Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Jumping through the oops

I have many abiding memories of my days in the ad world. Not all of
them good.

One high (well, low) on the list was looking at acres of
freshly-printed, palleted brochures all heading off to the recyclers
(or, in those days, more likely the incinerator) because the client guy
who briefed us didn't mention to the guy up and slightly to the left of
him in the pecking order what he had commissioned. Hence, what was once
approved now was not. And in fact all trace had to be eradicated...

Which is why I love websites. I especially love our website because we
can pretty much do what we like with it. And change is but a matter of
moments, depending on the availability, skill and experience of the
necessary writers and designers. Those factors also have a bearing on
cost, too. But at least one is not looking at vast wastes of printed
material as well.

You can whip stuff out. Or you can pop some stuff in.

Last week we had a 'bit of a do'. For reasons not yet exactly clear, we
got some rather nice coverage in a rather useful weekly e-newsletter
publication from London Community Recycle Network

(thanks guys.. here's a little return favour:

Trouble was, the coverage was about something we're still finalising and had yet to post on site.
It was therefore with some relief that we were able to whip up a quick
'patch' to at least let any who clicked on know we were on the case.
Can you imagine matching that in hard copy print??

And yesterday we were in deep discussion with our nice IT guys

( )

who have convinced us use the imminent introduction of our newsfeed from adfero


to let them have a crack at the homepage and at least some of the subsequent
navigation to make the concept of easier to 'get' right away.
Plus we're looking at some serious fun functionality to make the site
even easier to understand and engage with. As we're racking up the roll
out, this will need to be.. soonish.

Exciting times. So... watch this space... well, backspace and look at
the one to the left.

ps: We've looked out of the window and decided to go camping again. If
we find a site (spontaneity is all) we'll be overnighting, so maybe no
blog tomorrow).

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Cat skinning #101b - recycling vs. biodegrading

Having mused that it's all pretty much going into the landfill anyway,
because no one reads the logos in the first place, this is going to be a
bit of a contradiction in blogs.

This long (in the UK at least) weekend my family got all spontaneous
and decamped from home to encamp up the road at a local site. And if
you're wondering at the logic of that, frankly when you live in the
part of the world we do, piling up and down a Bank Holiday motorway
route to sit in some gorgeous bit countryside doesn't make much sense
when it's on your doorstep. And a good time was had by all.

Plus I was provided with a unique opportunity to study, in microcosm,
the stuff we bought, used and discarded over a three day period of
eating, drinking and abluting. Ironically, upon our return, I came back
to more than one advisory on how one should recycle responsibly on such
excursions, which sadly bore little relation to the facts and
practicalities of life under canvas, the facilities at the camps we've
ever visited to and one's predilection to do much more than survive
above squalour level until the next day.

For this reason I have also decided to create a series of articles on
such specific areas of activity, such as, in this case, Junkk Goes Camp.

Anyway, back to the point. As I was looking at the various recyclable
and biodegradable bits and bobs going into the carrier bag
(biodegradable, of course) 'bin', and it struck me that a lot of these
things could go in two directions, and it all rather depended on where
you were at the time.

I'm presuming that it is better to recycle than biodegrade (as you'll
gather, I'm having trouble with the correct way to articulate this
term), but as with all things it may be a case of the lesser of several
evils. If you can't recycle, at least biodegrading is better than

Take my family's waste from the weekend. One big bin, and it all went
in. I'm presuming that little lot's headed for a hole. At least the
biodegradable part should, er, biodegrade.

But then I read that biodegrading actually generates greenhouse gases.
Now I don't know... yet… if the processes of recycling do too, and to
what level in comparison, but I'm guessing not as much (a lot of
unanswered questions here). So with biodegrading we're also heading for
a bit of a tug of war on the enviro-front between popping stuff in the
ground and letting it mulch away… and what that does for global warming.

You can tell I'm a bit confused as to what's best. On balance I'm least
in favour of global warming, and so I'm starting to question the whole
biodegrading thing which by my current best assessment is contributing
towards it. Stuff in the ground is unsightly, but stuff in the air is
proving hazardous.

I guess the moral to this is; don't get too close to nature. If you
care about it too much, it will do your head in. Don't worry, though.
Now I’ve asked a few dumb questions like this, maybe we'll soon have a
few smart answers.

Which will happily share in its info section when they come

Friday, August 26, 2005

No waste like... a TV waste #2

I caught the last half of the second episode of the re-programme last night, and it's telling that it is not shaping up as a must-see, or even record, at least on a personal basis.

But professionally I'm kicking myself. It's the nearest thing we have to a complimentitor (in case I haven't explained this term before, we don't see ourselves in competition with anyone if the idea is to encourage good environmental practice. However, as commercial pressures revolve around audience share, then by definition we are seeking valuable attention from the same crowd, so there is a sense of competition at least. Other than that, we're doing our thing in a very different way). They are making waste at least mainstream and 'fun'.

I put ‘fun’ in quotes because what I did see again made me feel that it was at the expense of some less than credible guinea persons being set a variety of Big Brother-esqe tasks, with a lurking camcorder, video editor and snide voice-over to chart their hapless efforts. Do you empathise with such folk? Do you respond to nanny knows best? At we're aiming for 'a mate with advice'.

And again it didn't ring true, at least to me, on a practical basis. They were given a Toyota Prius, but I think I heard (one day we'll be sent review copies of such programmes) that they were told to use it only for long trips. Recalling Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear (salts for our now recumbent lovely PR lady!) isn't that when the electric component doesn't do its thing and in fact a small diesel is way better? And I really must find out what exactly comes out of its pipe - combined with the power station pipe - in comparison with the single pipe on most cars. Do they count the carbon emissions of electric generation at source?

Speaking of diesels, it was awfully quaint popping in Dad’s now converted van to the chippy to top up with sunflower and a saveloy, but I don't quite see Ross High Street coping with the town waiting in line to fill the tank using a funnel with a litre bottle.

And again we end with the savings. 'You now have £90 something quid, extra'. Um. Do they get to keep the £17k Prius? Who paid for the biodiesel conversion on the van? Yes, the savings would eventually add up on that but not, I suspect, before the car in question had bought that great end of life certificate in the sky. That’s the calculation I’m looking at for an LPG conversion on my R-reg Volvo. Does Gordo slap more tax on next budget?

