Tracey Smith on Newsnight Tonight?

JP: Unchallengingly, the thinking woman's crumpet

I might well have been, had I lived closer to the centre of the universe (London that is).

Late this afternoon, I received an invitation to appear on tonight’s Newsnight on the BBC; it seems they’re going to be talking a load of old rubbish…

Continue reading “Tracey Smith on Newsnight Tonight?”

Sustainable Garden Pleasures: The Firewinder

The Firewinder on Glastonbury Tor
Tom, Joe and the Firewinders on Glastonbury Tor

Recently, I had the pleasure of driving with Joe Wadsworth in the Brighton to London Eco-Rally.   Aside from being a great co-driver, he’s also partly responsible for waving the flag for the ingenious Firewinder.

Here, Joe shares his views on renewable and sustainable energy, as well as letting us into the secrets behind one of the hottest eco-products to hit the market this year. 

Q – What is the Firewinder, who invented it and tell us more about them?

A Firewinder is a wind powered lantern – the Original Windlight. It was conceived by the founder of the Firewinder Company, Tom Lawton, and resembles a three foot high pasta twist with LEDs on the edges that light up when it spins in the wind. Firewinder breathes with the wind, the greater the windspeed the brighter the lights.

Continue reading “Sustainable Garden Pleasures: The Firewinder”

Tesco Rebuke the Recycling Robbers

It certainly does
It certainly does

Supermarket giant Tesco will no longer be giving Green Clubcard points for customers who have returned empty items to deposit in their recycling machines.

The machines are designed to take a variety of recyclable materials including plastic, tin and glass and are located in around 40 branches of the store throughout England and there’s one in Scotland too.

Consumers were encouraged to clean and return their items and place them in the machines after inserting their Clubcards. The machines usually awarded one point for every four recycled items deposited, however some unscrupulous customers were found to be cutting their plastic bottles in half in order to get ‘double points’ by putting two items into the machine instead of one whole one. As a result, from this point on ‘Green Clubcard’ points will only be issued for aluminium cans, which cannot be tampered with.

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You Great Knit!

My wierd and wonderful wool

Where is your Nan when you need her most?

Unfortunately, my lovely Nan passed away many years ago, but I remember her voice, laughter and cuddles like she was here only yesterday.

She taught me so much; how to be patient, how to cook, how to grow a few things in the garden, how to enjoy your own company and how to knit, amongst others.

Most of the important stuff has remained lodged in my head but the knitting thing has been sadly lost with the passage of time.  Well, I say lost, it’s not completely gone, I remembered a few of the basics and felt sure it would all come flooding back if I could just find a prompt.

…and find a prompt I did! Continue reading “You Great Knit!”

Reaping the Benefits of their Recycling – Big Time!

Yesterday morning, I did my stint on a BBC News Panel and I had a great time. Continue reading “Reaping the Benefits of their Recycling – Big Time!”

Author Appearances (Get Me)…!

It’s just a shortie today for two reasons. Tuesday’s post about writing letters to the supermarkets has opened a floodgate and I have a mini-deluge to reply to, which is fantastic!

Oh just how much would I love this to hit the nationals? I’d need a full-time PA!

Also, I’ve been on the radio most of the day and I’m all talked out.

I broadcast a 3-hour show every Wednesday called ‘Slow Down and Green Up’ and there’s absolutely no prizes for guessing what that’s all about… After that, I did a few pre-recorded interviews and drank far too much coffee. Continue reading “Author Appearances (Get Me)…!”

The UK’s Economic Downturn Will Put Sustainable Living on the Rise

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Charles Bean, the Deputy Governor of the Bank of England warned today in a news report on the BBC, that the current global financial slowdown could “drag on for some considerable time”.

He was hopeful that growth would begin to pick up again next year and that inflation would also “drop back”, but he also understood that the squeeze on household incomes could create social issues.

I believe these ‘social issues’ will include an influx of cheap consumables and foodstuffs being shipped in from overseas and sold ‘out the back of the lorry’, rises in petty theft and shoplifting. Some supermarkets have even taken to security tagging joints of meat in an effort to discourage their light-fingered visitors.

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Your ‘Toxic Moment’ May Be Coming…

Ditch bottles and boxes - go soapnuts!
Ditch bottles and boxes - go soapnuts!

A toxic moment?

What on earth are you talking about woman?

(Note: ‘on earth’ being the important words here.)

I had my definitive toxic moment in 2005 – here’s a little background to it.

I was researching for an article I was writing on cleaning products, having read yet another piece on the rising rates of respiratory illnesses and skin complaints and the links that were being made to the toxic chemicals found in everyday cleaning goods.

Further investigation found a very provocative piece on the BBC news website talking about, ‘Chemicals found in perfumes and cleaning products crossing the placenta and reaching the baby in the womb’; see below for further details.

Generally speaking, the manufacturers tell us the levels of chemicals used in these products are ‘safe’ and ‘their’ research supports this, but nobody has tested for problems caused by the cumulative effects to the users of Chemical Cleaning Product A, Product B, C, D, E and so on…

Continue reading “Your ‘Toxic Moment’ May Be Coming…”

Rubbish News – Market Traders Clean Up their Act

More cheese please Louise
More cheese please Louise

A simple recycling initiative has been introduced at the historic market site of Whitechapel in London.

Tower Hamlets council have provided the bustling market with designated bins that take organic, cardboard and other packaging waste and they are emptied twice a day.

It is hoped this will reduce rubbish in the area by up to 88% and the results are good, following the initial trial period of 3 months.

The scheme will allow for 9 tonnes of organic waste and 9.5 tonnes of dry recycling to be diverted to recycling facilities each week, which is a tremendous achievement.

Local councillor, Abdal Ullah gave his blessing to the recycling plan and told the BBC, “Markets by their very nature can create a lot of waste, when you take into account things like packaging and food products with a relatively short shelf life. We have introduced a number of new ways that all this can be recycled and we are very excited that none of the market waste will be sent to landfill.”

Read the full story.

Rubbish News – ‘Your Old Computers are Making Us Ill’

Recycling 'is' the key, but it sure needs some tweaking
Recycling 'is' the key, but it sure needs some tweaking

This comes from youngsters in Ghana’s capital, Accra, where thousands of tonnes of old computers and other assorted e-waste, is being dumped.

Many of the scrap parts from these old machines are saleable and metals like copper can fetch good prices, unfortunately the computer shells are commonly burned to extract them.

Burning exposes those trying to collect these precious commodities to toxic and chemical filled fumes and they are presenting serious health hazards to the local inhabitants.

E-waste is regularly exported from the UK and other countries to places like India and China and more recently, Ghana has joined them.

Watch BBC journalist Will Ross’s video report from Accra in Ghana here.

Find out how householders can responsibly dispose of old electrical equipment via the WEEE Directive here.