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The problem with plastic

By Amanda McCaw on Thursday 29th March, 2018
Dealing with the plastic pollution problem is at the top of many people's agenda, and is being widely debated. David Attenborough's spectacular Blue Planet takes much of the credit for bringing the problem to decision makers and public attention. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, three times the size of France, apparently now contains 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic, weighing the equivalent of 500 jumbo jets. The size of the problem can lead to a feeling of helplessness, that the problem's too big for small changes to make a difference, that whatever we do is too little, too late. But the micro changes individuals make will make a difference, and the more we know, the better we are equipped to reduce the devastating damage that is being inflicted on the planet. While cutting plastic out of our lives is clearly the most effective solution, the material is so widely used that the challenge is immense. But we can make a big difference by optimising the lifespan of plastic by reusing and recycling wherever possible. And by knowing exactly which plastics can be recycled where. There are more than 50 different types of plastics. Most can be recycled, but different areas, depending on the technology available, recycle different types. And some packaging includes several different types of plastic which makes it much harder to recycle. For example, black plastic food trays, widely used by supermarkets, are particularly difficult, and few councils are able to recycle them. This situation may change as new technology is introduced. Yogurt pots too are a confusing issue - some are made of the same material used for plastic bottles and can be recycled, while others are made from polystyrene which isn't widely accepted. Some help can be found from packaging labels and recycling symbols that appear on many everyday items. You can find a good guide to these symbols on the recyclenow.com website: Recycle Now How else can you bring clarity to a very unclear issue? Check your local council's website to see which plastics they accept and which should go into the regular rubbish. Links: Nottinghamshire County Council Rushcliffe Borough Council Nottingham City Council Throwing non-recyclable plastics into the recycling can contaminates the recycling stream, and that makes the whole process much less efficient and cost effective. More useful plastic recycling pointers:
  • Sometimes a council does not accept a certain plastic as part of its collection, but will accept that same plastic if you drop it off.
  • If you can't find out whether an item can be recycled, its often safer to throw it in the regular rubbish to avoid contaminating the collection.
  • Always rinse or clean plastic containers before recycling
  • Start to factor in the recyclability of a container when you select the product you're buying.
If possible, make choices that cut out plastic altogether. The largest market for plastic is packaging, so the more you can employ reusable containers rather than single-use, the better.
  • Carry a travel mug and water bottle for takeaway drinks
  • Avoid excessive packaging - by choosing non pre-packaged foods, and shopping in outlets that sell loose fruit and vegetables
  • Say 'no' to plastic cutlery and straws.
  • If you have a local milk delivery, use it. Milk comes in glass bottles!
  • Remember to carry your own shopping bags - at all times!
Every little thing we do to reduce plastic use and plastic waste helps. The Streetwise Team

Spring Fever

By Amanda McCaw on Thursday 1st March, 2018
"Spring is the time of plans and projects." (Leo Tolstoy). Now is the time to attend to the ravages of winter. Make the most of longer daylight hours and a little warm sunshine to get your outside spaces ready to greet the summer. Jobs for March and April include:
  • Trimming deciduous hedges
  • Cutting back vines such as Ivy and Virginia Creeper to keep windows, gutters and roof tiles clear
  • Giving your lawn the first mow of the season. Choose a dry day and ensure the blades are set high
  • Check for frost damage, cutting back any affected stems
  • If the ground isn't frozen or waterlogged, you can lay new turf
  • Pressure wash or scrub paths and patios
  • Start improving the drainage of heavy soils by adding plenty of organic matter
  • Top up containers and raised beds with fresh compost so they're ready for spring planting
  • Protect new spring shoots from slugs
  • Lift and divide perennials if they have become overgrown
  • Start your war on weeds - keeping them under control early in the season by hoeing and mulching puts you ahead of the game
  • Prune bush and climbing roses
  • Deadhead daffodils by removing the flowerheads and seedpods, leaving the foliage
If some of your garden jobs are too heavy duty for you to handle, or if you don't have the tools required, you can give us a call. We have a big team with all the specialist skills, machinery and kit to handle all the outdoor tasks, however big or small. We'll get your garden ready for the warmer months, leaving it in great shape for you to do the more interesting jobs. You'll find us trustworthy, reliable, adaptive and responsive. We take pride in our work, put our customers at the heart of everything we do and offer competitive rates. As our name suggests we're environmentally aware, and all waste is disposed of responsibly and correctly. The services we offer include: Gutter clearance: Clear your gutters of accumulated debris so when the rains start there's no danger of water ingress. Our team use a powerful wet and dry vacuum system with in-built camera system. No scaffolding or ladders are required which makes the job beautifully straightforward and eliminates health and safety risks; Garden maintenance: We can give your garden a Spring Tidy, getting it ready for the warmer months ahead. Jobs we can help with include leaf clearance, lawn aeration to avoid waterlogging, mowing including first cuts of the season, planting and general tidying; Tree and hedge works: Our expert tree team is on hand to prune, pollard, manage and train your existing trees, fell unwanted trees or hedges, and remove stumps; Jetwashing: This is a great way of removing accumulated debris from patios and drives, while furniture can be given a new lease of life, ready for you to make the most of the summer sunshine; Clearance: We'll come and take away anything from single items to large quantities of unwanted items. Call us for a quote; Fencing: we can repair or replace broken or damaged areas of fencing and repair or replace gates.
  • We carry out an on-site risk assessment for all contracts to ensure safety for staff and customers;
  • We operate under a quality assurance scheme having attained ISO9001, and have Public Liability Insurance, Products Liability Insurance and Employer's Liability Insurance, all to £10m.
Contact us for a free, no-obligation quote for any of your maintenance jobs, however large or small. QUOTE SPR2018 AT TIME OF ENQUIRY FOR A 10% DISCOUNT BY MAY 31ST 2018. Tel: 0115 914 8408 E-mail: streetwise@streetwiseenvironmental.co.uk www.streetwiseenvironmental.co.uk We look forward to hearing from you The Streetwise Team

