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The 5R’s- Refuse Reduce Reuse Repurpose Recycle

THE 5R'S

The 5R’s have been around for a while although they originally started as the 3R’s they have changed slightly to incorporate 2 new ones.

There is an order to the 5R’s and it is there for a reason – They start in order of importance and work there way down. The idea is that they will help you on your way to reducing your waste, why not start at the top and work your way down and see if you can follow them all?

Refuse – First up on the list is refuse. Simply don’t take it… then it will never begin it’s product life cycle, the demand will fall and they will make less and hopefully none. There is often some mild confusion between refuse and reduce; I will help to clear that up. To refuse is to say no to things people offer you but you don’t need; things that you didn’t ask for or don’t really want. This also includes things that damage you, your family, the environment and that are unsustainable. Vote with your money and refuse to buy them, show the companies that their damaging products are of no interest and will not turn a profit, if the item or product does not turn a profit then it will not be made. Simple.

Refuse to use single use plastics of all varieties – plastic bags, straws, single use water bottles, plastic cutlery to make a start. This can take a little planning as if you don’t have your reusable water bottle or cutlery you may end up a little stuck.

This one may involve a little looking around but it is simple enough – refuse to buy harmful products such as chemical cleaning products, buy an Eco version which does the same job but without the damaging chemicals. Even better than purchasing cleaning products is to make your own. Decent well tested recipes for home made cleaning products can be found all over the web, we will soon add our favourites in an article.

If your country still uses plastic grocery bags – just say no. Refuse to take the plastic bag, they are terrible for both animals and the environment. Thankfully some countries have banned the use of plastic bags and replaced them with reusable bags or bags made of vegetable cellulose, which is better but still not as good as a truly reusable bag.

Something less common but still important is to think about those freebies that companies happily give away in order to remind you of them, that pen you’ll never use, the bag you don’t need etc. Just because it is free it doesn’t mean you need to take it. If it is of use to you then by all means take it but often it isn’t but the alluring fact that it is free is enough for us to take it.

Refuse to buy intensively farmed products that negatively impact the environment and health. Buy local produce if you can – farmers markets are a great direct line to the producer. You can ask direct questions about their produce without having to go through a middle man. When going to a farmers market be sure to bring your own reusable bags for all the tasty food you’ll get.

Plastic bags plight both the oceans and land, polluting the earth and killing countless animals.

Reduce – To simply use less. This means less energy, less heat, less water and maybe renewing your old phone or laptop. Think about what you buy and use, could you do with less of it or use it more efficiently?

Simple things like changing your light bulbs to energy efficient LED bulbs will not only reduce your electricity consumption and electricity bill but make your home more efficient and the LED bulbs will last for such a long time they will pay themselves back.

Another energy positive technique is the use of solar panels, this is more complex than simply changing a light bulb but should be a serious consideration for anyone looking to save some energy and become more eco-friendly. It is a great first step which may eventually lead to an off grid home if developed far enough.

Water consumption has some fairly easy ones to change for example turning the tap off while you brush your teeth or turning the shower off as you lather up. Perhaps less easy to follow for everyone but surprisingly your diet can have the biggest effect on your water consumption. We will explore that idea in a future post.

Heat usage and loss can be solved through insulation, insulation can be used to keep the house warmer or cooler depending on your climate needs. This will reduce your energy consumption and increase your overall house hold efficiency whilst also saving you money.

This house hold lost an incredible amount of heat through the roof due to poor insulation.

Other things such as not accepting junk mail through either a sticker on your mail box or by removing yourself from junk mail mailing lists is an simple way to reduce unnecessary use of paper, time and effort.

Sometimes keeping hold of an existing item will easily reduce your consumption and ecological footprint in the world. Do you really need that new phone or will you existing one do? Perhaps all you need to do is factory reset it and update it to get the performance back. Some brands are now moving to sustainable phones for example Fair Phone allow you to replace and upgrade each individual component as necessary.
Can you simply upgrade your laptop with a new harddrive, new RAM to give it a new lease of life rather than binning it?

Reuse, If you do purchase something make sure it is long lasting, reusable or both.

A reusable water bottle from a company such as HelloBottl is a great idea to allow you to have a long lasting water bottle that is both functional, environmentally friendly and looks cool.

