Tag Archives: enviromental conservation

Putting old books to good use II

29 Feb

More ‘hard-back book’ tile color combinations.

As I said before… I love the shades of brown :). Here it has been mixed up with blue. The motif on the tiles brings the nature into the room where these are used.

Shades of brown

This is a more masculine color combination.

Shades of green.


Putting Old books to good use.

26 Feb

A combination of elements put together to create a 'green wall'

This is a very creative way of using old hard-back covered books. This wall was decorated by the redesign department of Fretex in Oslo. It was done in the Fretex Unika shop on Markveien 51.

interesting color coding.

I wrote about Putting a twist on wall paper last year and showed some pictures of multicolored color-coded wall here. I personally prefer this though and can visualize more monochromatic combinations to go with different types of interior color schemes. For example a selection of various shades of brown tiles against a coffee brown wall!

reminders of the past

some futuristic elements.

I really love this wall because it not only looks good, it also tells a story . It is a green wall. Very environment friendly.

hard-back book wall tile installation inside the Fretex Unika shop in Oslo.

Fretex Unika

So if you happen to be in Oslo, check this out.

If I were you I would order me some book cover tiles from Fretex for your House/home/cafe/shop.

Get with the program people green design is the trend!!!


Green Designers part 1

2 Nov

I had the pleasure of attending a sustainability and Redesign seminar 2 weeks back . I did a presentation on my work experience with Design without Boarders and Fretex Redesign  in relation to sustainable design and recycling. Nerve wrecking I must say it was(could hear my own voice shake). I managed to go through with it however and even got feedback that it was a good presentation a few days after 🙂

I deliver my speech

Preaching sustainability

I guess the more one does something, the better they get at it .Hopefully one day the temperature won’t suddenly go up and my hands will not shake while I give a public speech….Forgot to mention that happened too.

Any way, apart from all the battles that were going on with-in, I managed to learn a lesson or 2 from the various presentations made, despite the fact that all but one were in Norwegian.

Speech on Innovative and Eco-friendly materials

Alexander Bau co-founder Ralston & Bau

Alexander Bau. Now his speech I enjoyed the most. This has nothing to do with the fact that the company he co-owns has done work for Fretex redesign where I work (or that he has the same name as my dad :)). It’s just that his was the only English speech. So sadly, I missed major lessons that I am sure I should have picked from the other presenters. Any way, One of the things he said was any one who calls him/herself a designer should  know what C2C/ cradle to cradle means….. plus they should buy the book.(Ordered myself a copy and am eagerly waiting).Find out about C2C here

His company has this cool resource library of  innovative and Eco friendly materials that producers and designers can access.

We were also treated to a delicious launch which I should have enjoyed but my presentation was after launch so……

The Ugandan in me went straight for the hot meals. T'was tasty food!

The last presentation was a thing for ears! This violinist did things to the sound from a violin that I didn’t think possible and that classical musicians would frown upon but I personally don’ t care… his innovation, for that’s what it is, is soooo coool… (for lack of better words to use) . He had this machine that he connected to his violin that changed the typical violin sound to for example, the sound of crashing ocean waves,  or a bird singing. He then mixed it all up(song bird, crashing waves and violin) to make a combination of sounds that I can only describe as serenity. Maybe people who know a thing or 2 about music and sound mixing would see nothing of this but I, was blown away!

Jazz violinist and a lecturer in innovation, Stig Roar Wigestrand

unconventional and beautiful demonstration of what innovation can do with the sound of a violin.

Will defiantly be writing more about this day….

World challenge

12 Oct

A one of a kind competition was going on without my knowledge!!! Check this out

I  now have the pleasure of knowing about it. I discovered it through a friend, Marianna B, one of my fellow ‘green designers’ and was beyond inspired by what the competition is all about. Talk about global justice green style, OH ya!!! Something I thought was impossible is coming to life and catching on like wild-fire.

Check it out people and VOTE VOTE VOTE…

Energy saving stove from Uganda

Beautiful polythene baskets

Book furniture

14 Sep

If you have many books that you just want to get rid of, here is a way to do it that is Eco-friendly.

Richard Hutten - layers

Book Desk

Thumbs up!

11 Sep

It is mind-boggling to discover how many tones of paper are collected on the daily at the Fretex paper recycle plant in Stavanger. 50 tones in a day, WOW! This, I found out on my visit to the plant  with Magny Tjelter  Friday 12 2011.

I got the opportunity to see what it takes to sort the paper that is put into recycle.  The tour of the plant was very interesting and educative.

First as seen below, the trucks that collect paper  from the Rogland area  are unloaded.

Another truck then shovels the paper onto  a belt which takes the paper into the first sorting cabin.

The first thing that is done is to remove any waste that does not qualify as paper, things like plastic bags, candy wrappers or plastic . Different paper grades then have to be separated and cardboard gets sorted first. It is put into a machine that compresses and ties it into bales that makes it easy for  a forklift truck to move it around. Brown cardboard actually has a huge market and is sold to paper mills which recycle it.  Milk cartons are also put into a separate pile which is  compressed and exported to Germany.

