One person’s junk is another person’s treasure

Old chimneys stacked on top of paving slabs

At Grand Union we’re committed to being more sustainable as a business. That’s why 10 of our colleagues recently took part in Grand Union’s first carbon literacy training, with the aim of learning about how we can reduce our carbon emissions as an organisation, in order to help tackle climate change.

Following the training, our Wellbeing Coordinator Emma Dagless, had an idea to reduce Grand Union’s impact on the environment. Her idea was to repurpose items from sites that were being redeveloped, into resources for her community garden projects. She enlisted the help of our Land Manager, Joff Lord, to find a site that was due to be demolished, in order to provide a development of 45 new homes.

Emma was conscious of not only reducing carbon emissions, but also creating diverse habitats that lock up carbon and deliver wider wellbeing and environmental benefits. With the help of Snowdon Homes, who were managing the demolition process and constructing the new homes, Emma selected lots of items from the site with creative ideas of how to repurpose them.

Items salvaged from the site are being put to good use as part of the gardening projects Emma runs in the communal gardens of some of our schemes, from reusing paving stones for patio areas to using rocks, wood or roof tiles to create borders for plant beds or habitats for insects.

Joff said: “The project was small but managed to benefit both gardeners and customers. It has provided an opportunity to open discussions about carbon literacy and the possibility of larger, cost-effective projects to repurpose building waste and help re-green some of our estates.”

How can you get involved?

There are many ways you can reduce your personal carbon emissions. Some examples include reducing your use of fossil fuels by cycling to work rather than driving, considering whether the food you eat is imported or locally produced and recycling and repurposing items.