Bio-ethanol fires: pretty as a picture but expensive to run
By Abby Trow. Photographs by Victoria Moore

We've been putting the Globus bioethanol fire from Imaginfires through its paces over the past few weeks...when it's been pretty chilly of an evening. And my partner, teenage sons and myself have become rather fond of it. 

The pluses

Perhaps the first thing to note is that contrary to expectation, the fire does heat up the sitting room when on 'full blast' so to speak (ie the aperture for flames is opened to its maximum).

You hear that they're these fires are really just for decoration and the heat they emit is pretty feeble, but we've found that if you close the sitting room door and put Globus to work, the room heats up nicely. ...Whether it would make a noticeable difference on a below zero day in the depths of an icy January (we didn't have any such days in January this year...), with no central heating on, I can't comment on; but on a fairly cool evening when the heating's gone off, the Globus does warm things up.

Easy to use

We chose to try a freestanding fire that happens to fit in our fireplace..the Globus is quite heavy but two people can move it around easily, so its portability is a plus. And these fires are super easy to use - you pour the bioethanol into the well (see the close up picture), put a match to it and flames appear..slowly at first but they get more vigorous after a few minutes. And to put the fire 'off', you use the metal tool to pull the metal cover over the well. 

Very pretty to look at

We liked the look of the Globus and think it's an attractive piece of metalwork in the fireplace, but when it's dark outside and the fire's on, it looks lovely - if you've not had the delights of a real fire in your home, a bioethanol offers you that comfort - but with no mess, and no smoke. 

Recyclable product

Being made entirely from steel, the fire will no doubt last for decades, and you only need to wipe it over with a damp cloth to keep clean. And I know that were it ever to go to the Islington recycling centre, it would be destined for the giant skip marked 'metal' and it would be melted down and made into ..well, perhaps a new fire.

The minuses

First and foremost, it's the cost of the bioethanol fuel that makes these fires a luxury product and which deters you from having the fire on too often. A litre bottle costs £5-£6 and you get 3-4 hours of dancing flames from that. So if you wanted to use the fire every evening during winter, well, you do the maths. So while the fires themselves are affordable - you can buy one for a few hundred pounds - if you're not feeling rich and you're naturally frugal you will be put off lighting it because of the cost of the fuel. In short, what could be a practical product becomes a luxury one because of the cost of running it. 

The other thing my elder son and I don't like is the odour from the bioethanol. It does have a slight smell - it reminds me of sweet silage sniffed from a distance. But it's not horrid and my partner and younger son say they don't notice the smell, so I guess it depends on how sensitive your olfactory senses are. 

To buy or not to buy?

I would say go for it...these fires offer those of us who live in flats the chance to enjoy real flames. The fires themselves are relatively inexpensive and attractive, and they do look lovely when lit. They're easy to use, they're mess free and the answer to the cost of the fuel is to accept that you don't light them too often. 

eco friendly, eco home
Gen up on those 20th century furniture classics
By LLI Design

Interested in modern furniture? want to know more about those fabulous 20th century pieces we all recognise but can't quite name or remember the who the designer was?

Well, London interior design studio LLI Design has produced a short and engaging 'Iconic Furniture' graphic that will give you the info you need. To see it click here - and never again confuse the wiggle with the coconut or the rar with the zigzag.