It's good to see various worthwhile issues raised, but on behalf of real consumers I'd like them to be more constructively critical and pragmatic.

Speaking of which, we have heard back on the 'all waste' composter, though of course not from the guys who make it (who we had approached with an offer of free coverage). Galls me to say it, but I think we're going to have to get one from them, unless there are other guys out there. By all accounts it is intended to deal with dead bodies, but it takes a heck of a lot longer than the time period inferred in the programme, and that's before winter turns it into a cold storage for slowly... very... slowly… decaying animal matter. Nice.

Next week it's all about nappies. We know a lot about this through our involvement with Green Nappies

(with BIG news on this soon!) and it will be interesting to see what the balance of facts to fantasy will be.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Cat Skinning #101a - Logo inertia

That didn't take long. I'm right back to those nice logos and labels
you see on stuff. Little swirly arrows with letters and numbers.
Percentages of recyclablity, biodegradability, etc.

And here at almost daily we see all the amazing technology we
see being committed to justifying these labels.


Is anybody listening?

By anyone, I mean the person in the st.. well.. kitchen. Possibly the
carpark skip. As they survey the debris field left after preparing a
normal family meal, do they really conduct a serious audit of the
cardboard, bottles and polystyrene trays before assigning them to their
most effective re-use or recycling stream? I'm reckoning not.

Where they care enough and/or are supported by a kerbside scheme, it's
likely that the glass and metal goes in one box and the paper goes in
another. Maybe, just maybe, the plastic bottles (bathroom products
anyone) too. If we're keen and have the resources the vegetable matter
goes off to be composted (I'm still hunting down the 'all kitchen
waste' composter - it turns out we did get in touch with a manufacturer
months ago to find out more but they didn't reply... no surprise there,
they’d doubtless prefer to advertise for money in a trade journal).
Even the shopping bags may get bundled up and used, or taken back to
any retailer who will accept them.

But that still leaves a fair old pile. Cellophane wrapping, posted
magazine sleeves, blister packs and a myriad, usually black, trays.

It's all well and good having spiffy logos on all these, but it's a fat
lot of good if no one has much idea of what can be done with them.

So here at we're going to try and start addressing this
issue. A bit of brainpower on reuse. A bit of information and promotion
on recycling. I’m thinking of calling it ‘PEP talking’. And it must
have a spiffy logo, of course.

Now, will the guys who got the guys to pop the logos on there, and
those guys themselves, plus the guys who collect the stuff with these
logos on help us out here if we ask nicely?

No cost to them. Just sharing some info and maybe a bit of effort on

Watch this space. All I hope is they won't see it as an opportunity to
dispose of a bit more virtually before they actually have to.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Cat-skinning #101

Early in the days of, I was in a far-flung outpost of the
empire to sell our wares at some conference or other. Holding my
gold-plated pass (it should have been for the price) I recall entering
a plush hotel lobby to be confronted with surrounding ranks of booths
from those more blessed with funds so as to actually afford a stall.

It was at this point I realised that it is simply worth not attending -
at least for us - unless you have one of these; the chances of bumping
into a useful connection are almost zilch unless you spend the day in
the loos, which has some drawbacks - socially and legally - depending
on one's gender.

But at least I could talk with these static guys. Trouble was, few
wanted to interact in any meaningful way with me. The minute it came
out that we were operating on a commercial model, the shutters came
down. 'Oh no, we only deal with charities or not for profits' was the
mantra. This distinction is one I intend to return to, as many
delegates from these 'acceptable' areas were busy parking very big, new
cars and heading up to their £300 per night rooms. I was tubing in from
sleeping on a mate's floor. Who is costing the public less? Hint: we
also don’t cost the public anything to operate.

Maybe such 'structured' thinking was responsible for the next thing
that stuck me having done my rounds. Almost every one of these guys
happily shunted off on me a brochure/pack (despite everything I at
least seemed to count to the volume of such items handed out, which
doubtless ticked a box somewhere), usually stuffed to the gunnels with
bits of paper and various disposable trinkets.

And all were handed over with the excited pitch that… ‘it's made from
[add percentage here] cardboard, and/or is/may be [fully] recyclable’.
I was then pointed at the large recycling bins at the exit kindly
provided by the sponsors. Keep the A4 paper; ditch the folder.

I'm afraid I had a problem with this. The process of producing and
disposing of the message seemed to take precedence to the message
itself. And it is a matter for another blog the way in which various
re-logos can slapped on everything… and that, seemingly, is the end of

Which is why our Folda Holda was created. In any promotional effort, it
is inevitable that information needs to be shared, and in such a way
that it gets noticed, read, understood and retained… all in competition
with others. Hence we developed a solution that enabled us to provide
facts and figures that could be retained, but also found a second use
for the folder itself which, having done it's conveying/attracting job,
turns into a CD tower. And we only give it to those who really want
and/or deserve one. It’s too expensive otherwise, and I have no clue
how many we’ve shifted, but they are in good homes.

Yes, it is for sale. And I'd like to think that such innovative
thinking may prove better for the environment too. Even if it is

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Don't do as I do

OK, I'm at it again. Double standards. I have often claimed
is not in the business of getting in 'who's got the biggest green
todger' (not the nicest visual image I know) slanging matches, but on a
blog-basis I can't resist a slightly twitchy eyebrow every so often by
way of 'just wondering'. I think we’re allowed, because as a business
we accept that certain things are just necessary, and try to avoid
‘don’t do’ stuff on our pages.

Today, under the banner 'Talks renew vigour to tackle warming', the/a
(I wonder how many of them there are?) BBC environment correspondent
opens his piece with the following:

"Maybe it was the night cruise with ice crunching against the prow of
the boat and icebergs the shape and size of medieval castles floating
serenely past.
Maybe it was the helicopter flight over the ice-packed fjord to witness
one of the fastest-melting glaciers in the world.
Perhaps it was the expert presentations warning that if carbon dioxide
(CO2) emissions continue to rise, the melting Greenland ice sheet will
drive up global sea levels. Whatever the reason, politicians from all
around the world visiting the Arctic on a fact-finding trip left
professing new determination that action to tackle climate change must
be taken everywhere. "

It goes on to explain that Danish environment minister Connie Hedegaard
said she wanted to create a forum where politicians could enjoy
(operative word) a genuine dialogue on climate.

And at the summit, all leading nations agreed climate change was a
serious problem that had to be tackled.


