HOW MUCH DO YOU LOOK AFTER THE ENVIRONMENT OR FIND WAYS TO SAVE RESOURCES?…
Here are “just” 40+ ways we try to make a difference at the Living Elements Clinic! You may be able to think of more for yourself…?
- We now HAVE a renewable source of energy to heat the clinic and for hot water. Hurrah! Air source heating is the chosen option for these reasons: There are no sources of locally-grown wood pellets in sufficient quantity in Southern England (most of it comes from Scotland!) which makes it expensive to transport. The clinic is on clay – not good for ground-source heat dispersal without adding huge amounts of gravel to the trenches around the pipes. Solar panels are great but we need our main heat for the underfloor heating early in the morning, before the sun has risen, not by midday, and we have little hot water requirements. So – watch this space – its here! It should mean that we save a lot on the cost of oil AND save our CO2 footprint too! Hurray!!
- I have installed a bank of photovoltaic (PV) cells on the roof of the clinic to the rear. This will not only produce most of our daily electricity but will also provide an income over the next 25 years but I get paid for the input to the national grid too! I put these in when the Grant was a fabulous rate, but even now I believe it is well worth the expense. For a business the cost can also be put against tax which helps too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=234fpZ8XUL0
- I use glasses for water rather than disposable cups that can be washed and re-used.
- I use filtered and magnetised water in a jug rather than an expensive water cooler – this is better for you than icy water and energises both the water and YOU!
- All glasses and crockery are washed in the dishwasher only when there is a complete load, on the economy setting.
- Towel washing temperature is set as low as possible (usually 40 degrees) and only used with a full wash. No coloured fabrics are used as this would mean a mixed wash is required. The washing machine is A+++ rated.
- I use recycled printer cartridges for all our printing needs. This saves a lot of landfill, wastage, cost and is supplied by a local company. The old cartridges also get recycled for reuse.
- Gift vouchers for the clinic can be purchased online and clients can make their own appointments using the online booking system too.
- The underfloor heating, when it is on, it acts as a big heat sink, thereby saving fuel on heating and keeping a much more ambient temperature all the time – for your comfort.
- In all the toilet cisterns there are special bags that reduce the tank size, thereby saving water and money. They are cheap to obtain, even free, if you ask your local water company!
- Toilet paper is good quality, recycled paper. Afterall – it only goes down the loo later after use…
- We try to use only bio-degradable washing solutions and disinfectants where possible, whilst ensuring high quality and safety in the clinic. These are LDC and Super 10, both made by GNLD / Neolife and are stocked in the clinic. They have reduced packaging and the cleaning products often need diluting to be used (but are non-toxic too).
- All rainwater from the roof goes into sinkholes and the groundwater supplies and not returned to the main drainage. Some is used for plant watering.
- The clinic is super-insulated – walls, ceilings, floors (especially – the joy of self-build) and roof to reduce heat loss/gain.
- We re-use stationary paper-clips, elastic bands (from the postman) and even envelopes sometimes. Packing boxes are either recycled or used to start the bonfire!
- All paper, plastic, glass, metal waste is recycled.
- Any green waste is composted – it increases the composting or the potash produced from the bonfire that is then used on the garden to improve the heavy clay soil, increase fruit and vegetable yields and as a top dressing to keep weeds at bay, mulch the surface and reduce the water requirements of the garden.
- We have sponsored the Chichester District Green Business Awards in the past to encourage businesses to act and use our resources responsibly.
- I make lots of use of the social media channels for marketing and to keep clients informed of what is happening. These are largely free and I find them fun to use as well. You can find me on Facebook – both a clinic page AND a group specifically for existing clients. Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube! You can follow the relevant links here!
- I encourage my patients to give us their email addresses as any promotions etc can be notified electronically vs by snail mail – its immediate, clear, concise, saves time and effort and money and doesn’t end up being recycled again! You can even forward it on to a friend in need. So sign up now …and gain by knowing what health offers are taking place NOW; learn some health tips and other health information to keep you feeling 100%!
- Any blog I write can get posted onto a friend or family member so its immediate to do, and you don’t have to remember how to do it later! – have a look here
- I promote various companies for their low environmental impact and the health benefits of NOT introducing poisons into our patients’ bodies! Try them – they are great value for money too! These include GNLD/Neolife products.
- I have changed the diesel estate car to a great little white van – which is all electric. It has taken some getting used to – as it means more planning for longer journeys – charge breaks/distance and food stops must be factored in. Plus I now drive much more conservatively – no “putting the foot down” as it wipes through the battery power very quickly! My other would call it “pootling”. De-celerating, esp when going down hill, allows the battery to be re-charged as you travel. Lowering speeds and gentle accelerations all make a big difference too. Plus instead of heating the whole car on a cool day I use the hard-warmed steering wheel which can be enough on its own or the heated seats. Having an EV car requires a mindset change but its great! The air-con is rarely used.
- I have installed an extra bank of PV panels – electricity producers from the sun, AND battery storage so this helps to power the clinic and is also used exclusively for charging the EV car/van!
