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Green Machine: How The Air Ambulance Service Saved over 600 Tonnes Going to Landfill

There is no escaping the impact that our modern lifestyle is having on the environment. With global climate change rallies and the deadline we’re facing to reverse some of the damage caused, being green is more of a priority than ever before.

Although there is a focus for individuals to lead a greener lifestyle, there is the urge for businesses, organisations and corporates to do what they can to reduce their impact. Paving the way to make a difference is Midlands-based charity The Air Ambulance Service (TAAS) which has been the first to launch a closed-loop recycling process from its Daventry warehouse.

TAAS provides local air ambulance services across Warwickshire & Northamptonshire as well as Derbyshire, Leicestershire & Rutland. It also provides the national Children’s Air Ambulance service, transferring critically ill babies and children to the lifesaving treatment they need.

As a charity, TAAS promotes the reuse and recycling of clothes, IT equipment and homeware, to help fund their life saving services, but what many people are unaware of is the positive environmental impact that their shops, superstores and schemes generate.

Making it easy for people to donate goods has led to the ever-growing success of the charity and has diverted over 600 tonnes going to landfill. Initiatives such as their kerbside collections have stopped over 400 tonnes being thrown away, their textile banks are responsible for over 100 tonnes and their award winning asset recovery scheme, leading to contracts with the likes of Just Eat, has meant 15 tonnes of working IT equipment has been cleansed and restored ready for resale.

The volume of donations and support across the UK will have contributed to the opening of 2x superstores by the end of 2019. With the success of their first superstore opening in Alfreton, Derbyshire earlier this year, the second superstore is opening in Doncaster on October 22nd to support their Children’s Air Ambulance service. With the inclusion of a café, children’s play area and a bigger and better selection of furniture, the attraction of free parking and a convenient donation station offers more than the traditional charity shops people have become familiar with.

However, their efforts to be a greener charity haven’t stopped there. As of September 2019, The Air Ambulance Service is the only charity within the UK that has implemented a closed loop recycling initiative to help them work towards reducing their plastic by 94%. From bags often carrying donations, the new baler housed at their Daventry Warehouse allows plastic bags to be compressed into tablets and remade into new bags for distribution.

In addition to this, the trial of Bioplas™ leaflets instead of polythene donation bags has launched in Leicestershire intending to distribute this across Warwickshire, Northamptonshire, Derbyshire and Rutland their local air ambulance operates within.

Head of Reuse Clare Harby comments;

We are conscious that we have a large carbon footprint due to the use of our helicopters and we want to offset this in other areas of business. However, equally importantly, we want to educate as many people as possible to get on board to Reduce-Reuse and Recycle.

It’s not just this year that we’ve made changes. 2018 saw us partner with The National Forest to offer a tree planting service where the loved ones of those who have passed can create a lasting legacy. We planted our first tree in November 2018 and have planted many more to help us create an Air Ambulance Memorial Woodland. This offers a place for people to remember a loved one to create a beautiful new woodland that’ll last for year to come.

With these combined efforts, TAAS are leading the way for charities across the UK as they continue their growth with bigger and greener initiatives.