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AS and the Environment...

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AS and the Environment...

I have never been a great Environmentalist, but have made a few life choices that could be considered environmentally friendly. For example I commuted by bicycle for most of my working life or cycled to the station, put my bike on the train then cycled to my work place. This meant we only needed one car and Mrs Concern was a house wife for most of that time. We have also always re used stuff generally around the house partly because we were brought up in the 60s & 70s where our parents seemed to believe wartime shortages and rationing was still in place and partly because we like old stuff. Most of our furniture came from junk shops and boot fairs, our kitchen worktops, shelves and cupboards are made from old school D&T benches. The bookcases were chucked out of the local library. The windows of our house are still the wooden sashes it was built with while most of the houses around us have plastic frames, several on the second set since we’ve lived here (20 years) and at least one on it’s second set of plastic windows that replaced the aluminium ones that replaced the original wooden ones.

Now you can see where I’m going with this, is it better to keep things as long as possible, maintaining and repairing as necessary or should you replace with more economical less polluting modern substitutes that must actually have a huge environmental cost in their production and eventual disposal? Now the same thing must apply to cars as well and we have always bought them used and basically run them into the ground, they may never have been the most economical or eco models (XR3i, Golf GTI, Volvo V70 T5, Citroen C4 VTS and my current C30 T5 & Mrs Concern’s petrol Modus) but we keep them running as well as they can and most importantly keep them for years at a time rather than replacing them every two or three years, surely that is better for the environment? This philosophy is broadly in line with the so called 4 R’s (Refuse, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle).

What are your thoughts?

TLDR;

Is it better for the environment to keep older cars running as long as possible or to buy the most efficient new model every few years?

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It has to be more environmentally sound to maintain and repair an old car rather than buy a new one. The new wonder kid on the block is the electric car. I know that to produce the batteries is an ecological nightmare. You then have the problem of where do you produce the electricity from? Coal? Gas? Oil? Nuclear? Renewables? Then there is the co2 produced in the manufacture of said car. If you have a car that was produced 10, 15 or even 20+ years ago then the co2 has already been produced, released or whatever. No they will not be as clean as the latest models, certainly not as clean as an electric car in the city, but there must be a case that even a 34 year old Landrover fitted with a V8 must, if the emissions are divided  by 34 be less than a new car. Guess what I own.😁😁

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I'm of the opinion that you can have an economy or an enviroment not both sadly.

I'm in the camp of keeping old stuff going and that converting existing cars to electric would be more friendly than building new replacements. If there was a reliable and reasonable priced kit to convert the Astra or the disco to electric I'd buy one tomorow.

I'm one for recycling my all my waste, and try to do my bit.

But working in the car parts industy highlights that I'm wasting my time really.  some moderns service items are ridiculous, 

Bmws with air filters were the air box is part of the filter so it is replaced and is thrown away, 

Vw plastic one use sump plugs, in the bin

Fuel filters made from plastic with bonded/ built in electronic water sensors.  In the bin

Injector and dpf cleaners by the gallons, 

 fecking ad blue. 10ltr plastic containers, single use with a single use plastic funnel attached.  We must sell about 250+ of these a month. 

Sealed for life rear lights with bonded in normal bulbs. Replace the bulb? Nope, whole rear cluster light in the bin. 

Led number plate lights on bmws, change the bulb? Nope whole unit, in the bin. 

Led strips in your headlight fails? Bin

Led indicators in your door mirror? Whole mirror in the bin. 

I Cant remember the car but it has mirror mounted indicators with the bulb being a normal 501 bulb glued in and unable to be changed.  Who ever design that needs putting in the bin. 

Areo and hybrid wiper blades all plastic. In the bin, 

Jelly belly airfreshner, plastic full of chemical, in a blob of plastic with a plastic hook in a plastic packet. 

Screenshot_20191201-234820.jpg.612f2164a4a3be70d31bbd872901d429.jpg

 

 

 

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Both.