eco friendly, eco home
Recycling and upcycling carpet: Solidwool and Wools of New Zealand
By Steve Parsons
Solidwool is a Devon-based company that has developed a solid material from wool and bio-resins that can replace injection-moulded plastics. Solidwool is presently being used for furniture.
This article was first published on the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) website.
End of life recovery for carpets is a circular economy challenge. But with intelligent design thinking and innovation, and a sprinkling of marketing dust, we can create new circular industries.
Each year 400,000 tonnes of carpets are disposed of in the UK. About a third is diverted from landfill, largely thanks to Carpet Recycling UK and the forward thinking companies that have joined their crusade. The last half decade has seen an industry develop, from zero, which now places some value on pre-loved carpet fibre as a resource. Post industrial carpets and fitters off-cuts are put aside and turned into products like hanging basket liners and carpet underlay. Some carpet is converted to energy; some is refurbished and re-installed in social housing. However nearly 300,000 tonnes is still destined for landfill.
The carpet industry is making slow progress towards a circular economy with a handful of companies truly embracing sustainability and seeing both the brand and cost advantage, not to mention the very real risk of doing nothing. Within the next 10 years, not having an end-of-life solution may mean not having a marketable product.
Avoid 80/20 carpet!
However, the vast majority of carpets designed and sold in the UK still have a major design flaw in that the design process completely ignores circular values and manmade fibre is mixed with wool to meet a misconception that blended fibres perform better than non-blended. Retailers and manufacturers have become complacent, pumping out millions of kilograms of non-recyclable floor coverings in the belief that an “80/20” performs better. I refer to this as the dark age of carpet design and often ask how woven carpets performed so well for nearly two centuries before nylon was introduced. The technical, environmental and health benefits of 100 per cent pure wool products are significant, but that’s for another blog.
In circular economy terms, very few carpets sold in the UK can be considered part of a biological metabolism, even those made from wool. Synthetic carpets can contain recycled content and often claim to be fully mechanical, but in reality 75 per cent of those produced still end up in landfill with much of the rescued carpets heading for incineration. Design for recycling is required and soon. In the meantime we have to find a way of dealing with the carpets that exist that will be uplifted over the next decade and beyond.
Post-consumer carpets can and are being recycled. John Lewis for example insists their carpet fitters recycle off-cuts and in the stores sell underlay made from the pieces. However, in the main no infrastructure or business model exists that can handle soiled textiles. Building infrastructure means investment, investment requires a profitable business model.
Enter SolidWool, a UK company working to create jobs in the Devon town of Buckfastleigh following the closure of the local spinning mill. Founders Justin and Hannah Floyd have been using new Herdwick wool to create the solid material they're using for their very stylish furniture. I asked them if they would work with us at Wools of New Zealand to incorporate recycled carpet fibre in the Solidwool material, and they said yes!
The Second Life Solidwool chairs have been created to inspire the change required to make sustainability desirable and profitable within the wool carpet industry. The theory is that by applying design thinking to create products that have form, function and demand we can work towards creating value. Designing products that embrace recycled fibre for its renewable credentials shows that sustainability can be both trendy and profitable.
Wool is an amazing fibre. It’s, of course, rapidly renewable, but more than that it softens noise, insulates heat, is flame resistant and even absorbs toxins creating a safer more breathable interior.  It’s an incredibly smart raw material that we are throwing away. The Second LIfe Solidwool chairs capture some of wool’s benefits, they are designed for longevity and the wool fibres will exist as furniture much longer than they did in their first life as carpets. But crucially they are the start of a new conversation about realising the true potential of what can no longer be considered waste.
eco friendly, eco home, recycling, upcycling
New life for old aircraft
By Air Charter Service

Here at Deco mag we were delighted to be asked by Air Charter Service to share great ideas we've come across as to uses in the design field for old aircraft and aircraft components. 

ACS has put together a great article which we're sharing here.

eco friendly, eco home, upcycling
Buying a new bed? Consider the merits of a durable wooden frame
Sam Critchlow

Sam Critchlow at Leicestershire bedmaker Get Laid Beds offers some tips of what to look for when buying a bed frame.

