the Ecospot Eco Gift Guide 2016 – day 5 – Plastic Fish Sweatshirt by MCS

Ocean plastic has been a real focus for us over the last year or so, and we are delighted to be working with some great organisations, including Surfers Against Sewage and the World Cetacean Alliance to investigate scaleable solutions to the crisis. One of the most shocking facts came from the New Plastics Economy Report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation earlier this year, saying that if we continue in this throwaway nature, there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans, by weight, by 2050. So, for day 5 of our Eco Gift Guide we have chosen this fantastic statement sweater from Rapanui and the Marine Conservation Society.

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Made from fully traceable organic cotton in an ethically accredited, wind powered factory, this statement jumper features little fish gradually turning into plastic bottles as they swim across the front panel.

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Whilst the actual truth of this print smarts a little, we love the fact that it says it all, without any text at all. A great print and a great jumper for anyone involved in, or concerned about the marine litter issue…

Available from the Marine Conservation Society website here for £35 + P+P…

(images via MCS)

the Ecospot Eco Gift Guide 2016 – day 4 – Mr Popple’s Chocolate

‘Tis the season of eating, drinking and generally being merry, but it is also a time where you can indulge in something rather special. Chocolate is another seasonal staple, but not all chocolate is made equal. A shiny foil wrapper is not the designator of high quality, as we all know. We are seeking out the unusual flavours, unexpected combinations and highly ethical ingredients. It’s Day 4 on our Eco Gift Guide and we would like some of Mr Popple’s Chocolate please.

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Made by hand using organic raw cacao and ethically sourced ingredients (by someone actually called Mr Popple), this is probably as good as you will get from a bar of chocolate. With tasty, intriguing flavours, from Stong Dark to Euphoric Orange and even Flower Power, which is filled with rose oil and dried flowers. The chocolate is also packaged in lovely 100% recycled board sleeves with coloured prints over.

eco-gift-guide-day-4-mr-popples-chocolate-1It also has some rather lovely benefits…

Raw cacao has several stimulating qualities to it, and causes feelings of well being – like normal chocolate – but many, many times stronger, and without the energy crash that comes later. Because Mr Popple does not roast his cacao beans, lots of nutrients that normally get destroyed by roasting are left intact. Some of the nutritional compounds in Mr Popple’s raw chocolate bars can cause pleasant psychoactive effects.’

Ooh er.

 

 

We would be delighted to find this in our stockings this year, especially the rather incredible Amazin’ Fennel and Raisin…

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Find them in various stockists in the UK through their website, or buy online from £3.49 per bar, with different bulk buy combination discounts too. Can you really just go for one bar? It’s healthy. It really is.

(images via Mr Popple’s Chocolate)

the Ecospot Eco Gift Guide 2016 – day 3 – Lush Charity Pot moisturiser…

Body lotion. Quite the staple of the Christmas gift guide because, quite simply, we are mostly made of water and we need hydrating. But do you want your loved ones to be slathering on chemicals, artificial scents and additives that have been tested on animals? No. We didn’t think so. But fear not – there is an option that not only smells great, it does great things too, so for day 3 of our Eco Gift Guide we have chosen the Lush Charity Pot Moisturiser.

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Just like Patagonia that we featured on day 1, we are huge fans of Lush, and have been since the early Cosmetics-To-Go days in Poole (when my early teenage environmental activism days began). With sound ethics and natural ingredients, Lush do not just talk the talk, they walk the walk, with edgy campaigns that highlight the atrocities of the beauty industry whilst supporting those who do good.

And this is just what the Charity Pot is for – all proceeds from Charity Pot sales (minus the taxes) go to grassroots causes local to the stores. So by buying a Charity Pot moisturiser, you are giving something good – twice over. Made with 21 clearly identifiable ingredients in three different sizes to suit three different budgets, the Charity Pot is a wonderful way to show someone you care.

