Shredding Sails

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One of the first steps to our national program of sail recycling took some shape recently. I was with the wonderful Chris from CL Shredders, Andover. Now, there isn’t much this guy doesn’t know about shredders and it was a pleasure to meet him.

Shredding is big in all senses of the word and some of the shredding machines he had were huge, tonka style machines. This was a boys toys playground!

Anyway, our sails sailed (sorry) through without too much bother and I now have four large bags of fluffy sail waste (see below).

We tried a really old sail in the tyre shredder – the ultimate shredding machine – but it didn’t like it much! Just goes to show the strength of some sails.

So now the question is how to use this waste? As some of you may have noted, we are trying some as insulation in the roof. We actually need a fair amount of shredded waste to make this an effective test. We are giving it a go nevertheless and it looks pretty good. I am writing a guest blog for another site about this so will link to that when I have finished.

Packaging. The guys at Eurovines are testing some of the nicer looking shredded sailcloth to use in presentation boxes with their wine. A novel idea and hopefully one that will work. We have already learnt that for this element we will need to clean it first :)

Other packaging ideas spring to mind and I am also discussing with bespoke mattress providers as they can use this for mattress stuffing.

We will also be using the same in a new range of Pet Beds we are currently developing (coming soon to the site). It will make for a very comfortable pet bed stuffing and will keep the cost down a little. Watch this space for a funky cushion as well, that may or may not work.  R&D is a wonderful department.

We are learning all the time and hope to eventually have a process in place where a sail will never be dumped in landfill again.   Keep watching.

We are pleased to say that you can now buy our bags in the heart of London.

Established and well known art gallery Two Columbia Road is stocking our bags. We have always said we don’t plan to have our products in hundreds of outlets and this has let us choose such outlets carefully. Indeed, we have a couple more to announce over the next few weeks and we think you will be impressed.

Have a look at the Two Columbia Road website and see what good company we keep these days.  Designers such as Hans Wegner, Finn Juhl, Arne Vodder, Joe Colombo, Ettore Sottsass, Charles Eames, Poul Kjaerholm, Cees Braakman and Artists such as Patrick Caulfield, Marc Quinn, Joe Tilson, Ed Rushca, Wolfgang Tillmans, Peter Blake and Sarah Lucas.

Two Columbia Road are regularly in Elle magazine and all the living style type magazines, feature in newspapers and are a well respected and well liked London landmark.   We are thrilled that they have decided to stock our bags.

We are very happy to be shortlisted for the Business Awards for Excellence presented by the Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce.

We are nominated in the Green Business category, which is sponsored by Lloyds Cardnet.

And we are in some very good company. Our friends, Rapanui, are also shortlisted.   Now they won one of the other awards last year and have since gone on to win a whole heap of awards so we are hoping their trophy cabinet is currently full :)

Feast, music and awards presented on 25 November 2011.

Good luck to us all.

Laptop bags

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Our recent laptop and tote banner bags have proved very popular.

We were shocked to find so many companies spending hundreds of pounds on banner advertising, using it for perhaps for as little as a day (for an exhibition or function) and then throwing it away.  Why not turn them into bags and other products.   Companies could then sell these products or give them away for marketing purposes.

Take it one stage further and why not get someone to sponsor your banner, with the understanding you will be turning them into bags after and they then get the advertisement.

The above bags were made from red funnel ferries, isle of wight, banners.

If ever there were ever a need for an eco dictionary!

Upstream recycling, downstream recycling, upcycling and just plain old fashioned recycling.  What does it all mean?

Upstream is the input market and downstream the output market, got that … ummm, no, not really.   Let’s try again, upstream recycling means manufacturers creating products that are better for the environment, less packaging or superior degradable products for example.   Downstream however is argued as being companies who turn material that would have otherwise been thrown away into a new product.

But now I am really confused because that is what we do and companies like terracycle and I have always called it upcycling.   Indeed, upcycling has a definition in wiki (well that’s that then!) whereas downstream and upstream recycling do not. ‘… Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value…’

So…. I will stick to the old recycling and upcycling of sails and sailcloth.   We upcycle sails into new products and we hope one day to recycle sails to sell back to sailcloth manufactures.

Peg Bags

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Can a Peg Bag be exciting – you betcha!  Have a look at this mouth watering peg bag :)

Hot off the R&D work benches, the Wightsails peg bag made from recycled sails and …. we have already sold a few of these.  It would appear the nation is still fond of a peg bag.  As one customer put it “… it will give me something nice to look at when I am putting out the washing …”

We have also been practicing photography of products (it just gets more exciting) with white sheets, chairs, bright lights and various instructions from photo professionals.   Lessons so far, you need patience; you need decent lights that stand up and ideally they should be the same lights and you need to build a light box; oh yes…. you also need a camera that is capable of trickery and last but certainly not least, photoshop.

We will keep practicing, but the call for a professional is suddenly looking like a sound investment.    You can buy these beauties now on the site.

Great to be in the news again for the 16 deckchairs we made for the Ellen Macarthur Trust for their Bestival enterprise with EcoIsland’s mobile phone charging boutique.

It was recently reported on the BBC that London boroughs will get a windfall of £50,000 each to spend on dressing their streets with flags and bunting for the Olympics 2012.

Some people have perhaps understandably questioned the use of such funds and the eco/environment argument has been put forward.   One commentator has stated ‘…it is waste of money, especially as the flags and bunting will be thrown away afterwards…’

It doesn’t have to be as we can provide bunting made from recycled sails, namely old spinnaker sails that would otherwise end up in landfill.  Indeed, we can hire bunting to local boroughs so it need not be an entire waste.

This would fit well with Boris Johnson’s plans for an ‘eco-makeover’ for London.  He promised hundreds of green projects for 2012.   So here is one that ticks most of the boxes Boris !!

Always good to be in the news for the right reasons :)   Check out the full article


Windfarm wars could be coming to the Island as the planning departments is soon to decide whether to approve a wind farm in Yarmouth. (photo courtesy of the Daily Telegraph)

Given we are all hoping to be an eco island and actually leave something good behind for our children I thought I would have a quick look at the arguments for and against wind farms (yes I sit on the pro wind turbine side of the fence – but this is an open minded post).

The basic arguments for windfarms

-  the government has a target to reach in 2020 to generate at least 15% of energy from renewables

-  no nasty smells or gases in the process, clean energy

-  we decrease reliance on other sources of energy both at home and buying from abroad

-  we create eco reliant jobs and create centre of excellence for eco projects.  We lead!

-  as more are created the price becomes cheaper to install and maintain

And the arguments against

-  often in areas of outstanding natural beauty.

-  noise has been blamed for health issues such as stress and insomnia

-  they have to be backed up by traditional methods as they don’t operate at full power all the time

-  money has to be spent upgrading the grid to deal with them and surges etc

-  expensive to build and only have a shelf life of 25 years

There are more arguments, but these are some of the normal ones put forward.   The writers opinion is largely based on logic and fact, namely oil, coal and gas will run out, nuclear is unpopular.  Wind will always be around and technology will improve efficiency, cost and even the look of the things.

Have your say on the planning application.