If you are a coffee drinker then you should definitely get your self a reusable coffee cup, some companies will offer you a discount if you bring your own, if they don’t it is definitely worth asking and raising the question. The amount of single use coffee cups that are used everyday is simply staggering.

Some other simple yet effective way to remove harmful single use plastics consumption from your life is to use reusable shopping bags – make to sure to keep it some where so that you will think to take it every time. If you forget your bags then use a paper one or ask for one of their old cardboard boxes which are often found near the till for that exact purpose, if worst comes to worst carry your purchases in your hands and pockets.

It is always useful to keep a compact set of cutlery in your bag and a straw. Collapsible straws can be bought fairly cheaply and they take up next to no room in your bag.

The inital cost of purchasing a reusable waterbottle or coffee cup may seem out of proportion to the cost of the single use but it will quickly repay its self with self satisfaction as you do not through it away everyday.

Repurpose objects from one use to another. This requires some thinking and occasional craft but the internet is an abundant resource for repurposing ideas.

Repurposing an object can be rewarding as you give it a new life and it stays with you.

The first example that springs to my mind is the use of jam-jars. Jam-jars can be used to store food in the cupboard or fridge. Jam-jars are super useful. You can even comfortably use them as glasses to drink from. *
Another simple idea is to use old cardboard boxes to store unused household items – this is one people do without even thinking about it. A more unusable idea could be to use old foam mats for furniture foot pads to protect your floor from scratches, why not use that old foam mat as a tent door mat? The uses for old items is as large as your imagination allows.

The repurposing of jamjars is simple and easy to do.

Recycling – Coming in at the bottom but definitely still very important. If the other 4 options haven’t worked then recycle. Recycling is an important factor is sustainable living but it is not the solution to our problems. Recycling is good because it substantially reduces the energy involved with creating an object and stops it from going to landfill (for at least one product cycle) but it is less efficient than simply finding a new use for an item . Recycling is the most widely known but frustratingly it is still not followed everywhere.

When starting to use the 5R’s recycling is probably the easiest one to do and the others will come with a little time. Maybe you missed the opportunity to refuse or reduce because you weren’t there on your green journey just yet – once you start to notice the missed opportunities then that is half the battle to correcting the issue. Recycling is a great way to see all the things you toss and throw away and it gives you a chance to rethink your future purchases.

Most towns in Europe have reasonable recycling facilities but some better than others.

When looking to recycle it is important to make sure you place the right things in the right places – you’d be surprised at how many people place non biodegradable plastic bags into the compost….

Recycle all the basics you can, paper, cardboard, plastic, metal and glass.

Fabrics are an issue when it comes to disposal as we covered in this article, donating them to passing them on to friends or family is best but charity shops or recycling is better than landfill. Even old, holey and ripped clothing can be used as rags.

Taking your old electronics that can not be sold or refurbished to a recycling centre is important to ensure they are disposed of properly.

It is not simple when you start to think about all this but the sooner you do the better. When you realise all the things you use and throw away on a daily basis it is quite incredible but as you start to notice and build up awareness it all becomes easier and more manageable. All the best on your journey to minimise your waste through the 5R’s.

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Making a Difference Through Second Hand

MAKING A DIFFERENCE THROUGH SECOND HAND

If you want to make a difference in the world but don’t really know where to start; buying second hand can be an easy one. People have more power than they know, it is a powerful one and rather easy; it is to simply vote with your money. Voting with your money is a sure way to make companies listen and change their ways, if no one is buying their product then why would they continue to make it?

Our society in general is driven by consumerism, one of the best ways to benefit your own pocket, save the environment, and satisfy those shopping urges for unique and wonderful things is to shop second hand.

Organic, green living and eco friendly products are great but they do still require new resources and energy to be used. One can beneficially impact the world around us – by following the 5 R’s – Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose and Recycle, following these will come at little to no cost to your self but benefits all around.

Car Boot Sales, Charity Shops, Second hand shops, and all other things used goods offer the chance to use items which no longer serve the initial buyer but are often in perfectly good working/ wearable order and just need a new home for another long life. By doing this it benefits you, your pocket and the environment

Much More Affordable

When you shop in second, charity shops, car boot sales and other second hand places your money stretches much farther. On average used products are generally around 50% cheaper and clothing even more so – a couple of pounds, dollars or the like will get you a new top, trousers or dress. This allows you to put your money in other places… extra fruit and veg perhaps, learning to surf, rock climb or another new skill! (Or as you prefer!)

