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ribena.jpgRibena will soon become the first and only UK drinks manufacturer to use 100% recycled bottles. The company in charge of those cute little blackcurrants announced yesterday that within the next six months their bottles will be made from materials which have already been recycled at least once and which can be recycled again after use. The sleeve and cap will not be made from recycled material but they will be recyclable, which is an improvement on the previous versions. Glaxo Smithkline, who manufacture Ribena, are also piloting a scheme to introduce 'reverse vending' machines in busy public places to help people recycle their bottles more easily.

Julia Hailes, author of the New Green Consumer Guide, welcomed Ribena's move to use recycled plastic bottles: "This is really significant in terms of saving energy and reducing waste," she said.

[via The Guardian]

I bet you’d never thought of sewing as a subversive or a sociable act, but this is the very nub of the idea of Morsbagging, which tags itself as sociable, guerilla, bagging.

The idea is to start little groups, called ‘pods’ who get together with old scraps of fabric, a bottle of wine and have a fun evening sewing bags. Once you have enough bags, you distribute them free in local supermarkets, thus replacing the need for plastic bags. While doing so, you also try to educate shoppers about the dangers to wildlife of old plastic bags and urge them to re-use the morsbags instead of using up new plastic carriers.

bulb%20feature.jpgGiving up old-style bulbs but not sure what to do with the collection you've stockpiled over the years? Why not use them to create a really stylish light feature.

The 'bright idea' comes from Bulbs Unlimited, a website dedicated to recycling bulbs. There's a six-step tutorial here on how to make the funky light object pictured above, which essentially uses old bulbs as the shades for new, eco-friendly ones. And if this one isn't to your taste, there's a whole gallery of alternative styles here. [Via Crafty Crafty]

Related: Jason Bruges and Greenpeace team up for spectacular energy-efficient light show

web-blair-lambert-Dancing-Frog-Bag.jpgJust in case you're not sick of bags I thought I'd tell you about another one by Blair Lambert from Queens, New York. This is the Happy Frog tote and it's made from 100% reclaimed upholstery scraps. The appliqué leaping frog is supposed to be a reminder of how good it is to be alive, which is nice. Due to the nature of the materials used each bag will be unique and will feature different colours, patterns and textures. The tote is hand made, is a generous 16" tall by 11" wide, and features a velcro closure. The Happy Frog has been specially commissioned by BTC Elements and is US$48, but other equally fabulous designs are available from Blair's Etsy store.

[via The Alternative Consumer]

blanket_detail_branches.gifIt won't be long until we start pulling extra blankets out of airing cupboards and piling them onto our beds to keep out the autumn chill, and what better than a recycled cotton blanket to keep you cosy and warm? In 2 Green have produced these gorgeous blankets made from eco2cotton, which is a material made from the left overs of cotton manufacturing. Fibres and cuttings are collected once patterns have been cut and sewn then they are sorted by colour and blended together.

The result is a cotton-like fluff which can be used as a stuffing, or can be spun into a yarn and used to make clothing and blankets. The new yarns retain the colouring from the original fibres so there's no need for additional dying plus the process saves the off-cuts being put to landfill. The blankets are available in several colours and designs, all inspired by nature.

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Last night saw the start of a new reality show on Channel 4 called Dumped. It's a simple idea...get 11 people who want to take part in an eco-challenge, then dump them in a landfill site outside Croydon to see if they can survive by using all the things we throw away. The 'contestants' are not told where they will be going, and most of them were expecting somewhere exotic. This is a clever twist to the show, as it's a common misconception that you have to travel abroad to deal with the environment. In actual fact us Brits can throw away around 1000 tonnes of rubbish in just two minutes! If that's not a problem which needs immediate action, I don't know what is.

It's definitely going to be an interesting experiment, although judging by last night's episode it's in danger of becoming more about the conflict between the different characters than the actual issues of landfill (but isn't that what Channel 4 are good at?)

