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Five tips to have a green Halloween

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Don't you dare to dust away those cobwebs - Halloween is almost here! At the end of the month it's time for trick-or-treating, scary costumes and sweets, lots and lots of sweets. A big business in America, this 'holiday' is catching on over here in England too but unfortunately can be one of the most wasteful times of the year. Just thinking about all those individually wrapped sweeties that get given out and the plastic decorations bought at the local pound shop only to be thrown out afterwards makes us feel bad. That said, we're not saying you shouldn't enjoy the festivities, so here are some tricks to have a greener Halloween.

battlefield-wines.jpgRemembrance Sunday is a day set aside to remember the service men and women who have given their lives in pursuit for peace and freedom. This year Remembrance Sunday - the day when poppies can be seen everywhere - falls on 13 November.

To support and raise funds for the Royal British Legion in the run up to the day FirstCape wines, Sainsbury's and Red Lion Foods have teamed up to create a new wine range named Battlefield Wines. For every bottle, 100% of post-tax profits will go to the UK forces charities and British servicemen and women.

Available exclusively from Sainbury's stores across the country, Battlefield Wines come in Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc, priced at £9.99 per bottle.

Organic month: food & drink

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It's almost the end of Organic Month, but we can't leave it behind without looking at what food and drink products are available. Beauty as they say come from within, so it is important that what you eat and drink is as natural as possible. Choosing organic produce is a great way of ensuring that you're treating your body - and mind - nicely from within as well helping contribute to the protection of wildlife and the environment.

Opting for organic means there is no hidden nasties in the product, such as artificial colourings or sweeteners, so what you see on the box is what you get. Visit the Soil Association for more info on living more organically.

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Pukka Herbs Organic Virgin Coconut Oil (£7.95)

Drinking coconut water to re-hydrate and allegedly control weight has been a favourite among celebrities for a while now, so I was curious about the benefits of coconut oil which is Miranda Kerr's secret to looking good. Kerr credits her slim figure to daily doses of coconut oil in her cooking, on her salad or in her cups of green tea.

This must surely mean that organic coconut oil is the ultimate beauty secret? Coconut is a highly nutritious food, rich in vitamins (Vitamin C, Riboflavin and Thiamine) and minerals (calcium, iron and phosphorus), and contains high levels of a particular type of fatty acid (lauric) that is known to help increase metabolism.

After you've gotten used to all your food having a slight taste of coconut, cooking with coconut oil is a delight. Especially as a little goes a long way, so you don't feel like your blood veins will clog with unhealthy fat. Have yet to try it on toast, but am sure it's delicious!

Available from Pukka Herbs.

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Rachel's Organic Yoghurt

Whether it is a sweet treat you're after or something to have on your cereal in the morning, organic yoghurt is a great addition to your daily diet - and the best at that is Rachel's Organic. Britain's first organic dairy and pioneer of branded organic dairy produce, Rachel's offer a wide range of scrumptious yoghurts. These thick and creamy yoghurts are definitely a favourite of mine!

Rachel's seasonal Special Edition Winter Fruits multipack comes in two delicious flavours; Apple and Cinnamon and Apple and Rhubarb which are perfect for an autumn treat. They're also bringing out a new Limited Edition Pineapple, Coconut & Banana flavour - certain to bring a feel of the Caribbean to the dark winter days. Yum!

Rachel's Winter Fruits multipack is available in Waitrose for £1.69, while the Pineapple, Coconut & Banana Limited Edition costs £1.59 and is available in leading supermarkets nationwide.

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Green & Black's Organics Chocolate

What better treat this autumn that some organic chocolate from Green & Black's? New of the year is that the full range of block bars and beverage products will carry a fair trade certification, with the brand having increased its financial commitment to ensuring the sustainability of the cocoa-growing communities Green & Black's rely on to source cocoa for its delicious products.

The first in organic and fair trade chocolate, Green & Black's is launching a new selection box with 12 minature signature flavour bars just in time for Christmas as well as going pink for Breakthrough Breast Cancer in October with a mouth-watering hot pink Raisin & Hazelnut bar.

The collection box is priced at £5.49 and the pink bar costs £2.29. Available in leading supermarkets nationwide or shop online.

