Bulb Gas - a by-product of the meat industry! — Bulb Community

Bulb Gas - a by-product of the meat industry!

Really disappointed to discover that the 10% environmentally friendly gas is a by-product of the meat industry! I suspect other vegetarians and people who find intensive farming unacceptable will be angry too.

Comments

  • edited October 2016
    Edit: We're proud that we're able to decarbonise such a high carbon industry as animal rearing. Animals will always exist and if this biomethane isn't harnessed it will leak into the atmosphere where it has 30 times the negative impact of CO2.

    Since writing this post, we've written up this comparison of our green gas to organic vegetables. We think it's a useful way of looking at it.

    Green gas is as veggie friendly as organic carrots

    See below for my original answer
    ____________________________________

    Hi Sarah, this is obviously something that you're really passionate about which is amazing to see.

    Unfortunately in this case, green gas and supporting vegetarianism in the way you'd like us to are mutually exclusive. We simply can't support both at the same time.

    Green gas is a very early days industry. There are very limited amounts of green gas that can be bought, especially at prices that allow us to be competitive. The only viable alternative to us using Green Gas from Oxfordshire piggeries would be to not use green gas at all. If there was other biomethane out there at reasonable prices then we would already be using it and we would have a higher proportion of our gas mix come from these renewable sources.

    The only way we are able to promote renewable energy is by making a profitable business out of it. This way we can grow and bring more people over to renewables. To do this we need to make smart decisions about the price of energy we buy and the price that we sell it for. It can be easy to think "oh, well just spend more money then", but that doesn't work. We are a business and don't have infinite money to throw at promoting renewables, especially since we're pretty new and are still in start up mode. If we just spent more money getting vegetarian friendly renewable gas then we would have to sell it at unreasonably high prices so no one would want to join Bulb.

    The upshot is that if we were to support vegetarianism in the way you would like us to we would either need to not be renewable, or we would have to have prices so high that we price ourselves out of the market. If we did the first one, then we wouldn't be living up to the principles that we founded Bulb on. If we did the second then we wouldn't be able to bring renewable energy to the world, so we would have failed our goal.

    I know that this isn't a satisfying reply for you. I'd love to be able to wave a magic wand, but we need to choose our fights and do what we can to do the most good for the world with the skills and knowledge that we have.

    That said...

    The meat industry is a huge contributor towards global warming. We're all about helping people reduce their carbon footprint, and eating less meat is a great way to do that! Supporting vegetarianism isn't something that we've looked into yet, but it's something we'd be interested in looking into.

    Do you have any suggestions on how we could help the average person reduce their meat consumption?

    Thanks,

    Will
  • Thats a very reasoned and fair reply I think
  • Will,
    Thank you for your reply. You are right in understanding that your response does not satisfy my own ethical criteria and I imagine is at odds with the views of other people who do not eat meat and/or do not support intensive farming for compassionate reasons.
    I am unhappy that the source of your 10% green gas was not made known until I'd signed up and had I been aware of your connection with the Oxfordshire piggery I would not have signed up at all. I understand that the 'switch' for my gas and electricity supply is not yet complete - can I cancel?
    Regards
    Sarah
  • edited March 2016
    Hi Sarah,

    Yes we can cancel your switch. Amit just spoke with you on the phone so we'll put that all through for you. You don't need to do anything else, it's all been cancelled.

    I'm sorry that Money Saving Expert didn't make it clear enough for you. We created this article for them to share with people, but sounds like you didn't see it until you'd signed up. So sorry for that.

    All the best,

    Will
  • Hi @sarahj - as a vegetarian myself (transitioning to veganism) I totally understand your concerns about gas that is a by-product of the meat industry. And I struggle with the term "green gas" too, as burning anything isn't especially green. Having said that, it is certainly greenER gas ;)

    I find my life is full of ethical conundrums. For me, although I would love to see the meat/dairy industry disappear, I think we may as well use this by-product while it exists. I wouldn't buy meat, because that encourages the continuation of the animal farming industry, but I don't believe that using this gas will encourage meat consumption at all, so it seems an acceptable compromise to me in this case.

    Personally, I am in the process of eliminating gas from my property anyway, thanks to a new type of radiant heating system that uses electricity - thank goodness for government subsidies!!

