Scotland sets new records for renewable, wind turbine energy

Scotland's wind turbines set new records

Wind turbines can be a bit like Marmite - People either tend to love them or hate them. Whether you're in favour of more electricity being produced by them or not, one thing is clear; they're a clean source of renewable energy.

Back in December of last year, Scotland’s wind turbines generated more electricity than the entire country used for four consecutive days. Wind powered turbines provided a record amount of energy over the Christmas period between the 23rd of December and Boxing Day included. Not only that, the total amount of wind energy produced on Christmas Eve alone set a new record with more than 74,000MWh produced, which was enough to power over 6 million homes.

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Can my TV be powered by banana skins?

Banana skins can be used to create electricity

The UK produces around 7.3 millions tonnes of food waste each year.

What most of us are not aware of is that around 240 thousand tonnes of this is made up of banana skins - That's over 3% of all food waste in total.

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Indonesia - Bali's plastic rubbish problem

This guest post has been submitted by Daniel Brooks who is currently in Bali whilst filming a fly on the wall documentary for UK Television. It highlights the huge problem of plastic waste not just in Bali, but throughout Indonesia.

Plastic rubbish in Bali

Daniel's Story

Myself, my wife Deborah and our three children, Oliver 9, Hazel nearly 5, and Heather Blue nearly 2 have moved to Bali for an experimental six month period to see if we want to live in south east Asia. A UK TV crew are following our story and have given us a camera to film as we go for a new documentary series about families going to live more sustainable lives in the wild.

We arrived during a spell of the very worst weather Bali has seen in years. The most rain I have EVER experienced in all my worldly adventures! Torrential rain, gales, electrical storms, floods and landslides! What had we gotten ourselves into?! This was not what we had imagined.

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How to reduce food waste... by drinking beer

Who'd have thought that you can help save the planet just by having a few beers? Well, as odd as that sounds, it's actually true.

A UK brewer is now producing a refreshing ale called Toast and, as the name implies, it's made from surplus bread that would otherwise have been thrown in the bin.

In the UK, bread is by far the most 'chucked-away' food. An astonishing 44% of all bread made never even reaches our mouths - That's not too far away from almost half of it that's baked every single day.

All round bright spark and entrepreneur Tristram Stuart decided to do something about this mountain of discarded bread by founding the first bread to beer ale. His aim is to reduce global food waste by turning as much bread as he can get his hands on into a tasty craft beer.

Tristram says:

"We aim to put ourselves out of business. The day there’s no waste bread is the day Toast Pale Ale can no longer exist."

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The history and origin of the Rag and Bone Man

A Parisian rag and bone man in 1899Many of today's younger generation have never heard the term 'rag-and-bone man' as these enigmatic figures have largely all but disappeared from our modern streets. 

It was extremely common back in the 1970s to hear a rag and bone man calling to householders as he travelled slowly down our roads, shouting 'old lumber', 'rag-and-bone' or something similar. As some will also no doubt remember, the profession even spawned a hit TV show in the 1970s in the guise of Steptoe and Son.

What's a rag-and-bone man?

If you're new to the term, a rag and bone man (sometimes referred to as a 'totter') was a person who either travelled by horse (or pony) and cart or in a van at a snail's pace down every neighbourhood street, looking to collect a wide range of materials to sell for a profit.

On hearing their call, residents with items they thought the rag and bone man might want would go outside into the street and stop them. The rag and bone man would then tell them if he wanted to take their scrap or not.

History of the rag and bone man

Whilst scavenging for anything of value is by no means a new idea (we've been doing it since the dawn of time), the term - or variations of it, seems to have been commonly used in the early to mid-1800s.

Rag and bone men would travel through city streets on foot, usually carrying a large bag over their shoulder. They rarely had any form of transport and were generally very poor people trying to eke out a living from collecting anything that they thought might have a resale value such as old rags, cloth, bones and metal.

They were typically referred to by names such as bone grubbers, bone pickers or rag gatherers.

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Vertical Forests - Garden trees planted on tower blocks

Vertical forest - tree planted in high-rise flats and officesImproving quality of life and providing wildlife habitats in urban areas.

Green open spaces in cities help improve the quality of life for human residents and also provide habitats for many different species of wildlife. Trees and plants produce oxygen and remove pollutants from our atmosphere.

Unfortunately, space in modern cities is at a premium and while everyone agrees that it is more pleasant and healthy, both physically and mentally, to live amongst green spaces there is not much incentive to build urban parks and conservation areas as they are not profitable.

Italian architect Stefano Boeri is leading the way with an innovative solution: Vertical Forests.

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Adidas trainers made from plastic recycled from the ocean

It has been widely reported that our oceans are becoming more polluted with plastic waste.

