Monthly Archives: Agustus 2016

Coconut Trees - Cocopeat

Cocopeat and The Sustainability of the Humble Coconut

Dragon Sorb is made up of natural products and because you can’t sell anything these days without someone mentioning the environment, we thought it would be useful to explain why Dragon Sorb Cocopeat is seriously good for your Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs.

What Exactly is Cocopeat?

There is some confusion about what cocopeat actually is so let’s start with a quick introduction.

Cocopeat is also known as coir pith, coir fibre pith, coir dust, or simply coir. It is made from coconut husks, which are by-products of other industries that use coconuts, including another of our own products – Nordic Dry. It is chiefly made up of coir fibre pith which is acquired by processing coconut husks and removing the long strands.

Cocopeat can hold large amounts of liquids. A kilogram will grow to 15 litres of damp cocopeat making it a naturally superior absorbent. Phenol, which is a chemical compound naturally found in cocopeat, makes it, the cocopeat, effectual at attaching to the oil when being used to clean up oil spills. This is obviously why we at Dragon Sorb love cocopeat so much.

Why is Cocopeat Great for Your CSR Programs?

One great thing about coconut trees is that they have no need of chemical fertilizers for growing. One tree can also yield up to 200 coconuts each year, which means that the humble coconut is a resource that is easily renewed. This all means that it is well-known for its environmental sustainability. This is why your company can proudly boast that when you are using Dragon Sorb absorbent, you are doing your bit for green issues.

The Wonders of Cocopeat

At Dragon Sorb, we don’t just recognize the scientific wonders of cocopeat. We also know the importance of having a solution to oil spills that does not do even more damage to the environment than is already being done. Using Dragon Sorb is a great start to the healing process for the harm done by oil spills.

Additionally, as cocopeat is a by-product of already existing processes in the coconut industry, it is not taken from places that are becoming damaged when coconuts are harvested. We mainly get our cocopeat from Vietnam, where we work closely with companies to ensure that our products are of the highest possible quality.

With an environmentally friendly and affordable product, we can help keep our planet clean for our children and our children’s children.


Introduction to MARPOL

This post is an introduction to MARPOL, which is the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships. MARPOL stands for Marine Pollution, in case you were wondering.

It is a bit complex so what we have tried to do is put the rather dry, technical English into something we can all (hopefully) understand. The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships is also ridiculously long so we are going to split it up into what we believe will be more manageable segments.

Remember to bookmark this page if you want to come back to it at a later date.

Introduction to MARPOL

“The MARPOL Convention is the main international convention covering prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes. It is a combination of two treaties adopted in 1973 and 1978 respectively and updated by amendments through the years.

The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) was adopted on 2 November 1973 at IMO and covered pollution by oil, chemicals and harmful substances in packaged form, sewage and garbage. The Protocol of 1978 relating to the 1973 International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (1978 MARPOL Protocol) was adopted at a Conference on Tanker Safety and Pollution Prevention in February 1978 held in response to a spate of tanker accidents in 1976-1977. (Measures relating to tanker design and operation were also incorporated into a Protocol of 1978 relating to the 1974 Convention on the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974).

The Convention includes regulations aimed at preventing and minimizing pollution from ships – both accidental pollution and that from routine operations.”

International Maritime Organization

We’ll start with where waste oil comes from, how it behaves at sea, and how it affects sea life.

Where Waste Oil Comes From

Let’s start with an overview in bullet point form.

  • Waste oil generated in a ship originates from various places; primarily from the sludge, slop, bilge, and ballast water system.
  • The discharging of oil into the sea from ship operations is due to both lawful and unlawful discharges.
  • Usually, ship-generated oily waste is taken to shore, burnt on board, and legally and/or illegally discharged into sea.
  • Oil tankers are used to transport hundreds of millions of tonnes of crude oil and refined products by sea.

I think you can see, there is no real mystery to where waste oil comes from. It should also be noted that most of the time, oil is transported safely and securely.

Obviously, this has not always been the case, which is why measures introduced by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) have aimed at making sure all oil tankers are securely constructed and operated. One of the other aims has been to reduce the amount of oil spilled when an accident occurs.

It is also worth noting that operational oil pollution; for example,  when tankers are cleaned out, has also been cut.

How Oil Behaves At Sea

Behaviour of Oil Spills

Image Credit: Coastal Environmental Assessment Regional Activity Centre

The consequences of oil spills on marine life are the result of either the physical presence of the oil (actual physical contamination and smothering) or by its chemical factors (toxic results and accumulation resulting in tainting).