Wooden bed frames are a great choice if you're looking for a product that will last you for decades. But not all wood frames are created equal, so it's worth doing a bit of research and due diligence so you don't buy a frame that could be liable to break due to things such as weak joints or unsuitable timber. Or in the case of a friend who rents out a room on Airbnb...a large German guest who came embarrassed into the kitchen saying “I've just broken the bed. But I just sat down on it so I don't know what happened....”
Many wooden bed frames are made from solid Scandinavian pine - though some manufacturers use aesthetically-pleasing hardwoods and these can make a more sophisticated/ luxurious looking bed. Some of the most popular hardwoods include oak, cherry and ash and they make for very durable, sleek and stylish bed frames. And certainly with our customers, we've noticed they love hardwoods too because they may well already have pieces of furniture in those woods, so an oak or ash beds fit effortlessly into their decoration schemes.  
But whatever your budget, there are several key factors to consider:
What timber has the bedmaker used, and is it from sustainable forests? There's still a lot of illegal logging going on, so it's advisable to go for wood from managed forests in the EU..and if the wood is FSC or PEFC-certified, so much the better. Try to find companies that have these certifications as it shows they're more environmentally aware. Some firms even promise to plant new trees for every felled one they use.
Of course we can't all afford the most expensive products; but some frames are made from cheaper woods and these products can have weaker if you buy at a real 'bargain' price, you may well find yourself having to replace the frame before too long.
tell-tale sign of a poorly manufactured frame is a lack of a guarantee from the manufacturer. A company that's certain about the quality of its beds offers a longer guarantee than those providing cheaper beds. (We offer an 11-year guarantee, for example.)
Check the joints
Other signs you're buying from a quality bedmaker are the methods they use to make their beds - such as the use of mortise and tenon joints, which you might remember from woodworking classes in school.
While the style of frame that you choose comes down to personal likes and dislikes, it pays to check that strong joints like the mortise and tenon are used. They've been used for thousands of years by carpenters, joiners, and cabinetmakers, and remain one of the strongest methods for adjoining pieces of wood at 90 degrees. You'll find slight variations, however they all follow the same principle of the mortise being the square or rectangular hole which the tenon fits into. Once the tenon has been slotted in, it can be glued, pinned or wedged to lock it in place securely. So do take a good close-up look at any frame you're thinking about buying to check the joints.
Another element of bed design to consider is style of headboard. The majority of bed frames come with a headboard, unless you choose a platform frame. Some headboards are slanted, making them a perfect choice for someone that likes to be propped up so they can read in bed; while others are set straight and some are made in more obscure shapes and styles. Alternatively you can buy an upholstered headboard from a specialist company and have made to the size you need in the fabric of your choice. These can look pretty smart.
And to keep your bed looking as good as new, you may wish to repaint frame after a few years down the line. You can find lots of online guides on how do do this and types of paint to use - chalk paints or water-based eggshell paints are fine.
Slats - solid or sprung?
The final and probably most important factor to consider is the the quality of the slats your mattress will be lying on. They can be solid or sprung. Solid flats tend to be fairly sturdy though they should bend slightly to take movement. Sprung slats on the other hand are flexible but though you might not realise it, they can be vulnerable to breaking. It’s always best to check to see if they have much 'give' they have in them: too much and they'll be more liable to snap should the kids start jumping vigorously on the bed. Which they will....


