13 February, 2012

Making the most of waste

Dan Caffrey, TraralgonThe Age, letter, 13 Feb 2012

WHILE some might be cringing at the thought that Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor have modified their views to now support sawmill waste being considered a biofuel, and hence eligible for inclusion as such in the carbon tax proposals, I have no such reservations. At the moment, sawmills are discouraged from using mill waste and sawdust to power an electricity generator, because they can't get carbon credits for doing so. Thus a huge amount of sawdust gets buried and ends up decomposing to methane, a 21 times more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. This use of a waste resource can only be good for everyone, so long as the practice does not encourage harvesting of native timbers for the sole purpose of producing biofuels. Surely this kind of safeguard can be built in to an agreement. A lot of timber mills are trying to be greenhouse friendly and the Oakeshott-Windsor move would encourage this.

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