We’re thrilled to see more local businesses play their part in helping to reduce air pollution across Bristol.
GENeco, based in Avonmouth, is one such organisation. They continually work to find more innovative and environmental ways to reduce landfill and use cleaner energy to power their vehicles, making a huge impact on our health as well as the health of the planet.
Heather Newton, Customer Account Advisor at GENeco (Wessex Water Enterprises Ltd) explains more about some of the great work they have been doing over the last few years.
Where did GENeco’s journey into sustainable vehicles start?
Wessex Water formed GENeco in 2009 to increase our overall sustainability. A year later we introduced our Bio-Bug, the UK’s first VW Beetle powered by human waste. The waste flushed from just 70 homes produces enough biogas to power the Bio-Bug for a year.
At the end of 2014 and early into 2015, we also trialled the first ever Bio-Bus powered by inedible food and sewage. Its biomethane engine ran with fewer emissions than traditional diesel engines and started a global debate on how biomethane buses running on renewable sources could significantly reduce air emissions in cities around the world.
What else has GENeco done to eliminate petrol and diesel from its fleets?
Four years ago, we introduced two Bio-Bees to collect and run on commercial inedible food waste. With Bristol among 40 areas in the UK that consistently exceed air quality limits for nitrogen dioxide, the Bio-Bee demonstrates a real alternative to diesel RCVs and HGVs by running on renewable biomethane.
The Bio-Bees help to reduce the negative impact of poor air quality in urban areas and are the equivalent of taking 24 cars off the road.
We also took delivery of six zero-emission vans at three south west sites during 2019. Our operators are driving fully-electric Nissan eNV200s, which have been complemented by four plug-in petrol hybrid pick-ups. We’ve also installed charge points and the vehicles will be powered by renewable electricity.
You have just launched a trial of a new e-cargo bike, what does it do?
Yes, we have just started the trial of our new Baby-Bee, a e-cargo bike that is designed to make last mile deliveries around our Avonmouth site. It works alongside our fleet of electric vehicles and has the battery to go 40km without charge. We have another battery to use whilst the other is charging. The trial is due to last for three to six months and we hope it will also get people talking about how we can support cleaner air in the community.
Why are the vehicles named after bees?
Bees are renowned for the good work they do for the environment. Their daily routine involves collecting valuable natural resources and then bringing them back to a hive to make renewable and nutritious products. Our vehicles work in the same way!
What advice do you give to other organisations or businesses looking to follow your example?
We want to help highlight the issue of city pollution and be part of the move towards cleaner air and more sustainable solutions to waste.
We started to decarbonise our own fleet by moving to electric vehicles, introducing our Bio-Bee’s and now our Baby-Bee e-cargo bike. We can all help by decarbonising our operations, whether that’s looking at our own fleet or by reviewing supply chains and choosing the most sustainable options.
Lastly, how is GENeco preparing for the new Clean Air Zone starting in November?
We are continuing to invest in green vehicles and are looking at how we can expand this further. We are supporting other local companies and businesses by encouraging them to make changes that will improve our air quality, the environment and the way we manage waste.
We regularly go to sustainable networking events to promote what we do here in Bristol (and at other sites in the south west) and to show others the real benefits of switching to a decarbonised fleet.
We are promoting the upcoming Clean Air Zone to our customers by making sure they are kept up to date with the latest news on the zone as well as offering our support wherever possible. We are also supporting the Clean Air Zone by providing tips to members of staff through our weekly and monthly newsletters and our in-house blog.
To find out more about GENeco and their decarbonised fleet go their website.