Treebox has discovered ways of reducing its carbon footprint by more than 40% after joining forces with the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and research company We All Design.
Given that it’s our mission to inject more greenery into urban areas, sustainability is at the very heart of Treebox’s day-to-day activities. As a result, we are always looking for ways to further minimise the impact on the environment that our installation work can have.
While the living walls that we install have a tremendously positive impact on the environment once they are put in place – for example, by promoting biodiversity, purifying the air and reducing the risk of flooding – the installations are supported on polypropylene sheets and have stainless steel components. We wanted to investigate how we could best recycle and re-use these elements, thereby helping the environment even more.
Working with Rob Maslin, director of We All Design, and Robert Beagley-Brown, of Beagley Brown Design, on the TSB-funded project, we investigated the feasibility of shifting our business model so that we could recover and recycle all of the materials used in the installation of green walls. Such an outcome would enable us to ‘close the loop’ on our use of materials, ensuring that they are continuously re-used rather than being thrown away. This process is known as creating a ‘circular economy’.
The research revealed that by switching to this ‘closed loop’ system, the carbon footprint associated with our installations would drop by 41%.
As a result of the research, more focus will be put on the ease of disassembly of our living wall panels. We will recover the polypropylene as efficiently as possible, clean it, and send it back to the manufacturer so it can be used again. There is also greater scope for components to be donated to support social ventures.
Armando Raish, managing director of Treebox, says of the project: “The information we have gained from this whole research process has been invaluable. We’ve learnt where the potential lies to improve the design of our panels, particularly from a circular economy point of view, and have also learnt more about how people interact with our panels.”
“The findings are playing a large part in determining how we design our living walls and the service we provide.”