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How the Coronavirus has affected the Zero Waste movement

From plastic bag charges to the promotion of reusable coffee cups, these were the steps included in the action plan for the UK public to be less wasteful. That was until 2020 hit the entire world with an unexpected health crisis, the Coronavirus.

At the beginning of March 2020, Starbucks made the decision to temporarily pause the use of personal cups or tumblers in their stores across the UK, as a precaution to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Many cafes and restaurants have made the switch to takeaway and delivery services, which too comes with its effects on the environment too. With food which would usually be served on a plate, now in takeaway packaging, and food waste rising due to unpredictable ordering patterns making it easy to prepare more food than is needed leading to an increase in food waste.

If you use an online grocery delivery service from supermarkets, you may have also noticed the plastic bag charge has been temporarily suspended by the Government and is expected to end on 21st September 2020. According to the Government, the change will speed up deliveries and reduce the risk of contamination. People have also taken it upon themselves to stop using their reusable shopping bags in stores, and start using the single-use plastic bags which they can then dispose of once they have finished with them. Indeed many delivery companies like Ocado have suspended their carrier bag takeback schemes.

For many Governments and Organisations across the world containing the virus is currently a greater priority than environmental concerns. But, no one truly knows how long these temporary changes will need to last. Can the zero waste movement survive the Coronavirus?

 

   

On demand waste collection

What to do with your waste during Covid-19

We’ve been in lockdown for some time now and with it being unknown when we will see it come to an end, more of us have been trying to keep busy by doing work around our homes. From giving the garden some TLC to giving your living room a makeover or even just having a good clear out, maybe you’ve done all of those! As we’re seeing more people getting stuck in with their DIY projects, we’re unfortunately also seeing a rise in fly-tipping up and down the country. In fact, The Countryside Alliance reports a 300% rise in fly-tipping in some areas after local authorities closed recycling centres, allowing them to concentrate on kerbside collections.

We do have a solution for you because we know how important it is to some people to keep busy during these challenging times. It’s a solution which means you don’t need to illegally dump your waste, you don’t need to stop your projects, you don’t even need to leave your home.  Our solution is our on-demand waste collection service, all you have to do is get in touch with us and we’ll come out to collect your waste. Whether you’re overflowing with rubbish, had a garage clear out, or maybe you’re looking for an alternative to a skip. Well, our man and a van collection service may be the answer for you.

We’re here to help you, no matter how out of ordinary your enquiry is for us. We have been helping people nationwide with their waste collections, and have even provided a delivery and collection service. We had someone reach out to us who couldn’t get their sofa delivered. So we arranged for one of our on-demand waste collectors to go and pick it up and then deliver it safely to their door.

Our customers are one of our top priorities and we will always do our best to support you, more so now than ever during this difficult time.

Get in touch, we’ll be happy to help.


   

Zero Waste Valentines Day Ideas

A lot of people have different opinions about Valentines Day. If you’re someone who likes to show your partner a bit more appreciation than you do any other day of the year, have you considered the effects of the waste produced? From food waste to packaging waste, it all piles up in the build-up to the one day.

So, here are our favourite ideas for a Zero Waste Valentines Day:

Homemade Meal

There’s no need to spend loads of money on a fancy meal at a posh restaurant when you can make your favourite meal at home. You can even go that extra bit further by making something tasty out of your leftovers. I know, that doesn’t sound very appetising, but Love Food Hate Waste has some great recipes made out of leftovers. You could even make a whole three-course meal. Not only will you not be contributing to food waste, but you won’t be physically going out to a restaurant, which means less Co2 emissions created by travelling to a restaurant.

A Shared Experience

Rather than spending money on chocolates, teddys, flowers, etc. Which not only contribute to the waste produced through packaging, they will most likely end up getting thrown away over time. So, why not tick something off the bucket list? Have you always wanted to go sky diving together, or perhaps there is a concert coming up that you both really want to go to. Gifting an experience is a great alternative, and will probably end up being appreciated a lot more. You don’t even need to spend loads of money either, it could be something as simple as Museum tickets.

A Break Away

Similar to a shared experience, you could plan a weekend away together. Travel via public transport such as a train to reduce your emissions, you could even go the extra mile by booking eco and sustainable accommodation.

Potted plants

Rather than gifting a bunch of flowers, which will eventually die and get thrown out, gift a potted flower or plant which you can keep alive.

