I don’t know if people has just gotten so out of touch with the world or are just plain apathetic.

But destroying perfectly good clothes is just IMMORAL. When so many homeless person are in need of warm clothes. And plenty more from countries ravaged by war and calamities. Charities can sell them on to make money to benefit countless more people.

Article from Treehugger: Swedish store vows not to burn clothes. Reports on popular Swedish department store Åhlens who have announced they will stop the common practice of burning clothes.

Common practice???!!

Article from Treehugger:  H&M and Wal-Mart were caught destroying clothing.

Article from the Evening Standard:Bonfire of Fashion’s Vanities. Says that 2 months ago Lyle & Scott threatened to torch up £1 million worth of unsold sweaters. Their reasoning – “We have spent years building up a valuable brand”. And they fear seeing their goods flogged at TK Maxx and how that would damage their brand’s image. And a lot of designer goods can sympathize with that.

But we, as the consumers, can change the way the fashion business thinks. But I hope more investigation goes into this and those who practice this policy be named and shamed.

There is nothing wrong with being fashionable. But I hope it doesn’t mean that you buy clothes for a season and toss them out. Because attitude like that is what drives these businesses to do what they do now.

Dumpster Diving: a way to tackle food waste?

Dumpster Diving: a way to tackle food waste?

Image from the Mother Nature Network.

With the number of restaurants, groceries and food shops in London, I guess it’s no secret the city generates a lot of food waste.

Restaurants and groceries and food shops regularly clear their shelves of food and ingredients that are past their prime, but have not necessarily gone bad. Their clients wants the freshest item. I tend to always get the item on the shelf with the longest expiration date, because I don’t want food going off so soon or risking that the food has gone off before the date on the label.

But would you believe that London food waste emits more CO2 than whole of Estonia?

Can we help tackle the problem? Here’s a few things we thought of:

Shop for ingredients you’ll use up on the day. You can save on money and save the food from being thrown away. Groceries usually have a section where there will be food items with marked down prices because they have reached their sell by dates. Vegetable and fruit markets also mark down their prices at the end of the day. (A bit harder than it sounds for those who don’t live near a grocery. Or buying ingredients that comes in packs.)

More on grocery shopping. Consciously get the “ugly” fruits and vegetables – that banana that curved too much, the misshapen carrots. Don’t worry, they would taste the same.

Don’t be shy. Ask for doggy bags. If you can’t finish it, take it home. Restaurants would be more than willing to do this. Chefs would be happy to know that you did not finish your meal because you’re full and not because you don’t like it.

If you’re a food shop owner, time to do something. Out of ideas? here’s something to read – Channel4 asks a few restaurants on what they do with food waste

  • Wahaca uses a company called Aardvark who makes compost from their food waste.
  • Gordon Ramsay’s Boxwood Café checks their bins daily to see what is being thrown away. This way, chefs are accountable for what they throw away.
  • Leon are in a trial to get their kitchen waste composted. They want to get all their packaging compostable but don’t believe that we should be making plastic from food stuff when food security is a growing issue.
  • Pret gives leftover food to the homeless.
  • McDonald’s cooking oil are collected and recycled into bio-oil which powers their delivery fleet.

I don’t really have a clue on how food shops deal with their staff and food wastes. Or the real story behind Whole Foods and Mr. Reese. Rules are rules, but really, fire an employee for eating a sandwich that was to be thrown away? Don’t worry, he challenged the dismissal and won.

And save the best and most extreme for last – would you “dive”? Dumpster diving is nothing new. But what seems to be something that only the homeless person would do, people keen on saving food from the landfill and getting a free lunch have started getting in on the act too. Here are the rules if you would consider dumpster diving. And let us know how it goes.

Burt's Bees

Photo from Re-Nest

Much of the brands mentioned in this article are American brands, though we’re familiar with a few, like Burt’s Bees. But the same question is posed – would you continue to buy your favourite eco product if it was owned by a multinational known to flout environmental issues?

