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For the first time ever, the Government has laid down in law a commitment to act upon the decline in people walking. National chari...

Charity hails new law as a vital step forwards in walking investment

Calendar Posted 27 August 2015 | Feed Icon | Calendar 0 Comments

For the first time ever, the Government has laid down in law a commitment to act upon the decline in people walking.

National charity Living Streets is celebrating the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy being made into law as a positive step towards walking and calling for this commitment to be matched by the government earmarking funds in the upcoming Spending Review.

People today walk almost a third less than they did just twenty years ago. Whilst for our grandparent’s generation, walking to school was the norm, nowadays it’s becoming more and more uncommon. This is a serious issue and one that, until now, hadn’t been taken seriously enough.

Tompion Platt, Head of Policy at Living Streets says: “Most of us say we’d walk more if it was safer, more attractive or more convenient. And when we walk, it’s good for us. It’s also good for our local economy and for the environment.”

Inactivity is responsible for 17 per cent of early deaths in the UK. It increases the risk of serious illnesses like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers, and makes it more likely that people will be overweight or obese.

Platt says: “As our lives become more sedentary, we are growing fatter and unhealthier and generally costing the NHS and the tax player an awful lot of money (an estimated cost of £8.2 billion per year to England’s economy).

“As our population gets older and we need more care, we’re getting more and more expensive. In fact we’re becoming unaffordable – there’s a very real danger that if we can’t improve the health of 40-60 year olds now, we’re going to bankrupt the NHS of the future.

“Because of all this, the buzz word right now in health is prevention. And that means getting people more active.”

The government has already made a big step by committing to reverse the decline in walk to school (by getting 55 per cent of children walking by 2025). Now, with the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy being laid down in law, it has committed for the first time to set out a long term plan for improving walking and cycling for everyone.

“As you might expect, the details in all this will decide whether this really is the beginning of the step change we so urgently require, to reverse the decline in walking,” says Platt. “Organisations like Living Streets will be doing all they can to make sure that the final strategy is the kind of ambitious game changer that’s needed.”

Not only is it a known fact that walking is better for our health and overall wellbeing. But it also has massive impacts on the environment. Walking reduces the amount of cars and vehicles on the roads, which not only reduces the amount of congestion but reduces the emission on your village, town and/ or city. Emissions from driving contribute significantly to global warming, as well as local scale-pollution. In cities driving creates smog, a condition in which pollution is trapped in an urban area. The poor air quality results in significant health problems.

There are many significant benefits that walking has to our overall health that we might not necessarily think of. When reaching for those car keys, take a second to stop and think - do I need to use the car today? Could I ride my bike? Could I walk? And if you must use your car, think about car pooling. (More information regarding car pooling can be found here: http://www.carpooling.co.uk/)

Article courtesy of SustainableNews.co.uk & Homeguides

by H Burton | 27 August 2015

Fashion firms urged to tackle deforestation

Calendar Posted 14 August 2015 | Feed Icon | Calendar 0 Comments

A campaign group is calling on fashion brands to act to ensure their supply chains are free from deforestation and human rights abuses.

The Rainforest Action Network (RAN) said endangered forests in Indonesia are being destroyed for the pulp that is used to produce rayon, viscose, and other fabrics.

Its report, Lessons from the Incense Forest documented the expansion of mega-plantations and illegal land-grabbing in Indonesia, resulting in the loss of land, livelihoods and resources for the local communities.

RAN said it was virtually impossible to know exactly which products on US shelves came from which forests, due to the complexity and the lack of transparency of the wood-based fabric supply chain.

It calls on fashion brands to commit to strong, transparent policies and implementation plans to protect forests, people and animals.

It said: “Choices about suppliers should be based on evidence of chain of custody and independently verified improved on-the-ground outcomes from plantations and supply chain partners.”

