Tesco Offering Extra Points for Being Green

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Supermarket chain Tesco is one of a number of large firms taking the environment more seriously these days. It recently introduced ‘green’ clubcard points. Instead of just getting points for spending money (points equate to money off vouchers, although there are better ways to use them, look here) you also get ‘green’ points for reusing carrier bags.

Well from Monday until Easter they now offer double ‘green’ points for buying any organic, Fairtrade or Eco-friendly products. They include Fairtrade fruit and coffee, organic bread, energy saving lightbulbs and degradable refuse sacks.

This is a great idea and a good incentive for people to think and buy more ethically and environmentally, but why only till Easter? Is it just to grab attention for a short while? I’d prefer it if it was an ongoing scheme that helped change people’s shopping behaviour.

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My Favourite Discount Voucher Codes

The following is a paid review for LifeGoggles.com written and reviewed by Joel Williams. It is completely of Joel’s opinion and is not influenced by being paid. If you’re interested in having your service or product reviewed, please contact us.

discount voucherWhen I shop online, I try to find a discount voucher before completing my checkout. There are thousands of vouchers out there and almost every retailer has one in some shape or form.

My Favourite Vouchers is a UK based voucher (coupon) site that collates vouchers for many online and brick and mortar businesses. They offer many ways to be kept up to date with the latest codes apart from visiting the website. An Email newsletter, RSS Feed and even an app (extension) for the Firefox or Chrome web browsers makes accessing the codes easy.

The site is clean and clear of the overload of adverts you typically get on a lot on US based discount voucher sites. The navigation menu is clearly organized into the type of codes you want, such as Free Delivery or Restaurant Deals. There is an A – Z category list and the home page clearly shows the most popular vouchers and the most recent.

I was able to find codes for Topman, Sports Direct and Debenhams easily. I also liked that when clicking to use the voucher code you were taken to the site and provided the voucher in a separate window so you don’t have to click back and forth.

They seem to make their profit by using affiliate links to the websites they link to, so at no cost to you (as it should be). 20% of the profit is given to charity and they have a poll to vote on the charity for that month.

One of the big frustrations I have with voucher sites is the validity of the vouchers and being provided expired codes. While My Favourite Vouchers don’t guarantee that all coupons will work, they strive to only provide valid ones and are easily contactable if for some (unlikely) reason the discount voucher code is not working.

The site is free, provides codes for a lot of great retailers and saves you money easily so seems a great resource. With their blog it looks to be run by real people and not some automated content scrapper providing junk links that don’t work. Next time I need a UK discount voucher code I will definitely look at My Favourite Voucher Codes.

The previous was a paid review for LifeGoggles.com written and reviewed by Joel Williams. It is completely of Joel’s opinion and is not influenced by being paid. If you’re interested in having your service or product reviewed, please contact us.

Italy Bans Plastic Bags

Okay it’s the 11 March but I’ve only just discovered this. Italy banned non-biodegradable, single-use plastic bags on 1 January 2011.

“Sustainability is made of little changes to our lifestyle that don’t cost us anything and can save the planet,” said Stefania Prestigiacomo, Italian Environmental Minister.

While the bags do cost more to make, so far that hasn’t been passed onto consumers (as far as I know) and research has shown that Italians have always disliked the thin single-use bags and were ready for stronger multi-use ones.

Yay Italy I say.

Introducing AeroClay The Eco-Friendly Styrofoam

We all know by now how bad for the environment Styrofoam is, yet it’s still used by millions every day, often because there is little alternative.

But there is now and an environmentally-friendly version too. Called AreoClay and developed at Cleveland’s Case Western Reserve University, it’s roughly 95 to 99 percent air by volume and made from a blend of clay and polymer.

And as well as being able to be made into Styrofoam-like cups, it can also be used for insulation and packaging.

AeroClay

Spotted via Springwise.

eBay Turns Green With Instant Sale

Well maybe not green as such, but eBay has promoted its new Instant Sale service as being green.