Nothing

The best way to save the environment this Valentines Day? Do nothing. It’s always a big debate this time of year as to whether you should celebrate Valentines Day or not, a lot of people think it’s pointless. The opinion being that you shouldn’t need one day to show your partner you love them. What do you think, do you celebrate Valentines Day?

 

   

 

Food Waste: What happens when it’s collected?

The topic of food waste has started to pop up more and more as we are becoming increasingly concerned about the impact we have on the environment. Food waste can come from a variety of different outlets. From pubs, restaurants, cafes or food manufacturing sites, where ever it’s generated, we all have a part to play in reducing food waste.

Is separating food waste from general waste, actually worth it? Yes. Here is what happens to food waste once it’s collected, and why it’s worth separating.

What happens to food waste after it’s collected?

Food waste bins for commercial properties are around the same size as the bins we have at home. The services available are very flexible, both packaged food and uncooked food can be accepted within the collection. The bins come with a heavy-duty liner to ensure they remain clean and food waste from the prep area can be bagged and dropped into the bins at the end of the day. When these bins are collected, the truck driver will tie up the bin liner, put it straight on the collection truck, lift, tip and replace the liner when the bin has been emptied. The collections are flexible and based on the requirements of each customer.

Once the truck arrives back at the anaerobic digestion plant they tip into a specialised de-packaging area. Anaerobic digestion is the process of breaking down food waste to produce biogas and biofertiliser. During the process, bacteria break down the material and reacts to give off methane gas which is captured within the dome of the AD holding tanks. The methane is then captured and used as a fuel to power generators which feed electricity back into the National Grid. The remainder of the material can then be used as fertiliser, local farmers collect the fertiliser and spread it back onto their fields creating the perfect closed-loop approach.

It’s really important for businesses that produce food waste to consider this approach. Many waste processors are opting for energy from waste, however, leaving wet food waste in your business waste means that energy from waste facilities don’t want it. Leaving landfill as the only option even after the waste has been sorted.

Food is now a recyclable, just as card and plastics are. We pride ourselves in giving our customers a flexible service and offering a route of disposal for all materials, to suit every business need.

 

   

Inside Care Home Waste

If you follow us on social media, you may already be aware of who Dove Cottage Day Hospice is. If you don’t, then Dove Cottage Day Hospice offers high-quality palliative daycare to those with life-limiting illnesses. Flame UK has been supporting Dove Cottage by encouraging businesses and schools to collect plastic bottle tops which they send to be recycled and in return, get money.

We asked Jenny Hendry at Dove Cottage what kind of waste they produce inside their hospice, here is what she had to say:

“We have all sorts of waste to deal with at the hospice, some of which will be familiar to the regular homeowner, but also other types that present different challenges.

The bulk of our waste is the regular kind, which we split into general waste and recycling. There are separate bins in different rooms around the hospice, with signs on those in the common areas explaining what can and cannot be recycled. These bins then get emptied regularly and put into large outdoor receptacles.

The facilities that we have for our regular waste are generally okay, although we can struggle for space when we’ve hosted an event, and the bins are too full. This then has a knock-on effect as we must find somewhere to store any overflow until we have a collection. As with any organisation, you don’t want too much waste hanging around! The other thing we need to stay on top of, as an environmentally responsible organisation, is ensuring we’re recycling everything we can.

With a lot of volunteers on our books, some 250, this can sometimes mean the waste needs to be checked and sorted to ensure that everything is in the right bins, especially when things change or it’s not immediately obvious what can and cannot be recycled.

Our other type of waste, which is more specific to a care environment, is contaminated waste. This is put in yellow and black striped bags, known as ‘tiger bags’. All such waste must be disposed of correctly, which is why we need to have a clear bagging system and a storeroom for the bagged, contaminated waste. Only certain people from our nursing or cleaning team handle the contaminated waste so we can make sure everything is done correctly; we also need to ensure everyone who’s in contact with the contaminated waste wears the correct protective clothing. The hospice is a relatively big space, and we need to manage the waste efficiently and safely in and around the building. The contaminated waste then gets placed in our normal outside black bins, with the onus being on the binmen to ensure it’s correctly separated from other types.

As a hospice and a care environment, our challenge is to make sure we are always handling waste in both a safe and environmentally responsible manner.”

Our support structure and account management is very communication focused. We can provide larger waste bins, or skips on a temporary basis, increase waste bin collections frequencies, or event-specific waste services. Identifying opportunities to recycle is extremely important, and all of our customers, where possible in the country will receive zero waste to landfill options.  Some waste material must go to landfill, but limiting this is essential to the environment.  Energy from waste is our preferred method of treating non-recyclable materials. A customer that generates large volumes of waste can benefit from waste compaction, or baling of card and polythene.  This has two main benefits; reduced cost from haulage and transportation, and reduced CO2 to the atmosphere, making your site more efficient.

