logo
"growing a green conscious"

"Buy less choose well", Dame Vivienne Westwood

A couple years ago I watched this video,

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/8004710.stm

It was an interview to the person responsible to dress up the Sex Pistols, the one and only, Dame Vivienne Westwood. On this interview, they asked her about fashion in recession and environment, and her top tip was “Buy less, choose well”.

I really admire her after that. It is so true what she is saying, there are so many high street shops that they are producing ludicrous amounts of  “wear me one time and throw me” clothes out there, the  environmental impact that these clothes have is GRANDE. 

First of all the thousands and thousands of cubic meters of water used to grow the cotton, then the energy used to mass produce thousands of garments, plus the fuel and carbon emissions generated for transporting these garments from remote areas to the high street, and the cherry on top of the pie, the five year old hands picking cotton and sewing. So you can have your bad ass hipster East London Plimsoles for £5 quid. Ouch!!!!

In the picture above you can see a pair of Mexican made Levi’s bought in 2008 (left), and a pair of Topman jeans bought like a year ago. I’ve been wearing them all the time for work and going out and I always follow the washing instructions, they are both worn down because I ride my bike all the time and as you can see the Topman jeans are about to get holes anytime soon, and the Levi’s well they still can go on for a couple of years. Oh! and another thing, both jeans were raw blue, like proper old school blue jeans. What did I learn from buying at Topman? Well, that they have shit and expensive jeans that won’t last, and that I would rather spend a tiny bit more for something that would last. Also it doesn’t mean that you have to spend loads of money to get good quality, one good example are DICKIES, Yeah! The cholo’s (mexican gangster) choice. Dude!!! Those things are cheap as F**K and they last you for years, you can even sell them on Ebay after used them for years,  and get a bit of money back while saving the planet . I even gave some of mine to my friends, when I don’t fit in them anymore.

So do like Dame Punk says “BUY LESS, CHOOSE WELL” 

Ps: I always support any thing that is GO GREEN, but not washing your bras? mmmmmmh! Not sure about stinky boobs.

Grooming 1920s style is way better than nowadays

In the summer of 2009 I went to Spain, first to Sonar in Barcelona with some friends and then to Madrid to get some ink and spent some time with my friend Pablo Ash of Estigma Tattoo. When he was tattooing, I went for a walk around the centre of Madrid. Also to check some  other tattoo shops, when I was on my way to see Santa Dolores Tattoo shop, I saw this amazing knives and blades shop. Spanish are good in the blade business. I was looking at the cut throats in the window and then I saw it, it was an exact copy of my Dad’s double edge safety razor, and I bought it. 

I did not realize until recently that my razor was very environmental friendly and cheap compared to the disposable razors or the 5-4-3-2 blade razor cartridges . The US throw away 2 billion disposable razors a year. Each man or woman can produce a cubic feet of disposable razor plastic and non degradable waste in his life time, and now imagine if the guy or the girl is like werewolf and has to shave 2 times a day? Hell loads of razors in a life time!!

Now lets say that you do not use disposable razors but you use the disposable cartridges which has plastic components and metal components. You need energy, I mean mechanical, to break down these cartridges and separate into parts, which is quite difficult because the metal gets loads of plastic residue, and also have you seen the amount of packaging this thing has, again plastic on top of plastic then a little bit of cardboard. 

The single blade on the other side, is easy, put it in a recyclable container then it goes  to the separation facility. In here the forces of the mighty magneto (not the bad guy from the X-men)  will do the job, then goes to metal scrap section ready to get melted and voila! Reincarnation The second life of the razor blade becomes a bicycle fork or a bearing or a Lord of the Rings replica sword. 

Since I bought my razor I saved sooooo much money. One pack with 5 blades costs me 90p. Yup! That’s right 90p. Compared to the £6 for 5  cartridges. Also the single blades last ages and have other uses compared to the other ones that are only designed to shave. 

