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photo of toxic PTFE chain lube barrel in woods, with rider Simon Nash riding past
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Our environmental commitment is genuine.
We've only ever made green bike products

Whilst other companies may imitate to jump on the band wagon we created, many of them still make the toxic products that inspired Green Oil
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The image above represents the problem - you wouldn't dump barrels of petrochemicals in your local riding spot. But, hundreds of litres of chain lube and other bike products are sold every year - which end up where you ride, if not on your hands, or in your garden.

So why is this important?
Climate change already kills 300,000 people a year. Land fill sites are filling up, and resources and ecosystems are being depleted. Action is needed now. There is great hope. CFCs were banned, we no longer have acid rain, ozone depletion and sulphur being huge issues not long ago. Even leaded petrol was banned, and disposal of electronic wast to landfill is illegal in the UK.
However, the challenges of water pollution and climate change are big.
But not as big as our willingness to solve them.

After all, if we spoil this planet, we won't have anyway left to ride. (or live on!)

Petrochemical free
Many people like 'chemical free' products. Well, 'chemical free' isn't an accurate phrase- everything in existence is made from chemicals in reality. The issue is if they are artificial chemicals, whether or not they are biodegradable, and if they are harmful for people or environmentally damaging for example.
Well, Green Oil products don't use petrochemicals or anything harmful, please read on to learn more...

Made from plants like this, not like this - image of pot plant grown from soil, and oil rig chemical plant

We use more than 21 different plant based ingredients
And yes, that's the kind of plant grown from the ground, not the kind of chemical plant that refines crude oil! We use the power of nature, to give you the performance you deserve. Green Oil is made from the other black stuff - soil, not oil.

Bike cutting through water, splashing Green Oil products

PTFE Free
PTFE, also known under the brand name Teflon accumulates in the food chain, the environment, and creates a 'likely carcinogen' in its production. You shouldn't use PTFE on a bike, because it will most likely come off the chain, and enter the environment. Due to using toxic chain lube and greases, many mechanics have suffered dermatitis and poor health. We're changing that.


100% recycled plastic bottles . Our 100ml bottles are made from 100% recycled plastic. We are one of the world's first companies to do this. And thanks to YOU for recycling - we use plastic from UK recycling bins. White recycled HDPE plastic is increasingly popular. Less popular is the multi coloured stuff. So we're using it, to make sure it doesn't go to land fill. So Green Oil bottles being phased in come out a different colour with every batch! The labels look the same, so they still look great. Here they are, ready for filling...

Recycled plastic bottles ready to be filled

Did you know?
- Recycled plastic has a lower carbon footprint
- Using recycled plastic means less oil being drilled and less associated environmental damage
- Creating market demand for recycled plastic helps fund recycling, and diversion of waste from landfill sites

Reclaimed inner tube bands
Our Green Clean bike cleaner occasionally leaked in the post - the trigger sprays come off easily in transit. So, we use safety caps, and attach the trigger spray to the side with a band. Split inner tubes (the tube inside the bicycle tyre) are taken from bicycle shops - split and damaged ones. We cut them into elastic bands, to use on our Green Clean bike cleaner. And we use reclaimed fizzy drinks caps too.

..................Inner tubes being cut into elastic bands at Green Oil UK

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Cross-Cycling - a world first
Re-use is what most drinks companies outside the UK do - taking bottles, washing and re-filling them.
Re-claimed material use would be for example the Velo-re belt, a belt made from reclaimed tyres. Bottle caps being linked by wire into baskets is another example of using 're-claimed' materials.
Recycling is where a product is shredded and/or melted into a new product. For example, your bottles at home being washed and then put into a recycling bin - these are shredded and melted into our new bottles.

Green Clean with reclaimed fizzy drinks cap


Cross-Cycling is a cross between re-use and reclaiming.
We reclaim fizzy drinks caps, and re use them on our Green Clean bike cleaner. Cross-cycling is defined as 'the use of a product for its original use, but on a different new product'. So fizzy drinks caps are meant to be caps, and we're using them as caps, but on a brand new different product. They don't go through any processing, they're just cleaned and sorted.

If you would like to collect caps for us, and earn money for your charity, please contact us, and learn more here.

Q: Do we endorse drinking lots of fizzy drinks or any brands?

A: Not really, but we know some people like fizzy drinks, and we're happy to use their caps. Two brands that are great are Ribena fizzy - they use 100% recycled plastic bottles, and their caps fit perfectly.
Ubuntu Cola make fair trade cola, and we love their caps. Most other caps are welcome, please see our cap page for a full list, and bring some to the next trade show. Some companies use a thinner cap, which doesn't fit our bottles, so we can't take these.

