Posts Tagged ‘reduce’

westminster’s new eco-apprentices ..

November 18, 2010

As part of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2010, Ecomodo was invited by Westminster City Council to participate in the “Eco-bag Enterprise Challenge” at Westminster City Boys School. The purpose of the event was to challenge the students of Year 8, to think about sustainability both in terms of the environment and a business – not an easy task.

In true “Apprentice” style and in teams of 4 – 5 boys, their challenge was to create an eco-friendly bag company and produce a new design for a reusable bag. Given a budget of up to £300 the students had to: understand why reusable bags were important; choose team roles for each member of the group; understand and describe their target customer; and work out their finances to deliver the design they wanted within budget. On top of this, the boys had to deliver a pitch back to the class with the best ‘company’ winning a prize – for boys aged 12-13 – the stakes were high.

The day commenced with a talks from our hosts (the Westminster Education Business Partnership) who outlined the activities of the challenge and Corinne Dickinson from Waste Watch who gave the students insights into the environmental issues surrounding plastic bags on which theys were to be quizzed. Corinne also mentioned that “plastic bags are only for 12 minutes of their lifetime” – the same as a drill I thought.

We then split into groups and as a “business mentor”, I was given a team to work with who called their company “Stars in the Making” – and they certainly were.

Whilst talking about plastic bags and shopping they made an observation that sports shops, unlike supermarkets, were still quite happily giving plastic bags to customers. So they focused their idea around a reusable sports bag that was purchased alongside goods from sporting outlets. Aimed at teenaged boys to young men and promoting becoming a “star” of sport, the bag could then be reused by the customer every time they went to the gym or played football. At the end of the day, the whole bag, including dirty sports gear (minus shoes), could be thrown in the washing machine to be cleaned and ready to reuse.

During the pitches, I was thoroughly amazed at the creativity of the students who alongside the re-usable sports bag, came up with reusable bags for christmas and wonderful slogans like “Save tomorrow today”.

Alongside Corinne from Waste Watch and myself, other business mentors volunteered their time from: Loop, GreenLondon.net, SEED, Healthy Planet, The Do Nation and we all had a truly inspired time at Westminster City School.

For me, this initiative from Westminster City Council, brings together the big issues that face our society today; how do we live environmentally within our means, re-build our economy and create business that are sustainable in every sense of the word. To educate and focus these young minds on the problems of today – can only help to provide us with young, smart, eco-minded entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

the london reuse network launches ..

September 23, 2010

The ecomodo girls were out on the town last night at the launch party of the London Reuse Network – a fantastic initiative instigated by the LCRN (London Community Resource Network) to help turn waste back into ‘good’ goods.

Currently there are too many quality items going to landfill (furniture, toys, appliances, wood, textile, electrical equipment, bicycles – you get the picture) so the idea of the LRN is to create an integrated reuse service for London delivered through a community-led reuse and repair network. With a bunch of backing from Boris and LWaRB, this means all this stuff, instead of going to landfill, will get picked up, repaired and redistributed back to Londoners. As well as physical infrastructure for storage and an efficient transportation strategy the LRN aims to train local people with practical green skills to fix up, repair and upcycle the goods.

Guest speakers included Wayne Hemingway and Dr Adam Read from the AEA. Wayne delightfully re-counted stories of his thrifty upbringing with ends of the soap in jam jars; how he got started fixing up Dr. Martin boots with a blow-torch to seal the soles and reselling them in Camden Market; to the success of this years Vintage at Goodwood with 50,000 festival-goers celebrating the reuse of clothing, music and culture.

After the talks people were invited to ask questions. At this point designers and architects got a bit of a slating from a member of the audience. “Why can’t architects/designers just design things so there is much little waste and re-use materials?” Matthew Thomson’s (Chief Executive of LCRN) rightly pointed out that certain materials have a life and after that (especially in the building industry) it would be unsafe to reuse certain materials.

As a designer working in the industry for over 17 years, I have tried this fight this fight from the inside out. Great efforts have been made to change the way products are manufactured but like everything it’s an evolution not a revolution. Many more products today, as opposed to 10 years ago, are being made from materials that can and have been recycled and this change has predominantly happened through consumer demand not policy. At the end of the day most manufacturers still want to cut their bottom line – taking the “cheaper” option.

The biggest issue for me is” built in obsolescence.” Manufacturers are not designing products that are robust and easy to fix. The easy repair of their goods creates longevity meaning less things will be purchased – and this is not good for business.

From the outside in, using Ecomodo, we hope to change consumer behaviour to drive change in manufacture. By enabling people to borrow items instead of buying new we are delivering an alternative to retail and as consumer understanding grows, we can use this as an intervention. If they choose to still buy and not borrow, they will start to consider the life-time of the product – how many times they will use it and in turn lend it out. They will begin to think of household products as assets and not just throw-away. Using consumer demand we can sway manufacturers to make robust, fixable products built to last.

It is great to be at the start of The London Reuse Network as this powerful initiative can too make people think differently about where, how and why they purchase the products they do. For it the work – it needs to have complete consumer appeal – so more vintage – less charity shop. This year has seen a massive upsurge in the trend of vintage so in order to capture the heart, minds and purse strings of our consumers perhaps they need to think about what’s next – beyond vintage.

image borrowed from LCRN

london lending ..

August 7, 2010

We are very pleased to announce that Recycle For London have become a friend of Ecomodo. Through their website they are encouraging all Londoners to use Ecomodo and prevent waste by borrowing the things they need instead of buying. Recycle for London is an initiative run by the Greater London Authority (GLA). And with the recent launch of Boris’s Bikes  .. “Is borrowing the new buying?

10:10:10 .. what will you be doing ?

August 5, 2010

We’re supporting 10:10:10 to equip people to make a difference! The environmental charity 10:10 has joined forces with 350.org to inspire people around the world to do a positive action on October 10 2010. On this day, thousands individuals, schools, businesses and other organisations will take simple steps to save energy and reduce their emissions. Do something good on 10:10:10 and find out how we can help.

10:10

May 10, 2010

Read our guest blog on 10:10

For those that haven’t heard of 10:10, it is an ambitious project to unite every sector of society behind one simple idea: we all commit to reduce our emissions by 10% in 2010, then work together to make it happen.  If you haven’t already – Join 10:10 and cut your carbon emission.

image borrowed: 10:10uk’s photostream | Flickr | Creative Commons


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