eco friendly, eco home
Anyone for cricket?
Kay Hill tucks into a cricket flour snack bar.. yum...
I’ve always found cultural attitudes to food intriguing – why is it that a few miles across the Channel you can sit down to a horse steak and frites with no-one batting an eyelid, yet mention it in Britain and you’d be kicked out of the Country Club? Travel further afield and tastes can get even more exotic – I’ve dined on crocodile and snake in Australia, deep fried baby frogs in Thailand, brain burgers in Iran, and some strange pink energy drink that looked (and tasted) like frogspawn in Pakistan.
So what is it about eating insects that tends to make even the hardiest of us have a little shudder? We’ve all seen Bear Grylls chomping away on rhino beetles, giant larvae and even the occasional poisonous spider; but let’s face it, he doesn’t exactly make it look enjoyable, does he? Enter the good folk at Gathr, who're on a mission to persuade us that eating insects is not only pleasant, but also good for the environment as well. They've launched onto the market with Crobar, an energy bar that contains flour made from 32 plump and juicy crickets.
If you are about to say uggh and move swiftly on, then consider the following:
*Crickets like to live in small spaces so they require little land use 
*They're less likely than mammals or birds to pass on diseases like bird flu and mad cow disease
*They can be grown organically
*They contain more healthy fats than meat, have high levels of vitamin B12, are as high in protein as beef and have 3x the level of iron, 5x as much magnesium and 2x as much zinc as beef.
In other words, using cricket flour instead of regular meat to supply our protein needs could save on resources and improve human health.
I'm well aware of the health and environmental benefits of tofu, for example, but would rather eat my own snot than consume something so manifestly disgusting (and yes, I have tried it smoked, stir fried, marinated…). So the question with cricket bars is, of course, what do they taste like?
The fairest way to answer that question was to test it on my unsuspecting family. Energy bars are a staple in our store cupboards – with a husband who thinks 100-mile road cycling sportives are a fun way to spend a weekend and a son who's a downhill mountain biking champ, any shortage of 'bars' is seen as a definite failure on the catering front. (The household favourite is probably Nak’d bars..)  
So I chopped up a Crobar Cacao and Cricket Flour and a Peanut and Cricket Flour and we all dug in. The verdict was mixed. My husband felt that Crobar stuck to his mouth a bit, especially the peanut version, while my son felt that texture was very similar to Nak’d bars and satisfyingly chewy.
I thought they were perfectly nice and you wouldn't have a clue you were eating crickets if you hadn't been told - though crickets, do apparently, have a nutty taste when roasted. Flavour wise, three of us liked the peanut version best – thought my daughter, in the way only 13-year-old girls can, said the cacao one was delicious. That was  until I revealed the secret ingredient, at which point she fled, looking green and making retching noises…
Good stuff...but the price isn't right
Although the company says in the long term cricket flour could prove cheaper to produce than meat protein, at the moment it's imported from a cricket farm in Canada, making the bars rather on the expensive side at a pricey £2.29 for a 40g bar. And in these cash-straitened times this may well prove another barrier in the campaign to get us all snacking on Jiminy Cricket.
Crobars are available from selected Nutri Centre and Gathr 
eco friendly
Mattresses On The Re-bound
Alex Murray says we must stop sending mattresses to landfill

Did you know....20 million mattresses make their way to landfill in this country every year? This is ludicous and we need to find ways to re-use them.