Of course, councils and local recycling depots often say they prefer caps to be removed, and that they can't recycle them. So, we're diverting them from landfill for the good of the country. So every Green Clean now has a different funky cap on. We asked our fans on facebook if they thought it was a good idea, they like it, so we went ahead!

         
Kitchener's face on a river saying 'save your riding environment'  

Re-use deposit bottles. Friends of the Earth was founded when a major drinks company stopped using deposit bottles. In most countries, governments haven't let them get away with this, but the UK let it happen. Anyway, we like the idea. Recycling is greener than land fill, but still uses energy. Re-use is much greener, so at selected bike shops you can re-fill your Green Oil chain lube bottle for a 20p discount. The rest of the range you can re-fill for a 10p discount. Your can also post back your empty bottles here, and we'll refill them at a discount.

We love to take back old Green Oil packaging bottles and fizzy drinks caps at trade shows. Please bring them to the next one we're at, we can give you cash or a free gift!

Using reclaimed wood. Deforestation continues around the world, and its basically due to market demand - ignorant consumers continuing to buy wood furniture, and non recycled paper. (AKA deforestation paper if you really want to persuade someone to buy recycled!). At the same time, the UK imports more physical stuff than it exports. If you send pallets to land fill, they rot anaerobically, releasing methane. Worse than the smell, methane is a climate changing gas, even worse than CO2. Burning them also produces CO2, and there isn't enough demand to reuse them all...

So basically, our racks are made from reclaimed pallet wood! This diverts wood from landfill, doesn't cause deforestation, and means we're not using plastic to make the racks.

Green Oil display rack

 

FSC certified wood - a world first Mentioned above is rampant deforestation. Its a big issue. Basically, if something wooden is not made from reclaimed wood, or FSC certified wood, you probably shouldn't by it (unless its second hand). Western wood consumption = illegal logging overseas. Its as simple as that.

FSC certification overcomes this. FSC stands for 'Forestry Stewardship Council'. You can harvest trees sustainably. In a forest, cutting a strip of trees away, so more trees regrow in their place. This is the alternative to clearing areas completely, leading to soil erosion, so few or no trees growing back. Also in established plantations, chopping trees down and replanting them in cycles is sustainable generally.

In 2010 we launched the world's first FSC certified bike product, the Green Oil Bicycle Brush. This uses sustainably sourced wood, and the fibres are natural and durable. We were offered bristles that would wear out quickly - in order that we well more brushes. We don't buy into this short term consumerism. Its a brush that lasts. We might sell lots them then stop selling any because they don't wear out. But that's fine. We'd rather have a healthy planet to ride on.

The reason our racks are not 'FSC certified' is that a small company makes them for us, and getting certification for reclaimed wood is more tricky. The reason we don't use reclaimed wood for our brushes, is that it needs to be special wood that is water resistant, and harder than pallet wood, which is generally 'soft' wood.

Green Oil Bicycle Brush

No palm oil Many companies producing palm oil (used in biofuels, shampoo, soap and many other items) clear rainforest to grow it. Sometimes they even burn down forest, drain pete bogs to grow it. We don't use palm oil in any of our products.

Sustainably sourced ingredients Around half the ingredients we use are certified organic, and all are sustainably sourced. For this reason, the Ecologist made Green Oil 'Pick of the Month', and we're a commercial partner of Friends of the Earth.

Friends of the Earth and Ecologist logo

Friends of the Earth Commercial Partner Green Oil UK is proud to be a commercial partner of Friends of the Earth, alongside Eurostar and a few selected companies. We morally support their work, and actively support events like their Big Green Bike Ride.

Ethical Banking Green Oil UK banks with the Co-operative Bank. They don't invest in companies that make polluting products, are involved in unsustainable logging and other unsustainable activities that many other banks are invovled with. Why not ask your bank if they have an ethical investment policy? Afterall, its money in normal people's accounts being used to fund a lot of the environmental crime out there.

Recycled paper We nearly only use recycled paper and card. We sometimes use hemp paper which is green but not recycled, and stationary reclaimed from waste (e.g. packs of envelopes thrown out by local shops). We use recycled cardboard boxes behind the scenes for wholesale orders. These are 50% to 100% recycled.

UK Manufacturing Our main market is the United Kingdom. So if you live here, the products have a lower carbon footprint before they reach you - unlike some imported brands.

Air freight is avoided where possible Shipping has a lower carbon footprint, so we try to literally 'ship' stuff where we can for orders outside of the United Kingdom.

