Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas One & All!

OK, so you wake up, for no good reason, at 5.30am... what to do?

Well, one thing is realise that you have rather neglected the website a bit.

And it would be remiss to not have a Christmas greeting to Junkketeers far and wide (there may even be an actual 2011 year-end - well, annual, as I think it will be the first - newsletter next week).

I really should have created something whizzily reuseful and original, but that ain't gonna happen today (once I open my presents later, maybe), so was stumped for a picture.

Then I hit upon the true spirit of Christmas, with a side order of innovation and reuse (well, 'ish), in the form of this picture. The boys, of course, will not emerge until midday, but here are my prides and joy doing what comes naturally during the season of goodwill... trying to knock each other off bikes with jousting poles. I guess I should be glad they have at least put boxing gloves on the ends. And they are outside. Not zapping aliens.

What more could a proud parent hope for?

Seasons Greetings all!

ps: And an always worthwhile recycling of a great musical number by our lovely Junkk First Lady: 'The 12 e-ways of Xmas!'

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Hey, who says growing up can't be fun?

Today I reached another grand age.

Not old, but suffice to say, the 'middle' qualifier is a stretch to any with a command of basic maths.

Like, my sons.

However, bless 'em, they had been pestering me what I want for my Birthday for a week.

Thing is, I usually go and get what I need, and what I want seems a luxury these days, so it's not top of mind.

Then fate intervened last night. We were wandering around Morrisons, and there they were.

Yes, you are looking at 3 metal component construction sets. By FIA toys, of the UK.

Better still, guess how much? The two wee ones were a fiver, and the monster... £10. Bang on teen budgets.

And first impressions are... sweeeet.

I may not make the actual intended toys, but I now have a ton more stuff for my prototyping adventures.

There is no mention of Meccano, so I can only presume they are competitive.

Certainly the hole spacings are different, which is a pity, but the hole diameters are a good enough match to engage in some cross-over, which is a real plus (see pix - green and red 'old' Meccano, silver this new stuff).

The quality of metal is nowhere near comparable, but it will suffice for my needs, and beats plastic hands down.

The only critique I'd have is the box, which is pretty big for what's in it, and the foam liner tray, which is unnecessary.

But otherwise, my fun, and hopefully more productive avenues (major prototyping underway on some post RE:tie reuse projects), are assured.

And despite still being a big kid, I feel all grown up.

Thanks boys and missus... best prezzie I could have wished for.

Who knows, maybe even lure them from the XBox as I tinker? Well, a boy... man... old guy can dream.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Where it all happens - shed loads

The Telegraph asked, so...

Given the rather more interesting and historically significant other sheds featured in the series, my rather more prosaic place of inspiration seems a little sore thumb in such company, but I'll take what is offered!

Shame no mention, which is what I was gunning for of course!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

COMPETITION - Lufthansa Air Cargo Innovation Contest

Oo-er, it's been a while.

Not strictly reuse-related (but it could be), but an opportunity to get a prize for a nice eco-idea*:


WHEN: The contest is accepting proposals through December 19, 2011.
WHAT: Lufthansa Cargo Looking for Good Green Ideas -  Air Cargo Innovation Contest
WHAT... MORE?: From the PR blurb:

Lufthansa Cargo is holding a contest inviting people to use their imagination and present their “Green Solutions” and ideas for “Add-On Services” to help reduce the cargo company’s environmental impact and improve their services.

Lufthansa Cargo will award three winners with a trip to Frankfurt, Germany where they will get to present their proposals to engineers and management and disuss how their ideas may be implemented.  Winners will also receive flight training with a Lufthansa Cargo Flight Captain and up to 25,000 Miles and More Miles. In addition, a Most Valuable Participant will be awarded 25,000 Miles and More Miles, based on activity in the contest, quality of contributions and support for other members.

Ideas are posted online where people can review and comment openly.  Proposals can cover any aspect within the Lufthansa Air Cargo Supply Chain (Sales, Handling, Transport, Customer Service) that fall within the categories of Green Solutions and/or Add On Services.  Candidates get the opportunity to receive feedback and exposure from people all over the world.

The contest is open to anyone and everyone no matter where they live.
HOW MUCH: Free! Just as we like it
COMMENTS: Actually a nice contest site set up.

*However, note the rules, especially regarding IP: 'By entering the Competition, participants irrevocably and unconditionally assign, to the extent legally possible, to LUFTHANSA CARGO any and all intellectual property rights'

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Been a smidge lax of late on the blog.