    Anyway, I also wanted to comment that I did appreciate one thing in particular in what @will said in his response:
    will said:


    I know that this isn't a satisfying reply for you. .... That said...
    The meat industry is a huge contributor towards global warming. We're all about helping people reduce their carbon footprint, and eating less meat is a great way to do that! Supporting vegetarianism isn't something that we've looked into yet, but it's something we'd be interested in looking into.
    Do you have any suggestions on how we could help the average person reduce their meat consumption?
    Will

    I am really pleased that bulb are willing to look at how you can encourage people to reduce their meat consumption. A company actively working towards helping people to reduce their carbon footprint in a variety of ways is great to see. Often, it seems to me, companies don't look at the bigger picture.

    There are a range of bigger and smaller things you could do. A lot of it is around raising awareness I think. How about free one year membership of the Vegan Society in people's welcome packs when they sign up. I am sure you could reach a deal with the society so that it wouldn't cost you much, and it would be a great way to get people thinking about the carbon footprint of what they eat. Another thought actually, for your welcome pack, would be just an A4 sheet of "10 other things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint", e.g. take a vow not to fly again for leisure, go vegan/vegetarian, buy an electric car, ...." with info about how to make a start on each.

    You might consider using your social media channels to post a "low carbon recipe of the week" each week - recipes that only contain plant products, and better still locally sourced ones, to have the lowest carbon footprint possible.

    I'll stop there as this has turned into an essay!

    Mary x

  • edited March 2016
    @maryrcrumpton

    I'll stop there as this has turned into an essay!

    We like essays!

    Lots of good ideas there, especially around including more info in our welcome packs and other emails. We actually did a brainstorm last week about big and small ways we can help people reduce their carbon footprint and flying, eating less meat and electric cars all came up. We'll be posting content about them and promoting them to members and on social media too. Watch out for those. In fact our Blog is due to be ready for launch this week, although we don't have this specific content ready for posting quite yet.

    Low carbon recipes sound good. Maybe we could even get some of the local restaurants on board... who knows if they'd be interested. Do you have any favourites to get us started?

  • I am really pleased that bulb are willing to look at how you can encourage people to reduce their meat consumption. A company actively working towards helping people to reduce their carbon footprint in a variety of ways is great to see.

    I too am very pleased about this - and all the more impressed because the greater their success in this the more their business is likely to be adversely affected by it. The "bigger picture" for most companies, and the bigger they are the more this is likely to be true, merely involves making as much profit as possible at whatever cost to the environment and to consumers' principles..
  • Exactly @renewab

    The more I learn about bulb, the more impressed I am by them. And whilst I have seen some small companies lose their morals as they grow, I have a strong feeling that this won't be the case with this team. Very pleasing to see.
  • Looking to sign up to a new supplier & like the concept but glad I ventured further & saw this thread, unfortunately as a Vegan I can no longer consider your company.
    Still like the replies & the general outlook, & will continue to look at energy suppliers & maybe in the near future things may change to a point where I can consider signing up with Bulb.

    Regards Bill
  • edited March 2016
    Sad to hear it @billwood

    Is the fact that our gas comes from pig waste a complete deal breaker for you? Is there anything that we could do or confirm that would make this a good choice for you?

    Cheers,

    Will
  • I just think it's fantastic to find a company that actually takes the time to get involved in this kind of conversation with their customers. I may be wrong, but I personally do not know of any other company that provides this service. I am personally against animal farming but the piggeries would continue to function despite Bulb's custom, At least this has provided a way of providing something positive from the horrendous intensive farming practice.
  • Thanks @sparrow, I'm glad we're coming off well. We just want everyone to have all the information they need or want about Bulb :)
  • billwood said:

    Looking to sign up to a new supplier & like the concept but glad I ventured further & saw this thread, unfortunately as a Vegan I can no longer consider your company.
    Still like the replies & the general outlook, & will continue to look at energy suppliers & maybe in the near future things may change to a point where I can consider signing up with Bulb.

    Regards Bill

    I understand where you are coming from @billwood . As a vegan myself it did give me pause for thought. And I have been chatting with other vegans about it too.

    In the end I decided it came down to whether the piggeries are in existence, or more likely to be, because of bulb using the gas.

