We had a wonderful visit to Tanfield Lea Community Primary School today to deliver High Viz vests for children who will be taking part in the schools Anti-Bullying Champions campaign. The vests are supplied and branded for 3 Schools: Tanfield Lea, Brandon Primary School and Langley Moor Primary School. As with our previous support with Fatfield Academy, this is to help the Anti-Bullying Champions stand out in style as they help at playtime.
We were lucky to have such wonderful models! – a big thank you to the children taking part.
Children from Tanfield Lea Community Primary School Modelling the Anti Bullying Champions Vests
Ever since the moment the images of a whale in the Antarctic mourning her poisoned calf were shown on the BBC’s Blue Planet II, the issue of how much damage plastic is doing to the planet has been of constant attention. An estimated 12.7 million tonnes of plastic ends up in oceans each year, and it is everything from plastic bottles and bags to microbeads. Plastics are everywhere we look including our homes and our workplaces. It has been speculated that the human race is so dependent upon plastic that we cannot live in a world without it. However, we can certainly have a world in which we use less.The UK government has committed to a £61.4m fund to support Commonwealth countries in fighting the increase of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans whilst also announcing a ban on the use of plastic straws and other single-use plastic products.
While most people do want to help with reducing the amount of plastic going to land fill, not everyone is clear on how to do so. For example, only 46% of people know that plastic bags can be recycled at supermarkets up and down the country at their special collection points. This would also include the plastic wrap used on magazines. Morrisons are also introducing brown paper bags for their loose fruit and vegetables and have already introduced a scheme where customers can bring their own containers to use at the meat and fish counters and they will get 100 loyalty points each time they do. Morrisons, along with Aldi, Asda, Lidl, M&S, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose have signed up to the UK Plastics Pact and have pledged, along with many other things, that by 2025 100% of plastic packaging is to be reusable, recyclable or compostable.
What is the UK Plastics Pact?
It is an initiative that brings together businesses from across the entire plastics value chain in collaboration to change in the way we design, produce, use, re-use, dispose and reprocess plastics. (www.wrap.org.uk). Members also include: Birdseye, Boots, Britvic, Coca Cola European Partners, Danone, Lakeland, McCain and Nestle. The set of pledges to tackle pollution over the next 7 years include: Eliminate difficult or unnecessary single use plastic packaging through better design, make sure 70% of plastic packaging is recycled or composted and to ensure 30% of packaging is to include recycled material. The pact has been praised and welcomed by many environmental groups.
What can you do to reduce your plastic footprint?
Bring your own water bottle – Try using a refillable bottle instead of buying bottled water.
Reconsider using black plastic – Even though they are recyclable, pure carbon-black plastic is sometimes not picked up by the infrared sorting machines at recycling plants in the UK and is then rejected and sent to land fill
Screw lids back on – By screwing plastic lids back on to their bottles and pushing straws back into the cartons it helps them to make their way through the recycling sorting machines. On their own they are too small to make it through.
Recycle your bags and plastic film – By taking recyclable plastic film and left-over carrier bags back to recycling points at the supermarket.
Foil instead of Cling Film – Unlike cling film, foil is fully recyclable. So next time you’re planning a picnic or even if you’re just wrapping your sandwiches for your lunch try wrapping them in foil.
Freshen your breath with mints instead of chewing gum – Chewing gum, surprisingly, contains plastic and is not degradable. This then ends up littering our streets and beaches.
Reuse plastic containers – Could you put leftovers in an old ice cream tub or reuse an old margarine tub to store things in the fridge or freezer?
Buy loose fruit and veg – Try using paper bags to pack your groceries or just load them straight into your reusable shopping bags.
Reduce your online shopping – Packaging from internet shopping is a major source of waste. Even the smallest of items come in a large box surrounded by plastic, paper and polystyrene.
Say no to plastic straws and stirrers – These are the items mostly found on beaches and in oceans. They also break down further to become harmful micro plastics.
Use a reusable coffee cup – Can’t live without your caffeine fix on a morning? Try taking your own reusable coffee cup. Some coffee shops even give you a discount on hot drinks for doing so.
Use a reusable bag – Many companies have reusable shopping bags to hand out to customers in an attempt to help reduce plastic waste. We even have them here at Arktek Group Ltd. Please contact us if you would like a reusable bag by using our contact form or by calling us on 0191 5166911 to request one. Hurry while stocks last!
Plastic pollution is a continuing problem and the solution starts with us. By purchasing more eco friendly alternatives to plastic or just purchasing less stuff we have the can start to make a difference.