So it's nice to be given a nice reason to post by nice folk.

Especially on that ever-so-worthwhile mutual back-scratching basis.

Stumbled across this recycling info site on twitter:

And was happy to invite them onto the site.

They kindly have reciprocated.

Now I have had a chance to have a quick browse, and it's a nice little resource for anyone wishing to stay abreast of recycling issues and resources, but some other interesting stuff too.

Saw this and thought of our famous Vac:Sac, but more a case of great complements!

Worth a visit every so often!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

"Usually the apples come FROM Herefordshire"

Our RE:tie eco-design goes to town, and wins

It's a nice twist.

Herefordshire is famous for its apples, and on more than one occasion some of our favourite exports have found their way to the House of Commons to highlight all that this fair county can achieve.

However, this time one at least is coming back.

We were invited to a glittering ceremony yesterday at the House of Commons, and came away with a coveted 'Green Apple Award', for our already internationally multi-awarded RE:tie reuse packaging design concept.

Collecting the prize from another eco-winner, Dragon's Den's Chris Hopkins of Ploughcroft, I joked: 'Often when we win such an award the family asks if we can eat it, as while recognition is always great and an honour, trying to promote innovative concepts does make paying the bills always pressing. At least this is getting us closer to food on the table!'.
Things are looking up in this regard. At the recent global plastics conference in Brussels, the RE:tie and its designed-in second-use, consumer end-benefit message was deemed the toast of the event by delegates, with heads of packaging from Heineken, Coca-Cola and Tetra-Pak all expressing interest in finding out more.

Maybe there's more money and jobs in green to be found yet and, more locally, our Herefordshire base can further consolidate its position as the greenest of counties!

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

BOOK REVIEW - Junk for Joy - Sian Berry - 'Fiendishly Good'

Well, OK. I can only testify to one, awesome chapter for now.

You may gather why from the above, if you look carefully.

Amazon has delivered the goods, so a few cosy nights' reading ahead.

The rest will follow.

If you can't wait (and that tantalisingly small thumbnail selection intrigues), then you can always buy the book too:)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Speaking of which...

Yours truly has been invited to speak at a conference.

And considering our ongoing efforts at sharing the joys of reuse in general and designed-in in particular, it is not a bad one to be up on the podium pontificating at either:

Kindly recommended by Junkketeer Neil of Poundland, I am now in the process of preparing my death by .ppt presentation.

And it's not proving easy, or quick.

Not least because new stuff keeps coming along...

Packaging News - Open season on an age-old issue

... I am very glad to say.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Go North Young(ish) Man...woman... and teens

I'd like to claim it was an eco-mission.

But, in reality, it was just our summer hols.

But there were some eco-bits, which I'll share.

Like the EuroTunnel/Star. Greenest crossing. Not by design, but try getting an RV in an EasyJet.

Actually, can't fault it, for speed or price or simplicity. The threatened strike was less thrilling, but we dodged that.

Our route took us from Calais to visit friends in Denmark and then back via a festival gig for the missus in Holland.

Just a few pix and notes of relevance.

N. Europe is covered in wind turbines. 

Big 'uns. Look at that blade on the flatbed in the picture.

And, for the most part, they were turning. Because the wind was blowing.

It was blowing a lot.

I know this as i was driving a high-sided RV weighing not much over a honking great bridge when it pushed on the side like sail... scaaaarrrreee.

Other than this, the recycling was noticeable by its integrated design (those bins above went down into the ground 2-3m, which means a big old bin liner) and relative unobtrusiveness. Though we saw almost no domestic wheelies, and the camp sites were woeful. Frankly camping in any form is not eco, sorry. You generate a lot of mess and are not in the mood to expend much resolving green issues.

Finally there were the museums.

There was one on the German/Dutch border that was great, covering marine history. The boys really liked the toys made by sailors, all of which moved or played, etc.

And then there was the Vikings. We went to a great village recreation.

Hey, those guys had green roofing a long time ago.

And their recycled door security systems were...effective. Nothing says 'who goes there?' liked a skinned hoofed quadruped.

Finally, there was the loo arrangements...

I'll leave you with that image. It won't leave me for a while.

IDEA - Actually more than a few

To make up for not posting for too long.

Paintbrush coathooks my fave, if all mine are straight as I don't bend them that way intending them to get bent; it just happens as I forget.

Monday, August 08, 2011

PR COVERAGE - National Geographic 'Green' Special

This house is stacked to the gunnels with National Geographic Magazines. So many, in fact, that I must confess that not all have been read, though the unfailingly gorgeous photo essays have all been perused.