    I don't believe that to be the case. I hate that the piggeries exist, but in that they do (for now), I can't condemn making use of the gas. Better that than other gas I think.

    It's a complex issue - Having embraced a plant-based diet, I now find myself asking which of my other choices might indirectly encourage animal agriculture and which won't. I think this particular choice would not. Though, having said that, I am happy that I personally have now got rid of gas from my property, so I am not faced with this particular ethical dilemma as much as someone who will use the gas themselves.

    Ideally, I think it would be nice if all bulb's lovely customers got rid of their gas heating/cookers etc and we all just used lots of lovely green bulb electricity :-)

    Mary.
  • Ecotricity supply vegan gas.
  • Very interesting thread with good points from both sides. I was considering signing up to Bulb because of their great ethics but must admit that learning about the use of non-vegan gas does make me think again. Before reading this thread I had no idea that any gas was made from animal by products!

    I understand people's points about the piggeries will still exist even if the gas is not used but I presume that some money goes to the piggeries for the supply of the gas. If so this is funding the meat industry and therefore making the meat more affordable and encouraging it's consumption. This is kind of the same argument as a vegetarian using or not using leather products.

    If I've got this wrong and no money goes to the pig farm and/or the meat industry then please correct me. It just concerns me that if they start to make money from the gas then I'm sure the corporate pressure would encourage more production of slurry and therefore the mistreatment of animals.

    Would it not be possible to pay a premium to ensure none of my money goes towards the funding of a pig farm? I understand you would like to keep the pricing simple but offering this option would allow us to choose and still use Bulb.

    It really encourages me that so many people are concerned about this :)
  • Hi @tvr,

    I'm glad you've found this discussion useful, even if it has made you rethink joining Bulb. And I completely understand your concerns about extra money going to the pig farms. At the end of the day though, we've decided as a business to focus on making renewable energy affordable, so that's what we're going to focus on. Cutting pigs out of our equation at the moment would mean we wouldn't be upholding our promise.

    Having separate tariffs that cost a premium for extra things isn't something that I think we're likely to do any time soon. At Bulb our promise is to bring renewable energy at an affordable price, and to keep our pricing simple. Simply put, everyone should be on our best tariff without having to worry about whether they could save more by juggling their tariffs about.

    All the best,

    Will

  • Hi @will

    We're just in the process of switched over to Bulb and found this discussion very helpful. I had a look at Ecotricity's "Green Gas" and what Good Energy offers on the gas front before making our decision. For me its really important that any "Green" gas is made from genuine waste and not from a crop grown to make gas, no matter how beneficial that might appear to be (meadows cut at the right time are certainly a great asset to our environment). At least until such a time as we have exhausted our genuine waste streams that could make gas from (we're nowhere near that yet).

    The thing about what Ecotricity is doing is that when you look at the bigger picture as to why there is grazing land available to make gas from its not because folk are eating less meat, meaning we can now spare this land for other uses. Its because livestock farming has intensified and we increasing raise meat by feeding ruminant and other grazing animals with grains and soya because its cheaper to fatten animals that way (the environmental impacts of this are clearly not taken into account). Not only are the ruminants not designed to eat this kind of food (causing the production of far more of their own gas (ie farts!)), the way the feed crops are grown means that they generally have dreadful carbon footprints (ploughing to sow grain releases a lot more carbon than folk release (or farmers count) and as for soya most of us know there are massive impacts relating to its production in both tropical forest areas (like Brazil) and other countries with extensive native natural grasslands (like Uruguay).

    The lowest carbon meat production system is letting animals eat grass as they are naturally designed to. They can convert grass to energy far more efficiently than a man made gas plant. Permanent grasslands (and not break crops) managed in the right way with grazing animals absorb and store a lot of carbon. We should be encouraging farmers to stick with or go back to their natural systems and not to make gas from grass as a sideline while they feed their cows corn and soya in the sheds.This is a great report for further information about the carbon footprints of natural verses intensive cattle rearing systems: http://www.campaignforrealfarming.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/NT-report-Whats-your-beef.pdf

    I read you liked essays, good job hey!?

    Anna

  • @anna amazing post, thanks!

    We love essays and long posts :) Really interesting to see your perspective on where green gas should come from. Everyone has such different opinions, it's super interesting.