There are many ways energy can be saved in your home, these include:
Switching off lights when leaving an empty room could save on average £15 a year on electricity bills.
Close your curtains to help keep heat in and stop it from escaping through the windows. Ensure the curtains are not draped over any radiators that are underneath your windows.
Switch off appliances fully where you can and don’t leave them on standby.
Defrost fridges and freezers regularly to keep them running efficiently and to stop ice building up. Appliances uses more power if they have to work harder.
Run washing machines on a full load. Using economy setting and running the washing machine at 30 degrees can also use less energy.
Take a shower instead of having a bath. Showers are usually faster, cheaper and more efficient.
Turning the thermostat down on your boiler by only 1 degree can save up to £80 a year on the average gas bill.
Running your heating for an hour less each day will also save energy and still helps to take the chill off enough through the winter.
Check all your radiators regularly to see if they need bleeding. Radiators that aren’t working to their fullest can make your boiler work harder meaning it will use more fuel.
Use a washing up bowl to clean your dirty dishes rather than running the water.
Use energy saving light bulbs. They last up to 10 times longer than ordinary bulbs.
Make sure your mobile phone chargers are switched off when not in use. These still use energy when they are plugged in, even of they are not in use.
Use the microwave instead of the oven – It cooks food quicker.
Don’t hang clothes on your radiators to dry, it makes your boiler work harder than it needs to.
Insulating your home can save up to £250 a year on heating costs. Insulation will help to retain the heat circulating around your home.
If you have an old inefficient boiler, look into upgrading this to a newer boiler. This will last longer and work much more efficiently. Call the Arktek office on 0191 5166911 to discuss boiler options available and to arrange a survey with our fully qualified gas engineers.
Arktek Directors Nigel Jones and Mark Bewick enjoyed an eventful afternoon at Fatfield Academy as they attended the Summer Fair this afternoon.
Arktek sponsor the school’s Play Leaders and Play Pals as part of the initiative to improve support at break and lunch times and were there to present the children with their new uniforms. The children all received hi-vis vests and caps to help them stand out in style as they help at playtime. Staff were also there to talk to the children about energy saving and handing out balloons displaying Archie the Arktek Owl and prizes for their participation. It was great to see so many smiling faces and so many children interested in the stand – nothing to do with the sweets of course! We look forward to supporting the school in future ventures and hope to be invited back some time soon.
This week has been a cold reminder of just how unpredictable Mother Nature can be. The polar vortex has been making its presence felt all over the UK and even the more fortunate parts have noticed a drop in the temperature.
With the “Beast from the East” set to stay with us for the rest of the week and with some parts of the country under amber alert, here are some of our tips on how to keep yourself warm and cosy until the cold snap passes.
1. Make use of your curtains
Although this week the sun was a rarity, it’s good practice to keep your curtains open during the day in order to let the sunlight in and make use of its free heat. As the night settles in, shut your curtains as they will act as another layer of protection and help keep your room warm. If you are able to, check that you don’t have any gaps that will allow condensation to form and the warmth to be lost.
2. Block out the draughts
There are many simple DIY solutions that can help you preserve the heat in your home. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that DIY draught-proofing your doors, windows and cracks in the floor could save you £25 per year. Check your doors and windows and make sure they are properly sealed. If you notice any problems, using self-adhesive rubber seals around doors and windows and door draught excluders can help reduce the heat that is lost and keep the cold air out.
3. Bleed your radiators
Sometimes air gets trapped at the top of your radiator stopping the hot water from rising. This in turn reduces the efficiency of your radiator and makes you spend more to be warm. Using a radiator bleed key open the valve on the top and you will hear air hissing. The moment water starts to drip close it.
4. Service your boiler
Gas appliances must be serviced annually in order to ensure their warranty and safety. Having an expert check your boiler will not only prolong its life but it will also help maintain its efficiency. You should never ignore your service date as the cost of repair will most likely be higher than the cost of a service.
5. Insulate your property
Whether it is a room in roof, a wall or a loft that needs to be insulated it is a good idea to check if your home needs it. Up to 25% of the heat in your home is lost through the roof and around 35% through uninsulated walls. That means that if your homes insulation is not up to standard 25 to 35% of the money you send on your energy bill is going down the drain.
6. Get an electric heater
A cheaper alternative to turning the heat up way past your normal level is to buy a small electric heater and place it next to where yourself. The latest electric heaters have to conform to new efficiency standards making this an affordable yet temporary solution.
