Archive for the "admin" category

What green product do you wish someone would invent?

We’ve had an email from Mel asking for a bit of help with a university assignment about green things and I thought it might make an interesting discussion:

I have a uni assignment where I need to market an ‘imaginary’ green product – I believe my time would be better spent marketing an ‘actual’ green product – but that is unfortunately not the brief!!

Each product I have thought of seems to already exist when I do an Internet search … so I though I might pose the question to you all … ‘What green product do you wish someone would invent?’. I’d love to hear your suggestions and hopefully find a subject for my assignment. It can be as simple or wacky as you like – it does not have to be based on actual science since it is for a marketing subject – but I would prefer to spend my energies on something useful and thoughtful.

Thanks! Great site, by the way :)

We greenies tend to be pretty resourceful at making our own green versions of things we need if we can’t buy them already (either because they don’t exist or because they’re too expensive) but there must be some things we’re still clamoring for. Plus, I suspect someone of us might be wishing for things that already exist – and hopefully by expressing our wishes we can find out about them!

My only ideas are business-to-business ones such as genuinely green food packaging for shops & supermarkets to use — yes, we can take our own containers to some places and reduce the amount of packaged stuff we buy in the first place, but it would be good if supermarkets had more affordable-to-them, greener options as an alternative to formed plastic or vacuum-sealed plastic containers. Or, more of a service than a product but a way for more packaging to be returned & reused like milk bottles or pop bottles in ye olden days.

One of my other “why can’t you get…?” pet peeves is the amount of times we’re transporting water around unnecessarily in products that could be made more concentrated or in a dehydrated form — but all the examples I can think of right now are available, for example powdered milk and shampoo bars.

Do you have any “why isn’t there a green version of that?” items?

Impact of advertising on Recycle This – and my promises to you

Recycle This turns six in April 2012 and from day one, it has included advertising.

I started the site when I was in the process of quitting my job for a “career break”, which turned into self-employment. The idea was that I’d have advertising on the site for as long as I needed the money from it. In the first couple of years, it wasn’t much at all but every little helped. Now after other ventures sadly tanked, I still need the (meagre) advertising revenue to supplement my (even more meagre) income.

But I don’t think it has impacted the nature of Recycle This that much. Yes, I spend time tweaking text to trying to bring more visitors to the site but not at the cost of readability (the lack of readability is usually to do with my tendency to waffle and/or put extra comments in brackets, you know, like this ;) ). I try to ensure pages are linked to other relevant pages to keep people interested – but I never split articles over many different pages to force people to click through after every paragraph to drive up ad impressions*. And I publish the full text of the article in the RSS feed (and email feed) so if you subscribe to either of those, you never have to visit the site and see adverts (unless you want to see comments, although you can subscribe to the RSS feed of comments too, if you’re interested). Yes, I need to generate some money but not at the cost of producing a worthwhile site or engaging in habits I find infuriating when I see them elsewhere.

When I do link posts (such as Christmas craft round-ups), I get ideas from a range of sources — reading the people’s blogs directly, via other curating blogs, through requests for suggestions on Twitter, Pinterest and from stuff people have emailed me — but no one ever pays (either directly or indirectly through products or links back) to be included in those, and I would never ask them to. I only feature stuff that I personally like/want to make or think are worthwhile – info that I generally want to pass on to as many people as possible. Ditto anything used for giveaways.

As for the actual adverts, I can quite confidently say that I have never changed any editorial content on the site because an advertiser wants me to. My main advertising network for most of the past six years has been Google Adsense. I have tried other networks, affiliate schemes and had some direct advertising but I’ve mostly stuck with Google’s context sensitive ads because in general they are more relevant in terms of both subject and geography. The downside is that I don’t control exactly which adverts appear on the site – the upside of that though is that I’m never under any conscious or unconscious pressure to bend my subject to not offend an advertiser — I don’t know who they are. The only concessions I make under the Adsense program is not swearing every other *&%ing word or displaying hate speech/pornography on the site – which, to be frank, isn’t exactly something I was planning to do anyway ;)

Anyway, long story short, I want to make six promises – six things I’ve stuck to over the last six years and hope to stick to for as long as the site exists in the future:

