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GlobalChallenge 2009 Excursion program

For the first time the ISDR conference will include an excursion program to the best practises on sustainable development. Sustainability is an important topic in the Netherlands, for several reasons:

  1. it provides business opportunities and increases competitiveness;
  2. it helps combat climate change and sea level rising, which is particularly important because 40% of our nation already lies below sea level;
  3. it does help finding solutions to the problems we have with our high density population and economy (almost 400 inhabitants /km2);
  4. the Dutch government has launched an impressive program on the transition towards a sustainable society, which is now beginning to show off.
Choosing the excursions is the best way to continue the conference atmosphere with a bit of practice. After rediscovering the theory during the tracks, the goal is now to practice and see in reality how Holland manages it. Interactivity is the key factor to add value both for the site hosts and visitors that shouldn't think of a passive touristic tour.
You will be able to go and see, feel and hear the examples for yourselves. The excursions will include visits to sustainable building sites (houses, offices and entire suburbs), to bio-energy plants and to large international companies who are putting sustainability in practice. You will be able to see innovative approaches to CO2 use, flood prevention and adaptation measures, renewable energy, waste and waste water treatment, nature conservation and reuse of materials. So set your mind to an action process because your help will be needed.

When registering for the conference (the registration page will be open in early spring), you will have to register for the excursions as well.

The list of excursions is:

1. City centre cargo distribution

(click to read the whole item)

The inner city of Utrecht has the same problem as many other city centers in the world: how to provide shops, pubs and restaurants with cargo without blocking the roads, causing traffic jams, adding abundant exhaust fumes and just plain old bothering the customers and tourists with big ugly trucks.

Well, Utrecht has the solution, actually, Utrecht has two solutions. The Cargohopper is an electrically powered, silent, narrow build 'roadtrain' and distributes shop cargo more effectively and efficiently than any other inner city system. The Bierboot (Beerboat) is a small vessel that transports not just caskets of beer, but all the food and beverages the pubs and restaurants located along the inner city waterways use. No more road traffic, no more blocking the road when off-loading. These two systems together make the inner city of Utrecht a pleasant and clean place to shop, eat and drink and there is always enough in store.

You will go and see how these concepts function in reality and how easy it is to use them in your own city.



2. Closing material cycles in practise

(click to read the whole item)
Waste can be deposited on landfills or burned in incinerators. Both techniques do not take material recycling into full account. AVR van Gansewinkel, a leading Dutch waste treatment and logistics company is changing itęs approach and turning waste treatment into nutrient management. Three sites will be visited:
  • the site of Coolrec, where domestic and industrial appliances such as fridges, tv's, airconditioners, and ICT-equipment are being dismantled for recycling and reuse.
  • the AVI Rozenburg, the main waste incinerator plant where all waste that could not be recycled as raw material will be burned to produce energy
  • and the site of Maltha, where packaging glass (jars and bottles) and plate glass (windowpanes, mirrors) are being sorted, crushed and processed into raw material for the glass and glass wool industry.

You will visit these sites to see and hear how this is all done and hopefully you will come to appreciate the benefits of true recycling efforts.



3. Support sustainability: educate, develop and implement

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In the Rotterdam area a unique mixture of education, small scale development, municipal policies, market demand and pilot projects has arisen in the last few years. All these aspects need and encourage each other to further develop promising techniques to applied technologies. We will visit the RDM campus in the Rotterdam harbour and talk with pioneering companies and educational institutions how to go from R&D to Applied Technology.



4. Waste = Energy !

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When treating our waste, we produce ęfreeę energy. Solid waste is often incinerated and is reasonable to use the excess energy that is generated. Waste water is filtered and treated biologically, before being discharged on to surface water. The left over sludge is digested to produce 'green' gas, which can be used to generate electricity, can be burned for heating or be used as fuel for natural gas powered vehicles.

We will visit two companies in Amsterdam , the waste incineration company Afvalenergiebedrijf (waste-energy-company) and the waste water treatment facility of Waternet which are co-operating on waste treatment and energy reclamation.



