World Environment Day : What we do to try to reduce air pollution

This years World Environment Day is focused on beating air pollution so we thought it would be the perfect time to share how we at Incredible Bulk are trying to reduce the air pollution caused by our business.

Being a zero waste shop that is mobile brings environmental challenges. As an environmentally focussed company we always look to consider all our options and select the most suitable one that has the least negative impact. We would’ve loved an electric van but unfortunately the technology is just not there yet. With extensive research we ended up buying a van with a new Diesel engine that meets the Euro 6 emissions standard. This standard focused on diesel NOx emissions due to studies revealing links between NOx emissions and respiratory problems. Peugeot's latest generation of fuel and environmentally efficient Diesel engines include a three stage cleansing process specifically targeting the pollutants of diesel combustion, removing hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide, reducing nitrogen oxides by up to 90% and eliminating 99.95% of particulates. So although not perfect it was the best choice for us at the time and we know we are producing less air pollution than if we had bought an older van.

To further combat air pollution and to also off-set our carbon emissions we also plan to do regular tree planting. Trees are the perfect answer for both, through photosynthesis trees absorb carbon dioxide to produce oxygen and through the tiny hairs on their leaves they capture the particulate pollution in the air. Trees and forests act like a giant comb or brush sweeping up the tiny particles to clean the air, these particles then get swept down the trunk by rain and are detoxified by the hungry microbiota of the living soil. (For more amazing tree facts check out 40 ways trees can save us by Diana Beresford-Kroeger).

Our first tree planting event happened last November at Mount Pleasant Eco Park. Through the Down to Earth Foundation we bought 7 new trees and helped plant hundreds on the day, which was great fun! We have also volunteered at Chyan Community Field earlier this year helping to plant trees to benefit the local area. So far we have chosen to focus on local tree planting in Cornwall as this is where we are living and operating the business so hope that our efforts are doing something to combat the air pollution of our local area.

World Environment Day invites us all to consider how we can make changes in our daily lives to reduce air pollution, which in turn can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and benefit people’s health too. We want to share what we do as a way to highlight the issue and to show ways we can all get involved. There are a number of things we can all do and just becoming more aware of how our actions contribute to air pollution is a step in the right direction.

  • Although public transport is limited in Cornwall we can look to use when we can or car share with friends/work colleagues or cycle or walk where possible

  • Do you really need to take the trip? Try and save up tasks so you can get more done in one car outing, we look to do this in the van as well when planning our schedule, trying to keep locations that are close to each other on the same day so we are not driving all over Cornwall!

  • When you are next looking to upgrade your car consider switching to a hybrid or electric vehicle

  • Turn off the car engine when stationary

  • Choose non-toxic paints and furnishings (we used the excellent Earthborn paint for the interior shelving in the van!)

  • Protect existing trees, woodlands and forests and plant more!

Read more about World Environment Day

Read more about Down to Earth Foundation