These were our choice of tips on how to keep your property warm. The polar vortex is expected to pass after this week however the lesson here is to always be prepared. Don’t wait until next December to start thinking about how you can make your property more energy efficient. If you have any questions or would like to know more about how we can help give us a call on 0191 516 6911 or send us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org
On the 25th of May 2018 the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into effect changing the way businesses gain and use customer data. Superseding the 1995 EU Data Protection Directive, the new regulation will address the growing importance given to customer data.
Arktek Group Limited is committed to being GDPR compliant, both as a Data Controller and Processor, ahead of its implementation date. We have always taken in consideration our customers privacy rights. We will continue to do so and we will make the necessary steps to ensure our customer data is protected within the new standards. Having recently undertaken a Readiness Assessment, we feel confident in our ability to make all the necessary amendments to our policies and procedures. In addition, we are also committed to ensuring that our partners and subcontractors are compliant with GDPR and aware of any changes in our regulations.
What are we doing?
We are working with QMS International and keeping up to date with information published on the ICO (Information Commissioner’s Office) website.
Having understood how the new regulation will have an impact on the business, Arktek Group Limited has taken the necessary first step in identifying any gaps by reviewing its readiness. We have been advised that at this moment there are no badges that can confirm GDPR compliance status. However, it was suggested that for a company of our size following the standards of ISO 270001 would be sufficient. We are currently working towards gaining this accreditation and hope to do so by the end of Q2/2018.
Using a self-assessment tool, we are monitoring our progress in making any necessary changes in our policies and procedures.
We have appointed a member of the Management team to be responsible for GDPR compliance.
Developing data mapping techniques for processing and storing personal information.
Reviewing marketing activities to make sure they are in line with the new policies.
What is next?
Artkek Group Limited is excited for the opportunity to once again prove to our customers the value we place on delivering high quality services in all aspects of the business. We are taking the necessary steps to be GDPR compliant and feel confident in our ability to do so well in advance of the 25th of May 2018 deadline.
GDPR useful links:
For more information about GDPR you can refer to these links:
On the 25th of May the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will come into effect. The new legislation addresses changes which have occurred in the digital environment since the creation of the 1995 EU Data Protection Directive. This will require businesses to align their policies with the new rules and reassess how they treat their customers data. Although this is an European Union directive, Brexit will not be a saving grace for companies looking for an easy way out as official’s state that UK data protection rules will align with the EU’s GDPR.
Arktek Group’s Commitment
At Arktek we consider the new regulation to be another opportunity to strengthen our promise to our customers. We pride ourselves in our high-quality standards and our motto of “get it right the first time, every time”, as a result we have taken a proactive approach in addressing the changes before they come into effect. This past week, Mark Grover delivered a three day GDPR Readiness Assessment on behalf of QMS International and helped us identify ways in which we can improve.
The results showed we have a good foundation to build on and using the information presented to us we will review our policies and address any gaps. In addition, we will be using data mapping techniques for processing and storing personal information, undertaking a data protection impact assessment and tracking our progress of GDPR readiness using the self-assessment tool provided. We are aiming to finalise our changes by the end of February and will update in due time as we make progress on our journey to being GDPR compliant.
While some may see the new regulations as a hindrance to their business, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. By adhering to the new security standards and principles stipulated by the GDPR, companies will be able to clean up their data and maximise the effectiveness of their communication efforts whilst protecting their customers. In addition, the increased transparency that companies need to showcase will only lead to better relationships with their clients, ones based on trust and loyalty. Ultimately, whether you are a customer, a data processor or data controller the new regulations will be beneficial to all and will bring about a new era in the way companies and customers interact.
Exciting News! – Arktek Group Limited is pleased to welcome our new Operations Director – David Richardson.
David has extensive operational experience delivering to the energy industry, this has included: the Lead role in British Gas’ Warm up North Scheme and 5 years of delivering the Eco obligation for the utility companies through the Mark Group. More recently David has worked as the Regional Operations Manager for the JLA Group covering Scotland and the North of England.
David will play a key role in ensuring Arktek’s continued growth and development. We look forward to an exciting year for Arktek – watch this space!
As part of Arktek’s commitment to working in the community, we will be running regular updates on the charities and organisations we are working with.
The Washington Riding Centre operates from their purpose built, BHS Approved Riding Centre, seven days per week, all year round. They have been in Washington since 1977, having originated in South Shields in 1964.
They currently provide approximately 130 children and adults with a range of disabilities and learning difficulties with riding lessons every week.
Arktek are delighted to be able to offer their support to such a worthy organisation.