    I think what we're getting from all this is that it's really important for us to be transparent about where our green gas comes from in order to allow members to make their own decisions. We always aim to be transparent about everything, but we should be especially proactive when it comes to green gas.
  • @will totally re the transparency, and add to that the fact you are listening. That's why we chose to switch to you! :-)
  • @anna good to know that we're doing the right thing then :)
  • Hi everyone,

    We've been thinking about this more recently. It's so great to see so many members discussing this, so we thought it was important to really think about it. We've come up with a comparison that we thought was interesting.

    Biomethane from pigs uses animal manure in exactly the same way as growing organic vegetables. If fact, you get more bang for your buck as you get renewable power, reduce methane emissions as well as getting delicious vegetables. Triple win.

    Here's a blog we've written about it - Green gas is as veggie friendly as organic carrots
  • will:
    will said:

    At Bulb our promise is to bring renewable energy at an affordable price, and to keep our pricing simple. Simply put, everyone should be on our best tariff without having to worry about whether they could save more by juggling their tariffs about.

    anna:
    anna said:

    @will totally re the transparency, and add to that the fact you are listening. That's why we chose to switch to you! :-)

    In a nutshell, this is why I switched too. Please don't change your vision for Bulb, or lose your honesty and willingness to engage in discussion with your customers.

    Some very thought provoking posts in this thread.
  • @coles.

    Don't worry, we're pretty invested in the whole listening thing :) We know we'll end up with something better when our members are as involved as they can be, so that's what we're doing. I'm just so glad that you like it.
  • well done on the transparency. always difficult balances and an issue i think needs to be kept under review as many customers that like Bulb may well have sympathies that lie against intensive farming, so although i understand the line in your blog i think finding alternative green gas supplies is something bulb should look towards sourcing in the future. it is a balance about being a renewable energy company at low cost set against ethical values and standards that may make that aim harder to achieve. I think if bulb commits to regularly reviewing this and actively looking to source alternatives for its green gas then a compromise can be achieved. Like others it is difficult to support something that may promote intensive farming, but i also want affordable renewable energy!
  • Thanks @dch, we do try. A very insightful post. We'll definitely continue to look for more sources of green gas, but as you can appreciate our priority and mission with gas is to become greener before trying to tackle other goals.

    This has continued to highlight just how important it is for us to communicate clearly about this, so we'll do just that when expanding our green gas. Thanks again.
  • Damn, your electric is significantly cheaper than ecotricity for us but since we can't get gas only from ecotricity we're going to have to take their gas and electric. Their green gas is vegan, it comes from grass grown on marginal land and in rotation with food crops. Good for the animals, the soil, and the farmers, with no threat to food production. Its great that you're open and honest about your methods and that you're thinking about the meat (and dairy I hope) industries. It would be great to see you using alternative biogas sources in the future. Good luck! Veggies/vegans better head to ecotricity for now!
  • Hi @jennie_wren that's a shame, but we wish you luck with Ecotricity. If you can't use our power then we're glad that you're able to find someone who can provide what you need.

    All the best,

    Will
  • In response to Will's question below - A free packet of lentils for every customer? Maybe do a tie in with a supermarket so you just email out a voucher? Challenge every customer to swap just one meat meal for a lentil meal.

    Do you have any suggestions on how we could help the average person reduce their meat consumption?
    Will
  • Ooh, interesting idea @rossthered. Definitely not one we'd thought of before.

    I wonder what would be the best way to make this happen... We've thought about sending people a physical welcome gift before, so maybe we could put it in that with a tasty recipe if we ended up doing that. But your voucher idea is also pretty good too, plus it gets around the possible issue with posting food. I'll have to do some reading up on what is and isn't allowed with that.

    It's a great idea and a great challenge for the member, however we end up implementing it. Thanks :)
  • Hey @will - Glad your digging the lentil idea - I really think a tie in with a responsible supermarket could be the way here, Waitrose springs to mind, they have a good lentil range and an ethical farming policy, they might really like the idea of teaming up with a green energy company too.
  • edited September 2016
    Yeah man. One follow up idea that we had in the team was to team up with a healthy eating company like Mindful Chef that provides ingredients right to your door. We could include a voucher for a veggie meal or something inside the welcome pack.

