Archive for the ‘Environmental Awareness’ Category

Re-Using is Key to Eco Renovation

Humans all over the world are waking up to the fact that, as a species, we live in an unsustainable manner. The vast dependence on finite resources, the throw-away culture; none of it can be sustained permanently, and a breaking point is sure to come at some point in the not-so-far off future. Now this is no harbinger of the end of the world, but simply the world as we know it. Humans are incredibly resourceful, and many are already working on ways to rid us of our dependence on fossil fuels.

land fillOne factor that remains though is the throw away culture in which an item is disposed of, not because it is broken, but simply because it is not needed right now. One way in which we can all individually combat this is to re-use and re-purpose those things that would otherwise be thrown away. Furniture is one of the most expensive items that we buy, and yet many still see them as disposable items and regularly replace them. There are several ways to repurpose your fittings and ensure that less of it finds its way to a landfill.

A great way is to simply spruce it up; whether it’s a loose table leg or a tattered chair, it is a simple and rewarding undertaking to fix this furniture yourself. Simply tightening the fixings or replacing them is a cheap way to get them back to working condition. If it is the aesthetic of these items that is worse for wear, or they are simply no longer attractive, then why not re-finish or recover them? Purchasing a vibrant and fun replacement fabric from Sew Scrumptious can give those old fashioned chairs a new lease of life and make them a real design feature.

If you are looking to buy new furniture rather than replace it, then there are several suppliers out there that are committed to responsibly sourcing the materials they use. This approach creates some truly interesting pieces. For example, www.freerangedesigns.co.uk create beautiful pieces such as their storytelling chairs. With hugely attractive pieces being made from 100% reclaimed and repurposed materials, it helps you to know that you are doing your part to lessen waste.recycled table

For those that are not overly practical, the idea of rejuvenating their furnishings can be daunting; and indeed there are some jobs that are best left to the professionals. Repair specialists and French polishers will be able to breathe fresh life into your ageing and damaged items. Many will even help to customise your furnishings, and work with you to get something truly special from those items that have lost their appeal.

When you next come to renovate your home why not try to re-purpose old stuff and buy from responsible suppliers? This will ensure that you can rest easy in the knowledge that your home is that little bit more friendly to its surroundings.

Keep Reading →

Environmentally Friendly Farming

In the UK farming takes up to 74% of land and has a massive impact on the environment each year. Britain’s beautiful farmland has shaped the landscape making it picturesque. Unfortunately, industrial agriculture on large scales has also caused a substantial amount of damage to the British countryside such as water pollution, soil erosion and, the habitats of wildlife. The cause of most of these problems has been the overuse of poisonous pesticides and incredibly intensive farming techniques. As a farmer it is important to be as environmentally friendly as possible, here are a couple of aspects to take into consideration. So how can you ensure an environmentally friendly farm?

Avoid Pesticides

Pesticides can cause a great amount of problems for wildlife that live naturally in the countryside. You can prevent this problem by ‘going organic’ and avoiding using artificial chemical fertilisers. Not only will this work to protect the environment, your produce will be of a much higher value. To legally become an ‘organic farmer’ you need to be certified by organic inspection and certification bodies. The Soil Association can provide you with all the information you need to know about how to become an organic farmer.

Keeping Live Stock

One of the largest problems for farmers is keeping their animals well fed throughout winter. Buying produce to feed livestock when plants and crops are not in abundance can be incredibly expensive and also cause a lot of refuse. Farmers can avoid this by using and creating their own silage; this is a natural product that is created in essence by pickling grass. RE Buildings are leading providers of agricultural buildings including both open and closed silage clamps.

Specialists such as BCW Agriculture, have seen a rise in farmers taking advantage of their services throughout Wales. Farm specialists can assist you if you want to maximise the potential of your farm with advice on crop production and animal health. Keep your animals in good health with dairy hygiene products.

Eco-friendly Equipment

Another way to ensure that your farm is eco friendly is by using certified, environmentally friendly farmland equipment such as the Grassland Aerators that require minimum horsepower from Ritchie Agricultural. Where possible you should always try to use eco friendly fuel, understandably as a farmer you need your machinery to be as efficient and cost effective as possible.

If you’re farming on a budget, you can always choose to purchase used farm machinery. This decreases the demand for new machines to be made, therefore saving energy, and it means that older or unwanted machines are re-used instead of being scrapped or left to degrade. Cornthwaite Agricultural source and supply used tractors and combine harvesters in good condition. If you have a used combine that you wish to get rid of, instead of scrapping it, Cornthwaite can purchase it off you and therefore the vehicle parts aren’t wasted or damage the environment during decomposition.

Going green is incredibly important to modern day farming; it not only keeps Britain’s picturesque aesthetic, it provides high quality produce that has a higher value – especially of you choose to go organic.

Keep Reading →

The Future of the Green Economy in the UK

Green EconomyThe global food economy is one of the most complex systems in the world in spite of its primary importance to our existence. The green economy in the UK includes not only farming but forestry projects and natural redevelopment. British farmers are frequently struggling to obtain fair prices for the products.

As a result, UK farmers often wind up dependent on European subsidies but potentially this only compounds the problem by failing to deal with underlying causes. To create a sustainable green economy, we must look to several sectors at once. As is often the case, a hybrid approach may work more effectively than a drive towards a single response.

Modern Farming

From farming associations putting pressure on big supermarkets to trade fairs attempting to drum up fresh interest in farming, the UK industry has a vibrant and dynamic culture. For the latest in farming news and a welcome chance to meet other farmers and agricultural suppliers, the Great Yorkshire Show is a great place to go. In its 155th year, the festival covers everything from clothing to conservation, machinery to market stalls. For many farmers, this is a place only to browse as their methods do not necessitate new tractors or the latest in country fashion. Frugal farmers should look at the used tractors offered by Cornthwaite AG for the same performance with a recession-friendly price tag.

