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World Of Books – The Recycling Company Saving 25,000 Tonnes Of Books From Landfill Each Year

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World of Books, a market- leading ‘circular economy’ technology business for used books, has attracted a £13m majority stake investment from Bridges Sustainable Growth Fund III, which is managed by specialist sustainable and impact investor Bridges Ventures (“Bridges”).

Founded by a group of book-loving entrepreneurs in 2002, World of Books has been a pioneer in the re- use and recycling of books that might otherwise go to landfill – which is one of the biggest contributors to carbon emissions in the UK. World of Books works with charity shops and recycling merchants to collect and buy used books, while also buying unwanted books directly from consumers through its proprietary Ziffit ‘scan and send’ app. The unique technology platform it has developed over the last decade enables it to re-sell as many of these books as possible (via its own website and others such as Amazon and eBay); while the rest are recycled to make corrugated cardboard packaging and newsprint. This allows World of Books to offer over 2m high-quality, low-cost used books for sale to a global customer base – while also reducing carbon emissions.

Charity shops have to dispose of an estimated 50,000 tonnes of unsold books every year. Previously they had to pay for these to be taken away via trade waste collections, a large portion of which would end up in landfill. World of Books now buys and processes more than 25,000 tonnes of these books, working with over 3,700 charity shops across the UK. Its investment in technology has turned what was once a significant cost for charities into an additional source of income – equivalent to an economic benefit of £11m in the last five years alone.

In the UK, the online used book market is worth c. £200m pa – c. 10% of the total book sales market – and is growing at about 15% pa. Roughly one in three books sold in the UK are second-hand, and research suggests that this figure might be higher if there was a broader selection of books available. World of Books aims to take advantage of this growth opportunity by continuing to expand its inventory, and through further investment in its infrastructure and networks.

Stephen Boobyer will lead this new chapter of the company’s growth as Chief Executive Officer. He will be supported by three of the company’s co-founders: Simon Downes, who has been promoted to Chief Technology Officer, Mike Laundon, who will continue to run the company’s rare books division (World of Rare Books) and Ben Maxfield (Operations Director). Bridges will also work with Stephen to make further appointments to the senior executive team over the coming months. All existing shareholders have rolled over part of their investment alongside the new investment from Bridges.

Chairman Kenneth Blair and co-founder Arthur Maxfield will transition from their current executive roles over the next 6-12 months. However, they will remain actively involved with the business as non-executive directors, so World of Books can continue to benefit from their strategic insight and industry expertise. Bridges Partner Oliver Wyncoll and Investment Director James Hurrell (who together led the investment on the firm’s behalf) will join the World of Books board, while an experienced non-executive chairman will be appointed in due course.

Spectrum Corporate Finance advised shareholders and acquisition debt was provided by Clydesdale Yorkshire Banking Group.

Stephen Boobyer, CEO of World of Books, said:
“We chose Bridges as an investor because we felt they shared our values, understood our sector and our vision of what World of Books can achieve in the future. We hope to draw on the experience of Oliver, James and the wider Bridges team to keep building the business and maximising growth – but also to help us develop the way we think and talk about our existing and future impact as a business.”

Oliver Wyncoll, Partner at Bridges Ventures, commented:
“Sustainable living is a key focus for Bridges, so we’re hugely excited to invest in World of Books. Its pioneering technology-driven circular economy model is not only incredibly impactful, particularly in terms of reducing waste and carbon emissions; it also directly benefits charities and provides the business with a market-leading position in a growing sector. There are many attractive growth opportunities open to the business, and we look forward to working with Stephen, his team and the rest of the board to identify the most attractive options and help them execute their plans – while continuing to maximise the company’s social and environmental impact.”

Guy Stamp, Director, Specialist and Acquisition Finance at Clydesdale Bank PLC, commented:
“World of Books is a clear market leader with a strong management team and proven track record. We are privileged to play a part in their unfolding story and look forward to supporting the business in its next stage of growth.”

