Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I say... do as I say, ok?

Let me get Jeremy Clarkson out of the way right now (and I don't mean
in the Colin Challen sense - see previous blog).

In a piece in the same paper, that was nothing to do with anything
ENV/Rec, I had a bit of an eye opener. Seems about 20-odd years ago,
just outside Cannes, the man-boy himself had an adventure in his
Dad's 6-berth gin palace. The era and the location and the hardware
therefore leads me to suspect that Jezza's origins are not quite like
other folk. As they say, the rich are different to you and me: they
have more money.

And not worrying too much about many day-to-day concerns can often
shape the way 'one' views life, and how it gets lived.

But at least he's not telling me from on high how to live mine, and
good job too; as I suspect if he did he'd have little appreciation of
what I am juggling at the mo', just trying to keep things real.

It did set off a notion, though. And casting my twitching eyebrow
about several other, more 'e-focussed' samples from the media, I get
the feeling that there some writing on our behalves who do move in
more 'elevated' circles than the norm. What I once assumed to be the
empoverished writing arm of the urban glitterati's chattering classes
seems to have been hijacked: by those who operate on a slightly more
upwardly mobile fiscal basis in plotting the courses set by their new
ethical compasses.

So we have ladies who take taxis to visit their eco-coordinators.
Stories about the new breed of e-yuppies who are eschewing big cars
in favour of Priusses (though usually by buying one as well as the
fast one and the off-roader) and cutting back to one or two overseas
flights a year only (I read a great piece by some double-barrelled
lovely who 'could have gone anywhere for the weekend' but plumped for
Lisbon. Nice. We were torn between a walk in the local park, doing
the garden or an Xbox evening in... and even for those options we are
indeed luckier than most). Or the odd poacher-turned-gamekeeper
(more estate owner turned, well, still estate owner, but not driving
about it as much, one presumes) feature writer who used to
hunt'nshoot'nfish dad's estate, but now finds reading about 4x4's
selfish as he visits the planet's other side.

Now, you are who you are and you've got what you've got. But by golly
I'd love a bit more input and advice that I can identify with as I
try to marry good e-practice with the fiscal realities of balancing a
normal household lifestyle and budget. And no, not from the other
extreme of some cave-dweller skinning their own vole to toast in the
solar oven.

Something that helps me make a difference that I can actually afford,
fit in with my work, kid and other obligations, reasonably get on
board with without starving, dying of boredom or killing myself, and
then share with the rest of you as doable. OK... yah?

It ain't WHAT you know, it's also who YOU know (who can share lots more what's)

Fairly soon now, you'll be seeing a bit of a change in Junkk.com. Hopefully improvements all round that will get you to what you want to know even more easily and quickly.

Of course, much of what we can share depends on what we're told, and we're still having fun getting some public servants to help us, help them... help you. I guess we still have a bit of work to do to get them on the side of the public, communication-wise.

So we still find ourselves happily relaying the words to the wise from those with much bigger budgets, more staff and resources. 

But we'd like to think we can add our own little contribution. As with the following, to which I have added a few Junkkly extras that may or may not help, but at least show that at Junkk.com we are trying our best to identify with you as much as possible:

* Over six million trees were bought last Christmas in the UK, most of which were thrown out after December, creating over 9000 tonnes of additional rubbish -  buy a tree with roots so it can grow again.

Hmn, how does one heft one of those into the lounge? And nothing like watering through to the shag pile to make for a good brown stained-start to the year. We still use the plastic tree we bought 20 years ago. Practicalities aside, I don't know which is the better environmental option. Certainly I don't have to go out each year to get one, which in turn has to be brought to the shop to buy. We're honing in on a much rumoured Xmas tree made out of wine bottles we hope to feature!

As regards disposal, I was listening to Radio 2 the other day and a gardening chap said councils are obliged to take them in. These guys have the shredders, so at least it's worth taking them to the municipal dump so they are disposed of as carbon zeroally and compostally as possible.

* Buy electrical goods that run off mains electricity rather than batteries. More than 680 million batteries are bought in the UK each year, but just 5% of those are rechargeable - the rest are land filled.

Or.... here's a notion. Don't buy a gift that uses any electricity at all! Especially daft ones. Check this out from an article headed "A gift list that would get Santa sacked":

A consumer magazine surveyed 12,000 people to issue a "useless" presents list to warn shoppers what not to buy, which was topped with an electric ice shaver, second an ice cream maker and third a foot spa. Also on the 40-plus list of what not to buy were: electric can openers, vertical grills, aromatherapy diffusers, epilators or hair removal appliances, heated rollers, hair curling wands and deli-slicers.Toasters, kettles and hand-held mixers are deemed more useful.

As to the battery issue. Well, of the non-recharge variety, the rest we use in this house don't get landfilled, they go to the self-same municipal dump where the tree would go, as there's a bin there just ready for 'em.

* Over Christmas as much as 83 square km of wrapping paper and 125,000 tonnes of plastic packaging will end up in UK rubbish bins. Use string to tie up your parcels so that the paper can be reused.

But what about the eco-consequences of making string? Just kidding. But have you ever tried wrapping a non-rectangular gift with string, though? I think we'll be sticking (pun intended) with sticky-back plastic (for the older Blue Peter watchers). Our contribution is to use newspaper for wrapping with holly from the garden on top, but that's mainly because we're tight, and the kids don't give a hoot.

* We use an extra 750 million bottles and glass containers and 500 million aluminium and steel drink cans over Christmas - what better way to relieve seasonal stress than smashing your bottles at the bottle bank and recycling your cans.

And.... better yet... visit Junkk.com to see how they can be turned into soemthing else... especially those more exotic shapes you get for the parties. And I do include the cans! There was a Japanese ale I had that came in a alumimiium can shaped like a beerglass. Whipped off the top and it made a wonderful vase!

* Up to 1 billion Christmas cards (17 for every man, woman and child) could end up in bins across the UK. Send recycled cards if you can, and remember not to throw them away when Christmas is over as they can be recycled!

Or... create something snazzy from last years' cards (ok, now you know. Save the bits from this year for next). Or... send a witty e-card you have created, and see if it gets past the AOL filter. But whatever you do, don't just write 'from [your name] and the family' and nothing else. At the very least drop a few lines on what's happened. Otherwise they become what I call POLAR (proof of life annually revisited) cards, and simply are way to let the recipient know you are not dead yet. Which is sad, at best.

* Remember - the main sources of extra rubbish are packaging and cards, glass bottles, drinks cans and Christmas trees, all of which can be recycled! Check your Christmas recycling and rubbish collection times.

Which you can do on Junkk.com when the councils start telling us what they are. Otherwise, we're as [3] wise [persons] as you are. Unless you tell us, of course. We're planning on putting this tool of the people even more in the hands of the people:)