Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Greener Ways To Dispose Of A Dishwasher

Dishwashers can’t always be repaired and often need replacing. But what do you do with an old dishwasher you want to get rid of in an eco friendly way?

Unless it is broken, the chances are you haven’t given a thought to how you are going to get rid of the old appliance when you’re out shopping for a new one.

But when your new dishwasher arrives for installation, what are you going to do with the old one? Store it in the garage or leave it out on the garden for the neighbours to wag their fingers and disapprove over? Here are your options when it comes to green ways to dispose of your old dishwasher.

Sell It 
If it’s still in working order then you could sell the dishwasher. An old machine to you could be like treasure to someone else. You could try putting an advertisement in the local press, or advertising it on a website. The chances are that someone will take it off your hands quick smart.

Give it away
Assuming again that the dishwasher is in working order, why not try giving it away. No doubt there are plenty of people on your street and in your neighbourhood who would love a dishwasher, but because of other financial commitments can’t afford it. A good will gesture will be rewarded by the happy smiles on their faces.

The Weee Directive 
The Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (Weee) Directive is a European Directive with UK regulations, which aims to recycle and safely dispose of electrical equipment, by assisting the public with environmentally friendly ways of disposing of unwanted or broken electrical items. This does include your dishwasher. Shops that are signed up to the scheme must help customers to recycle their old items for free by paying for the local authority run recycling centre to come and collect the dishwasher from your house at no cost to you, or collecting it for a fee when they deliver your new dishwasher. You’ll notice that a lot of stores offer this option for a few pounds - it is inexpensive and an easy way to ensure your old dishwasher is removed from your home. We advise you to check that the store you are choosing to buy your dishwasher from is a member of the Weee directive when you go to purchase it.

Your Local Authority Tip 
Your council will have a recycling centre and can usually collect and dispose of the dishwasher for you. They often charge a fee for this service. Parts maybe re-usable and the remainder will be disposed of in a safe environment.

A Second Hand Shop
There’s no reason why a second hand shop specialising in white goods would not take an old dishwasher off your hands. Even if there are dishwasher problems with the device, many electrical experts buy and repair old white goods equipment, selling them on for a profit.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Upcycling – The New Recycling

For years, the green and nature-friendly call has been to "reduce, re-use, recycle", but now there's a new term to add to the list. Upcyle. The concept is simple; instead of recycling something by breaking it down into something of lower quality, you re-invent something useless or disposable and turn it into something of a higher quality.

Upcycling is big business, with interior decorators, designers, and fashion moguls all getting in on the act. The goal for those companies is to make a process of "closed loop manufacturing". You take the useless product that would otherwise be headed for landfill and make it into something awesome, with as little waste as possible along the way.

Anyone Can Upcycle
Upcycling isn't just something that big name designers are doing. Many home based entrepreneurs are getting in on the act. A search for "upcycled" on Etsy will reveal a huge list of jewellery, ornaments, and even shabby-chic small furniture items that have all been made out of boring items that were given the upcycling treatment.

If you're re-modelling your home, you might want to think about upcycling. Those old wooden doors you're getting rid of might make good headboards for your bed - or, if they're multi-panel wooden doors, they could have their panels ripped out and turned in to a giant pop-art picture frame.
Even something as boring as skirting boards can be upcycled. If you're artistically inclined, chop your skirting boards up and paint them to make picture boards. Otherwise, cut, sand, and varnish them to make cutting boards. Some people even make skirting board sculptures. Your imagination is the only limit.

Look at Things From a Different Angle
The old adage about one man's trash being another man's treasure is as true today as it was when it was first said. If you're clearing out your house, stop and examine each item before you consign it to the bin. With practice you'd be amazed at the creative ideas you come up with.

Old glass light covers can be painted and turned into desk tidies. Staircase spindles can be spruced up and made into candlesticks, and a battered old suitcase could become a pet bed. The more artistically inclined you are, the wilder and more creative your upcycling projects can be.

Safety First
It's always nice to breathe new life into old stuff, but don't put your health, or the health of others, at risk. Converting wooden doors into picture frames is one thing, as long as you make sure they're well-made and hang properly, but messing with electronics is not a good idea unless you have some training.

It's best to stick to cosmetic items, or creative storage, for your first few projects. If you plan on attempting something more ambitious, or something that would involve electricity or fire, then make sure you know exactly what you're doing. Test the finished product carefully before you try to use it under normal circumstances. That might feel overly paranoid, but if you spot even one problem or design flaw, those tests could save your life.

Writteny by Amy Fowler on behalf of UK Oak Doors, suppliers of wooden doors and skirting boards that are just as useful when upcycled.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Production Materials For Truly Eco-friendly Coffee

"Eco-friendly", when applied to coffee, has become something of a marketing asset. For a retailer chasing the 'Green Pound' it's important to come across as a responsible, caring company. For the consumer there are a number of factors that may lead them to make the purchase - does they feel good that the produce is from a sustainable source? Is it that they care for the welfare of those individuals working to bring them the coffee?
However, that applies to the coffee itself. If you want a truly enjoyable drink then it's important not only to consider the coffee, but also the espresso cups you're using to drink out of. For if the coffee has been produced to high green standards but the cup is made by a toxic, harmful process then it diminishes the value of your efforts.

It's not necessarily easy to understand the processes of how a cup is made when considering the environment, so it's perhaps useful to start with the materials themselves - porcelain, clay and glass.
Porcelain is arguably the material used in most coffee and espresso cups because of its versatility. It's easy to mould into unique, interesting shapes and has the capacity for application of colour making it aesthetically pleasing. Porcelain is also good for heat retention, meaning the drink will stay warm or hot for a reasonable amount of time.

Porcelain is made by firing a combination of natural base materials in a kiln, including clay, flint and silica. Kiln-firing can be eco-friendly depending on the kiln. Newer kilns are specifically designed with emission-reduction and energy efficiency in mind, which can be increased by using carbonaceous waste materials. Porcelain manufacture doesn't produce any by-products that can't be recycled back into the manufacturing process.

Clay is a natural material that has been used as in building everything from structures to smaller items for thousands of years. Clay, as mentioned above, is used during the manufacturing of other building materials due to its useful attributes. Clay is used in coffee or espresso cup production but is not as versatile as porcelain for colour application, and not as good at retaining heat as glass. Clay is considered to be fairly eco-friendly.

Glass is considered, at least by many consumers, to be one of the most environmentally-friendly materials, especially when used in packaging. Glass has the benefit of not adding anything to the taste of the food or drink it can contain. Combine that with its ability to be sculptured into any shape and its great heat-retention qualities and glass appears to be an excellent material for coffee cup manufacture. Glass can be recycled, making it comparatively sustainable as a building material. However glass is created at high temperature meaning whether it is eco-friendly or not depends on the type of fuel used to create those temperatures within a glass factory. When compared to plastic, glass is certainly more eco-friendly.
Next time you consider buying eco-friendly coffee spare a small thought for your coffee cup - does it meet your high standards?

This article is a post from Espresso Deco (http://espressodeco.com/), a UK coffeeware retailer.