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Plus for this whole weekend we are delighted to announce that Lush in Brighton are supporting Surfers Against Sewage with a two day Charity Pot Party! As one of the local Regional Reps, I will be there on Saturday 3rd December between 11-3 to chat about all things marine litter, the campaigns of SAS and how to get involved. Come and say hi if you are around!

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Lush Brighton, 41 East St, Brighton BN1 1HL

the Ecospot Eco Gift Guide 2016 – day 2 – The Do Books…

Ah, Friday. The eve of two days off and the usual questions of ‘so, what are you up to this weekend?’ Cue rushing around, social events, decorating the house and generally being busy everywhere else apart from at work. But there is another way. How about slowing down for a bit and learning something? Welcome to Day 2 of the Eco Gift Guide, where we have picked the titles from The Do Books…

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Described as ‘handy pocket sized guidebooks’, the Do Books are each created by one of the speakers from the Do Lectures in Wales and focus not on the theory behind the subject, but the doing.

From Storytelling to Jam Making, Breathing to Disruption, each book is short, sweet and swallowable – a perfect read for a chilly evening that will get you springing out of bed the next day itching to do something.

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Know someone in a startup? They have a little inspirational bundle for that. Or someone into building hands on skills? There’s a bundle for that too.

Or if you simply cannot choose, why not go for the full library – and get 15% of the cover price…. check out the Do Book website here.

(image via The Do Book Co)

the Ecospot Eco Gift Guide 2016 – day 1 – Patagonia Powder Town Beanie

Well, where has this year gone? It seems like only yesterday that we were putting together our Eco Gift Guide for last Christmas… But, here we are – pinch punch – on the 1st December already. So – looking for an eco gift, an ethical gift or a sustainable seasonal present for a loved one? Stay tuned for the next 24 days as we open the doors on 24 things that we would be delighted to find in our stockings this year. There will be stuff for all budgets and tastes, with all things made with love by nice people…

So – for day 1 on our Eco Gift Guide we have… a Patagonia Powder Town Silver Birch Beanie.

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With the temperature plummeting in the UK, we have been digging out our hats over the last few days, but if you know someone who is in need of a new woolly to keep their head toasty, this is a rather nice one indeed.

As many of you will know, we are huge fans of Patagonia here in the studio – not only for their well made clothing, but for their material choices and dedication to longevity and repair. Plus their recent drive for Black Friday saw them increase their usual 1% For The Planet contributions to 100% for the whole day – resulting in a staggering $10 million being spread by Patagonia amongst grass roots environmental charities. Wow. 

This lovely Powder Town Beanie is made from recycled polyester with a bit of elastane for a comfortable stretch, in the classic white and grey that will suit everyone. A bobble for a bit of fun, a cosy head and a great company to support.

Get yours now from Surfdome in the UK, where you can pick it up for a very reasonable £25.59 + P+P. check it out here.

(image via Surfdome)

friday photo – FISH NOT PLASTIC…

friday photo no22 – FISH NOT PLASTIC!

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Says it all really. Yet if we carry on the way we are, there will be more plastic than fish, by weight in our ocean by 2050. A scary thought. Let’s turn the tide…

  • refuse single use plastic
  • reuse your own cup / bottle – like a Klean Kanteen / Keep Cup
  • reduce your packaged goods
  • recycle all your plastic
  • remove it from the beaches / streets / rivers, when you see it.

(image by claire potter design)

our Brighton Architectural Notebooks are now in Homage!

Yes – that is right! You can now find our Brighton Architectural notebooks in the beautiful home store, Homage, in the Seven Dials area of Brighton.

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Packed up in mixed threes, you can get a set of A6 notebooks made from 100% recycled paper, printed in Sussex with images of iconic pieces of Brighton Architecture – the Pavilion, the Palace Pier and our beloved West Pier.