Lean Green Bargain Hunting Machine

One major and hugely notable benefit of searching out the pre-owned and pre-loved is that all the energy necessary to create it has already been expended. It also keeps perfectly usable items out of landfill! These items will generally be cheap and can help even the slightest of budgets seem bountiful. Incredible amounts of perfectly good items are thrown away everyday which negatively impacts the environment and unnecessarily goes to landfill sites. When purchasing something from new make sure it is of high quality and will last – like this when you pass it on to a friend, family or charity shop then it can take on another life and serve them too.

Recycle and Reuse

The second hand giving goes both ways, it can come to you and it comes from you. You are not the end of the line and many people would be delighted to take ownership of the things you deem no longer necessary, beautiful or useful. Charity shops and second hand shops will happily receive items which are still usable/ wearable which they can then sell to further their causes and projects; The act of recycling supports a greener economy and a green movement.

The Thrill of The Hunt

At a charity shop who knows what hidden gems may be found hidden in the rack. Having a rough idea of what you want is great and then finding something suitable is truly excellent. Having found that fantastic item at an unbeatable price is a good feeling and then knowing that it will now have a new home and a new life is great. Second hand shopping is very rewarding and can be very productive. Second hand items are often under priced and finding yourself something that you love, supports the green economy and didn’t heavily impact the environment is wonderful.

Keeping Your Money In The Community

Generally speaking if you purchase local and you purchase second hand then your money won’t travel too far away and will stay within the local community. If you purchase from one of the larger charity shops (which some argue have lost their way a little) then it may go further afield but this is something to bare in mind but it still goes to a good cause. Keeping your money local benefits the local community, local businesses and local people. It is often genuinely appreciated as it goes towards helping somebodies way of life or supporting a project rather than travelling to an offshore bank account where it pays no tax and helps no one. They say when you buy from a local small business a real person smiles!

You Can Spot Quality

Since the majority of the merchandise you will come across has already had some use (sometimes brand new items can be found) you can see the quality, what lasts and what does not. This is practical and affordable and helps us stay away from fast fashion which should not be purchased in the first place.

Brand Names

Often as you search through the loved items brand name goods can be found, this is not important for everyone but it is important for many. Many people love an item dearly for a brief time then toss it away, this mentality needs to change but that is for a discussion another time! Brand name goods can be found cheaply at bargain prices, nobody knows you only paid £4 for it rather than the £60 normally asked for!

Consumer Driven Economy

Gratification though shopping is part of our current (Unsustainable) economy and will be for some time to come. Many companies offer cheap, unsustainable and environmentally damaging items to help us fulfil this need. Change is in the air and companies are starting to take note of the changing consumer mood and movement. As people become more aware of the difference they can make and the impact they themselves directly have on the environment companies will start to change with them. Some companies will be doing this because it is what they truly believe should be done and it is what will benefit the many and not the few. Then some companies will do it for to ensure their profit stays high and their share holders happy. As immoral companies shift be sure to watch out for “Green Washing” which can be found out about here.

The future will be green or not at all.

Bob Brown

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Why Have We Choosen Electroneum?

ELECTRONEUM

Electroneum – The Enablement Currency

Electroneum or ETN is a cryptocurrency designed for micro payments using a mobile phone allowing people no matter their financial banking situation to be able to purchase and sell online, transfer wealth and hold their wealth securely on their phone.

Very Briefly – What Is A Cryptocurrency?

Cryptocurrencies are virtual currencies based on mathematical computations using cryptography – hence the name. Cryptocurrencies cannot be forged, they cannot be faked and they have only the value we give them similar to the faith we put in “regular currencies or “FIAT” currencies at the moment. They are a digital currency which can be stored in numerous ways or even on paper via a paper wallet! But crypto storage is a subject for another time and widely discussed online. Make an ETN wallet here.

Cryptocurrency transfers often have to travel through a large computer network and be validated several times before the payment can be processed and verified but Electroneum has developed a system that enables instant payment which is why it appeals to us.

What Is ETN or Electroneum?

