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  • Graeme Warnell

Road haulage - simple steps to protect the environment


There is no doubt road haulage is a tough business. Soaring fuel prices in 2022 have put huge pressure on day-to-day operations.


Now as we reach an environmental tipping point road haulage comes under the spotlight once again with a focus on road run of pollution, carbon emissions and the risk of groundwater pollution from diesel refuelling areas.


There are no quick fixes to many of these issues. Road run off pollution applies to all road users.

So, are there any low cost, easy to implement solutions that could help protect the environment and reduce a haulage organisations carbon footprint or mitigate a potential pollution event?

The answer is yes, so let’s break them down 4 basic areas:


1. On site refuelling and spill management

2. Fuel separator maintenance

3. Vehicle cleaning

4. Vehicle repair bays


On site refuelling and spill management – if you are using sand or absorbent granules to manage spills then you are already creating a secondary contaminated waste stream that needs to be disposed of. This can be avoided by simply using a nature based bioremedial product that will clean the spill and allow you to brush it into the drains feeding the fuel separator where it can bioremediate. After all the safest place for a spill is in the separator and not left as a pile of contaminated sand or granules that you have to pay to be disposed of.


Fuel separator maintenance - if you are getting your fuel separator emptied regularly have you asked yourself why? Surely it is better if the fuel separator can be turned into a vessel that allows the bioremediation of any captured spills in situ. Reducing the frequency at which the fuel separator has to be emptied saves money and reduces carbon footprint associated with sending a road tanker out. As fuel prices continue to rise the cost of emptying the fuel separator will also continue to rise. By dosing your fuel separator with a bioremedial product you reduce the risk of ethanol and BTEX elements leaving your facility, a problem that will become more common as the volume of ethanol in fuel increases. A simple dosing scheme will help your fuel separator turn spilled fuel into water and naturally occurring CO2.


Vehicle cleaning – most chemical cleaning simply moves dirt, grease, oil and traffic film from one place to another. This means all that contamination plus the chemicals used for cleaning and waste run off either need to be disposed of professionally or simply pass into foul water drains and soakaway systems. If you clean with a non-chemical product you immediately stop this cycle of adding chemicals to the environment. It’s important to remember the UK pours over 1 million litres of toxic cleaning chemicals into the foul drains every week, so no wonder every UK water body failed water quality tests when its chemical content was examined.


Vehicle repair bays – Most vehicle repair bays suffer from heavy build ups of grease and oil including floors, ramps and repair tools. If you are using a solvent based product for cleaning them you already have an environmental risk and a potential fire hazard on site, not to mention the long-term accumulative effect these products have on people’s health. Using natural surfactants and harmless bacteria in cleaning products means all these risks can be avoided. They provide an excellent cleaning alternative to chemicals and solvents. Nature based products pose no health risks to the users or the environment and are safe to store.


Overview - When we are all trying to look at ways of helping to protect the environment it does not have to be complicated or expensive. Something as simple as changing what products you use on a day-to-day basis can have a massive environmental impact, especially if we all start making these small changes.


If you found this article interesting and would like more information on using nature-based products for cleaning instead of toxic chemicals, please email the author Graeme Warnell at info@gwenvironmentalconsulting.com


By implementing environmentally responsible cleaning and spill management practises, you could help reduce the pollution of our rivers and oceans, create a safer workplace for your employees, reduce your carbon footprint and put something good back into the environment so why wouldn’t you?

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