61ZQxG9C45L._AA240_.jpegI have recently come across the Eden Project range of children’s books which my children love. George Saves the World by Lunchtime by Jo Readman and Ley Honor Roberts is a really lovely story about George, his sister, dog and Grandpa. George learns that there’s more to being a superhero than just wearing your pants on the outside, with his Grandpa teaching him how you can save the world with everyday actions such as repairing and recycling.

bin.jpgIn a bid to encourage more recycling and minimise landfill waste we could see wheelie bins with fitted micro-chips and pre-paid sacks for general household rubbish. Under “pay to throw” proposals established by the Local Government Association, householders could be charged depending on the size of the wheelie bin they opt for. The LGA has stated that these measures would not be used by local authorities as a stealth tax to generate extra funds and that any scheme put into action should have the support of residents.

rabbit-amnesty-400.gifSex toy retailer Love Honey have announced a 'Rabbit Amnesty' which basically means that anyone who returns their old 'Rampant Rabbit' vibrators for recycling will receive a new one for half the price. The company are trying to encourage their customers to keep in line with EU regulations which say all household electrical goods should be disposed of in a responsible manner, by asking them to sign up to the 'Rabbit Amnesty Pledge'. It means you can have your old vibrator recycled, but you don't have to face the embarrassment of taking it to your local council tip! Once you take the pledge you can return your old vibrator to Love Honey and they will ensure they are recycled and will give £1 to the World Land Trust .

[via New Consumer]

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The internet has proved a useful tool against waste. Initiatives like Freecycle, and various swap sites such as What's Mine Is Yours, Read It, Swap It and Swopex - encouraging users to swap clothes, books, videos, etc - have become extremely popular of late. Sites like Swap A Skill have also been set up to promote the concept of bartering skills.

LetsLink UK is the leading organisation supporting Local Exchange Trading Systems - a system for swapping both skills and possessions - across the UK. Not only this, but they are also supported by the MP Linda Gilroy and the Parliamentary Group for LETS, and recently ran a national campaign to try and amend social security regulations for LETS. Their website is an extremely useful resource, showing you which regional group to approach to start participating in the scheme, offering an information pack which you can order, and also listing various events where you can listen to speakers discussing the philosophy behind the concept. They also have a members area and discussion forum online, as well as offering intertrading accounts and reduced attendance rates at national events to anyone who signs up to their internet service.

Related Stories: UK Student Swap Site|Visa Swap: a new concept in clothes swapping|Swopex DVD and game swap|No purchase necessary - Swap a Skill lets you swap your skills

Smencils.gifSend the kids back to school with some funky recycled pencils that also smell good enough to eat! Smencils are pencils which are made by rolling old newspapers round a graphite core, then it's hardened, dipped into an eco-friendly 'gourmet liquid scent' and a biodegradable eraser is added. They are available in ten fragrances including grape, watermelon or rootbeer and although I don't really get the scented bit I do like how they are made using old newspaper rather than wood. According to the company's website 172,000 pencils could be made from a single cedar tree, but 172,000 Smencils can be made from only 430 old newspapers. Also, if you recycled a single run of the New York Times you could save about 75,000 trees!

[via The Alternative Consumer]

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A study carried out by T-Mobile and MORI IPSO has revealed that us Brits are sitting on around 1.1 billion pounds worth of old mobile phones. It seems our love of hoarding has resulted in approximately 52.3 million unused handsets lying around gathering dust in drawers! The problem is getting so bad that T-Mobile are now offering people money to hand them over for recycling, which will not only ultimately save them from ending up in landfill, but it could also help generate extra cash for charities and worthwhile causes.

Dorothy Perkins recently brought out a range of fairtrade, recycled tote bags, which are sold alongside its usual range. But what will the fashion-conscious girl on the street make of these new-fangled items? Catwalk Queen's Laura Street found out.

Recycled London Transport cloth shopper

london_transport_cloth.jpgIf you grew up in London like I did, the pattern on this bag will be as familiar to you as your own carpet, as it's the same design used on the underground for many years. It's made from vintage (but unused) District Line moquette (probably lucky, as they used to smoke down there, y'know?), along with a leather shoulder strap for carrying. It's true London chic!

Priced at £65, the recycled shoppers are the work of Rennies Seaside Modern, a shop in Folkstone, Kent that specialises in all manner of British retro. The shoppers, which measure 14 inches x 11 inches are 'very limited edition', so if you like the look of them, it may be in your interest to email the shop asap.

150_large.jpgMost people automatically put their daily newspaper straight into the recycle bin once they've read it, but if you're a gardener there's another way you can use them. This Paper Potter gadget allows you to make little biodegradable seedling pots from strips of newspaper. Once the young plants have hardened you can transfer them, in their paper pots, into bigger pots or straight into the ground without damaging their roots, and the paper pots simply degrade. It's a good way to introduce kids to sustainable living, while getting them involved in green gardening techniques. The Paper Potter is made from 100% FSC certified wood and is available from ECOutlet.

Related: More plants and gardens

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