PTFE and Petrochemicals go into the environment via bicycles every year
Green Oil, the eco friendly alternative seeks to stop this
The original Green Oil chain lube was created after a ride through the river Quaggy - and a failed search to find a petrochemical free lubricant. Simon created the Green Oil formula in his last year at University, and through testing in Lords Wood Southampton, it worked.
Many big corporations use PTFE in their lubes. This makes a carcinogen in its production, and does not biodegrade. They often misleadingly claim their formulas are biodegradable though.
Green Oil UK Ltd makes the only genuinely green range of bicycle maintenance fluids made in the UK, and the greenest in the World. We're a commercial partner Friends of the Earth
and our formulas work well. Green Oil chain lube gives in excess of 125 miles between applications, that's a performance beating many toxic chain lubes.
Green Oil UK is rider owned and run. It's a young upstart company that started in Kent, which now has an office near Clapham, London and a factory in Wales where most of the Green Oil range is produced.
Green Oil was created, because nothing similar was available. Simon Nash, the company founder was riding his bike through the river Quaggy, near Elmstead Woods in Bromley. He realized his chain was in the water, and lots of rides involve a river crossing at some point. Looking for an alternative to a petrochemical polluting lube, nothing was available.
Most brands available at the time were imported, and didn't even bother to have recycling information on. Many had the 'Dangerous for the Environment' dead fish and tree logo on. 'No one should make lube like this' he thought. Of course, every fluid used on your bike ends up in the environment.
PTFE accumulates in the food chain, and petrochemicals pollute rivers and wildlife, so what's in your chain lube is important.
In his last year at University, Green Oil was developed. It utilized only plant based, and sustainably sourced ingredients rather than petrochemicals. Recycling information was clear, and sustainability incorporated from the beginning. The first bottle sold to the public was to a man in Trafalgar Square, London as cyclists gathered to watch the Tour de France, which in 2007 started in London.
A rough timeline of Green Oil UK
October 2007: Green Oil chain lube is recommended by the Ecologist Magazine. This publication, owned by the famous Right Honorable Zac Goldsmith gave Green Oil its first boost, and sales, plus credibility. Important for a small company run from a shed! Around the same time, a big advert was placed in MBUK and the first stockist came on board, the famous Hayle Cycles in Cornwall.
Janurary 2008: WMB Gold Award won, and Green Oil UK Ltd formed. What Mountain Bike gave Green Oil chain lube their. This helped a lot with getting the product into bike shops. The same month 'Green Oil UK Limited' was incorporated on the kitchen table of a family friend, and the business started to grow.
Bottles were still hand filled and capped by the now 'company director', Simon Nash. They say when a company starts, everyone is 'chief cook and bottle washer'. Well at Green Oil, it was a case of 'chief executive, bottle filler, packer, bottle labeler and marketing guy'! The company grew, as did its ambitions...
Green Oil was made with second hand processing equipment, and filled through an adapted beer tap. Labels were originally made of recycled 'gum' paper. They were printed on an old Epsom printer (later upgraded to a Brother as the cartridges are easier to refill!), cut with a guillotine and hand applied. Simon Nash claims to have hand labeled more than 20,000 bottles.
Numerous bike shops took on the lube. Awards for product performance continued to come, and the first scale up came about. A small bottling machine which filled the bottles to the right level consistently was purchased. Before this, it had to be judged by eye with the beer tap!
2008-2009: The range then grew, with Green Clean, Clean Chain degreaser and Ecogrease.With distributors taking an interest in lifing Green Oil to the next level, Simon decided to scale the company up - in order to actually get some sleep rather than hand labelling bottles until the early hours.
Janurary 2010: Green Oil 'Closes the loop' with country's first bottle in 100% recycled plastic The film 'The Corporation' mentions this concept. The loop of manufacture and recycling.
So for packaging, you use a bottle, it gets recycled into a new bottle, filled, used, then recycled again. This can be a closed loop, independent of nature - so with no oil drilling necessary for new virgin plastic. This principle is built into Green Oil's ethos.
March 2010: Green Oil launches World's first fairly traded bike product - the Ecosponge
The plant based sponge forms part of the Eco Rider set and is made using fair trade principles.
July 2010: Upgrade Bikes takes on distribution of Green Oil in the UK, a long awaited acheivment. Matt and Damian, the men behind the the DMR brand get the range into numeous shops and the number of distributors world wide grows after this point. Clean Chain degreaser becomes Upgrade's biggest selling product at one point!
August 2010: - Green Oil UK Featured on the BBC News! The BBC's Tim Muffet comes to visit the EcoCabin where Green Oil UK began, and Simon Nash has his five minutes of fame. The feature boosts the brand.
