Austria – ‘You are the best examples, the best ambassadors of inspiring people to get a better and more sustainable world’. With these words, Swiss adventurer and balloonist Bertrand Piccard addressed the audience at the International Electronics Recycling Congress (IERC) held last week in Salzburg, Austria.
In 1999, Piccard was the first person to complete a non-stop balloon flight around the world and is now preparing for a new record-breaking project: in 2015, he will attempt to fly non-stop around the globe in a solar-powered aircraft in order to focus attention on ‘the fact that we use far too much non-renewable energy, which is expensive and pollutes our world’.
This so-called Solar Impulse adventure will be based on the CleanTech approach, which makes it possible to lower energy consumption and produce renewable energy, while at the same time creating jobs, profit and sustainable growth. According to Piccard, the Solar Impulse initiative will be a concrete demonstration of the efficiency of these technologies.
‘Everything we are using in the plane in order to fly day and night without any fuel, you can also use,’ he explained. ‘It is not a secret technology of tomorrow; it is existing technology.’
It is the responsibility of entrepreneurs, industries and governments, he insisted, to take action and really change things. ‘It is forbidden to throw garbage into the forest, but it is still permitted to spew as much CO2 as we want into the atmosphere,’ he said.
When it comes to initiating drastic change, according to Piccard, the recycling industries are front-runners. ‘You recyclers are already doing what should be done on a much larger scale,’ he argued. ‘In fact, you are the best role models in sustainability. But perhaps you should be more active in spreading the good news and telling the world and the media all about it.’
Recycling International will publish an in-depth review of the IERC event in its March 2014 issue.