Sparta Update – Taking a Bite out of Plastics, John O’Bireck Appointed to dynaCERT Inc. Advisory Board, and more…
While we just announced in December that we entered into a Joint Venture with Pi.ECO Canada Ltd., to transform unsortable plastic into eco-friendly fuel, our company has continued to expand the process of collecting plastics and we’ve been focusing on production processes. Our staff is excited about the plan to construct an initial facility in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) to divert some 18,000 tons (16 million kg) of plastic waste from landfills, each year; converting it into low sulfur, ASTM II certified, synthetic diesel fuel. While there is much work to be done before that first production line is up and running, our hope is to scale the operation so that it can be repeated almost anywhere in the world. Currently, the Sparta team is looking at lean-oriented production models with a goal to create a seamless flow of material and output. We strongly believe this will help us avoid wasteful practices and contribute to the bottom line. The goal is to strive for consistent flow, which should generate reliable delivery of the end product and greater value to customers and stakeholders.
In Other News…
Sparta President, John O’Bireck has just been appointed to the Advisory Board of dynaCERT Inc., a TSX-V listed Carbon Emission Reduction Technology company (TSX.V: DYA). dynaCERT manufactures, distributes and installs hydrogen enhanced combustion equipment for use with all sizes of diesel engines; a complimentary technology to support the off-take agreements Sparta is putting in place for the synthetic diesel fuel they will be producing. CEO of dynaCERT, Jim Payne, had this to say in a company news release: “With John’s years of experience and his commitment in the on-demand hydrogen market we share a common goal in the development and commercialization of technologies to create a more sustainable world. I look forward to the addition of his knowledge of the hydrogen field gained at Hy-Drive to assist in the globalization of our HydraGEN™ products.”
Why Plastic Waste Reduction is Important to Sparta…
Trash isn’t what it appears to be on the surface. The truth is that we will tell anyone who will listen that waste has a much bigger value than many people realize. Plastics, as an example, contain concentrated carbon-hydrogen bonds with similar energy content to conventional fuels, including diesel. It is possible to transform all plastics directly into useful forms of energy and chemicals. By doing so, you not only address the problem of mounting waste plastic, you create a new revenue stream. Of course, Sparta will always have a goal to increase revenue but we also have a mandate to “Do What’s Right®”; thus, are continuously looking for technologies to efficiently convert single-use plastics into usable commodities. You just have to look at the dead beached whale found in the Philippines recently, to understand how diverting plastics and turning it into something of value is crucial. For those who are not familiar with the whale, it died with 88 pounds of plastic trash inside its body. How does this happen? Just take a look at one of the many pieces of video evidence being collected around the world and you’ll see.
The connection between youth health outcomes and the environment has been well documented. Studies, including one outlined this summer in the peer-reviewed journal, PLOS Medicine, show that children and teenagers are more vulnerable to environmental toxins, including industrial emissions and motor vehicle emissions. What we have also discovered is that youth can be an incredible inspiration for the work we are doing at Sparta, not only because they are vulnerable and we want to help protect their futures but because they are taking innovative steps themselves to ensure sustainability.
Better Blue is a global network designed for divers and diving centers around the world. It focuses on the concept of an eco-evaluation system to empower divers to practice marine conservation. Today, there are communities of divers in over 10 cities taking part in Better Blue, which happens to be the brainchild of Chinese university student Miao Wang. This university student is not alone in her determination to create a cleaner world. Delaney Reynolds is 17 now but when the Florida native was in middle school she conceived a solar power charging station for her school to allow students to charge their digital devices. Today, the teen is the author of children’s books focusing on the environment and is the founder of an educational advocacy group called “The Sink or Swim Project”. The initiative encourages people to get involved in saving our planet.
There is another Florida teen; just 16 years old, who is taking a strong stand when it comes to the environment. Hannah Herbst created an ocean energy probe called BEACON. The BEACON or Bringing Electricity Access to Countries through Ocean Energy converts the kinetic movement of current energy from a moving body of water into a source of useable electricity to be used in areas of the world where people are living without energy. The BEACON is made from 90 percent recycled materials and costs just $12 to produce.
