Here at GardenSite we’re committed to being green and we are always looking at ways in which we can improve.
This could be reducing the electricity usage in our offices, using less plastic and new packaging materials in our dispatch warehouse, using delivery couriers who offer greener emissions on their vehicles or ensuring that the products we sell are produced responsibly.
Recycling the World One Box at a Time
It sometimes feels like we’re trying to recycle the world because there is no end to what you can recycle or reuse if you put your mind to it.
Cardboard boxes and packaging material from the thousands of products we receive most probably presents our biggest opportunity for recycling, although it does take some time and organisation to process and ensure that as much as possible gets recycled.
Where possible, we try to reuse any clean cardboard boxes for our customer orders as well as reusing previously received packaging material, and this ranges from packing chips to scrunched up paper or bubble wrap.
Any cardboard which we can’t reuse ourselves is recycled by SnatchPac Ltd, a local transport company who supply our warehouse with stillage bins which we fill up with flattened cardboard. This service is offered completely free to us, as it’s SnatchPac own mission to recycle cardboard in order to create brand new products and many more fresh new boxes from reprocessing the old ones.
All used paper goes through a cross-cut shredder which generates a lot of shredded paper, this then gets a second life as we will use it as packaging inside cardboard boxes when we are dispatching smaller, more delicate items. Even the used cardboard egg trays from our on-site coffee shop, The Garden Room, are re-used as packaging!
Our senior partner Robert Hall’s favourite example of recycling is our mutual arrangement with a local foam cutting company, who allow us to collect all of the offcuts which they cannot use and would normally go to landfill. We then use these foam offcuts as packing inside boxes and to wrap delicate items on pallets, it’s a win-win for both of us and the environment!
There’s Wood and Then There’s Good Wood
As you’ve no doubt seen, we sell a lot of timber products on GardenSite from sheds and greenhouses to fencing and outdoor furniture, and we like to know that the wood being used comes from managed plantations and forests.
We are pleased to say that the vast majority of our wooden products are crafted with timber sourced from responsible, sustainable and certified sources. Our major brands including Forest, Zest and Rowlinson are all FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified. That means that the wood used in a specific product has a recorded supply chain, with a history that can be tracked back to the sustainable forest where the timber came from. Through this scheme, when one tree is chopped down, at least one or in many cases multiple new trees are planted in its place..
Now, we can’t say that 100% of the wood used in all of our products qualifies as FSC certified, but we are working with and encouraging all of our suppliers to do so in order to create a better, more sustainable world for tomorrow.
Lowering the Voltage with Electricity
Within GardenSite offices we’re always conscious about electricity and wasting it. We don’t just power save, we turn off. At the end of the day or when a computer or room isn’t being used, we don’t just put electrical equipment into sleep mod, we physically turn off all the lights, heaters, air conditioners and computers.
During the brighter summer months, we may not even turn the lights on at all! If sunlight is flooding into our offices, it’s not uncommon to witness our employees not having turned the lights on at all. And it makes sense, as who needs artificial light when we have the power of the sun brightening up our working day?
The amount of electrical equipment we throw away is increasing by around 5% each year, making it the fastest growing waste stream in the UK. Regulations came into force in 2007 to encourage people to recycle old electrical products rather than throwing them away. You can see more information about the government-backed WEEE scheme here.
We are pleased to offer our customers the chance to recycle their old like-for-like electrical items when purchasing a new item from us. No longer used/working electrical products can either be taken back to one of our premises for recycling or we can offer a collection service for a small charge. The small charge covers the cost of administration and collection/transport, not for the recycling of the goods.
With over 12,000 products, hundreds of blogs, articles and help guides online, GardenSite has a large presence in the virtual world as well as in the physical. Staying online is maintained by our hosting provider, which uses servers and data centres, which all consume power to run non stop 24/7.
However, our chosen hosting provider doesn’t rely on traditional carbon fuel to power and run their data centres and servers, but choose to run entirely on a mix of renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and water (water turbines). They've been certified to only use 100% renewable power sources.
Partnered with ParcelForce and Their Eco-Start Vans
For many of our less bulky goods such as pond products, aquariums and water features we’re partnered with ParcelForce to deliver customer orders on our behalf. ParcelForce's delivery fleet includes over 1,100 vans that incorporate eco-start (stop/start) technology. This automatically cuts out the van’s engine when stationary (at traffic lights or in traffic etc), lowering the use of petrol/diesel and reducing carbon emissions.
They’re also trialling electric and hybrid vehicles and aerodynamic trailers and continue to review their commercial vehicles to ensure that they’re as environmentally friendly as possible. You can see more about ParcelForce’s environmental programme here.
Does Being Green Come At A Cost?
As the saying goes, ‘time is money’. With recycling and reusing, time is definitely money, but the money is savings, not extra expenditure. You’d think that the additional logistics and organisation with going green could easily be too costly and seen as a reason not to be green, but we don’t see it that way.
Senior partner Robert Hall states:
“Any extra costs that we occur as a company are easily offset by the free benefits that we get back by recycling and being more efficient. It also creates a more inclusive feel-good factor amongst those that work in our organisation to know that we care as a company as they do as individuals. We only have one world and we all share it.”.
Can We Do More?
Of course, we can, which is one reason we have written this policy so that we can carry on doing all of the green things which we already do while tracking and thinking up new incentives which can be implemented in the future.
One such recent idea came from Lauren in our IT department, who sent out an internal company notice on behalf of a local zoo. They were looking for donations of any old blankets and towels that could be reused by the orangutans and chimpanzees, as they like to play, cuddle and wrap themselves up to keep warm in the winter months. Lauren has ended up with almost ten black bags full of old textiles donated from our employees which would have most likely been sent to landfill, but instead, the animals at the zoo can now enjoy! Who could resist a green idea like that?