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Just Clear Wins National Environmental Award

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From reusing old duvets as dog bedding to safely recycling old televisions, an eco-friendly junk removal and house clearance specialist has recognised for its contribution to the UK’s environment.

Just Clear, a UK company that collects and recycles over 40 tonnes of people’s junk every week, have provided a nationwide eco-friendly approach to junk removal for commercial, domestic and trade clients for over eight years, Just Clear has been named Circular Economy Project of the Year at the annual BusinessGreen Leaders Awards.

Just Clear differentiates itself by ensuring all the wide array of material they collect is separated, then re-used or recycled, offering an example of circular economy thinking at its best.

Founder and MD of Just Clear, Brendan O’Shea, says: “While we have been in the business for over eight years, the fundamental goal of Just Clear over the last two years was to reach a state of zero-to-landfill from our property clearance activities, which we have now achieved.

In the last twelve months alone, Just Clear has spared over 2,000 tonnes of property clearance waste from landfill.

It hasn’t been easy – we’ve had to forge so many unique relationships, find avenues for unwanted items that others hadn’t thought of and constantly challenge ourselves to find solutions.

“The environmental and economic benefits of zero to landfill are there to be seen. We are moving things in the right direction, addressing rising landfill taxes and the rate at which they are filling up. By sparing our collected waste from the landfill, we are passing on cost savings to customers, as well as easing their conscience with the second life of their unwanted items.

“By reaching 100 per cent landfill avoidance, we are also hopefully challenging and encouraging our competitors to do the same, but we can forewarn them of the challenges. Already they will know about difficult items, such as mattresses, old TVs and tattered sofas, but they may not be aware of ways to recycling these. We found our solutions through organisations and people with common problems and common goals.”

As an example of Just Clear’s circular economy principles: a hotel in Mayfair, London, which needed a total clearance from penthouse suite down to the basement, contacted the company. Thousands of mattresses, duvets, pillows, sheets, furniture, fixtures and fittings were collected. A large portion was recycled through charities, including providing dog bedding to a local animal shelter. The waste stream was then delicately separated, with plastic and paper distributed on a daily basis through secured sustainable recycling routes. Wood went to Eddie Stobart Biomass, metal and fridges to EMR Recycling and clothes to clothing banks. The organisation also works closely with a selection of reuse networks to rehome unwanted furniture and kitchen equipment.

Traditionally the most difficult item to recycle was televisions and computers, largely due to the lead in their screens. However, in 2012, a company in Kent called Sweeep Kuusakoski, installed the world’s first leaded glass furnace to recycle cathode ray tube (CRT) glass screens. This process has no emissions, creates no waste and avoids exporting hazardous material from the UK and now recycles all Just Clear’s electronics.

Mr O’Shea adds: “To get to where we are has been difficult, but it needn’t be as hard for other businesses trying to get there as much of the leg work has already been done. The solutions we’ve pushed for will now open doors to our competitors, and we are grateful for this, as we are all in it together. When it comes to landfill avoidance, we can put business competition aside and recognise we have an environmental and social duty first and foremost.

“The key message to be learned from our activities is ‘don’t give up’. We’ve been competing against ourselves instead of watching over our shoulder. We are our own biggest rivals and we fiercely drove ourselves through education, innovation, relationship building and environmental policies to reach the golden 100 per cent landfill avoidance figure.

“We’ve found the demand for eco-friendly house clearances to be astonishing and our London based service is now inundated with enquiries from all over the UK. This should serve as strong encouragement for our competitors to consider the appeal of a greener waste stream and disposal habits.”

Highly commended in the same category for their efforts were: O2, Recycle, Refresh, Eco-rating and Refurb Project.

For more information, please visit: just-clear.co.uk

Environment

Road Trip! How to Choose the Greenest Vehicle for Your Growing Family

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Greenest Vehicle
Licensed Image by Shutterstock - By Mascha Tace -- https://www.shutterstock.com/g/maschatace

When you have a growing family, it often feels like you’re in this weird bubble that exists outside of mainstream society. Whereas everyone else seemingly has stability, your family dynamic is continuously in flux. Having said that, is it even possible to buy an eco-friendly vehicle that’s also practical?

What to Look for in a Green, Family-Friendly Vehicle?

As a single person or young couple without kids, it’s pretty easy to buy a green vehicle. Almost every leading car brand has eco-friendly options these days and you can pick from any number of options. The only problem is that most of these models don’t work if you have kids.

Whether it’s a Prius or Smart car, most green vehicles are impractical for large families. You need to look for options that are spacious, reliable, and comfortable – both for passengers and the driver.