Okay you want to be more old school than the double razor, and also you want to  pass it to your son, go for the cut throat. I love these things and their lifetime.  They are so beautiful, and they make you look like a real man, but the bad thing is that they are not as safe and are not as practical for the ladies, and if you just don’t want to shave well go for the beard, Jesus had one, he was very cool, he used to walk on the water and stuff, but the down side, you might find hairs on your soup. 

To Beer or not to Beer? I mean imported. (Part 3 FINAL)

Karhu Beer, Finland

Finally I got some strength to finish this post, and to roll up this quickly and summarize the whole post. We have: One bar in London’s West end of 250 peps capacity generates 10.93 tonnes a year, almost everything goes to landfill because there is only one law that imposes recycling to bars or restaurants and that applies only to businesses that handles more than 50 tonnes and has a turnover of more than £2 million per annum. So obviously most of the thousands of bars in this area do not fit in this criteria. I forgot to mention the bar I did the research on, pays £6000 a year for rubbish collection and to provide bins. So if you are doing your numbers now, there is a LOT of money in there. Someone is getting paid too much , or something. You can do a lot stuff with that money. You know? 

Read More

To Beer or not to Beer? I mean imported. (Part 2)

Well, I fixed Rosa’s washing machine and it worked … . for a bit.  

Anyway, back to the beer glass problem, so we have that this bar produces 10.93 tonnes a year which is a lot.  So with these figures, I contacted the main guy that is in charge of the rubbish and  crap produced by the City of Westminster (this is the heart of London just in case you forgot), and he told me that they spend £40 million pounds a year in waste management(2006), and five million  in recycling. 

He also told me that following: IF THE WASTE IS NOT RECYCLABLE IT GOES STRAIGHT TO LANDFILL, please take note on this you will need it for later, landfills are located in Mucking, Buckinghamshire which is 47.63 km from Westminster and also one in Rainham, Essex which is 28 km. Also , the household waste produced a year is 80,000 tonnes of which ONLY 23% is recycled!!  You with me? … I know, is nothing!!! and this is only on the Westminster. All this waste goes to a sorting facility in Greenwich and Erith, and to be honest this facilities are tiny compared to the whole waste coming in from everywhere in London, I’ve seen how they worked and there is no time to separate properly the incoming waste.  So basically the only waste recycled is the one that is separated from the source, which is your home, my home ,and your mate’s next door. So if you are recycling, well done and if you are not shame on you. 

Then I thought why the government do not impose some laws to recycle or something, I mean there is something no? 

I went back to ask some more questions and went to the library (yes I do go to the library sometimes),  did some more research, and I got this:

The City of Westminster only imposes recycling to venues depending on their size and annual income.

Okay, the bar I did the research is quite big so therefore they must recycle no? What is your scale ? or limits ? or patrons? Who made this laws? 

Well, The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2005.

These regulations impose some businesses to register with the Environment Agency or via a compliance scheme. This is to recover and recycle specified tonnages of packaging waste each year and to certify that this recovery has been achieved, and what is the weak point of these regulations : is that it limits the recycling businesses and……. are  you ready?  

IT ONLY APPLIES TO BUSINESSES THAT HANDLES MORE THAN 50 TONNES OF PACKAGING PER ANNUM AND HAS A TURNOVER OF MORE THAN £2 MILLION PER ANNUM !!!!!!!

Like I mentioned before, no one knew how many licensed premises were in the Westend, but you can get an idea with Camden, which has 2,129 premises in 2007 and 2000 of these were pubs, that I don’t think they meet the silly regulations.

I got to go, is my day off and I got looooads of stuff to do. I will continue with the final chapter of this green drama, and give you some pointers of what can you do to help, you might not going to like it but if you care about your planet well ……. 

Oh!, I forgot !!!! For the people in the UK, I know some of you hate them but at least they are doing something better than the off license guy that has products with a big carbon footprints all over his shop, and has the annoying habit of giving you a plastic bag every time you buy something, even if it is a roll of Polo’s. Well, Tesco combined with NPOWER are selling 10p , yeah 10p!, Energy Saving light bulbs that lasts up to 10 years and uses only 20 Watts and saves you 70 Watts of energy use, so go get them.