So imagine my (happy) surprise to be leafing through a 'green' special, and find that has been listed in a top 10 'waste not' collation of sites.

Mainly for our efforts in the area covered by JunkkYard, which is not as great as we'd hope(d), but another welcome bit of recognition and endorsement nonetheless.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Introducing... Junkk Male TweeView, too!

And, at present I have zero idea how I did that.

Zippy. Nada. No.... clue.

I know what it is meant to be.

I vaguely remember toying with a a few buttons on the host site.

But how the heck this epic got produced... beats me.

There appear to be topic headings I chose, and most seem pretty OK.

However it's also clear a bunch of things are getting hoovered in according to basic default settings I have never seen before.

So, Dr. Frankstein gets jiggy with Dr. Jekyll.

So long as it doesn't drop me in it, fine. Seems OK so far.

But have to say that a magazine with a bot as an editor is freaky.

One day I'll remember the passwords and figure out how to get in the back end, much less actually figure out what the thing is up to.

Still, in the absence of a Junkk Newsletter for half a year, I'll live with it for now.

With luck, there'll be food, too

As noted before, my family is a tough crowd.

Many's the time I have bounded into the living room with news of a nice bit of PR, or an award, but these days I usually get a 'Great. Well done. But... can we eat it?'

Well, this time, at least literally, eventually... yes.

There is a 'do' to go with the fact that we have secured yet another welcome award.

And I am rather hopeful, given the calibre of folk we're amongst, and where the ceremony is, there may be the opportunity to parlay this into even more of a tangible rent-paying, food-on-the-table nature.

For now, I am merely rather proud of another notch on the scoreboard that suggests that whatever we are doing, at least some nice folk agree we're still doing it quite well.

Letter from Organisers


I am delighted to confirm that you have won a Green Apple Award in connection with the above project, and I hope you will be able to join us to be presented with your trophy at the House of Commons on November 14.

You have definitely won a Green Apple Award, but we never reveal who has won exactly what until the presentation ceremony itself.

Also enclosed you will find a draft News Release to help you publicise your success up to this point.  

Once you know exactly what you have won at the House of Commons, you can once again adapt the News Release to announce your level of success; and you will find most newspapers and radio stations are keen to carry positive news about organisations doing their best to help the environment.

Please convey our congratulations to everyone connected with your award-winning project and we look forward to the pleasure of your company at the House of Commons.

Yours sincerely,
Roger Wolens

Press Release (Local use) provided by organisers (I hope they are right):

Media Advisory


TEL/FAX: 01604.810507


Eco-website and second use design advocates, based in Ross-on-Wye, have won a Green Apple Environment Award in the national campaign to find Britain’s greenest companies, councils and communities.

They competed against more than 500 other nominations and will be presented with their Green Apple Award at a glittering presentation ceremony in the House of Commons on November 14.

As a result of this success they have been invited to have their winning paper published in The Green Book, the leading international work of reference on environmental best practice, so that others around the world can follow their example and learn from their experience.

They will also be considered to represent their country in the European Business Awards for the Environment.

The Green Apple Awards began in 1994 and have become established as the country’s major recognition for environmental endeavour among companies, councils, communities and countries. 

The awards are organised by The Green Organisation, an independent, non-political, non-activist, non-profit environment group dedicated to recognising and promoting environmental best practice.

Judges for the Green Apple Awards are drawn from the Environment Agency, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, the Chartered Institution for Wastes Management and other independent bodies.

Peter Martin, CEO comments: ‘Beyond a great honour to be in such great company at these awards, it is also another real endorsement for the concept on top of such as the International Exhibition of Inventions Gold  Medal with Congratulations of the Jury in Geneva. And with ‘triple bottom line’ innovation on top of any ‘green business’ agenda these days, we’re hoping this award and our latest new public 'two thumbs up' consumer market research will bring RE:tie’s global potential to the attention of ethical business folk who care about 'green'... in all its forms.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Monday, July 04, 2011

When in doubt, reuse!

I have not written for a while.

So easy to say... 'so much to do; so little time'.

Not really true, but when push comes to shove, you prioritise.

For some reason I am happier in the shed (there is also the slim possibility of a money-making opportunity being created), especially with the sun shining.

And twitter seems to fit in with that better, though she is also a demanding mistress, if not a seductive, addictive drug. If a I miss a few hours' worth, I can convince myself I am missing the seam of gold I search for daily.