These three people are just a few of the many young minds working hard to build a more sustainable environment. As we learn about more youth applying their creativity and time to climate change solutions, we can’t help but think it is our duty to demonstrate that we too are doing our best to secure a sustainable life for them. At Sparta, we love what we do not only because it can put money in the pockets of our clients and supporters but also because it can make a difference in the lives of future generations.
Every day we are seeing something in the news about waste plastics and the harmful impact it has on our environment, particularly marine life. Up until now, finding solutions to this waste issue has been more talk than action in jurisdictions around the world. It has always been a goal of Sparta’s to be part of the solution but beyond experimentation with various potential technologies, on a prototype scale, the company needed to find just the right partner to make it happen on an industrial scale. We were so pleased to announce recently that our ReECO Tech™ division signed a non-binding Memo of Understanding (MOU) with Pi ECO Canada Ltd., to convert waste plastics into synthetic diesel fuel. We feel this will be a good first step in removing plastics from the waste stream to give it a new life and new value. While the joint venture remains subject to various conditions, including regulatory approval, Sparta management and staff are eager and hopeful that before long, work can begin on a facility in the Toronto area to redirect thousands of tons of waste plastic from landfills and transform it into eco-friendly fuel. About 50 percent of plastics gets used just once and then is thrown away. According to leading environmental news provider, EcoWatch, enough plastic is thrown away each year to circle the earth four times.
Sparta Capital values its human capital. Having the right people in place, with the best set of skills and knowledge to carry us through to our ultimate goal of a more sustainable world is vital. From time-to-time we will be introducing you to some of our human capital. We begin with a short profile on Bob Noori…
April was dig safe month across North America; a time dedicated to raising awareness of safe digging practices. Dig safe month always coincides with the unofficial start of spring since it is usually the time the ground thaws, making it easier for both homeowners and contractors to start digging.
While vac trucks were initially adopted in Canada for use in the Alberta Oil Sands, it was soon realized that they could be used as a non-destructive, environment-friendly way to quickly and safely expose underground infrastructure, such as gas pipes and telecommunications cables; replacing the highly invasive back-hoe. Now, the application of this excavation method has expanded to include landscape services. Today municipalities, subdivisions, and individual homeowners are more interested in protecting landscape features and therefore appreciate what the vac truck has to offer, over the traditional back-hoe. For instance, trenching can be accomplished with vac trucks without destroying surrounding landscape features. With a vac truck, accessing a piece of property with heavy, damaging equipment is not necessary. In most cases, a remote hose can be used to reach a work site.
Today, when people are designing landscape features, the vac truck is used so that land/earth destruction can be kept to a minimum. There is no need to have an entire property torn to shreds to put in water fountains or large private or public gardens.
Landscaping Services Canada market research suggests that both the commercial and residential construction market is expected to create consistent demand for landscaping services through to 2022. This includes, safe, environment conscious excavation. Right now demand for this type of service is high throughout the Greater Toronto Area where multi-family and commercial construction creates need for good, safe landscaping.
Our ReECO Tech™ division has a fleet of vac trucks used in both commercial and residential applications. ReECO Tech™crews are on the job after going through rigorous safety training. Furthermore, since ReECO Tech™ Vac trucks are used under all sorts of circumstances, including extreme weather conditions, bad roads, and rough terrain, regular maintenance and repair becomes crucial. We don’t want our equipment out of service when demand is high so we’ve put together a team to handle quality and quick repairs. Thanks to this in-house repair team, we can maximize the productivity of our fleet, while reducing repair costs.
Manufacturers are finding more ways to develop products from recycled material. The International Bureau of Recycling reports that recycled materials supply 40 percent of global raw material needs.
Most people are familiar with the idea of recycling ink cartridges, cardboard boxes, and plastic containers but some are surprised to learn that they are actually purchasing all sorts of products that come from recycled material. For example, did you know that some crayons, wallpaper, garden hoses and kitty litter are made from recycled materials?