5. Producer responsibility: I love my own products so much I want them back.

(click to read the whole item)

In Venlo, in the south-east of the Netherlands the headquarters and one of the R&D facilities of Océ is located. Océ is the well-known worldwide manufacturer of printing machines and provider of solutions for many business printing questions. They should also be well-known for their sustainability efforts, being one of the first to introduce remanufacturing plants, taking back their 'old' printing products, dismantling them and using parts for new products. One of their newest invention is the TonerPearls system, which uses a different kind of toner technique, resulting in better prints and less toner use.

We will visit the remanufactering plant and the TonerPearl factory and here all about their sustainability efforts.



6. Using rising water for nature development

(click to read the whole item)

The Netherlands have history of fighting and working with water. We often look to the sea for potential problems, but nowadays, the rivers are becoming a great concern. The Netherlands is situated in a delta and although river water levels have always fluctuated, the risks of flooding have become greater, partly due to heavier rainfall, but mainly due to the fact that more and more buildings, and thus people, are situated nearby rivers. The build up area has to be protected of course, but it takes special precautions and bold decisions to deal with rain and river in a densely populated delta.

You will visit two sites where special measures have been taken. The Blauwe Kamer is a protected nature area along side a river. In 1992 part of the summer dike has been removed on purpose, to allow the river to flood the area regularly. Not only nature has benefited from this decision, as you will see, smell and hear on this sunny day in July, but the risk of flooding in other areas has been reduced, due to the 'retention area' that was thus created. The second site is within the newly build city / suburb, Leidsche Rijn, near Utrecht. Here, special precautions have been integrated into the texture and lay-out. Usually, the clean rain running off the roofs, gardens and streets, is directed into the sewers and is transported along with the sewage waters to a waste water treatment plant. Leidsche Rijn has a series of so called “Wadi's”, which store rain water temporarily and help transport it to creeks, ponds and other surface waters. Now the clean rainwater can be directed to nature areas and be used for infiltration during long dry periods. The wadi's also let the rain water seep through to the groundwater to improve groundwater levels. Though these wadi's are a nice technological and infrastructural feature, people living in the neighbourhoods don't always know or appreciate how they work and why they are installed. Special efforts had and have to be made to 'teach' people to live with this system.



7. Nature development in an unnatural country

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We visit the Hoeksche Waard (a polder south-east of Rotterdam), coming face to face with typical Dutch landscapes. We meet a landscape of polders, dikes, meadows and trees, visiting an agro-biodiversity project in the ‘Hoeksche Waard’, where arable farmers get paid to grow flower borders on their fields. On a 400 hectare subsystem, a network of permanent field margins sown with different grass and wild flower mixtures has been laid down. Field margins can attract and conserve predators and parasitoids, and thus contribute to pest suppression.

We will have our lunch at the "Knowledge Centre National Landscape. Next, we turn to the island of Tiengemeten, located in the Haringvliet, an estuary formed by the rivers Rhine, Maas and Schelde in the southwest of the Netherlands. The island covers 300 hectares of grassy marshes an reed outside the dikes and inside the dikes roughly 1000 hectares of pastureland, which is spectacular reformed into a natural area. The island is divided into three main areas: Weemoed ('wistfulness'), Weelde (‘wealth’) and Wildernis ('wilderness').
The island’s metamorphosis has cost nearly 6.8 million euros. The project’s objective was to create a 1000-hectare freshwater tidal region, made up of freshwater tidal pools, reed and rush marshes, willow tidal brushlands and tidal forests – broken up here and there by grasslands.



8. Beyond sustainability: paper products and the Cradle to Cradle philosophy

(click to read the whole item)

max: 20 persons
Using the brand name Satino, the Van Houtum factory in Swalmen, in the south-east of the Netherlands produces paper towels, tissues, and other products for personal hygiene. They use waste paper to produce biologically degradable hygienic paper products.

By focusing on the three P's (people, planet and profit) equally, they have become a good example of business according to the Cradle Cradle philosophy. To put it in simple terms, they use waste products, clean them, make biodegradable products out of the main materials and sell or use the by-products from the cleaning process to other producing companies.

They show it is possible to have a profitable company while helping the environment and the people. With this excursion you will here and see for yourselves what they do, how they do it and why.