That is actually possibly accurate, but a route to madness.

So in penning this rather short post to an infrequent blog series (will try and keep the ideas topped up more, and hope the efforts are being noticed), I now practice what I preach and share this heartfelt posting, with which I fully empathise:

All change!

It is not easy, but it can still be worth it. But sometimes you have to look into the mirror, and after No.1.

Monday, June 13, 2011

IDEA - Food Can Tin Lid

Mundane maybe, but also significant.

Last time I bought food tin covers they cost 50p for two.

This... was free (well, after the cost of the coffee which I bought as a consequence of the TVC - if they can kill passion on coffee grounds, I can sure as heck go one better and do so for a reuse idea).

Also uploaded are the other components (you never know).

Lights on. No one home.

There are many motivations to 'go green'.

Threat. Persuasion. Inspiration, Bribe. Guilt.

Readers of this blog I prefer 'inspiration'. And if that can be tangible in £ terms, then why not?

But often simple self-interest can be the motivator. If it takes nothing but saves a lot, then it's hard to see a down side.

We don't have a big garden area but it's enough to seek night-time illumination on call.

Hence there are several spots around. All LED. All self-contained solar.

Now I can appreciate the solar is not really an option on many public facilities (though often vast areas do suggest opportunity), but for the life of me, and my rate bill, I can't see why the investment cannot be made in a simple timer/ambient light meter combo to spare unnecessary waste (the irony of the sign on the skip next to the floodlight being 'Green waste' is not lost) at 10.15am on a bright day.

Now, who on earth does one contact to share this notion with? On the case.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Facilitating Reuse Designs

Much as I bang on about designed-in reuse, there are other nifty ways to reuse.

These two save space... and a whole lot of plastic.

Spray 'n spout!

Kudos, design whizzes!

Monday, May 09, 2011

Ideas and the costs of having them

Having an idea, even a good one, is just the start.

As I sit here pondering next moves, I had to suppress a chortle at this just-in email which, in earlier times, would have had me possibly reaching for my chequebook:

xxx - where entrepreneurs and investors meet

Dear Peter

With just under two weeks to go until our next xx Event, we are seeking wilful entrepreneurs with good strong ideas to step forward and grab with both hands, the opportunity to find investment from some of the best Angel Investors the Midlands has to offer.

If you have not already registered for the event, click here. The event costs £799 +VAT which includes help developing your business plan, and attendance at our pitching workshop.

Now, older, wiser, and poorer, I have a more cautious view on where money gets 'invested', by whom, and why.

Also wonder if the really meant 'wilful'? Perhaps, considering the 'deal' proposed, they did.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011


An article in the latest FMCG (p24) caught my eye.

Entitled 'Closures: a changing industry', it could have been written for and about RE:tie.

Just look at the subhead! Helping environment and 'ageing population'.


Naturally, I am trying to reach the author.

As so many doors close, maybe this one may see a chink of opportunity?

IDEA - Reused toy ties

Site's been a bit lonely lately.

So let me add a quick idea from the weekend.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

And the winner in this category is... from another category!

The life of the lone inventor can be, well, lonely.

But there are rewarding times. A nice piece of PR coverage, or a juicy award can perk one up and re-energise the efforts to get your baby 'out there'. And an award can lead to PR, or both, with a fair wind and the right person down the line to take note, it can mean things get escalated to a more productive level.

Maybe, even, revenue. Because of course, as the family wearily asks when I burst in with some great news, if the answer to 'can we eat it?' is no, the rewards are seldom immediate or tangible, other than down the line. Possibly.

So, with some highs and lows through bitter experience, I have tended of late to be a bit more circumspect, even with time, and especially where money is involved.

But if you are in a lull, with not much happening, it can be darn tempting to risk a roll of the dice to get things moving again. Even if you don't win you may place, and even if you don't place you may get under the gaze of a judge who sees merit (and has a mate), or simply lurk in the brochure where that perfect fit person may be idly glancing through.

So it was that I was flattered by a contact by a major packaging industry trade media editor getting back to me in response to the latest PR on the RE:tie (very positive consumer market research results), but also with a suggestion that I enter their transatlantic awards.

I was, I do confess, flattered, and even after discovering this invitation was, of course, to spend money entering, still tempted.

What clinched it was the categories.

Because there, amongst all the high-profile, mega-player stuff, was a diamond of opportunity gleaming in the prospecting pan.


Best packaging for functional drinks
Best closure for functional drinks
Best functional drink label


However, when the press release and subsequent PR arrived post event, excitement turned to disappointment, and then confusion, and then something more.