(To be continued..)

To Beer or not to Beer? I mean imported. (Part 1)

Okay, so if you like to enjoy your bottled imported beer and don’t care about the environment, well don’t waste your time reading this but if you are a bit curious about it  and you care even a tiny bit, well I think you should read this. 

This analysis was part of my final thesis for my MSc, it all started back in Oct 2003. I was a glass collector or bar back , whatever you want to called it , in a cocktail bar in London’s West End. I was a bit surprised on my first shift, first because they stop serving pints at 10 p.m., this was because it got so busy that serving pints slow down the bartenders and also there was not much profit from selling them, and my second surprise is the amount of Coronas these guys sold. So I was a bit proud that our national beer was a great seller in London. 

Then I got more surprised when I asked my boss:

"What do we do with the bottles, because back home we re use the bottles"

and he told me: “Not in England. Just throw them in the bin”

and I asked: ” Is there a bin only for bottles?”

he said: ” Nope, everything(rubbish) goes into the same bin”.

Hmmmm! I thought, British people are craaaazy, back home you can sell all these bottles and get some money, but anyway not my country not my rules, so I just followed instructions and continue working on the same place for next six years. 

It was until my last year of my MSc course, where I did not have a clue of what was my final paper was going to be focused on. I was in deep trouble, I need it to come with something, and one day ,Tuesday to be exact, is the day delivery comes and I was  helping unloading the delivery and I thought , OMG so many bottles of beer and it will end up in the rubbish in the end. There was when I got some kind of revelation, thought I should focus my dissertation on this. Hell yeah!

So I started doing some research , the more I got into it, the more scary stuff I found. The first thing I found out, is that most of the rubbish was going straight to landfill. YUP! LANDFILL. Land fill to me is like in the cartoons when they  broom and lift the carpet and hide the dust underneath and all of a sudden is big bump in there. They are just hiding the problem but the problem is still there. 

I did a whole year study of the behavior in glass waste production in the place I was working. I needed to classify the waste, it came to something like this:

This is for the whole year 2007

The beer bottles came in three different type of color:

Green, Clear and Brown. 

The average weight was 235 grms per empty bottle. 

after a whole year I came up with this numbers:

Number of green bottles in all 2007: 23,268

Number of clear bottles in all 2007: 13,961

Number of brown bottles in all 2007: 9,307

Total of bottles in 2007: 46,536 ! ! !

And what is the weight of all this: 10,936 kgs or 10.93 tonnes per year!!!

Here comes the scary bit: So every year just one bar in London’s West End with a 250 people capacity that opens only 5 days a week, produces 10.93 tonnes a year of glass container wastage and it goes to landfill.

This is only for ONE bar in the West End! I asked everywhere and everyone of how many bars and restaurants were in London’s West End, and nobody knew. Just imagine how many bars are in London’s West End (Sorry I should’ve wrote this earlier for the people who are not from London, the West end is where bars, pubs,restaurants and casinos are concentrated). 

And that is not all , there is more to come, this is like a thriller  flick but the worst thing is that is real, and is happening now. 

I will continue with this later, I have to go now, I’m going to Rosa’s and Chui’s to try to fix their washing machine, I think there is an undie stuck somewhere. Wish me luck. 

(to be continued…)

Pic: By Me. Railay, Thailand 2010

Info: Fuentes X, “Analysis of Container Glass Wastage Produced by a Westend Bar in order to Prevent Landfill as its Final Stage” LSBU 2008 Disseration

Masculinization in female polar bears in Svalbard

This is my first post and I always wanted to share this with all my friends but somehow I always forget because I get easily distracted. Anyway, this is what happened one day in Svalbard, that is 800 km off the northern edge of Norway, yeah that is right, the country with great black metal.

The guys from Norwegian Polar Institute realize that the female polar bear started behaving weird, and weird means that they wanted to be males. That’s right masculinization. They found out that they had malformed genitalia, and that their reproductive organs have partially developed male characteristics. Huh?

Read More