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Geosynthetics can help preventing further steep increase in use of anthropogenic mass materials.

Human-made materials now equal weight of all life on Earth. The amount of concrete, asphalt, metal, and plastic on Earth is growing fast. This year may mark the point when artificial stuff outweighs living things. While the mass of Earth’s life forms stands at about 1.1 trillion metric tons (1.2 trillion U.S. tons) and has not changed much in recent years, the so-called “anthropogenic mass” of artificial materials is growing exponentially. The mass of everything people have built and made, from concrete pavements and glass-and-metal skyscrapers to plastic bottles, clothes, and computers, is now roughly equal to the mass of living things on Earth and could surpass that this year, according to research published today in Nature. The finding may bolster the argument that Earth has entered the Anthropocene, a proposed geologic epoch in which humans are the dominant force shaping the planet. As senior study author Ron Milo of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel puts it, the world is undergoing a material transition that “happens not just once in a lifetime, but once in an era.” The use of geosynthetic products can, in many applications, prevent or reduce the use of materials such as gravel, fill, concrete or, in road applications, asphalt. This has a positive effect on energy demand and carbon footprint (see LCA studies on this website), but also prevents a steep increase of artificial material used in construction and building industry. While that insight is more symbolic than scientifically meaningful, the material scale of the human enterprise helps explain how we’ve managed to transform global nutrient cycles, alter the climate, and drive myriad species to the brink of extinction. This isn’t the first attempt to weigh humanity’s impact on the planet. In 2016, a team of scientists estimated the weight of the “technosphere”—including not just wholly artificial buildings and products, but also the approximate weight of the land and seafloor that we’ve excavated, modified or trawled to build cities, plant crops, raise livestock, and catch fish. They came up with a figure of 30 trillion tons. Other recent studies have tracked changes just in the biological world, such as the amount of carbon stored in plants or the number of chickens on the planet. But to the authors’ knowledge, there hasn't been a comprehensive analysis looking at changes in the weight of the artificial and biological worlds simultaneously but separately. That has made it difficult for scientists to draw an apples to apples—or apples to iPhones—comparison. At the start of the 20th century, the mass of human-created stuff weighed in at 35 billion tons, or roughly 3 percent of global biomass. Since then, anthropogenic mass has grown exponentially to approximately 1.1 trillion tons today. It’s now accumulating at a rate of 30 billion tons a year, which corresponds to each person on Earth generating more than his or her own weight in manufactured stuff every week. Most of that stuff is concrete—humanity’s favorite building material—followed by gravel, bricks, asphalt, and metals. If current trends continue, these manufactured materials will weigh more than twice as much as all life on Earth by 2040, or about 2.2 trillion tons. Roughly 90 percent of the living world by weight, meanwhile, is composed of plants, mostly trees and shrubs. But while humans manufacture ever more materials each year, the weight of Earth’s plants has held relatively steady, due to what the authors describe as a “complex interplay” of deforestation, forest regrowth, and vegetation growth stimulated by rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Source: www.nationalgeographic.com

Eurogeo 7 postponed to 19-22 September

The BontexGeo Group acquires Terageos SA

Last week the BontexGeo Group has agreed on the acquisition of 100% of the shares of the French based company Terageos SA. Through this acquisition, which was completed at the end of December 2020, BontexGeo aims to further grow its business and strengthen its presence in France. According to Rob van der Valk, MD of BontexGeo, ''The acquisition of Terageos enables both and additionally provides us a significantly increased presence in the French market''. Patrick Brochier, president of Terageos, added ''This transaction will allow our companies to work together even more closely and benefit from the expertise present in both companies''.

European Commission grants approval acquisition Low & Bonar by Freudenberg

Following the announcement of the offer published in September 2019 for Freudenberg’s planned acquisition of Low & Bonar PLC, the formal application for approval under the EU Merger Regulation (“EUMR”) from the European Commission (“Commission”) was submitted in March 2020 following extensive preliminary discussions and in agreement with the Commission. A decision on the application was received on April 17, 2020. The Commission has granted an unconditional Phase 1 clearance under the EUMR. Completion of the acquisition remains subject to the satisfaction or waiver of the remaining conditions to the offer, including the sanction of the scheme of arrangement by the Scottish Court. Given the current disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is not yet possible to establish a definitive timetable for completion of the transaction. Further announcements will follow as appropriate. Source: Freudenberg

Geosynthetic update: Impact Covid-19 on industry.

The construction & building industry and infrastructural projects are hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis. Projects are postponed, cancelled or continue at a slower pace. This impact, further strengthened by the recent drop in oil prices, has slowed down activities in basically all European countries and is expected to have a longer term effect. Geosynthetic industry. Although the impact on the geosynthetics business was limited in the first quarter of 2020, apart from the effect in Southern Europe, the second quarter of 2020 will be different. Many producers report decreased activities in the different regions. The reasons for less activity vary in the different countries, some of the reasons are: - Lock down in many countries - Less funding available from the private sector - Lack of workers in Western Europe, as many foreign workers have returned to their homeland - Material availability - The process for granting permits has slowed down, tenders are being postponed Whatever the reason might be, the effect will not only be short but is expected to be long term. The EIB (Economic Institute Building – the Netherlands) expects a 15% shrinkage of the construction production on the short term and also on the longer term the construction industry will be hit seriously. Future activities: Many producers have already lowered their production, either willingly or enforced because of the lockdown or strongly reduced order intake. With the reduced expectations for the mid long term, further actions are expected. Not only in relation to outstanding obligations, orders and deliveries and the impact on company processes but also in relation to how to ‘’use’’ the time presently available to many different departments within the company. Items to look into can be: - First and far most important, take care of your employees - Review existing contracts or take steps to safeguard legal interests. - Keep records, document the impact on the projects. - Use time for other relevant items & issues Sources: https://nltimes.nl/2020/04/03/construction-industry-harder-hit-covid-19-2008-economic-crisis https://www.roschier.com/newsroom/the-impact-of-the-coronavirus-on-construction-projects/

BontexGeo re-joins EAGM

Bontexgeo has a long history, dating back to 1925, in various markets. Since the 1980’s BontexGeo have been developing, producing and providing woven and nonwoven geotextiles to the market. During that period, our company name has changed a couple of times (Bonar Technical Fabrics, Geotipptex, Bonar, Low & Bonar). What never changed is our commitment to quality and service. Bontexgeo is one of the leading suppliers in geotextiles with production locations in Belgium and Hungary. Bontexgeo has a proven track record of over 30 years in the supply of geotextiles.

Changes in board EAGM

During the November 2019 meeting of the EAGM, a new Board was elected, effective January 1, 2020. With this change, we are pleased to announce that Katja Gross is now President of the EAGM, and Jean-Pascal Mermet Vice-President. Katja is the first woman to lead the Association. Constitution of the Board of the EAGM as of January 2020: President: Katja Gross - DuPont de Nemours (Luxembourg) s.à r.l. Vice Presiden: Jean Pascal Mermet - TenCate Geosynthetics Europe Treasurer: Henning Ehrenberg - NAUE GmbH & Co. KG Members: Francesco Fontana - Manifattura Fontana SpA Mikael Møller Fibertex A/S Karl Wohlfahrt – Tensar

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