Remembering there was really only one category of relevance, which I confirmed...

Me - This seems to be the only category of relevance: Best closure for functional drinks

...and had double confirmed:

Organisers - I would agree that this would be the best category for you to compete in.

Imagine how one feels that to find there not only is there no winner or finalists... the category doesn't seem to exist at all either!!!!!

On querying the missing entry, and mine in particular, I have had this reply:

'I have contacted Bill Bruce who was the chair of the judging panel to explain this, although he is currently in Washington DC at the moment he wanted to get back to you as soon as he could and has provided this statement for you:

'We received a very low number of entries in the closure category and in discussion with the judging panel it was decided to evaluate each entry against its particular criteria and then review the packaging entries to include closures.

As chair of the panel I can assure that full attention was given to each and every entry and that all outcomes were fairly decided. It is always unfortunate to have to revert to the position of 'the panel's decision is final' but in this case I consider this to be the correct decision for the competition.

The Junkk closure was featured for a long time during the awards presentation last night at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington DC and received a great deal of interest. It will further feature in the Awards Showcase magazine which will be included with the next issue of Beverage Innovation magazine. We will be very interested to follow this product when it is fully commercialised.''

Now, this really didn't quite answer my questions, or seem adequate in the circumstances, so I followed up:

'I very much appreciate you pursuing this so promptly.

I also appreciate Mr. Bruce taking the time to reply.

Whilst noting the positive aspects of the long feature and consequent interest during the evening, plus subsequent inclusion in the magazine(s), and interest in the product once commercialised... it's all nice but... not really the same as winning or being placed in an award for one's product in the specific category created and advertised, that was ideal to highlight it.

I just wondered if you and Claire [Editor] had any thoughts to share before I comment further.

Noting we are two cultures separated by a common language, it's possible that I have interpreted Mr. Bruce's statement in an Anglocentric manner that could have failed to appreciate the full scope of what he may have been trying to convey.'

Sadly, the exchange now seems to have stalled. Basically I am left with the notion that I entered in good faith, paid, and then less good faith kicked in thereafter. And it's all, like, tough, as 'judges' decision is final'?

Now, what to do? Especially as I seem out of pocket, out of luck, and out of my mind trusting any industry awards having had the exact same thing happen before!!!!

Why I did not kick up on that one more at the time I do not know. This time, I just might.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Moving targets

I plod along trying to market RE:tie.

Every so often something resonates.

Forget the Treehuggers: Five Ways to Attract the Less Stereotypical Green Consumer | Fast Company

Especially this bit:

'they’re just as concerned with practical values like price, quality and convenience as they are with do-gooder values like local, organic and fair trade'

Plus, quite a lot else, frankly...

'Making a product that’s good for our planet is nice, but it’s not enough'

'More and more, New Consumers are asking, "What’s in it for we?"

'The DIY mindset has become a way of life for many New Consumers'

'The psychological shift from all-out consumerism to a simpler, more self-sufficient life also presents an opportunity to tap into the exploding "access economy."

I have chipped in:

"More and more, New Consumers are asking, "What’s in it for we?" '

And why not? Too much in green is predicated on rather nebulous notions of what's 'good', and losing sight of for whom.

Reduction is probably best, planetary speaking, but kind of tricky to make a profit from in consumables. Recycling is OK, but many tend to forget who is being asked to do what and for whose benefit.

Inbetween lies reuse, somewhat of a lonely place too often, especially in marketing innovation.

It needn't be.

It is possible to do the job, add value, and save the planet. You may not even need to get rid of stuff or make new things... just need to think laterally.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Japan - Priorities

I simply need to know what I can DO, sensibly, in the UK, to help.

I have near given up on our media.

Streaming footage from helicopters trawling about showing SOS signs atop buildings, having evidently made a call on what they might mean, yesterday pushed me to irony overload.

Meanwhile endless 'experts' guessing what 'could' have happened and 'may' yet, across a variety of issues.

The time for such self-serving ratings-driven analysis or, worse, tribal issue debating, is not now.
[Addendum - at risk of becoming part of the blame culture I criticise, this nonetheless is an interesting tally to show what has so disappointed me]

I am not sure if money is what is needed, but if it is, convince me that it goes to where it will do most good, and will get deployed fast, and the online DD is created.

But what I do have in the loft is stuff 'for a rainy day' or my kids' futures. These I can buy again in my own sweet time.

Blankets, tents... if these can be got to an airfield and arrive in Japan to do some good in 24hrs, just let me know.

