Protect Our Communities

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We look at green issues that are affecting our local lifestyle

The Importance Of Regular Boiler Maintenance

November 21st, 2013

Most of us don’t pay a great deal of attention to the health of our central heating boiler. We take for granted the central heating and hot water, and we pay no attention to the boiler until it stops working. That always happens on one of the coldest days of the year, usually at the weekend or at the start of a long bank holiday!. Losing your heating or hot water is to say the very least inconvenient but a malfunctioning boiler can be a lot worse than that, it can KILL YOU. Carbon monoxide is an odourless, tasteless, colourless gas that is produced whenever your boiler is operating. Normally this gas is vented to the outside of the property and is dissolved into the air. A malfunctioning boiler can let that poisonous gas enter the rooms of your home and illness or even death can be the result.

The very best means to guarantee that your boiler is working effectively is regular boiler maintenance. Hot water has actually ended up being a necessity in our daily lives and it is something we take for granted. It’s only when our boiler breaks down that we realize just how much we depend on running hot water. The Boiler Blog has lots of advice on what to look out for when searching for somebody to fix or service your central heating boiler. Below are a number of points outlining why routine boiler maintenance will actually save money in the long run:

Much Less Chance Of Expensive Boiler Repairs: Most of you must be aware that calling out a boiler engineer to fix a faulty boiler can be a frustrating and expensive business. An annual boiler service should find any early indications of future problems, allowing them to be fixed at that time and long before they become a serious problem. Nobody’s going to guarantee that you’ll never have a boiler breakdown but regular servicing will certainly greatly reduce the chances.

Avoid The Dangers Of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Carbon monoxide is a tasteless and odourless gas, and that is what makes it so dangerous. You can not manually spot whether your house is being contaminated by this gas. A small leak in your boiler might not lead to fatalities, but when exposed to this gas over a prolonged period, you can suffer major health problems including brain damage. The Health and Safety Executive has published statistics showing that every year here in the UK up to 20 individuals die because of carbon monoxide poisoning and many hundreds need hospital treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning. An annual boiler service will quickly identify any leakage and avoid any such health risks.

Minimize Your Heating Expenses: A regularly maintained boiler burns gas efficiently. If you fail to maintain it then the efficiency drops and you will burn more gas to attain the same amount of heat. With fuel prices rising at an unbelievable rate it won’t take long for the boiler service to actually pay for itself in cost saving on your gas.

Keeps Your Boiler Insurance Valid: When you purchase a new boiler, the boiler is supplied with a guarantee, normally between two and five years. Most people presume that the warranty will fix any problems and so they don’t arrange for boiler servicing. They fail to read the small print that requires that the boiler be serviced annually otherwise the warranty could be invalid. It’s not so surprising really, when you buy a new car it comes with a warranty but you have to have the car regularly serviced for that warranty to be valid, if you can’t prove that the car has been regularly serviced by an approved garage then the chances of being able to claim under the warranty are greatly diminished. Exactly the same goes for gas boilers.

Hopefully we’ve demonstrated the value of regular maintenance of a gas boiler, you must likewise understand the significance of using certified specialists for servicing your boiler. When you purchase a new boiler you will certainly require the help of a Gas Safe engineer for installing and setting up the system and also for regular maintenance. A qualified specialist registered with Gas Safe is required to work on a gas boiler. Click Here for a free instant quote for boiler service or repair from up to five Gas Safe registered companies in your area.

Recycling paper– what’s it all about and where does it all go?

February 13th, 2013

If Britain currently produces in excess of thirty MILLION tonnes of rubbish every year surely the impetus is upon us to recycle much more than we are doing. We all complained when our weekly refuse collection was reduced to fortnightly but when we were forced to recycle in order to have more ‘bin room’ we realised this wasn’t such a bad thing after all. If in doubt of the powers of recycling, bear a thought for the man who recycled so efficiently that he could contain all of his un-recycled refuse within just the one single solitary bin bag. If that is not an example to us all I don’t know what is! We all need to recycle more. It is an effort but worth it at the end of the day.

What happens to paper once you’ve placed it in the recycling bin?