Throwing a car away because it's old or doesn't meet current emissions standards is wasteful, and given the lifespan of a car can be many decades, the amount of pollution it creates over that lifespan becomes negilible.  Equally, there is a responsibility to find more efficient, ecologically sound ways of producing vehicles and reducing the pollution they create along the whole process from creation, through use, and into disposal.  The trouble with ecological considerations is they are generally much bigger and longer term than an individual vehicle so we cannot judge which is the better approach based on the short lifespan of a single vehicle or person.

With regards to electric cars, they have their problems with pollution at creation but they are extremely low pollution after that point, comparatively.  Yes, you need to create energy to power them and pollution is created there - though low-pollution options such as renewables help bring this down further - but that pollution can be more easily managed than a few hundred exhaust pipes in a city so it's significantly reduced as a problem.  Also, electric cars aren't so wasteful on service items such as having to dispose of oil, coolant, and all that, because there's much less to actually service.  Items like brakes and tyres are much more recyclable because of what they're made of.  The bigger problem with newer cars is the amount of plastic in their construction.  An older car has less plastic content and will, generally speaking, just dissolve into the ground if permitted to do so.  A newer car won't do this and the plastic isn't going to be going anywhere for a while.

So, I'd say if you can afford to buy new and with an ecological mindset then do.  If you can't then buy old and keep it going as long as is reasonable, and try not to be too harsh to either person's choices.

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It's probably more about how you arrange your life than what you do with a car. Put simply the more you drive (or travel, in general) the more damage you do to the environment so not having to commute 20-30 miles a day is a good start, as is not jetting off to somewhere sunny three or four times a year on cheap Easyjet deals.

There's a huge amount of waste where cars are concerned, especially in this country where it's so cheap and easy to have the shiny new thing and throw that manky old one away instead of fixing it. Hell even the government is encouraging us to needlessly scrap perfectly good cars that elsewhere on the planet would be highly sought after just because they need a bit of mending. Scrapyards are full of cars far newer than anything I've ever owned and it's rather depressing.

As far as the environment and climate change goes I'm in both camps. On the one hand I'm convinced that the planet is genuinely heading for a massive environmental change and we're probably powerless to do anything about it unless we go back to pre-industrial revolution levels of technology, so we should be gearing our efforts to working round it and making plans for whatever's coming, but I'm also totally convinced that the powers that be in most western countries are going to milk it for all it's worth as the biggest and best cash-cow since the invention of VAT. 

FWIW, I'm thinking of swapping my 1 litre Micra for another old Jag or Merc, because why the fuck not?

 

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Some interesting points there, Vulg. It seems a no-brainer - until you throw in the existence, even dominance, of the petrochemical industry and the vast damage it continues to do. And biofuels are not a good use of land either on a planet that will soon struggle to provide enough food.

The ideal policy would be to keep running the Dolomite* until a renewable-energy powered electric vehicle made entirely out of funghi or plankton is available to replace it.

*other glorious old carbureted choices of shite are available.

Sent from my BV6000 using Tapatalk

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Somewhat off topic, I was irritated to read that Isla of Islabikes (a pushbike firm near to where I live) was masterminding her own extinction rebellion style protest featuring lots of cyclists in the small market town of Ludlow.

What irritates me about this otherwise laudable venture is that Isla (for it is she) doesn't actually manufacture her bikes in the UK, she buys them in from a factory. In Vietnam. Which is about 8000 miles away. Assuming she doesn't charter a tea clipper to move her stock, the carbon footprint must be enormous.

There are two sorts of environmentalism, the sort of greenwash style where people make superficial changes to their lifestyle which make sod all difference really or the sort where we make proper sweeping changes to the way we live, but which involve a certain amount of sacrifice. Buying shite cars and keeping them running nominally falls within the first category. My 60s Landie is very environmentally friendly these days, mainly because I only use it once or twice a month and then only for short journeys, so there is minimal use of resources from something manufactured before anyone had heard of the Beatles. I think motorcycles are quite good too, it is easy and cost effective to keep them running, plus wearing or replacement parts are tiny in many cases, so the forks can be renewed with a couple of pieces of plastic, not buying a entire new shock absorber like you would on a car.   

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I wouldn't say the carbon footprint to ship a bicycle in a container is enormous.  It would certainly be somewhat less than shipping 4 or 5 bike shaped objects from China that will wear out within a year or two.  I say this as someone who is feeling a little guilty about not joining the protest as I was making the most of a dry day to earn some money on the other side of the Square.

