Builders' Merchant environmental initiative

Published:  22 June, 2009

The Environmental category was introduced in 2007 and recognises the merchant that has changed it stock profile and sales emphasis to sell more environmentally-focused products. A merchant must also have altered their purchasing and sales approach to reduce their carbon footprint over the past year.




Covers has improved the energy performance of its buildings through the use of 15-20% of clear, corrugated roofing to increase natural light and fluorescent tube lighting of the low energy type is used. Light bulbs are recycled. Internal and yard lighting is lumen and time switch controlled and movement-controlled sensors are employed in less frequently used areas, such as toilet and washrooms.

Annual renewal targets are in place to update the merchant’s fleet of vehicles to multi-purpose ones to reduce road miles. The purchase of Euro IV and V engines will be more efficient and will reduce CO2 per delivery. Covers is also investigating the use of

biofuels. All the new depots have been provided with bicycle storage and showering facilities to encourage staff to cycle to work.

For the reduction of landfill and further recycling, split bins for recycling and waste have been added to all depots. Toner cartridges, computer paper, vehicle batteries, anti freeze brake fluid and engine oil are all recycled.

The company’s wood waste offcuts are delivered to green waste composters who specialise in recycling waste products and re-selling them as garden mulch. Chipping machines are also being considered as an alternative, with the pellets to be sold as fuel for biomass boilers. The 8 tonnes of shavings produced by Cover each day is all recycled. Plastic, cardboard, and metal strapping waste at the merchant’s four bigger depots is collected in separate waste bins, compressed, and collected for recycling. Organic wood treatments are used for treating timber – a move away from VOC-based treatment processes.

Covers is also working with suppliers to increase the amount of environmentally friendly and ethically sourced products it offers.

Covers has invested £100 000+ in the South East’s first ever Eco Centre.  Based at Quarry Lane, Chichester, a centre of expertise that showcases the latest eco products for the home and garden. It helps retail and trade customers learn about practical ways to make a home more energy efficient, obtain a better home energy rating and reduce carbon emissions and water use.


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