But spare me the utter horse manure disaster porn I am currently getting from near all of our sorry media.

Day 4 - I am today trying to put together a newsletter to inspire folk into doing something productive locally, as I am trying to do via our local paper. One thing is trying to assess what best defines 'humanitarian needs'. It seems tents may not be it. OK. Food is mentioned more. I am not sure about the logistical wisdom of sending a can from here, so one does need to be guided by those more experienced. However the international/national media remain less than helpful in this regard.

Maybe money to a charity is best. But choose, and invest, with care.


Well, it has almost been a week now, and while things have certainly not settled down (anything but) it may soon be time to move on. I'll be moving this to the home page for a while, and leave the blogs free for, well new blogs.

Some have asked me why I have not indulged in the ongoing 'discussions' regarding the nuclear situation. I have actually addressed it on twitter, but even there gave up. There is no point in endless speculation. Something very bad happened the other side of the globe and, with luck, no worse to follow. All I know is that the Japanese are a generous nation, and have never stinted in helping others. Now it's their turn. May we find the best way(s) to do this.


STOP PRESS - 20/03/11

The author of the piece above, who lives in Japan, has kindly responded to an invitation of mine to share what he thinks is needed most, and when, with most reasonable explanations as to why....

I'm waiting for things to clear enough to allow me to go north and participate in the clean-up effort. In the meantime, I have donated to Second Harvest Japan, who are getting supplies to stricken areas.

What I like about Second Harvest, is that because their supplies are given by donation, the money is used for transportation and such, meaning that 1000 Yen (about $10USD) can supply (by their estimate, admittedly) 10 times that in supplies.

Supplies are important because, as I understand it, the main post-quake cause of death is looking to by hypothermia (due to lack of fuel) and lack of medicine.

For the more conservative, the Japanese Red Cross is also a good bet. People can donate through the link provided by Google:

That page also contains good advice on how to help (Google has a presence in Japan, so they're not just blowing smoke).


ADDENDA - (as I get 'em, I'll add 'em - feel free to suggest any more).

Disaster Japan

Google Home Page

Google Search

More Google resources

Gear diary


Red Cross - specific URL kindly provided by a fellow commenter - - Note: not vetted, but has been passed on

Quakebook - I'm a bit dubious about 'arty'-based donation efforts, as the %ages that come in vs. get passed on can be variable, but some interesting new aspects are presented, esp. in comments, to make this piece worth sharing.

Not saying I agree with it, but a rather off the wall view

A bit of, necessary, light(er) relief.

Does Japan even NEED donations? Another left field post to digest My head aches.

A graphic indication of the scale of the problem.

Not really into disaster porn, but this shows the scale of what took place. This wave was out to sea. Imagine it when making landfall.

Graphic art
in support. Nor all great, but some genius.

All a bit circular, but the latest (after a year's absence) Junkk Newsletter has now gone out. I am hoping to at least inspire/be part of any efforts locally that can be made.

Speaking of priorities, in case you were thinking the world has gone a bit mad....

Dear BBC blog contributor,

Thank you for contributing to a BBC blog. Unfortunately we've had to edit your comment below because it contravened one of our House Rules.

Comments on the BBC blogs will be removed if they contain links to other websites which break our Editorial Guidelines. The URL(s) which failed were: For more information, please visit

BBC Central Communities team

URL of content (now edited):

'...our Science editor, will update us on the situation at the Japanese quake-stricken nuclear plant where radiation levels are now at a level harmful to human health.'

So.... still studiously not worrying too much about that earthquake/tsunami thing that was also involved. Had a bit of an impact too.

Not sure if its the best, but many have told me it's up there: [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator - the Red Cross one... unsuitable?????]

Meanwhile, it's nice to know the BBC is sending as many folk as possible over there to fill rooms and consumer resources, mainly to talk to folk they just left back here.

Guessing the carbon-saving thing is on hold too.

ps: Unverified, but credible, bearing in mind a disaster relief URL was 'unsuitable' whilst their pet fun run one was being pushed 24/7:

@OldHoborn -
Remember, without £119,946 donated by YOU to #comicrelief, the "Black Association of Women" would struggle for funds

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Trying to discipline myself to blog more.

This seems as good a hop back on the horse as any.

It's not the first, and won't be the last, of a bunch of reactions to a less than stellar interviewee from the EU high command rather showing up some key gaps in her knowledge, and one presumes the overall scheme of things she represents.