The main reason most of us need to get rid of a mattress is because we’ve got ourselves a lovely new one. But while some companies remove the old within the delivery agreement for your new purchase, plenty won’t.
So, we're left with the problem of how to get rid of the old one..and in some areas this disposal is solved by the careless, non-eco method of discarding it in the neighbourhood, in other words 'fly-tipping'
In others, effort is made to take the offending old mattress to the local landfill, where it fulfils a dubious destiny as one of some 20 million thrown into landfill each year, where it may or may not biodegrade depending on the materials it’s made of. Although this effort smacks of trying to do the right thing for disposal, there’s a better option – recycling.
Mattresses Moving On
There are several ways to recycle a mattress, all of which have the advantage of being the good thing to do environmentally - although several methods have distinct disadvantages:
Freegle / Freecycle: a local method for passing on unwanted items to those who may be able to use them, Freegle has a growing momentum in the UK. It'd be great to assume that the popularity of this pass-it-on method is due to a greater collective social and eco-consciousness, but sadly it’s mostly influenced by the economic climate – Freegle is a way to get a potentially useful item for nothing. However, the problem with using it for mattresses is that it can take a while to find someone who needs and wants it (strangely enough not everyone loves a pre-loved mattress: micro-dust mites, dead skin cells, stains and all), so this method is not necessarily a quick one.
Local council pick-up methods: Many town and city councils do now offer bulky item collection services, partly to help with recycling but for many in response to fly-tipping, preventing mattresses, old fridges and other unmentionables cluttering up the streets. Although this sounds like a viable option, for those places where the service is free particularly, the wait time for collection can be up to eight weeks (in Leeds, for example). Although an increasing number of councils offer this free collection service, in other areas collection comes at a cost, often on a sliding scale depending on how many items are to be collected. So, it might cost you £18 in Sheffield, £21 in Rotherham or £22 in Cambridge.
Private collection companies: Alternatively, there are a growing number of private companies that run collection services and have direct links with reputable recycling depots. Such companies - and they usually offer a local service within a certain radius of the depots - will not only pick up mattresses at a lower cost than the council, but also arrange more prompt collection. One of the cheapest at the time of writing is Collect Your Old Bed which operates nationwide and has prices from £9.99. This means that you, the customer, benefit from getting rid of the mattress cheaply and quickly, but with the reassurance that the mattress will be appropriately recycled. Just make sure you ask them for their waste carrier license before you contract their services, so you’re sure they are doing everything by the book. The Environment Agency also provides a search facility so you can find a registered waste carrier in your area.
Mattresses Coming Apart
The recycling process for a mattress largely depends on its material construction, but most recycling centres follow the same broad process of:
Separating types of mattress by material type.
Depending on the type of material, mattresses are then either mechanically shredded or manually stripped using specialist tools.
The by-products and materials extracted from the mattresses, such as polyester, foam, cotton and steel, are then bundled and passed on to other recycling outlets or manufacturers to re-start their future as another product …
Mattress on the Rebound
The fabrics and fibres salvaged from your old mattress could bounce back to you in new form:
*Cotton and foam could be recycled into pillow stuffing; furniture upholstery; carpet foam or underlay padding.
*Other textiles such as rayon and sisal might be recycled into new mattresses.
*Steel from sprung mattresses can be melted down for use in many other products.
*Wood from box springs is often chipped and recycled as garden mulch, animal bedding or used to for biomass fuel.
So, finally, if you’re environmentally-conscious, it’s worth enjoying a certain karma which comes from arranging for your old mattress to be properly recycled. Many more eco-friendly mattress brands are made including recycled textiles, so by recycling your mattress responsibly and buying eco-brands, you’re helping that next new mattress be more eco-friendly too.
eco friendly, recycling, upcycling
Designing a re-use revolution
By Lucy Chamberlin of The Royal Society of Arts
Everyone has a story about bulky waste. The sofa in the garden, the mattress at the bus stop, the fridge in the parking lot.
A quick survey of researchers and staff here at the RSA uncovered a plethora of anecdotes, mostly told with enthusiastic exasperation. Matthew P suffered from a large sofa blocking his hallway that the landlord had promised but apparently 'forgotten' to remove. Jonathan R was plagued by guilt in having to take a child's mattress to the dump which was almost-new, apart from a small stain which meant that the local charity wouldn't accept it.
And these problems are not new, it seems. In a 1968 lecture given at the RSA, FLD Flintoff noted that ‘bulky refuse is a fairly new problem, but it is growing fast.' And grow fast it has. In the UK we now produce around 1.6million tonnes of this large-item waste stream every year, and most of it still ends up buried in landfill or burnt in an incinerator.
The RSA Great Recovery’s latest report, 'Rearranging the Furniture', is about our design residency project run in partnership with SUEZ Recycling and Recovery UK and focused on furniture waste. The brief was to conduct an exploratory, observation-based 'residency' with four designers over ten days, gathering insights and learning from experts whilst at the same time providing ideas on how product or indeed system redesign could enable more furniture to be reused rather than scrapped. It enabled the designers to learn valuable lessons about the end-of-life destinations of some of the products they were creating, and to provide some valuable design thinking and ideation to the processes of waste disposal that they witnessed.
Re-use is better than recycling
Over the 10 days we visited a community recycling centre in Leatherhead, various sorting and retail outlets of the Surrey Reuse Network and went behind the scenes at IKEA. We spoke to experts from the national Furniture Re-use Network, the SKA rating programme for commercial interiors, and the pioneering waste team at Warwickshire County Council. And we also conducted a 'tear-down' exercise on a high street brand sofa that we fished out of the landfill skip (in great condition but missing its fire label and therefore not re-sellable by the reuse charities).
Finally, we convened a roundtable discussion between designers, waste managers and other stakeholders at Fab Lab London – closing the loop at least conversationally on our furniture waste.
And the project didn't stop at the 10-day residency. It was picked up by Camira, a UK-based textile manufacturer that wanted to develop some new fabric for our ex-landfill sofa using waste offcuts from their own suppliers. Next stop was Clerkenwell Design Week, where we got members of the public making buttons for the sofa and talked to them about the challenges of designing furniture for a more circular economy. The sofa is now on display at RSA House formed part of our display at Fab Lab London during London Design Festival, before being loaned to Camira for an exhibition in the run-up to Christmas. Meanwhile our sofa story film was picked up by the Community Channel and has been re-edited for release on national TV.
One of the report’s main messages is to stress the importance of re-use as opposed to mere recycling. According to Craig Anderson OBE, CEO of the Furniture Re-use Network, the FRN brought in over 78,000 furniture and electrical items last year, saving families on low incomes £12 million on essential goods. This is on top of the 3 million items supplied by FRN’s members across the UK that have saved 380,000 tonnes of CO2 and helped nearly one million households save £340 million on essential goods. Says Anderson: ‘If the various sectors have the audacity and scope to make the circular economy vision a reality then let’s start with re-use, and get the retailers, manufacturers and consumers involved and on-side.’
If the design model that most fits with a circular economy is one of design for longevity, then re-use is the means of extending a product’s longevity. And for a revolution in re-use to take place, designers, waste managers, retailers, citizens and authorities must all recognize the critical difference between recycling and re-use. Designers and manufacturers must create items that can be passed on, with fire labels that can’t be cut off and materials that endure.
Residents must be aware of the re-use alternatives to bringing their sofas to the dump. There must be incentives for staff at waste sites to separate re-usable goods from recyclable (downcyclable). Local authorities must ensure that re-use is specified in their contracts with waste managers. And waste managers must begin to consider their role as resource stewards, providing a platform and a service for the re-allocation of valuable items.
Ultimately all of these actors must have a view to the life time of the product itself, looking outside the narrow remit of their job description to see the chain reaction that their decisions will have.  
The RSA Great Recovery’s report, Rearranging the Furniture, can be downloaded from
eco friendly, recycling
Prefabricated modular houses: an affordable, viable solution to the housing crisis
Abby Trow, Deco editor, is wowed by BRE latest show houses

