A team from United Gas & Power spent the day working with the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT) on their “together for trees” campaign yesterday. United Gas & Power funds the planting of a new tree in the Yorkshire Dales for every new electricity customer as a way to help offset the environmental impact of each new energy contract. Yesterday the team was out and about in Grassington working hard on maintenance work to ensure the trees were growing well.
So far to date UGP has funded the planting of over 1190 trees in the Yorkshire Dales and surrounding areas offsetting an estimated 199 tonnes of carbon. By the end of last year YDMT had managed to plant 27,508 trees, creating 19.73 hectares of new woodland.
After a half mile hike up to the site, armed with gardening gloves and a hammer the team were ready to work. UGP was joined by Leah and Lesley from YDMT who provided great knowledge about the site and work needed to be completed.
The team worked on the Bargh Wood site, which is around half a mile from Stainforth on the Ribble Way with sensational panoramic views of Pendle Hill, Pen-y-Ghent and Winskill as well as Langcliffe and Settle. The aim of the day was to ensure the tree posts were firmly rooted, the guards for the saplings were intact and any weeds were pulled out to ensure the tree was not overshadowed for sunlight and water.
The site is a native broadleaf woodland that has been planted to create a vital habitat for wildlife. 4,800 trees have been planted including Sessile Oak, Rowan, Holly, Downy Birch, Alder, Scots Pine, Quick Thorn and Willow – all ideal species for the exposed site. A wide variety of tree species is planted in order to see which grow best in these terrains, YDMT also over plant by around 20% to ensure the woodland has the best chance as not all trees manage to root and grow.
The woodland is also part of YDMT’s Plastic Free Woodlands project, supported by the European Outdoor Conservation Association, and 100 of the trees will be planted in March 2021 with alternative tree guards. Currently the tree guards are plastic but YDMT are working on a campaign to reduce the use of plastic and are experimenting with different biodegradable materials or simply not using a guard at all. However, the guards themselves are always re-used unless very severely damaged.
Joanna Czternastek, UGP’s Head of Marketing said “We’re incredibly proud of our association with the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust. Businesses have a significant role to play in the path to future net zero and as an energy company we’re in the privileged position of being able to support our customers by supplying only renewable power as well as support the YDMT with the planting of a tree in recognition of each new customer”.
United Gas & Power is a Yorkshire based commercial direct energy supplier, providing UK businesses with gas and renewable electricity. Founded in 2013, the company was recognised as one of the fastest growing UK businesses in 2019 by the Sunday Times Fast Track awards.
Stop Food Waste Day is an international day of action in the fight against food waste which is a serious and growing problem. Roughly one-third of the food produced globally is either lost or wasted every year. Food waste has become a severe epidemic across the world due to a lack of understanding of how to effectively use food and conserve it. Food waste, however, can be stopped.
Food waste is central to some of the key challenges facing the world today, including hunger and poverty, climate change, health and wellbeing and the sustainability of agriculture and oceans. Stop Food Waste Day aims to change the statistics of food waste, continuing to decrease it over time. Eventually, the holiday hopes to help those in need get the food they need and stop landfills from filling over.
Today, 45% of root crops, fruit, and vegetables produced globally are wasted per year as well as 33% of all food produced globally. With those percentages, there is a significant food waste epidemic that people are globally facing. So, what can we do about it?
1) Freeze Leftovers
Your freezer space maybe tight so consider removing a drawer you’d be surprised the space it allows to stack tupperware!
2) Make a List
You’ll only buy what you need, and this will help to conserve food usage.
3) Get Creative
Experiment with what you have in the fridge, it’s easy to throw together a tasty soup.
4) Batch Cook
Cooking one meal in large quantities ensures you always have a meal ready to go, you use the ingredients you have in and you will really notice the savings!
5) Check Out Supermarkets Mark Down’s
Look for items marked down as they are about to expire, when bought on the day you can usually still freeze to use at a later date – you could also grab some bargains.
6) Be Mindful of Dates
If you prefer to shop large and less often then you need to prioritise dates, plan to eat whatever is going out of date first or freeze it! Most items will advise if it can be frozen and even cook from frozen.