I guess multinational or not, most businesses diversify to survive. There is a growing market for eco products. And big companies want a share of that market. yes, I’d still buy to tell them that this is what I want as a consumer. In a sense, that is what Guui is about – Responsible consumerism. You vote with your money. You buy what is good for you and the environment.

But, be vigilant. Continue to be informed. There isn’t a lot of regulations as to what constitutes a green product. Be careful of greenwashing.

Happy New Year!

London Fireworks

Here’s to our new year’s wish that more people will see the urgency of saving the planet and its people.

[Let’s just hope you weren’t one of the thousands who chose to dump their garbage (including bottles that injured quite a few people) in the streets of London last night.]

Merry Christmas!!

from all of us at guui.co.uk we wish everyone a very Merry Christmas!!

P.S. please remember to recycle all those cards, gift wrappers. freeze leftovers so they don’t go to waste. exchange, donate to charity or sell on ebay the gifts you don’t want – do what you want, just don’t throw it out. and send home food and gifts to family using a reusable, fairtrade, organic carrier bag 🙂

It’s a basic requirement for self-reliance that everyone should be able to sustain themselves. A community will rely on its own people to pool their resources and trade among themselves to ensure their survival. They will scrape every little resource they have so they can use it for their basic needs; of course, they would replenish them for future requirement. Managing wastes by recycling or re-using some of them will leave minimal real waste and be less harmful to the community’s own environment. The innovation of every individual would be a great resource for the community so they can continually support themselves and future generations.

Only when you don’t have the necessary resources to sustain your needs, that you’d start looking for trade partners outside your local area. This is where macro economics will come in: every community (state, nation, region) will compliment each other by sharing resources abundant to other communities. Trading fairly among communities and not exploiting other’s ignorance.

If we rely only from multinational companies to supply us with cheaper products (with poor quality) coming from other countries, then we’d be killing our own self-reliance. Surely, local suppliers would have already priced their products fairly to sustain their own survival and be competitive (with better quality you can scrutinise). We’re not even sure if cheaper products from other countries were traded fairly, though multinational companies claim them to be. One such sample is the world’s reliance to oil: supply is controlled only by few countries belonging to a cartel; we’re all at their mercy. It would be beneficial if supply of money is retained within the community, paid/circulated among its own people; a big disadvantage if paid to multinational companies belonging outside the community.

For this reason we have to consume local products when possible. Reducing our reliance on foreign products by transporting only the minimum necessities will also minimise carbon emission that affect all communities as a whole, wherever we are.

There’s always a need to trade outside our own community, we can’t be totally independent, as each land has its own limited resources. (The truth be said.)

(What is life?)

Whilst experts and politicians are debating whether humans contribute to global warming, let’s look at other aspects affected by this issue. Necessity is the parent of all inventions.

This issue has triggered many researches in all aspects of our life. Because of this we have become conscious and forced us to re-evaluate our attitude towards how we use our resources and manage our wastes, which affect our world and has consequences to our children. We finally realised that no resources are really infinite, not even oil, land or potable water. Awareness of this issue caused an increase in research investments that resulted in more energy-efficient homes, more sources of renewable energy, more compostable/biodegradable materials for mostly everything we use (i.e. packagings), more modern energy-efficient equipment, more fuel-efficient vehicles, etc. True, all these things come at higher costs. I’d rather pay the premium today while it’s much cheaper as it will be more costly to our children in the future. As research and technology improve, premiums will be lesser in the long term.

If we have not become aware of this issue, whether true in the long term or not, we wouldn’t invest much in research. Development of more energy-efficient products/technologies would be at much slower pace; consumers wouldn’t be bothered to demand such things.

I’ll leave to the scientists (and politicians) to continue with the debate. It’s always natural for us humans to always disagree with anything. The results of this awareness are all positive from what I can see. In our time when the population of the world is growing (and we consume ever more as people become more progressive, i.e. China) and available resources are shrinking, it’s just right that we strive for higher efficiency.

(What is life?)