Sunday, 19 April 2009

Some waste-busting highlights from UKAware

Well having stretched my cycling legs to venture into Bury St Edmunds to see Her Majesty last week, this week's adventure was a visit to London. But before you get all excited thinking it was trip to Buckingham Palace, I'm pleased to tell you it was more exciting than a royal garden party. I was indeed off to meet the royalty of UK sustainable living, the movers and shakers who are making it easier for us to live a lighter and brighter life and who happened to be congregating at the green lifestyle exhibition UKAware.

It was a great opportunity to catch up with friends new and old, including Al from Natural Collection, Angus from Ecoboom and Chris from SnaffleUp, as well as my old mucker Tracey Smith, founder of International Downshifting Week and author of The Book of Rubbish Ideas. My only regret was that I'd given myself just 4 hours for the visit. I could have done with a whole day, but here are some rubbish diet treats, revealing my top 10 highlights of the day.

1. Looking for a desktop wormery?

Then look no further than Bubble House Worm Farm's easy solution for somewhere to pop your apple cores and bread crusts. Made from recycled plastic here in the UK they also have a larger version for all your kitchen waste and with its neat design sits well on the smallest of patios. You can even use the top layer as a herb planter. Visit for more details.

2. From recycling to recycled!

Whether you're looking for solutions for sorting your recycling or closing the loop with recycled gifts, take a peek at what The Recycle Warehouse has got on offer. Even the bins, as demonstrated by John are made from recycled materials. Visit

3. Fed up with all your bills arriving through the post?

Then say hello to Gavin from, a brand new one-stop secure service that enables users to easily access bills, statements and correspondence online. He can't do much to reduce your bills but he can certainly help to reduce the amount of paper that lands on the doormat. Visit

4. Onya back, onya side, onya everywhere!

Having been a fan of Onya reusable bags for some time, at last I had the chance to meet the man behind the UK operations, Dan, who was kind enough to offer a discount to offer a 15% discount for bin slimming fans, which you'll find over at For more information about Onya bags, visit Thanks for the discount Dan and I hope you had a good trip back to Suffolk.

5. Want a chance to go potty?

Thanks to a fabulous demonstration from Caro at the Nether Wallop Trading Company, I am now an expert in making paper plant pots. Here she is demonstrating the Paper Potter. Having wanted the opportunity to make my own seedling pots for ages, I couldn't resist buying one and it really is that easy. For lots more sustainable home and garden products visit

6. From Junk to Chic in one beautiful step!

If you've ever wondered whether your junkyard find could have more potential but not sure how, designer Katie from Junkyard Chic is your woman. With a fabulous portfolio of designs, this lady has a talent for converting the most uninspiring piece of furniture into a beautiful and unique work of art for your home. Check out her gorgeous and stylish designs at

7. Solving plastic party nightmares

Thanks to Lucy at Little Cherry, sustainably-minded parents now have a wide range of eco-friendly options to make kids' parties go with a green bang! From recycled plates to compostable crockery and sustainable toys, the company provides a complete solution for planning the best party ever. More information can be found at

8. First impressions matter!

And nobody could agree more than Bruce at First Impressions Last Longer, Europe's first carbon-neutral office supplies company. While doing your bit at home comes easy, the good news is that at last there are simple solutions for the office too. So if you want to upgrade your office supplies to products that create less waste, visit

9. Reuse and recycle your energy!

Not sure what to do with your old batteries? Well this irresistable guy here will show you the way. He's the walking talking battery that promotes the recycling of batteries across the UK. To find out what you can do with yours and how to discover your nearest recycling point, be sure to visit Even better, send them a photo of you recycling your batteries and you can get 50% off USB rechargeable ones.

10. Let the wind be your guiding light!

It's true! You can now turn wind into light without installing your own windfarm in your back yard. If you're looking for a revolutionary decorative outdoor light that doesn't just look good but provides an eco-friendly talking point, then check out the Firewinder. It doesn't need batteries or electrical power, just wind and its effect is stunning. Whether you want to buy one for yourself or distribute them through your business, these are the chaps to contact, inventor Tom and Marketing Director Joe, who've just been told a great joke by our rubbish friend Tracey Smith. For details visit

The Rubbish Diet will be featuring some of these fabulous folk in more detail over the next few months so you can have a closer look at their products and the inspiration behind their ideas. In the meantime, do pop along and have a gander at their websites. You'll never know what goodies you'll find. You'll also find more highlights in the latest edition of Sustained Magazine.

UKAware was a great day out indeed. So huge thanks to the organisers for their vision. And what good timing to hold such an event, as this weekend is also the start of International Downshifting Week 2009.

So if you want a chance to slow down as well as watch your waste, there's no better time to pop over and say hello to the founder Tracey Smith at, where you'll find lots of inspiring ideas.

Ah downshifting eh! After a busy day out in London yesterday, I think today's the day for most definitely unwinding in the garden. It's a bit breezy too, so I now regret not buying that snazzy light. where's that cup of tea......



Tracey Smith said...

Hello lovely girl! I'm currently sat on the sofa in front of a warm fire and still in my pj's....recovering!

It was an incredible 2 days at UK Aware - I was helping host the speaker panels both days and sat on a panel on Saturday discussing 'Simplicity over Technology'...which was fantastic!

But after two days on my feet sandwiched against late nights, I think a slow paced Sunday is in order....

TS x x

Layla said...

Great to hear you had fun!! :)

I love the Junkyardchic lady & her style!! :)

Other ideas are interesting too..
/still wondering if plain old cotton bags aren't better than the indeed-very-fancy-looking Onyas though-?!/

Those little wormeries look interesting too! lol!! Would love to read a 1st-hand report from a user!! :)


Hi Trace - I'm still kicking myself that I didn't get there in time to hear you speak. But I'm glad we had a chance to have a brief wander. I now hope you've had chance to have a good rest and are all set for downshifting week. :-) xxxxx

Hi Layla - Katie at Junkyard Chic does have some gorgeous things doesn't she. I wish I had that talent and the time. Now as for the wormeries, they were great and very compact and superb for ayone who thinks they don't have enough space. And I know what you mean about cotton bags. I have a fine collection myself, but the best thing about the Onya bags that you can't get with cotton, is that they really fold up very small and fit neatly into the smallest handbag and clip on to things too. So you'll never be without a bag. The Weigh bags are great an I thoroughly recommend them. :-D x

Layla said...

Thanks Mrs A!

It also probably depends on different people what they'd feel most comfortable using & lugging around.. :)
plastic-addicts would probably switch to Onya more easily..

I wonder if they can be got locally or just online..


Hi Layla - they happen to have a distribution network. I've often seen them in local shops around the country. Not sure if they ship out as far as Slovenia or indeed the rest of Europe. It's worth a check for anyone interested. :-D

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