Packing material Probably not many companies use old chunks of polystyrene anymore, but its worth a mention that we use a combination of biodegradable inflatable packing material, backing paper from labels and for special orders, we use void fill from Leavs Ltd - dried plant material, leaves, maize and petals to keep your delivery safe.

Recycling We recycle everything possible. Our old office had a roof garden with compost bin, and we're working on a new one for our new office. We have well labelled recycling bins to make things easy. In fact, most people don't realize they should have recycling bins in their house - get one for your office or kitchen now - its easier than walking to the garage every time you need to recycle a tin can. And don't put a black sack in it! Clean recycling bins don't need sacks.

Freecycling Old office equipment is given away where possible. This is sometimes through Freecycle.org. Check out Freegle too.

Honest recycling information For some reason, recycling information has got worse and worse in the UK. Simply, most councils only take PET and HDPE, plastics 1 and 2. For this reason, we state when our products can and can't be recycled like so, rather pretending you can recycle everything which can lead to contamination:

honest recycling information used in Green Oil products

Many companies put 'please recycle me' on plastics which cannot be recycled (well by most councils anyway, like polypropylene, plastic 5). Many companies have the terrible 'Recycle Now' logos on saying 'check local recycling', or 'bottle please recycle' (no matter what type of plastic the bottle is).

The problem is, you can't look up 'Sainsbury's Tomato Puree cap' on your local council's website. Packaging too often says 'check local recycling' when its actually impossible to check. If councils and all graphic designers used the simple 6 number system for plastics, we wouldn't have this problem. Many packages say 'lid plastic- check local recycling. Tub plastic - please recycle'. Again, you can't actually check if a lid is recyclable or not. This leads to contamination, confusion, less recycling and higher prices for us for recycled plastic.

Here is a kind of packaging hall of shame. Lots of bike products have poor recycling info on too. These however are general household products. 1. Cream Cheese - Apparently plastic is both 'not currently recycled', and 'widely recycled'. A bit confusing to the lay person. As a chemist or avid recycler, you might know the lid is PET (plastic type 1), and the tub polypropylene (5) or compressed polystyrene (6). They could just put recycling codes on, but instead they confuse the public with seemingly contradictory nonsense.

2. - Sainsbury's chocolate cookies - a paper and plastic mix used for a bag. You can't put plastic into a paper recycling bin - it will contaminate it. However, 'Bag-paper widely recycled' is the misleading information of the day.

3, A Waitrose soup pot - 'check local recycling'. Have you ever seen a council website giving a definitive answer on whether or not soup pots from Waitrose can be recycled? No, neither have we. Its a polypropylene tub (plastic 5), which most councils can't recycle. They should just tell you this, and provide the plastic type.

Next is a 'recyclable' mobius loop on a Cranks paper/plastic mixed sandwich box - its a bad mix of plastic and paper, probably covered in sandwich filling too, so shouldn't be put in a recycling bin. Lots of products have this recycling loop on, despite being neither recycled, nor recyclable. Its the most popular greenwash aroun.

The blue and white package there asks you to find out from your council if the salt pot lid can be recycled. Obviously, no council on the planet will say specifically 'yes/no, a Waitrose salt lid can/can't be collected for recycling'. Most likely, the plastic lid will get thrown in with the cardboard tube into a card/paper bin - contaminating the batch.

Lastly, a Tetrapack saying its widely recycled - lots of councils still don't take Tetrapacks, and putting them into your paper bin leads to contamination. Tetrapacks are great, but need clear recycling information on. Many people think they are just paper, rather than the foil, paper and plastic mix they are - which messes up paper recycling if mixed in. Misleading recycling information leads to contamination and less stuff being recycled so we only provide good honest recycling information - unlike on the packaging below.

Examples of bad recycling information on packaging

Waste companies should be paying councils to collect your rubbish, rather than the other way around. Waste is a huge resource. However, recycling collections in the UK are poor due to the kind of labeling above, and poor education from councils. In Germany, recycled plastic is cheaper than virgin plastic, unlike in the UK.

The UK authorities seem to be encouraging contamination of recycling bins by allowing this kind of poor labeling, and vague recycling information from councils, perhaps to make it look like we recycle more than we do - many people being uncertain, and chuck more than they should in the recycling bin anyway. Great for government statistics, less good for the environment. Contaminated waste is sent to land fill or incinerated only after its weighed.
But anyway, that's enough politics...