I've not bought an Islabike as I rarely buy anything new but I like the company as they treat the staff really well.  They also seem to employ really nice people.

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Have to say Andyrew's post has really surprised me, I was in the trade for quite a few years but left in about 2014. The parts described can only really have been designed that way to maximize turnover, and b*ll*cks to the environment. 

Being as pretty much all the mainstream manufacturers are banging the eco drum these days it smacks of hypocrisy that they would also be making parts with such a lack of recyclability.

As Vulgalor rightly points out, older cars will just return to nature if allowed to (having removed the fluids and battery etc of course). Plastic is effectively forever.

Spiny Norman, I agree entirely - the planet is headed into an accelerating system of warmer, more volatile weather and disruption to systems that have worked for thousands, probably tens of thousands of years. Problem is we would all have to go backwards in terms of comfort and technology to try and counter it. Sacrifice is not in our nature as a species so basically - we're fucked. Might as well enjoy the ride.

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37 minutes ago, catsinthewelder said:

I wouldn't say the carbon footprint to ship a bicycle in a container is enormous.  It would certainly be somewhat less than shipping 4 or 5 bike shaped objects from China that will wear out within a year or two.  I say this as someone who is feeling a little guilty about not joining the protest as I was making the most of a dry day to earn some money on the other side of the Square.

I've not bought an Islabike as I rarely buy anything new but I like the company as they treat the staff really well.  They also seem to employ really nice people.

I just feel that it is a little off to lecture other people on their environmental stance if you own a firm that imports their product in from the Far East, a fact which was glossed over in the write up in the Advertiser. BTW I agree that they do treat their staff well, but Isla herself remains one of the rudest most unpleasant people I've ever met (unfortunately I met her at my next door neighbours house so I didn't want to call her out about her behaviour).

It's fair to say I much prefer Pearce Engineering.

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So long as Governments try to use new car manufacturing and sales as a means to prop up employment the planet is fucked. Just seeing the amount of sheer material (in the form of new vehicles) leaving even the fairly small plants we have in the UK has convinced me of this. 

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SpineyN:

"There's a huge amount of waste where cars are concerned, especially in this country where it's so cheap and easy to have the shiny new thing and throw that manky old one away instead of fixing it. Hell even the government is encouraging us to needlessly scrap perfectly good cars that elsewhere on the planet would be highly sought after just because they need a bit of mending. "

I will ensure ToMM© has 'ideal 4 export' tagged in the For Sale ad :)

.... the image of her still rattling along a cart track in Uzbek - beyond worlds end istan .... when I'm being fed mashed banana and toileted >> most heartening thought ;)

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The overwhelming narrative is driven by money- hence the government and business are pro buying new, buying more - and these days that is also wrapped up in ever more efficient vehicles. 

Ultimately the alternative message that we will never hear is the opposite of consumerism and would lead to a reverse of how the modern world has developed, imo.

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38 minutes ago, sierraman said:

My view on it is people ought to be thanking us in the street for all these warm summers we’ve had of late. If my car wasn’t so polluting they’d be a damn sight colder in May. 

Bet the people in Yorkshire with 3 feet of water in their lounges aren't so grateful 

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Fleets of diesel buses replacing (electric) trains because 'insert reason'. Large numbers of heavy lorries supplying building materials for the thousands of new build four/five bedroom  detached houses that we are allegedly short of, an hour added morning and evening to any journey of more than five miles due to the extra cars from the extra houses stuck on the old roads that were never designed for this. More roadworks to mend the rapidly disintegrating old roads equals more traffic jams and more lorries carrying stuff. So, more fuel burnt whilst sat in traffic etc etc. This is only around my area by the way. The Fylde coast is hardly a seething hub of industry and manufacturing. For several hours a day it can take over an hour to do five miles. One of our two household recycling places closed recently meaning a ten mile round trip instead of a two mile one and a queue to get in. It goes on. Too many people needing to go to places, myself included. A recent journey to Liverpool airport to drop off a customer ( am a private hire driver) took over five hours due to congestion  (120 miles round trip). The answer, if there is one is beyond me! 

