"At Gillies we care about our local area and we understand how seriously our input can affect the environment. This is why Gillies have gone green and have begun to make serious changes to the way we conduct our business." - Mr Ian Philp (Managing Director)
Our world is a delicate place. As a population, we’re learning more about the importance of looking after it, and what we can do to make a difference. We’d like to share what we’re doing at Gillies to minimise our carbon footprint and support a greener tomorrow! As a company, we do our best every day to operate renewably, and we believe that sustainability and green-thinking is fundamental for our future… for all our futures!
Our passion for recycling began decades ago, when we realised there must be a better way of disposing of our waste than sending it to landfill. The volume of manufacturers’ packaging we receive has driven environmentally friendly changes for our business, and has encouraged many new pro-green procedures that aim to reduce our environmental impact. Not only do we want to do ‘our bit’, but we want to be at the forefront of change in our industry too!
In our furniture distribution centre, we have three compacting bailers for recycling all our cardboard, polythene, and polystyrene packaging that comes as protective layers for our products. By separating and compacting all these recyclable materials into cubic tonne bails, we are then able to partner with a Scottish recycling company and have the materials recycled in the greenest way possible.
Reducing our Energy Consumption
Since May 2012, our Broughty Ferry shop and huge warehouse space in Dundee have had solar panels installed on their roofs. By doing this where permissible, we have significantly reduced our energy consumption. With the space we have available, utilising this to help reduce our carbon footprint was an easy decision.
On average, our contribution saves fifty tonnes of carbon dioxide from going into the atmosphere every year.
Let There Be Light
All of our Gillies showrooms and warehouses have been fitted with low voltage lighting. Each showroom light fitting houses a 35watt bulb, and replaced three 50watt lights when we carried out the upgrade. The cost of changing to these energy efficient lights was significant (each light fitting plus bulb is £95!), however by making the change we have been able to considerably reduce the amount of electricity used each day by around 75%.
Prepared for Winter
Each day we receive dozens of wooden pallets and crated goods from suppliers delivering into our warehouse. However, once used, they have no purpose. We therefore decided to install two large multi-fuel eco-stoves to our furniture warehouse. Throughout the warmer months we accumulate excess wood until the colder Winter months, where it is used to fuel the heaters.
The introduction of these two heaters alone has resulted in a massive reduction in the amount of gas and electricity we use for heating. Plus, there is the added benefit of turning the unusable wood into energy, whilst removing the harmful elements at the same time.
We have switched from regular plastic bags to Polyair™ - the first polythene product in the UK to be officially carbon negative. This is a bio-based carrier bag made from 70% sugar cane-based polythene; this is an organic based polymer which is 100% recyclable.
“Polyair™ is truly the greenest material we know of… this product will improve your green credentials and dramatically reduce your carbon footprint”
Whilst in an ideal situation everyone would remember to bring a bag with them, we’ve all been caught out before and had to buy one at the check-out. At least now at Gillies our new bags are sustainably made and just as good at carrying your purchases home!
Our horse and cart were retired a number of decades ago! Now we rely on specially made furniture delivery lorries and carpet fitting vans to get your purchases to your home safely. With the ever-changing advances in fuel technology and vehicle efficiency standards, we review and upgrade our fleet annually so that our vehicles can be as environmentally friendly as possible. This includes the use of fuel additives such as ‘adBlue,’ which treats harmful pollutants from the exhaust gases.
The Future at Gillies is Green
There are so many different ways that we can reduce our carbon foot print while continuing to deliver the exceptional standard of service and quality that we have done for over 120 years.
We’re currently trialling reusable custom-made furniture bags to further minimise supplementary packaging materials we need to buy in to provide added protection. We already use a lot of quilted upholstered bags to protect furniture but we hope to extend this further still!
Having recently completed an upgrade to our computer software, we are hoping to reduce paper consumption by making a number of elements of the business paperless, utilising tablets and other portable electronic gadgets.
Watch this space for more developments...