Paper is manually sorted along this belt.

Safe demolition of documents.

The picture above shows shredded “important” documents. Fretex offers this service too. For example, a bank would pay Fretex to safely shred documents for which no further use is needed.  This department has fewer people working there and they are sworn to secrecy. No visitors are even allowed in this department. Some workers at the plant don’t even set foot there so obviously I didn’t take a picture. I could only take one of the shredded bits. It would take the worlds greatest genius to puzzle these shreds into even quota of a document.

After the shredding, the bits are also pressed into bells as show in the picture below


 The paper is compressed into bales to make it easier for the fork-lift truck to move them around. It also makes storage and transportation more practical. the fork lifts load the bales onto the trucks which transports the paper to different companies or ports for exporting. China buys a lot of mixed(unsorted) paper waste which they recycle into numerous products.

 Fretex also does glass and tin collecting .

I also discovered that fretex had a hand in creating the The items below. They are made out of recycled paper

Cup holder

Medical tray sometimes used by dentists.

Hands off my scrap.

15 Aug


Metal Scrap business has become a resort to some parents and even children since it’s a kind of business that doesn’t require any kind of capital or exclusive skills to start. 
Abdullah Sendagire who pays his school dues plus his other three siblings’ out of the business says this is the best business for starters.
 He says, “With scrap business, all you need is a sack and the energy to carry the load. No government official will come to you asking for license or rent,”
Though the business is associated with many evils such as households theft where saucepans, charcoal stoves and other home used equipments are stolen, those who have done it the right way have experienced good returns.
“With increased reports of theft, stringent measures have been put upon the scrap collectors. 
Scrap from electronic poles, piped water materials manhole covers and rails are not authorized to be bought by anybody at either the collection centers or the companies themselves,” said James Ndhote of Recycle of Uganda a scrap recycling company in Kampala. MONDAY, 08 AUGUST 2011 07:19 FLAVIA NASAKA.  Read more here

 Today I was reading an article in The East African Business Week and it brought back fond memories of home(Uganda).

One very hot day I was sited in a parked car waiting for someone, the details of who I was waiting for and when are hazy but I can not forget what I witnessed that day.

Two Teens, a boy and a girl happened to walk by carrying very bulky and dirty looking sacks.  The girl who walked ahead looked older and was much taller than the boy. As they went by, I noticed that they seemed to be searching for something and it did not take me long to realise that they were looking for scraps of metal. Many children from poor homes do this for pocket-money or to contribute to their school fees.

So any way,they both  lingered around the area where I sat in the car waiting because (I think) they were finding very many bits and pieces of metal, mostly tin, old pipe pieces and stuff like that. The girl found a huge piece of metal (I think it was some sort of car engine part, cant be sure..,) and looked very happy with herself. She tried it for weight and by the look she had, I think she figured she had her work, carrying this good find, cut out for her. As she stood over the metal scrap  trying to figure out how she would carry it, I noticed her companion(the younger and much shorter boy) inching closer and closer with a mischievous look on his face.

What happened next is like a scene from a comedy and is permanently etched onto my brain (still laugh a lot when I remember). I felt sorry for the girl but I could not help but laugh when the boy suddenly snatched or tried to snatch the metal scrap from the ground and the unsuspecting girl realised to her dismay that she had been robbed of her little gold mine. Luck was on her side however because unlike her, the  boy had no idea that what he was trying to steal was very heavy. If you have ever suddenly picked up something that you didn’t know was heavier than it looked, you know what the boy felt.


You should have seen  him trying to make a run for it with a load that was obviously too heavy for him to carry let alone run off with, hilarious!! When the shock finally wore off, the girl bolted into action and it didn’t take her long to catch up with him. The boy threw the stolen goods clearly knowing what was best for him and made a run for it bulky sack in hand. I can’t blame him because the look the girl had……. hell has no furry like a woman scorned.  The girl then shouted warnings at the boy and threw in some insults to drive her point home. She proceeded to retrieve her metal scrap which she put in her already full sack. She tried and failed to carry  the not only bulky but now heavy sack in all ways possible so she decided to drag it on the road be-hide her.  The sound ‘that’ sack full of metal scrap made was  obviously disturbing but no one who had witnessed  what had happened could scold her. I would have pitied any one who tried, she was a girl on a mission to protect her property and deal, not too kindly, with any one who got in her way. Reminds me of the movie Diary of a mad black woman or in this case … of a metal scrap collector.

This memory for me is bitter-sweet.

I look back and laugh at the funny situation and then feel guilty because it is not so funny after all.

I look back and  think how justice was served but I am saddened to depths I do not want to even go into now by the fact that a young girl had to fight for rubbish because to her, it is valuable. Was there any justice in this?

I am proud that recycling is going on but my conscience is rattled by the fact that some poor children use their free time sorting through rubbish for a chance at education or for a little pocket change. They could be playing or doing what kids do ( enjoy life and have lots and lots of fun).