    We're still thinking about whether a physical welcome pack is right for us. We think it could be really cool, but we still have to look into how it would work, what it would cost us, etc. Definitely a great idea though!
  • @will - mindful chef looks good :)
  • Hi, I have only just signed up to join, but as a vegan this does not sit well with me. Can I please cancel my contract with you. You may not have yet started the ball rolling so I am hoping by letting you know soonest, it will be better for all parties. I will have to switch to Ecotricity too, although it is dearer, its roughly the same I am paying with EON anyway. Thanks.
  • Hi julwait, I've cancelled your switch to us now. I'm sorry that you decided that you can't join us.

    Is the fact that we supply our energy from animals an irreconcilable problem that we'll never be able to fix for you? Or is there anything we could do to help you feel that it's ok?
  • Heya Will, I am looking to switch and like how you think/listen but cannot be a part of the meat industry so will look at Ecotricity now. I admire what you are doing though and hope you manage to find a way that doesn't involve animal cruelty. All the best and God bless.
  • Hiya @gillymilly, it's a shame to not have you join us, but you have to do what's best for you. I hope you find what you're looking for!

    Will
  • Hi Will,
    I too am just in the process of switching to you, my main interest at the time was to support a company that didn't support fracking, but as a vegan I am now in a conundrum as I had missed this part about the piggeries - which I only found out about when I wanted to understand why only 10% of your gas is green compared to the impressive 100% electricity.

    I have been very impressed with the above thread, and your responses, as well as my experience in the switch process to date, but knowingly paying money into an industry that is so cruel to animals sits uneasily with me.

    In response to your question to others thinking about leaving "is there anything we could do to help you feel that it's ok", I am wondering what this would be for me. My answers in this moment is to have your reassurance that such green energy sources would be phased out and replaced by vegan friendly sources within a set timeframe - perhaps a year or two. Also, to have some reassurance about the standard of care of the animals this energy comes from in the meantime. Have you visited the piggeries? What is your impression of the conditions the pigs live in? Whilst I would love that nobody ate meat, I appreciate that we all have our own ethical standpoints on this. It is impossible to be truly 'ethical' in this world we live in, and, like you said, we need to choose our priorities. That said, I strongly feel that at the very least, animals we eat be treated with respect.

    Saskia
    ps. I am not feeling at all grumpy - like my automatic profile pic would imply!
  • Hi @saskia - I wanted to jump in as @will is currently away. I know he has been involved in this discussion for a long time and will be keen to respond. He gets back next week and he'll jump on the community to respond to your really interesting points on this subject then if that's okay! Thanks for taking the time to write. It's really interesting to hear your thoughts after giving it so much consideration.
  • I just wanted to take this opportunity to mention that there are a multitude of anaerobic digestion plant types including municipal waste, and sewerage. I also know for a fact that at least one water utility company has started to export digestion gas into the grid. Could you please look into taking advantage of these resources? Biomethane from sewage may also in part be animal byproduct however silige disposal via this route tends to be at a cost to the 'farm' which personally I would find acceptable. I also have concerns about the piggery profiting from the sale of gas, increasing the fiscal viability of animal agriculture definitely seems like a step backwards undoing your good work by finding GHG intensive practices.
  • Hi @saskia

    Sorry for not getting back to you sooner. You've made some excellent points, so thanks so much for them. I really appreciate you taking the time to read through all this and to give us such great answers.
    saskia said:

    My answers in this moment is to have your reassurance that such green energy sources would be phased out and replaced by vegan friendly sources within a set timeframe - perhaps a year or two.

    Our main priority at the moment is to increase the total proportion of our gas mix that comes from green sources, rather than relying on fossils for the non-green portion, like we currently have to do. Until we reach 100%, we're unlikely to turn away any reasonably priced green gas source. Of course, these will absolutely include vegan friendly sources of power as well, but we won't stop ourselves using gas that is the equivalent of an organic plant fertilizer.

    When we reach that point, we'll be very happy to think about phasing out the animal sourced gas.
    saskia said:

    Also, to have some reassurance about the standard of care of the animals this energy comes from in the meantime. Have you visited the piggeries? What is your impression of the conditions the pigs live in?