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What's This...? Anti-oxidant Drink (£2.75/330ml)

Many will have heard of the skincare properties of aloe vera, but what about its wild cousin aloe ferox? With twice the potency of aloe vera, I was super excited to hear about a new anti-oxidant drink called What's This...? that is made with natural aloe ferox - increasingly regarded as a new superfood.

Aloe ferox is linked to many benefits, including anti-aging, reducing the risk of heart disease, cleansing the digestive system and detoxifying the body as well as soothing, healing and moisturising the skin.

The 100% natural super-ingredient drink which main ingredient is aloe ferox must be a must-have for all health conscious out there. I tried the Baobab and aloe ferox which tasted like a thick fruit juice; it was delicious. Baobab contains important vitamins, fibre and anti-oxidants and THREE times the level of calcium found in milk!

What's This...? comes in four varieties: Baobab & aloe ferox, Green rooibos & aloe ferox, Pomegranate, hibiscus & aloe ferox and Mango & aloe ferox, and is widely available in UK health food stores.

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Pukka Herbs Organic Tea (from £2.09)

Working in an office can often cause high intake levels of caffeine through a continuous supply of tea and coffee throughout the week - or is that just my office? Instead of experiencing caffeine headaches and sleepless nights, why not swap it for organic herbal teas? Specially blended by master herbalist Sebastian Pole, each of the blends is full of flavour and rich in therapeutic benefits - all designed to match your every mood and moment.

For Organic Month I tested the Three Fennel and Detox; the former one winning the coveted 'three gold stars award' and the 2011 Gold Taste Awards as well as Best Organic Food Product at this year's Natural & Organic Products show.

The Three Fennel is a blend of organic sweet fennel, wild fennel and fennel leaf tea which is specially blended to soothe digestion and reduce bloating - perfect for busy people who eat on the go and for after a heavy meal.

Both were easy on the palate and I fully enjoyed sipping them while at work and in the evenings, swapping it for my much loved coffee. Pukka Herb teas are sold in selected stores nationwide or through its website.

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The say a girl can never have too many shoes... or reusable bags!

Founder and chief creative officer of Jimmy Choo Tamara Mellon OBE has designed an exclusive reusable bag to support The Body Shop and ECPAT's global Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People (SST) campaign.

The bag will be available in a limited edition from 6th October at The Body Shop nationwide.

Tamara-Mellon-STOP-bag-launch.jpgThe STOP bag is decorated with personalised handprints from Oscar winning actress Nicole Kidman, Ab Fab actress, TV personality and animal rights campaigner Joanna Lumley (who is Absolutely lovely by the way!), formerly 'naked' chef Jamie Oliver, musician and producer extraordinaire Mark Ronson, Oscar winner and UN Goodwill Ambassador Mira Sorvino as well as CNN Piers Morgan who have all pledged their support for the campaign.

Tamara Mellon OBE says: "I am thrilled to have worked with The Body Shop to design The STOP bag and raise awareness of the SST campaign. I feel very strongly about prohibiting sex trafficking and knowing that the profits will help to end this modern day slavery and safeguard children makes the project even more worthwhile."

Retailing at £4.00, profits from the sale of The STOP bag will be used to combat and raise awareness of sex trafficking of children and young people.

The bag is made from raw 100% community fair trade cotton and feature a fuschia trim and shoulder strap which is certain to brighten up those shopping trips in the winter months!

greenpeace.jpgCredit: Daniel Beltrá / Greenpeace

There's a multitude of ever-growing charities and organisations, large and little alike, dedicated to promoting and maintaining the breath of our environment. But you might be the kind of person who prefers to focus your energy on just one charity, or even a select few, which means it can be a struggle finding one that feels right for you and that most deserves your support. So here you have it - a pick of some of the coolest, greenest guys out there and how you can get involved with their work.

Each is grappling with environmental and ethical issues but varied heartfelt passions set them apart - see that's the beauty of these niche eco-groups. Whatever our forte, we can always find a way to help rejuvenate our planet...

