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Cheil-China-Fading-Ink

Saving paper with disappearing ink

Decades on from the anticipated ‘paperless office’, global paper consumption continues to rise. More paper is recycled than ever before, but the rising demand from developing economies is piling the pressure on the world’s forests. It is estimated that 200 million trees were cut down to provide China with paper in 2013. That is driving […]

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olleco

Olleco’s circular economy cooking oil

Yesterday I spotted a truck outside my local pub, branded with the name Olleco. I’d never heard of them, but they helpfully have their entire business model on the side of their vehicles: ‘Olleco supply cooking oil, collect used cooking oil, and convert to biodiesel.’ I thought it sounded like a nice example of the […]

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Ecovative's Mushroom® Packaging cradle wine shipper

Replacing plastics with … mushrooms

In a circular economy, all materials either need to be reusable or safely biodegradeable. Many common forms of plastic are neither of those things, and are thus something of an environmental hazard. Oil based and non-biodegradeable, plastics accumulate in landfill or in ocean gyres, and accumulate in the bodies of birds and animals too. But […]

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greenClosedLoop

Five ways to close the loop

One of the key aspects of the circular economy is to recapture materials as things come to the end of the lifespan. Whether we’re talking about a glass bottle, a pair of jeans or a mobile phone handset, there is a value to the materials that is lost if the item just ends up in […]

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feed the world

The Real Junk Food Project

Earlier this year I wrote about Britain’s first zero-waste restaurant. Here’s its opposite: a 100% waste cafe. Not because it throws everything away, but because everything it serves is food that would otherwise have been wasted. That aspect of the Real Junk Food Project isn’t entirely new – there have been pop-up restaurants on that […]

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octopi

Pharrell Williams’ ocean plastic jeans

Pharrell Williams may be best known for his uplifting hit song Happy, or for his fondness for oversize hats (a hat made in Luton, I hear from the local hat-making fraternity) His interest in sustainability is less known, but Williams also happens to be the owner and creative director of an innovative fashion fabrics company […]

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Restart_Logo_Black_Complete

Fixing gadgets with The Restart Project

One of the key ways to reduce our use of materials, and limit the amount we throw away, is to repair things. That’s particularly important in the area of electronics. They require relatively scarce metals, and electronic waste is hazardous and complicated to process, which is why a lot of it ends up in faraway […]

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mobile phones

Three forms of obsolescence

One of the recurring themes of anti-consumerism is planned obsolescence – the idea that many goods are designed with a limited life. They’re designed to work for a certain amount of time and then break, or be replaced by an upgraded model. In some discussions, the implication is that companies are being underhand and selling […]

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peepoo-bag-how-5

Five alternatives to the flushing toilet

For most of us, the standard flushing toilet is the most basic of technologies. Because every house we’ve ever lived in has one, it’s almost impossible to imagine that one can do anything other than flush away human waste. If we have experienced an alternative, it’s likely to have been a primitive and stinky one […]

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ewaste destinations

If your secondhand laptop could talk…

Every year, households in Britain throw out two million tonnes of waste electronic products. A few of them are taken back for dis-assembly by the manufacturer, some go in the bin, and others are exported. But what if you could those secondhand laptops and tablets could keep communicating? What if, like trackers attached to the […]

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