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49 minutes ago, bunglebus said:

Bet the people in Yorkshire with 3 feet of water in their lounges aren't so grateful 

Probably not but if people insist on building on flood plains. 

People go on about pollution getting worse and I’m sure it is but when you factor in how polluted it was years ago when we had heavy industry. I remember my Grandfather going on about the smogs of the 50’s from the steelworks and the pits so it wasn’t a green and pleasant land 50-60 years ago either. 

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I live next door to an airport - there goes another 767...

Another 90.77 tonnes of fuel burnt all the way from here to the US.

I think it's pretty pointless me trying very hard to be green don't you?

There's a little 'un, a 737, off to Tenerife...

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1 minute ago, barefoot said:

I live next door to an airport - there goes another 767...

Another 90.77 tonnes of fuel burnt all the way from here to the US.

I think it's pretty pointless me trying very hard to be green don't you?

There's a little 'un, a 737, off to Tenerife...

That was sort of, my point really. Carefully washing (as asked for by our council, saves money on processing)  a few yoghurt pots etc and putting them in the recycling bin doesn't really do much to combat consumerism. Or only slightly. A chap at the recycling place told me that often the plastics got landfilled anyway, depending on market prices and so on. 

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Climate concern is nothing new to me.  As long ago as 30 years ago we were being taught in school about greenhouse gas emissions and a hole in the o-zone layer.  I guess as you get older, you become wiser and your children nag you, and it climbs up your agenda.

I'm torn and conflicted.  I know my choices aren't always the best for the environment, but I do try to balance things out against durability which - I hope at least - counteracts construction 'cost' to the environment.  

Take my central heating system.  I had a new one put in last year and, once again, I went with kerosene.  Why? Because I don't have absolute faith (yet) in any of the alternatives.  I also know that, as a mature technology, I can continue to repair and fix what I have for a long long time with very little inside information.  It is, effectively, a diesel engine.  

The same is true of my car.  Yes, we are having proper conversations at work as to whether - as a responsible, local employer in the woke city of Cambridge - we should have an all electric fleet of cars.  The answer is probably.  But for me personally, having a durable combustion engined vehicle that I can keep running indefinitely is better than having a new one made for me.  

I read this fantastic article earlier today.  I absolutely love this section:

 

Collectively, we’ve reached a point in our evolution where we have never known more about science and quantum mechanics, yet on an individual level, we appear to ascribe the power of magic to the function of our now ubiquitous electronic devices. We understand nothing of their functionality, their operation being entirely binary. They simply work or they don’t. When they break down, we have no idea why, so we immediately buy another. The very idea of fixing or repairing has become unimaginable.

Once we worshipped the automobile, we now devote the same reverence to our devices and the quasi-religious shamen who attend to them in the temple of Apple. Once we rejoiced in the sight of polished cam-covers and plenum chambers, now the ugly plastic shroud that envelopes the power unit repels and awes in equal measure. Electronics control every function, and obsolescence is if anything, even more precipitous, more rigidly determined.

Terrified of our growing apathy, manufacturers become increasingly reliant upon gadgetry, fluff and appliqué to keep us interested. The car has become not only pointless and wasteful but more damningly, predictable. Genuine innovation has been consigned to the vehicle’s increasingly sophisticated electronic brain. Design is an empty box – all ideas used up and repeated.

Yes, the modern car is efficient, safe, rust-resistant, and laden with convenience features, but the sheer amount of black-box wizardry it contains would have Alan Turing reaching for the smelling salts. This bewildering level of technology is alienating people who care for and about cars, and few options lie open to those who through poverty or sound judgement opt to take the scenic route.

 

What would get me into an electric car?  It's not just cost - it's infrastructure.  If I could use bus lanes and park for free, and know that I could charge easily at work - then i'd be on it.  But only at the point where I NEEDED a car.  Not when I wanted one.  What would be better, in my eyes, would be a conversion kit for my existing car.  If I could do it for <£2000, I'd do it next year.

 

NB.  I also have this niggling suspicion that the answer to most of our current problems are in our past - not our future.  Glass bottles, shopping bags, public transport and growing food at home are hardly new ideas - eh?

