Tag Archives: repurpose

The cost, price and value of tents

The other weekend at the Latitude Festival I witnessed the best and worst of human behaviour in a 24-hour period. The best was seeing a bar worker sprinting 50 yards after a customer to make good some accidental short-changing. The worst example was the dumping of four tents by a group of lads departing early on the final morning.

Festival waste is as old as festivals themselves of course but campsite waste, and abandoned tents in particular are, to my mind, one of the most pernicious elements. A 2014 Buckinghamshire New University survey of 1200 festival-goers in various countries found that that 86 per cent of music festival waste comes from campsites, and 60 per cent of respondents admitted they discarded their festival tents [so the real figure is probably higher].

The problem lies with the decreasing price and quality of tents, relative to the price of festival tickets at least, and the perceived pressure on our time that makes re-use and recycling seem like too much effort for too many people. ‘Single use’ applied to tents as much as other resource-intensive items – here today, sod tomorrow.

When I mentioned the abandoned festival tents to my running buddy Ian be was much more pragmatic about the whole affair. “They see it as cheap accommodation – 4 nights, 8 guys, four tents costing less than £100 in total. At less than £3 per person per night, the additional ‘cost’ of packing up the tents and carrying them home to be stored until the next festival doesn’t make sense.” 

I could sort of see his point, but of course it ignores the economic and environmental impact; the cost of the clean-up after a festival and the sheer waste of resources. Most abandoned tents go to landfill, however enlightened the festival organisers try to be. There have been numerous noble attempts to gather tents and distribute them to those in need of shelter (refugees in ‘the Jungle’ in Calais being one such opportunity). But no one seems to have cracked it yet. A quick visit to the website of the ReTent initiative http://www.retent.co.uk and their social media feeds suggests they ceased to be active around 5 years ago.

Bigger brains than mine have worked on this problem for much longer, so I don’t expect any immediate solution (do let me know if they already exist). In the meantime, I would encourage all ‘right-thinking’ festival-goers to encourage other campers not to abandon their tents but to take them away for re-use, recycling or re-purposing – see links below. Happy festival-going!

http://giftyourgear.com/gift-your-gear-reuse-recycle-old-unwanted- tent  #giftyourgear @giftyourgear

https://www.lovecamping.co.uk/news/how-to-re-use-and-recycle-old-tents 

https://resource.co/article/discarded-glastonbury-tents-be-donated-refugees-11204  @resource_media

The Tent Commandments [Credit: http://www.loveyourtent.com  #justtakeithome]

1. Thou Shalt Love Your Tent

2. Thou Shalt always take said tent back home again

3. Thou Shalt Respect Your Tent and the area in which you pitch it making sure you clean up after yourself

4. Thou Shalt spread the word and encourage others to Love their Tent

5. Thou Shalt recycle your waste throughout the weekend, taking it to the relevant recycling facilities

6. Thou Shalt love thy neighbour and not disturb them by playing bongos at 4am

7. Thou Shalt help less fortunate neighbours who didn’t bring tent instructions and after 2 hours are still trying to put the frigging thing up!

8. Thou Shalt invite any lonely campers for dinner or drink

9. Thou Shalt join our growing community – find us at www.facebook.com/LoveYourTent, twitter @loveyourtent and instagram

10.Thou Shalt be happy campers and share the love

 

Green and Grey Repurpose – standing desk

img_0006Did you know that standing up at work for an average 3 hours a day for a year is the equivalent calorie burn (approx 30,000 calories) of running ten marathons? I discovered this amazing statistic when I discovered a beautiful standing desk (the Eiger) at the Entrepreneurial Spark ‘Hatchery’ in Milton Keynes (where I also got excited about their reclaimed scaffold board tables).

I couldn’t afford the Eiger, so it got me thinking… could I make one by re-purposing a slatted wooden chair? I put a call-out for such a chair through our local Freegle group. I got offered three!

With a bit of head scratching (I haven’t got hair to pull out) I can up with a low-tech height-adjustable design which also folds flat for easy storage and/or transport. I’m pretty happy with the result – I use it now at my work – and some days I stand up all day.

