Recycling and Today’s Teens

February 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Eco Green Living HQ

Recycling has been around longer than any of today’s young teens have been alive and maybe that’s why recycling has never been a question for them as to whether or not they should recycle but has always been more of a “How else can we help when recycling,” kind of thought process. My own generation, having grown up in the 70’s has a different mind-set. In fact, I have to remind myself the reasons we recycle, when to recycle and how to keep my family and household up-to-date and aware of the reasons to recycle.

This new, younger generation, is an impressive one, to me. They seem to be aware of humanity on a global level. Lessons they’ve been taught in school on a consistent basis have always had a common theme; take care of the Earth or we may lose it. They are keenly aware of how wasteful prior generations have been and seem to be of one mind when it comes to solving those problems.

When we recycle we are taking a step away from ourselves and begin to think about the Earth as a whole. It has become obvious to us that by recycling our waste we are going to be leaving less waste for future generations to have to deal with and we are taking an active step in keeping the planet ‘around’ for a longer period of time.

Today’s teens have inspired me by their dedication to helping others who have less than they do and how wasting any commodity or resource we may have, the idea of wasting it is simply not an option. They are forever coming up with new ways to reduce production of an item or they are constantly thinking up ways in which the item can be reused; they do this without needing to “think” about it, it’s the only way of life they’ve known.

There is an organization that has taken something many of us take for granted and figured out a way to pass on to those who are unable – to feel a little normal. Locks of Love takes hair donated by people and has that hair made into wigs for people who have had their hair fall out due to chemotherapy treatments or as the result of another disease or condition. How brilliant to think of those of us who grow our hair without thought or effort, to be able to have the privellige of helping another! It’s beautiful to me, how this new generation is always thinking about how they can help others.

There are two teens that I know of who took this idea of growing their hair in order to donate it, and dedicated this past summer to doing just that; and the week before school opened in September, sat together and had their hair cuts. What is remarkable about these two teens is that only one is a girl, the other, a young man knew there was a need for other boys his age to have wigs made for them and took on the challenge valiantly. Boys don’t have to have their hair quite as long in order to donate it, but it does have to be grown-out. My awe at teens like these two from town, who at such a volatile age, where self-image is so very fragile, would step out of their comfort zones of following the crowd, in order to do grow their hair long enough for it to be recycled and reused by others, is overwhelming. By stepping out of those comfort zones they leave themselves in a vulnerable situation, where they can become the targets for some of the ridicule that goes on in Middle school; and yet they still do it.

Maybe they are less likely to go against the idea of recycling because of the timing of their birthdates; it’s just refreshing to know that the idea of recycling is strong in this up coming generation and if we continue to foster that innate responsibility in them, we may just keep this planet around a little longer.

Some companies are leading the way to a circular economy – government needs to ensure the rest follow

January 17, 2012 by  
Filed under Green Living Blog

An earlier version of this article was published on Guardian Sustainable Business. The world is facing a resource crunch and businesses need leadership from government to encourage innovation around sustainable methods of production. This week business secretary Vince Cable made a keynote … Continue reading

Why wasteful design still dominates, despite alternatives

January 17, 2012 by  
Filed under Green Living Blog

This is a guest post by Tracey Rawling Church, director of brand and reputation at Kyocera Mita UK Of all the innovations of the computer age, the laser printer is probably the most inherently wasteful. This ubiquitous device is the … Continue reading

Q: When is a Coke can an elephant (or possibly a giraffe)?

January 17, 2012 by  
Filed under Eco Street

A: When Farai’s had his creative way with it!

Farai is a member of the Mother City Craft Collective, a collective of traffic-light crafters who you can see selling their wares as you drive through the streets of Cape Town.   This group of Zimbabwean crafters have joined forces to expand their market and create an alternative outlet for their crafts, an online shop.  This has brought a new set of challenges for these artists, because the traditional wire & bead and wirework crafts that they produce are pretty heavy, which results in very high postage costs.

To reduce the price of postage (and consequently the carbon footprint of the piece) Farai has come up with an interesting solution.  He’s using recycled materials that are a lot lighter than the materials that he usually works with.

These recycled Coke can animals and more are available from the Mother City Craft Collective’s recycled range, and as you’ll see, both the cost of the products and the postage costs are considerably less than the traditional.  While buying crafts from this store makes a huge difference in the lives of these traffic-light crafters, by choosing from the recycled range you will be making a huge difference to the environment too.

So while necessity is the mother of invention, isn’t it great when it also leads to recycling, reusing and a greener way of doing things?


