Repurposed children’s toys

September 18th, 2014

It can be a problem when your children grow up and no longer play with the toys that have been put away in storage or they just simply get bored of their old toys. If you’re reluctant to throw them and you have lots of toys at home you can be creative and put those unused toys to use! Repurpose them and you can make some pretty interesting items. Use old dinosaur toys as coat hooks or drawer handles. You can see some example of the re-purposed toys below.

 

 

 

How a Yes vote could lead to a more sustainable Scotland

September 17th, 2014

With just one day left until the Scottish referendum on independence tensions are running high on both sides for a victory. Whether your in Scotland or England this is all over the news! I’m not one for throwing my own political views around but this article covers the topic of sustainability for Scotland if an overall yes majority were to prevail.

 

Here are some key points made in the Yes Scotland response by Stan Blackley of the communities team at Yes Scotland; Stan has spent more than twenty years as an environmental campaigner;

  • Future Scottish Governments would be able to treat an independent Scotland as a single political, geographical and ecological entity over which they will have full control, which could lead to a new approach to the integration and coordination of the full range of policies that affect our land, seas and air.
  • Many of the structural economic factors driving climate change remain outwith Scotland’s control. In order to begin meeting and exceeding its world-leading climate change and carbon emissions reduction targets, Scotland will require full control over all policy levers to deliver action of the type and scale required. With full economic and political powers, Scotland will have the ability and opportunity to take a bolder and more holistic approach to, for example, decarbonisation and the transition to a low carbon economy.
  • Independence is the only option that gives Scotland the opportunity to remove nuclear weapons of mass destruction from its shores in the short-to-medium-term. Doing so would bring a ‘peace dividend’ worth hundreds of millions of pounds each year, which could be spent on social and environmental alternatives. There is real potential for disarmament in Scotland to spark a global shift towards ending one of the biggest threats to both people and to the planet, but this can only begin to happen with a Yes vote.

This is just one side to the topic of sustainability for Scotland. But let’s hope that by tomorrow (18/9/2014) either a Yes or No vote will lead to Scotland’s government becoming a more environmentally conscious one.

I promise the next blog post wont be this dry!!

Let us know what you think via our Facebook & Twitter pages

Source: Yes Scotland

 

 

 

UK Waste

September 16th, 2014

I came across this list of stats on the UK’s waste from the college of Aberdeen, some of these stats really astound me in terms of the waste we create.

Did you know

  • Just one recycled plastic bottle can save enough energy to power a 60 watt light bulb for 3 hours
  • Up to 60% of the rubbish that ends up in dustbins could be recycled
  • Each tonne of recycled paper can save 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 4000 KW of energy and 7000 gallons of water
  • On average every person in the UK throws away their own body weight in rubbish every 7 weeks
  • Incinerating 10,000 tonnes of waste creates one job, land-filling the same amount of waste creates 6 jobs, but recycling this much waste creates 36 jobs (crazy I know!!)

 

National Cupcake Week

September 16th, 2014

As it’s National Cupcake week we thought it would only be right to share a recipe for Banana and Chocolate Chip Cupcakes (Fairtrade of course!!)

 

These delicious cakes combine the sweetness of ripe mashed bananas with Fairtrade chocolate giving a moist yet light sweet treat. These can be decorated with a swirl of vanilla butter ice and a dried banana chip made with Fairtrade icing sugar.

Makes 7-8 large muffins

Ingredients

  •  100g plain flour
  • 40g cornmeal
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 90g unrefined (golden) Fairtrade sugar
  • 40g melted butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 ripe Fairtrade bananas, well mashed
  • 80ml buttermilk
  • 50g Fairtrade milk chocolate, chopped into small chunks
  • 12 hole muffin tray lined with paper muffin cases

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6
  2. Sieve flour, cornmeal, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together into a large bowl. Stir in sugar.In a separate bowl, mix together the butter, egg, bananas and buttermilk.
  3. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix gently (do not over-mix). Fold in the chocolate chips.
  4. Fill a muffin tin (ideally lined with muffin cases) to just under the rim.
  5. Bake for about 30 minutes until golden-brown and firm to the touch. Allow to cool in the tin.

A Nuclear free birthday for Japan

September 15th, 2014

Today is the day that Japan is celebrating one year of nuclear free energy.

A year ago today the last commerical nuclear reactor operating in Japan was closed down. It joined the 47 other nuclear reactors that have been idled for most of the period since the tragic Fukushima catastrophe in March 2011.

Despite none of their nuclear plants operating for 12 months their has been no electricity blackouts at all, on top of this Japan is now second worldwide after China for installing solar PV (2013).

Sendai nuclear power plant in southern Japan.

The majority of Japanese citizens, consistently oppose plans to restart the country’s nuclear reactors. After all, Japan has functioned perfectly well for an entire year without nuclear electricity, so why risk another disaster?

The tragedy of the 2011 Fukushima disaster continues to affect hundreds of thousands of people. If ever an entire nation deserved a happy birthday, today’s one-year, nuclear-free anniversary Japan is it.

However despite all the tragedy caused by the Fukushima disaster, Japans nuclear watchdog the Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) has partially given the go ahead for for two reactors to restart. A restart before the end of the year is unlikely as two more NSA approvals are needed for the site to function. But the biggest challenge will be winning over the local communities who must sign off the restarts before they can happen.