One of the first recycled materials to grab the attention of the general public was recycled printer paper and notebooks; however, now other office supplies, like scissors, binders, and desk organizers are made from post-consumer recycled content. Also, iphone cases, toothbrushes, rugs, and even some coffins are made from recycled materials.
People always ask: What happens to old plastic drink bottles? Well, one use is clothing. The bottles get spun into polyester fibres for t-shirts and jackets or they get used to make upholstery and carpet.
The energy, water, and cost savings from using recycled materials instead of raw materials have become very appealing to manufacturers. Last year a North America survey, outlined by the Network for Business Sustainability, showed that some consumers are willing to pay up to 40 percent more for environment-friendly products.
According to data collection agency, World Counts, we generate about 40 million tonnes of electronic waste worldwide, every year. To put it in perspective, that’s like throwing out 800 laptops every second. Sparta is proud to be part of the solution. The company’s Electronic waste recycling division (ERS), which includes reuse and remarketing of recycled products, has a wide range of clients. From large Canadian banks and educational institutions, to technology companies, and sports giants like Nike, this Sparta division is currently serving about 100 different clients, thus diverting thousands of tonnes of e-waste from landfills and reaping the benefits of a steady revenue stream.
The Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction recently released its “Global Status Report 2017” and the overriding theme is that more building efficiency is needed if climate change is going to be brought under control.
The report outlines that there are many opportunities to apply energy-efficient, low-carbon solutions. One official involved in the report has been quoted as saying “over the next 40 years, the world is expected to add the equivalent floor area of Paris to the planet every single week.” Of course this type of growth comes with consequences if energy efficiency is not taken into consideration.
The “Global Status Report 2017” goes as far as to stipulate that energy intensity per square metre of buildings needs to improve by 30 percent by 2030. Essentially, this means near zero emissions buildings need to become the construction standard globally within the next 10 years, to keep the Paris Agreement on course. The rate of building energy renovations also needs to improve from one to two percent a year to 3 percent, in the coming decade. This is especially important in developed countries, where the Global Alliance points out; about 65 percent of building stock is already in existence.
While this may sound like a tall order, many in the energy technology sector know that a lot of tools are already available to offset rising energy demands. The Alliance has looked at a large pool of examples and is aware that energy savings potential from improved buildings is huge. Additionally, the need for both retrofits and new green buildings spells opportunity to create new jobs and sustainable growth.
Energy Efficiency is pivotal to Sparta’s success and to the successes of all the companies in the Sparta family. Therefore, as Re-ECO Tech focuses on opportunities arising from the trend in Net-Zero community living, we are closely embracing what is being presented in the Global Status Report and are incorporating as many of their suggestions as possible.
We will continue to present how our philosophy of Doing Well while Doing Good is engrained throughout the culture of every company and we are pleased to report that while being recognized for that we are also being recognized for our business results. Based on our recently published Audited Financial Statements for FY’2017, BMO® Wealth Management Investor Line recently provided its investors with a Morningstar® Quantitative Equity Report dated February 16, 2018. Along with many other positive details and features, they presented their Sparta audience with a price/share fair valuation of $1.01/share. Obviously, this is very encouraging. It is now top of mind that we work diligently to let the rest of the investment community understand all the great things we are doing at Sparta while continuing to strengthen our financial position.
(This update contains “forward-looking information” within the meaning of applicable securities laws. When used in this news release, the words “estimate”, “project”, “belief”, “anticipate”, “intend”, “expect”, “plan”, “predict”, “may” or “should” and the negative of these words or such variations thereon or comparable terminology are intended to identify forward-looking statements and information. Although the Corporation believes in light of the experience of its officers and directors, current conditions and expected future developments and other factors that have been considered appropriate that the expectations reflected in this forward-looking information are reasonable, readers are cautioned to not place undue reliance on forward-looking information because the Corporation can give no assurance that they will prove to be correct. Forward-looking statements are made based on management’s beliefs, estimates and opinions on the date of this update and the Corporation undertakes no obligation to update such forward-looking statements if these beliefs, estimates and opinions or other circumstances should change. Furthermore, the Corporation undertakes no obligation to comment on analyses, expectations or statements made by third parties in respect of the Corporation. In particular, this news release contains forward-looking statements relating to, among other things, statements pertaining to anticipated future operations of the Corporation and actual results could differ materially from those currently anticipated due to a number of factors and risks. These include, but are not limited to, the failure to obtain necessary regulatory approvals, necessary financing and risks associated with the environmental technologies industry in general. All forward-looking statements contained in this news release are expressly qualified by this cautionary statement.)