They went all the way up to the Arctic for a night cruise and
helicopter rides. And they came away agreeing that climate change was a
serious problem that had to be tackled.

Me, I just go online and find out the permafrost is melting and
Birmingham, West Midlands just got whisked by tornado, along with
Dorothy, to Alabama (which is quite near Kansas, I'm sure).

Is it just me, but are all those involved in telling us what we should
be doing perhaps missing some rather obvious tricks here? Like setting

Monday, August 22, 2005

No waste like... TV waste

Last week I watched a new BBC programme: No Waste Like Home. Basically a reality/makeover hybrid revolving around consumer environmental issues. So far, so planet-saving (they seem to have nicked a lot of the clichés we have already 'homaged' - the difference is of course subtle, like eccentrics being mad people only with more money).

And at this point, I must declare an interest, in that we (well, my family) applied for a slot, on the basis of 'any publicity...' . And no, we didn't get selected, which is getting to be a habit at the moment. But I think I know why. We were too normal.

Though it was not car crash TV... quite... it was clear that the primary objective was extremes.

I'll dispense with the other of the two families featured in three words: Stepford and Sons (ok, seven: plus daughters and wife). Some purpose built CGI (though it was real, I think, as were the occupants) eco-dream home. Then a few quick allusions to stuff that's great when you do it from scratch, but tricky and costly in the kind of home most of us live in. And that was about as much time as the programme spent on them, too.

Then we got to the other extreme... family. About as nuclear as you could hope in composition, plus the fact that they needed a power station powered by same in their garden to run their lifestyle.

And what a lifestyle! For reasons not fully explained (we should have a gas supplier so generous) they hadn't had a gas bill for a couple of years, and so it was ‘turn up that dial’ on the thermostat (the use of which, mysteriously, no one explained to them despite it being ok to install a full solar system on the roof). The place was also lit up like Margaret Beckett's office during summer recess, and they specifically bought pineapples to throw away.

The slightly sanctimonious voice-over left us in no doubt as to their wicked ways, complemented by an affable but rather peripheral presenter who tut-tutted and came out with statistics that meant little to me.

There was some car-crash, and the inevitable post-shoot editing, with the main victim being the hapless housewife. She actually did have a few good points to make (if anyone has tips on how to make a towel dry in the sun without ending up like an emery board I'd like to hear it. And also what one does when it rains which, in the real world, it does in the UK).

But the show did have some nuggets that I would have liked to have seen developed further. For instance the fact that there is no need to wash anything above 40 degrees as modern washers/powders are designed to work at that. My wife would take some more convincing on that, but it was just kind of stated and that was that. Also there’s a composter that takes dead bodies… well, meat and gravy. I wasn’t convinced about that. But if I can so dispose, then our weekly bin bag gets even lighter.

It ended with the £10,000 pa annum saving the family was in line to make if they followed the new regime. Minus, one presumes, the cost of the new solar system, the spiffy chicken run (no old stuff here - all brand new plastic huts) and if they all live in the dark wearing jumpsuits (a fashion trend I reckon the tweens may tire of ‘in, like, ‘bout a munnet, Vickuy!’) to save washing.

I'm afraid this show did not engage with me at all, as it completely involved, if I can say something so contradictory: unrealistic stereotypes. Neither was anything like my family, which is trying, and doing, its best, with mixed information and the practicalities of modern life almost all but ignored. Reuse was mentioned, but not in any way I could really get to grips with, at least in ways we're trying to do with

But something is better than nothing, and getting people to think about re-everything is always to be lauded. Just so long as they don't alienate those who could be swayed in the process. Next week it looks like we have an Osbournesque teen saying 'whatever' when she gets grounded for leaving a light on.

Not another convert I suspect, but still good for ratings?

Friday, August 19, 2005

And the winner isn't...

I really must figure out how to check my blog archives. Somewhere back there is one I recall posting about our entering this awards thingy. It was a fair amount of work, and all last minute dashing over a weekend, but we made deadline. Plus it was only (hah!) about £30 to enter.

As you'll gather from the way this is going, we did not make the shortlist. I only found this out because I just had an email saying who had.

I really thought we were in with a chance, otherwise I wouldn't have bothered. Awards can be a real distraction, and an expensive one. But like a gambling addict, you always wonder what would happen with that next roll.

It's the same with a funding application. It's great when you 'win', but when you don't you're just left wondering why. Not always for sour grapes reasons, but it can be hard not to go: 'what...them? But ours was...' At least with awards you do get to see who won, as I have often had my requests to get more information on even the names of successful funding applicants provided, let alone why ours did not make the cut.

More pragmatically, to avoid future wastes of time and money, you really wish you knew if it was it not 'on brief'? Did it fall down the back of the cabinet? Was it pushed? Sadly, the rules of entry usually preclude those unbestowed upon from posing such questions.

As no one is doing what we're doing, there's nobody 'better', so below is a link to the guys who made it. If you have an idle 5, see how you think to they stack up against our offering in the various categories. Feel free to say 'you wuz robbed' to make me feel better.

And may the best .com... make the greatest impact, and positive difference via their online audience.

Winners are not always those who win awards.

And a blog is much better therapy than punching out the wastebin.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

The best **** for the job?

In these PC days, that **** stands for a term applying equal gender preference and descriptive correctness to those about whom this blog is about.

At one of (long story) my universities, I had my first real taste of organisational politics. A very popular and respected professor died, and obviously a successor needed to be found. I had assumed that the gently grazed quadrangles of academe would simply move in concert to arrive, unhurried and in a civilised manner, at the most appropriate choice, and life would continue as it had, and always would.

What transpired was feeding time at Jurassic Park. The gloves were off and the claws were out. Every half-baked doctor, senior lecturer and visiting whatever had kicked off their tweeds and were in full combat mode, slashing and burning their way to the top, taking no prisoners and laying waste to peaceful hamlets of teenage (or in my case, early twenties) naiveté and belief in the goodness of man (or woman).

Once the cement dust had settled, the victor got their spoils, and spoiled they were. Camps had been set up and though a hierarchy had been re-established, it was one based on fear. Because the person who made it was not the best choice for the department, the students or the profession, but the guy who had sucked up, been seen to be doing (at the expense of doing) and devoted most time to their careers at the expense of their job.