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And check out the beautiful pieces they have in the store – from hand thrown utilitarian ceramic mugs to wide toothed combs, scented candles and hanging glass planters. We are delighted to be in such a lovely store. Go and say hi to Mark and Liza at Homage and check them out in their online store – www.homageonline.co.uk 

(images by claire potter and homage)

friday photo – hope…

Friday photo no21 – hope.

There always has to be hope. This photo was taken on our recent beach clean for Surfers Against Sewage – a lovely shot looking out to sea over freshly cleaned beaches and the new offshore wind farm that is being developed in the channel off Brighton. We need to work together to make this world better. We need to have hope to make that happen…

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(image by claire potter)

*** EVENT REPORT *** Surfers Against Sewage Autumn Beach Clean Series, Brighton…

It seems like barely yesterday we were leading the Brighton and Hove Beach Clean for Surfers Against Sewage back in April as lead volunteers, yet here we are in October, with Claire as a new SAS Regional Rep and another beach clean under our belts…

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The Autumn Beach Clean Series from Surfers Against Sewage, running across the UK throughout the whole of this week will see over 250 beach cleans completed by thousands of volunteers – taking marine litter off our coasts and into our recycling systems.

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In Brighton and Hove this year we have 5 beach cleans in the diary, and we led the second of the two cleans yesterday from 12-3pm, which was attended by a group of people on their lunch breaks, people passing by and people who just want to see a cleaner beach.

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Even though the temperature has cooled and we are very much out of the main tourist season here in Brighton, there were the usual suspects in our beach clean. Cans, straws, food packaging and of course, single use plastic bottles. Each recyclable element was stripped out of the 12 bags of collected rubbish and sorted to allow them to get back into our recycled material stream.

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But, as with all beach cleans, there were also a few interesting pieces to be seen. A large chunk of cement and rope (that was actually collected from the beach by my dad!) had a bit of an appearance of a heart, or an angel fish, plus we also collected some pieces of aquarium plastic foliage (oh the irony) and even a bright yellow walrus.

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At the end of the clean we all tucked into specially iced Surfers Against Sewage chocolate chip cookies and spoke to the many passers by about the issues. One of our volunteers exclaimed that it was not rocket science – you just walked and picked stuff up… the passers by agreed and many took a small bag to do their own mini beach clean as they walked.

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We look forward to reporting the statistics from all the Autumn Beach Clean Series this year – how many tons of rubbish will be removed – and how many single use plastic bottles were recovered. If we had a deposit scheme for plastic we are sure that there would be infinitely less… *

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(images by claire potter)

*want to join the campaign calling for a deposit return scheme on single use plastic bottled? Check out the SAS Message In a Bottle campaign here

 

It’s the Surfers Against Sewage Autumn Beach Clean Series 2016!

It’s finally here! From 24th – 30th October, at beaches all across the UK, the Surfers Against Sewage Autumn Beach Clean Series will be mobilising thousands of volunteers at over 250 venues to clean up the scourge that is marine litter – and particularly plastic, which remains in the environment indefinitely…

Here in Brighton and Hove, we have a fantastic 5 cleans taking place, starting on Saturday 22nd October and running till Sunday 30th October, with a huge bumper beach clean and party courtesy of the English Disco Lovers at Hove Lawns.

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As Claire is one of three new volunteer Regional Reps for SAS in Brighton and Hove, we will be running the beach clean on Monday 24th October from 12-3pm, starting at the beach behind the King Alfred in Hove.

So – come along! Pop in for 10 minutes or three hours – whatever you can manage, and help on a beach clean to spread the word about marine litter. And if you’re not in the Brighton and Hove area do not despair – check the main Surfers Against Sewage Events page to find a clean near you…

(images by claire potter, SAS and Creative Bloom)

We’ve been at the Global Ghost Gear Initiative AGM…

That’s right folks – we’ve been away. Apologies for the radio silence these last couple of weeks, but things were rather hectic here at the studio, including a rather lovely trip from Brighton to Miami for the third Global Ghost Gear Initiative AGM. Coming together with people from all over the world, we were there as representatives of the World Cetacean Alliance, speaking about the different outreach projects we completed in 2016 based around marine litter.

