As winter draws in and nights start to get colder the sight of the gritting vehicles out patrolling the streets will become a common sight. As they make their way up and down the roads and around the car parks and paths some will be wondering effect the gritting process has on the environment.
Both the Environment Agency and the Highways Agency have undertaken numerous studies looking into the effect of salt spreading on the environment. They looked at what happens when the salt interacts with plants and wildlife on road verges and what happens when it gets washed into rivers and waterways. Click nationwide gritting services to find our more information.
Rock salt is the major de-icing agent used on roads in the UK. It can contribute to elevated levels of sodium and chloride in nearby waters when applied to the road service quickly followed by rainfall. However, sampling from streams in spring and found no evidence of significant impact on wildlife. The concentration of salt in the water was not high enough to cause significant long-term damage.
Salt gets into the water as the ice melts; as such the salt has already been partially diluted before it even enters the waterway. Add to this the fact that during the winter months, when salt is being spread, it is unlikely that rivers and streams will be running low (typically experienced in summer months). Actually it is more likely that winter rainfall will mean the waterways are running high enabling more dilution of the salt.
Despite this, gritting contractors are still looking for ways to reduce their salt usage. There are many ways they are going about this. Some are investing in better hoppers that can control the amount of salt that gets laid down, cutting down on over gritting. Some are also looking at using water or agricultural by-products that can be mixed with the salt reducing the overall amount needed making for a more economical service.
Gritting vehicle emissions will also have an impact on the overall sustainability of the gritting process. The gritting process by its very nature relies heavily on its fleet of vehicles. Therefore contractors should be looking at any ways they can reduce their CO2 emissions. Ensure they use good scheduling tools to make sure the routs are as short as possible. Many now use vehicle tracking tools to gather data on distance travelled, using this to inform their rout planning.
We must also remember that there is an environmental impact from the salt production method itself. There are two types of salt commonly used for gritting; rock salt and marine salt. As rock salt requires extensive mining in order to be obtained there will inevitably be some impact on the environment. Large earth moving equipment is used to extract the rock salt, which inevitably produces CO2. Also, as with any form of mining, there are possible risks including erosion, formation of sinkholes and loss of biodiversity. However, when managed correctly the risks can be reduced greatly. For example, the Winsford rock salt mines (the largest salt mines in the UK) is very stable and every tunnel mined is still intact – and there are over 160 miles of tunnels!
The great thing about marine salt production is that, unlike with rock salt, there is no mining involved and therefore none of the associated environmental impacts. Marine salt is manufactured by evaporating the water from brine. Although there are no immediate effects in obtaining the brine, the evaporation process requires the use of heat energy, which again produces some CO2 emissions. The vacuum process makes sure that the process is as efficient as it can be to minimise the effect the process has on the environment. Whilst both of these processes require energy input, neither is considered to be excessive and manufacturers look to maximise their energy efficiency wherever possible.
You should always consider the overall energy impact of the gritting process when considering your winter maintenance needs. Even though the environmental impact is minimal there are things contractors can do to ensure these are reduced further. Whether that is through their gritting methods, vehicle emissions or the process by which their salt is produced.
Livery Services: Mother Nature Needs You to Invest in an Eco-Friendly Fleet
In the United Kingdom, fleet vehicles make up most of the traffic traveling our roadways. If there’s one area of the transportation sector environmentalists should be focusing on, it’s the way we move goods, services and people around the empire.
Businesses that operate a fleet of vehicles need to realize the environmental impact of their service, and the opportunities available to help them lower their operating costs, while saving mother nature.
A green fleet is much cheaper to operate – both because of lower petrol consumption and government grants and tax benefits.
Let’s take a closer look at the things your company is unnecessarily spending money on every year due to an old, dirty fleet of polluters.
Vehicle Taxes on Polluters vs. Environmentally Friendly Fleets
If you want to operate your commercial van on public roads, you’re going to have to pay a VED, or Vehicle Excise Duty. The total fee assessed for this is based on the age of your vehicle, not how much you drive it. This is important, because an idle fleet of polluters can be just as costly as a fleet of green vehicles that produce value for your company.
Vans that were built after 1 March 2001 were taxed either £132 every six months, or £240 annually. This rate is effective per the TC39 VED tax code. There are exceptions to this rate.
For example, if your van is classified as a Euro 4 van, and was manufactured between 1 March 2003 and 31 December 2006, TC36 VED tax code applies to you. The six-month rate is £77, or £140 annually.
For older vans, manufactured prior to 1 March 2001, your tax rate is based on the size of the engine. Vans with engines less than 1549cc are charged £82.50 every six months, or £150 annually. Old vans with larger engines must pay £134.75 every six months, or £245 annually.
Euro 4 vans are the cheapest to operate from a tax perspective. Why? Because they were fitted with specialized filters that help to reduce the amount of dangerous pollutants that make it into earth’s atmosphere. You enjoy the tax savings year-after-year by operating these vehicles.
It really is economically more affordable to operate a green fleet.
Petrol Costs – Another Reason to Think Green to Save Green
The cost of petrol is heavily impacted by our environment. When Britain is thrashed by stormy weather due to global warming, or oil production is impacted by environmental disasters, the cost of filling up skyrockets.
At the time of this writing, petrol is £1.16 per liter, and diesel is £1.18 per liter. There are forecasts from reliable agencies that see the price continuing to rise in the near future, passing price points not seen since 2014.
Regardless of the speculative nature of future fuel prices, the fact remains that vehicles that use less fuel save their operators money every time the wheels turn.
As an alternative, many companies are heavily investigating and testing all-electric and hybrid alternatives for a greener, more economical fleet. As an example, the Nissan Leaf is one of the most popular all-electric vehicles – and it’s a fantastic choice for transporting people or smaller cargo payloads to residential destinations. The total cost to charge a Nissan Leaf, using current electrical vehicle charging technology, is just £3.64 to go from empty to full charge.
That’s a HUGE savings over filling a petrol tank. And with the prevalence of fast-charge locations, it’s possible to go from zero to empty in just 30 minutes.
In conclusion, there are many ways to save on fleet operation costs. And by investing in a more efficient fleet, you’ll be doing your part to save the environment. Both tax incentives and lower operating costs make green fleets a no-brainier for serious fleet operators throughout the United Kingdom.
5 Eco-friendly Appliance Maintenance Tips
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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