I've just got back from the BRE (Building Research Establishment) Innovation Park in Watford where I feel I've seen the future of housing.

And it looks great.. low cost, low energy, generous-sized homes that people could buy based on multiples-of-income mortgages..for which I mean around the £100-£150,000 mark (taking an average salary as being in the £25-£35,000 bracket); or which, given their cost, could be rented at genuinely affordable rents. These surely should get everyone involved in social housing truly excited.

The houses in question are called volumetric accommodation, or super duper prefabs in common parlance. That's because they're assembled from insulated prefabricated units that arrive on site fully fitted out with cables, wires and pipes, electric sockets, doors and windows, kitchens and bathrooms and walls painted and merely in need of a picture or two. And your roof can be clad with terracotta tiles that are, in fact, photovoltaics, so you can generate your own electricity (see the opening image).

The pods are manufactured in South Wales and this semi-detached building, which divided into a two-storey and a three-storey house, is the result of collaboration between Swiss not-for-profit technology company Userhuus, which is focusing on sustainable solutions for the built environment, and Edinburgh-based Tigh Grian, which develops structural insulated panel system houses (SIPS) aimed at alieviating fuel poverty.

The homes are incredibly energy efficient, being highly insulated and heated using a whole house mechanical heat recovery ventilation system, with wall-mounted electric panel heaters (no, I'm not entirely sure what that means, but think warmth...). So the aim of the houses is to give the lucky occupants very low energy bills - est £300-£500 a year - and even lower if you have the PV roof tiles. 