August 2010: - World's First FSC bicycle product created and launched. The Green Oil Bicycle Brush launches successfully, made from sustainable wood. Described by one in the industry as 'The Finest Brush on the Market', the Bicycle Brush is an antidote for plastic bristles and nasty plastic handles. Forestry Stewardship Council certification guarantees the sustainability of the wood - so it doesn't cause deforestation like many other wood products.
September 2010: Green Oil moves from the bedroom and EcoCabin in Bromley to an office above the Body Shop in Brixton high street.
October 2010: Green Oil Evicted and back to the Ecocabin - A crooked land lady not paying the service charge on the building results in the overlord taking the premisis from her - and Green Oil being evicted for a month whilst they negotiate. The new owner Lee Baron becomes the new landlord after a month, but a few months after that the original somewhat criminal land lady gets the premisiss back - and becomes the land lord again.
October 2010: Bike Biz Rising Star Award won!
Green Oil gets some well deserved industry recognition after a lot of hard work!
September 2011:This South London Business Award won. A was a great achievement, and nicely complemented the Bromley Environment Award won in 2008. However, the business award ceremony then went on, and Green Oil UK won the prestigious Bromley Business of the Year Award! They liked the fact Green Oil is genuinely green, we actually make stuff, and the fact we sell to China!
November 2011: Green Oil Moves to The Old Granary:Following an eviciton notice for the unscrupulous land lady, due to her not paying her mortgage, and no guarantee she had paid them off to stop it (though the eviction didn't go ahead fortunately), Simon made the hard decision to move from there to a more professional premises at the end of the lease. The 120 year old building which was formerly a Granary and has a metal scale in the ride-through arch - for weighing horses and their carts carrying grain. The almost derelict unit is fixed and fitted with lambs wool insulation and LED lighting to to reduce the carbon foot print - and stop fresh air blowing in through the roof. Coldharbour Lane where the old Granary is was the former home of John Major, and the Old Granary where Basement Jaxx And Turin Breaks once produced their music.
2012 (Olympic London Year!):
The Green Oil range is rebranded: The brand values of Performance, British Manufacturing and Sustainability are shown with the new branding. Simply, with the old branding sales were not as they should have been.
Many of the images used are from World War Two. The war itself was of course a bad thing, but some of the things that came about were good. People coming together, growing your own food, fixing things and community spirit. This reflects the green revolution we all need to be a part of today. That why our slogan is 'join the revolution'.
The green revolution isn't about overthrowing the government, its about changing the way we live and purchase. Choose green products, use public transport and bikes rather than cars. Playing our part, we put green living tips on every bottle.
'Join the revolution' also refers to the the revolution of cogs- we need more bikes to make the world greener, and riding is fun, the best way to relax and refresh your mind!
'Cross Cycled caps' are used on Green Clean bike cleaner. Literally, reclaimed fizzy drinks caps are used on the 1 litre bottle after a chance discovery that they fit! This is a world first to our knowledge - no other company uses another company's packaging, after consumers have in this way. We name it 'cross cycling'.
The Green Oil On Tour is successfully launched, though the UK distributor doesn't take on the product mysteriously... Despite literally 1000's of bottles sold through the following two years...
2013:Recycled plastic used for the Eco Rider Deluxe set: The set that includes a pack of seeds has recycled plastic phased in. The Green Oil 100ml bottles already made of 100% recycled plastic, we successfully introduce a plastic tub for our Eco Rider Deluxe set from recycled plastic.
January 2014:i-Rideis appointed as the new UK distributor for Green Oil to really reach its full potential. At the same time, Agent Apple is launched, a new super powerful degreaser - like Agent Orange's eco friendly cousin!
The company is still 100% owned by Simon Nash, founder and director. We still use 100% recycled plastic bottles for our 100ml products, still manufacture everything in the UK (except the fair trade Ecosponge) and still build sustainability and performance into everything we do. Thanks for being a part of it.
February 2015: Simon appears on Dragons Den! Riding into the after very little sleep, days of preparation and a last minute bike clean in the hotel shower, it was an interesting yet short feature. Deborah Meaden said "Based on the the figures, I'd have to take more than 50% to justify an investment".
Piers Linnay said he bought a bottle of Green Oil in a bike shop in Brighton. He like it when using it on his down hill bike.
However, footage was cut and. See the full story here.
November 2015: New branding introduced. William Pearson, director of the World's oldest bike shop, Pearson Cycles gives Simon some packaging advice at a conference, which helped form the new Green Oil look.
March 2016: Kickstarter launched! Green Oil creates a general household lube, for bikes, Chubb locks, door hinges, toys and more. MakeitSlip.co.uk is launched, and prototype products made for the Ecobuild show.
Kickstarter launched which will raise £23,000.
"I started Green Oil, and thought I'd write this as 'the man behind the brand'. So I really did think of the Green Oil concept after riding through a river. It was the concrete part of the river Quaggy, which has half natural, half just a flood overflow for the local buildings - so no fish were destroyed during this ride.