In praise of the tree...

By Amanda McCaw on Tuesday 30th January, 2018
Trees are majestic and wonderful things. They have a wide variety of social, communal, environmental and economic benefits.
  • They mark the seasons;
  • In one year an acre of mature trees can provide enough oxygen for 18 people;
  • They provide food - for us, and for wildlife;
  • They provide wonderful natural shade, and cool the earth by cooling down the ground and air around them;
  • They give us a feeling of peace, tranquillity and calm;
  • Shade from trees slows water evaporation from thirsty lawns;
  • They provide a canopy and habitat for wildlife;
  • They screen unsightly views, enhance beautiful views, muffle traffic noise, protect us from wind and weather;
  • Property prices are increased by well planted neighbourhoods and gardens;
  • They aid recovery - hospital patients are said to recover faster when they have a room with a view of trees?
And that's all just scratching the surface! There are so many good reasons why we should think about opportunities we have for planting trees in our gardens, and some useful planning to be undertaken before getting started. Which tree? Establishing that your soil is suitable for your chosen species is important, so check which species require which type of soil. If you don't know, looking around at the kind of trees that are thriving in your neighbourhood is a good start, but local gardeners, and garden centres will help. Size is also a vital consideration - how quickly will your sapling grow, and to what size? Will it outgrow its position, and could its roots cause problems with nearby structures? Will it overshadow your garden and prevent other plants from thriving? What do you want from your tree? Make a list of your priorities - for example, to encourage wildlife, for autumn colour, for year-round interest, for great shade for an area of the garden, to block an unsightly view. Then research which species meet your requirements. Check that your tree won't require specialist care that you don't feel able to provide! When and how to plant? Planting is best done in the autumn and winter when the tree is dormant, but avoid waterlogged or frozen ground. Dig a hole (retaining the top layer of turf in a couple of large pieces) just wider and deeper than the roots, and loosen the soil around the edges. Position your tree so that its interface with the soil will be the same as it was in the pot, and hold it in a perfectly vertical position while you press the soil you've removed gently over the roots. Compact it enough to make sure it's steady, but not so much that water and air can't circulate. Replace the turf, grass side down, and support your young tree with a stake. Keep the area around newly planted trees well weeded for the first couple of years, and water well in dry periods. No space for a tree of your own? There are numerous ways in which you can get involved in tree planting - without actually planting one in your own garden. Here are some links to get you started: The Woodland Trust is giving away trees to schools and communities:https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/plant-trees/community-tree-pack/ The Tree Council is running a community tree project:http://www.treecouncil.org.uk/Grants/Community-Trees You can dedicate a tree in the Heart of England Forest:https://www.heartofenglandforest.com If you need help with planting, ongoing maintenance, or tree problems and hazards, we can help. February is a great time to get work done before the bird nesting season that starts in March or April, and to get your trees in good shape before the summer. We draw on 30 years of experience in all aspects of arboriculture, and our tree team provides the best in tree and shrub advice, planting, and maintenance.
  • Long term maintenance schedules provide reassurance that your trees are being looked after to the highest standard, and that potential problems are literally nipped in the bud
  • For those that require instant landscapes, we create new planning schemes and plant extensively using semi-mature trees
  • Prior to purchase of land or gardens, we inspect and report on existing trees, or advise on Tree Preservation Orders
  • We manage specimen trees, establish new woodland, remove tree stumps for individuals - and everything in between
Contact us on 0115 914 8408 / streetwise@streetwiseenvironmental.co.uk for advice and help. Happy planting! The Streetwise Team