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The cutting edge of eco-friendly style

OLD curtains, sheets and junk clothing have been transformed into cutting-edge fashion by school and college students.

The aim of the event, which included Longcroft School, Bishop Burton and East Riding College, was to highlight the mountain of clothing sent from the county to landfill.

GREEN IS THE NEW BLACK: From left, Charlotte Smith,15, Linzi Hirst, 14, Susan Ktchen,15, back, and Hannah Hurt, 15, of Beverley Longcroft School, with some of their creations that won them accolades at East Riding Council's Recycling Fashion Awards. Picture: Simon Kench

Organised by East Riding Council, it culminated in an awards ceremony, held at Bridlington Spa where the students got to show how unwanted items can be creatively recycled.

East Riding College student Liz Shipley, of Brandesburton, was the winner in the 16-plus category after crafting a wedding dress made from a pair of curtains.

The mature student, who is studying a BTEC in fashion and clothing, said: “I was thrilled to win. I designed a spring equinox bridal gown.

“It took quite a while to make, but I was pleased with the finished product.

“I think it’s a great idea to show what can be done with clothes which would otherwise be thrown away.”

Longcroft became the first school to take part in the annual competition.

Pupils in the 14 to 15 years category had to make an outfit from a discarded pair of jeans and T-shirts.

The winner was Hannah Hirst.

Her teacher Elaine Cherington, said: “In the current financial climate, it is a great idea to try to divert clothes away from landfill.

“All the students enjoyed taking part and they used clothes that otherwise would have been thrown away.

“I was impressed with what they made.”

A mountain of clothing, weighing up to 4,000 tonnes, equivalent in weight to more than 3,500 Mini Coopers or nearly four million pairs of jeans, is thrown away across the East Riding every year. Much of this clothing could have been repaired or refashioned.

Councillor Stephen Parnaby, leader of East Riding Council, who presented the awards said: “They have shown that not only are they into their fashion, but are conscious of the need to reduce the amount of clothing sent to landfill every year from the East Riding.”

The winning entries will be on display in the entrance to the Treasure House, Beverley until Thursday.


Coca-Cola Pushes New Eco-friendly Labeling In China

Coca-Cola (China) has announced that the company has replaced the PVC labels used on its full-line of products in China with the new environmental ones to reduce the pollution risks caused by improper handling in the recycling procedures.

Chinese local media reported that starting from 2007, Coca-Cola launched a campaign involving many departments to develop new environmental materials to replace the PVC labels. From 2010 to 2011, Coca-Cola established a non-PVC films supply chain in China.

Bai Changbo, vice president for public affairs and communication of Coca-Cola Greater China, told local media that replacing PVC with non-PVC ones is a specific move for Coca-Cola’s realization of the sustainable packaging strategy on the sustainable development platform.

Coca-Cola is the first international beverage enterprise which removed the PVC labels from its full-line of products in China, said Zhao Yali, chairman of the China Beverage Industry Association. They hope more enterprises will pay attention to packaging innovation and environmental protection, and work together to promote the sustainable development of the entire industry.

PVC, which is the abbreviation for polyvinyl chloride, contains elements that can reportedly increase the risk of cancer. Incineration of PVC waste will also produce cancer-causing dioxin and pollute the atmosphere.

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Eco Chic

Left to right: Eco-chic designs from Helen Lee, Niki Qin and Camilla Wellton. Gao Erqiang / China Daily

China and Sweden come together for a new approach to sustainable style, Mary Katherine Smith finds out in Shanghai.

Trying to be fashion-forward while at the same time eco-friendly doesn’t mean wearing a burlap sack and 10-year-old T-shirts, at least not for the designers behind the Swedish Institute’s “Eco Chic – Towards Sino-Swedish Sustainable Swedish Fashion” exhibition, currently in Shanghai. Whether it is shoes that are made by hand and use naturally tanned leather, a coat made from recycled polyester or wool products that are locally and organically sourced, each of the Swedish designers featured in the exhibition demonstrate how even fashionistas can be green. The 20 Swedish outfits shown at the exhibition not only push the envelope in their designs and concepts but also show how those in fashion can be more environmentally and ecologically friendly in the way they make their products.

Kajsa Guterstam, the project manager from the Swedish Institute for the exhibition, says the theme is meant to inspire people to be more sustainable one step at a time.

“No one can guarantee to be entirely eco-friendly. It’s really difficult and they might end up not doing it,” she says.

That gives designers the encouragement to make small or significant changes to their production. “It’s a humble way and the only way to move toward a more sustainable way of living.”

While eco-friendly fashions may not be on the radar for most in the industry, Guterstam says it’s an important market. Environmental issues are something we all have to deal with, she says, “so we ask ourselves: ‘How can I contribute to make my living more sustainable?’ Clothes are something that applies to everyone”.

The Swedish labels included in the exhibition were picked based on how ecological the products are, whether they use organic or locally sourced materials, methods of production and whether they reduce the supply chain. Many are leading designers in the Scandinavian country; some have collaborated on special lines for international chains like H&M.

For a few of the featured artists, it is more than just making a fashion statement. “The way you dress yourself expresses how you feel,” says Camilla Wellton, whose fashions are featured in the exhibition. “In turn it shows how (you) treat the environment.”

“Beauty is not about being outwardly beautiful,” says Emy Blixt, founder and creative designer of Swedish Hasbeens, which sells handmade and eco-friendly clogs, shoes and other accessories. “Making goods that don’t harm the environment is also beautiful” she adds.

The exhibition, started in 2008, has already traveled to eight other cities around the world, but its stop in Shanghai is unique. Along with the 14 Swedish designers that make up the exhibition, seven established Chinese designers and two Chinese students from Raffles Design Institute of Donghua University are included in the show.