The group is calling for fashion brands to:

• Articulate social and environmental commitments

• Adopt a comprehensive sourcing policy that eliminates fibre and companies that contribute to deforestation or forest conversion, expansion on carbon-rich peatlands, and fail to address violation of human and labour rights

• Develop a robust time-bound implementation plan

• Require suppliers to eliminate sources of controversial fibre

• Become an advocate for protecting rainforests, peatlands, climate, biodiversity and human and labour rights

“Every year, tens of millions of trees are turned into clothing through the use of forest fabrics like rayon and viscose,” said Brihannala Morgan, senior forest campaigner at RAN. “These forests have played a critical part of local community livelihoods for generations, and are now being seized and clear cut for forest fabrics.

“Without strong policies from fashion companies, rainforest destruction and human rights abuses can become part of our clothing."

Source: http://supplymanagement.com

by Marino Donati | 14 August 2015

All about Electric Vehicles (EVs)

Calendar Posted 7 August 2015 | Feed Icon | Calendar 0 Comments

We thought our readers might be interested to know what's happening in the electric car marketplace in the UK. There is certainly a growth in demand as technology improves, but what are the trends and why does it make sense from a financial and environmental perspective to consider buying an electric car?

The UK Market for EVs

In November 2014, with 646 all-electric cars and 1,225 plug-in hybrids registered, the segment's market share passed 1% of monthly new car sales for the first time in the UK. Again in January 2015, the segment's market share was over 1% of new car sales with 1,715 plug-in electric cars registered that month.

Nissan Leaf (the UK's most popular electric car) sales in September 2014 achieved a record of 851 units, up from 332 units the same month in 2013, representing not only the best monthly sales ever in the UK, but also the largest volume of Nissan Leafs ever sold in one month in a European country. Sales of recently introduced BMW i3 and i8 models exceeded 1,600 units during 2014. The Outlander P-HEV was among the new models with a significant effect in the market, released in April 2014, it captured a 35.8% market share of total plug-in sales during the first half of 2014.

The Mitsubishi plug-in hybrid became the top selling plug-in electric vehicle in July 2014 and captured 43% of all applications to the Plug-in Car Grants scheme that month.The Outlander P-HEV ended 2014 as the top selling plug-in electric car in the UK that year with 5,370 units sold. The Nissan Leaf sales also experienced a significant growth in 2014, with 4,051 units sold, up 124% from the 1,812 units sold in 2013.

As of December 2014, the Leaf continued ranking as the top selling plug-in electric car ever in the UK with cumulative sales of 7,197 units since its introduction in March 2011. Sales of the Mitsubishi Outlander P-HEV in the British market reached the 10,000 unit milestone in March 2015, allowing the plug-in hybrid to overtake the Leaf as the all-time top selling plug-in electric vehicle in the UK.

Focus on the Nissan Leaf

Click here to watch a video presented by Mark Goodier, the BC radio broadcaster who owns two Nissan LEAFs.

What are the benefits of running a Nissan Leaf?

Firstly there are clear environmental benefits. The 100% electric cars leave no trail of CO2. The Nissan Leaf has zero emissions, hence there is no exhaust pipe. So no nasty polllutants and smells in the air.

Secondly, there are substantial financial savings. These include:

  • No need to ever pay for diesel of petrol again!
  • No London Congestion Charge
  • No road tax (Vehicle Excise Duty)
  • For businesses, the LEAF is in the lowest Benefit-in-Kind band.
  • Free parking at a network of public charge points
  • Charging the battery is free at Nissan dealerships across the UK
  • Electric cars should be more reliable since they have fewer parts so low running costs
  • They are powered by lithium-ion batteries that are more durable than traditional lead-acid batteries. That said, they do require the purchase of a replacement battery about every 4 to 5 years.

Thirdly, the Nissan Leaf offers dynamic acceleration (0 to 60 in 7 seconds) and incredible torque (the force that powers acceleration). This means it pulls away as well or better than a petrol-fuelled car. Its speed is impressive too, with a top speed of 93mph. Its also very quiet - at 21 decibels, that's less noise than a ceiling fan (26db).

