Vegan electricity — Bulb Community

Vegan electricity

I see that Ecotricity is now advertising their electricity as vegan. As a Vegan myself, I approve of this very much. The use of animal products - chicken litter, pig slurry etc - for biogas is not very green! Will Bulb commit to working with its suppliers to phase them out?

Comments

  • Hi @JohnW_2018 - thanks for getting in touch. We've spoken on this before because we appreciate it's a really important issue for lots of people on our community. We've written a blog about it in the past, you can read about it here: https://bulb.co.uk/blog/green-gas-vegetarian-biomethane- you can also see what others have been discussing about it here: community.bulb.co.uk/discussion/169/bulb-gas-a-by-product-of-the-meat-industry/p1 - It's a really interesting topic, and one that is hard to get everyone to agree on.
  • Hi John and Bill, Well, that was not really an answer to the question asked, which was if you are phasing the non-vegan sources out. Could you please just answer that question? I am as concerned as JohnW_2018. I think it would be easy to get everyone to agree that production of energy should not come from animal corpses. If you are using animals, it further justifies a damaging and unsustainable animal agriculture practice.
    I have to say that when I signed up to Bulb, I really liked the Green energy concept. Never did I think that Green could mean dead animals.
  • edited July 2018
    @Bill at Bulb your blog link seems broken.

    Also I was under the impression that the bio gas (only went to supplying gas, not generating electricity?

    with that in mind the other 2 comments seem ill informed, the gas isn't made with dead animals, it's made with manure, in contrast to 'natural' gas.

    2nd, all the gas is mixed in together so even if Bulb did offer 100% vegan gas. the stuff piped to your house for the most part wouldn't be acceptable to someone who wanted vegan gas anyway.

    Finally I'm not aware of any supplier offering 100% biogas so if you want to be carbon neutral and vegan you wouldn't be using any gas whatsoever.

    Ecotricity state that Bulb uses cow and poultry manure, whether you want to classify that as compatible with being a vegan is up to you. I however wouldn't classify gas that is 88% dead dinosaur amongst other things (12% biogas https://www.ecotricity.co.uk/our-green-energy/our-green-gas) as vegan, so I don't know why the Vegan society is certifying it as such.

    Edit:
    Upon closer reading it's only actually Ecotricity's electricity that is vegan:
    "We’re the only energy supplier in the UK that’s registered with The Vegan Society for our green electricity. We’ve verified all of the energy sources that go into making our electricity to ensure we aren’t inadvertently using animals in our energy production." (emphasis mine) (https://www.ecotricity.co.uk/our-green-energy/vegan-energy-supply?gclid=Cj0KCQjwyYHaBRDvARIsAHkAXcsN0MdIA0B75tfC--lP430usV85zI0oPPhoqnnncBIzz9y7_hWaMd8aAvpiEALw_wcB)

    So in that case isn't Bulb electricity just as vegan as Ecotricity's is?
  • @Susanne

    We are not looking to change the way we buy energy at the moment. 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.

    Ordinarily, methane from the piggeries would go directly into the atmosphere. Methane is about 30 times worse as a greenhouse gas than CO2. It warms the planet until ultimately decaying into CO2. So, in addition to being carbon neutral, burning biomethane actually reduces the net effect of carbon in the pig waste. So we think this is a really good thing for us to do.

    We've got a handy map on our website which shows you where your energy comes from https://bulb.co.uk/generators/
  • I'm just not sure how bad it really is to use a unavoidable and otherwise harmful by-product of the animal agriculture industry and convert it into useful energy. It's not like they are farming pigs for the sole purpose of generating electricity. As long as people eat meat and animal products there's gonna be animal excrements around and I would rather this to be converted into electricity than polluting the environment. That's what I'm thinking but let me know how you look at it.
  • Upon closer reading it's only actually Ecotricity's electricity that is vegan
    "We’re the only energy supplier in the UK that’s registered with The Vegan Society for our green electricity. We’ve verified all of the energy sources that go into making our electricity to ensure we aren’t inadvertently using animals in our energy production." (emphasis mine) (https://www.ecotricity.co.uk/our-green-energy/vegan-energy-supply?gclid=Cj0KCQjwyYHaBRDvARIsAHkAXcsN0MdIA0B75tfC--lP430usV85zI0oPPhoqnnncBIzz9y7_hWaMd8aAvpiEALw_wcB)

    So in that case isn't Bulb just as vegan as Ecotricity is?

    As far as I understand the bio gas only goes to supplying domestic gas? and that's never going to be vegan (natural gas being made from dead dinosaurs), until bio gas makes up 100% of the supply (ecotricity's is 12%, Bulbs is 10%). so basically all we are left with is Ecotricity getting a certificate from the Vegan society.