The exterior of the houses can be clad in different materials, so we can build social housing communities that aren't full of identical rabbit hutches a la Wimpey.

And inside, well, I was genuinely impressed. Rooms were pretty generously sized, ceilings weren't so low those over six ft have to stoop (I reckon they were 8.5ft), kitchens were big enough for a six seater dining table and if you're interested in interior design, you've got a great blank canvas to do something wonderful with. In short, it wasn't a doll's house experience.

These houses come in at around £1,000 per m2 - about half the price of a conventional brick build. So they should be affordable for many people on that average salary; and the younger generations should take comfort from the fact there are are great brains working out how they can  get on the housing ladder without having to force mum and dad to sell up and move to a caravan park for their twilight years.

Eight week build time

And another amazing thing about them is the construction time - just eight weeks from factory to completion onsite.

But...what about land prices?

But...of course, the big problem when it comes to affordable housing isn't about the cost of building a house, it's about land. Because land in Britain is stockpiled by the big house builders, councils have already sold off a lot of the land they held and the land they have they want market prices for, and landowners sit on their acres... so the price of land continues to rise. As anyone who's ever thought how nice it would be to do a little self-build in London or the South East..or South West..will know.

So until government takes action to make land affordable, you can have all the affordable high tech houses in the world ready to go and be erected in eight weeks... but if individuals or communities or housing associations, or local authorities have to raise millions for a plot, well, everything will just remain a set of drawings.

That said, we should all congratulate Userhuus and Tigh Grian on their remarkable achievment. I hope your kids and mine will have the affordable joy of living in an Userhuus when they come to want a home of their own in a few years' time.

eco friendly, eco home, self build
From loo paper to gift wrap, choose recycled paper
Tracy Umney of Re-wrapped gift wrap champions recycled paper
Recycled paper can be more expensive, yes, but prices are coming down - I notice, for example, that recycled loo paper in the supermarkets is the same price as the non-recycled.
Gift wrapping paper comes in for criticism as being wasteful, given that most of us can't wait to rip it off to get to the gift inside. (That said, I'm sure most of us do recycle it...)
I'm in the wrapping paper business so I obviously don't urge people to forgo the wrapping paper and hand over gifts au naturel, so to speak! But I think the giftwrap industry should make more use of recycled paper and we have put our money where our mouth is with our company, Re-wrapped, because our wonderful designs are all printed in the UK on recycled paper - which is of course recyclable too. Indeed we like to think we may well get the paper back from our customers at some point so we can print it with a new design.
I try to be green and my inspiration for Re-wrapped came from years of searching online and in gift shops for recycled wrapping paper. I did find some product online, but nothing at all in my local gift shops.
It struck me as odd that offices across the country were starting to use recycled paper, but the giftwrap manufacturers weren't. So after the birth of my son I began designing a few sheets of Christmas paper and found a printer who would print on the quality of recycled paper I was after.
In 2011 Re-wrapped had three designs in print. Fast forward five years and we have 23 designs and are working with some amazing artists/designers. Crucially, our papers are priced the same as most quality non-recycled giftwraps, so customers aren't faced with that dilemma of how to reconcile the need to save money and be greener in their purchases.
I'm sure I'm not telling you anything you don't already know, but it's worth recapping on few facts and figures:
* Every year, Britons use enough wrapping paper to circle the globe nine times - or to reach the surface of the moon.
* The production of recycled paper uses fewer chemicals and 70 per cent less energy than production of virgin paper.
* And recycled paper production reduces the amount of waste paper going to landfill and therefore greenhouse gas emissions. 
* According to environmental charity Waste Watch, for every tonne of 100 per cent post-consumer recycled paper purchased instead of virgin fibre paper, we save:
- at least 30,000 litres of water.
- 3,000 - 4,000 KWh electricity; enough power for an average three-bedroom house for one year.
- approximately six mature trees and 3.3 yards of rapidly diminishing landfill space.
art, eco friendly, upcycling