It also carries lots of other features e.g. sat nav, rear view camera and climate control. Using your smartphone or computer, you can remotely start or stop the car's climate control or start charging, so everything's ready to go when you are. On the road, the CARWINGS telematic sat nav system tells you the exact amount of energy required to reach your destination and where the nearest charging stations are, so you can charge your Nissan LEAF on the go.

So how much does a Nissan Leaf cost?

The Nissan Leaf Visia Flex "On the Road" price is currently £21,490 incl VAT. Take off the Government's Plug-In Car Grant (up to 25% of price of the vehicle - see paragraph below) and the true price after VAT drops to £16,490. On top of this, you have to pay between £70 and £130 per month to lease the battery. And the price of the electricity needs to be considered too - though if you happen to own solar panels, you're generating your own fuel for your vehicle.

Alternatively you can now get your hands on a second hand Nissan Leaf as they were introduced in 2011. The residual value can drop sharply - one source stated a 55% drop - so buying second hand may be a sensible route to save even more money. However you miss out on the Plug-in grant if you buy second hand.

Government Plug-In Car Grant

The Plug-in Car Grant program started on 1 January 2011 and reduces the up-front cost of eligible cars by providing a 35% grant towards the cost of new plug-in cars capped at £5,000. Both private and business fleet buyers are eligible for this grant, which is received at the point of purchase and the subsidy is claimed back by the manufacturer afterwards. The grant will remain in place until either 50,000 grants have been issued or 2017, whichever is first.

The Plug-In Car Grant was extended to include vans in February 2012. Van buyers can receive 20% - up to £8,000 - off the cost of a plug-in van. To be eligible for the scheme, vans have to meet performance criteria to ensure safety, range, and ultra-low tailpipe emissions. Consumers, both business and private can receive the discount at the point of purchase.

As of January 2015, the cumulative number of eligible registered plug-in electric vehicles totalled over 25,000 units since the launch of the programme. Of these, a total of 21,680 were eligible cars registered since January 2011.

Where can I charge the battery on the move?

One of the biggest concerns voiced by potential buyers of electric vehicles is the lack of range before having to re-charge the battery. To counter this, and to boost demand for electric vehicles, the Government is supporting the ‘Plugged-In Places’ programme to install vehicle recharging points across the UK.

The scheme offers match-funding to consortia of businesses and public sector partners to support the installation of electric vehicle recharging infrastructure in lead places across the UK. There are eight Plugged-In Places: East of England, Greater Manchester, London, Midlands, Milton Keynes, North East, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Where do I find out the locations of electric plug-in stations across the UK?

There is plenty of help on the internet. For example, you can visit Zap-Map.com, a website dedicated to all aspects of electric vehicles and charging. There you will find a charge point map, search tools, up-to-date stats, in-depth charge point and Electric Vehicle (EV) info and all the latest news. So Zap-Map.com is a helpful resource for all users of EV.

ENDS

Research sources: Nissan website, Wikipedia

by M Roper | 7 August 2015

Google Street View to map urban air pollution

Calendar Posted 30 July 2015 | Feed Icon | Calendar 0 Comments

Google's digital maps will soon be able to provide detailed information about the pollution levels in urban areas, thanks to a new partnership with US tech start-up Aclima.

Yesterday Aclima revealed it has been working with Google Earth Outreach to fit Google's Street View cars with air quality sensors, enabling the vehicles to measure levels of pollution on specific city streets.

The cars can measure the presence of nitrogen dioxide, nitric oxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane, black carbon, particulate matter and volatile organic compounds in the surrounding environment, providing a detailed picture of local air quality.

From the autumn the sensor- enabled cars will hit the roads of San Francisco to gather data on the city's air quality. Aclima hopes the data will help inform local health studies and community planning decisions.