Readers of this blog will know I have rather studiously steered clear of matters (A)GW. Too many unknowns; too much contention. Vast amounts of heat and little light.

I tend to restrict myself to areas I have more confidence with, such as reducing waste or improving efficiencies.

However, with some science and engineering in the educational background, and communications experience throughout my ad career, I still crank an eyebrow when things don't add up, and especially when such poor arithmetic is either poorly sold or, worse, wilfully misrepresented.

Hence I was transfixed by this exchange. It can be heard verbatim via the link above (though actually the whole segment is worth a listen), and even transcribed here.

Often all you need is the words, unadorned, and especially not 'interpreted' as too often happens with some 'reporting' media, to get a pretty good idea of what calibre of thinking can be deployed in the name of our kids' futures.

I was moved to comment recently on an uncritical puff piece about the future of electric hybrid cars, citing a Rolls Royce variant.

Perhaps the future does lie in such technologies, but with luck also gets its head around more immediate aspects of physics such as the energy required to propel a 4 person car that weighs twice as much as necessary.

Those in charge really seem to have no clue on the basics.

Friday, February 04, 2011

OT - charity promo

Tend not to pass on things that are too OT, but this is a nice, local-ish charity event for a very good cause.

As received:

I am doing a trip around the edges of Wales on my mobility scooter to raise money for The Royal British Legion, Help for Heroes and 1st The Queens Dragoon Guards. The trip, all being well will last about 46 days and I will cover approximately 1200 miles.

* By putting up a poster, there is a link to an A4 poster on the website (in PDF format).
* By making a pledge, this can be done on the website, no monies will be collected until after I have completed the trip.
* Or by spreading the word?

If you would like more information about the trip please see the website, or give me a call. Any help is greatly appreciated.

IDEA REQUIRED - Bottle/Can Combo

Sometimes, things just seem to 'fit together'.

This is such an instance.

As stated, no idea what use it may be... yet... but that's the beauty of this whole deal: one may well yet be suggested.

Trying to figure out the best way to link combo ideas on the site, but I will be posting them here and, in turn, twitter.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Blimey, who does a guy have to sleep with these days to cop a break?

Many will know of our RE:tie concept.

Some may be aware that not only does it confer some advantages eco-wise to the packaging diaspora, the public is on board and we can prove it. Big time.

Many in the industry are aware of this.

Many public bodies, quangos and professional bodies, often flush with green funds to throw about, are aware of it.

Even a few media are, though I do need to get my act together on more PR pronto.

But the old eyebrow does crank when such as this comes out:

Just how much more, more quickly, could I get a genuine, public-pleasing, actual green concept to market, if blessed with new Wrap-sponsored research? Like some others, more blessed.

Pear Pair

This is prompted by my latest data upload.

Which means that when this goes up, the two will complement each other, at least until the next idea/blog swings in, thus making sense of my headline:)

I think I have pretty much covered the various issued raised on the product upload page.

(Over-)packaging to avoid damage & food waste vs. alternatives.

Inability to assess recyclability.

The true joys of potential reuses!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Lightweight Commentary

I do science me.

Often, badly, along with my woeful maths, but bear with me.

I was about to pop these two fellows in the wheelie when I noticed something.

Accepting the left one holds 75cl and the other 70cl, the former weighed in at 550gm, whereas the latter was 320gm.

That... is quite a difference, and I presume a clear example of lightweighting.

What I can't testify to is the relative in-transit breakage levels, but as an example of what can do the same job for a lot less, and consequent freight energy savings, that seems significant.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

JUNKKYARD - Odd post - Box clever

Sadly, I have allowed JunkkYard to wallow.

This on top of never really seeing its potential way back when Junkk was first designed, over a decade ago.

That honour goes to Deron Beal, I think, but what has transpired since makes it all rather murky.

Anyway, I just wanted to make a pitch for how useful it can still be.

So if you are near Hereford and need a bunch of boxes, have I found a mother lode for you:)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

REPAIR - TIP - Sticky Knobs

Oo-er, missus.

All through my ad career I always got my best briefings on the client's product not from the marketing guys in their ivory towers, but from those in sales. The ones dealing with the thing, and customers, day-in, day-out. Who I dubbed 'the sharp end'.

They knew the product backwards, its foibles and fabluousness. Plus, of course, the audience.

It's the same with the world of engineering repair.

For some reason, we are going through a spate of break-downs at Junkk Towers.

Age the primary reason. With which I can identify. But also poor design.