Flame UK can offer any advice and services to the care industry, contact us on 0115 896 5460 to discuss your waste.

 

 

Care home

How Flame UK can support Care Facilities

Managing waste and energy correctly for our Care Facility Partner is a priority to us. We share the same goals and aspirations as our Care Facility partners, ensuring you have the necessary support long term.  The nature of care is that waste is created and energy is used, but why should your business suffer.
How can Flame UK support Care Facilities?

Offensive & Clinical Waste

We understand that these waste streams are sensitive to care; we will support you to find the very best solution for your business.  We offer Orange, Tiger, Yellow and sharps waste services to suit your business and volumes.

General Waste

Do you know what items should only be disposed of as general waste? It’s polystyrene, floor sweepings, plastic bags and contaminated plastic packaging. No other type of waste should be included in your general waste. We offer a wide range of container sizes, service frequencies and technology to help reduce vehicle movements. Waste to energy is our preferred method, and we would always advise food waste be separated to lower your costs.

Food Waste

Collected as a separate waste stream, we will support you to put this in place and take advantage of lower processing costs. The food waste collected is treated and turned into energy and fertiliser.

Packaging

We can help you to become more efficient with packaging waste materials created from deliveries and food processing such as cans and plastic bottles.  We can offer you a solution that suits your business, whether that be large wheeled bins, or if your volumes are high, we can supply baling equipment.

Clearances

We can provide skips / large container or on-demand collection service for your large seasonal volumes of waste around Christmas, or clearances.  We can also offer electronic waste collections, mattress clearances and furniture clearances.

Wash Rooms

We can provide air fresheners, hand dryers, sanitary bins and services, soap dispensers or water management to help reduce your water usage. Flame UK can support you and complete a comprehensive service package.

Energy

Did you know that if you do your laundry at night, you will save money because of cheaper night tariffs? By choosing Flame UK to manage your energy, we will make sure that you know about all of the tips and tricks to saving money. Such as how you can switch to LED lights and get renewable and green energy at no additional cost, making your care home more energy-efficient.

Flame UK will ensure that you get the right contract for your care facility which is up to date with the latest energy compliance and that the supplier terms fit with your needs. You can even find out how much money you can save by using our price comparison. 

PAT Testing

PAT Testing may not be on everyone’s mind when it comes to compliance but it is crucial, not only to ensure that everyone remains safe and worry-free but to also conform with the below regulations:

  • Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974
  • The Electricity at Work Regulations of 1989
  • The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations of 1998
  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations of 1999

Electricity usage is unavoidable for care facilities, from powering lights, nurse call systems, CCTV systems, and so on. If poorly managed, it can have devastating effects.

PAT Testing involves the testing, both visual and full electrical tests, of all electrical appliances that are powered through the sockets and could cause any potential dangers. With our highly trained, professional team, Flame UK offer a reliable and cost-effective service that will ensure your business is compliant to the before-mentioned legislations.

Allow us to help you be sustainably strong in a competitive and developing market.

 

 

Food for Thought.

What happens to your food waste?

Each year the UK Produces approximately 20 million tonnes of food waste. An even more shocking statistic shows that more than 50% of this is still suitable for consumption. That is enough to feed around 30 million average UK Citizens per year. Just with the food that we throw away!

You may think that sending your food waste to landfill is a sustainable option. It is a biodegradable product, and that would make sense, right? Wrong! Once tipped in a landfill it is surrounded by nonorganic material, making it impossible to break down. On top of that, food waste releases methane gas, which is 20 times more powerful than Co2, contributing immensely to climate change. It is incredibly worrying to think that around 20% of solid waste in landfill is food waste product.

Landfill waste

What can you do?

The good news is that it is easy for you to do your bit in making a difference to not just the planet but your pocket too.

Crabs

Crabs shells

Have you ever considered the materials that are reuseable through food waste? For example, crabs. Crab shells can be reprocessed and turned in to Chitin. A plastic-type material which could, in the near future, replace plastic packaging and products.

Have you ever considered how dyes and colourants are created? Certain food types can be reused to produce colourings and flavourings, which diverts them from landfill.

 

 

The options are forever changing and evolving while we continually look for innovation within our sector and out of the box ideas for diverting your waste from landfill.