And so it continued. My father, a hugely successful and popular sales director, found himself shafted and sidelined within months of the firm’s founder, and his friend and mentor, dying and the 'board' taking over. Anyone from the old guard had to be removed, no matter what. Even if, as it transpired, the sales crashed as a result. Back then I wondered what the shareholders thought of that, unless the link was not made clear to them by the guys in char.. oh.. well.

Golly, I could go on. Suffice to say that in my 'employed' ad-career, every time a memo hit my desk saying ‘I’m pleased to announce a new... [senior to me anyway], I dug out my CV. Within a month I knew I’d be mysteriously ‘no longer quite who we need in this position’, when their mate was.

So I read with interest, and a certain deja d’oh, new research that suggests 'ambition, authority and assertiveness are the main characteristics that shareholders look for in a business leader but they are, in fact, the most likely traits to hold a business back… while staff sought leaders that nurtured, supported and empowered them and were willing to delegate key tasks and share knowledge; and managers who are willing to listen to what they have to say and engage in open and honest dialogue.'

I once pinned up one of those inspirational do-dads that said something like 'Truly great leaders only employ those who are [more talented] than them'. As the owner of my company I could but agree, though felt the need to add 'so long as you’re at the top or own 51% of the company.'

I was then at the peak of my then profession, and dealt only with the same level of those with whom we engaged. On the whole, they were a pretty good bunch. Now I am at the bottom, and am again having to work, alongside colleagues, with too many petty folks who would do more for their organisations, and those they are supposed to serve, if they spent as much time actually doing their jobs as trying to jostle for status, title and short-term points.

Fortunately, there are those who make the effort we invest worthwhile. They’ll be the ones reading this blog. And I’m pretty safe, thinking about it, saying the others will not.

I can only hope their current and future leaders are smart enough to figure out which ones are which.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Lord Lever had a point

There seem to be a few guys credited with this one, but I'll give it to his lordship for now. Basically this captain of industry said of his empire’s advertising: 'Half of the spend is wasted. Trouble is I don't which half'.

So I'll make a quick plug for here and suggest that 100% of any spend on promoting neat 2nd Use ideas for your products is pretty much certain to get exposed to the absolutely the right folk you are trying to reach with your 're-message'.

However, it won’t if I don't get cracking on making the site as useful as it can be to attract these fine folks. And I am concerned about my own percentages. Of time that is... ticking seconds lost forever.

I seem to be repeating the mistakes I made with my ad agency. The more established we got, the more time I was in meetings and the less time I spent creating. And as what I created pretty much was what we flogged, that was a problem.

I have just realised that I have barely whizzed around the site lately, and have certainly not measured a pack, taken its picture and uploaded same, much less had an idea to go with it. Plus I'm looking at about 200 separate emailed newsletters, just because was away on Monday. I really have to figure out RSS feeds asap!

So, if you call and Emma says I'm in the shed, please don't take offence. I have a planet to save... as soon as I've done the same for my business.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Strange things on a train

Yesterday I went to London. And it was very worth it. Because I'd been asked by our marketing agency to meet someone who is very concerned about reuse, recycling and waste in her sphere of work, which is the student population of London. Although it is really no surprise, the numbers of folks, and the consequences of their living and working in London even for just a few years, are quite staggering. And the nice part is that is already being seen as a potentially very good way to engage with this audience in the areas and ways we know, and perform, best. So look out for some rather fun new initiatives coming very soon!

Moving on, there's no real 'theme' to today's blog (at least none yet... let's see what transpires), but in getting to this meeting a few unconnected things became 'blogworthy', and I guess now’s as good a time as any to mention them.

We're still juggling with the optimum enviro/eco[nomic and logical]/convenience way to do the Ross to & from London trip, and for this one I opted for the train to Paddington from Newport option, with obvious consequent costs either side of that. What was interesting, and depressing, was that in the several weeks since I last did it, the cost of parking at the station had gone from £4 to £5.50. That’s a 37.5% hike which, I'd say, is a tad more than inflation. How on earth are we to encourage good travel practice when such things take place? And unless it is just a summer lull, I could have parked my car sideways across several bays and still had a 30m zone around it, so empty was the lot. Market forces?

Finally, the joys of train travel. Can't really fault it, though between the odd delay here and there my 1 hr 'buffer' was used up and I did only just make the meeting in time. But what I really loved was the total 4hr opportunity I had to read a book, which I have done almost as often as Victoria Beckham in recent years. Just too many emails, reports and articles around's business to fill the day!

Of course the book was about the same thing, but at least it was a book. And what a book it was, despite a misleading quote from that well-known person in this field, Ben Elton (?), saying 'Be scared. Be very scared. But be sure to read this book' (I would have re-written it, Get annoyed. Get very annoyed. Read this book and then get cracking on holding those responsible accountable). But let me recommend 'Rubbish' by Richard Girling.

For what it's worth, and if you're reading this it must be something, I really rate him and his writing, as it is what I aspire to with He is agenda-free and in no camp but that of common sense, and owes nothing to any side, by they be arboreally amourous, bureaucratic box ticker or grasping capitalist. It is on the whole depressing reading, to be sure, but mainly for the vast waste of time, effort and money that's been worthlessly consumed so far in trying to address… waste.

I need to find him and hopefully make him aware of what we're up to. He posed a few notions I'd like to think would neatly address, and he would be a good person to have onside from whom to seek advice and, if we are lucky, endorsement. Or, if we're really lucky, constructive criticism. There are very few around capable of that skill and if we are to succeed it's one of the most valuable of all.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Any closer, and common sense gets it!

I loved Blazing Saddles. There were more iconic scenes of high satire delivered in a lowbrow manner than just about anything I can recall. And one of my favourites was when the black hero is surrounded and his foes are closing in. So he whips out his gun, holds it to his own head and says 'any closer, and the [originally a pejorative term reserved for one set of society about whom it was used in description by another, but now neatly co-opted for their own exclusive self-reference] gets it!'

Of course, the bad guys back off.Which is not quite the best analogy I needed for today's blog, but it's close enough. Shooting yourself is a poor method of survival in the real world. Even if it is the airline industry, so I should have mixed feelings. I wonder if BA’s stand down bought the planet a few more days?

I have never been in any job situation (straight from the ad world where employee rights, stability & security were non-existent, to self employed, where I was/am my employee and stability and security remain pretty much non-existent, but at least marginally more under my control) to really get to grips with the mentalities involved, but for the life of me I have never been able to figure out one thing in these cases.