    On top of that all the gas is mixed in together, so even if you did pay for 100% vegan gas, the stuff coming out of your pipes won't be.

    on a slightly different note, how do vegans feel about dog biogas, or human biogas?
  • Bart said:

    I'm just not sure how bad it really is to use a unavoidable and otherwise harmful by-product of the animal agriculture industry and convert it into useful energy. It's not like they are farming pigs for the sole purpose of generating electricity. As long as people eat meat and animal products there's gonna be animal excrements around and I would rather this to be converted into electricity than polluting the environment. That's what I'm thinking but let me know how you look at it.

    At last some sense, I completely agree with you Bart. Its a byproduct of the industry that needs to be seen to. A lot of this discussion has stemmed from an article that Ecotricity have produced, the same article that also states that Bulb use manure only (as opposed to other companies). Methane is a far worse gas when it enters the atmosphere and therefore it combustion into CO2 is far better - still a greenhouse gas but a step closer to a grid that does not rely on fossil fuels or nuclear power.
  • Actually it's not that simple. I talked with my friend who pointed out "It just might help in a way perpetuate the use/abuse of animals as it is, in a way, helping this farming industry from getting rid of one more responsibility of them, and most likely for a financial profit."

    I agree with him. If the farms sell the dung or have their own energy generation facilities and then sell energy then this is not ok. This way we as vegans are directly funding animal agriculture.

    So here goes my question to Bulb: do those farms sell the manure to energy generators? I assume if they are the energy generators themselves and own the facilities then Bulb is purchasing the energy from them. Which means we're paying for it.
    gphillips said:

    Bart said:

    I'm just not sure how bad it really is to use a unavoidable and otherwise harmful by-product of the animal agriculture industry and convert it into useful energy. It's not like they are farming pigs for the sole purpose of generating electricity. As long as people eat meat and animal products there's gonna be animal excrements around and I would rather this to be converted into electricity than polluting the environment. That's what I'm thinking but let me know how you look at it.

    At last some sense, I completely agree with you Bart. Its a byproduct of the industry that needs to be seen to. A lot of this discussion has stemmed from an article that Ecotricity have produced, the same article that also states that Bulb use manure only (as opposed to other companies). Methane is a far worse gas when it enters the atmosphere and therefore it combustion into CO2 is far better - still a greenhouse gas but a step closer to a grid that does not rely on fossil fuels or nuclear power.
  • I guess the answer from Bulb to my question is a silent YES... By being with Bulb we are directly funding animal agriculture as vegans.
  • edited August 2018
    @Bart We buy our energy from some pig slurries then you then pay us for that energy so there is indeed a connection between you and the pig slurries in terms of where the money is going. But the money would not sustain the meat industry by itself.

    We do not describe our supply of energy as vegan, we do all we can to try and combat the changing climate with the world we currently live in.


  • edited April 27
    Just catching up with this debate....as a vegan about to leave Octopus, who I am sure won't miss the niche business and niche money of someone who's following a 'niche way of life'! https://octopus.energy/blog/can-energy-be-vegan/

    DanP said: "We buy our energy from some pig slurries then you then pay us for that energy so there is indeed a connection between you and the pig slurries in terms of where the money is going. But the money would not sustain the meat industry by itself."

    No, of course it wouldn't; I think we've sussed that one out already! But the money Bulb pay to the meat industry for its waste helps to sustain it, as does all the money paid for all the little parts and pieces of animals that are not good for human consumption. And vegans, unlike vegetarians, avoid using all of those little parts and pieces and even the waste produced by the animals before they were cut up into useful little parts and pieces. So, as a vegan, I couldn't possibly sign up to Bulb, and I don't expect others will either.

    DanP said: ".....we do all we can to try and combat the changing climate with the world we currently live in."

    Well, actually you don't do all you can to combat climate change. The meat industry is a major cause of climate change, one way or another, and by deliberately sustaining it to any extent, you are actually contributing to climate change! Not very Green really, eh?


  • edited April 29
    @Christina_Jay, so what would you suggest as an alternative?

    There simply isn't enough green gas being produced from non-animal waste sources to go around. There's not even enough biomethane to go around as it is - the UK produces enough to supply 1M homes but Bulb have more than 1M members and they're not the only ones trying to buy and supply it.

    I'll agree that it's not ideal, but it's still better for the environment than switching that green gas to natural gas drilled or fracked out of the ground. As that's the alternative really, I'd say they're reasonably true to their word.
  • Regardless of which supplier you use, the actual gas and electricity that arrives in your home will have come from multiple sources, that's the nature of the way the grid works. I would rather the money I spend buying this mixture goes to an ethical company who use it to sopport the most ethically currently available suppliers, and I consider bulb to be such a company. If we are being completely honest, the meat and dairy industry is not going anywhere any time soon, therefore while it remains i would rather the industry is an environmentally friendly as possible, and that includes making use of the byproducts. Do vegans realise that even organic vegetables are routinely fertilised with animal dung? The alternative is vast quantities of chemical fertiliser which is energy intensive to produce and transport and far more environmentally damaging.
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