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Apple has been really pulling its socks up lately, and all that hard work seems to have culminated in the launch of the MacBook Air, presented this week at MacWorld 2008. It's rather nice to look at, and as well as it being a slim as a supermodel's sandwich, It's being hailed as their 'greenest' project yet.

So what makes the MacBook Air green? First, it consumes the least amount of power of any Mac. And being the thinnest laptop in the world, it's said it can 'fit in an envelope', reducing the need for much packaging (which, incidentally, Apple has also looked into, ensuring that the new laptops are delivered in recyclable low-volume boxes). Additionally, . the laptop's own case is made from recyclable aluminium, it boasts the world's first mercury-free display and contains no arsenic (yes, many PC are full of poison). The MacBook Air will be available soon with a price tag of $1,799.

Related: Apple goes green to the core | Apple back in Greenpeace's good books| Greenpeace sez Apple sux, Nokia rulez

milkyway.jpgDespite persistent poking from the Vegetarian Society, chocolate giant Mars is still putting animal rennet -- a substance derived from calves' stomachs -- in some of its top selling products, it was reported today.

All hell broke loose for Mars last year, when a decision to quietly add the ingredient to previously veggie-friendly products including Malteesers and Galaxy bars was rumbled and made public by unhappy vegetarians. Eventually, the company backed down and withdrew its decision. But it has since emerged that several products remain unsuitable for non meat eaters. The offending lines include Milky Way, Celebrations and Twix.

eco%20dating.jpgThere are dating sites for almost every social group these days, so it comes as no real surprise that the latest fad in online match-making should be specially designed to get eco-warriors together for truly eco-'friendly' nights out! Here's a look at a few of them...

Ideal Bite lists a number of green dating sites, but gets off to a shocking start when it patronisingly informs new recruits that 'your Ideal hemp-wearing hiker-boy or vegan vixen is just a few clicks away'. Hmph!

chicken%20coop.jpgYou've seen the TV show, you've bought the t-shirt and are never going near another battery-reared chicken breast again. But what more can you do to ensure a good life for chickens? The next step is adopting your own. Providing a steady egg supply and a lot of feathered fun, chickens make great garden companions and it's entirely up to you if you choose to keep your bird as a pet or ultimately eat it (or both!) But it's important to keep them happy while they're with you. Here's our roundup of chicken coops for your garden.

With prices starting at £118, Taylor's Garden Buildings has a huge selection here of happy homes for garden chickens. Some of these pens are not only suitable for chickens; if you want to get really adventurous, the site suggests you could use them to house ducks, bantams geese and even quail!

Follow the jump for more top-notch chicken coops!

Paraben-free cosmetics are relatively commonplace these days, and many people now insist on them. But another scary sounding ingredient has now been identified in many skincare products: man-made nanoparticles. These are microscopic particles so tiny that they can be absorbed deep into the skin -- and the Soil Association has just decided to ban them.

The ban -- which means that no products containing nonoparticles can be certified organic -- applies mainly to skincare and beauty products, but to clothing and food as well. While nanotechnology is a very interesting and potentially highly beneficial research area, the association is concerned about the fact that the particles can permeate cell membranes and that a worrying proportion of the investment in this new technology is being driven into the beauty industry. It told Hippyshopper that 'Many well-known companies such as L'Oreal, Unilever, Boots and Lancome are already developing and introducing these super fine particles into their products and none of these products are required to have labelling to warn consumers'.

If you're concerned about what goes on your skin. why not check out our health and beauty section to find the best in organic and natural products?

coronation%20street%20recycling%20bins.jpgBritish soap operas have always aimed to reflect daily life as closely as possible (mid-90s Brookside excepting) and focus on the 'issues of the day'. But Corrie is the first soap I've seen to make a feature out of recycling bins, which are soon to make their debut on the Street.

Producers of the show joined up with Recycle Now to bring in the bins, which viewers will see in Corrie's cafe, Roy’s Rolls and in other prominent places: these will include a green-wheeled bin for individual households in the terraced backyards, an industrial recycling bin for cardboard and paper outside the ‘Underworld’ factory, and community recycling banks for food and drinks cans, clear glass bottles and jars and magazines and newspapers outside the Medical Centre. Let's hope this experiment proves educational for the nation's soap addicts!

[Via Corrie Blog]


I can't believe it's been a year since we were nominating for last year's Observer Ethical Awards, but sure enough it's time to start putting forward names of anyone you feel deserves recognition for their planet-saving efforts.

Now in its third year, the Observer Ethical Awards has a more star-studded panel of judges than ever, featuring a supermodel, a pop star and even an England footballer among its number. They join the likes of Green Party Mayoral candidate Sian Berry, Ecover's Clare Allman and green journalist Lucy Siegel and others in choosing this year's most influential green activists.