And that is how anyone working for a company in a competitive environment figures the best way to protect their future, job security and improve their pay is best served by crippling it? It would seem the personal suicide is, to mix my metaphors, also alive and well in the UK.

I don't see me ever opting to use BA, especially in summer, and there are plenty of other airlines around to get me where I need to go. Marketing note: preference given to most fuel-efficient fleet.

Shame is, it's not really the fault of the management (for once, unless you count woeful (market) intelligence and hopeless contingency planning). And now it seems it may be a ‘plot’ by ‘elements’, that just makes the strikers all the more dumb to take the rusty nail from them and stick it in their own flesh.

Unless employees get to see the totality of their jobs in terms of responsibilities to their customers, their co-workers and ultimately themselves and their families, they pretty much deserve anything that happens to them.

Hopefully those others stranded to the four points of the globe with luckless passengers may share this notion with them upon their return.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Losing our deposit

Well, that didn't take long.

Emma has marched across to demand that we don't just comment, but actually do something about it. Deposits, that is. So I immediately reached across to my phone to dial... er... them.

So while that aspect of the hunt gathers pace, I can but do the only things I have been able to do for a while, namely write a blog first and then rope all and sundry in to figure out how to make things actually work. Well, at least we do have a website.

Emma has merely confirmed for the current yoof end of the market what I had remembered of mine, namely that instead of a bunch of over-subsidised schemes telling kids to do the right thing, her brothers used to do it because they got rewarded. One-munchkin search, collection, separation and delivery systems all in shorts and grazed knees.

So.. great. Now I have another task to fill my otherwise empty day, nights and weekends.

I'm thinking to start we need a poll, and possibly one using our localisation facility, so we can get some meaningful data to take to them when the time comes.

And on the not-too-unlikely assumption they remain under their rocks, maybe if it proves popular enough we'll just ignore them and just get on and sort out something ourselves. Which will show.. them and serve... them right.

You know, this is not so much a blog, but turning more and more into the job sheet.

On the hunt of them

With much gulping (which is also a small hamlet just down the road) we recently committed to a paid subscription.

Materials Recycling Week is pretty high on the 'does what it says on the tin' list of titles, so I won't waste much effort on what they cover, save to say a largish wadge is in areas we'll politely note and pass over (though as an ex CivEng some of those waste munching machines look way cool - I'm thinking of doing a Tomorrow's World type 'how it works’ - with cutaway - on the site).

But we did deem them worth staying abreast of as they also get first dibs on a lot of re-stuff in the consumer domain. Plus they were nice enough to write about us a while ago, so I don't feel the pain of the outward funds so keenly. It seems a worthy read: , to repay the compliment.

Opening my first edition, I was confronted by a very interesting article by their editor, Paul Sanderson, essentially posing various re-related consumer questions, such as why there were no longer any deposits on pop bottles any more. As it is one we at have been asked, and still don't know, I rang him to see if he'd had an answer. Seems not. And this is from the heart of the UK recycling universe!

Between us the best that we could come up with was that 'they' had said/decided that a) it wasn't practical, b) it wasn't financially feasible or c) the consumers didn't want it.

Now, especially on the latter, I have yet to meet a consumer who didn't see merit in it.

And frankly, we at see it as a great way to build something in that not only gets people to bring things back to regain the deposit, but as they are making the trip also get rewarded.

Now all I have to do is find 'them'.

If you have any hints where to start… much appreciated (which is just across the river from much gulping) :)

All the news that's fit... well fit

It's always a good sign when anyone comes to see us here for business. We're a tad in the boonies, and not so easy to get to, so when they make the trip we really appreciate it. And it almost always heralds the start of a beautiful relationship, because at worst it shows they like what we're up to and would like to help, and at best it shows that they can see the potential of what we're up to and the value of being part... and hence want to help. We don’t mind a little bit of mercenary forward-thinking when it endorses our concept.

So yesterday was a big day for us. Because we were meeting to discuss all sorts of issues surrounding our imminent dedicated daily news feed, with the lovely folks who will be providing us with it, Adfero (

The partnership now seems the most logical thing you could imagine, but the irony is that it almost never happened. They had a booth at both the recent Online Marketing Show and Internet World shows. So did we. In slack moments they popped by to see what we were up to. We reciprocated. But at no point did either side say 'you know, we could work together!' (Of course, that may be down to the communications standards on our respective stands).

It was only a few weeks later that I sat wading through a bunch of material we'd gleaned from the net that day, getting frustrated that we didn't have the copyright to reproduce it or the time to get in touch with the protagonists to rewrite it on Then it sunk in. So I called. And they came. And we exchanged a lot of stuff. And they came again. And soon, very soon, we will have our very own homepage daily news, crafted to our audiences. Plus an ever-growing searchable archive on specific topics.

So a few mad panics this end in the next few weeks re-jigging the site design... again.

But it gets better, though, naturally, more complex. It hadn't really sunk in ('til Tom of Adfero mentioned it) that by doing this we were becoming even more valuable a resource. We'd be coming up with stuff in an area that's not very well covered, and in a style which is, well, pretty unique. This will attract an audience. So while WE are daily signing up for, receiving, reading and gleaning nuggets from countless sites and feeds on all sorts of topics, pretty soon we're going to be one too and have all sorts of folks doing the same for us.

Which means that on top of trying to get to grips with blogs, pods and whatever, I now have to grasp and master a whole new raft of initials like RSS and XML. Only this time there may even be money it, so I'm all eyes.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Size Matters. Or.. matters of size

For as long as I can remember, the most useful units of measurement were double-decker busses and football fields. It was thus that I managed to get to grips with the height of Nelson's column and the deck area of the USS Nimitz. I'm afraid 30,000ft didn't quite do it for me when it came to figuring out how high vapour trails are.

And with that neat link, I think we need some more user-comprehensible terms for all the enviro-stuff that's flying about. Or, for that matter, being dropped in the ocean. I really can't get to grips with a ton of CO2.

And what happened to the ozone hole? That was once the size of the Isle of Wight (another good measure), and then Antartica.

Now it doesn't get mentioned, I presume, because it's not an issue thanks to roll-on deodorants (which we at favour not just because they don't squirt pressurised gasses around, but have truly neat bits ‘n bobs to make stuff out of).