Environment

5 Eco-friendly Appliance Maintenance Tips

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Shutterstock Photos - By Punyhong | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/punyhong

Modern day society is becoming ever more conscious about the effects of human consumption on the environment & the planet.

As a collective, more people are considering taking action to positively counteract their environmental footprint. This is accomplished by cutting down on water consumption, recycling and switching from plastic to more sustainable materials. Although most people forget about the additional things that can be done at home to improve your individual eco footprint.

Appliances, for example, can be overlooked when it comes to helping the environment, despite the fact they are items which are found in every household, and if they are not maintained effectively they can be detrimental to the environment. The longer an appliance is used, the less of an impact it has on the environment, so it is essential for you to keep them well maintained.

If you’re considering becoming more eco-conscious, here are 5 handy appliance maintenance tips to help you.

Don’t Forget to Disconnect From Power First

General maintenance of all your appliances start with disconnecting them from power; microwaves, washing machines and ovens all use residual energy when plugged in, so it’s essential to unplug them.

Disconnecting the plugs can help keep them in their best condition, as it ensures no electrical current is running through them whilst they are supposed to be out of use. Additionally, this can help you save on energy bills. By doing this you are minimising your energy footprint.

Here we break down 4 tips to keep the most popular household appliances maintained.

Eco-Friendly Oven Maintenance

Ovens generally require very little maintenance, although it is essential to stay on top of cleaning.

A simple task to make sure you don’t have any issues in the future is to check the oven door has a tight seal. To do this ensure the oven is cold, open the oven door and use your hands to locate the rubber seal. You can now feel for any tears or breaks. If any have occurred simply replace the seal. More oven tips can be read here.

Eco-Friendly Refrigerator Maintenance

When keeping a fridge in good condition, don’t forget about exterior maintenance. Refrigerator coils, although an external fixture, can cause damage when overlooked.

Refrigerator coils can be found either at the front or rear of a fridge (check you user manual if you are unsure of its location). These tend to accumulate various sources of dust and dirt over a substantial time-period, which clog refrigerator coils, causing the refrigerator to have to work twice as hard to stay cool. An easy tip to solve this is to periodically use a vacuum to get rid of any loose dirt.

Eco-Friendly Washing Machine Maintenance

Most people tend to remember the basics tasks for maintaining a washing machine, such as not to overload the machine, not to slam the door and to ensure the washing machine is on a solid and level platform.

In addition, it is necessary to routinely do a maintenance wash for your washing machine. This means running an empty wash on the highest temperature setting and letting it complete a full wash to erase any build up and residue. You should repeat this task at least once a month.

Try to schedule this task around your bulk wash load times to save on water consumption.

This will help keep your washing machine in peak working condition.

Eco-Friendly Dishwasher Maintenance Tips

Dishwasher maintenance can be simple if implemented after every wash cycle.

To keep your best dishwasher hygiene standards, scrape away excess food whilst making sure to keep the filter at the bottom of the cavity empty between cycles. This simple task can be highly effective at preventing food build up from occurring in your dishwasher.

If you need additional tips or tasks you, can reference your manufacturer’s guidebook to check for a full breakdown. You can also head to Service Force’s extensive database of repair and maintenance manuals – including extensive troubleshooting guides for all of the critical appliance maintenance procedures.

In conclusion, you can save both money and energy by keeping your appliances in peak condition. The steps outlined in this guide will help us all preserve the environment and reduce industrial waste from discarded appliances.

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Environment

Two Ancient Japanese Philosophies Are the Future of Eco-Living

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Eco-Living
Shutterstock Photos - By Syda Productions | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/dolgachov

Our obsession with all things new has blighted the planet. We have a waste crisis, particularly when it comes to plastic. US scientists have calculated the total amount of plastic ever made – 8.3 billion tons! Unfortunately, only 9% of this is estimated to have been recycled. And current global trends point to there being 12 billion tons of plastic waste by 2050.

