Inspiration can sometimes strike in the most unexpected and mundane of places.Take for example, London based artist Michelle Brand, who discovered her muse at the bottom of a discarded plastic water bottle, then transforms such disposables into stunning pieces, like these Blossom lights that cast a soft, moody glow with the help of energy-conscious LEDs. Doesn’t everything deserve a second chance?
From bins and buildings in and around Manchester, she scores her raw materials, which she cuts, sands down and “tags” into a variety of light-catching fabrics and forms. She’s designed a range of decorative home products such as window screens, room dividers, even greeting cards.
Michelle’s fantastic plastic pieces for home are available through MakeMe Buy in the UK. Or if you’re in more of a giving mood, you can donate your cast off containers to Michelle for use in future projects — assuming you live locally of course.
As far as I’m concerned, you can never have enough drapes or curtains. Wait — aren’t drapes and curtains the same thing? By official definition, the answer seems to be yes. But a designer friend once told me that the difference from a design standpoint is that curtains go just below the window while drapes hang to the floor. Interesting bit of trivia. How about another one? Do you know the difference between envy and jealousy? Envy is a healthy feeling that arises when someone has something and you wish you had it, too. Jealousy is a mean-spirited emotion that comes when someone has something and you wish they didn’t have it. One is harmonious, the other is not. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
Not owning a TV is so passe; the new cool in ecological elitism is not owning a dishwasher. Sure, it ages your hands, nurtures obsessive compulsive disorder and sucks all the joy out of a 16-person dinner party, but it’s better for the environment. I’m proud to be a part of the wash-by-hand camp, cleaning up “as you go” and saving water.
But if you do own a dishwasher, don’t take an axe to it just yet< -- if used efficiently, a dishwasher can be a handy appliance.
We’re all guilty of taking long showers. We’ve been told that by our fathers since we were teenagers. But sometimes it’s hard to keep the time down, what when it’s hair wash, leg shave and sugar body scrub day. (Was that too much info? Sorry.) And there’s the issue of running the water until it gets hot. What do you do this time? Pick out your clothes? Brush your teeth? Shiver? I’m obviously busy gathering my various accoutrement for the above mentioned shower. Thankfully, Evolve’s Roadrunner showerhead tackles both of these wasteful water practices head-on Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
Why keep toweling off with conventional cotton or snuggling up to man-made fibers? With Earth Day just around the corner, what better way express your love to Mother Earth (and pamper yourself at the same time) than by replacing your sheets and towels with organic varieties?
Of course, it’s not always as easy as it sounds. Haven by Hotel Collection offers the eco-sounding “Purely Organic” collection of towels and sheets. But after reading further, I’m wondering if they Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
As cave people, we slept on animal pelts. And 10,000 years later, what are we laying our heads on? Pillows stuffed with feathers or down, plucked from a living creature, or petroleum-based foam/synthetic fills with the potential to off-gas. Not exactly the march of civilization, if you ask me.
But fear not, sleepy heads, there are (as always) less poisonous and barbaric options available.
One of the most exciting new options is kapok, “a silky fiber harvested in the rainforests of the Philippines, India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, tropical America and Africa.” The manual harvesting process is labor-intensive, which involves separating the seeds from the fiber and then cleaning and drying it before it’s ready for stuffing. But not only is kapok a healthier alternative for the consumer, “it helps preserve rainforests and the indigenous people who harvest it.” Kapok pillows are not treated for flammability, so they are only allowed to be sold as decorative items – not intended for sleeping. But if the choices are breathing in fire retardant chemicals every night or sleeping on a pillow that might suddenly burst into flames – I, for one, will take my chances.
What is it with my recent laundry obsession? And what’s with these catchy testicle-evoking names for environmentally friendly washing alternatives? First there were dryer balls and now I’ve been turned on to Soap Nuts. (“Turned on” is a poor choice of words, but you know what I mean.) Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
If you’re like me, you could probably use a little extra light in your kitchen or bathroom. But if you’re like me, you’re probably not thrilled with the idea of calling someone to drill holes and connect wires in order to install them. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos
Sixteen. Nothing sweet about it. That’s the number of plastic bags the average American uses every week. Extrapolate that out to a year and that figure balloons to 100 billion. And this last one’s the killer…
1,000. That’s the number of years these plastic bags will stay on earth.
Hopefully the thought of being outlived by plastic bags will drive more of us towards a more reusable solution. The anti-plastic vibe is certainly felt at my local supermarket. You can literally feel the disapproving eyes upon you if you happen to leave yours at home, a common mistake I hate making (more on that later).
Nowadays there are so many reusable bags on the market – in order to grab me (to grab it), they need to be the perfect combination of aesthetic and functionality.
Salvaged wood is all the rage. It’s not recycled, it’s not renewable — it’s a completely reused product. If milled right, the whole process has a very small impact on the environment. Many homeowners also match hard-to-find antique woods, like Heart Pine flooring, with reclaimed wood from other sources.
And (as if you needed another reason) it can be cheaper than new lumber.
Designers Bart Bettencourt and Carlos Salgado are salvaged wood trendsetters. In 2003, their furniture line, Scrapile, was born in Brooklyn. Using a special technique of collecting and repurposing scraps of wood, they create benches, dining tables, stools and side tables.
Are you dreaming of a green Christmas? Well, if you live in an area without snow, like Southern California, you’re always in luck.
Unless, of course, the green you’re dreaming of is Green. In that case, you might want to start scouring your local mall for sustainable and responsible prezzies for your friends and loved ones. Or you can check out the Eco Gift Expo in Los Angeles on December 15th and 16th. Founded by environmentalist and marketing expert Tommy Rosen, and presented by sponsors Whole Foods and The Los Angeles Times, this eco-holiday shopping extravaganza promises to be a unique and rewarding shopping adventure for the environmentally and socially conscious consumer.
This large-scale green boutique will feature scads of eco-conscious vendors, all evaluated by Rosen and his team for values of quality, sustainability and ethics. Reusable shopping bags will be provided for use by Whole Foods, while the L.A. Times will offer complimentary recycled newspaper gift wrapping.
So, what do you do with your annual birthday card from Grandma once you’ve read it (and taken out the check for $25)? Stuff it in the back of a drawer where it’ll gather dustand add to your clutter? Or trash immediately and feel heartless and guilty? Now there’s a better way… you can make Granny’s kind sentiments live on forever… as carpet backing.
ReProduct is a new line of greeting cards from Cradle to Cradle Holdings, whose mission it is to rid the world of waste. The cards are made of OPP (oriented polypropylene plastic) and come with a 2-way envelope so that the recipient can send it back (postage paid, of course) to Shaw Industries where it will be made into the company’s EcoWorx carpet tile backing.