Businesses can be more mindful too, if you provide milk and any other perishables to your staff ensure you don’t over or under order. If you over order you will end up wasting and throwing away but if you underorder you will end up running out and having to buy more which may also go to waste! You can also get involved in Stop Food Waste Day by visiting the website here and downloading posters to put up in your offices etc.
Furthermore, as a business if you want to further help in the fight against climate change you need to switch to a renewable energy supplier. UGP are here to help, we are the UK’s only five-star rated renewable energy provider and will always look to save you money. When you switch to us you will also receive a renewable certificate. Display this at your premises to demonstrate to your staff, customers and suppliers that you’re committed to environmental sustainability. Call us today on 0844 318 0044 or click here to request a call back.
Christmas may come just once a year, but the impact that your actions and purchases have on the planet could last a lifetime. Wrapping paper can take years to decompose and as a nation we’re known for our over-indulgence over the festive period. There are however several tips that you can follow in order to limit the impact you make on our planet throughout the Christmas period.
Tip 1: Write a list and check it twice!
The temptation to over-stock on food often leads to panic shopping, buying things you don’t need and ultimately a fair amount of waste. Being strict with your shopping list should ensure that you only buy what you need and if you’ve anything spare or a little cash left over, consider donating to food banks so that those in need get the benefit.
Tip 2: Use recycled wrapping paper or fabric
In 2017, the UK threw out an estimated 108 million rolls of Christmas wrapping paper. You can make your gifts look memorable with some creative use of recycled brown paper or newspaper. Alternatively use fabric that can be re-purposed or gift bags which can then be re-used by the recipient.
Tip 3: Avoid artificial
Fake Christmas trees are not necessarily greener – although they last for longer, they are made from plastic, not recyclable or from a renewable source and have probably been shipped a great distance. There are also question marks over where they are made, and the unethical labour potentially used to make them.
Real trees help to remove carbon from the atmosphere while they are growing and are the greener choice as long as you consider where and how they have been grown. Make sure you get one from a sustainable source. There are over 400 Christmas tree growers across the UK registered with the British Christmas Tree Growers’ Association, where trees are grown according to strict guidelines governing everything from sustainable seeds and cultivation to protecting local wildlife. The Soil Association also certifies some trees as organic, which means that no pesticides will have been used during growing.
Tip 4: Shop local
Shopping locally has numerous benefits and is particularly important in 2020 when smaller businesses are struggling to survive. If you buy your turkey from your local butcher for example you will be supporting the local community and minimising your carbon footprint. Likewise, with other types of small businesses that make gifts, by purchasing from them you‘ll be supporting small suppliers.
Tip 5: Think before you bin
On average over 80,000 tonnes of old clothes will be thrown away this Christmas. If you do end up with a brand-new wardrobe via presents or picked up in the boxing day sales, make sure you donate your old clothes. This year has been very hard for many and charities are in need of quality clothing to help and support people in need.
Tip 6: Defrost your freezer
Let’s face it, come the big day you need your freezer to be working at optimum efficiency so by defrosting now you’ll free up some space for leftover’s as well as improve its energy efficiency.
Tip 7: Regifting
A controversial concept; but if the item you are re-gifting has not been opened or damaged in any way it should go to a new home rather than being left to be unused, wasted and potentially thrown into landfill.
Tip 8: Don’t forget to turn the tree off
Christmas tree lights left on for 10 hours a day over the 12 days of Christmas produce enough CO2 to inflate 12 balloons. Also don’t forget to switch them off when you are not home as they are a fire risk!
If you want to be more environmentally friendly, try switching to either LED lights, choosing lights that are powered by solar power or rechargeable batteries, or installing an energy-saving bulb to offset the energy usage.
Tip 9: Reduce condensation and toll on energy
Try and use the right sized pots for each element of your Christmas dinner, keep lids on pans and turn on the extractor fan. This will help to reduce your energy bills.
Tip 10: Switch up your candles
Cranberry, cinnamon, pine and ginger – there are many smells associated with Christmas that we all love to bring inside our homes, but paraffin candles are made from petroleum residue and are no good for your health or for the environment. Candles made from soy, beeswax or natural vegetable-based wax are more eco-friendly because they biodegrade and are smoke-free.