However, two ancient Japanese philosophies are providing an antidote to the excesses of modern life. By emphasizing the elimination of waste and the acceptance of the old and imperfect, the concepts of Mottainai and Wabi-Sabi have positively influenced Japanese life for centuries.

They are now making their way into the consciousness of the Western mainstream, with an increasing influence in the UK and US. By encouraging us to be frugal with our possessions, (i.e. using natural materials for interior design) these concepts can be the future of eco-living.

What is Wabi-Sabi and Mottainai??

Wabi-Sabi emphasizes an acceptance of transience and imperfection. Although Wabi had the original meaning of sad and lonely, it has come to describe those that are simple, unmaterialistic and at one with nature. The term Sabi is defined as the “the bloom of time”, and has evolved into a new meaning: taking pleasure and seeing beauty in things that are old and faded. 

Any flaws in objects, like cracks or marks, are cherished because they illustrate the passage of time. Wear and tear is seen as a representation of their loving use. This makes it intrinsically linked to Wabi, due to its emphasis on simplicity and rejection of materialism.

In the West, Wabi-Sabi has infiltrated many elements of daily life, from cuisine to interior design. Specialist Japanese homeware companies, like Sansho, source handmade products that embody the Wabi-Sabi philosophy. Their products, largely made from natural materials, are handcrafted by traditional Japanese artisans – meaning no two pieces are the same and no two pieces are “perfect” in size or shape.

Mottainai

Mottainai is a term expressing a feeling of regret concerning waste, translating roughly in English to either “what a waste!” or “Don’t waste!”. The philosophy emphasizes the intrinsic value of a resource or object, and is linked to hinto animism, the notion that all objects have a spirit, or ‘kami’. The idea that we are part of nature is a key part of Japanese psychology.

Mottainai also has origins in Buddhist philosophy. The Buddhist monastic tradition emphasizes a life of frugality, to allow us to concentrate on attaining enlightenment. It is from this move towards frugality that a link to Mottainai as a concept of waste can be made.

How have Wabi-Sabi and Mottainai promoted eco living?

Wabi-Sabi is still a prominent feature of Japanese life today, and has remained instrumental in the way people design their homes. The ideas of imperfection and frugality are hugely influential.

For example, instead of buying a brand-new kitchen table, many Japanese people instead retain a table that has been passed through the generations. Although its long use can be seen by various marks and scratches, Wabi-Sabi has taught people that they should value it because of its imperfect nature. Those scratches and marks are a story and signify the passage of time. This is a far cry from what we typically associate with the Western World.

Like Wabi Sabi, Mottainai is manifested throughout Japanese life, creating a great respect for Japanese resources. This has had a major impact on home design. For example, the Japanese prefer natural materials in their homes, such as using soil and dried grass as thermal insulation.

Their influence in the UK

The UK appears to be increasingly influenced by thes two concepts. Some new reports indicate that Wabi Sabi has been labelled as ‘the trend of 2018’. For example, Japanese ofuro baths inspired the project that won the New London Architecture’s 2017 Don’t Move, Improve award. Ofuro baths are smaller than typical baths, use less water, and are usually made out of natural materials, like hinoki wood.

Many other UK properties have also been influenced by these philosophies, such as natural Kebony wood being applied to the external cladding of a Victorian property in Hampstead; or a house in Lancaster Gate using rice paper partitions as sub-dividers. These examples embody the spirit of both philosophies. They are representative of Mottainai because of their use of natural resources to discourage waste. And they’re reflective of Wabi-Sabi because they accept imperfect materials that have not been engineered or modified.

In a world that is plagued by mass over-consumption and an incessant need for novelty, the ancient concepts of Mottainai and Wabi-Sabi provide a blueprint for living a more sustainable life. They help us to reduce consumption and put less of a strain on the planet. This refreshing mindset can help us transform the way we go about our day to day lives.

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