But for now, if anyone could get us on track of a decent, cheap, preferably recycled material vernier calliper (accurate to at least 1 millimetre or better), I'd be grateful. We need an incentive for kids to measure things with for the site, and I'm not sure Tescos will let them bring a double-decker in with them.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

'Everything is inevitable' says CEO

I am a lowly paid person with little authority and not much more responsibility. This is about to change. For I have figured out where the road to true power, privilege and success lies: do nothing, and just for good measure make sure the consequences of this inaction are covered by a suitable disclaimer.

Hence I have collated the collective intel of a million monkeys and their typewriters and can state categorically that pretty much anything is inevitable, if we wait long enough.

There, I'm covered. My status in the halls of influence assured. May I have my index-linked salary and pension now, please?

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Carrot vs. Stick

If you have kids, and I'm sure many of you do (or may even have been one), there are a few basic rules for getting on. ‘Spare the rod, spoil the child’ may have passed into law-enforced PC oblivion, so suffice to say that even with one's nearest and dearest it's best to build the structure of a reward on the firm foundation of what is and is not going to be tolerated, even though the 'or else bit' gets a bit vague these days.

I was reminded of this the other night when watching a programme about Hiroshima. It was very good, if distressing to see the sheer extent of the suffering of the truly innocent (though by way of dispassionate explanation, it was war, and you as dead from a atomic blast as you are on the end of a bayonet, but that is perhaps a topic for another time).

What was interesting, as I did not know beforehand, was that prior to dropping the bomb the Allies had decided to soften their demand for unconditional surrender to take into account the sticking point of the whole Japanese 'Emperor is all' mindset. Basically a bit of a compromise to conclude what was pretty obviously a done deal. Trouble was, this got interpreted by the 'nothing to lose' chancers on the other side as a sign of weakness, so they basically went from thinking about ways to surrender to telling the Allies to stick it, thus ensuring what came to pass.

So on to today, and I read that Iran has told the EU to.. er.. 'stick it', despite offers of political and economic incentives, designed to dissuade the theocratic Middle Eastern state from building atomic bombs. I'm not encouraged that we have any statespersons left with the balls or skill to deal with this. Even those who have read enough history to avoid repeating it. Danegeld... Munich anyone?

A bit like our own homegrown travails, we are reaping what we have sowed by our own ineptitude. Doing nothing is usually more dangerous in the long run. Look at the climate issue.

On a happier note, is just getting more carroty every day, with a raft of new initiatives I can't wait to share. Watch this space. Well, the one to the left on the homepage anyway.

Lack of Definition

I just have to make this quick topical comment.

Why do the autocue-reading vanilla cones and suit-capped bouffants on the news keep saying that the Shuttle landing has suffered another 'setback'?

It's a simple delay, built into the operational parameters, to await the optimal landing conditions across a selection of sites. I know delay doesn't quite have the same sensationalist cachet as setback, but if it's a slow news day, try and find some other news guys! A surfboarding tortoise would be preferable to wheeling out the endless series of talking heads to say that it's going round in circles waiting to land because that's what they've planned to do all along.

No news is no news.

I for one, especially for the sake of their families and colleagues, wish the crew well and happy landings. Until they do - end of story.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Fan Mail

During one of those long hot summers in my early ad career, we were all sweltering as usual as there was no such thing as aircon in our office. Instead there was one small tabletop job that perched on a filing cabinet behind an account director of less than spectacular popularity. One day he was pontificating away with his feet upon on his desk and his chair rocking back against the cabinet. And the inevitable, blissfully, took place. I couldn't resist. 'That's the first recorded instance of the fan hitting the s**t!, I exclaimed, and the acclaim I was accorded from that moment on more than made up for the P45.

Which brings me to today's topic.

In the mail wasa hefty envelope from one of those agencies tasked to (help) stop us do stuff that is not as environmentally sound as it may be. So far, so noble.

Amongst the various letters and posters and flyers and leaflets (though to be fair they do suggest we ask for some, though I presume not all, online) there was a piece of wood attached to a piece of card, to form a sort of... fan.

On one side was written: 'Here's one extra way to keep cool without extra carbon emissions'.

Now I am as big a fan (excuse the pun) of interactive DM as the next guy. But as this was from a 'don’t waste’ agency, and it patently did involve a few extra carbon emissions, from its construction to delivery, no matter how good the message I feel the need to take the messenger to one side for a wee chat at least.

Especially as tucked away in small type around the rim on the reverse was this: 'Not a fan? If you don't plan to use me then please return to:...'

I wonder what the cost all round (financial and eco) would be if I did, per unit.

But in the spirit of their message I am now getting cracking on a structure you can make from the obviously often necessary business mailings one has to send out in the spirit of communication. Just like our very own Folda-Holda.

I wonder if they'd sponsor me?

Friday, August 05, 2005

Off form

What is it with forms? Or rather, those who send them out?

How come they can never make them reflect the possible answers, and certainly never acknowledge context. Or that ambiguity may mean there is not the definitive answer they demand.

I was... am... a writer, and certainly like things to say what they mean, and mean what they say. I’m also a scientist. So if asked how many angels could dance on the head of a pin I'd probably first need to know if they were doing the Tango or Waltz. And I flatly refuse to sign anything unless I agree with everything I am being required put my name to, or at least articulated in a way with which I am comfortable.

I lost out on a job opportunity a few years ago, having gone through a series of very successful personal interviews, only to fail a psychometric analysis. I know why, and it wasn't my answers. It was what I didn't, or refused, to answer. The pin-strip and braces kept insisting I had to tick a box when the accurate response was not adequately represented in the options, and then got in a snit because I was pushing his £300/per fee beyond the assigned time for his secretarial services. I hope the company found the compliant box-ticker they were seeking.

Government is always a rich seam. My wife got confused with a census form when she had to put herself down as either Oriental or Asian, when she considers herself to be both.

And I had a fun series of exchanges with a funder where they insisted I sign a form that I couldn't and wouldn't, which ended up with me sending a blank form along with a 3-page letter to put important issues in context. I'd had the money so was none too worried, and never heard back, so I wonder what happened there?

All I ask is that if you can't deal with the possible answers, then don't ask the question.

So enough with the forms, and if you really want to know something, ask me in person and be ready to work with the reply I provide. Or if you have to have it in a form only a computer can love, at least put in an option in there like:

[ ] none of these allow for a valid feedback on this question as posed, please call me to discuss on....