5 Good Options

As you do your research and look for different opportunities, it’s good to have an open mind. Here are some of the greenest options for growing families:

1. 2014 Chrysler Town and Country

Vans are not only popular for the room and comfort they offer growing families, but they’re also becoming known for their fuel efficiency. For example, the 2014 Chrysler Town and Country – which was one of CarMax’s most popular minivans of 2017 – has Flex Fuel compatibility and front wheel drive. With standard features like these, you can’t do much better at this price point.

2. 2017 Chrysler Pacifica

If you’re looking for a newer van and are willing to spend a bit more, you can go with Chrysler’s other model, the Pacifica. One of the coolest features of the 2017 model is the hybrid drivetrain. It allows you to go up to 30 miles on electric, before the vehicle automatically switches over to the V6 gasoline engine. For short trips and errands, there’s nothing more eco-friendly in the minivan category.

3. 2018 Volkswagen Atlas

Who says you have to buy a minivan when you have a family? Sure, the sliding doors are nice, but there are plenty of other options that are both green and spacious. The new Volkswagen Atlas is a great choice. It’s one of the most fuel-efficient third-row vehicles on the market. The four-cylinder model gets an estimated 26 mpg highway.

4. 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

While a minivan or SUV is ideal – and necessary if you have more than two kids – you can get away with a roomy sedan when you still have a small family. And while there are plenty of eco-friendly options in this category, the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is arguably the biggest bang for your buck. It gets 38 mpg on the highway and is incredibly affordable.

5. 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Diesel

If money isn’t an object and you’re able to spend any amount to get a good vehicle that’s both comfortable and eco-friendly, the 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Diesel is your car. Not only does it get 28 mpg highway, but it can also be equipped with a third row of seats and a diesel engine. And did we mention that this car looks sleek?

Putting it All Together

You have a variety of options. Whether you want something new or used, would prefer an SUV or minivan, or want something cheap or luxurious, there are plenty of choices on the market. The key is to do your research, remain patient, and take your time. Don’t get too married to a particular transaction, or you’ll lose your leverage.

You’ll know when the right deal comes along, and you can make a smart choice that’s functional, cost-effective, and eco-friendly.

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Environment

How Climate Change Altered this Engineer’s Life

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Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Rawpixel.com -- https://www.shutterstock.com/g/rawpixel

Living the life of an engineer likely sounds pretty glamorous: you are educated and highly regarded, typically have high paying gigs, and with the breadth of knowledge and array of fields of specialty, your possibility for jobs is usually immense.  But what if there was something else that needed your attention? Something bigger than just being an engineer, going to work every day and doing the same technical tasks typically associated with the profession?

For Kevin McCroary, that is exactly how it played out.  A successful engineer, gainfully employed in a prosperous job, a simple trip to the Philippines made him see that there was a bigger issue at hand than using his engineer training in a traditional profession.  This bigger issue was that of climate change.  And working as a volunteer for underprivileged children in the Philippines, he saw first-hand the extensive pollution and poverty that existed here and that impacted the livelihood of these kids and their families.

Upon returning home, from his trip to the Philippines he had a new perspective of the impact we as individuals and as humanity have on the earth, and more than that Kevin wanted to know more.  He started to do some research and study these human-environmental interactions, and shortly thereafter ended up in Greenland.  There, he spoke to a man who had lost his home in a tsunami, and, who, through consistent weather tracking could indeed confirm that the current weather trends were “strange:” there was undeniably a general warming tendency happening in the arctic, causing an array of negative effects.

The combination of these observations, as well as his own research, led Kevin to conclude that something had to be done.  With that in mind, he launched his project Legend Bracelet.  The mission is simple: create a reminder of the legacy we are leaving behind.  As individuals and as humanity, we are leaving behind an imprint on the earth, and the magnitude of it is something that needs to be brought to the forefront of public awareness.  The idea is to have a bracelet that can serve as a daily reminder of the impact on the earth that each of us can have every day, regardless of how big or small.  The bracelet has two capsules: the first is filled with sand or earth, and the second is empty.  As the owner, you are to fill the empty one with your own earth, carrying it with you as a reminder and symbol of your connection and commitment to helping look after our environment.

We are all impacted by climate change, and we all have a responsibility to help.  And it can start with something as simple as putting on a bracelet.  Support Kevin on his Kickstarter campaign for Legend Bracelet, tell others about it, or take action in your own way and play your part in slowing down the effects of climate change.  You may think “but I’m just one person!” You are indeed.  But so is he.  Every change starts with one.

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