The Shanghai installment of the exhibition offers a mix of more practical and ready-to-wear items that are iconic, while the Chinese designs showcase how clothes can be fashionable and organic.

While finding organic materials is difficult in China, designers like Shanghai-native Helen Lee are making it their mission. She’s made changes in how and where she sources some of the products and reuses leftover material for other garments or accessories.

She says one way to start is by educating her customers about the value of sustainability. Like Blixt from Swedish Hasbeens, Lee thinks that fashion and beauty go beyond the surface level. “Fashion is about beauty,” she says, “and more importantly, inner beauty.”

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Firecrackers go green this Diwali

Diwali promises to be truly a festival of lights this year with an increasing number of environmentally-conscious people in the metros, especially in the national capital, opting for eco-friendly and smokeless firecrackers.

Made of recycled paper, eco-friendly crackers do not contain as much chemicals as conventional firecrackers, and thus emit less smoke and noise. “Unlike the normal cracker making method, the eco-friendly crackers are based on vacuum combustion method. These crackers produce colourful sparks with a considerable sound and less smoke,” A. Muthu, a fireworks dealer in Sivakasi, Tamil Nadu, told IANS.

“All the major metros demand eco-friendly crackers, while people in villages and small towns still prefer high-decibel crackers,” Muthu said.  According to a recent survey by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), Sivakasi, home to over 9,500 firecracker factories, produces almost the entire fireworks output of India.

It has increased production of smokeless firecrackers due to rising demand. “With demand increasing for environment-friendly crackers, we are producing more of them by adding less of chemicals like sulphur and potassium nitrate,” another dealer S. Anbumani said.

He said Delhi and Kolkata lead in the purchase of these varieties.  “There is definitely a shift in choice among the customers. Earlier, they used to prefer high-decibel crackers. Now, over 55 percent go for eco-crackers, which do not cause much noise pollution,” said Piyush Sharma, a shopkeeper in Sadar Bazar in Delhi.

Costing from Rs.15 to Rs.3,500, these crackers are also less expensive than the traditional ones. “The ‘magic whip’, a long red-coloured string which doesn’t emit smoke, whistling sparkler and crackling bullet — a rocket which produces a colourful explosion, are good option for kids,” another shopkeeper Shavi Aggarwal said.

And for people who want to have a blast on Diwali, these varities are great for having fun without feeling guilty about harming the environment. “Diwali is known for fireworks, it is not complete without bursting crackers. So the best way is to opt for eco-friendly crackers and save the environment without dampening the festive mood,” said Akhilesh Gupta, a businessman.

Article excerpted from

Firecrackers is going green too? That’s a great news to everyone who celebrate in this festive season. Anyway, be sure to play safe with the fire. Have a fun Deepavali day ahead.

Singapore’s Supermarts Go Green With Eco-Features and Products

Cold Storage has launched its first green supermarket in Jalan Jelita, with eco-friendly features such as energy-saving lighting and chillers. The chain of 42 supermarkets also stopped selling shark's fin and other shark products from last Friday. (Straits Times Photo/Desmond Lui)

Shoppers passionate about the green movement now have an ally in the supermarkets.

The major ones in Singapore have been doing more to promote environment-friendly consumption by expanding their range of eco-products and introducing green features and practices in their outlets.

Retailers say it is because the green movement has gained momentum in Singapore and shoppers are now more eco-conscious.

Since last Friday, for instance, the Cold Storage chain of 42 supermarkets has stopped selling shark’s fin and other shark products so they are no longer party to endangering the survival of the fish.

The move was taken under the chain’s partnership with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Singapore to promote the consumption of seafood that is caught or farmed responsibly, so it is not eaten to extinction.

Cold Storage outlets now offer more than 10 sustainable seafood items, including red snapper from New Zealand and mussels from Australia. These items are identified by stickers marked “Friend of the Sea”, an international non-governmental group which certifies sustainable seafood sources.

Cold Storage has also launched its first green supermarket in Jalan Jelita – it has eco-friendly features such as energy-saving lighting and chillers.

This is Singapore’s second such supermarket, the pioneer being the FairPrice outlet in the eco-themed City Square Mall in Kitchener Road in 2009.

That FairPrice outlet, which has energy-saving lights and refrigeration systems, has expanded its range of environment-friendly products to more than 400 items.

This year, hypermarket Carrefour jumped on the green bandwagon by introducing dedicated checkout lanes for shoppers who bring their own shopping bags.

Cold Storage supermarket chief executive Victor Chia said it is timely for the chain to intensify its green efforts because it has the support of shoppers.

He said: “The awareness of sustain-ability and green issues is up on their antennae.”

He noted that since Cold Storage began selling eco-friendly products about five years ago, its range has grown from 10 products to more than 100 today, with their sales posting double-digit growth year on year.

WWF Singapore managing director Amy Ho said Cold Storage’s commitment to promoting sustainable seafood “makes it easier for consumers in Singapore to play a bigger role in safeguarding the future of our fish stocks”.

Singapore Environment Council executive director Jose Raymond said the various green initiatives by supermarket chains “go a long way in raising the awareness of sustainable living”.

Shopper Jennifer Ow Yeong, a 61-year-old nurse, welcomed the range of sustainable seafood at Cold Storage.

She said: “It is a good thing that shoppers can choose to support the environment by what they buy. I think for that, it is worth paying a little more for sustainable seafood.”

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Supermarkets start to support eco-friendly campaign by reducing the use of the plastic bag and now, they take further action.  This is really encouraging other supermarkets as well. Hope all the supermarkets around the world would start to take the actions too.

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