And then doubtless file my reply under 'not understanding/cooperative' and put me in another neat box, instead of wondering if your way of asking questions is flawed.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Up in smoke

We at try to be mercifully above... below.. well, slightly off to one side of the great 'who's got the biggest ecowilly' contest, where one defender of all that's green and good have a got go at another. However, as it's just me....

What really could not go without comment, albeit poorly-balanced geopolitically, ecologically and bigger picturely, was the following I just read, under the title :'Shuttle Commander sees wide environmental damage'. Commander Eileen Collins is quoted as saying astronauts on shuttle Discovery had seen widespread environmental destruction on Earth and warned on Thursday that greater care was needed to protect natural resources. "We would like to see, from the astronauts' point of view, people take good care of the Earth and replace the resources that have been used."

Scorched earth. Billowing towers of greenhouse gasses being expended to convey just a few privileged individuals around in their expensive vehicles.

Obviously she was not gazing down on her own launchpad.

Now, if we could just get a cow into orbit using its own methane as fuel...

A mighty Whoosh

This is not, as might first be suspected, anything to do with wind, at least not of the 'minced moorhen' or 'Dorothy Does Birmingham' variety.

It would appear that it is indeed the bovine population's flatulence that is posing a bigger threat than any SUV ever can. At least in LA. I can actually get my head around this.

To save the planet I guess I could get used to veggie burgers, but in the meantime there is really only one solution. And have I got a good use for a BBQ sauce bottle. With always there for seconds.

On balance

On a dark day recently, if only one of too many, two men died.

Both were the innocent, unwilling victims of violent people who do not value human life, and through some warped view of their own and their position in society decided (either with malice aforethought or spontaneously, with perverse rationality or under the influence of something... I really do not care) to attack without thought for the consequences.

Their intention, sadly successful in both cases, was clear.

Which made them murderists. Nothing more. No other 'ist' or 'phobe'. The clear, main linking fact was that they sought to kill, and need to be caught and prevented from doing so again to protect the rest of 'us'.

But somehow this plain fact has somehow been obscured by a media-driven society and an overly sensistive and reactive governing system. Hence these two deaths, the circumstances, the protagonists and the follow-up has taken two very different paths. One has become a circus; the other all but forgotten already. Yet the simple facts remained the same.

But that does not provide nearly enough for an angle to be found; a way to spin things out, then analyse and comment. To stir things up and then reap the ratings from the consequences.

So the coverage was not balanced, and hence neither was the response. Labels had to be applied. Pigeonholes filled. Agendas promoted at the expense of the only real issue.

Innocents deprived of life by Murderists.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

It's good to chat

Well, our first internet chat room interview passed off without a hitch, assuming you don't count my touch typing skills which, combined with a postage stamp-sized text box and no Spellchecker, resulted in some interesting versions of words.

See it here:

My fears about getting a full answer across were unfounded, Adi was a most gracious host, the participants proactive and we look forward to all who took part (or reading subsequently) gaining a little from the experience.

Taking Time

I used to have a bumper sticker on my car: "Copywriters have to do it in 30 seconds or less'. Perhaps the greatest discipline, and value, of my profession was communicating (and better yet persuading) in, or via, our words in as limited space as possible. The best vehicle was posters, which I love. I believe the rule was '8 words or less', though this did come with an extra 1000 in the form of a complementary picture. But as (Mark Twain? You'll gather I have memory as hazy as it is selective) said, it takes a lot of time to write a little.

It's no excuse, but I don't have a lot of time. Which is why this blog sometimes is more a stream of thought, best got down and out than not at all.

But I also worry that the pendulum has swung too far (as it inevitably does), and in demanding the merits of brevity we are also losing the value of consideration. Sound bites. 30 second elevator pitches. ‘I'm afraid that’s all we have time for... ‘ says the fragrant TV vanilla cone, cutting short a discussion on terror to a skateboarding tortoise.

Take our forthcoming online chat. Someone asks: 'what do you think about recycled paper?'. How long have they got? But the system (literally in this case as I think there's a limit on how much you can insert on an ICQ exchange) and the attention spans of all but the poser pretty much demand that we say something quickly, without opportunity to create context, explore options and establish the grey in amongst the absolute black and the white. This leads to mistakes, misunderstandings and protracted follow-ups.

We hate wastes of anything. But I do wonder whether in our obsession with saving time we sometimes end up wasting even more of it.

C U @ 12 !

Only a few hours to go.

Emma and I yesterday had a run through with Adi of the environment site
[link direct via header or cut&paste]
for our online 'chat'.

Already some good pre-questions we have prepped for, though we're not sure how to get our several para answers to their one liners into this ICQ thingy.

It's a good job Emma has the 'dashing digits of a keyboard kween!'

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

You know what else would be useful?

I just watched our 'local' BBC lunchtime TV.

And it seems up in somewhere (not here), a bunch of scam artists are taking advantage of people's good nature to persuade them to leave out bags of old clothes in the name of a non-existent charity. Apparently, it is a big business.

You know what would be useful to help in such things... a truly localised website that people check on a regular basis for matters such as recycling, reuse and charitable matters, where they can be advised of and/or report on such things immediately.

Now, wouldn't that be a great idea?

Hidden in plain sight.. er.. site

This is fast becoming a 'memo to self/staff', but as the latter seem to find my blog more useful and fun than anything I say in person, it's worth sharing here.

Just now a lovely lady from our Council (well, a company they are paying/subsidising... now there's an idea!) knocked on the door and asked me if I'd like to know about a scheme to give me money to lag, draft exclude and all manner of other neat stuff. Give me money!? Of course I would! Saving green, both moolah and planets, is where I'm coming from!

I now have a form. And freephone.

What would have been nice would be a website… now there's an idea!

Anyway, no sooner had I popped back upstairs and online than I find a press release telling us green waste gathered from a certain council’s gardens is being recycled and used in parks and flowerbeds throughout the borough. Cool. These guys are on the ball, and I am sure the residents are well aware and a well-coordinated scheme is matching supply and demand.

If not, a website would be useful here... now there's an idea!

Now, I wonder if the same thing happens in our postcode - where would I go?

A website would be useful… now there's an idea!

I now am on my fourth composter (courtesy of neat subsidies for all the bins).

If you want to know how, well, a website would be useful… now there's an idea!

