Our Sustainability Initiatives
We are just getting started…
To kickstart our focus on sustainability, we are taking small steps that will contribute to big improvements for our carbon footprint. As we grow and develop our initiatives, we will keep adding them to this page.
Our Quality Manager, Kevin Osgood, has also collated some important comments about general environmental concerns as well as those specifically related to EC Electronics. Be sure to have a look at these and let us know your thoughts!
Our thoughts and considerations
By Kevin Osgood, Quality Manager at EC Electronics
Deciding on the most sustainable type of Christmas tree can be tricky as many factors come into play. WWF seems a logical source of info, given that they are behind the Trillion Trees campaign.
It seems that buying an artificial tree will contribute to plastic waste and buying a real Christmas tree is more environmentally-friendly than a fake one if it’s an FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified tree (responsibly sourced).
Forestry England, who are certified by FSC suggest a ‘Grown In Britain’ brand. This avoids new tree pests and diseases hitchhiking their way into the UK on some of the tens of thousands of Christmas trees that are imported every year. By choosing a ‘Grown in Britain’ certified tree, you’ll be sure you are getting a tree grown in the UK and you’ll also be helping reduce the risk of unwanted pests spreading to this country.
A search found that last year FSC registered Norway Spruces from Forestry England were available from Forestry England sales centres in New Park, Hampshire and Queen Elizabeth Country Park, so presumably the same this year.
Comparisons between artificial and real trees seem to be based over ten years so my 2005 fake one should be fine now and there are no plans to replace it as present.
The festive season is almost upon us and if retail habits haven’t been too dampened, we will soon be out looking for presents.
It’s estimated that in the UK we use 227,000 miles of wrapping paper every single year, which averages out to about four rolls of wrapping per household and is sufficient to wrap around the planet more than 9 times. Of that huge quantity, more than 32 square miles of it goes in the bin! That’s enough to cover the City of London 28 times!
But not all wrapping paper can be recycled. Local councils can advise on local specifics but guidelines on the web suggest that very thin wrapping paper should be avoided as this contains very few quality fibres and therefore cannot be recycled. So thicker may be better but shiny foil, laminated or heavily dyed material or paper decorated with glitter may also be unrecyclable.
So this year I will be using simple brown paper, fastened with natural and biodegradable jute twine. Inexpensive, effective and there is even twine manufactured in Greater Manchester so a reduced carbon footprint too.
From the original handsewn silk tea bags of the early 1900s who would have imagined that a century later the UK alone would be consuming 36 billion cups of tea per day, 96% of which made using tea bags?
There are biodegradable tea bags on the supermarket shelves but many that aren’t and although the paper itself may decompose many of the sealants use to hold them together contain polypropylene.
So unless you choose ‘plastic-free’ bags composting the bags may add toxic chemicals to the ground.
Or how about ditching the bags altogether in favour of loose leaf tea? An internet search of uses for old teabags is mind-blowing!
It’s reported that food loss and waste account for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. We’re getting better at this in the UK, dropping from 14m tonnes to 10m tonnes per year over the past 5 years. But UK households alone still waste 4.5m tonnes of edible food annually representing around £700 per year per average household.
Without drying out teabags for use later, there are other things we can do. Sweet fruit that’s passed its best but still safe to eat, like grapes, plums and apricots, are great in pork casseroles and bananas can work well in curries, either as a vegan banana curry or with chicken.
Charge phone in the car (free energy), only boil enough water for your cup of tea. May only save a fiver a year but would you walk past that fiver on the payment without picking it up?
It is estimated that there are around 5 billion mobile devices in use globally with around half of these being smartphones. Each one needs charging with power that is being depleted every second of every day. Step back… when first old enough to go out on my own I was given two 2p coins for using in payphones if I needed to contact home. The second coin was a contingency for dialling the wrong number with the first one (my Mum was ahead of her time regarding risk management). Nowadays I awake to see what jokes, offers or news feeds some computer algorithm has decided I should be exposed to, most of which is selection of things I have already researched, therefore never challenging my views and making me believe that I am always right. Do we really benefit from this?
I recently rediscovered a photo of me standing with a musical hero of mine. The photo was taken in April 2010. What’s this got to do with clothing? Well, the shirt I am wearing is still in use and still perfect 10 years later. Yes, it’s a premium brand and I don’t wear it every day, but the point is… it’s lasted 10 years. The fashion industry must keep its wheels turning so encouraging the continual renewal of wardrobes is perhaps expected. Being able to buy throw-away items for less than a pint of beer is great in theory but at what impact on the environment? Many of our cast-offs find their way to Ghana and support a thriving trade in second-hand garments. But the low quality (low cost) products now dominating the shipments are swamping the industry which is creating huge problems with illegal dumping. The UK’s 70% recycling rate for clothes is amongst the best in the world but should we have so many any unwanted reusable clothes? Why did we buy them?
Improvements in low energy lighting technology have had a major impact on the reduction of power consumption in our day-to-day lives. But has this encouraged overuse of these breakthroughs? Count how many LEDs there are on your car dashboard, door mirrors and locks. How many of those little shining blobs burn power endlessly in our homes on routers, TVs, cookers, phones, extension leads etc. Check out your local pub… cash registers, illuminated glass-doored fridges, mobile card readers, soda taps, optics all glowing away. Even the pump badges are radiating a soft glow. Should we rethink what is necessary and stop negating some of our energy savings by excessive use of LEDs?
The Trillion Trees project aims to protect and restore one trillion trees by 2050. A great and worthwhile project indeed. The fires in Brazil and Australia must have caused a few steps backwards on this though as estimates of 10 million acres of land burnt to the ground in New South Wales alone, wiping out 30% of the koala population. Add to this the potential destruction of ancient woodland by the HS2 project and we may need to think about a much higher number than a trillion trees. The counter must be reset only when the man-made and natural destruction has been balanced.
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If you have any questions about our sustainability initiatives or would like to learn more about how we are working towards becoming a sustainable international EMS provider, get in contact with one of our friendly team today!