Who? GREENPEACE - for the greenery, the waters and our homes

At a Glance - One of the biggest global environmental organisations out there (alongside RSPB, WWF and Friends of the Earth). Greenpeace works to preserve our beautiful oceans, forests and agriculture. They stress that climate change is in no way inevitable - and rightly so. Overall, their goal is 'a green and peaceful world' with an earth that is allowed to nurture life and flourish healthily.

How you can get involved! - Greenpeace has plenty for you to do. You can start by signing up for their newsletter so that you don't miss out on their latest campaigns. Presently, they're concerned with putting paid to deep water drilling for the love of our marshland and defenceless wildlife. You can check out their list of online campaigns and simply fill in your details, thus putting a name to the letter of protest. If you want something a bit more proactive, you can fundraise, attend events near you and volunteer or work for Greenpeace, whether it's at the office or on a ship in Amsterdam!

www.greenpeace.org.uk


Who? COMMON GROUND - for our cherished hideouts, our neighbours and culture

At a Glance - Common Ground prides itself on linking our environment with culture and the arts. Do you have a sentimental bond with the places you visit in your life? Well this charity sees significance in nurturing and celebrating that bond in a way that benefits the earth. Common Ground has coined the term "local distinctiveness" for that sense of being one with the land you walk and what's more, snapped up the Best Environmental Charity 2010 Award from The Independent for it.

How you can get involved! - You can organise events for your locality. Some traditional, inspiring annual events are celebrated nationally, such as Apple Day on October 21st which involves planting new orchards and the custom of 'tree dressing'. Check their event calendar online for a list of festivals and gatherings. To help fund Common Ground, you can even buy books revealing the best of England's obscure terrain or t-shirts with Wordsworth's poetry strewn across them.

www.commonground.org.uk


Who? CHRISTIAN ECOLOGY LINK - for Christianity and spirituality

At a Glance - CEL seeks to unite the eco-friendly in light of Christianity. The integration of spirituality and sustainable living can only do a world of good.

How you can get involved! - If you are devout, you can encourage your fellow church-goers to go greener. You can download the monthly prayer guides offering words of inspiration pertaining to our earth. The CEL diary is usually brimming with a number of events all over the UK. In fact, it is well worth keeping an eye on the Events section of CEL's site as it includes the events hosted by charities of a similar nature.

www.christian-ecology.org.uk


Who? BOTTLETOP - for music, art and above all fashion

At a Glance - If you are a youthful soul with a passion for the creative arts, this might just be your cup of tea. With its interests lying in fashion, music and art, Bottletop aims to eradicate the perils concerning teenage health through 'environmentally friendly and ethically sourced products'. Bottletop makes dazzling products from recycled ring pulls and has even formed its own supergroup, The Bottletop Band, involving Babyshambles and Tim Burgess of The Charlatans amongst others. No wonder this charity has gained express praise, from Bill Clinton no less, for its innovativeness.

How you can get involved! - It's all on the Get Involved section of the website. They are always on the lookout for deft volunteers to help get the Bottletop message across. You might want to organise a challenge or event to raise funds, and schools interested in partnering with Bottletop can benefit from fun, organised events. Or if you have spotted a wonderful, ethical piece befitting of their fashion range, why not point it out to them?

www.bottletop.org


Who? EARTHWATCH - for every nation and conservation. The Earth, literally

At a Glance - These guys are actually awesome. Not only do they want your support in promoting a greener earth, but they look to engage you in their initiatives through enlightenment of the issues being tackled. Earthwatch is highly popular - it has worked with over 80 companies to better their performance environmentally and is dedicated to training others all over the globe, namely in developing countries. As a result, Earthwatch has been able to accomplish an array of things like improve access to water supply in southern Kenya, collate a rich supply of significant data on various species, and determine the best for endangered species and habitats.

How you can get involved! - Besides the usual fundraising, donating or hosting an event in Earthwatch's name, you could consider going on a research expedition. Unleash the archaeologist or conservationist in you by scooting off to Russia or South Africa for an unforgettable hands-on, experience. There are of course fees but they are not painfully extortionate. Quite often, special offers are available and you can get others to sponsor you. Also, you might do well to check out the job and internship listings if you think you have what it takes to join the Earthwatch team.

www.earthwatch.org/europe


Of course, do remember this list is miles from exhaustive. These make just a small percentage of the many eco-friendly charities so feel free to do your own homework. Looking closer to home is always a thought. Your local borough or university is sure to have something eco-oriented that you can contribute your time to!

