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Scots in need of a home makeover urged to visit the Design Doctor



A major eight-week social media campaign launches today to encourage Scots to try upcycling – and discover the joys of re-use. Upcycle (verb): “reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of higher quality or value than the original.” ‘

Design Doctor’ – #DesignDoc – is run by Zero Waste Scotland to encourage and inspire everyone to try upcycling and discover the joys of re-use, with expert guidance from designers – both online and in person. The campaign will culminate in a range of interactive events at the end of November.

Each week, three Scottish designers – Emily Rose Vintage and Treemendus from Glasgow and Very Vintage from Edinburgh – will completely transform one of seven items of furniture and post the details on Twitter and Facebook. The pieces destined for upcycling will be sourced from a range of second-hand stores accredited by ‘Revolve’ – a re-use quality standard for shops who sell second hand goods in Scotland. The Revolve brand is only awarded to retailers who demonstrate a high level of excellence, both in service and product – making it safe, easy and inviting for everyone to buy second-hand items.

The Design Doctor designers will demonstrate a range of techniques and tricks to give people the creative inspiration to upcycle their own pieces of furniture, thus increasing the value of their item while lowering their carbon footprint.

Environment Minister Dr Aileen McLeod said: “The Design Doctor campaign is an ideal fit with the Scottish Government’s approach to creating a more circular economy in Scotland. The attraction of a more circular approach to our economy – where we keep materials flowing through the economy at as high a value as possible, for as long as possible – is that it tackles a number of economic, environmental, social and moral imperatives.

“Scotland’s Revolve programme is a great way to empower people to upcycle household items instead of throwing them away – and this is a concept that makes sense for business, industry, the public sector, and individuals. As we approach an expensive time of year in the run up to Christmas, this campaign is the perfect way to look at saving a bit of money and having the opportunity to be creative with some of your household items.”

Each week, Twitter and Facebook users who follow the #DesignDoc hashtag can see pictures of the piece of furniture waiting to be upcycled. Three ideas will be suggested by the designers as to how they might transform the piece and users will be asked to vote for their favourite design. The winning idea will be used to create the final upcycled article, with an accompanying ‘how to’ guide uploaded online with pictures. The social media campaign will also include a competition to win the chance to have a piece of furniture upcycled by one of the designers.

Izzie Johnston, Reuse and Repair Manager, Zero Waste Scotland, said:“Our innovative Design Doctor social media campaign is all about encouraging people to overcome any uncertainties they may have about upcycling, and providing them with the skills and confidence to give it a try. The campaign centres around getting people involved and being interactive, so we’re really excited to see the results.

“Re-using things – whether that be through upcycling, donating unwanted items, or buying from re-use store – is one of the best options for the environment since it prevents waste going to landfill or simply being recycled.  Upcycling is a particularly exciting aspect to this because it can add both aesthetic and financial value to an item.

“Those who feel inspired to re-use and buy second-hand can visit one of over 40 fantastic Revolve-accredited stores throughout Scotland, where they’ll find high quality, excellent value goods. They can also join the conversation on Twitter by following @revolvereuse. We really want people to realise that second-hand need never mean second best. Equally, there is a wonderful sense of pride, achievement – and even surprise – to be gained from producing something beautiful, unique and valuable for your home by upcycling something you already have.”

The campaign will also incorporate videos and blogs to engage people online, alongside five in-store upcycling workshops hosted by one of the three campaign designers at Revolve-accredited stores in Edinburgh, Irvine, the Isle of Bute, Dingwall and Dysart.

The Revolve-accredited stores donating furniture to the Design Doctor campaign are: Second Opportunities in Glasgow; Oskars in Paisley; New Start Highland and Everything Baby in Inverness; Cunninghame Furniture Recycling in Irvine, and Fyne Futures on the Isle of Bute.

There are now over 40 Revolve-accredited shops in Scotland. Customers with items they no longer require can ensure their goods are re-used rather than landfilled by contacting the National Re-Use Phone Line on 0800 0665 820. The facility allows callers to skip the hassle of taking large household items like bed frames, sofas and white goods to the local recycling centre, and instead have them picked up and taken to be re-used by someone else, free of charge.  Re-using rather than recycling 100 sofas, for example, saves 1.5 tonnes of carbon and is a much more environmentally-friendly option.

Follow all the #DesignDoc action on and


Extra-Mile Water Conservation Efforts Amidst Shortage



water conserving

While some states are literally flooding due to heavy rains and run-off, others are struggling to get the moisture they need. States like Arizona and California have faced water emergencies for the last few years; water conserving efforts from citizens help keep them out of trouble.

If your area is experiencing a water shortage, there are a few things you can do to go the extra mile.

