I began my internship with Lancashire Environmental Services in July 2020, at around the time I was graduating from Lancaster University. Although the start of the project was initially delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the research was able to go ahead remotely. During this time, Lancashire Environmental Services and the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation were really helpful in ensuring I was receiving sufficient support from them, and that I had the capability to complete the project remotely. I got the internship through the Faculty of Science and Technology internships scheme and was offered the role in March 2020 after submitting an application and having a face to face interview to talk about the project a few weeks prior.
Lancashire Environmental Services are a family owned waste management and pest control SME based in Preston, servicing clients throughout Lancashire and further afield. I was tasked by them to analyse their current annual carbon footprint, and give them viable recommendations of how they can reduce their footprint and make their pest control operations more sustainable.
I chose to do this following DEFRA guidelines for environmental reporting and to look at Lancashire Environmental Services’ indirect carbon emissions as well those they were directly responsible for. Day to day, my activities would include contacting the business or their suppliers for information relating to products and services, using collected data to calculate the carbon footprint for certain activities or parts of the business. I was able to get in quick contact with the business at any time with any questions which was really helpful. We would have a catch up call once a week to discuss my progress and any questions.
At the end of the internship, the research project was presented as a management style report and there were further opportunities for the business to discuss through key aspects of it with me. I found the whole experience to be extremely valuable and rewarding, having initially been nervous about undertaking such a large project remotely. I found I was quickly able to put a plan of action together however, and the continued support from Lancashire Environmental Services was really useful.
It was also very satisfying to know that in applying this knowledge and research I could be making real world impacts, as Lancashire Environmental Services are considering implementing many of the recommendations identified in the report. This experience has made me much more confident in looking for further similar work, whether through applying for graduate positions or other placements and internships. I’d highly recommend these internships to anyone looking to build their confidence and also gain experience in applying their knowledge and research skills.
Lancashire Environment Services commented, “We are committed to reducing our carbon footprint and protecting the planet. As an SME, it has been a challenge to adequately scrutinise our emissions and find realistic improvements in this complex area. Without the support and expertise from Ben and the University we would have struggled to come up with a plan. Ben’s impartial findings and commercially viable solutions were communicated with clarity in an excellent report. The experience certainly exceeded expectations and we are now excited to implement measures that will help us become a more sustainable waste and pest control business.”