Thumbnail image for david walliams3.jpg It may not be the cleanest river in the world to swim, but it's all for a good cause - to raise money for Sports Relief, a charity providing education, food, shelter and healthcare to some of the poorest people in the world.

This morning Little Britain's David Walliams set off on the 140 mile journey over eight days from Gloucestershire to London. Of course, Walliams is no stranger to swimming for a good cause, having swum The English Channel in 2006, but this is his biggest challenge yet. Talking about what will motivate him to carry on during the swim Walliams said he would think about how the money he raised would help some of the poorest people in the world.

"I think about happy things, I think about what I'm going to eat when I get out. I think about songs and I have been on some trips with Comic Relief and Sport Relief and I think about the people the money raised will help.

"I met this boy in Kenya on the street. His name is Philip and he's 12 years old and he's been homeless for four years. His mum and dad are dead and he lives in desperate circumstances. Sport Relief funds a centre that gives him education, food, shelter and healthcare.

"I think about him because he is such a sweet boy, with so much hope. I said 'what do you want to be when you're older?' and he said he wanted to be a pilot. He's living in the most desperate circumstances yet he still has great aspirations. I think about him and not wanting to let him down."

He described himself as a "masochist" for wanting to do another swimming challenge, adding: "I wanted to do something else and I'd just turned 40 and I thought I haven't got much time left because my body is falling apart."

The BT Sport Relief Challenge: Walliams vs The Thames will be filmed for a documentary to be broadcast in the build-up to the Sport Relief weekend in March next year. Walliams is asking for people to sponsor him at www.sportrelief.com/walliams.

You can see pictures of Walliams as he sets off on his challenge below. ALL IMAGES: PRESS ASSOCIATION

D200-0384-05_291965.JPGCharity World Vision's humanitarian aid history spans across 60 years and it is committed to providing a better quality of life for children living in poor communities around the world, mainly in the Philippines, Mexico, Armenia, Cambodia, Rwanda and Kenya.

Since 1993, World Vision has provided microloans to families to ensure them a brighter future. Too keep up the good work and keep empowering people less fortunate to overcome the cycle of poverty, World Vision is dependent on donations from people like you.

The World Vision team spends time getting to know the local communities and their people and their ideas, in order to make sure the money goes to where it is most needed.

Getting involved is easy.

1. Read people's stories and see their ideas, then choose which project you would like to be a part of.

2. Set up a donation through World Vision (this can be paid over 12 months if preferred) and let them help the person you have chosen.

3. World Vision will then send you regular updates so that you can see the difference your donation has made, how the business is prospering, the changes it is bringing to people's lives and their community!

4. Once your initial loan has been repaid, World Vision will find another resourceful person to benefit from your generosity, making sure your gift keeps on giving for years.

To find out more or to make a donation please www.worldvision.org.uk.

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JoannaLumley.jpgActress Joanna Lumley posed for photographer John Swannell wearing the solid gold, diamond-encrusted Shere Khan Necklace, which is hoped to raise at least £300,000 for the Born Free Foundation.

Designed by award-winning jeweller Catherine Best to depict the tiger in Rudyard Kipling's 'Jungle Book', the jewellery holds 182 precious stones set in nearly a kilo of 18ct gold and has been independently valued at more than £500,000.

Joanna, who revealed her love for cats, big and small, in a TV show last year, described the necklace as "blingtastic" and compared it to pieces worn by members of the royal family.

She said: "I feel very much that it's almost a royal piece. The necklace is so special it can be worn with anything, though I feel a strapless evening gown and long evening gloves would show it to perfection. The moment you put the necklace on, it comes alive!

"It feels great, like a badge of office, but it's incredibly comfortable and easy to wear. It reminds me of the fabulous pieces in the Duchess of Windsor's collection - panthers and leopards. I adore extreme looks and this is blingtastic!"