After collection from the kerbside your newspapers, magazines, leaflets, catalogues are despatched at the local recycling plant and from there delivered to the nearest fibre recycling plant. These depots are vast and contain around a dozen thousand tons of paper at any one point and recycles about half a million tons annually. Every single ton of paper recycled saves at least fifteen trees.

For the perfect mix of paper for quality recycles paper production relies upon a ratio of 70:30 newspapers to magazines respectively. Continual recycling will produce poor quality paper in the end so freshly produced paper is very much required to get the balance right. The magazine supplements for newspapers as well as magazines in general are vital to the recycling process – so don’t forget to hand over your mags when sorting out your paper recycling.

The paper recycling process continues after sorting with its cleaning. Water and sodium silicate are added to the fibre preparation unit so that the fibres swell releasing the ink and removed by soap and oxygen bubbles. By now the paper becomes liquefied pulp. By now the ink settles on the surface and is removed.

Next, the paper is spun whereby staples and other impurities are removed. Next the grey liquid paper is bleached white using hydrogen peroxide and sprayed onto sheets of wire. The sheets are then feed through rollers which drain most of the liquid away. At this stage the liquid content of the paper is only 9%.

Finally the nice white and shiny paper is spun onto a huge roll weighing in at 40 tons. The paper wound round the roll is 9.3 metres by 108,000 metres. That’s quite a lot of paper, in other words. This giant roll is cut into small widths as instructed by the customer. There it stays until the next recycled newspaper is produced for our pleasure.

Recycling paper is so worthwhile. Now that we have the technology to achieve this process, let us buy our newspapers and magazines but return them to the production process via the recycling process when we’ve read them. It couldn’t be easier!

Recycling glass – where does it go?

February 13th, 2013

Another great contribution you can make as a household recycler is to contribute used glass containers such as bottles and jars to the nation’s recycling effort. In this country only one and a quarter million tons of glass items were recycled last year when in excess of 1,400,000 tons were deposited in landfill. When I found out what happens to our glass rubbish recycling I felt even more compelled to separate them from unrecyclable household refuse. Perhaps if you’re not already totally sold on the need for recycling, after reading this you might be thinking differently too.

 

In Great Britain, the average family gets through and throws away approximately five hundred glass jars or bottles. Refuse recycling centres are working night and day throughout the UK to collect, sort and transform all our glass into glass commodities. In the UK, everything is in place for us to get the most from our glass recycling so it’s about time we all made more of an effort and sort through the rubbish we hand over to landfill every week.

Glass Recycling

Every time glass is recycled it becomes a commodity of value. Clear glass is the more expensive of all the recycled glass items. Every ton of clear glass is saleable at £30 in comparison to brown glass which sells for £26. Green glass is the cheapest of all the glass commodities at £12.50.

 

Recycling glass is a worthwhile process for the main reason that it is an energy saving device. The producing of glass from scratch uses up so much more energy than that which is recycled and so is truly a worthwhile occupation. If for no other reason, recycling glass is worth all the effort – because it helps save the planet! A solitary bottle recycled will save enough energy to power a 100 watt light bulb for about an hour. Every thousand tons of recycled glass used to make jars and bottles saves 314,000 of carbon dioxide and three hundred and fifty kWh of energy.

 

The country’s leading glass recycling plant is based in West Yorkshire and where much of our mixed glass refuse ends up. Here our bottles and jars are delivered to a sorting conveyor belt where the metal and plastic is removed. This is achieved through a vacuum before all glass is sorted into colours and types of glass via laser and x-ray technology. Every single fragment is checked and digitally recorded. Now the broken glass, every single fragment of it (known as cullet) awaits collection by a glass manufacturer for the furnace. A typical glass producer could produce up to three and a half billion bottles annually to be filled up by drinks manufacturers.

 

Next time we open a bottle of beer we might want to ask ourselves if it originated from our previously recycled glass. Think of all the energy it saves us and the reduction of our carbon footprint – which in effect is why we all want to do our bit with recycling, isn’t it?

Can I recycle my old tins? Yes you CAN!

