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For Sale: one cosy recycled bird box

BensbirdboxesWhen Wallace and Gromit declared their love for Wensleydale, the crumbly cheese's makers struggled to keep up with demand. Today's news that UK house prices are massively overvalued - like we needed the OECD to tell us that - could do the same for Ben Dickens. He makes incredibly beautiful bird boxes from recycled estate agent signs and is likely to have a glut of For Sale signs coming his way, not to mention human buyers looking for small, cheap homes. The hessian-lined boxes come with screws and a mounting bracket; all you need is £17 and some elbow grease to fit  the thing. Come next spring, you'll be able to engage in bird banter to best Bill 'Springwatch' Oddie. bensbirdboxes.com [found via The Observer]

November 30, 2005 in Design & furniture, Plants & gardens, Recycling | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Brum gets Fairtrade blessing

BrumThis isn't something you can buy, unless you're Roman Abromavich and have a few paltry billion burning a hole in your pocket. Instead, it's news to warm your cockles - Birmingham yesterday joined cities such as Brighton & Hove and Aberdeen by earning the sobriquet of Fairtrade City. According to the council's website, that means at least 100 local shops sell Fairtrade stuff, a minimum of 50 Brum cafes flog Fairtrade food and drinks and all tea and coffee at the council is Fairtrade. It's roit bosta news, innit? Check out the full list of Fairtrade towns, cities and boroughs for ethical brews on your 2006 UK summer holidays. [Brum Bullring photo by supermoving]

November 29, 2005 in Announcements, Transport & travel | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Buy a Kalashnikov, save the world

Pg3_tank_3 I don't usually recommend guns as ethical gifts. Call me old-fashioned, but it's not often they qualify. This morning, however, I heartily recommend you buy a kalashnikov, a rocket launcher, a small armoured vehicle or - best of all - a tank with a bendy canon like the one pictured. I'm not recommending you get the tank so you can drive it around town like Chris Eubank in his Aston. Instead, your £25 gun or your £1k tank will be used by Sierra Leone blacksmiths and metal workers to make everything from farm tools such as sickles and pick-axes to school bells. Which is very cool for the people of Sierra in addition to being a tidy symbol about making war into peace. Get yours from Good Gifts.

November 29, 2005 in Ethical & green gifts, Recycling | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

You Brita recycle that

BritarecyclecropI love Brita: it's always a good excuse for headlines with bad puns. I also love Brita because it's a green-minded German company and happily recycles the water filter catridges that the denizens of UK cities swear by. Apparently, in Germany one in four conscientious people return the catridges for reuse. It's a fair assumption most British ones end in the dump. So here's an early new year resolution for you: collect six of the filters instead and send them in a jiffy for free to Brita Recycling, FREEPOST NAT 17876, Bicester, OX26 4BR.

November 28, 2005 in Food & drink, Recycling | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

TRAID recycled fashion goes online

Traid_remade_bagReclaimed leather, 1950s' fabric panels, velcro fastenings... what more could you want from the first TRAID Remade bag to go on sale online? A leather belt made with a bird design featuring vintage fabric, you say? Funnily enough that's on there too. Regular Hippy readers will know TRAID from a while back - they take donated clothes and recycle them into new ones - but previously you had to live in London or Brighton to get hold of its range. For blokes, there are also some neat t-shirts in TRAID's new winter stock, although you can only buy them instore. The bag's £35 from Get Ethical. TRAID's store list is here.

Related stories:
Hemmingway's handsome TRAID eco bag
Bonkers paper rucksacks
Bags of recycled girlie style

November 28, 2005 in Fashion & accessories, Recycling | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Battery-free, magnetism-powered cycle lights

GoodbyebatteriesNow call me harsh. Not straightaway. But cyclists who ride without lights in the middle of winter almost deserve to get bumped like the smug one-way-flouting rider in Alexei Sayle's The Dog Catcher. I justify this as a fellow cyclist and an occasional driver who knows unlit bikes are invisible 'til the last second. Anyhow, enough ranting - you want to know about these literally brilliant 'Reelight bikelights' that work without batteries. Nope, we're not talking about hard-to-fit dynamo lights. These LED newbies work using electromagnetic induction  - GCSE science reminder for me and others here - and are a cinch to install. The lights attach to each wheel's axle and the magnets go on the spokes. Net result: green transport, green lighting, less battery dosh and less bumping by buses. In the UK they're on sale from Goodbye Batteries at £25 a pair. More info over at Reelight.

November 26, 2005 in Green gadgets, Transport & travel | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Telewest Shiny Awards: Green Gadget

Shiny_awards_logoYou’ve had the Oscars, the Brits and the Baftas. Now meet the Telewest Shiny Awards - the first ever alternative technology awards presented by Shiny Media websites Hippyshopper, Tech Digest, Shiny Shiny and Games Digest. Hippy's category is the best Green Gadget of 2005. You can find out which of the following four shortlisters cut the organic mustard on 2nd December.

Voltaic Systems Solar backpack
Citizen Eco Drive watches
Freeplay Devo DAB windup radio
Solio solar iPod and mobile charger

November 26, 2005 in Announcements, Green gadgets | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Buy Nothing Day

BuynothingIt's Buy Nothing Day. Bugger. I just bought some soya milk from Sainsburys Local. And bread from the local baker. Um, and an energy-saving lightbulb. It may, then, be a farce to most people, but there is something worth buying from Buy Nothing Day - even for a blog about ethical consumerism. The day's basically a good spot of education, a lightning bolt up the rear end to shock us Shaun of the Dead zombies into questioning why we buy unnecessary stuff and what the impact of all that stuff is. For a limited period, Buy Nothing Day is free for Hippy readers. Also check out Buy Nothing Christmas.

November 26, 2005 in Announcements | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Fairer Xmas fairies

DecorationLove it, loathe it, the birthday gig of some dude to do with a monotheistic religion is coming up. On the gift front, buy someone a hoe via Present Aid or take a gander at some joyously good green design this weekend at London's Eco Design Fair. For decorations... well, that's a tricky one. For maximum 'I live off the national grid in a naturally occuring hut' points you obviously shouldn't buy any. But if you have kids/festive-minded friends, you'll need some, and they don't come much cuter and ethical than these £4 Xmas fairies. They're made by a 200-strong Sri Lanka company who get paid a decent whack by fair trader Traidcraft. Mix and match with old 70s' decorations and your modernist Paperchase ones that've already dated heinously. Traidcraft direct link

November 24, 2005 in Design & furniture, Ethical & green gifts, Utilities, services & misc | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Turn newspaper into plant pots

PaperplantpotsMore proof that you don't  have to be Charlie Dimmock to get your fingers muddy - a genius little widget that makes old newspapers into new plant pots. You wrap the paper around the post, push it into the base... et voila! One free seedling pot. According to Hippyshopper reader Elana K, kids love 'em, so manacle the little urchins down Dickens-style and set them to work. For green points, the Paper Pot Maker sets a new high score: as well as recycling newspapers, it saves plastic and the pots will biodegrade when you plant them out. Nice. You can get yours for a tenner at Selections online.

November 23, 2005 in Plants & gardens, Recycling | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack