Extreme shopping in Japan's Don Quijote stores, and an innovative waste management system from Tel Aviv.
A company in Tel Aviv has developed a way to use water to sort waste that is proving so efficient that Sydney (pictured below) and Los Angeles have already bought the technology.
Arrow Ecology has found that putting mixed waste into water separates it into inorganic materials, which sink, and organic matter, which floats. The company then uses magnetic force, hydro-crushing units and air sifters to separate metal, glass and plastic. The organic matter is treated to produce methane, which can then be sold as green energy for transport and power plants.
At the end of the process, the company says, 80 per cent of the waste received is recycled. “Large cities cannot cope anymore with the huge amounts of waste they produce, and constantly need new and larger landfills. Our technology makes landfills unnecessary,” says the company’s CEO, Yair Zadik. The new method also eliminates the need for individuals and companies to sort their waste, and for specialised vehicles to collect it.
01 Europe: Italy, Spain, Greece and the UK each still send more than 60 per cent of their waste to landfill sites.
02 Australia: Sydney’s contract with Arrow Ecology will allow it to process nearly 300 tonnes of solid waste a day and provide enough energy to supply 2,500 homes.
03 Israel: Tel Aviv is the latest place to open a drop off point for recycling sports shoes. An estimated 24 million pairs have been recycled since 1990 under a programme organised by Nike.
Compared to the Beijing Olympics, which cost a record $40bn, Vancouver’s $6bn bill looks small, but the cost to each resident is high. Vancouver’s Olympic Village alone is expected to yield a $2,000 debt per capita. China, with its GDP of $4.3trn, emerged debt-free.
China is building so fast that by 2018 its construction market will be bigger than the US’s, according to a report by Oxford Economics and Global Construction Perspectives. But Nigeria’s market, though smaller, will be the faster-growing by 2020, with construction spending increasing an estimated 9 to 10 per cent a year. Rapid urbanisation means the West African oil giant, which has the largest population on the continent at 150 million, has a lot of catching up to do. Its infra-structure is among the worst in the world. It spends only 3.2 per cent of its GDP on construction, compared to a global average of 13.4 per cent.
In the past year Iguatemi São Paulo opened the first Latin American locations for Gucci and Christian Louboutin. In March, it will open the first luxury shopping centre in Brasilia.
Why would luxury brands want to come to Brazil?
Our economy is growing because it doesn’t depend on external markets. Domestic consumption is booming. This is creating an internal market and it makes the country relevant to outsider luxury brands. The luxury business in São Paulo grows in double digits every year... [In Brazil] Gucci and Louis Vuitton have grown 11 to 12 per cent every year for the last five years.
But can Brasilia compete with São Paulo?
São Paulo has always been the economic capital and Rio the tourism capital. With the growing middle class across Brazil comes a growing purchasing power; this is the first time there will be a mall outside of Rio and São Paulo. Brasilia is the [most powerful] city in Brazil. It is like Washington – you’ve got to be there if you want to be in business.
Do you see global luxury brands opening shops on Brazilian high streets or just in malls?
Malls. That’s the way Brazilians shop. They want convenience and you have safety issues. There is no shopping on the street.
El Salvador’s TACA continues its unlikely push to become Latin America’s dominant airline. Late last year it announced plans to merge with Colombian flag carrier Avianca and the small Ecuadorian airline Aerogal.
In past years it has also quietly swallowed up the national carriers of Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Where next?