Friday, 12 November 2010

Do you want the Good Green News, or the Bad Green News?

Everything I saw today seemed to have a negative impact on our big greeny-blue planet;

From POM taking pomegranate seeds out of their packaging and putting them in packaging;

Britain STILL not taking any action on BPA in food packaging and babies bottles;

Premier Foods changing Sun-Pat Peanut Butter from glass to plastic containers, claiming "the switch to PET helped reduce the product’s carbon footprint." and that "the sustainability and logistics benefits deliver major solutions,” - perhaps major solutions for those huge holes in the ground that need filling? and for increasing their profit margin with a switch to cheap throw-away plastic jars rather than easily recyclable glass.

Bonnes nouvelles vertes!!

Monday, 1 November 2010

Green paint? or Greenwash?

Dulux (ICI) recently launched a range of 'Eco' Low VOC paints (only Matt paint seems to be VOC free), all packaged in lovely disposable plastic!

Very little information is given on their website about levels of Volotile Organic Compounds, or how the paint is produced, so it hard to get excited about this move:

Monday, 20 September 2010

Waitrose gain Greeny Points over Sainsbury's...

As Sainsburys this week face court action over their overpackaged Taste The Difference Beef, Waitrose head in a far more positive direction by announcing a move to flow-wrapped packaging.

How many of their meat products will be repackaged is not clear, and the more cynical may feel they are just reacting quickly to avoid being taken to court themselves, but any step away from the the current 'norm' of unnecessary hard plastic trays has to be for the better.
I just hope the new format will be accepted by customers (unlike their milk pouches, which had to be scrapped last year) and that all the other supermarkets follow their lead, because - as anyone old enough to remember butchers shops will remember - pieces of dead animal haven't always come packaged in clinically sealed plastic boxes.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Bright Green Brand of the Month: Unpackaged

I'm not sure whether I should describe Unpackaged as a 'brand' as such, if anything it's an anti-brand, as almost everything that is sold in this quirky little shop comes in no packaging at all, and therefore 'Unbranded'.

What Unpackaged definitely IS though is a fantastic idea and hopefully a movement way ahead of its time - the shape of things to come. And maybe surprisingly, as someone who earns a living from designing brand packaging, I welcome this vision of a life less plastic.

The shop is a little off the beaten track - vaguely between Farringdon, Kings Cross and Angel at 42 Amwell St, but this only adds to its charm - more like a local shop, which I guess may well be overlooked on a busy high street with all the big bold brands shouting for attention.

Visit the site, but more importantly visit the shop - it's like travelling way back in time, while also being way in the future.


Thursday, 5 August 2010

Beautiful Beach Plastic!...

Steve McPherson is a UK artist who, for over 15 years, has been picking up bits of plastic washed up on beaches in north Kent, then turning them into artworks...

It does seem slightly wrong that I should love this so much, but I guess that's the point - to draw attention to this endless plastic trash washing up on beaches all over the world, when otherwise most people wouldn't think twice when they see it on the sand.

Artworks are all for sale too!

(click images to enlarge)

see more here:

...and if you find any of your own plastic treasure you can register it here:

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

My 4th 'R': Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, REPAIR!

After my camera/mp3 player stopped working due to a cranky lens, I decided I would NOT just be a good consumer and go out and buy a brand new one, but instead committed to repairing it.

I first carefully took it apart with some VERY tiny screwdrivers (and a very steady hand). I soon realised that the lens wouldn't come out, so put it back together anyway (which I hoped might have somehow fixed it!). ((it didn't of course)).

My next step was to put a search on ebay to alert me of any faulty Samsung camera/mp3 players.
A week later, one came up - great condition but with a broken screen. A quick google search told me that a screen can be replaced, so I bought the camera for 4 pounds (I was the only bidder).

I again disected the first camera (with the broken lens), then the second camera (with the broken screen).
Put them back together and what have you got?

A perfectly working new camera, for 4 pounds. (and a slight smug green feeling inside).

Also, if a Playstation stops reading discs completely you can order a new lens online from various dealers. Worked a treat for mine.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Ad in The Times & Guardian today...

Designed these press ads in a rush yesterday for 38 Degrees. Just made the deadline to print overnight! Phew.
Get involved here:

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Non-toxic, Non-stick (ish) pan...

Recently bought this GreenPan frying pan.

It's PTFE-free - that's Polytetrafluoroethylene, used in Teflon - so the coating on this pan (Thermalon) doesn't release toxic fumes above 260° C as PTFE apparently does, which are proven to be lethal to small pets and potentially harmful to humans.

Also, the process, unlike Teflon, does not use PFOA (PerFluoroOctanoic Acid), classified as a ‘persistent pollutant of the environment’*. Also, PFOA is a tough chemical that the body has great difficulties in expelling and is known to be a ‘likely human carcinogen’*

When it first arrived I tested it with a fried egg - It was so non-stick that when trying to take it out of the pan, the egg slipped uncontrollably everywhere except onto the wooden spatula!
HOWEVER, after several uses, it no longer has the same qualities: It now seems to stick severely if heated on full, but is fine if kept at just over halfway. There IS a statement in the accompanying leaflet stating that it is normal for the non-stick properties to reduce after a while, so I guess I just need to be careful.

All in all I believe that cooking on a slightly lower heat is a small price to pay when considering all the advantages this pan has to offer over the slightly more heat-tolerant (but possibly quite harmful) Teflon alternatives. I just need to be a little more patient when cooking my dinner.

* According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency, a US federal agency in charge of the protection of human health and the environment)