If you work for a council, or another company feel free to copy our labeling concept above. Fundamentally for the idiots out there, 'we only take bottles, plastic trays, and metal cans' is fine, but further information on what plastic types can be recycled should be provided by councils, and recycling numbers put on all packaging for the sensible majority. After all, there are 6 main plastic types, and most people can count to 6! (Occasionally the number 7 is used to indicate a mix of plastics). Paper and metal have numbers, but its obvious that a metal can is metal, and that paper is paper so they're not often required.

Click here for a link to Wikipedia's recycling code list.

Our Eco Rider Deluxe set is made of Polypropylene. This can't easily be recycled in the UK. Faced with this moral dilemma, Simon came up with the idea of providing a pack of seeds. So if you don't want to use the tub for washing your bike, you can grow your own salad or herbs in it. Getting people to grow their own food is great - local food on your shelf with zero food miles!

Label plastic. We use the same type of plastic for our bottles as for our labels. This makes recycling more efficient. We don't mix in metal foil on our plastic bottles, which can contaminate the recycling stream.

Green Living tips. We put Green Living tips on our products. This is because many people still think leaving lights on is greener than turning them off and on again (it isn't), and people sit parked in their cars with the engine running (they should turn the engine off if stationary for more than 30 seconds to save petrol). Many people even get 'recyclable' and 'recycled' confused, so we put green living tips on every bottle to help people out.

Concentrate! Green Clean like most cleaners is around 90% water. The powerful part, we sell as a concentrate, our powerful degreaser Clean Chain. Riders can then re-fill their Green Clean bottle again and again. This means less water being transported about, and therefore a lower carbon footprint. You can buy Green Clean once, and keep refilling with Clean Chain.

 

CF3 re-usable lube spray

No Aerosols CFCs have largely been phased out, protecting our ozone layer. However, spray cans still contains harmful propellants. These are bad for your health- simply read the health warnings on the tin. They often say, 'use in a well ventilated area'. Well in a bike workshop in England, its unreasonable to have the windows open all the time. And the toxins go out into the environment - not great. In collaboration with a packaging company, we developed the CF3 Spray. It uses natural air pressure. And you don't need to throw it away like with other spray cans - its re-fillable. Simply pump the cap to re charge it.    

100% recycled cardboard boxes. When Green Oil started, every box used was reclaimed from a local wine and grocery shop. With standardization, we order boxes specific sizes now, but from recycled fibre. We do though use lots of boxes from other companies still. The Body Shop below our old office throw out lots of old boxes which Green Oil UK utilizes, especially for our little online store, among other things.

In the office we not only recycle, but buy recycled, and other ethical products. The office furniture is all reclaimed (perhaps a posh word for 'second hand'!) but really - some desks were actually a little more expensive second hand than new. Our stock rack is pretty cool, its made from reclaimed pallets from a local waste land, and builders planks from a local night club being renovated. Most supplies come from the Green Stationary Company. and Nigels Ecostore which has a stationary section

Energy efficiency Our London office is insulated with lambs wool, and has lots of plants to keep the air clean, including spider plants and peace lilies. Energy saving bulbs are used, and computer screens must be turned off when leaving the desk. Everything bar one of the printers is turned off at night. (Apparently it needs to clean itself occasionally!)

WEEE Directive It is now illegal to throw electronic and electrical equipment into normal bins. Firstly they contain heavy metals which can leach out, damaging the water table and soil. Secondly, they contain precious metals that should be kept in circulation. We dispose of all electronic waste properly via an electronics recycling company. Batteries are also collected and recycled here. We don't take the weee and stick it all in a skip or wheely bin like some firms. We also use equipment from Comm Tech, a local company that recycles and renovates computers. This website is being built on one of their machines now!

Brother from another mother Brother printers are great. The company was given top marks by Ethical Consumer Magazine, and their print quality is amazing. Their printers are low energy consumers, the company recycles old printers and they even invest in protecting rainforests. Pretty amazing for a printer company! You can even spend their money by voting for environmental initiatives at BrotherEarth.com. Kyocera is similar and worth a mention.

Brother printers also can use re-fillable cartridges - saving lots of cartridges from land fill. We use supplies from the Ink Company who supply special refillable cartridges for our Brother printers.

Two office suppliers are The Green Stationary Company, and Reycled-Paper.co.uk. Please use them too.
Unless of course you've found a second planet to ride on...

Green bike companies and recycling linnk

         
             
                   
 
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© 2014 Green Oil UK Limited
Registered Office: Green Oil UK Limited, Unit S7, The Old Granary, 245 Coldharbour Lane, London, SW9 8RR
Registered in England and Wales, No. 6470586
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Contact us on 020 7274 8725
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