February 13th, 2013

I don’t know if it’s me, but I don’t see so many tin cans appearing in my rubbish. True, I tend to buy fresh or frozen over tinned but are my two or three weekly tins representative of the nation as a whole? The tinned items I do seem to add to my grocery trolley on a weekly basis are tinned chopped tomatoes, rice pudding and kidney beans – that’s the lot. Few as they are, into the recycling bin they go because I guess every little counts!

Where do our old tins go after they’ve been collected from our recycling depots? The short answer is, off to a crushing plant near you. Here, the cans are sorted into tin (largely fruit, veg and meat containers) and aluminium cans (soft and alcoholic drinks mainly). Tin cans are made of steel with a thin tin exterior and are worth about £100 a ton. Aluminium cans are worth £800 a ton. This sorting through is often done at a local prison by inmates working on a conveyor belt. Following the sorting, the tins are crushed into 8 kg bundles before being moved on to the next stage. Recycled tin and aluminium is much sought after and nowadays represents big business.

As much as the demand for tin and steel is so great, the message hasn’t reached the Great British household who recycle very little in the tin can department. Statistics show that single households get through about 600 cans every year but only recycle one quarter of the cans we use. The rest is dumped with general waste in landfill – which is a great shame.

If you want to make an effort and contribute to saving the planet, you could recycle your cans and tins as recycling saves 75% the energy required to manufacture brand new tin cans.

When you think what goes into a recycled tin it could be anything contributed to recycling that is used to make that can – from washing machines to metal suitcases, tin cans to badges.

At the furnace the mish-mashed steel items, all crushed up, are heated to 1,650 degrees centigrade for just under an hour and the impurities separated. The whole lot is then refined and then cast into billets or rods. Then on they go to wherever in the world they are needed. It’s a long journey but a worthwhile one when you think how much energy is actually saved as a result of recycling.

Don’t forget, next collection time, to wash out and hand over those cans for recycling. It only takes a moment to do and really makes a contribution to saving our planet!

The Importance of Communal Children’s Play Areas

October 15th, 2012

Many parents have recognized the importance of communal children’s play areas. Some community groups have used their innovation and creativity to design safe indoor/outdoor areas where neighbourhood kids can have “free” playtime.

Some parents believe that structured activities, such as sports, are more important for their children than free playtime. The problem with structured activities is that they do not allow the child to experiment, pretend or be creative. They must follow the rules at all times.

Other parents are simply afraid to let their kids have unsupervised playtime. This is understandable. It takes some creativity, but it is possible to create safe areas with minimal supervision. One or two trusted adults can be available to create a secure environment, without interfering with the child’s free time.

 

Childrens Play Area

This play area is in Teignmouth, Devon in the UK

Numerous studies confirm that free playtimes are important. If nothing else, it gives the kids a chance to relax. A number of new studies indicate that playing in a natural “outdoor” environment is also important.

Our contact with nature has been reduced significantly in recent years. Research indicates that adults who interact with nature frequently are happier and healthier. New studies, most conducted after 2001, have shown that the same is true for children. These studies confirm the importance of communal children’s play areas in an outdoor natural environment.

One study showed that playing in diverse natural environments reduces or eliminates bullying. Another showed that children with ADHD can focus more easily after contact with nature. Benefits have been seen in areas of self-discipline, coordination, balance, agility and physical fitness.

Not only have benefits been seen in the child’s physical development; playing in or even viewing nature frequently has been shown to improve awareness, reasoning, observational skills, creativity, imagination, mood, social skills and independence. It seems that the importance of communal children’s play areas in an outdoor natural environment cannot be overstated.

It is well-known that a lack of physical activity plays a major role in obesity. Childhood obesity is on the rise. The health problems associated with obesity are also on the rise. More cases of type II diabetes are being seen in children than ever before. Until recently, type II diabetes was considered an “adult” disease. High cholesterol and high blood pressure are other adult problems that are being seen more often in children.

So, the importance of communal children’s play areas has to do with the child’s mental health, physical health and intellectual development. Playing outdoors might not be the most important thing in a child’s life, but it is definitely one of the most important.