If a country can survive a whole year nuclear free it makes you wonder why the government is keen to restart the nuclear reactors?

Are you pro nuclear power or all for renewables? Let us know your thoughts on this in the comments below or through our Twitter & Facebook pages.

 

Source: Greenpeace

The house made from 20,000 old toothbrushes and two tonnes of denim jeans

September 10th, 2014

What do you do with old toothbrushes, jeans and video cassettes? Make use of them? Or throw them straight in the bin?

Well did you know you could help build a house with all of these items. That’s just what the University of Brighton have done, some 4,00 video cassettes, two tonnes of jeans, 2,000 used carpet tiles and 20,000 old toothbrushes were used to help construct Britain’s first house made almost entirely from rubbish.

The aim of the project, led by University of Brighton senior lecturer Duncan Baker-Brown and endorsed by Grand Designs TV show presenter Kevin McCloud, is to show how low-carbon homes can be built cheaply and quickly using waste and surplus material.

Here’s hoping this project from the University of Brighton will be the first of many A rated energy-efficient homes made from waste.

Recycled Art: What Came First?

September 9th, 2014

Kyle Bean is a Brighton based artist who specialises in hand crafted models, set design and art direction. Kyle has used egg shells that would’ve otherwise been thrown away, to create this piece of artwork quite humorously named ‘What Came First’,  this piece of work really showcases his unusual creativity and is simply EGGcellent!!

Hanging lights made from sand

September 9th, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was looking for a cool piece of design that I could share with you guys and came across design studio Alien and Monkey based in Barcelona, Spain. They use traditional ceramics techniques to make these cool hanging lights, made from one of earth most abundant sources, sand. I love the thought behind using earths natural resources to construct. By using a natural substance such as sand it means at the end of their life cycle these lights crumble back to sand dust.

 

 

Top Five Greenest European Cities

September 6th, 2014

Whilst more of us are now realising the benefits of implementing an eco-friendly & sustainable lifestyle a few selected cities are way ahead; one of Britain’s cities is in the list!!

While one person going green doesn’t make much of a difference, there are whole countries and cities that have upped their efforts in order to reduce their impact on the environment.Maybe this is because they are witnessing the environmental impact first hand.

Some of these European cities have been awarded with the ECG (European Green Capital), this award recognises cities that have used cutting edge solutions to reduce their environmental footprint. If you’re considering a European weekend city break where biking everywhere is the norm, recycling every possible item is an expectation and tucking into organic food is encouraged then you should definitely be considering the cities in this list.

1. Amsterdam, Netherlands

 

Out of roughly 75,000 residents, 75% of them own at least one bicycle, making it the most common mode of transportation within the city limits. With its winding canals, townhouses and narrow streets, biking around the city has been an indispensable part of Amsterdam’s culture for decades.

2. Bristol, England

WHEYYY!! Told you we were on the list! Bristol is the ninth largest city in the UK, although modest in its size, it has some real dedication when it comes to developing sustainable initiatives. According to the EU, Bristol proportionally has the most green park spaces in the UK, with over 450 parks!

3. Barcelona, Spain

Renowned for its stunning architecture much of which was designed by famed native son Antonio Gaudí, Barcelona’s economical network of metro, trams, funiculars and buses limits the need to own a car. Hence their overall carbon and greenhouse gas emissions are significantly reduced.

4.Copenhagen, Denmark

Copenhagen boasts some of the cleanest waters in Europe, where both residents and visitors can dive in for a swim without the likelihood of bumping into floating crisp packets and coke cans. With an enormous offshore wind farm and an excellent public transport system, Copenhagen is an obvious choice for green travelers; as well as boasting the worlds first carbon neutral theme park!

5. Hamburg, Germany

Germany’s second largest city and recognised as the 2011 European Green capital it lies along the Elbe river and boasts a viable port that’s crucial to the country’s economy. If you’re in town on a Sunday you might be lucky enough to be there on a car-less Sunday, held several times a year when the city is graced with free public transport, or you could take advantage of the city’s free bike hire scheme. If you need a speedier form of transportation be sure to hop on the S-bahn it is powered entirely from renewable sources.

Let us know through our Twitter and Facebook pages, or in the comment section below if you have visited any of these cities and what your thoughts are on their green credentials.

 

 

It’s Cycle to work day, have you jumped on-board the two wheeled commute?

September 4th, 2014

Did you dig out the lycra for a sprint to work by bike this morning? If not, have no fear – you are allowed to cycle on other days, too.

Today thousands ditched the morning commute by car, train, and bus and instead opted for the two wheeled approach in support of Cycle to Work Day.

Cycle to Work Day is a national event championed by Olympic gold medalist Dame Sarah Storey that takes place annually. You can follow the campaign through their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts.

We’re all aware of the environmental advantages cycling has over the automobile. Cycling significantly reduces transportation emissions whilst also reducing traffic congestion and the need for fuel. If you’ve made a special effort today or regularly cycle to work, let us know. How easy or difficult is it to travel on two wheels out on our roads? What keeps you motivated?; is it the fitness, economical or environmental benefits? Let us know in the comments or through our Facebook and Twitter pages.

To find out more about the scheme visit their website.