Selling your old gadgets has always been a good way of being green and the Instant Sale service is really just the same old eBay but easier.

eBay acts as the middle man, taking an active role. Finding you a buying, giving you free shipping labels, taking your gadget and wiping all of your personal data before sending it on to the buyer.

And if it doesn’t sell? eBay will recycle it for you – so green all round then.

Only available in the US for now, you can find out more here.

eBay

Bulldog Skincare Gets New Look

UK natural skincare brand Bulldog has undergone a makeover for 2011.

The new design for the range includes a contemporary and simplified Bulldog logo and a ‘natural ingredients’ icon to highlight Bulldog’s natural credentials. The Bulldog Original range also now has a signature fragrance across all products, which was inspired by the best selling Original Moisturiser (which we reviewed here and here).

Bulldog products are free of parabens, sodium laureth sulfate, artificial colors, or synthetic fragrances and is recognised and approved as cruelty free.

The new Bulldog range includes:

Original Moisturiser
Original Face Scrub
Original Shave Gel
Original Face Wash

We’ll be reviewing the refreshed products soon and you can find out more here.

Bulldog collection

The Big Plastic Bag Debate

These days, stepping out with a plastic bag carries as much of a stigma as admitting that you kick kittens for pleasure or actively engage in the torture of insects for fun. Plastic is rapidly becoming the swear word of our green generation, and more and more manufacturers are becoming aware that they are no longer able to rely on this expensive and environmentally-harmful way of packaging goods and promoting their brands.

Despite the huge awareness about the dangers of using plastic bags for groceries and other uses, a study by National Geographic has revealed the following facts about the plastic bag trade, showing:
• To date the only large city to ban plastic bags is San Francisco
• Only Washington DC has elected to tax shoppers that receive plastic bags
• No state has banned plastic bags
• No state has taxed plastic bags.

So it seems that not much changes when it comes to reducing the manufacture and use of the commodity, despite the huge amount of publicity which the use of plastics for bags has generated over recent months.

Why are people so slow to ditch plastic in favour of other materials?
Plastic bags came in to use a quarter of a century ago, and have been immensely popular ever since. Sturdy, cheap to produce and durable, they are the bag of choice for grocery stores and the convenience market. Easy to carry and easy to store, they tend to be more practical than their paper counterparts, regardless of the environmental risks associated with their use.

Plastic bags

Why are plastic bags so awful?
Plastic bags have few redeeming features when it comes to the environment. They are not biodegradable, meaning that any which are discarded end up in landfill clogging up the eco system. They block drains, drift in the sea and get in to the stomachs of creatures such as turtles, killing them. The true cost of plastic bags on the environment is staggering. Data released by the United States Environmental Protection Agency in 2001 on US plastic bag, sack, and wrap consumption shows that somewhere between 500 billion and a trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide each year. Of those, millions end up in the litter stream outside of landfills.

A spokesperson for the American Plastics Council has stated that the US is embarking upon a crusade against the use of plastic bags, even if this crusade isn‘t reflected by laws around their use: “We feel it is important to understand that plastic grocery bags are some of the most reused items around the house. Many, many bags are reused as book and lunch bags as kids head off to school, as trash can liners, and to pickup Fido’s droppings off the lawn.”

Once plastic bags are put in to the environment, it takes months to hundreds of years for them to break down. As they decompose, toxic chemicals seep into soils, lakes, rivers, and the oceans. Despite all the evidence against the use of plastic bags, the Society of the Plastics Industry based in Washington DC, states that they are still the right choice for consumers. Compared to paper grocery bags, plastic grocery bags consume forty percent less energy, generate eighty percent less solid waste, produce seventy percent fewer atmospheric emissions, and release up to ninety-four percent fewer waterborne wastes. While a plastic bag costs around one cent to produce, a paper equivalent costs around four.

Regardless of the arguments for and against the use of these items, there is no question but that using a cotton equivalent which can be used again and again will be less harmful to the environment than using plastic bags that are discarded after one use.