Anyway, I've always liked bikes from a young age. At school, my GCSE DT project was for a bike trailer for off-road use - as shown below. Family bike rides were fun, and apparently my great grandfather owned a bike hire shop in London 'back in the day'. This was long before the Blue Bike cycle hire scheme (aka Boris/Ken Bikes). My great grandfather on the other side of the family is in the picture at the top of this page, having won a cup, in some kind of bike race. I don't know if the two met, but perhaps the cycling theme is genetic, and here I am as CEO of Green Oil, hopefully making them proud.
I was entrepreneurial from a young age. Perhaps the first business was at the age of 12. Most of the lockers at school didn't have shelves in. So, I made my own from wood in the CDT workshop. I then sold them to class mates at £1 each. However, when Mr. Smith realized what was going on, and that the school was of course paying for the wood, - well that put an end to that! A later venture at university involved taking bikes from the huge skips they used to use, renovating and selling them. Very time consuming and short lived, but a little money made. (Southampton University following complaints by me, and since employing an environment manager has stopped putting bikes in skips - they now get sent to Africa or recycled thankfully).
I've always cared about the environment. A combination of studying some of the issues at University, a Christian upbringing, and seeing the problems in the news made me ambitious to solve them. Captain Planet on Saturday morning TV as a child also perhaps played a part. I personally believe that if you understand environmental issues and political problems of today, you have an obligation to go into business or politics if you can. I've therefore always had ambitious to do this. If nothing else to make up for the business people keeping us dependent on fossil fuels, landfill sites the consequences of climate change and environmental damage.
If the millionaires of the world spent their wealth on contraception in Africa, buying up rainforest to protect it, sanitation and renewable energy - well the world would be a lot better. If good people become those millionaires and politicians of the future, things will be good. Solar power, electric cars, rather than 1st class flights and 4x4s.
Its great running Green Oil UK. For example, using reclaimed fizzy drinks caps for Green Clean. Old fashioned company directors would never do that - 'well every bottle will look different, we need consistency!' you could imagine them saying. Similarly, our new recycled bottles - we're using white recycled HDPE less, and more multi coloured plastic that other people don't want - so our 100ml bottles literally come out in random colours. Being a company executive, you can make these things happen. Green Oil UK has diverted more than 90,000 bottles worth of plastic from landfill in affect. That's a big difference, especially when some companies still don't even bother to turn their lights off at night time.
Other interesting stuff;Friends of the Earth was founded following a drinks company ending its use of deposit bottles in the UK (we are now one of their commercial partners I'm proud to say!). A similar thing happened with me in Southampton. When I was at University, a man who somehow worked his way into facilities management, decided recycling bins 'didn't fit in with the new decor' in the library - so got rid of them, with no where left to recycle paper. As a result of this, and getting them put back after campaigning, I set up Green Action society, to make sure this kind of thing wouldn't happen again. The society is still going today at Southampton University.
I posed in a bath tub full of fizzy drinks caps for the launch of the rebranded Green Clean - which uses reclaimed or rather 'cross cycled' bottle caps. Some were wet at the time, it was worth it for the picture though!
My name is on the deeds of land near Heathrow Airport. Airport expansion damages the economy by damaging British tourism. Heathrow's expansion would make air quality in London even worse - harming children and those with breathing problems, and making air quality illegally bad. Climate change kills already, and further climate change could harm our way of life. So, I went to Climate Camp to protect our future, and along with many celebrities, supported Greenpeace's campaign to buy land near Heathrow, to stop its mindless expansion. (Heathrow's third most popular destination is Manchester - crazy!). I also took a 'no flight pledge' and didn't fly in a plane for 3 years. I still avoid flying where possible. If you'd like to do the same check out Seat61.com
Here I am in a Japanese magazine called Bicycle Navi! It shows the second generation packaging with paper labels.
Its actually photographed in London. Apparently I'm saying something in Japanese!
I was an associate member of the Institute of Directors (a posh business society). However, they are currently lobbying the government to build more airports (against our economic, and environmental interests) so I resigned this year. In 2011, I was short listed for their South East Region's New Business Director of the Year Award, down to the final 30 from more than 300 entries. Its a great organization, but misguided on its aviation policy so I felt had to leave. Reasons why airport expansion is bad for the economy are here.
I nearly burned down the Ecocabin doing an experiment. As a chemist, a lot of work is still hands on. All our products so far were developed in house - we don't just buy in wholesale chemicals and re bottle them like some other brands. Anyway, whilst developing a new product, the Pyrex beaker smashed randomly, everything fell from the tripod and caught fire via the Bunsen burner. The burning liquid went on the table, and the floor of the cabin, it was pretty scary. Fortunately, the Ecocabin has a water butt on the side for collecting rain water, and a large rag was to hand with a bucket. The fire was put out real quick, with just a couple of burnt cables and light damage. The Ecocabin lives on today. The solar panel which powered the bottling machine on sunny days is still there and powers a 12 volt car radio. Free green electricity for around £50!