A new category for 2008 will be the Jupiter Big Idea Award, which aim's to find this year's biggest green project that's had a major impact on a community. The winner will receive £2,000 from Jupiter Asset Management, whose Jupiter Ecology Fund celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. The reader-voted categories are Best Local Retailer, Best Supermarket or Online Retailer Initiative, Campaigner of the Year and Politician of the Year. To get your suggestions in early, visit the site.

Related: 2007's Observer Ethical Award winners announced

enamore%20eco.jpgSexy and stylish eco-friendly lingerie is nothing new (hello, Enamore!), but fashion blogs are finally cottoning on to the fact that sustainably produced, quality underwear is 'hot', and so much better all round than those 'five pairs for a fiver' sets from the supermarket that quickly lose their elasticity and disintegrate in the washing machine.

I'm off to discover for myself how far the green underwear phenomenon has come on Wednesday, when Figleaves launches its first eco-friendly range, 'Greenleaves'. But in the meantime, here are a few more sexy, sustainable brands that the current interest in eco lingerie has brought to my attention:

Luva Huva is a new one on me! Combining comfort with feminine style is the brand's main priority, and the site suggests they do this a treat. Each knicker is hand made with bows, frills and sometimes buttons to make a very special and unique pair of knickers to stand out in any collection

If you've not yet seen this video, I suggest a quick viewing. It's a humorous take on government ministers' dislike of taking responsibility for environmental matters, and is as relevant now as it was back in 1991, when many people mistook it for a real interview. The performers here are Australian comics John Clarke & Bryan Dawe.

duchy_sandwich_main.jpgPrince Charles' eco empire has expanded into the fiercely competitive lunch market, with a new range of organic sandwiches due to arrive in Waitrose stores later this month.

Duchy Originals' sandwiches will provide office workers with an option that's posher than Pret but no more expensive than most other 'gourmet' sandwich options, with prices starting at £2.99. As you'd expect, ingredients are all organic and the sandwiches are handmade. Flavours include Cornish brie with plump, vine-ripened tomatoes, cheddar cheese with relish and Marine Stewardship Council approved smoked mackerel with mayonnaise, creme fraiche and gooseberry dressing. [Via New Consumer]

philips%20eco%20flatscreen.jpgIt's not often that I get to include a great big, oversized gadget on Hippyshopper, so I'm happy to see that Phillips has won a prestigious award for its 'Eco Flat' TV, a 42-inch flatscreen HDTV with pioneering power-saving features.

CNET has given Phillips it 'best of CES' award for the TV, whose screen is designed to dim the backlight -- by up to five times peak brightness -- in response to program material. This not only saves power, but improves picture quality in dark scenes, the judges say. The backlight can also be dimmed via a room lighting sensor, so in dark rooms it will use less power. Once again, Phillips seem to be ahead of the game in top class eco gadgets, and it's encouraging to see a product win this much-coveted award for its energy-saving credentials.

The Philips Eco TV is due for release in March (with a suggested retail price of $1,399 in the States).

Related: Phillips Simplicity Event: drench yourself in low-energy light

chicken%20out%20logo.jpgSainsbury's has perplexed loyalty-card holders this week, with a slightly rambling letter intended to boost the chain's image following Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's exposé of the chicken farming industry in the UK.

The letter, which promises that Sainsbury's takes its responsibilities for animal welfare 'very seriously' states that 'all the fresh and frozen chickens and eggs [Sainsbury's] sell are British' and that very few other retailers can make this claim. This point is no doubt a valid one, but customers were left wondering they were being told this, when the documentary made it clear that cruel practices in chicken production are rife in Britain.

bottle%20top%20fridge%20magnets.jpgTrying to get organised? Want to remind other members of the house to turn down the heating or stop buying that horrible cheaply produced chicken? Where better to put it than on the fridge -- with some fun and funky recycled bottle top magnets from Nigel's Eco Store for just £4.99.

And while you're there, why not take time to check out all that Nigel has to offer on his site, which has just been named as winner in the shopping category of Yahoo! Finds of the Year 2007.

big%20green%20challenge.gifDo you have a brilliant idea that would have a positive impact on people's lives? If so, you're not alone; a recent survey showed that eight out of ten people have had these moments of genius but are afraid to share them.

But now could be your chance to shine, as the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA) has stumped up a big wad of cash to fund great ideas to help the planet. Cash rewards will be given to winners of the Big Green Challenge, a competition that opens today to encourage people across the UK to work together to tackle climate change.

tatty%20devine%20analogue.jpgQuirky jewellery designers Tatty Devine are asking for your old VHS and cassette tape this weekend in what they're calling an 'analogue amnesty'. What do they intend to do with all that audio spaghetti? Why, spin with it, of course.

'Tapeheads and wool warriers' are invited to drop off old video and cassette tapes this Sunday at Tatty D's Brick Lane shop in East London. If you want to take part, you'll also need to place an order to get them spun with wool into marvellous new yarns for just £9.99! Can't make it? Email Tatty Devine to arrange your own spinning date, or pop along on Thursday 17th January when there'll be an end of show party at the store where 'all the secrets of the midnight miracles will be revealed'. Sounds intriguing!

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