Some problems are big and take a longer time to be turned into good. A lot is being done in Uganda by people to earn a living and it is truly survival for the fittest. As far as recycling goes as seen in the article  above, baby steps are being taken, but they are still steps and that counts.

It is said that “You do not know what you have until you have lost it.”.  It is now clear to me that, you also don’t know what you don’t have if you don’t have it or know it. Confusing, right?  This is what I mean:  Now that I have been in Norway for six months and see how a good system works, I have clarity about what is wrong with the picture I just painted( the story of the teenage scrap collectors) while the girl and boy have not experienced any better, to them life is normal . They do not know what they don’t have and if they know, it is an untouchable dream/ fantasy. Like if you have never eaten chocolate you will not know what you are missing. It is like that with life’s pleasures. I have tasted what a high standard of living feels like in Norway so I know what could be in Uganda but is not.

Well, its things like this that puzzle me and sometimes give me sleepless nights.  It helps to have a laugh some times, looking for the humor in the midst of problems sometimes gives the lift that is needed to face a problem head on. Every cloud has a silver lining. Knowing that you can not solve all of life’s problems also helps. You can only do what you can handle. And you can start by doing your part to recycle. Remember…


Show You Care, Do Your Share

13 Aug

“We all moan and groan about the loss of the quality of life through the destruction of our ecology, and yet every one of us, in our own little comfortable ways, contributes daily to that destruction. It’s time now to awaken in each one of us the respect and attention our beloved Mother deserves.” – Ed Asner, Actor

I must admit that when I read this quot, a pang of guilt hit me. So, I started looking out for simple things that I do on a daily that hurt the environment. I came across this in my quest and thought it mandatory to share. Here are some very simple things  I learnt that we can do in respect for our beloved Earth:

  • Don’t use non-stick pans; use cast iron or stainless steel ones instead.
  • To avoid chemicals in food, lessen the amount of processed, canned, or fast food you consume, and never microwave plastic.
  • Buy organic, eat low-mercury fish, and never use iodized salt (interferes with the thyroid).
  • Leave your shoes at the door to reduce pollutants in your home.
  • Buy natural fibers.
  • Use reusable water bottles instead of buying plastic ones and never freeze water in plastic bottles.
  • Seal outdoor wooden structures as they may contain arsenic.
  • Filter your water for drinking, cooking, and bathing. 
  • Avoid products with added fragrance.
  • Save energy by adjusting the thermostat just a few degrees, buying compact fluorescent light bulbs, opening the drapes for more light, and washing clothes in cold water when possible.
I am still learning more because I admit that I don’t know the dangers of  things like freezing water in plastic container but, thank God for Google.
Get with the green program people…..

Paper couture.

18 Jul

This image cant get out of my mind and that is with good reason. I have seen many  dresses that are made from recycled paper but every time I think of couture in relation to paper recycle, this image flashes in my mind. So, I hope every time the word paper recycle is mentioned this image flashes in your mind 🙂

For her creative processes class Jolios Paons designed this paper dress from only phone book paper

If that got your attention you have just got to see   what designers can do with bathroom tissue (not used!). Any way, follow this link to see what I mean. The cashmere collections may not be aimed at  recycle but the promotion was for a good cause. http://www.cashmere.ca/wcc/english/2009.php?Designer=1
An Anastasia Lomonova Design


Shading light on enviromental conservation

7 Jul

These lamps literally do that, they are shaded in environmentally friendly materials which you really can’t recognize at  first glance. Whats more is they are not made using those environmentally friendly materials that scientists spend sleepless nights in labs trying to develop. They are made from items that we use and trash on a daily basis. No rocket science here, just the creative minds of  ordinary people. I like these product too because they look like one of those things u can do yourself at home if you have a few or many hours to kill.

"Ella" Plastic Bottle Chandelier by Sarah Turner

When I saw these lamps I was reminded of my attempt last year, at trying to collect coca-cola bottles in the name of recycle. The plan was to do something with them. Sad thing is I had to throw them away when I left Uganda for Norway. Well, Plastic bottle collection is back on track for me, I could make a mini version of one of the lampshades.(so inspired right  now!) and even if I don’t make it a lamp shade, it could be a decoration or… anything.


So I now have conflicting plans, Plan A to collect all the Plastic bottles I use and trade them in for money (cool thing I like about Norway) or Plan B have fun with a ‘do it myself project’.  Both are good plans because they are both ways of recycling, plan A is good because am not sure I have time for plan B plus I get some cash for trash but plan B is so inspirational and exciting, wonder what I will settle for. Wish I could eat my cake and have it. What I am sure about though is I have a sure project for when I go back to Uganda. Cant wait! A lot of planning to do. If I can’t eat my cake and have it in Norway, I will just have to settle fo another cake, in Uganda.

At the moment I fill like am going to burst with inspiration so,I have to share this. You have just have to follow this link! http://inhabitat.com/bright-ideas-competition/ella-plastic-bottle-chandelier/sarah-turner-lamp-cu/ Hope you like.