Biomethane Helps Further Sustainable System of Commerce:
‘A Fundamental Rethinking of Products, Materials and Systems’
The increasing use of RNG/renewable natural gas, aka biomethane, by UPS is a sterling example of “circular” economics as distinguished from the traditional, “linear” business operating model of “make, use and dispose.” updated April 5
“In the evolving circular model, we strive to keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them while in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life,” states The Growth of the Circular Economy: A 2016 UPS/GreenBiz Research Study. “To be successful, this model will require a fundamental rethinking of products, materials and systems of commerce.”
UPS and Oakland, Calif.-based GreenBiz collaborated on a survey of more than 5,000 sustainability executives and analyzed the results from 423 respondents “to identify trends that will help define success for this developing system of commerce.”
Bringing It All Back Home
“Nearly nine out of 10 (86%) of sustainability executives surveyed believe that circular economy will be important to their business two years from now, nearly double from two years ago,” states a UPS summary.
The GreenBiz analysis found that, “As a transportation and logistics company, UPS facilitates the circular economy by providing more efficient and sustainable solutions to help reclaim and refurbish products at the end of their useful life.”
‘Seamless Take-Back’ via ‘Reverse Logistics Processes’
“We use our expertise in logistics to help enable and facilitate the circular economy,” said UPS senior director of global sustainability Ed Rogers. “Focusing on ‘first mile’ logistics is crucial to helping businesses implement a cost-effective circular economy.
“UPS partners with customers to implement seamless take-back systems that include turnkey packaging, pickup services and pre-paid return labels,” he said. “Taken together, all of these assist in the reverse logistics processes needed for a successful circular economy.”
An Ubiquitous Fuel
When it comes to UPS’s own operations, a key circular solution is RNG/biomethane: “Nearly every landfill, agriculture operation, and manufacturing and waste plant generates methane – it is among the most abundant forms of fuel on the planet,” GreenBiz notes. “By using RNG, UPS is taking methane that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas and converting it into a fuel to power its trucks.”
“RNG provides a two-for-one solution to greenhouse gas emissions: it replaces conventional fuel (and its carbon emissions) that UPS would otherwise use, and also prevents methane from being released into the atmosphere, where it is more than 21 times more harmful than carbon dioxide.”
UPS recently expanded its use of biomethane to Texas (F&F, February 10).
UPS Global Fleet Maintenance and Engineering president Carlton Rose was named last week as a keynote speaker at the Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo, which takes place May 2-5 in Long Beach, Calif. (F&F, March 25). He’s to appear at the conference session session on Tuesday, May 3.
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Source: GreenBiz with Fleets & Fuels follow-up