This discarded plastic causes the deaths and injuries of hundreds of thousands of marine animals each year. Animals become entangled in old beer can holders or plastic bags and smaller pieces of plastic are eaten by marine life who can't differentiate it from their natural food supply.

It's not only the solid waste that causes harm to marine life; plastic pollution does further damage as it degrades in the ocean releasing toxic chemicals causing contamination to the water.

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Envigreen - The edible 'plastic' carrier bag that isn't plastic

Following our recent story accompanied by the saddening picture of a deer holding a plastic carrier bag in its mouth, this story is far more upbeat and has a happier ending.

Indian-born inventor and entrepreneur Ashwath Hegde has spent 4 years developing a new type of carrier bag that looks remarkably similar to the plastic bags commonly found in our supermarkets today. But....there's one major difference; the EnviGreen bag doesn't contain any plastic whatsoever.

Inspired by a ban on the manufacture and sale of plastic bags in his hometown of Mangalore, he says: “The Mangalore City Corporation implemented a ban on the manufacture, sale, and distribution of plastic bags in the year 2012. But the decision was taken without preparations for alternatives.

People were concerned about how they would carry products from the market now. Everyone cannot afford a bag worth 5 rupees or 15 rupees to carry a kilogram of sugar. I decided to come up with alternatives after hearing about these problems in my hometown.”

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Deer highlights plastic bag problem

This saddening story has appeared recently in a New Delhi newspaper highlighting (once again) the blasé attitude many of us have concerning our use of plastic products.

The deer in question is a resident at Deer Park, a wildlife enclosure located in South Delhi. According to the article, the bag in its mouth contained food that was thrown by a well meaning visitor into the enclosure.

Rather than taking the food out of the bag and throwing the contents to the deer, they simply threw the whole lot in.

Now, none of us at Expert Skip Hire are rocket scientists, but we do know that deer can't get any nutritional value from plastic bags!

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Lidl to donate 2 million meals to local charities

Lidl teams up with NeighbourlyThe supermarket giant has recently announced a new food redistribution programme across all of their stores in England, Scotland and Wales.

It's estimated that the new food surplus initiative could provide the equivalent of 2 million meals for those that really need it the most.

Despite only being the 8th biggest supermarket chain in the UK, this move raises the bar for how the nation's supermarkets deal with unsold food. Unlike France, there is no legal requirement for British supermarkets to donate waste food to charity, although a growing number of politicians are calling for the UK to adopt a similar law.

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Britain comes top of the Food League; but it's not all good news

The good news is that Britain has been crowned the top of a particular league.

The bad news is... the league is for the amount of food wasted by countries in Europe.

According to a new international food ranking system we throw away around 130kg of food each year per person, slightly less than twice the weight of the average British adult (which is approx. 76kg according to 2010 stats).

Some slightly better news is that we don't fare quite as bad (although still badly) when the statistics are applied globally. Out of a total of 25 countries, we were the 6th worst offender.

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Sweden runs out of rubbish and has to import it instead

power station

Although Sweden is often known for its quirky IKEA furniture, a lesser known fact concerns a rather odd problem the country has faced recently - It's run out of trash.

The woefully high levels of waste we in the UK send to landfill puts us to shame compared to the Swedes; only 1% of their waste is sent to landfill whereas in the UK, the figure is somewhere in the region of 45%.

We can't be entirely certain of the exact figure as, unlike Sweden, the UK doesn't have a coherent nationwide policy when it comes to recycling.

Each local authority is left to their own devices as to what their recycling policy is.

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Could edible, non-plastic drinking water bottles be on the way?

Every spring, the Reykjavik Design Festival in Iceland is awash with catchy new designs and ideas.

The festival presents ideas and innovations from a broad range of industries including architecture, food design, fashion and furniture.

Project are submitted by both local designers and globally known international designers alike.

A local student submitted one particular project this year that could sow the seeds for future developments in plastic water bottle production techniques.

Ari Jonsson, a student at the Iceland Academy of the Arts, says he read about the huge amounts of disposable plastic being thrown away each day, and felt compelled to try and develop a replacement that was far more environmentally sound.

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Plastic Roads - Future Innovations for our highways?

A Dutch company is at the cutting edge of a project that could see roads of the future made entirely from plastic.

The idea of using plastic in the construction of roads isn't new. Earlier this year, we wrote about how India had adopted the idea of mixing recycled plastic with traditional road building materials to make more durable highways, whilst dramatically cutting down on the amount of plastic sent to landfill at the same time.

KWS, the Netherlands based company behind the concept, claims that there are several key advantages to using plastic instead of tarmac for the roads of our future.

Key Benefits

1. One of the more obvious benefits from a recycling point of view is that the roads could in theory be made entirely from recycled plastic. Considering the amount of plastic bottles and containers thrown away each day around the world, that's a real biggy as far as benefits go!

