Bookstores hold a certain aura for me: all that knowledge - and cheap holiday reads - within four walls. But the prices! Since I discovered the Green Metropolis, my bank account is much happier. GM recycles second hand books by selling paperbacks for £3.75 including postage (hardbacks cost more, and postage is not included). Plus you can sell your own books for £3.00 each - the cash gets credited to your account, and you can buy more books, and then sell them back...what a lovely cycle. And we're not talking some old musty books. There are loads of recent releases, authors like Dan Brown, Dennis Lehane, Maeve Binchy, Penny Vincenzi, cookbooks, gardening, philosophy, the lot! As if the book recycling wasn't enough, GM donates 5p from every sale to the Woodland Trust and allows you to donate to the WT from your account, too. Now I'm off to hunt down that new Nigella book. [written by Elana]
Ever wonder what happens to records when you bin them? Do they break down? I guess not, since they're vinyl. But New York artist Jeff Davis has come up with great reuses: coasters, bowls, clocks and sketchbooks (from the album covers). The coasters end up being just the label, but the bowls and clocks are the whole record, molded to the shape needed. Two caveats: the bowl can only hold dry goods, and you have to keep them away from heat (cause they're still records, and will melt). Too bad they can't let you choose which artists you can get, cause what would happen if your coasters were made from Coasters albums? Deep. [written by Elana]
I seem to be having a plant frenzy this morning - anything to pretend it's not pitch black outdoors and the middle of winter - so I'm on the hunt for new pots. Lo and behold, I found these biodegradable Vi-Pots on Green Gardener's site. Apparently they're made from materials 'such as' coconut husks and grain husks; the important bit is that once you're finished with one, you just crush it and chuck it in the composter. Crushing the Vi-Pots breaks the protective glaze that, unbroken, gives each one a five year life. 30 small pots will set you back a tenner, 10 of the large are going for £13.50. You'll have to wait 'til the new year for delivery.
Ah, yes, the unwanted Xmas book. Up there with unwanted socks, toiletries and the Pokemon edition of Monopoly. If Christmas morning begets you something like, say, Jeffer Archer's prison book - nothing like making money from crime, eh? - then grin and bear it. There is hope, and it comes in the form of book-swapping services such as Read It Swap It. It's very similar to the better known Bookcrossing, except in RISI's case you can specify what book you receive and don't have to crawl underneath the penultimate back seat on the 73 from Stoke Newington to Oxford Street to find the volume you're after. All you have to do is post the book and pay for the stamps. You get a new book. Your gift-giver succeeds (in a roundabout way). The world enjoys some recycling.
Come in Habitat, your time is up. This week sees the quiet launch of Biome Lifestyle, a green-minded shop selling a cornucopia of eco-friendly home fare. If this £18 dinner plate and £4 tumbler are anything to go by - they're both made from recycled glass - the Conran/IKEA tag-team is in for some serious competition (online, at least). Other nifty stuff on the site includes coasters made from recycled yoghurt pots, a footrest constructed from old seat-belts and a spare room-friendly roll-up organic cotton bed. Have a wander for yourself over at Biome Lifestyle's site.
If you're reading this from the US, please feel free to yawn away - you probably read about the credit card- and note-holding Jimi many moons before David Cameron's ascension. For anyone slumming it in the UK, however, this is your first chance to buy the 100 per cent recycled plastic wallet. We have Howies to thank for bringing the green style icon to these shores, although it's rather cheekily selling it for £15 - twice the $15 US price. Stocking filler, anyone?