The city's existing air quality monitoring network, which is managed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), often misses fine-scale changes in pollution levels, according to Aclima. It says its mobile sensing platform will complement the EPA's network by providing information on the air quality at street level.

Dan Costa, national program director at the EPA's office of research and development, said Aclima's data will help the agency better understand air pollutants at the local level. "New mobile air measurements can complement existing stationary measurements for a more detailed picture of personal and community air quality." he said in a statement.

Aclima already works with Google to map the air quality in 21 of its offices around the world. The system processes 500 million data points each day on everything from humidity levels to light intensity and air pollution.

Last year, President Obama took steps to tackle America's air pollution, announcing the EPA plans to tighten ground level ozone standards. Earlier this year, the administration also made moves to crack down on methane emissions from America's booming fracking industry.

Governments around the world are under mounting pressure to get a better view of air pollution levels in their cities, following a series of health studies that have shown many thousands of people are dying prematurely each year as a result of poor air quality. In April the UK's Supreme Court ordered the UK Government to address the country's high level of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution. According to the ruling, the government must submit its plan to bring pollution levels within legal limits to the European Commission by 31st December 2015.

Original post sourced from BusinessGreen.com

by H Burton | 30 July 2015

National Sustainable Schools Conference 2015

Calendar Posted 6 July 2015 | Feed Icon | Calendar 0 Comments

Two of GreenBuying's team attended last week's National Sustainable Schools Conference at the University of Bristol's Student Union Building. We wanted to meet like minded people and to understand how schools should best be engaging with their pupils and other stakeholders to encourage a deeper knowledge of sustainable development. The Conference was organised by SEEd and was well received by the 170 delegates.

There were several keynote speakers, including Quinn Runkle from the NUS who shared the results of a recent survey of young people. 85% said that they believed sustainable development to be very important. And yet many felt that the education system was not providing them with sufficient knowledge on the subject.

At the end of the conference there was an opportunity for delegates to give a talk about their own beliefs. Matt Roper, Founder of GreenBuying.co.uk, talked about the importance of sustainable procurement. He said that many schools were buying products without considering the environmental impact of the purchase.

Given that there was an acknowledged case for promoting sustainability to pupils, Matt feels strongly that the schools themselves must reflect upon their own environmental impact and that their procurement strategy was arguably the most important determining factor. That's why GreenBuying.co.uk was established - to help organisations such as schools procure eco friendly products more easily.

by H Burton | 6 July 2015

Which Party would Mother Nature vote for?

Calendar Posted 7 May 2015 | Feed Icon | Calendar 0 Comments

After seemingly months of electioneering, the day of reckoning has arrived and the UK populace decides who will rule over them for the next 5 years. Here at GreenBuying.co.uk we thought we'd consider what each of the main Parties are offering in relation to the environment and climate change. So we've looked at the manifestos and found the following pledges, starting with the Party who you would expect to be the most eco friendly...

The Green Party

The Greens believe that Government must prioritise action on climate change to avoid devastating hardship to our economy, society and environment.

What are they offering?

  • Take serious action on climate change by working with other countries to ensure global temperatures do not rise beyond 2 degrees.
  • Phase out fossil-fuel based energy generation and nuclear power.
  • Invest in a public programme of renewable generation, flood defences and building insulation.

How will this benefit the public?

A rapid transition to a zero-carbon sustainable economy will create millions of jobs and secure a safe climate for our children and grandchildren.

The Labour Party

They claim that a Labour Government will play a leading global role in tackling climate change.

What they are offering?

  • An ambitious adaptation programme will be produced.
  • A new infrastructure commission will prioritise investment in flood prevention.
  • The problems of air pollution will be tackled by giving local authorities the powers they need, backed up by a national framework.
  • Protect and improve wildlife habitats and green spaces, and make them an important part of our thriving tourism industry.
  • Put a stop to the government’s ineffective and cruel badger cull.
  • Improve the protection of dogs and cats, ban wild animals in circuses, defend the hunting ban and deal with wildlife crime associated with shooting.