Join the #BagBrigade to make Black Friday Greener…

January 17, 2012 by  
Filed under Eco Street

I just joined the #BagBrigade at The Green Life Online and pledged to use reusable bags instead of plastic bags.

Tomorrow, millions of Americans will take to the shops and just think of all the plastic bags that don’t have to be used. Plastic bags have never been so un-fashionable.  And for good reason!  There are so many stylish options available for reusable bags these days. Here’s a round-up of three fabulous reusable bags…
Maggie Bags Recycled Seatbelt Campus Tote Bag in Fall Leaves

Maggie Bags

We love these Maggie Bags made from Recycled Seatbelts. They come in a range of single colours, or multi-colours like the Autumn Leaves bag pictured here. These bags are made to last with four nickel plated feet on the bottom and internal zip pockets for your purse, keys or cell phone.


Rebagz Tote Bags

These Rebagz Cinchy Tote Bags are made from recycled rice sacks. The one pictured here is called Honeybee, and there are other fresh and funky styles available. These Cinchy Tote Bags are not only eco-friendly and stylish but they are human-friendly too because they are made under fair labour conditions. Makes a great shopping bag, handbag or even a briefcase!


Flip & Tumble

Finally, the Flip & Tumble Reusable Shopping Bag. Gorgeously designed in loads of colour choices. Reusable shopping bags that folds up into a tiny pouch when not in use, it’s so easy to take it along when you go shopping. This bag can hold 25 pounds and has a comfy fit felt shoulder pad.



Click here to join me and take the pledge to make plastic bags history!

Cardboard Creations: 45 Recycled Works of Art

January 16, 2012 by  
Filed under Web Ecoist

[ By Steph in Art & Design & Home & Garden. ]

Cardboard is just a throwaway material, short-lived and impermanent. But it doesn’t have to be. While cardboard may perform mostly temporary functions in our lives, it can serve as the basis of some absolutely amazing sculptures, furniture, functioning electronics and even entire offices and apartments. These 45 works of recycled and reclaimed art made with corrugated cardboard might just get you to look at the material in a whole new light.

Christmas Trees

(images via: materlialicious, design buzz, cascades, cardboard christmas tree)

What’s the greenest tree of all? Unless you’re simply decorating an evergreen that’s already growing in your yard, a recycled cardboard creation might just be the answer. Cardboard Christmas trees come in all shapes and sizes, from intricate handmade versions to flat-pack kits you can purchase online.

Shop Interiors

(images via: psfk, ecofriend, francescasignori, great interior design, kostavoyatzis, dezeen)

Eco-minded retail stores – whether permanent, or just temporary pop-up shops – utilize cardboard in the most amazingly creative ways. Lulamae used post-consumer cardboard to create its entire flat-packed store, and a shop called Low in Lisbon, Portugal utilized molded cardboard for shelves, benches, tables and stools. The store eBarrito features a cool display made of cardboard tubes, and the Athens boutique Yeshop used edge cardboard to sculpt its walls. Australian apothecary Aesop used cardboard for a product stand, and a Hiroshima boutique called Karis has cardboard tubes suspended from the ceiling.

Incredible Art

(images via: mark langan, village of joy,, instructables)

Cardboard has been used to create art of all sorts. Would you imagine that lowly toilet paper tubes could turn into fascinating scrunched faces, or that the corrugated material could be arranged to resemble aerial landscapes? It has been the medium for three-dimensional graffiti displayed on gallery walls. You can even take a crack at it yourself with a very ambitious project: Instructables has the instructions to make a 17-foot-tall cardboard Ghandi statue.


(images via: inhabitat)

Painted bookshelves and flat-pack chairs. A table set made of cardboard tubes. Fun furniture items in the shape of animals. Surprisingly comfortable lounge chairs. Even a barely-altered cardboard moving box can become a sturdy bench or table. Check out all of the possibilities at Inhabitat.


(images via: smarterware, freshome)

Offices tend to be pretty unhealthy places, thanks in large part due to the toxins that are off-gassed by cheap pressed-wood-and-vinyl furniture. Maybe next time, your company should follow the lead of ‘Nothing’, a creative agency in Amsterdam that made an entire office out of cardboard including desks, chairs, shelves, cubicles and even steps and a small loft. This effect is achieved on a smaller scale with ‘Pop Up‘, a mobile flat-pack office that transforms from a sheet of cardboard into a platform with a desk and chair within seconds.