Ghost gear is the term given to abandoned, discarded or otherwise lost fishing gear, which causes continued entrapment, entanglement and ingestion issues of all species. As modern fishing gear is plastic based, it does not degrade, so continues to fish for decades… The GGGI brings together the vast amount and variety of people needed to find solutions to these issues – from industry, fishers and policy makers to recyclers, NGO’s and manufacturers.

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Arriving in Coconut Grove, Miami, Day one of the GGGI AGM started with a series of inspiring presentations from World Animal Protection (the current Secretariat) and break out sessions with each of the three working groups – Building Evidence, Best Practice and Replicating Solutions.

Due to the studio’s work, and activities with WCA, I sat into the review from the Replicating Solutions Group who reported a series of brilliant projects from around the globe, concentrating on ghost gear removal and recycling. There was much discussion about what worked well and how activities could be improved and scaled up.

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After lunch, we sat back in our working groups, where I was officially adopted into the Replicating Solutions group – the largest (and loudest) group of the three. Figures. We then started to plan out our voyage for 2016-2017, coming up with some rather audacious goals for new projects, scaled up projects, new activities and new forms of communication. Day one finished and we were exhausted…

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the 2016 GGGI delegation!

Day Two dawned hot and bright on the Miami coast and we started the final sessions reporting back to the other working groups about our plans – and starting to link the dots between the activities that both Building Evidence and Best Practice were planning. Things took shape. Comments were made, plans were set.

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One of the last sessions was the Lightning Talks – a set of ten 5 minute talks from different members of the GGGI community. From gear recovery projects to working with developing countries, the logistics of gathering and storing ghost gear picked up at sea and what needs to be considered when transporting it for recycling – each person whizzed through their 5 minutes.

I was delighted to be reporting with Natalie Barefoot from CetLaw about the work we had both undertaken with WCA over the past year – from the interns who travelled to work with whale watching groups to educate visitors on the issues with ghost gear to the Ghost Gear Chandelier we made earlier in 2016 and exhibited at the Clerkenwell Design Week in May. The link-up between WCA and the Brighton Etsy group was also presented, along with the wonderful Lulu by Designosaur – one of my most treasured pieces of jewellery.

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It was also great to see the range of products that are currently made from recovered ghost gear – either in an unprocessed form, or as a raw material in a mini pop-up exhibition. From Econyl based recycled nylon swimwear to door mats, bracelets and of course, Bureo, who were showing their skateboards and sunglasses. I was rather taken with their Yuco glasses…

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A final sum up and we were done. It was great to be invited to be part of such a great group of pro-active people and we cannot wait to get going with the work we have got as part of our WCA / GGGI Replicating Solutions working group activities…

As always – watch this space!

(images by Claire Potter)

SPOTTED – circular economy product experiments from the Punah Project…

Circular Economy design is still a terminology that is either unknown or unrelatable to many, yet this year at the London Design Festival there were a number of projects which aligned with these principles. One such project was the Circular House we previewed a couple of weeks ago, which was created from waste construction materials, and whilst wandering around the London Design Fair this year (formerly TENT and Superbrands), we found the rather wonderful Punah Project.

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On a relatively understated stand created from corrugated cardboard, the Punah Project was a delight – and quite a contrast to the mash of ‘new’ and ‘updated’ things in the surrounding halls.

The project was incubated by Indian manufacturers, Godrej and Boyce, who looked at their various waste streams and realised that something needed to be done – to not only stem the flow, but maximise their potentials and values. The Punah (sanskrit for ‘again’) Project was born.

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What is critical in initiatives such as these is that the Punah Project identified and examined each of the waste streams, however complicated, tricky or unsexy. From waste metal crimping pieces to waste oils and lubricants, each waste was catalogued and explored.