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I’m a runner, but I don’t do marathons (standing is more my scene)

9 more health benefits from using a standing desk:

  1. When sitting down, your metabolic rate crashes to an absolute minimum. You only burn 1 calories a minute – that’s less than chewing gum!
  2. As soon as you sit, electrical activity in your legs shuts down and enzymes that help break down fat drop 90%
  3. Sitting 6+ hours a day makes you up to 40% likelier to die in 15 years than someone who sits less than 3 hours (even if you exercise)
  4. Worldwide studies have warned that a sedentary lifestyle could be causing as many deaths as smoking
  5. People with sitting jobs have twice the rate of cardiovascular disease as those with standing jobs
  6. Regular exercise regimes do not negate the effects of a sedentary lifestyle – going to the gym two or three times a week isn’t enough
  7. Being sedentary slows down the circulatory system, blood, oxygen and vital nutrients
  8. In the UK, 30 million working days were lost in 2013 from musculoskeletal disorders
  9. Research published in The Lancet in 2016 on more than 1 million office workers found that sitting for at least 8 hours a day could increase the risk of premature death by up to 60%

Source: www.iwantastandingdesk.com  (click to learn more about the Eiger)

Interested in other re-purpose projects?  https://enterpriseessentials.wordpress.com/category/green-grey-repurpose

Green and Grey Repurpose – MeTubes

tab-tube-2Question – what do a pencil, toothbrush, and phone charger have in common?               Answer – calcium tablets.

I’ve been prescribed calcium tablets for osteoporosis (well, against osteoporosis to be more precise). I’m meant to be taking 60 every month for five years. That’s a tube-a-week habit so I’m accumulating a goodly supply of empty plastic tubes with plastic plugs in the end.

Not wanting to waste the NHS’s investment in these tubes (and my health), I’ve set out to devise as many re-purposing ideas for them as I can. Here are the first three (I have some others in development using combinations of tubes – watch this space)

  • img_0020Brushguard – after hearing about potential health hazards on hotel bathroom sinks, I set to work producing a cover for the average toothbush. It works well in a washbag and can be secured upright to a smooth surface in the bathroom using the sucker on the end.
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  • Sharpenhold – big enough to store a couple of short pencils – the kind you find in Ikea, Screwfix and Wickes (see my blog on the value of short pencils – link below) You can also keep your shavings under control and your pencils sharp. Yes – real writing can come in small sustainable containers!
  • img_0016-2The leader – twist the plug to reduce or release the lead between your charging phone and the wall socket. No more tangles, no tripping over a trailing lead, no more people confusing your charger for theirs.

All tubes can be painted for identification, so you don’t try to brush your teeth with a pencil, for personalisation, and to coordinate with your bathroom, office, and phone-cover colour schemes.

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Your turn…

Share your own re-purposing ideas and let’s see if we can come up with “101 uses for an empty tablet tube” I’ll send you (within the UK) three tubes with plugs if you submit an idea with a brief explanation (and preferably a drawing or photo).

Also of interest?

https://enterpriseessentials.wordpress.com/category/green-grey-repurpose/

https://enterpriseessentials.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/pencils-and-personalisation

Green and Grey Repurpose – Soap Sock

My mum used to complain “nothing gets better, it only gets worse”. That may make her sound like a pessimist but she wasn’t; she was a lifelong Liberal (and reluctantly a Lib Dem) so she knew all about living hopefully.

I was thinking that paid-for car-washing was going the same way – paying more for an automated and inferior job. Then Eastern European migrant workers came over to wash and polish our cars within an inch of their lives – reviving the fashion for hand-washes.

To encourage this trend for hand-car-washing, I’m kicking off this new series of blogs on re-purposing and hacking, with a new use for an unwanted item of clothing.

img_0012What do you do with a single holey sock that’s beyond darning but too good to throw out? You can turn it into a Soap Sock for cleaning and polishing – cars, cutlery, candlesticks, and other things beginning with ‘c’.

The woolier the sock the better – old bed socks and slipper socks are ideal, woollen walking socks come close, but any holey, wooly sock will do. Ankle socks work better img_0014than stockings but the longer sock can be doubled over if necessary making your soap sock even more absorbent.

Try the sock for size – it should  fit over your hand … like a glove. If it’s a bit loose around your wrist you can keep it in place with one of the rubber bands that posties drop around your front door.                                                                                       img_0020Using your soap sock is easy. For a car wash, you slip the sock over your hand, plunge both into a bucket of hot ‘wash and wax’ water, then caress the body (of the car) as if exfoliating your own contours. Be sure not to miss those awkward little nooks and crannies – particularly around the wheel hubs.

img_0022If washing other surfaces, you can tuck some of those annoying left over slivers of hand soap inside your sock ,so it lathers from within when you dip your hand into the clean water. For polishing jobs, slipper socks work well inside out.

A final tip, if you’re cleaning a tiled/vinyl floor, you can wear two soap socks and shuffle around the room without needing to bend down – my kind of housework.

An afterthought – washing your car is a good opportunity to say ‘hello’ to passers-by and for getting to know your neighbours – even better if you offer to wash their car as well…

Further reading:  https://enterpriseessentials.wordpress.com/2016/12/31/whats-the-purpose