Companies across the length and breadth of the UK are reaping the benefits of going green.
Whether a small, local start-up printing firm in County Durham or a large multinational banking giant, grants, loans and free environmental advice are helping businesses develop new eco-friendly products, reduce their environmental impact, and cut waste – boosting their business whilst also helping to conserve the planet.
Here are a few examples of the help at hand up and down the country:
using green products
Fledgling County Durham firm Go Eco-Print used a £120,000 grant from Regional Development Agency One North East as part of an overall £400,000 package to develop their environmentally-friendly printing business.
The company used the cash to buy new printers that use water-based inks and organic toners which consume half the energy of a normal machine. It has also become the first firm in the region to install an O-CE solvent machine that can print marketing materials, such as banners, using sustainable inks.
Source: One North East
developing green products and technologies
In the East Midlands, Kettering-based engineering firm Cougar Red secured a £46,000 R&D grant from East Midlands Development Agency to work on technology to produce a revolutionary clean two-stroke motorcycle engine that can run on both petrol and bio-fuels.
The grant has enabled the company to protect the idea’s Intellectual Property, as well as product development, with the first prototype engine expected to be available within 18 months.
Up in Humberside, a government grant of £878,000 is helping Pulse Tidal Ltd to develop a prototype tidal steam generator that will extract energy from underwater currents by using 11 metre hydrofoils that hover up and down like the tail of a dolphin.
The generator will be tested in the Humber Estuary near Grimsby, and will be one of the first tidal power machines to supply electricity to the national grid. If successful, the prototype could be developed into larger units that could generate enough energy to power 70,000 homes.
Bob Adams, an experienced energy consultant, received a £30,000 loan from Yorkshire-based Business Enterprise Fund, to help with the development of a new product for the logistics market that measures the optimum energy usage for warehouses.
The system modifies the energy levels within the warehouse allowing savings on energy bills in excess of 15%. This is particularly important for logistics companies, as one of their largest overheads is energy. The loan enabled him to roll out these devices across the country for companies such as DHL and Sainsburys.
learning how to be green
Caerphilly County Borough Council took advice from government-funded environmental consultants Envirowise to slash waste and make huge improvements in energy efficiency.
Recycling at the council’s offices has been increased, helping to reduce paper and water use, whilst with the help of Envirowise’s technical support team, it has also installed a simple water conservation system that has helped cut consumption by 10%.
Improving the heating systems across the council has also helped reduce gas consumption by 11%.
Envirowise’s free advice also helped Flint-based ready meal manufacturer Headland Foods Ltd save an astonishing £350,000 on the cost of waste.
The firm has gone from recycling almost none of its waste to 90% of all waste. This has saved the company £250,000 a year on landfill costs made up of a reduction in the amount of landfill tax they pay, along with £30,000 extra income per year they now receive from recyclers.
An additional £100,000 is saved per year on waste disposal costs, made up of effluent disposal charges and a reduction in packaging costs.
using resources more efficiently
Even huge multinational corporations are getting wise to the benefits of going green. Working closely with the Carbon Trust, banking giant HBOS has managed to cut a staggering £1 million off the energy bills at its Halifax and Leeds sites by implementing more energy efficient business practices.
Along similar lines, high street retailer Superdrug, with an annual turnover of more than £1 billion, has introduced various environmentally friendly measures such as better lighting and more efficient heating and cooling systems.
The London International Exhibition Centre (ExCel) also took advantage of a Carbon Trust site survey to slash its energy bills. Back in 2001 the annual energy bill at ExCel was £1.1 million – introducing more energy efficient technologies and business practices has helped slash that by £350,000, more than a third, with further improvements expected to cut the bill by an extra £100,000 per year.
Source: Carbon Trust