    We have not visited them, so I can't offer any personal insight about the conditions that the animals are kept in. I can tell you that the gas comes from a range of farms all across Oxfordshire, not a single farm, so any visit would be a limited snapshot. It also lets us assume that they are relatively average conditions. I don't know enough about farming methods to suggest what this might be though.
    saskia said:

    Whilst I would love that nobody ate meat, I appreciate that we all have our own ethical standpoints on this. It is impossible to be truly 'ethical' in this world we live in, and, like you said, we need to choose our priorities. That said, I strongly feel that at the very least, animals we eat be treated with respect.

    Well said. That's why we're trying to be so open about this. And I hope we've been open enough.
    saskia said:

    ps. I am not feeling at all grumpy - like my automatic profile pic would imply!

    Sounds like it's time for a new profile pic then! :)
  • eco_rik said:

    I just wanted to take this opportunity to mention that there are a multitude of anaerobic digestion plant types including municipal waste, and sewerage. I also know for a fact that at least one water utility company has started to export digestion gas into the grid. Could you please look into taking advantage of these resources? Biomethane from sewage may also in part be animal byproduct however silige disposal via this route tends to be at a cost to the 'farm' which personally I would find acceptable. I also have concerns about the piggery profiting from the sale of gas, increasing the fiscal viability of animal agriculture definitely seems like a step backwards undoing your good work by finding GHG intensive practices.

    We'll absolutely look into taking advantage of those sources. We're always on the lookout for new sources of green gas so that we can increase our green gas proportion.

    To be clear though, we don't consider buying animal waste counterproductive to countering climate change. Yes, it no doubt increases the financial viability of breeding animals, but it addresses climate change in two key ways:
    1) People use less fossil fuel gas. Including fracked sources.
    2) We breakdown methane (which is 30 times worse than CO2) faster that would otherwise sit in the atmosphere for a decade before breaking down into CO2 anyway.

    Animal husbandry is a huge source of carbon, so anything we can do to decarbonise it is vital. The financial benefit is a drop in the ocean, so the net benefit for the environment is absolutely worthwhile.

    Thanks again for the suggestion,
    Will
  • will said:



    To be clear though, we don't consider buying animal waste counterproductive to countering climate change. Yes, it no doubt increases the financial viability of breeding animals, but it addresses climate change in two key ways:
    1) People use less fossil fuel gas. Including fracked sources.
    2) We breakdown methane (which is 30 times worse than CO2) faster that would otherwise sit in the atmosphere for a decade before breaking down into CO2 anyway.

    Animal husbandry is a huge source of carbon, so anything we can do to decarbonise it is vital. The financial benefit is a drop in the ocean, so the net benefit for the environment is absolutely worthwhile.

    Thanks again for the suggestion,
    Will

    Would just like to point out that the methane in question is only produced under anaerobic conditions hence the digesters, if used as a fertiliser or such there is some emission of co2 but also carbon and nutrient uptake by plants. There is however a large emission of methane via farming, mainly cattle, via oral and anal expulsion of the animals. By supporting farming the reduction of methane emissions inherent in the process, which you rightly pointed out has greater impact than carbon dioxide, will happen at a slower rate than possible.

    As a side note, there are still environmental considerations associated with the digestate namely residual carbon and eutrophication. I understand that this is not in your control but maybe of interest.

    Thanks for your reply
  • This is a really thought provoking thread. As a vegan, I feel uneasy about buying gas from a company that provides financial support to the meat industry. However, as previous commenters have stated, these farms will continue to exist and produce manure, at least in the short term, whether we vegans like it or not. I am all for making use of waste where possible, especially if doing so reduces the environmental impact of that waste.

    I am impressed by Bulb's transparency and their focus on doing what is best for the planet rather than prioritising profit ahead of their values. After all, this is what their customers are doing, too. Bulb's willingness to listen to its customers' views and take on their suggestions is great to see, especially since encouraging customers to eat less meat is likely to decrease demand and therefore decrease supply, which may in turn increase the price of the manure used to produce green gas, thus making other green gas sources more competitive - I hope that this would make other green gas sources more attractive to Bulb, especially since several vegans have discounted Bulb as an energy supplier because of the current source of green gas.