The Independent reports how organic farming in the UK fell to its lowest level in the last year as the financial crisis meant that consumers bought less organic crops and farmers set aside less hectares of land for organic produce. For those thinking in environmental terms, this is bad news as non-organic produce puts pollutants into our streams and rivers and degrades the soil. Nonetheless, many would argue that agriculture is still at the root of a green economy as this video shows: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twGev010Zwc

The Other Pieces of the Puzzle

In an effort to protect the natural world for future generations, the EU earmarks subsidies for protecting wild spaces. The BBC reports how the Commission incentivises farmers who protect wildlife and aims to give them 30% of their subsidy for safeguarding pastureland. However, both in the UK and throughout Europe, groups have complained that such a one-size-fits-all approach is unworkable and unjust. Be that as it may, the implication is that our green economy is more multi-faceted than farming. The Forestry Commission has information about grants and funding opportunities for forest maintenance and expansion. Environmentalists often aim to create revenue through wildlife protection by using the spaces as educational centres. With several species of birds, insects and animals at risk through the destruction of habitat, the issue of preservation must be give some priority. This video by the UK’s beloved David Attenborough runs counter in many ways to the video above as both lobbies for the primacy of their given concern to the green economy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIknTqWNy9Y

When it comes to environmental policy making, the difficulty always comes from assessing long and short term gains against one another. With the immediate concerns of ensuring global food security and supporting existing farmers, it can be difficult to make concessions towards the future-proofing of our landscape. The loss of a species from our ecosystem is keenly felt across the board but it is difficult for us to give as much importance to this as we do to the issue of food supply for our own species. Environmentalists in the UK tend to have as many different perspectives as we have species of birds, the challenge for policy-makers is to work out which ones to listen to most keenly.

Keep Reading →

Green, Clean Scotland!

Recycling helps cut our resource usage drastically

Scotland Waste Regulations have announced their Zero Waste Scotland policies and when they say zero they certainly mean that! All business, including those in the waste industry must comply with the regulations as 100% of recyclable materials must be recycled and separated from non-recyclable waste. This is a large step up in the environmental world and some businesses aren’t particularly happy.

Shaun Weston recently posted an article in Foodbev stating shocking statistics that:

  • 32% of Scottish businesses do not have future recycling targets in place
  • 32% do not include recycling cans in their system
  • 28% of local authorities have still yet to set targets
  • 91% of business already have facilities for recycling drink cans in place

The fact simply is businesses are not putting the necessary actions into place to get the recycling to a maximum level. But Scotland wants by January 2014 the regulations in full swing and being followed with by everyone. Therefore some big changes are going have to be made in many businesses to reach the level that the Scottish Government are looking for.

But is the recession too much for businesses to take on these regulations? In May, a Scottish recycling facility had to close due to the lack of work and money to stay open. Avondale Advanced Waste Treatment is due to close despite the regulations being put in place. The money to run the recycling facility is too much in comparison with the work load they were doing. Over 70 members of staff are losing their jobs as a result and it is evidential that the recycling industrial side of things is in decline due to the lack of recycling by many people and businesses.

Despite the lack of businesses setting their targets high for recycling in the coming years it is admirable that companies such as Buchannan Skip Hire have taken a green attitude to the world of waste in Scotland. They evidently have taken a ‘hands on’ approach to the recycling laws and regulations, especially as being in the waste industry. If they can do it, working with a large amount of waste, there simply is no excuse for the smaller business.

Simple things can be done to improve your recycling in your business. Buy in bins that are clearly marked, ‘recyclable materials’ and ‘all other waste’. Express to your employer and employees the importance of the recycling matter and in the grand scale of things, you are making your country, Scotland a better place.

Keep Reading →

Double Standards

Have you ever thought about replacing all the windows in your house? It’s not something that you generally think about but if you’ve never replaced your windows, or you’ve just moved into a new place, why would you start thinking about it now? We rarely see profit in spending a lot on something that already serves its purpose, no matter the age. Your windows provide a layer of protection and allow you to see in and out: that’s as far as some people consider their windows. For those people, what they don’t know could be costing them hundreds of pounds a year.

As any child knows from the age of 8 onwards, windows serve more purpose than decoration. A good 20% of heat generated in the house is lost through the windows alone, never mind what other precautions you take to cut down on energy bills. The environmental benefits of replacing your windows, as outlined by Envirosash here, are manifold, though I’m sure your main priority will be saving money.

I found the following video on the FAB Systems Ltd site while I was researching the standards of installation companies who specialize in double glazing. FAB are particularly good when it comes to identifying which rooms in the house need their windows upgrading to energy saving windows. The conservatory is the main contender for most homes, so you might want to think about having some of this Planitherm glass as a replacement:

 

I’m not entirely sure you’ll be inviting your friends round just to show off your new windows, but renovating your conservatory is certainly something to consider seriously. With summer on our doorstep it only makes sense to make the most of the sunshine and save as much energy as possible.

A post here from Double-Glazing Info (an extremely helpful site in this case) eliminates some of the myths surrounding window replacements including whether you need planning permission, or how to reduce condensation build up. There is no reason to consider replacing your windows until you see the benefits and eliminate the myths.

If you remain unconvinced, this post in Yahoo Voices should give you 9 more reasons to consider renovating those old, stained and cracked windows, and investing in something that will pay for itself within a very short time. If you’re struggling to find an excuse as to why you should redecorate a part of the house, just take a look at the condition of your conservatory and ask yourself how much you might be losing.

Keep Reading →