Want to help us save the planet?
If there’s anything the current pandemic has taught us, it’s how powerless we can be in the face of nature. But while the globe was on lockdown some positive things happened too. Being forced apart brought many families, friends, and communities closer together. We became more aware of our own health, and our responsibilities to look after each other’s health. We’ve pulled together, and supported each other, and while the lockdown was at its height, we also saw how quickly the natural world started to repair. With fewer cars on the roads, planes in the sky, and ships in the sea, pollution, the rate of carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases plummeted. Air and water quality dramatically improved. Plants, fish, animals and other wildlife even began to return to regions where they hadn’t been seen in decades.
Unfortunately, though, there was a downside.
Because we’d been told to stay at home, a lot of us ordered takeaway food and used delivery services to buy our household essentials. Because online ordering was sometimes the only option available to many people, it increased the use of plastic packaging that can’t be recycled. A lot of the packaging inside that packaging was unnecessary, too! How many of us have ordered a small item over the internet and had it delivered in a massive box filled with polystyrene chips or half a dozen airbags?
And, perhaps worst of all, as soon as each country’s lockdown ended the pollution and carbon emission levels quickly returned to normal. In some places, like China, they’ve even surpassed what’s usual.
So, here’s today’s question: what could each of us do to make things better?
At Oliver Lamps, we’ve always taken our corporate and environmental responsibilities very seriously. Back in 2015, all the United Nation’s Member States adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (usually known as the Global Goals or SDG’s) to tackle issues like climate change, poverty, and gender equality by encouraging all of us to act more sustainably and responsibly. The SDG’s are something all businesses, no matter how big or small they are, have been urged to follow, and one of the SDG’s we’re most passionate about at Oliver Lamps is SDG 13 – Climate Action. It’s something that everyone here is committed to, and we’d like you to think seriously about it as well.
What we can do together
At Oliver Lamps, we’re focused on energy saving and recycling.
From a saving energy perspective, using LED bulbs and smart LED lighting is one of the easiest, most eco-friendly choices you can make. LED bulbs aren’t just miles more energy-efficient than all other types of lighting, they’re safer to use, safer to dispose of, and they’ll save you a massive amount of money on your energy bill. Even though they cost a little bit more than traditional incandescent bulbs, their average lifespan is twenty times longer (the average rated life of an LED bulb is 20,000 hours, while a filament bulb lasts only 1,000 hours) and, working from an example energy rate of £0.19 kilowatt’s per hour, an LED bulb will cost only £19 over its lifetime. An incandescent bulb, however, would cost you £152 over the same period.
In terms of energy saving, we also turn off the lights when we don’t use them (we sometimes keep the lights running on our window display, but because they’re LED the energy usage is minimal), turn off computers and other appliances at the end of the day (nothing is kept on standby unless it’s necessary), and whenever an electrical item has to be replaced we always update it to an energy- efficient product where possible. We also keep a very close watch on the energy consumption in our shop and offices, and we’re always trying to look for ways more savings could be made.
At home, you could do the very same things:
• Switch to LED bulbs.
• Use smart LED lighting.
• Turn off lights when you’re not in the room.
• Turn down your thermostat (it’s estimated that almost half the money spent on energy bills is absorbed by heating and hot water costs, and turning your heating down by just one degree could save up to £80 a year.)
• Install a smart thermostat, so you can control your home’s heating more efficiently and only warm the rooms you’re using.)
• Switch off computers, TV’s and other appliances overnight, or only keep them on standby if it’s necessary for their operation.
• Don’t charge phones or tablets overnight; charge them during the day so that you can disconnect them as soon as the battery’s full.
• Only boil the water you need when you’re taking a tea or coffee break (according to British Gas, if we all only boiled the water we needed for a cup of tea, we’d save enough electricity a year to power the UK’s street lights for a month!)
• Only use the dishwasher when it’s full, and make sure it’s stacked properly.
• Wash your clothes at a lower temperature (washing at 30 degrees instead of 40 degrees will help reduce your energy usage and cutting out one wash cycle per week could take £5 off your annual energy bill.)
As a business, we recycle all our packaging and use other company’s packaging whenever we can to reduce waste. Whenever possible, we also use the carbon neutral delivery service DPDgroup to deliver our products to customers. DPD precisely measures the carbon footprint per parcel and reduces it any way they can. They also offset their remaining emissions by funding clean energy projects all around the world.
At home, you could:
• Recycle your paper and cardboard (newspapers, magazines, leaflets, boxes, etc. – but remember to remove any tape from the boxes before putting them in the recycling bin.)
• Recycle your metal cans (but clean them out beforehand because contaminated containers can’t be recycled.)
• Recycle some types of plastic (items made from PET (like water bottles), HDPE (like milk cartons and shampoo bottles) can usually be easily recycled but check with your local authority if you’re unsure.)
• Recycle textiles and unwanted clothing (maybe donate them to a charity bank at your local supermarket?)
• Instead of using plastic plates and cutlery for picnics, barbecues, etc., choose sustainable, recyclable tableware instead.
• Recycle your garden waste (talk to your local authority, who might supply you with a recycling bin especially for that purpose.)
• Recycle wood at your local recycling centre.
• Small electrical appliances can be taken to your local recycling centre.
• Batteries are considered a hazardous waste product, so be careful when disposing of them. Check if your local recycling centre will take them.
• Paint is also considered a hazardous waste product, so talk to your local authority before disposing of it. Many recycling centres won’t receive paint, but councils sometimes have a hazardous waste amnesty when they’ll temporarily accept paint and other hazardous waste items.
On the other hand, if there’s only a small amount of paint in the can, you could dry it out by adding something absorbent like sawdust or cat litter and then, once dried, put the paint can in your general waste bin.
Recycling light bulbs
At Oliver Lamps, we’ve made this one easy! If you’ve got any old light bulbs – of any type – that you don’t need anymore (including bulbs that no longer work), just bring them to our lovely shop at 26/28 Oak Street, Fakenham, and we’ll recycle them for you!
Alternatively, LED bulbs are safe to be recycled at your local recycling centre.
Compact Fluorescent Bulbs and Fluorescent Tubes must be recycled because they contain small amounts of Mercury that’s harmful if discarded in landfill.
Old-style incandescent bulbs are not recyclable and should be thrown away in your waste bin. Don’t be tempted to recycle your old light bulbs with your glass bottles and jars because they are made from a different type of glass and also contain metal parts.
We hope this blog has given you plenty to think about, and we especially hope you’ll join us in energy-saving and recycling and making our little part of the planet a cleaner, greener, healthier place to be. If you’ve got any questions about how LED lighting can help your home or business become more environmentally friendly (and save you a lot of money along the way!) please don’t hesitate to give us a call (01328 855028), drop us an email ([email protected]) or pop into the shop. It’ll be great to see or hear from you and we’re always happy to help!