Supporting the Trust
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The Barn Owl Trust's aims are to conserve "the Barn Owl and its environment". In addition to Barn Owl conservation work the Trust has always tried to raise awareness of environmental issues and to consider its own impact on the Earth. During the 1980's, the Trust collected large quantities of old newspapers from supporters and sold them to raise funds. Fortunately there is now a much greater awareness of the need to conserve and reuse our planet's dwindling resources and all local authorities now have recycling schemes.
Here we've listed some of the ways we try to reduce our environmental impact. Maybe you can get some ideas for your own home or office and even support us by helping to raise funds through your own recycling efforts.
In the UK we use millions of tonnes of paper each year and only a small percentage is recycled. By purchasing recycled paper products we can all reduce landfill, cut imports and save energy. If you are interested in facts about recycled paper there is an interesting page on Junkmail.org.uk - see our links page.
At the Trust we re-use paper by printing on the back. It is then shredded, which deals with the issue of sensitive data and used as bedding for casualty birds. We then compost it or send it for recycling.
Wherever possible we buy recycled or sustainably sourced stationery materials. We also try and source our supplies from local companies to reduce haulage costs.
Much of our mailing is done in reused envelopes and we sell our own re-use labels (see our online shop) to enable envelopes to be used again and again. Any new envelopes we use are made from at least 50% recycled paper; the majority are 100% recycled.
Miles of toilet paper is used each year in workplaces and homes, at the Trust we can't see how anyone can justify cutting down trees to wipe bottoms, so we buy recycled loo paper and kitchen rolls too.
In the office
Most of the ink for our office printers is purchased from a local company which provides refilled cartridges; it's not only greener but also cheaper than buying new cartridges. We also recycle all our empty cartridges.
Computers, printers and the microwave are turned off at night. Did you know that a microwave oven clock uses as much energy in 24 hours as it uses in 7 minutes of cooking time?
Postage stamps are collected, sorted and raise a small amount of funds.
We use fluorescent tubes or low energy light bulbs for lighting, which are very economical. The used tubes are disposed of with care to ensure the gases they contain do not harm the environment. Most of our outside lights have sensors which mean they only come on when needed.
Used plastic is sent off to a firm called Polyprint for re-use rather than going to landfill.
The organic milk, tea and coffee which we buy for the office is either local or fair trade.
Cleaning products (like washing-up liquid) are all biodegradable.
Whenever we can we use reclaimed timber for construction projects and we source sustainably produced timber for all our nestboxes.
When we need material for car park areas we purchase recycled tarmac from a local company.
The Environmental Transport Association (ETA) provides all of the Trust's vehicle road rescue cover - and we are even able to give Friends of the Trust a discount on their membership.
We are in the process of converting all of the Trust's diesel vehicles to Bio-Fuel, made from used cooking oil, and we also try and use our single unleaded petrol vehicle just for short journeys.
Staff who live close enough, walk or cycle to work.
We collect and store rainwater from the barn roof to wash vehicles etc.
We sell pens made from recycled paper, pencils made from used plastic cups, plastic keyrings from recycled car parts featuring lovely pictures of our resident birds and envelope re-use labels (printed on recycled paper).
We raise funds from used ink cartridges, old mobile phones and used stamps so before you get rid of these things check out the links page to see if you can help us.
Our "Wants List" on the back page of each issue of Feedback (the Trust's bi-annual magazine) lists things which we are particularly looking for and we'd be really pleased to receive either new or second-hand. Over the years we have had some amazing donations of things people no longer wanted. Have a look to see if you have anything we could use.
Facts, figures and shopping
Each UK household produces over 1 tonne of rubbish annually, amounting to about 31 million tonnes each year; on average every person throws away their own body weight in rubbish every seven weeks. The average dustbin contains enough unrealised energy for 500 baths, 3500 showers or 5000 hours of television.
If you buy your milk in glass bottles, these can be reused an average of 13 times before recycling. The energy saved from recycling one glass bottle will power a 100 watt light bulb for almost an hour, a computer for 25 minutes, a colour TV for 20 minutes, or a washing machine for 10 minutes, so it is definitely worth doing.
Over Christmas as much as 83 square kilometres of wrapping paper will end up in UK rubbish bins, enough to cover an area larger than Guernsey - try to unwrap your pressies so you can reuse the paper or use coloured pages from magazines. Producing steel from recycled material saves 75% of the energy needed for steel made from virgin material and every steel can is 100% recycleable. It can be recycled over and over again into products like bicycles and of course new cans. If all the aluminium drinks cans sold in the UK were recycled there would be 14 million fewer dustbins, and if you recycle one today it can be made into a new can, filled and be back on the shelf in just six weeks. A recycled aluminium can saves enough energy to run a television for three hours.
We can all recycle more of our household waste, but the effect of going green at work can be even more dramatic. Try and persuade your workplace to buy recycled products, items that can be repaired rather than disposable ones and of course to recycle their waste. As more companies insist on recycled products, more suppliers will offer a wider range and prices will come down. By buying items that are better quality and more durable, over time we reduce our purchase costs and our landfill impact. Set up a recycling scheme for laser and inkjet cartridges, mobile phones or aluminium cans and raise funds for a charity like the Barn Owl Trust.
Buy low energy light bulbs. Don't leave TV or computer screens on standby. Make sure you turn off lights and computers rather than leave them on overnight. When you need a new appliance like a fridge or a washing machine always try to buy the energy efficient version. It may be more expensive to buy but over time the energy savings should recoup the extra cost. Using less energy makes economic sense as well as helping the environment.
There are now lots of furniture recycling schemes so when you are thinking about replacing your household goods contact a local one and see what they have or at least offer them your old goods rather than sending them to landfill. See our links page for more information.
There are loads of ways you can help to conserve the environment and one of the most powerful is choosing wisely how you spend your money. Profit is a great motivator for change and companies do respond to consumer pressure. If we all try to make sure that at least some of our purchases are ethical and environmentally sound, it really will make a difference. Try to shop locally whenever possible and choose local products. Both will help reduce food miles. Buy products with less packaging or with packaging that can be recycled. Just remembering to take your own bags with you will help. British shoppers use an average 280 bags each a year and 100,000 tonnes of plastic bags (the same weight as 70,000 cars) are thrown away in the country every year.
We have a highly mobile society, which produces a huge amount of CO2 and contributes to global warming. Whether you drive or fly you can contribute to a carbon neutral scheme to balance out your CO2 emissions. The Environmental Transport Association (in our links page) runs a carbon neutral scheme you may like to check out.
Our roads are saturated with traffic and these days more children and adults are suffering from asthma and other bronchial complaints. Try and avoid single occupancy car journeys wherever possible. Local authorities and some web sites operate car-sharing schemes. Lobby for better public transport. Walk the children to school rather than drive, especially short distances, even if you drive some of the way and only walk the last 100 yards, it gives the children more exercise and makes the roads around the school much safer. Suggest interest free loans for employees to buy bicycles (which can earn tax benefits). Use lead free petrol for short journeys and diesel for long journeys if you have a choice of vehicles.
How all of this helps Barn Owls
We hope this page will have inspired you and that you feel that some of these suggestions are worth a try. Please contact us if you have any green ideas you'd like to share.
It's worth remembering that almost all of the causes of Barn Owl decline are man made. Most Barn Owls die of starvation or become road casualties. The way we live, travel and our demand for cheap food have changed the countryside dramatically over the last century and changes to the climate due to global warming could have an even more devastating effect. Anything you can do to help reduce your impact on the natural world will be good for the planet and potentially help Barn Owl conservation. Visit our links page for more information and remember: together we really can make a world of difference.