Repair and Maintain Appliances

Leaks around the house – think showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, and more – lead to wasted water. Beyond that, the constant flow of water will cause water damage to your floors and walls. Have repairs done as soon as you spot any problems.

Sometimes, a leak won’t be evident until it gets bad. For that reason, make appointments to have your appliances inspected and maintained at least once per year. This will extend the life of each machine as well as nip water loss in the bud.

When your appliances are beyond repair, look into Energy Star rated replacements. They’re designed to use the least amount of water and energy possible, without compromising on effectiveness.

Only Run Dishwasher and Washer When Full

It might be easier to do a load of laundry a day rather than doing it once per week, but you’ll waste a lot more water this way. Save up your piles of clothes until you have enough to fully load the washing machine. You could also invest in a washing machine that senses the volume of water needed according to the volume of clothes.

The same thing goes with the dishwasher. Don’t push start until you’ve filled it to capacity. If you have to wash dishes, don’t run the water while you’re washing. Fill the sink or a small bowl a quarter of the way full and use this to wash your dishes.

Recycle Water in Your Yard

Growing a garden in your backyard is a great way to cut down on energy and water waste from food growers and manufacturers, but it will require a lot more water on your part. Gardens must be watered, and this often leads to waste.

You can reduce this waste by participating in water recycling. Using things like a rain barrel, pebble filtering system, and other tools, you can save thousands of gallons a year and still keep your landscaping and garden beautiful and healthy.

Landscape with Drought-Resistant Plants

Recycling water in your yard is a great way to reduce your usage, but you can do even more by reducing the amount of water required to keep your yard looking great. The best drought-resistant plants are those that are native to the area. In California, for example, succulents grow very well, and varieties of cactus do well in states like Arizona or Texas.

Install Water-Saving Features

The average American household uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every single day. You obviously can’t cut out things like showering or using the toilet, but you can install a few water-saving tools to make your water use more efficient.

There are low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucet aerators. You could also use automatic shut-off nozzles, shower timers, and grey water diverters. Any of these water saving devices can easily cut your water usage in half.

Research Laws and Ordinances for Your City

Dry states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada must create certain laws to keep the water from running out. These laws are put into practice for the benefit of everyone, but they only work if you abide by the laws.

If you live in a state where drought is common, research your state and city’s laws. They might designate one day per week that you’re allowed to water your lawn or how full you can fill a pool. Many people are not well versed in the laws set by their states, and it would mean a lot to your community if you did your part.

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Cyprus is the Forerunner for Ecotourism



When I was looking for a second citizenship, I happened to see One Visa’s offer on Cyprus Citizenship by investment program. I had heard about Cyprus being a beautiful country, but I did not know much else, so I decided to start my own research about this gem of a place.

After I did some research, I discovered that Cyprus is a popular destination for tourists. Unfortunately, heavy tourism and the associated development affected villages here and there, with some communities being slowly abandoned. To avoid this from happening any further, Cyprus went into ecotourism, and today, it is the forerunner in this arena. Let’s look in further detail at ecotourism in Cyprus here.

How was it started?

It all started in 2006 with the launch of the “Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative.” This program has the sole scope of promoting ecotourism developments in the tourism industry. It concentrates on those areas which require conservation and environmental safety. At the same time, it helps develop social, as well as economic statuses in the rural parts of Cyprus. Through this program, the government was able to acknowledge that ecotourism will play an essential role in the future of Cyprus, with the concept gaining momentum among tourists from all over the globe.

How to go about it?

So, now you are interested in going for an ecotourism vacation in Cyprus. How will you go about it? I would immediately say that everyone should visit the quaint Cypriot villages spread throughout the island. These communities have a smaller population, and not many tourists visit. They make for a great relaxing spot. Enjoy seeing the bustle of village life go by where simple pleasures abound. Most hamlets are linked by specific minibus tours which ferry tourists to these havens. These trips will have a regular schedule, aimed at promoting ecotourism further. Such tours will be regulated to ensure that while the villages can benefit and develop, they do not get overpopulated or overcrowded with tourists. Therefore, you can be sure to enjoy the beautiful sceneries that nature has to offer here.

If you are wondering if there are any activities to do here, my answer would be: “Yes, plenty.” You can go for some guided walks across various regions here. Here you will be able to explore the diversified natural beauty and wildlife of the area. Several agritourism activities and services are planned to open shortly. Once launched, you will be able to engage in picking olives, milking goats, and several other such events here.

What can be learned?

Although we are aware that natural resources need to be preserved, we do not always remember it in real life. When we go on tours such as these, we can realize the significance of protecting nature. Also, when more and more people visit these places, the concept of ecotourism will become popular among more people. Awareness about ecotourism is set to grow and spread throughout the world. Subsequently, sustainable tourism will gain popularity around the globe with Cyprus being the forerunner for ecotourism .

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