How will this benefit the public?

Cleaner air, creating a healthier environment for generations. Protecting the natural environment, and ensuring a kinder life for animals.

The Conservative Party

The Tories have set themselves the goal of being the first generation to leave the natural environment in a better state when they leave office than when they entered office.

What they are offering?

  • Invest £3bn from the Common Agricultural Policy to enhance England's countryside
  • Put it place a new ‘blue belt’ to protect precious marine habitats.
  • Invest in clear air and water for you and your family.
  • Keep our forests in trust for the nation.
  • Meet our climate change targets, cutting carbon emissions
  • Working with other countries to ensure global temperatures do not exceed 2 degrees.
  • Tackle international wildlife trade.
  • High animal welfare standards.
  • Develop 25 year plan to restore the UK's biodiversity.

How will this benefit the public?

£3 Billion will be spent in order to enhance England’s countryside and keep the much loved, treasured greenery. We will continue to do even more to tackle our pollution and clean up our rivers and waterways, including supporting the Thames Tideway Tunnel.

The Liberal Democrats

They spearheaded the UK's push to persuade the EU to set an ambitious target of reducing carbon emissions by at least 40% by 2030. They will carry on greening electricity, getting rid of coal generation by 2025 and setting an ambitious power sector ‘decarbonisation’ target.

What they are offering?

  • Renewable energy will make up a third of our energy by 2020.
  • Cut council tax for green homes by at least £100 a year for 10 years.
  • Invest in research and development in cleaner energy.

How will this benefit the public?

Encouraging people to live a healthier, greener lifestyle.

So there you have it. Which one gets your vote? Whilst there are many important challenges ahead for the UK Government, of whatever Party, we can't think of an issue more critical than the health of our environment.

by Matt Roper | 7 May 2015

Happy Customer!

Calendar Posted 27 March 2015 | Feed Icon | Calendar 0 Comments

We've had lots of great feedback from customers about our range of Children's Playground Equipment - all made from recycled plastics diverted from landfill.

Here's what one customer said today, having just received our very popular Jimmy's Tractor - so called as it was originally commissioned by Jimmy's Farm, as seen on TV:

"Just to let you know and say thank you, the tractor is brilliant." Kelly, the Cornish Birds of Prey Centre.

by M Roper | 27 March 2015

Have a wonderful Christmas!

Calendar Posted 25 December 2014 | Feed Icon | Calendar 0 Comments

On behalf of the team here at GreenBuying.co.uk, may I wish all our customers (and everyone else!) a very Happy Christmas! Remember to recycle all the excess packaging.....

All the best,

Matt Roper

Founder, GreenBuying.co.uk

by M Roper | 25 December 2014

Separate collections of waste paper, metal, plastic & glass

Calendar Posted 13 November 2014 | Feed Icon | Calendar 0 Comments

It is already a legal requirement for waste producers to treat waste in line with the waste hierarchy. Once you've considered waste reduction and re-use, you need to ensure that all recyclable materials are recycled where possible to avoid landfill.

But as of 1st January 2015, the revised EU Waste Framework Directive 2008 requires that the UK government must make arrangements for the collection of waste paper, metal, plastic and glass separately where 'technically, environmentally and economically practicable' and 'appropriate to meet the necessary quality standards for the relevant recycling sectors.'

This law covers both commercial, industrial and domestic waste. The information stated below does not constitute legal advice and is no substitute for legal or other professional advice.

How does this affect your organisation as a waste producer?