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Weekly vs fortnightly bin collections in Brighton and Hove

A controversial call by Friends of the Earth in Brighton and Hove to switch from weekly to fortnightly waste refuse collections has been made recently.

The local authority has dismissed the proposal, saying they are in the process of exploring alternative solutions such as communal bins, wheelie bins and organic waste disposal ideas in order to boost recycling rates.

Around 42% of the councils in Sussex already have fortnightly collections compared to around 75% of the entire country.

Horsham District Council are already gearing up to go fortnightly in a bid to save around £1 million a year. The council already has a relatively impressive recycling rate of 45% and it's hoped the switch will push this figure even higher.

Adur and Worthing councils, along with Eastbourne claim they have no plans to alter the current arrangement of weekly collections.

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Christmas events in Eastbourne

If you live in or around the Eastbourne area and are looking for some fun and entertaining things to do this Christmas, here are 5 to whet your appetite:

1. Bauble Bonanaza - Pop into the Eastbourne Tourist Information Centre in Cornfield Road BN21 4QA anytime from now until Christmas Eve and grab the chance to take part for free in the spectacular Bauble Bonanza.

The ceiling will be covered in a dazzling array of decorations including a mind blowing number of dangling baubles.

Your task is to try and guess the total number of baubles hanging from the ceiling in order to enter this free competition. Staff will be on hand to take your details and the person who gets it right (or gets closest) will be announced on Christmas Eve.

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Crawley has a rubbish Christmas tree

In case you're wondering about the headline of this article...No, we're not having a go about the Christmas tree that's situated outside Crawley Library.

This Christmas tree really is rubbish! It's made from around 600 plastic bottles that have been reused in order to raise recycling awareness in the town.

It will be on display throughout December and is situated in Southgate Avenue if you want to pop down to see it.

The tree's lights will be switched on today (Thursday 1st December 2016) at 4.30pm by West Sussex Council’s cabinet member for residents’ services, Councillor David Barling.

If you're feeling a bit peckish and want to get into the festive spirit, then free mince pies will also be on offer along with some helpful advice from the West Sussex Waste Prevention Team, who can give you some handy tips on recycling.

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Sharp frost arrives in Sussex - Will Christmas be white?

Frost hits Sussex

It probably hasn't escaped your attention that the last couple of mornings have been a tad frosty!

It wasn't that long ago that we were writing about Sussex heatwaves warnings, but now the tide has most definitely turned.

Well, we won't be posting any more pictures of people basking on Brighton beach in deck chairs for a while as temperatures in Sussex have plumetted to a bone chilling -5C.

It should warm up slightly in the coming few days and the crisp weather is set to stay dry in Sussex for the rest of the week; temperatures are set to peak at 6C with lows of -3C.

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Hermit crab chooses plastic toothpaste cap as its new home

At Expert Skip Hire, we've written a few posts about the problem that plastics are causing in the ocean. Back in September, we published an article about the increasing issues with plastic microbeads finding their way into the world's oceans. 

This post is slightly different in that it highlights one tiny way that this ingenious little hermit crab has actually made use of a piece of discarded plastic.

About Hermit Crabs

The hermit crab is a crustacean and there are more than 1,000 different species of them around the globe. Whilst they're called a crab, they're actually more closely related to lobsters.

Although they can also be found in deeper waters, you can often spot one if you take a closer look in rockpools along the coastline. Their hallmark feature is that whilst they live in a shell, it's not one they make themselves.

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The history of the skip; How it got its name and who invented it

Where does the word skip come from and who invented it?


The history of the skip - How did it get its name?

The origins of the word 'skip' is something of an enigma; no one really seems certain about how the modern day skip got its name.

In countries like the US and Canada it's referred to as a dumpster, which seems logical given the nature of its use. However, in the UK we call them skips (or skip bins in Australia).

The most widely accepted explanation originates with the ancient art of beekeeping. Nowadays, most people tend to visualise the modern version of a beehive as a box-like structure made from overlapping wooden slats.

Before wooden framed hives came into widespread use, beekeepers in the UK and Europe tended to use either inverted straw or wicker baskets (or hollow logs in some cases) as homes for their honeybee colonies.

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Find a fireworks display in Sussex this weekend

Sussex Fireworks DisplaysIf you're looking for a fireworks display to attend in the Sussex area this coming Saturday, here are 5 events to choose from.

A brief history of November 5th

Virtually everyone in the UK has heard of Guy Fawkes but few know he actually adopted the name Guido Fawkes whilst fighting on behalf of the Spanish.

He gained infamy by being found guilty (with a group of others led by Robert Catesby) for attempting to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605.

This event became known as The Gunpowder Plot.

According to history, after an anonymous tip off, Fawkes was found in a rented cellar and arrested whilst guarding explosives under The House of Lords.

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