Unfortunately, marine life may also be impacted by the operations to clean up the oil spill through the use of dispersants like detergents.

The key threat posed to animals and plants by oil spills is physical smothering. The maritime species most at risk are the ones affected by the contaminated sea surface. Additionally, maritime mammals and reptiles are also at risk of smothering. For example, birds that feed by diving; birds that form flocks over the sea; and maritime life on shorelines.

Animals and vegetation are also at risk in mariculture systems. This is “the specialized branch of aquaculture involving the cultivation of marine organisms for food and other products in the open ocean, an enclosed section of the ocean, or in tanks, ponds or raceways which are filled with seawater. An example of the latter is the farming of marine fish, including finfish and shellfish like prawns, or oysters and seaweed in saltwater ponds. Non-food products produced by mariculture include: fish meal, nutrient agar, jewellery (e.g. cultured pearls), and cosmetics.” Wikipedia – Click here if you’d like to read more about mariculture.

How Waste Oil Spills Affects Sea Life

Generally, the most harmful constituents of oil are disappear quickly by evaporation when oil is spilt. For this reason, lethal concentrations of toxins resulting in huge scale mortalities of maritime life are comparatively unusual. Additionally, when this does happen, it is only the immediate area that is affected and the effects do not last long.

Outcomes that hinder the ability of marine organisms to breed, reach maturity, feed, or complete other functions might be brought about by prolonged contact to the concentration of oil or oil elements which is far lower than the amount needed to lead to loss of life.

MARPOL

Less active animals in shallow waters such as oysters, mussels and clams, that regularly filter large volumes of seawater to extract nutrients are more likely to accumulate oil constituents. Although these constituents might not induce any rapid harm, their existence may possibly render these animals unpleasant to eat if they are consumed, due to the presence of an oily taste or odour.

It is a short-term problem since the constituents causing the unpleasantness disappear when things return to normal.

The next article in the series is coming soon. Don’t forget to bookmark this page.


Cocopeat Testing

Cocopeat Testing with Dragon Sorb’s Boys in the Lab

Here at Dragon Sorb, we are constantly doing cocopeat testing to make sure that it is of the highest quality. Often (well, sometimes) customers ask us how we do are testing so we thought we would show you. Not exactly exciting, we know, but interesting in its own little way.

As this is the first in the series, we’re going to start with the most obvious: cocopeat and sawdust. It’s worth mentioning before we start that some of you might be asking yourselves why we don’t just use sawdust itself. It’s a good question. Basically, the problem with sawdust is that it sucks up water as well as oil. Later on, we will explain why this is such a problem.

Additionally, we’d like to apologise for some of the camera work. Fortunately for all concerned, we are much better at making absorbent for oil spills than we are at taking pictures.

The Purpose of the Cocopeat Testing

To test the absorbency of two different products with oil and seawater: Dragon Sorb’s Cocopeat and sawdust.

Materials Used for Cocopeat Testing

Materials Used

 

The basic process for testing is the same. We started with 330 grams of saltwater, poured in 100 grams of diesel oil, and then started sprinkling the sawdust or cocopeat on the surface. We continued until all the oil (as far as we could tell) had been absorbed. We then weighed everything, and then subtracted the original weight of the container, salt water and diesel. The final number was the amount of of sawdust or cocopeat used.

Sawdust Testing with Saltwater and Diesel Oil

Cocopeat Testing

Sawdust (left) and Salt Water with Diesel Oil (right)

Cocopeat Testing

Sawdust Sprinkled Over Salt Water and Diesel Oil

Cocopeat Testing

View on the Top During the Absorption Process

The above picture shows the cocpeat during the absorption process. The sawdust settles in the centre, under the diesel oil and above the saltwater.  If you remember, we spoke about the problem of using sawdust earlier, and this shows us where the problem occurs in the process. The sawdust absorbs oil from above and also absorbs water from below.

Cocopeat Testing

Filtering Oil, Salt Water, and Sawdust

When the sawdust becomes solid we filtered the oil, salt water and sawdust. What goes through the filter is the salt water and remaining oil. What is left in the filter is the sawdust and the absorbed oil and salt water.

Cocopeat Testing

Filtered Residual Water

The filtered water is evidently brown. This shows that there is still oil remaining and that while the sawdust has absorbed some of the diesel, it hasn’t done as well as might have been expected.

Let’s move on to our competitor’s cocopeat testing.

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