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How could each stream be completely reinvented? 

punah-project-metal-embroidery-3On show at the London Design Festival there were a few circular economy solutions to the wastes from Godrej and Boyce – with transformations on a scale from literal and recognisable to highly process driven and utterly indistinguishable from the original ‘waste’.

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Cotton gloves were turned into fabrics – woven into panels and chair seats, as was copper wires and waste electronics. Tiny pieces of crimped metal were painstakingly added to canvas to create reflective embellished pieces of embroidered cloth, which in turn, were made into ‘products’ – a clutch handbag and pair of shoes that were very far from their humble origins.

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On the more abstract end of the scale, waste oils were reformed into stunning amber-like blocks, set like glistening parquet on the surface of the stand and graphite powder was incorporated into deeply matt black tiles, which had the added benefit of being conductive.

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The Punah Project was a joy to discover – a really forward thinking movement by a manufacturer and delivered with skill and deep consideration to not only the craft of reusing materials, but the actual process of manufacture into more ‘high design’ materials. Let’s hope this circular economy reuse attitude replicates…

 

(images by claire potter)

SPOTTED – marine litter artworks by Ella Robinson…

Last week, we headed up to the London Design Festival to have a general ferret about, catch up with people, meet new people and find interesting circular economy based design. This week, we will be featuring some of our favourite finds from the festival, starting today at the London Design Fair with the marine litter artworks of Ella Robinson…

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Well, it was inevitable wasn’t it? Given the studio focus on marine litter and all things plastic, it was no great surprise that we came across the beautiful work of Ella Robinson in the British Craft Pavilion. Hailing from Brighton originally, Ella works with constructed / multi media textiles and has a specialism in found objects.

Bright and vibrant, the pieces, which juxtaposed clean white frames or found driftwood with synthetic plastics, stood out brilliantly. Arranged by size, shape or colour, the pieces featured artefacts that had been beachcombed from around the UK – from the plastics to the driftwoods, which were paired with eye poppingly bright plastic ‘threads’.

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Smaller pieces featured embroidery and logos and were certainly beautiful, but it was the larger, marine litter based pieces which grabbed our attention. Unsurprisingly. *ahem*

check out Ella’s website for more information, and to purchase her work.

(images by claire potter)

France to ban all single use plastics by 2020…

Last week there was rather a large announcement in the world of plastics. France is to ban all single use plastics such as cups, plates and cutlery by 2020, and is the first country in the world to do so. Retailers and suppliers will have from now until the 2020 deadline to rethink their single use plastic lines to ensure that anything labelled as ‘disposable’ can be composted in a domestic setting (and not just in the higher temperatures of a municipal composting setting).

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Now, this is pretty huge news. First off, this is not that far in the future. Just three years. Plus, it appears to be relatively solid with few, if any immediate loopholes. We are sure that some manufacturers will try to find the wriggle room however… (just like The Card Factory in the UK, who cut the handles off their plastic bags, turning them into ‘sacks’ to avoid the 5p plastic bag charge…) So it is no surprise that the packaging industry in France has already claimed that this new ban infringes European free trade laws.

But like many drives, this is not without it’s flaws. Whilst removing single use plastics such as cutlery and cups from the market, even using biodegradable alternatives have their drawbacks. The land use that is required to make the base materials of biodegradable plastics such as maize is considerable, and there are also reports of how these ‘degradable’ materials do not break down properly in other settings, such as the ocean.

So what is the answer? Using reusables is certainly the way forward – the ‘zero waste’ movement has been gaining more momentum over the past few years as people recognise that any waste – be it plastic or otherwise – could, and should be avoided. Taking a spork, or small cutlery set is the way forward, yet this means a considerable behaviour change from the on-the-run convenience food that we have become accustomed to.

Yet nothing happens unless you start, so France – we applaud you – and hope that other countries follow in your plastic free wake…