We believe that as of start 2015 you will need to considering the following:

  • Keep a well-documented audit trail when deciding which collection system to use and hold regular reviews to ensure your waste management system remains compliant.
  • As a minimum, you will be expected to separate mixed dry recyclables (paper, metal, plastic, glass) from general waste prior to their collection unless space for containers, cost of collection or any other genuine barriers prevent this.
  • If it is not technically, environmentally and economically practicable (TEEP) to do this, you will need to implement the most suitable alternative solution and ensure you have evidence as to why a separate collection is not practicable. If you are already separating out the recyclable materials into a combined waste collection, you will need to consider the suitability of this, and whether your waste contractor has the capability to separate these out into separate individual waste streams. As a minimum you are likely to be required to have a separate glass collection.
  • Whether or not you separate out your waste into individual waste streams or combined, you will need to ensure that the quality of these collections is of a high standard and not contaminated with non-recyclable waste.
  • Although not a legal requirement, it is advisable to verify the end destination of these wastes, as a best practice measure, to ensure that they are sent for recycling and not landfill.

The diagram (below) is the Waste Regulations Route Map, and for general information only.

We can help you become compliant

GreenBuying.co.uk is committed to ensuring that its customers are compliant. Our UK national waste partners will review your waste practices. They can:

  • Work with you to assess the practicalities and options for implementing combined or segregated collections if you're not already doing so and implement any agreed service changes on your behalf.
  • Provide assistance to communicate with your staff and other stakeholders to ensure that materials separated are of a sufficient quality and not contaminated with non-recyclable waste.
  • Regularly check the quality of your recyclables to ensure that high standards are being consistently applied. If issues are found, they will work with you to resolve the problems and improve the quality of your recyclables.
  • Ensure you have a well-documented audit trail and regular reviews of your waste management system.

You're running out of time to ensure compliancy by 1st January 2015 so we urge swift action!! Just call 0845 217 8995 or email info@greenbuying.co.uk and we'll help you.

by M Roper | 13 November 2014

GreenBuying.co.uk Recycling Presentation at Droitwich Spa High School

Calendar Posted 12 November 2014 | Feed Icon | Calendar 0 Comments

GreenBuying.co.uk has a dual mission – first to inform, and then to provide practical help for buyers who seek to procure supplies in a way that does least harm to the environment. We do of course sell products via our webshop, but that’s not where it starts and ends. We believe that too many buyers are not considering the environmental impact of their activities, partly due to lack of knowledge, partly due to a misconception that buying “green” products necessarily cost more money. We also recognise that there are other ways in which organisations can help the environment – by encouraging recycling (using our recycling bins), by encouraging the re-use of waste materials (hence ScrapShop.co.uk – our free to use waste exchange)

That’s why, when we were recently invited to make a presentation on “The importance of Recycling” during an assembly for Year 8’s at Droitwich Spa High School in Worcestershire, we jumped at the chance! The invite came from Mrs Whitehouse, Head of Year 8, who had previously been aware of GreenBuying.co.uk as a customer. The school has previously purchased recycling bins from the website.

We spent a quarter of an hour talking to the whole of Year 8 about the impact on the environment of throwing rubbish into landfill. We gave them some amazing facts to consider - for example, did you know that the amount of rubbish thrown away by homes in the UK every day is enough to fill 190 Olympic sized swimming pools and weighs as much as 12,000 elephants!

We finished the presentation by examining ways in which the children and staff at the school can improve their recycling practices. Droitwich Spa are well advanced in their thinking about recycling but we know that many schools have yet to take the initiative and get everyone involved to reduce landfill waste.

Says Mrs Whitehouse "It was great having Matt and Hattie from GreenBuying.co.uk in school to reinforce the message of the importance of recycling in our school. The children were given interesting facts and information about recycling and also good advice about how they could do more. They were encouraged to believe that every small step adds up to make a big difference to our environment."

Would YOUR school like our recycling presentation?

If your school is located within 100 miles of Cheltenham and you would like us to come and deliver our recycling presentation at an assembly, please email us at info@greenbuying.co.uk

by Hattie Burton | 12 November 2014