Stereos, Cameras and Computers

(images via: technabob 1 + 2, amazon, better living through design, hyperbole studios)

Actual functioning electronics made out of cardboard abound. You can find speakers systems, boom boxes, cameras, computers and more that use cardboard as a biodegradable, recycled, eco-friendly housing rather than plastic or metal. The Recompute PC was an entry into the 2009 Greener Gadgets competition. The handy portable boombox has an iPod dock and is so realistic, it would take you a moment to realize what differentiates it from others that look similar. The i-Ecko speakers are commercially available on Amazon for just ten bucks. Another cardboard radio has an appealing vintage look, and there are many cardboard cameras that look amazingly complex, like these by Kiel Johnson.


(images via: dezeen)

409 cardboard cylinders of varying diameters and thicknesses were connected with ties to create this beautiful dome-shaped pavilion called Packed. The pavilion was created by design students Min-Chieh Chen, Dominik Zausinger and Michele Leidi of the ETH Zurich in Switzerland using CAAD (Computer Aided Architectural Design) and was exhibited as part of the Shanghai Expo 2010.

Cities Big and Small

(images via: laughing squid, reuben miller, artnet)

You can walk into the temporary communities that make up the Russian collaborative art project Cardboardia, erected November 1-6 every year in the city of Ulyanovsk. Artist Ana Serrano’s Cartonlandia is much tinier but even more complex with little roads, vehicles, trees and people.  Another miniature cardboard city was built by director Michel Gondry for his film ‘The Science of Sleep’ and displayed at a New York City exhibition entitled ‘The Science of Sleep: An Exhibition of Sculpture and Pathological Creepy Little Gifts.’

An Entire Cardboard Apartment

(images via: gothamist)

A full-scale apartment was erected in Times Square in November 2010 as part of a fundraising effort for Serving the UnderServed (SUS), an organization that provides housing and additional services to the homeless and disabled. The cardboard apartment featured a bed covered in folded cardboard clothing, framed photos, an alarm clock, a telephone and even slices of bread coming out of a toaster.


(images via: inhabitat)

Does making a bike out of cardboard make it less tempting to thieves? The novelty factor alone may negate that intended effect, but then again, it would only cost you $30 to replace it. That’s the biggest perk of this project by Sheffield Hallam University design student Phil Bridge, which can hold a rider weighing up to 168 pounds. The bike is all cardboard except for the tires, seat, chain, gears and pedals.

Bridge by Shigeru Ban

(images via: inhabitat)

Japanese architect proves the strength and durability of cardboard by erecting a cardboard bridge across the Gardon River in Southern France. Made of 281 cardboard tubes, the bridge is strong enough to carry 20 people to the other side of the river all at the same time. Ban has figured out how to engineer the bridge so that the tubes can stand up to the weight. “It is a very interesting contrast, the Roman stone bridge and the paper bridge. Paper too can be permanent, can be strong and lasting. We need to get rid of these prejudices,” Ban said.


(images via: design boom, reuben miller)

Can you guess the size of each of these two cardboard vehicles? It’s hard to tell, but the top one is a full-sized cardboard sculpture by artist Chris Gilmour while the second is a miniature made by South African Kasi Custom Rides. The scale of Gilmour’s works doesn’t quite come across until they’re placed in context.

Musical Instruments

(images via: oddity central, tjonglolongo, impactlab)

A musician named Hilary Grist built a full-sized cardboard piano and covered it with a miniature cardboard city to use in one of her music videos, and artist Chris Gilmour is responsible for the piano hanging from the ceiling as well as the guitars.

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[ By Steph in Art & Design & Home & Garden. ]

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Everything Is Reusable

August 9, 2010 by  
Filed under Eco Green Living Information, Featured

Most people view recycling as something that involves taking used items to a recycling bank and depositing them to be taken away by a municipal body or a private company to be turned into something else. However, recycling can take place in the home and be beneficial to you without ever having to pass through any other person’s hands. It depends on what you are willing to recycle or what you have the capacity to do for yourself. And the truth is that there are almost no limits to what you can do.

For example, you can recycle containers originally used to contain food simply by washing them out and using them to contain something else. Many people will use an old preserve jar to keep pens or paintbrushes in, for just one example. Others will use a water bottle that has been drained of its original contents to refill from public water fountains, thus saving time, money and resources that might otherwise be used in packaging.

Alternatively, you may find that if you are a gardener, much of your garbage can be used to make compost. Food and certain forms of packaging can be placed in a compost bin or heap and left to biodegrade naturally until it is usable as fertilizer for your lawn or flowerbeds. By doing this, you can have a beneficial effect on the environment, especially if you use compost to fertilize a small vegetable crop which means that you are getting the most beneficial form of locally-grown produce, that which you have grown for yourself.

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