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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


4 Common Items That Can be Reused Again and Again



reuse reduce recycle plastic bottles etc
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Vanatchanan |

As a society we are getting much better at taking our obligations to the world and environment around us more seriously. This is undoubtedly a good thing! The effects of climate change are beginning to manifest across the world, and this is turning the issue from an abstract threat into a very real danger. Trying to introduce some greener, more eco-friendly practices into your life isn’t just a great way of doing something beneficial for society and the world around you. It is a wonderful way of engaging positively with the world and carries with it numerous psychological benefits.

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Being a greener, more ecologically friendly person doesn’t require any dramatic life changes. Breaking or making a few small habits is all it takes to make your life a greener one. In this article we look at one of the easiest, yet most effective green practices to get into: reusing everyday items.

Jars and Containers

Glass and metal are widely recycled, and recycling is a good thing! However, consider whether any containers you buy, whether it’s a tub of ice cream or a jar of coffee, can be washed out and reused for something else. Mason jars, for example, can be used to store homemade pasta sauce and can be washed for future use. Once you start thinking about it, you will find endless opportunities to reuse your old containers.

Soda Bottles

An ice-cold soda is a wonderful treat on a hot day, but buying soda can get expensive, and the manufacturing and distribution of the drinks themselves isn’t great for the environment. However, by holding on to your old soda bottles and repurposing them as water bottles, you can save money on drinks, or use them to measure out water for your garden.

Plastic Bags

Most of the time groceries come in paper bags, which are better for the environment than the plastic alternatives, but they are less durable and thus harder to reuse. Whenever the store places your items in a plastic bag, hang onto it so you can reuse the bags again. If you want to take it one step further, consider looking into buying some personalized recycled bags. These bags are designed to last for a long time and are made of recycled materials. They look striking and unique, they’ll turn heads, and maybe even attitudes!


If you’re a keen gardener, then you will already probably know how to reseed your plants in order to ensure a fresh crop after each plant’s lifecycle. If you have space in your garden, or haven’t yet tried your hand at gardening, then consider planting a small vegetable plot. Growing your own veggies means that you’ll be helping to cut back on the emissions generated by their transport and production. The best part about growing your own food in this way is that, by harvesting properly and saving the seeds, you can be set up with fresh vegetables for life!

Reusing and recycling common household items is an easy way to make your world a little bit greener. Once you start looking for these opportunities you’ll realize that they’re everywhere!

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These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money




eco-friendly green offices
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Stokkete |

The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.

Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.

Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.

Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale

The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.

Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.

Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI

It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.

Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.

Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.

Implementing green changes without a plan

Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.

Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:

  • How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
  • How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
  • How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
  • How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?

The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.

Not considering the benefits of green printing

Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.

Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.

According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:

  • They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
  • They consume less energy than traditional printers.
  • They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.

You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.

Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers

Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.

The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.

You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.

Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.

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