The Sher Khan Necklace will be auctioned worldwide from yesterday May 31 until June 17, when a gala evening will be held at the Savoy Hotel in London to mark the 80th birthday of actress Virginia McKenna, who founded the Born Free Foundation.

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Oxfam today launches its first ever national emergency appeal for stock donations after it faces a stock crisis following a fire at its recycling facility. This is the biggest loss of donations in its 69-year history.

As a result, Oxfam is calling on the British public to help it overcome the unprecedented loss by donating any unwanted clothing and accessories to their local Oxfam shop or donation bank across the UK.

The fire wiped out the clothing stock held for Oxfam's popular festivals shop, which last year raised £250,000 and is scheduled to be at seven of this year's biggest festivals, including Glastonbury, Leeds and Bestival.

The appeal is being backed by big names from the fashion and retail industries including Whistles chief Jane Shepherdson and Red or Dead founder Wayne Hemingway.

Oxfam works in more than 70 countries worldwide, delivering lifesaving and life-changing work in everything from humanitarian emergencies to long-term work battling the effects of climate change. Oxfam's shop network is a vital part of this, generating around £23 million profit every year to fight poverty.

great-gorilla-run.jpgOn any given day in London you get hundreds of flyers pushed up in your face as you navigate to and from work, and you quickly learn how to ignore the street promoters. However yesterday as I left the tube station en route to my office I was intrigued by the people wearing t-shirts with gorillas on them, so I picked up one of their yellow flyers. It asked me: "Could you run 7k dressed as a gorilla?"

I smiled and thought to myself..."NO." But that is just me (because I don't run), and because it's in aid for The Gorilla Organization, a registered charity, I felt I had to share it with you in case you would be tempted to participate.

On Saturday 24th September 2011 - so there is a lot of time to get training still - "the most fun event for conservation going on anywhere in the world" according to Bill Oddie takes place in London. This is your chance to dress up as a gorilla and run 7k among 100s of other runners on the streets of London. By doing the Great Gorilla Run you'll be playing a crucial role in helping save the remaining 720 mountain gorillas left in the wild. So not just a chance to go ape then!

If you're interested and would like to register simply head on over to www.greatgorillarun.org or call 0207 916 4974.

And don't you worry the organisers will send you a free gorilla suit when you register.

kimberly-wyatt.jpgFormer Pussycat Doll Kimberly Wyatt and British actress Joanna Lumley are asking people who are buying Easter presents to help save rabbits by buying beauty and personal care gifts that have not been tested on animals.

These products can easily be identified by the Leaping Bunny Logo that symbolises the product has been approved by the BUAV's Humane Cosmetics Standard, which guarantees a company doesn't test their cosmetics and toiletries on animals.

Kimberley, who is also the founder of a new cruelty-free cosmetics brand BM Beauty, said: "Please be kind to bunnies this Easter - don't buy animal tested cosmetics and toiletries when choosing gifts for your loved ones. Look out for the BUAV's Leaping Bunny logo."

Joanna added: "I'm helping rabbits this Easter by only buying cruelty-free cosmetics. Look out for the BUAV's Leaping Bunny logo."

Despite bans in the UK and EU that prevent animals from being used to test cosmetics and toiletries, products that have been cruelly tested on animals in other parts of the world are still allowed to be sold and the BUAV is campaigning for a ban that will prevent this from happening.

Kimberley and Joanna are not the only stars lending their support to BUAV to end cruel animal testing. In March, Sir Paul McCartney joined the animal rights charity in a European campaign.

You can sign the No Cruel Cosmetics petition at www.nocruelcosmetics.org.

We made an origami paper bear to support WWF

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The world's leading animal welfare and environmental organisation WWF are currently trying to raise vital funds to help protect the forest home of the spectacled bear. As part of this appeal they have teamed up with origami expert Joseph Wu to challenge you to make an origami spectacled bear!

Here at Hippyshopper we're always up for a challenge, so we invested in some green (our colour), recycled paper (only the finest for the bears), and followed the step-by-step video instructions below.

Spectacled Bear from Joseph Wu on Vimeo.

In hindsight the paper was perhaps a wee bit too thick for origami, but the result was pretty decent!