  1. I will not change anything I’ve written or anything anyone has written in a comment because an advertiser wants me to
  2. I will not post any “sponsored posts”, any (unpaid) guest posts or product reviews that are simply adverts in disguise
  3. I will not post accept any direct advertising in any form that promotes products that generate, rather than reduce, waste
  4. I will not post any adverts in our site’s Twitter feed (or any other social media platforms that might crop up in the future!)
  5. I will not put money generation above creating a useful site to help people reduce, reuse, recycle more
  6. I will remove all advertising from the site as soon as I can do without the money

Sorry this has been a bit of a departure from the normal How can I recycle this…? posts, I just wanted to get a few things off my chest! Normal programming will resume tomorrow :)

-louisa :)

* The only exception to this is adding a “read more” link so really long articles don’t display in their entirety on the front page. Anyone visiting the article directly will see it all on one page, and people would have to click off the main page to read comments anyway.

Recycle This turns five!

I mentioned on Twitter yesterday that it was Recycle This’s fifth birthday earlier this week – we launched on the 24th April 2006.

In the intervening five years, I’ve published 1026 posts about reusing and recycling random stuff. We’ve had over 14,000 suggestions/comments (and 1,259,497 attempted spam comments! ;) ) and had about 5million people visit the site — not bad for an idea I had in the bath :)

In those five years, recycling as a concept as boomed – nearly all local authorities in the UK offer extensive kerbside collections now, packaging is getting better (both in terms of labelling and using more easily recyclable materials to start with) and there are tons of recycling information websites now, and upcycling crafts are very popular too. There is still a long way to go – but it’s great to see that progress is being made.

I’ve (virtually and in real life) met so many lovely people as a result of the site and heard so many fantastic recycling ideas that I couldn’t possible begin to pick favourites – but I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has sent over a question or added an suggestion, idea or advice — you’re all super wonderful :)

I did hope to have a new fancy design finished as a birthday present for the site but that’s … not happened. It should happen some time in the next few months though – and I’ve got some new ideas for the site too. Stay tuned :)

Recycle This in 2010 – my favourite stories

So here we are at the end of another year – and it’s been a great one for Recycle This.

We’ve had more than 1,000,000 unique visitors over the year: about 300,000 from the UK, 350,000 from the US and the rest from around the world – including 12 people from Papua New Guinea, 5 people from the Congo, 3 people from Greenland, 1 person from Micronesia and another single person from Christmas Island. Hello and welcome to everyone!

We’ve posted 265 stories and had more than 3400 reusing & recycling ideas suggested by our commenters – thanks so much to everyone who left an idea or asked a question, you guys really make it a pleasure for me to run this site.

I really have had a lot of fun running it this year – we’ve had some great discussions, especially on ways for people to reducing their consumption in the first place. I loved hearing people tips and advice for getting into the habit of taking packed lunches – it almost made me wish I left the house for work so I could join in the packed lunch fun! Linked to that, we also had quite a lively discussion about how to move away from Graze boxes – a pet hate of mine and I loved Alice’s ideas for destroying their clever branding! More recently/less rantily, I’ve liked hearing about ways to freshen up winter coats – to stop the want-a-new-one craving from settling in.

I personally don’t celebrate Christmas so in previous years haven’t spent much time thinking about it for Recycle This – but this year I decided to showcase the best recycled decorations and upcycled present ideas from around the web — and you know what? there is some pretty awesome stuff out there and it was fun exploring it all. I’m going to use the ideas to make non-Christmas-sy stuff instead.

Finally, since we’ve covered nearly 1000 different things on Recycle This over the years, I decided that it’s worth revisiting old subjects to highlight the best reuses for them and linking to new ideas that have popped up in the (often four years+) since I posted them. I think my favourite of those has been “Five fantastic reuses for expanded polystyrene foam packaging” because it reminded me of some really great ideas for using up that accursed stuff.

Thanks again to everyone who has visited the site in 2010, and a double-triple-quadruple thanks to all those who’ve commented, emailed or Tweeted me throughout the year. See you all in 2011!