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10 hours ago, Andyrew said:

I'm of the opinion that you can have an economy or an enviroment not both sadly.

I'm in the camp of keeping old stuff going and that converting existing cars to electric would be more friendly than building new replacements. If there was a reliable and reasonable priced kit to convert the Astra or the disco to electric I'd buy one tomorow.

I'm one for recycling my all my waste, and try to do my bit.

But working in the car parts industy highlights that I'm wasting my time really.  some moderns service items are ridiculous, 

Bmws with air filters were the air box is part of the filter so it is replaced and is thrown away, 

Vw plastic one use sump plugs, in the bin

Fuel filters made from plastic with bonded/ built in electronic water sensors.  In the bin

Injector and dpf cleaners by the gallons, 

 fecking ad blue. 10ltr plastic containers, single use with a single use plastic funnel attached.  We must sell about 250+ of these a month. 

Sealed for life rear lights with bonded in normal bulbs. Replace the bulb? Nope, whole rear cluster light in the bin. 

Led number plate lights on bmws, change the bulb? Nope whole unit, in the bin. 

Led strips in your headlight fails? Bin

Led indicators in your door mirror? Whole mirror in the bin. 

I Cant remember the car but it has mirror mounted indicators with the bulb being a normal 501 bulb glued in and unable to be changed.  Who ever design that needs putting in the bin. 

Areo and hybrid wiper blades all plastic. In the bin, 

Jelly belly airfreshner, plastic full of chemical, in a blob of plastic with a plastic hook in a plastic packet. 

Screenshot_20191201-234820.jpg.612f2164a4a3be70d31bbd872901d429.jpg

 

 

 

Plastic sump plugs?

Non-replaceable LEDs in door mirrors? 

Sealed for life rear lights?

I'm fortunate enough not to have one of these modern bling trophies as a daily. Why do people buy into this shit? 

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2 hours ago, Bobthebeard said:

That was sort of, my point really. Carefully washing (as asked for by our council, saves money on processing)  a few yoghurt pots etc and putting them in the recycling bin doesn't really do much to combat consumerism. Or only slightly. A chap at the recycling place told me that often the plastics got landfilled anyway, depending on market prices and so on. 

WW2 'pot and pans' collections.... For the aluminum. Some actual war munitions were made but the 'my pot does for Jerry' was a much more compelling morale booster...

Recycling/Save the Whales [..new words Save the World]...

Whistling, to keep our spirits up more lyke 😕

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Regarding electric cars, it has been suggested that our company get a couple to try out on airport runs, these runs being less profitable for us drivers. Fixed fare, traffic, parking and drop off fees etc. Often we do these jobs for around £30 profit and can take four or five hours. Take diesel costs out and the profit rises to around £45 ish. Still not great. The cost of buying electric cars notwithstanding. Getting stuck in 'normal' traffic in winter with an electric car would soon leave the car stranded with flat batteries surely? Unless hybrid. The costs just don't add up. 

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15 minutes ago, Dick Longbridge said:

Plastic sump plugs?

Non-replaceable LEDs in door mirrors? 

Sealed for life rear lights?

I'm fortunate enough not to have one of these modern bling trophies as a daily. Why do people buy into this shit? 

I’d doubt most people would know/give a shit that the sump plug was plastic on a new car. Only really becomes a problem when someone decides to tighten one up FUCKIN BASTARD TIGHT! 

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What gets lost in the goal warming debate is the local health impact.

Tax policy was so focused on reducing carbon emissions it ignored the fact it was poisoning us with diesel fumes. Meanwhile coal power stations in China are cancelling out any overall global reduction in CO2 resulting from our use of diesel. Ergo we all get lung disease for nothing.

Driving old diesel snotters chucking out soot might produce less carbon overall but you're killing kids. Not worth it in my opinion.

There's no easy answer than to drive less. Meanwhile government need to massively promote electric so we have plenty of old ones to keep going in 15 years time.

I'm a maybe hypocrite of course since I drive a 12 year old diesel but it's almost impossible to find a decent cheap large estate in petrol auto thanks to diesel obsession of the last 20 years.

 

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