Electroneum was launched in November 2017 as a currency to be used initially in online gaming to replace in-game currencies. Soon after its release, it was realised that it had a much better use in helping people who are unable to open or gain access to a typical bank account – access to a bank account is taken for granted by people in the west. This currency would allow the “Unbanked” to be able to instantly exchange the coins stored as a form of cryptographic data via their mobile phones as a form of wealth. People with the app are able to exchange and transfer coins, check their balance, and mine ETN even if they have only an intermittent or unstable internet connection. This would also enable people to purchase and sell items online with an easy and simple form of payment. This will allow its own ecosystem to develop throughout its ever-expanding user base.

“We are using the power of blockchain to unlock the global digital economy for millions of people in the developing world. Helping everyone to live life on their own terms, our solution is enabling people to embrace their entrepreneurial spirit and find new ways to enhance their lives.”

Richard Ells, CEO of Electroneum

Why Do We At Charmio Choose Electroneum?

Here at Charmio we appreciate innovation, reliability and positive movements that will benefit the many not just the few. For us ETN represents all of that. The idea that ETN will allow people across the world to financially interact with each other is incredible; that someone in New York can directly send money to someone in a remote village in the third world without having to pay large fees or even going through or visiting a bank is incredible. The idea is a real game changer!

Electroneum has made it easy for us to incorporate the coin into our accounts through the use of their API and accounting systems. The fact that the currency fluctuates is of little concern as we have the choice to keep ETN as it is or we can easily change it back into our FIAT of choice. The fluctuations in the currency will become minimal once the price stabilises and becomes more widely adopted, the adoption will allow the price fluctuations to become much less significant once it finds its stable base.

We look positively upon Electroneum and it seems like a true project with a genuine aim and a true direction and purpose. Yes, there are many other currencies out there but many of which lack direction. Many of their purposes are for the accumulation of wealth through the increasing of the coin value, however there are also many others out there which solve problems within different industries – contractual agreements, electrical suppliers tokens, and wealth storage. A couple of notable ones are Ethereum and Bitcoin. Ethereum allows for the direct agreement of contracts using the blockchain known as “smart contracts” and bitcoin (the original cryptocurrency) can be used as a storage of wealth similar to that of gold. Both of these projects are fantastic but neither allows for simple easy micropayment for things from everyday items through to more specialised items.

We accept ETN for all purchases on our website.

 

Electroneum!

How To Find Out More?

You can check out the Electroneum website for more info on how to get involved at www.electroneum.com or you can search online. There are some notable youtube channels that will keep you updated on all things Electroneum.

  • All About Tech – He is a lively, fun, and confident person who delivers news on Electroneum fairly regularly. He has a great way of presenting the information and makes it easily understandable as to what is going on. He can be found here on youtube. Awesome stuff.
  • Crypto Rich – He covers a range of coins and brings you a simple analysis of what is happening in the markets with them and Bitcoin (Which is great for the non-crypto chat speakers) He has good composure and gives interesting interviews and ideas on the coins. Check him out here on youtube.
  • Digitspin Crypto – He keeps it rather fun and quirky with crazy hats and some theatrics but he does get to the point and evoke interesting discussions. He looks into mostly ETN. Check him out on youtube here.
  • Cryptocurrency Youtuber – These guys have an interesting broad view on cryptocurrencies and take in a much broader array of coins than some of the others mentioned here. Check them out on youtube here.
  • Sean Davis – An ex trader keeping it interesting while giving some detailed points on a few of his favorite cryptos. Good fun and to the point. Check out Sean here.
  • Electroneum – They have their own youtube channel which allows you to keep up to date with their latest news. They also send out an email with the updates. Look here for Electroneum.

Viva ETN!

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The Enviromental Impact Of Polyester

THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF POLYESTER

Polyester is cheap and readily avaliable in the fashion industry, it does how ever come with a larger price tag than is initially obvious.

Why Polyester?

Polyester is wrinkle free, it does not need to be iron or pressed to maintain its shape and surface. Polyester fabric is easy to wash and quick to dry which is useful for regions that have particularly cold or wet weather. High quality polyester will last well, however the vast majority of polyester on the market is of poor quality and will not last more than a few wears as it sheds a large amount of fibres every time it is washed. It is mainly used by manufacturers because it is a cheap alternative to natural fibres. Polyester is a very common fabric within fast fashion which has very little to no regard for the environment and their impact upon it.