There was a time when people who looked to live an off-the-grid lifestyle were thought of as extreme. Now that choice is being re-considered. More people are realizing that drastic change is necessary as a means to long-term survival.
Attempting to live a zero-waste lifestyle may have sounded odd a decade or two ago, but not anymore. Reusing, recycling, and sharing are becoming more and more mainstream.
There are countless examples of the zero-waste movement in business – companies that would not survive without the demand for their products and services. While there are too many to profile in this short update, the New York store Package Free, is a good example. Both the retail outlet and online shopping experience offered by the owners of Package Free encourages people to move towards a trash and plastic free life. What does this mean? Well, it means cloth produce bags, bamboo toothbrushes, stainless steel straws, washable beeswax food wrap, reusable eye make-up remover pads, and refillable dental lace containers, just to name some products. The movement towards zero waste can only succeed if people buy into it and Package Free is proof that we are on board.
Lauren Singer is co-owner of Package Free. She started living a zero waste lifestyle back in 2012. She hit the Internet with a powerful video that demonstrated how she fit all the trash she generated in a four year period into a 16-ounce mason jar. Career wise, she started out with an organic, vegan laundry detergent company, but then joined forces with Daniel Silverstein of Zero Waste Daniel, a company that uses scraps from other fashion houses to manufacture clothing in a less wasteful way. Their partnership shows what can be accomplished when creative minds and determination come together.
Today the concept of zero waste has taken a strong hold on social media. Zero wasters are a big community on the web. There are constant conversations across multiple channels about how to achieve zero waste. It is no longer a subcultural fringe movement. It is becoming a way of life and as Daniel Silverstein of Package Free pointed out to the media in recent interviews, people are more than willing to make sustainable choices when you make it “accessible” to them.
Over this past year, Sparta has enjoyed a number of positive initiatives.
We started 2017 with a TSX Venture Exchange review that confirmed Sparta had the necessary criteria to apply for graduation from the NEX board of the TSXV to the TSXV as a Tier 2 issuer. While working through the required steps to satisfy the conditions for graduation, Sparta continued to expand its reach. This included the expansion of the ReECO Tech brand into electronic recycling (with the acquisition of the liquidated assets of ERS-International); property development; and hydro-excavation (that included a significant expansion of its heavy equipment fleet). The Illumineris brand grew to involve financing through the announced relationship with CWB-Maxium Financial. This past year, Sparta also acquired SuperNova Performance Technologies to help with the planned eventual foray into the transportation and power-generation sectors.
Finally, as December came to a close, we were very pleased to finally announce on December 22nd that “further to the Corporation’s news release dated November 20, 2017 (the “Prior Release”), the TSX Venture Exchange (“TSXV”) has granted final approval regarding the reactivation of Sparta from the NEX board of the TSXV to Tier 2 of the TSXV. [Effective immediately], trading in the Corporation’s common shares (“Common Shares”) will commence on the TSXV under the trading symbol “SAY”.”
As we look back at all that was achieved in 2017 and look to the dawn of 2018, the future looks bright.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Trees can be a link to the past and the future, but are vital for so many other reasons, yet modern society has taken them for granted.
Trees give us oxygen, help stabilize soil, can make wildlife feel safe, provide materials for us humans, and they store carbon. Carbon needs to be pulled out of the atmosphere and stored somewhere. It’s a process many know as sequestration. We have technological ways to sequester carbon, but trees should not be overlooked.
