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.
 
Tags:
art, eco friendly, upcycling
How we made a country retreat from an old lorry trailer
Paul O'Leary, director of Loughborough-based deVOL Kitchens
I wanted a place to have fun with the kids, which was the motivation for this cabin. It's near the river, close to deVOL's Cotes Mill showroom in Loughborough. It was made by me and my colleagues Phil, Dean and Josh. It cost around £30,000 all in and and took about four months to build. 
 
I wanted every decision about materials to be based on function, cost and ease of fit. We used the metal frame of an old lorry trailer and studwork timber insulated with rockwool and lined with membrane roofing laths and OSB (oriented strand board)
 
The wooden cladding is made up of green oak boards that we left outside for three months to be rained on, dried and bleached in the sun. The roof is made from ply and rubber and the edges are lined with lead. 

The cabin is roughly 390 sq ft (40x9.5). We used tongue and groove on the walls and cheap clip together flooring on the ceiling and instead of tiles in the shower, we used Corian. The kitchen was made of some unused deVOL furniture taken from the Mill. Everything was designed to take movement. How did we get water and electricity in - well, we used a water pipe and power cable running underground to the showroom. There's also an ex-Army water bowser from eBay, perfect for waste water and effluent. And yes, we can sleep there. There's a lovely bedroom with a big double bed as well as a sofa in the living room. Phil, our estates project manager, actually spends a lot of his weekends at the cabin.

You might be wondering 'What about the planning?' Yes, well I wondered about that too. I read every planning policy I could find and was pleased to find out that you can park up to four mobile homes in your garden. This was pretty much a mobile home - though there was a question as to whether this was a garden.. But I figure that as we have a house and residents and it’s all on the same title that it does count. And so far no one's come knocking to tell us to take it away...

Tags:
eco friendly, eco home, garden sheds, self build, upcycling

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