Luckily, our belief in repair has meant we have invested in insurances to cover such eventualities, even though I suspect we are paying more as a consequence over the lifespan of kit we're nursing things along.

And this means I have been happy to meet, and chat, with a bunch of cheery guys who know their kit backwards... faults and fabulousness both... as they sort 'em out.

I have just bid farewell to Dave who fixed our oven. A sticky fan was a fuse blow away. But in replacing that I also gleaned a ton of other useful snippets. Seems insurances don't cover self-tapping screws pulling out as 'rust' is excluded. On a device meant to create heat and steam in a steel box that seems quaint. But he was up for a quick bolt substitute.

In passing, he also noted the hob burner rings were now too old to be efficient and needed replacing. These are the metal plates that create the mini gas jets in a circle. Worth investing on new ones for more gas efficiency.

Sadly, with a fried circuit board in the microwave it was deemed easier and cheaper to buy a new one than replace. Good job we still had the 2-ton mechanical monster in the basement. And it works.

But today's tip concerns knobs. Specifically the on/off switch to the washing machine.

I thought it was broken and had booked a repair. Dave knew better.

And his solution...? Spray furniture polish. Worked a treat. I suggested WD40, but he said the polish was better, and smelled nicer.

I just put the phone down to the insurers. That's a van and man not having to come out Monday. And a little bit of planet eased along a smidge better as a result.

Mr. Sheen... we salute you in your new role.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

BACKSCRATCHING #101 - Friends in Deed

What a nice email greeting to start the day:

Junk or treasure?

Before you bin anything, stop! Find out if there is another use for your junk, and save money, time and the planet. Or maybe you have some suggestions for what other people can do with their junk? Browse some wacky ideas at - just click on the 'Ideas' tab. Best Wishes, Rita @ Friends of the Earth

The FoE daily tips are nice enough - free, fun and useful - in their own right, but when one becomes the subject... better still!

Well worth signing up for.

Also linked opposite>>>>>

Monday, January 24, 2011


This is a new 'regular' heading.

Similar to Prof's Posers, but seeking to tap into the vast seam of common sense and DIY innovation out there, rather than pure science.

That said, a hint of enviROI may creep in, still.

For Xmas, I was given a paper log maker, well worth a Google of that term to see extent of styles and prices.

This, I believe, was a common design sourced in our case (at a sale discount @ £14.99) here.

Now, as the video attached shows, it is not brain surgery. Takes me back to my papier mache days, if without the glue.

It's a metal box that you stick wet paper in and compress into a brick. Then leave to dry.

Now, I am fully aware that there are some aspects of this that will require effort, and to maintain the eco aspects, it best be human.

I am working on the compression side too, but production line aspects rather mitigate on this being too involved, or long in duration. Unless these things burn for a long time, that is a lot of input for about 30 minutes of fire, equating to a log of that size.

Where I am interested is improving the production of paper mulch. Yes, I could sit over a bucket and rip up old papers and card, but that is not looking a great option.

So far I am stuck in an electric rut, from the office shredder to the leaf blower to the twig cruncher.

I am just wondering if there is a brain wave out there on something hand-cranked, which can turn a lot of paper and card into a lot of shredded stuff. All to then make into logs... one brick at a time.

Oh, and from that video... not sure if adding bleach is that eco in the planetary sense, much less economic. May pass on that.

Addendum 1

Thanks to some nice early input in the comments, a new option in complement at least is presented, which I will be scoping asap, and will then report further:

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Irene Burnett Martin, Junkk Matriarch of Thrift, 31 July 1921 - 8 Jan. 2011. RIP

Beloved Wife to and Widow of John Denis.
Loving, loyal and endlessly supportive Mother to first, only son Peter & then daughter-in-law Joan.
Generous & devoted Grandmother to Kipp & Cody.

Peacefully, in her sleep, after a period of a few months' unfortunate but still happily comfortable and pain-free consignment to her bed.

Beyond all she gave our family, she unhesitatingly helped without question to keep going, and will in so many ways always still do so. Her belief in the concept has been its bedrock and got us through some difficult times.

It's a legacy we hope she will have taken with her that will always be tangible, and mean a lot to all who have, are and will continue to benefit from a small way to spare wasting anything unnecessarily. Something she was most concerned never to do.

That, and having the cheekiest sense of humour to delight all who knew her, right to the moment she rejoined her life partner and soul mate.

Sorely missed. Never to be forgotten.

Update - 12/01/2011

Junkk First Lady Joan has kindly created a special page to carry evolving news and information for any who new Mum -