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We've shared our green paper bear on WWF's Facebook page - will you?!

Follow Hippyshopper on Facebook.

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Forget about the toasters, gravy boats and candlesticks if you were planning on sending a present to the royal couple. Prince William and Catherine Middleton on Wednesday requested charitable gifts instead of wedding presents.

Not that the couple would need more traditional wedding gifts - we're sure Buckingham Palace has that covered - but it is great to hear that the modern British royals have opted for a more benevolent approach as they pre-empt the flood of extravagant gifts that typically are gifted at royal weddings.

The statement by Clarence House said the couple is "touched by the goodwill shown them" and "have set up a charitable gift fund for those who very generously may wish to donate to charity to help the couple celebrate their wedding." A total of 26 charities have been personally chosen by Kate and William (see complete list below).

The 29th April wedding is set to reflect the state of Britain and perhaps the world - a time of economic uncertainty and philanthropic need - and the list includes charitable causes in the UK as well as some in Canada, Australia and New Zealand that reflect the couple's close ties to and affection for the three countries.

The couple famously got engaged while on holiday in Kenya which is reflected in charities focusing on wildlife conservation in Africa and beyond.

If you would like to donate to the happy couple, you can do so through the official website www.royalweddingcharityfund.org.

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The full list of charities that will benefit from the fund is as follows:


  • Peace Players

  • Ocean Youth Trust

  • Greenhouse Schools

  • Oily Cart

  • Dance United

  • IntoUniversity

  • Venture Trust

  • Beat Bullying

  • Keyfund

  • A National Voice

  • Association for Children's Palliative Care (ACT)

  • Youth Access

  • Community Foundation in Wales

  • Community Foundation in Scotland

  • Community Foundation in Berkshire

  • Combat Stress

  • Cruse Bereavement Care for Children of Forces' Families

  • Household Cavalry Benevolent Fund

  • Irish Guards Appeal

  • Army Widows Association

  • Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund

  • ZSL

  • EarthWatch

  • The Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary

  • New Zealand Government's Christchurch Earthquake Appeal

  • Royal Flying Doctor Service - Australia

This article first appeared on Bridalwave.tv

Naomi Campbell opens pop-up charity shop

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naomicampbell.jpgThe supermodel has joined forces with shopping centre Westfield for the pop-up store, which will open its doors between April 6 to 13 to sell designer items in aid of The Prince's Trust charity.

Among the products up for grabs will be a Vivienne Westwood evening dress previously worn by the British beauty, and a Tom Ford suit donned by comedian David Walliams.

In addition, labels including Stella McCartney, Mulberry, Givenchy and Christopher Kane will donate pieces to the shop, while fashion set designer Michael Howells will be responsible for dressing the store windows.

Naomi will also be joined behind the till by a string of as-yet unnamed famous faces, with mystery guest DJs also promised to boost the shopping experience.

The Prince's Trust benefits young people who need practical and financial backing in order to turn their lives around.

The supermodel's previous altruistic efforts include her annual Fashion for Relief catwalk show, and a collection of t-shirts, which were sold to raise money for the charity.

Recycle your handset with Vodafone and WWF UK

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Many of us have old mobile phones laying around the house, patiently waiting to fulfil their purpose as a 'spare' in case the current - more modern - handset is lost, stolen, or suddenly decides to take a dive into the cup of tea on your desk... Sadly most of these will simply sit in the drawer, gathering dust, not to be touched until you decide to have a spring clean or move house.

Have you thought about recycling your unwanted phone? Now you can do so and help the environment with Vodafone UK's new phone recycling phone scheme that will raise funds for WWF UK's vital conservation projects across the world.

The newly launched scheme is available in Vodafone's 380 UK retail stores, or you can post your old phone to 'Freepost Vodafone Recycling'; any phone from any network or manufacturer will be accepted. Sometimes old phones can be worth only a few pounds, but if you recycle your handset with Vodafone, WWF receives a donation of about £9 for each phone. The money will be used by WFF, who is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, to tackle issues like climate change and to help endangered animals.

And you can be certain your phone doesn't end up on a landfill as Vodafone refurbish and reuse all phones, or break them down for other manufacturing.

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