When Wallace and Gromit declared their love for Wensleydale, the crumbly cheese's makers struggled to keep up with demand. Today's news that UK house prices are massively overvalued - like we needed the OECD to tell us that - could do the same for Ben Dickens. He makes incredibly beautiful bird boxes from recycled estate agent signs and is likely to have a glut of For Sale signs coming his way, not to mention human buyers looking for small, cheap homes. The hessian-lined boxes come with screws and a mounting bracket; all you need is £17 and some elbow grease to fit the thing. Come next spring, you'll be able to engage in bird banter to best Bill 'Springwatch' Oddie. bensbirdboxes.com [found via The Observer]
I don't usually recommend guns as ethical gifts. Call me old-fashioned, but it's not often they qualify. This morning, however, I heartily recommend you buy a kalashnikov, a rocket launcher, a small armoured vehicle or - best of all - a tank with a bendy canon like the one pictured. I'm not recommending you get the tank so you can drive it around town like Chris Eubank in his Aston. Instead, your £25 gun or your £1k tank will be used by Sierra Leone blacksmiths and metal workers to make everything from farm tools such as sickles and pick-axes to school bells. Which is very cool for the people of Sierra in addition to being a tidy symbol about making war into peace. Get yours from Good Gifts.
I love Brita: it's always a good excuse for headlines with bad puns. I also love Brita because it's a green-minded German company and happily recycles the water filter catridges that the denizens of UK cities swear by. Apparently, in Germany one in four conscientious people return the catridges for reuse. It's a fair assumption most British ones end in the dump. So here's an early new year resolution for you: collect six of the filters instead and send them in a jiffy for free to Brita Recycling, FREEPOST NAT 17876, Bicester, OX26 4BR.
Reclaimed leather, 1950s' fabric panels, velcro fastenings... what more could you want from the first TRAID Remade bag to go on sale online? A leather belt made with a bird design featuring vintage fabric, you say? Funnily enough that's on there too. Regular Hippy readers will know TRAID from a while back - they take donated clothes and recycle them into new ones - but previously you had to live in London or Brighton to get hold of its range. For blokes, there are also some neat t-shirts in TRAID's new winter stock, although you can only buy them instore. The bag's £35 from Get Ethical. TRAID's store list is here.
More proof that you don't have to be Charlie Dimmock to get your fingers muddy - a genius little widget that makes old newspapers into new plant pots. You wrap the paper around the post, push it into the base... et voila! One free seedling pot. According to Hippyshopper reader Elana K, kids love 'em, so manacle the little urchins down Dickens-style and set them to work. For green points, the Paper Pot Maker sets a new high score: as well as recycling newspapers, it saves plastic and the pots will biodegrade when you plant them out. Nice. You can get yours for a tenner at Selections online.
So this turned up in the post the other day: a book case made by Reel Furniture from re-used wooden pallets (if you've ever worked in a warehouse you'll know the type). Okay, it didn't come quite like this. It arrived flat-packed and isn't bundled with several hundred books. The thing was as easy to assemble as any IKEA stuff - you just slot in the shelves and stick in the accompanying screws - and it looks tremendous. At £300 for a six shelf job about four foot wide, it's pretty good value. Book geeks like me will be pleased to hear you can also spec the measurements to your liking to ensure that copy of A Good Life and Save Cash and Save the Planet fit next to the coffee table art slabs and the trash lit.
A swift missive this morning for any early risers up and wrapping sandwiches in foil - get yourself several rolls of this recycled version. It's made from 100 per cent recycled aluminium and costs a none-too-outrageous £7.50 for three 50 foot rolls. To close the loop, you can even recycle it once you're done (find your nearest UK recycle point here). The wonderfully worthily-branded If You Care foil is on sale at the Natural Discovery store.
Relax, sit down and kick back, content in the knowledge that your new Soho Armchair is made from recycled teak by a small team of artisans. Whatever you do, don't look at the £795 tag: it'll instantly conjure uncomfortable hypothetical conversations with your bank manager. Yep, quality comes at a price, but you are getting a hardy hardwood using trees that have already been chopped down. And there's a choice of 5 shades of finish, so you should be able to match it to your existing furniture, be that 1920s' dark wood or 1990s' blonde IKEA. Old Ginger
And here's another one from the fantastic [re]design show that took place last month. It's a spiffing earthy-looking lamp made from recycled cardboard that - according to designer G|O|E - will take a good battering if you're inclined to knocking your lamps around. There's a concave, barrel (pictured) and cyclinder version available and they'll set you back £55 a hit. Pair with an energy-saving bulb for maximum greeness and minimal bills. G|O|E Design
Fully recycled lovely lampshades