    My suggestion is that Bulb could partner with Veganuary (https://veganuary.com/), the charity that encourages non-vegans to follow a vegan diet for the month of January (although the challenge can be started at any time of year!). By encouraging customers to adopt a vegan diet, Bulb would offset their contribution to the meat industry by reducing demand, and I believe that the company's net effect would be positive for animals, the planet and the health of their customers.
  • Thanks, @fen, we really appreciate it. We're actually in the middle of voting for a charity to support tihs winter and Veganuary would have been a good contender. Here's the shortlist if you're interested.

    We'll definitely think about a charity like that next time. At the least, we should be able to promote veganuary ourselves, or a similar group. Good suggestion.

  • I'm simply pleased to know that "the gas" is being used productively and not simply allowed to add to our pollution, I'd rather this way than nothing at all
  • That's great to hear @swannyp - thanks for letting us know.
  • Hi @will,
    Thanks for your response, I have been sitting with it. Whilst I appreciate the time you put into your reply, it does not satisfy as acceptable to inadvertantly be supporting the piggeries, particularly as you have no idea in what condition the pigs are kept (and they can be apalling).

    Whilst I accept that making use of the by-product of the industry doesn't directly encourage people to eat more meat reared in this way, making it more profitable and affordable to that industry does. The way I see it, consumers expecting meat and dairy to be cheap is one of the key causes of so much animal suffering in the world.

    Therefore I am in the process of switching to Ecotricity.

    If other companies are able to source animal cruelty free green gas, than it is hard to understand why you cannot.
    sincerely,
    Saskia
  • I totally understand @saskia, and wish you luck. At the end of the day, we have a higher proportion of our gas from green sources and lower prices than Ecotricity, so that's where the main difference is. But it sounds like they're probably best for you.

    All the best,
    Will
  • "Animals will always exist..." Not accurate. The animals we're talking about here are farm animals which population has been artificially inflated and condensed in single locations all around the globe by human race and their overconsumption of animal products. This animal population will not "always exist" and the vegan movement is working to diminish it until we no longer have animal exploitation on this planet. Although I agree with the point on getting rid of the pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, it is not an excuse to indefinitely perpetuate the abuse and exploitation of animals as it is now. Especially for the production of electricity for humans.

    The points in this lengthy response are mostly excuses against taking action in the right direction and reducing the use of animal by products. Where there's will there is a way as the vegan movement shows again and again.

    Dan P at Bulb in another post wrote: "Although a small portion of our gas comes from animal by-products, in other words, pig poo, it is not something that increase demand for the meat industry. " If it's a small portion of your gas then what's the problem in replacing it with something else? Ecotricity somehow made it work ;)

    Below you write: "The upshot is that if we were to support vegetarianism in the way you would like us to we would either need to not be renewable, or we would have to have prices so high that we price ourselves out of the market." Again, this doesn't make sense if the animal by-product gas is only a small portion of your gas mix. Replace this "small portion" and definitely don't increase it.

    Bottom line is - We don't want the animal agriculture industry to benefit financially or otherwise from generating electricity out of animal exploitation! We don't want to contribute our money to that.

    Edit: We're proud that we're able to decarbonise such a high carbon industry as animal rearing. Animals will always exist and if this biomethane isn't harnessed it will leak into the atmosphere where it has 30 times the negative impact of CO2.

    Since writing this post, we've written up this comparison of our green gas to organic vegetables. We think it's a useful way of looking at it.

    Green gas is as veggie friendly as organic carrots

    See below for my original answer
    ____________________________________

    Hi Sarah, this is obviously something that you're really passionate about which is amazing to see.

    Unfortunately in this case, green gas and supporting vegetarianism in the way you'd like us to are mutually exclusive. We simply can't support both at the same time.

    Green gas is a very early days industry. There are very limited amounts of green gas that can be bought, especially at prices that allow us to be competitive. The only viable alternative to us using Green Gas from Oxfordshire piggeries would be to not use green gas at all. If there was other biomethane out there at reasonable prices then we would already be using it and we would have a higher proportion of our gas mix come from these renewable sources.

    The only way we are able to promote renewable energy is by making a profitable business out of it. This way we can grow and bring more people over to renewables. To do this we need to make smart decisions about the price of energy we buy and the price that we sell it for. It can be easy to think "oh, well just spend more money then", but that doesn't work. We are a business and don't have infinite money to throw at promoting renewables, especially since we're pretty new and are still in start up mode. If we just spent more money getting vegetarian friendly renewable gas then we would have to sell it at unreasonably high prices so no one would want to join Bulb.

