How Green Technology Makes the Environment Green

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How Green Technology Makes the Environment Green

Written by Hubert Pablo – Mearth, Guest Contributor at Cleantech Geek

There’s a notion that technology such as machinery and chemical products destroy our environment. After all, most technological advancements either pollute the earth or release harmful gases. 

However, scientists and engineers are making this right by developing green technology. In fact, the green tech market is expected to grow from $8.79 billion in 2019 to $48.36 billion by 2027. That’s a rapid growth of 24.8% in just 8 years. Green technology will seek better and efficient energy and minimise the impact on the environment while enhancing economics and the people’s quality of life.

Green tech may seem like a thing of the future, but it’s already here and many are already accessible to the market such as home solar panels and personal electric scooters. However, how do these technologies affect the environment? Do they truly help the environment? Here are just some of the ways green tech makes the environment greener.

Green tech reduces harmful emissions in the air.

One of green tech’s greatest contributions is reducing carbon emissions and decreasing air pollution in transportation. In the US and the UK alone, road transportation makes up 28% of the total carbon emissions in these countries. In both countries, it’s the sector with the highest contribution to greenhouse gases. 

To reduce carbon emissions in this sector, organisations are developing and pushing for urban electric mobility. In fact, the UN Habitat has rolled out the Urban Electric Mobility Initiative (UEMI) which aims to phase out conventional fuel vehicles, increase electric vehicle market share to 30% by 2030, and reduce carbon emissions to 30% by 2050. 

Among the electric vehicles, eco-friendly electric scooters have risen in popularity due to its positive environmental impact and public convenience. E-scooter ride-sharing firm Lime reported that electric scooters accounted for 0.8-1.9% of personal trips in Paris from 2018 to 2019. As a result, the report found that electric scooter usage saved the city 330 tons of carbon emissions during this period. If more people adopt e-scooters in Paris, the study projects that it could prevent over 10,000 carbon emissions by 2030. It’s no wonder there has been an increase of electric scooters in Australia, the US, and Europe.

Aside from its environmental impact, electric scooters are more affordable for commuters, making it an accessible green tech for the public. Electric scooters can cost a little under $300, while electric bikes cost at least $400. Moreover, its portability and light weight make it a convenient personal transport for commute or travel. 

Given its convenience and affordability, electric scooters will become one of the key solutions for spreading urban electric mobility and reducing carbon emissions in major cities globally.

It helps clean oceans.

Garbage and plastic have long been polluting the waters and destroying the marine ecosystems. To be exact, 13 million metric tons of plastic fill the ocean per year. Despite countless campaigns, initiatives, and laws to clean the ocean, it is simply not enough. After all, plastics are not the only cause of water pollution. Non-plastic water pollutants include heavy metals, oil and gas, pesticides, antibiotics, and debris. As a result, the world not only loses marine ecosystems but also $13 billion annually from marine damage, according to The UN Environment Programme.

Currently, most green technologies for oceans focus on reducing and collecting garbage in the oceans, seas, rivers, and other bodies of water. One of these innovations is the Seabin Project. It’s a floating rubbish bin that sucks in garbage and oil in water using a pump and filtration centre. It’s a simple but effective idea that has been slowly cleaning the ocean 1.5 kilograms of waste per Seabin per day. That’s half a ton of debris in a year.

The Ocean Cleanup is another green tech initiative that has developed a method to passively collect garbage waste and clean oceans across the globe. If the project deploys full-scale, multiple systems, it can collect 50% of the current garbage in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in just five years.

While these green tech innovations solve the larger problem, you can contribute in smaller ways that have a lasting impact. Reduce the problem through recycling, reusing, or eliminating plastic and harmful waste in your daily lifestyle. In the long run, reducing the waste produced on land, intercepting garbage in rivers, and collecting waste in the ocean will all contribute to a cleaner environment on land and sea.

It reduces pollution through innovative recycling.

Aside from current mechanical or manual recycling methods, many organisations are developing other sustainable ways to recycle. Chemical recycling is an emerging field which aims to break down plastic waste into feedstocks, monomers, and base chemicals. Using this additional recycling method, plastic can be continuously used from business operations to consumer products. As a result, it increases recycling capacity significantly and helps reduce plastic pollution in land and seas.

Another way plastic waste is being recycled is by converting it into roads. A British company uses plastic waste as asphalt mix for constructing roads. The plastic’s material adds durability to the mix enabling roads to be stronger and longer-lasting. Millions of plastic waste can be reduced if this was used in more cities across the globe. Plastic-made roads are already constructed on several roads in the UK and Bahrain.

Of course, you can prevent the garbage from filling land and oceans by reusing or recycling. Did you know that only 9% of plastic waste had been recycled from 1950 to 2015? Meanwhile, 79% of this waste still lay in landfills. People can only slow down the increase of plastic waste on land through better waste management from the waste industry to the communities. Recycle effectively by segregating recyclables, wash and clean items such as cans and bottles, recycle plastics separately, or reduce the use of harmful wastes altogether. 

Indeed, combining manual and green tech recycling methods would reduce waste significantly in the long run.

It promotes alternative energy

Fossil fuels, such as coal, natural gas, and oil, supply 80% of global energy. This also makes them major global warming and climate change contributors. Aside from carbon emissions, using fossil fuels also degrade land, disrupt ecosystems, and pollute water. However, despite its harmful effects on the environment, fossil fuels are still in demand. In fact, demand for coal in India is expected to increase by 2023. 

Instead of using non-renewable energy sources, communities and industries should start shifting to renewable energy. Green tech promotes and enables people to generate energy that does not harm the environment. These alternative energies include solar, wind, geothermal, and hydro energy.

Experts say that solar energy will become one of the most used renewable energy in the future, accounting for 27% of the global energy source in 2050. To make solar power more accessible, solar roof tiles offer an alternative to solar panels. It provides a seamless and clean way to incorporate solar energy into houses and buildings, unlike large solar panels. Solar roof tiles are also a good option for roofs that can’t fit panels or handle its weight.

On the other hand, wind energy will be the fastest-growing energy source in the US. In fact, the Department of Energy is aiming for a 35% wind power dependency by 2050. It’s still a long way to go as wind power currently accounts for only 2.4% of the country’s energy use.

Nonetheless, these green tech efforts for renewable energy makes it possible and accessible. It also reminds us that it should no longer be an ‘alternative’ source of energy. Rather, green energy should start being an essential energy resource.

Green tech is the better environmental solution.

Green technology introduces innovative solutions that reduce people’s harmful impact on the environment while making the quality of life better and more sustainable. Soon, e-scooters will become the best transport for urban mobility; people will use renewable energy; and, the world can clean the land and sea. As the need to implement sustainable living becomes more urgent, more organisations continue to develop smarter and greener solutions for industries and homes. Some have also started to use data analysis to make the energy industry more efficient. Indeed, green tech is a major solution to building a sustainable future.

This is a guest contribution by Mearth Technology, Australia’s first e-scooter developer providing scooters that redefine transportation. Launched in 2015, Mearth continues to research, design, and produce e-scooters that cater to all kinds of riders, from everyday commuters to off-road travellers. Today, Mearth continues its mission to provide quality, sustainable, and fun electric scooters for Australia.