If we stop to give it some thought, trees have over 300 million years of experience in sequestering carbon. They just use photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide (CO2)
into sugar, cellulose, and other carbon-like carbohydrates to use for food and growth. Trees are amazing in the way they lock up huge amounts of carbon in their wood. Yes, it is true that trees release some CO2, but normally they store carbon at a greater rate than they release it.
Active forest management, preventing deforestation, preserving forests, and adding forests to previously unforested land (afforestation) are all good strategies to support carbon sequestration.
Did you know that it is estimated that trees in a city can reduce temperature by up to 7 degrees Celsius? Furthermore, a few years ago the University of Chicago conducted a study in Toronto that showed both physical and psychological health benefits to those who lived in urban areas filled with trees. This was not surprising to the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in New York. The research organization reports that during a beetle infestation in the U.S between 1990 and 2007, a great number of trees died. People who lived in areas where the infestation occurred suffered 15,000 more cardiovascular disease deaths and 6,000 more respiratory deaths compared to areas uninfected. The study included 15 different states.
It is a fact that trees don’t live forever, but the great thing is that wood waste can be salvaged and used to create power. Dalhousie University’s Agricultural Campus started using wood biomass over 30 years ago and just recently upgraded their system based on new, modern controls. While using wood biomass is not a new concept, it is one that is gaining interest as more institutions and businesses ponder renewable energy.
So as you can see, there is a lot up – with trees!
Sparta continues to grow; with its application for graduation from the NEX board of the TSXV to the TSXV as a Tier II issuer; with Illumineris securing more than $1.5 million in contracts in the past quarter; with ReECO Tech Electronic Conversions acquiring the liquidated assets of ERS International; and with ReECO expanding its fleet of heavy equipment to meet demand of the hydro-excavation service business.
Also worth noting… Sparta’s ReECO Tech division has been looking at sustainable living from a housing perspective. In fact, plans to develop a green community are well underway. ReECO Tech recently narrowed down site selection and is close to unveiling details about what is expected to be a fully green community in the south eastern region of Ontario, complete with alternative energy solutions, smart technology, as well as natural measures.
Few people think about just how much plastic we use every day, but should.
Plastics are hard to avoid. They are not just used in water bottles; they are in synthetic materials used to make clothing, in containers that hold our food, and in toys our kids play with. Now a study conducted by the non-profit organization Orb Media indicates that the world’s dependence on plastics may have consequences that most people have never imagined. Researchers indicate that they discovered over 80 percent of 159 tap water samples from 14 different countries are contaminated with plastic fibers.
How does plastic get in our water? Some experts theorize that since plastic doesn’t biodegrade, over time it breaks into small particles, which could then end up in our drinking water sources.
Mary Kosuth is a researcher at the University of Minnesota and was involved in the tap water testing. She reports that while little plastic fibers may not sound dangerous, they have the ability to absorb toxic chemicals.
During the testing, it was discovered that the United States has the highest level of fibers in drinking water. Close to 95 percent of tap water samples in the U.S had microscopic plastic fibers. The United States also happens to use more plastic than any other country.
While the source of plastics in water is still a theory, more research is expected to confirm where most of the plastic fibers are coming from. As Kosuth has pointed out, recognizing the problem is the first step and once a source is determined, the world can go about developing ways to deal with it. Kosuth doesn’t want to alarm people, but believes her discovery means that there are likely plastic fibers in a lot of the foods we consume, such as pasta, fish, juice, tea and coffee.
Researchers like Kosuth hope sharing information like the results of worldwide tap water testing, will get people talking more about plastics and whether this is really the environment we should be living in.
Sparta Environmental is excited to be working on technologies and processes to reuse plastics. In the meantime, the company’s Illumineris division continues to grow. Recently, the Vancouver Airport Authority selected Illumineris and the Glo Brite energy saving technology for use at the airport. Installation is now underway. This is the second Canadian airport to utilize the Glo Brite technology. The product not only makes sense for airports. Illumineris has provided photoluminescent exit signs and egress pathway markings to other travel hubs like Toronto’s Union Station.