Oct 07, 2020

Five things we’re doing to clean up air pollution

Words by The First Mile

For the past decade, many cities have surpassed their legal annual air pollution limit within the first month of the year, and sometimes even within a matter of days.

Air quality impacts everyone living, working and travelling in a city. As a city-based business driven by environmental purpose, we go above and beyond to minimise the impact of our fleet of 60+ vehicles on air quality.

In London, the Mayor’s Environment Strategy outlined ambitious goals to improve both air pollution and London’s low recycling rates. Our progressive operational model means we can deliver increased recycling rates at the same time as improving London’s air quality, and that of other cities that we work in.

Air pollution is harmful to the environment as well as our health, and whilst we could list the countless risks it poses, we’ve chosen to focus on the positive impact we’re having on air quality as part of First Mile’s Clean Air Strategy.

  1. Zero Emissions Deliveries: We operate zero-emissions deliveries through our electric vans and our industry-first cargo bike. Our electric delivery fleet is powered by our energy partners, Octopus Electric Juice. We also operate reverse logistics by collecting in-office waste as we deliver, ensuring no vehicle journey is wasted.
  2. Ultra-Low Emission Zone compliant HGVs: Until electric HGVs are viable, First Mile continues to invest in its clean air fleet, ensuring all our HGVs are Euro VI. This means that our trucks release less than half the amount of nitrogen oxide and particulate matter of a standard diesel car, and three times less than the average black cab.
  3. Award-winning Sacktory®: First Mile own London’s most central waste sorting depot – our Sacktory®, located in Park Royal. It has revolutionised operations, leading to a reduced number of vehicles on the road, and fewer miles travelled which has significantly lowered our impact on congestion and air pollution. It also runs entirely on green, renewable energy - which includes the electric vehicles charged on site.
  4. Consolidation Schemes: First Mile works with a number of Business Improvement Districts and partners to consolidate their waste services. This has seen a huge reduction in the number of waste collection trucks on the road. In London's Bond Street alone we have reduced the need for over 40 trucks a day.
  5. Pioneering Driver Technology: We have invested in route optimisation programmes to determine the most fuel-efficient route for our collection and delivery vehicles. Additionally, all our vehicles are fitted with telematics to deter heavy breaking, fast acceleration and idling, all of which increase emissions.

In short, air quality is a priority for us and we are fastidious about holding ourselves accountable. Through our Clean Air Strategy, we aim to deliver high recycling levels to businesses at the lowest possible impact.

If you have any questions or are interested to find out more, get in touch marketing@thefirstmile.co.uk.

By The First Mile


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