural organizations and the sugar industry, most EU states voted in favor of the ban. Unfortunately, the ban does not extend to the greenhouse horticultural sector.

In future, pesticides will no longer be a viable solution for crop protection. Certain insects become immune to the poison. In addition, the insecticides influence the soil conditions of agricultural land in particular.

Progressive companies are performing ongoing research into biological pesticides and other forms of fertilisation in their laboratories. By using so-called ‘natural enemies’, difficult pests can be controlled with bacteria, fungi, lice and other insects. In some cases, these ‘products’ are already produced on an industrial scale. The time of the pesticides seems to be reaching its end.