Anyway, around our home there seems to be an excess of supply vs. demand. It would be good to get rid of it. So we're on the case (well, when Emma reads this we will be).

If there is something, we'll ask the guys in question to post it on their very own content page.
And when they don't we'll find the time to do it for them.

That way when the public ask about such things, they'll soon find there's one place they know will have, or soon get, the info and answers they need.

Now there’s a good idea!

No use having an great idea if you can't tell anyone

It is agreed; it's too long. My blog, that is.

So I am going to try a new tack, which is basically punting a notion (a short one) up there as soon as it strikes. These two lines don't count, right?

As you may know, we have not yet launched 'properly' to the public. We want to stock it up a bit more with data and ideas before we push the big PR button. And to do this, we have been approaching fmcg blue-chippies to do just that. No money... (yet, until we've proved we have the visitor numbers. But if anyone does want to get in now...) just an approval and a few minutes of the relevant department's time.

We have not been having the greatest success. I think I know why. Yesterday Uncle Ray, our BizLink business advisor, went through our contacts list and asked about progress.

As I started explaining, he gave me that 'don't procrastinate' smile of his and told me to contact ... this one... and this one (sfx: random finger jabbing)... now! So I did. Know what? Both emails bounced. Know why? Both heads of marketing were 'no longer at that address'. Two, top blue chip MDs, this week, at random. Gone. Sheesh.

This makes my job very difficult. But I guess I should be grateful I still have one.

Even if it writing long blogs.

Can you be good and still have fun?

That thud, just picked up on the Hawaii tsunami sensors, was our lovely Chief of Prose and Comms hitting the floor.

Because, I've gone and done it.

I've pitched our idea to Jeremy Clarkson (well, Top Gear, but I'm sure he reads all the emails).

I'm hopeful, because despite our area of work we often nod in agreement as much as we wince at some of the team's activities, investigations and pronouncements on the activities of the 'mentalists.

We know good. We know fun. We think they may be up for something that does both. Everybody wins. Just like

Fingers crossed!

Does lucky make you good?

Napoleon once said that he wanted (or preferred, which would make more sense), his Generals to be 'lucky'. This seems to be a view prevalent across society today, and applies across just about every job function one can imagine. And lucky can be profitable with many, especially the worlds of finance and football management. A guy is sitting in the hot seat when it all goes right, and all of the sudden they seem to be accorded guru-like status... and rewards. Ditto business. But with a few notable exceptions, luck is not a substitute for talent (though it makes good copy, hence the only winners are the media), and the fall can be hard.

A while ago we submitted ourselves to a BBC reality TV show called The Dragon’s Den, where successful (or possibly 'lucky') business folks got to assess your idea with a view to investment. As we're not averse to a boost from any quarter, and there's always a use for exposure, it seemed a worthwhile effort. Now we're quite glad we didn't get accepted. Despite some reassuring noises in the invitation to submit, it became apparent that there was not so much interest or intention on the part of the programme makers to find genuine opportunities and make them work, but to generate more car-crash TV, with sweating victims crumbling in front of ruthless interrogators.

A lot just didn't make sense to me, and I am a complete novice in such matters. These guys had a brief moment to outline their concept and proposal, the 'Dragons' posed a few questions (often very good ones, and the failure to answer them by the guys on the spot further convincing me that Business Plans were being pre-screened for holes rather than potential) and then wads of cash were pushed across the table to buy in, on the spot, 'take it or leave it'.

And despite the amounts being, to me, relatively minor, a lot of folks gave away their blood, sweat and tears to these guys... and for what? Money is always nice (but equally easy to spend unwisely if not well directed), but other than this and a bit of temporary profile, what were these business brains going to bring to the party?

Well, today it was announced that the company of one the 'judges' of the programme, Red Letter Days (I guess the press will have a field day with that colour), went into administration. Which is quite sad. Especially for any of those 'invested' in. I understand that there is already a new series 'in the can', and it will be interesting to see how the BBC presents it in light of what's happened.

It at least serves to convince me that we delve even more deeply into what any investor can do for us, short medium and long term, as they will us.

We've been lucky. But we want to stay good.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Unfair winds

There were a bunch of shocked people standing in front of their wrecked community. The emergency services were doing well, and there had, mercifully, been no loss of life.

The fragrant reporter who had been wafted in to tell us they were in shock and share their pain was not asking how it felt ('great, moy ‘ouse is a pile of rooble') but actually posing some halfway-sensible questions for once. The council guy seemed refreshingly concerned. The government guy seemed equally concerned, but mainly about his suit, Specsavers no-rims (should have gone to a store that's not for people who sneer), bouffant, derriere and hence not saying anything (though not necessarily in that order).

Especially he did not seem to be saying anything that might actually commit to helping those who had just suffered a major disaster, which may or may not have been as a result of a bit of climate changing in an unexpected manner.

Is it just me, but if this was a Birmingham not in... (somewhere not the USA, but unlike them not expected to deal with its own mess), but good old Brum, just up the road in what I now learn the is UK equivalent of Tornado Alley (I thought I saw Helen Hunt in the pub), would we not already have a set of pearlies atop a pinstripe or bob atop a brooched scarf vowing to send aid?

There you go Emma; a short blog!

Ignorance is bliss

I have a problem. Or rather, has a problem.

First the good news. Even before we launch to the public, we are getting a steady stream of people who find out about us, or stumble across us, and get interested enough in what they see to register. Or at least try to. A percentage express the desire, but there are those who do not complete. The process we use is in common use on the net, and uncomplicated.

All we ask is a name, email and first block of postcode. Then.. send! For reasons of security and personal protection this is immediately replied to with a simple link, clicking on which automatically completes the registration. But we do get some who do not, and we do every so often write personally to remind them and ask if we can help in case of problems.

There are a few possible reasons for them not confirming:

* they didn't receive the confirmation email to activate your account (and we know ISPs like AOL have firewalls that can cause problems)

* they forgot to activate their account, hence our reminder!

* they entered an invalid email address (twice), in which case they were really having a bad day and are lost in the e-ther

..or, sniff, they changed their mind about registering. Fair 'nuff.

There could of course be countless reasons why someone may find out about us, surf enough to get interested, sign up but subsequently decide not to have access to a FREE environmental information resource such as ours and, when personally contacted and reminded in case of error, decline.

But a council waste minimisation officer and a schools environmental education officer?

Now... THAT baffles me.

At least they won't be reading this blog