I'm Dyslexic. Apparently dyslexic people are more likely to be entrepreneurs. Richard Branson is also dyslexic. Apologies therefore for past spelling mistakes on Green Oil packaging!
I enjoy wild swimming - swimming in lakes and rivers, including the one at the Big Bike Bash in the New Forest. (All the more reason to stop people using PTFE, petrochemical packed bike products which end up in rivers and the sea!) I hand built the ramp for the Big Big Bash Lake Jump from reclaimed wood with my friend Kev in Southampton. Now its part of an annual event, where you can ride your bike into a lake, and attempt stupid things like back flips!
I secretly like Micro Scooters, and ride a similar thing called a Kickboard (half scooter, half skateboard) at trade shows.
I enjoy riding. I commute to the station by bike most days, and get out on the mountain bike when I can. At University I was in the mountain bike club (SUMBC), nick named 'Crazy Si' for once riding and crashing off a bottle bank, and had a great time in Lords Wood and other riding venues. I do a bit of dirt jump, non-competitive down hill, and cross country riding. I get to PORC in Sevenoaks when I can, a great trail centre.
Basically, for every bottle my company sells, that's 100ml less petrochemical rubbish going into the environment, even more plastic diverted from land fill, and less money going to those running companies without a conscience. Thanks for joining me, and using our products.
- Simon Nash, Founder and Director of Green Oil UK
Green Oil UK Ltd is proud to have won a number of awards. The company is still growing and hard work continues. Here are some of the awards won. Recently Green Oil UK was a semi finalist in the PEA Awards, but here are some of our triumphs:
Bromley Environment Award. A proud achievement back in 2008, the Award was presented by Sian Lloyd, the TV weather presenter on ITV.
Curiously, a co-winner was a teacher from Simon's school, who helped turn some derelict land from a car park into a nice garden in Widmore Green, Bromley.
The trophy is made from recycled glass. It was presented by Bromley Council. The council must be also thanked for Bromley's excellent recycling scheme.
Future 100 Award. This award recognizes companies that could be the future FTSE 100. Whilst we don't plan on going public to risk being bought out like Ben&Jerry's, or the Body Shop, the award was most appreciated.
Picture shows Simon Nash and Sian Lloydat the Bromley Environment Awards.
Green Halo Award This award was given at the UK Aware show because we had the greenest stand.
UK Aware is an environment show, so this was really great to get.
We use recycled wood for our display racks, our table, and also only use banners now from Greenhouse Graphics - they use natural fibres and ink, rather than kinky let polluting PVC! Our genuine passion came through with this award..
Ecovate Green Business Innovator Lean Manufacturing (runner up) This Award was based on supply chain management. The trophy was really cool, made from reclaimed cogs from watches and wire. It was shaped like a food on a toe, to represent our low environmental footprint.
'Turned an idea into a success story' This was an accolade really rather than an award, but
Green Oil was featured on the BBC Breakfast News. Bill Turnball, the presenter said "Simon has turned an idea idea into a success story". A great privilege to have that said
on the national news.
Bike Biz Rising Star award 2010 Green Oil UK had just appointed a distributor and things were on the up. An expanded range and a scale up to product production in Wales, Green Oil was unstoppable. All from a company that started in a log cabin in Kent!
Bromley Best Business for Sustainability 2011 These awards were organized by South London Business. Green Oil UK was praised for its approach to sustainability. 'Sustainability' refers to the UN's definition of sustainable development - 'Meeting the needs of current generations, without inhibiting the ability of future generations to meet their needs'. Since this time, the word 'sustainable' has been hijacked in the media as a phrase for short term economic growth for the next 5 years - like hardwood furniture companies and road expansion, which only really serve the current generation if that, relying on fossil fuels, destruction of forests.
We were really pleased and honored to win this award for genuine sustainability..
Bromley Business of the Year 2011 It was a great honor to win Best Business for Sustainability, but then at the end of the evening, a special award was announced, and Green Oil UK Ltd was crowned 'Bromley Business of the Year 2011'. We were chuffed, and thanks to everyone at South London Business for running the awards.
This Award is on the right behind the Sustainability Award.
However, the greatest award is seeing you use our products, and your local bike shop stocking Green Oil. Thanks for your support, and for helping us grow.
Green Oil UK Limited
The Old Granary
245 Coldharbour Lane
. 020 7274 8725 VAT number: 980 6213 19
Company number: 6470586
If calling from outside the UK dial +44 (0)20 7274 8725. We're happy to hear from overseas distributors