    The upshot is that if we were to support vegetarianism in the way you would like us to we would either need to not be renewable, or we would have to have prices so high that we price ourselves out of the market. If we did the first one, then we wouldn't be living up to the principles that we founded Bulb on. If we did the second then we wouldn't be able to bring renewable energy to the world, so we would have failed our goal.

    I know that this isn't a satisfying reply for you. I'd love to be able to wave a magic wand, but we need to choose our fights and do what we can to do the most good for the world with the skills and knowledge that we have.

    That said...

    The meat industry is a huge contributor towards global warming. We're all about helping people reduce their carbon footprint, and eating less meat is a great way to do that! Supporting vegetarianism isn't something that we've looked into yet, but it's something we'd be interested in looking into.

    Do you have any suggestions on how we could help the average person reduce their meat consumption?

    Thanks,

    Will

  • By the way how many people in the Bulb management are actually vegan? Talking about Bulb admitting that "the meat industry is a huge contributor towards global warming" and being the eco-friendly energy supplier.
  • @Bart

    If everyone was vegan then the money from suppliers supporting green gas sources would not be enough by itself to sustain the feeding and housing of animals for methane. This industry would die if people stopped eating meat.

    When veganism becomes more popular we will not be able to keep using these sources for green gas as much as they should reduce in their capacity.

    In reference to your reply to my comment. There is simply not enough green gas in the world for all suppliers to use these sources, we already buy a significant proportion of all the green gas available in the country and so these sources will have to be used.

    We have a trade off to be made here. We at Bulb want to supply as many people as we can with renewable energy, we can have a really great impact in reducing climate change. To do that, we need to be cheap and to be cheap we need to buy energy in the way that we do. We are having great progress towards this goal and price is directly correlated to how many people switch to us.

    (FYI I am vegetarian.)
  • Can I have a bacon butty instead? ;)
  • @Bart

    If everyone was vegan then the money from suppliers supporting green gas sources would not be enough by itself to sustain the feeding and housing of animals for methane. This industry would die if people stopped eating meat.

    When veganism becomes more popular we will not be able to keep using these sources for green gas as much as they should reduce in their capacity.

    In reference to your reply to my comment. There is simply not enough green gas in the world for all suppliers to use these sources, we already buy a significant proportion of all the green gas available in the country and so these sources will have to be used.

    We have a trade off to be made here. We at Bulb want to supply as many people as we can with renewable energy, we can have a really great impact in reducing climate change. To do that, we need to be cheap and to be cheap we need to buy energy in the way that we do. We are having great progress towards this goal and price is directly correlated to how many people switch to us.

    (FYI I am vegetarian.)

    If everyone was vegan you would not need this amount of energy and water to fuel the world in the first place. Animal agriculture is a massively resource hungry industry. Even if what you're saying is true, these industries should die.

    You're completely missing my point - animal agriculture is the MAIN cause of climate change. If you're supporting this industry, you're not really supporting renewable energy sources. It's pointless. You're shooting yourself in the knee essentially. Again, how does Ecotricity do it and why can't you do the same?

    "Feeding and housing of animals for methane" ? Can you hear yourself? That's definitely what we don't want. You have to change your narrative from trying to make your company, energy generators, suppliers, and animal agriculture survive to making the planet survive! It's quite apparent in what you write in these forum threads that this is your main focus and not the wellbeing of animals and the planet.

    (FYI You're not doing yourself or anybody any favours by being vegetarian. Animal products, milk, cheese, etc. are not even healthy and you still contribute to a massive amount of environmental pollution, animal suffering and greenhouse gas emissions which are only marginally captured by energy generators)
  • @Bart

    We think that using these sources is a very good thing and helps to reduce the impact of the meat industry on the environment. We do not advertise ourselves as vegan and have not done so in the past.

    We use these sources out of choice as we think it is a good way of sourcing green gas.

    With regards to the "Feeding and housing of animals for methane". In the context of the rest of my statement, we don't want this, but until there is no meat industry then we can use the results in an intelligent way to help save the environment.
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