- The EV Charger (7W) is available for clinic clients to use – you will just need a £1 coin to charge up. Its at the top of the drive.
- Following building the clinic we also re-cycled spare building materials that were left over – to other builders, the plumber etc and for other building projects.
- When buying goods for the clinic I use recyclable and re-usable carrier bags.
- I have planted several trees and have more to go! Some are fruiting trees, others are decorative.
- I have re-instated a pond and have another 2 to create, hopefully with the help of some of the children from the school.
- I have planted a yew hedge – they are easy to keep looking neat and tidy and the cuttings can be re-used to make anti-cancer medication. In the fullness of time it will also be topiarised – it has already started.
- I grow fruit and vegetables on site eg lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, rocket, beetroot, onions, garlic, Bramley apples, rhubarb, parsley, spinach, swiss chard, cherries, pears, cabbage, basil, mint, chives, rosemary, thyme, bay, black and red currants, bittercress, Cape Gooseberries (Physalis), peppers, chillis, etc! I hope to expand this to include celeriac, raspberries, more strawberries, carrots, leeks, watercress and landcress too. Also comfrey to use as a green manure and fertilizer.
- I use only long-life energy saving bulbs to light the parking area of the clinic which saves both energy and money and elsewhere, when we can.
- Spare food produce is sold to our customers – for example in the Autumn of 2008, we sold 60kg of organic Bramley apples and the proceeds went to charity. We raised about £45! I hope to sell excess lettuces, courgettes and tomatoes and maybe more! PS its all organic too. 😉
- I try to ensure that our suppliers have sound environmental policies in place. Whether that is the packaging, the sources of their ingredients etc. We also try to use as many as organic and re-cyclable suppliers as we can eg Green People beauty products.
- I use the local freecycle scheme and various other local initiatives to exchange things that I don’t want for things that I do! Its a simple offer and wanted system for locals and run by locals.
- I recycle all our used stamps, currently they go to the RSPB “Save the Albatross Appeal”. Bring yours in too and we can save on postage by sending more in bulk! There is an envelope in the reception area.
- I take large greenery / refuse to the Westhampnett tip where most gets recycled eg wood, hardcore, batteries, glass, asbestos, garden waste and a lot more. I do this en route to the shops etc so having fewer car journeys.
- I do my best to buy as little food and other consumables which use lots of packaging. There is often no need for it. eg loose tomatoes vs plastic and cardboard wrapped.
- I endeavour to buy local if at all possible eg the local nurseries for vegetables, flowers and plants. Local independent shops vs larger chains help the local economy more too. Every little helps and cuts down on the food miles. By using the Living Elements Clinic you are also helping the #keepitlocal economy and saving yourself travel miles etc. Win-win.
- I make my own garden wigwams / plant supports out of some of my cuttings and weave them into other objects – just for fun. It’s amazing how much they can cost of you have to buy them.
- On the same site as the clinic is my self catering holiday home – Nature’s Elements. It’s available to let of course but I have made sure that guests can be as energy conscious and waste aware whilst they stay as possible – whilst not ruining their holiday. One way has been to put up some cute posters in the main toilet – i.e. read and think whilst you sit is my plan! Seems to work…
- On a smaller and more direct basis I have been gradually doing more paperwork online and digitally. This you would see first hand by having an online booking system which you can access 24 hours a day, but also in the office there is (supposedly!) less paper – although there still seems to be a lot!
- During the pandemic I offered tele-health consultations (and these are still available if you cannot get to the practice). They are remarkably effective and in fact as I could focus in a different way brought great results for pain relief etc. Telemedicine has the potential to radically reduce the carbon footprint and time needed to access healthcare in some circumstances.
- I started the “Sidlesham Litter Pickers” group in the village – see https://www.facebook.com/groups/SidleshamLitterPickers/ You are welcome to join us..
One of my initiatives has been to separate out everything that is collected into recycling, and not. In the course of this I found that there were about 50:50 cans to bottles – glass and plastic that I collected. The cans, and any other metals, I now separate out and store in large bags (usually purple c/o the local council, and when I have a big enough load – take it to the local metal recyclers – they LOVE aluminium! Some of my fellow villagers now brig their cans and metal to me to add to the pile which all helps. The money then gets gifted to the local Hospice – St Wilfrids’ and so far I have raised over £1000K and saved all this waste ruin our beautiful countryside. As a result of all this I took part in a worldwide project – and this video was part of this! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VaY2gf6r1nU
Why go more green and be environmentally sensitive / create a sustainable environment a business?
- It makes me feel good! Best reason of all…
- It reduces costs – the bottom line
- There are Grants and incentives available (they vary all the time) to help improve your green and sustainable credentials
- Over time the energy we use gets more expensive – but by energy saving / wasting less – means the actual costs lower.
- I like to make the world sustainable and more beautiful – it makes sense
- Growing my own produce / recycling and up-cycling reduces my carbon footprint and is good for the environment
So – now you know some of the things that I do…. what can you do for the environment? It’s not as hard as you think!
© Copyright Gayle Palmer 2009-22