Polyester is a synthetic petroleum based fibre, it is therefore made from a carbon-intensive non-renewable energy resource. Petroleum products are used to make the fibre and also used to generate all the energy required for its manufacture. To meet the worlds demand for this fabric we use around 70 million barrels of oil each year. It takes around 200 years for polyester to break down in the environment and even then it only breaks down into micro plastic which persists in the eco-system for an unknown time period. it is said that synthetic garments are the biggest source of micro plastic pollution in the oceans because one wash of a polyester garment can remove up to 1,900 fibres which are transported directly into the water system and eventually into the ocean.

Although polyester is less energy intensive than nylon to produce it still requires more than double the energy of conventional cotton. The production of polyester uses harmful chemicals, including those that are known carcinogens, and if put into the water and air untreated they are incredibly damaging to the surrounding environment causing significant damage.

The majority of polyester is produced in countries such as China, Bangladesh and Indonesia where environmental regulations are particularly poor allowing unscrupulous companies to flaunt regulations and pollute the environment. Untreated pollution is often discharged into waterways and released into the atmosphere causing incredible damage to the communities, peoples health, and the surrounding natural environment. The production of polyester uses less water than that of natural fibres, however polyester cannot be dyed using low impact and natural dyes. This leads to potential impact much more detrimental than that of natural fibres.

One of the most positive features that come from polyester is that is it completely recyclable and it is also possible to use recycled plastics (PET) to create it. This means we can use existing plastics already created with out having to use virgin petroleum stocks. There are many new companies that are recycling plastics to make polyester fabrics suitable for swimwear and sportswear. Some companies have even taken to recycling existing polyester clothing to create new polyester.

Polyester is a big offender in terms of the environmental impact created. Cheap polyester has to be the worst when it comes to the cost of fast fashion but it if polyester finds its way into your wardrobe make sure it comes from recycled polyester or recycled plastics to reduce its impact. Try to avoid its use in T-shirts and general day to day clothing but it can be suitable in rain wear, sportswear, and ski wear. When it comes to getting rid of your polyester clothing make sure to source a recycling centre that excepts them or donate them to charity.

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Regular cotton vs Ring-Spun & Combed cotton

REGULAR COTTON VS RING SPUN & COMBED

 

It is often not seen and slips by unnoticed but that extra tag stating that it is ring-spun or combed cotton makes a big difference when compared to regular cotton. Both ring-spun and combed cotton are said to be softer and feel nicer, but why?

How Are They Made?

Regular Cotton

Regular cotton is made by taking the soft vegetable fibres and twisting them together to make yarn, the yarn is then woven together to make the material. Most of the industry standard T-Shirts made by major cotton mills provide only regular cotton T-shirts. Regular cotton is available fairly cheaply make which also means it is very popular among manufactures of Fast Fashion.

Ring-spun cotton

Ring-Spun Cotton is made by twisting and thinning the cotton strands to make them incredibly fine, soft ropes of cotton fibres. Ring-Spun cotton T-Shirts are more durable and last longer than their regular counterparts.

Combed Cotton

Combed cotton goes through some extra processes before the yarn is made. The combed cotton is unsurprisingly “combed” which means it brings all the fibres parallel to each other and this in turn removes all the shorter fibres. By removing these short fibres the combed cotton is created with only the longest finest remaining fibres which gives the combed cotton it’s lovely feel and high sheen. Also because the fibres are longer they are stronger and less likely to break leading to a longer life of the product. If the cotton is organic then the fibres are longer (due to them being picked by hand rather than machine) and this again leads to an increase in the quality and life span of the clothing.

Which Is For Me?

If you are curious to tell the difference you can pick them up – the ring-spun cotton will feel a little heavier to the touch than the regular cotton (even though it isn`t), and the combed will have a beautiful sheen across the fabric due to its long fibres.

So… which is better? We believe that if you are environmentally conscious and intend to keep the T-Shirt for as long as possible then we’d highly recommend the combed cotton. The ring-spun and combed will also feel more comfortable and last longer providing longevity of the product that will out last regular cotton clothing.

At Charmio we only use organic ring-spun and organic combed cotton in our products to ensure the highest quality we can. We don’t over price them as many do as we believe high quality garments should be affordable and shouldn’t cost the earth.