Tip 11: Cards
We all love a Christmas card but what happens after the holiday season? Some elaborately decorated cards that use ribbon and glitter etc may not be easy to recycle. Luckily Recycle Now allows people to recycle their cards throughout January at participating retailers. With an average of 17 cards in the UK for every man, woman and child, that’s a lot of trees saved!
Tip 12: Turn the thermostat down
Turning down the thermostat by only 1C saves carbon and money; it’s a good excuse to resurrect the themed Christmas jumper. Also consider turning the radiator in the kitchen right down as it’s probably not going to need any additional heat!
Have a very Merry Christmas!
While it’s important to consider environmental sustainability in our life choices, it’s also important to make sure you have fun over the festive period. It’s been a difficult year so from everyone at United Gas & Power, we wish you all a happy holiday and all the best for 2021!
See how your business could become more sustainable for 2021, contact us today by clicking here.
A recent study suggesting plastic bottles leak harmful particles into water doesn’t take into account the high number of other particles consumed by people on a daily basis.
That’s according to Steve Thomas, Head of Applied Science at Cambridge Consultants, who said he was surprised the number of particles found in the bottled water by the researchers was so low.
As a chemist who has often worked in laboratories, Mr Thomas said he had spent years trying to keep things clean from microscopic particles – he said it is very hard to keep them from contaminating things, even in sterile environments.
He added mechanical actions such as the moving parts of coffee machines, knives grinding into plastic chopping boards, walking on polypropylene carpets and even using a plastic toothbrush generate particles that enter our bodies when swallowed or inhaled.
He said drinking water directly out of the bottle is likely to result in ingesting fewer particles than through taking a glass out of the cupboard, filling it from the tap and then drinking it slowly while walking around the office.
Mr Thomas said: “The amount of plastic that mankind is distributing in the environment is bad – no question! And we need to replace as much as possible of it with materials that will break down and return their matter to the natural consumption cycles.
“But at the same time, we need to be practical about what we are ingesting and bear in mind that, unless we get our food processed in the same kind of factory that our super-fast computer processors are made in, we are going to be ingesting thousands of particles of plastic, ceramic, metal and each other.”
Companies hope new St Helens facility will provide template for further circular economy initiatives
The UK’s circular economy received a major boost late last week as waste management giant Veolia and energy efficiency specialist Knauf Insulation jointly opened a major new glass recycling facility in St Helens.
The companies said the site represented a “world-first facility” that uses cutting-edge technology to “separate glass at a micro-level with exceptional accuracy, delivering an ultra-pure glass cullet”.
The facility has the capacity to process over 60,000 tonnes of used glass bottles and jars – equivalent to over 350 million bottles a year – and turn it into recyclate material or cullet that can be used by Knauf to make insulation panels.
The facility is the result of a £10m investment and is backed by a 10 year commitment from Knauf Insulation that will secure glass supplies for its manufacturing plant. The company said the move would curb its use of virgin minerals and maximise its use of recyclate, while the proximity of the new facility would save approximately 375,000 miles of road journeys.
John Sinfield, managing director at Knauf Insulation Northern Europe, said the recycled material would help deliver insulation solutions that themselves “play a key role in helping reduce carbon emissions and benefit the environment”.
“We have been using recycled glass in our manufacturing process for some time already,” he said. “As well as securing our glass supply, the quality and consistency that we are getting now from the new facility will enable us to increase further the percentage of glass cullet we use in the manufacture of our Glass Mineral Wool insulation solutions, taking us one step further in our sustainability journey. This is also a real boost for the circular economy and the fact we have delivered this in partnership with Veolia demonstrates what can be achieved when two leaders in their respective fields work together to achieve mutual goals.”
His comments were echoed by Estelle Brachlianoff, senior executive vice-president at Veolia UK & Ireland, who said the project represented a “£10m investment in the UK green economy which is good for jobs, good for the community and good for the planet”.
“We want to see this first-of-its kind partnership pave the way for others; where waste is seen as an indispensable commodity and given a completely new lease of life,” she added. “It would be fantastic to see more key industry players follow Knauf Insulation and incorporate circular economy thinking into production.”