The start of 2011 has seen panda – monium come to Scotland. I am not referring to any weather related issues that you usually see plastering the headlines at this time of year; I am in fact referring to the arrival of two giant pandas at Edinburgh Zoo. Tain Tain and Yanguang together make a breeding pair of giant pandas that have been loaned to the zoo for ten years and, although they don’t know it themselves, highlight exciting ties between Scotland and China.
David Windmill, chief executive officer of the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), which runs Edinburgh Zoo, said: “This is a landmark day for RZSS, Edinburgh Zoo, the UK and China.
“It represents the beginning of a programme of research, education and partnership and the project has huge benefit for the UK and Scotland, both in supporting giant panda conservation and in enhancing our programmes in education, science and conservation.”
Pandas were not the only topic of conversation as the Chinese vice premier made his four day state visit to the UK. Renewable energy was also discussed in great detail. The result of these talks was an exciting green energy deal initially worth £6.4 million, between a Sino-Scots company and a Dumfriesshire-based engineering firm for processing domestic waste into energy. SHBV of China intends to use Scottish Engineering technology to build a new facility converting domestic waste into energy in China.
Gasification is the process that is used to turn waste into energy. This process involves the controlled combustion of municipal waste at temperatures up to 1400 degrees Centigrade. Burning waste at these kind of temperatures creates a gas call Syngas that is then used to generate electricity. Scotland opened its first waste gasification plant in 2009. This has the capability of dealing with 60,000 tonnes of hazardous and non hazardous waste and can generate 6.2MW of electricity that is exported to the national grid.
This recent Chinese tour has highlighted Scotland as leaders, not only in environmental conservation, but also in renewable energy and green business. It is important for Scottish businesses to continue to lead the way in green business practices, and Zero Waste Scotland are here to help achieve this as we continue to work towards a Zero Waste Society.