Archive for March, 2012

EARTH HOUR – March 31st 8:30pm

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WWF’s Earth Hour is a simple idea that’s quickly turned into a global phenomenon. Millions of people will be turning off their lights on March 31 at 8.30pm for one hour, on the same night, all over the planet.

 

Whether you plan to play scrabble or have a dinner party with family, here’s how to make your own Friends of Glass tea light lantern, so you can have a truly glassy evening.

 

How to make your own Friends of Glass Jam Jar Lantern

 

Materials

  • Jam jars – assorted sizes
  • Thin wire for hanging and small wire cutters
  • Tea lights

Getting rid of the labels

  • Do them in batches.
  • Rip off the paper.
  • Use hot water and washing up liquid.
  • Leave them to soak for a good amount of time.
  • Use a knife to scrape off stubborn glue.

Turning them from jam jars into lanterns

  • Use thin but sturdy wire that’s easy to bend.
  • Work out the length of wire you need by roughly wrapping it around the rim of the jar and making a loop for a handle.
  • Cut the wire to length.
  • Make a small loop in one end of the wire.
  • Wrap the wire around the rim of the jar and thread it through the loop.
  • Pull tightly and securely.
  • Make the handle loop.
  • Thread the end of the wire under the wire around the rim of the jar.
  • Twist to secure.

 

Earth Hour – What Else Can You Do?

 

Earth Hour is not just about saving an hour’s electricity. It’s something much bigger. It’s about people coming together to put focus on this brilliant world we all share. Not just for an hour a year, but every day.

 

So, what can you do?

 

  • First, check out what events are taking place in the UK and see how you can get involved and support them.
  • Switch off your lights for Earth Hour 2012, starting at 8:30 local time on Saturday night, 31st March.
  • Decide what else you will do, after Earth Hour 2012 for more sustainable life. It doesn’t have to be huge – every little helps! Did you know that the energy saved from recycling one glass bottle can run a 100-watt light bulb for four hours or a compact fluorescent bulb for 20 hours.

 

If you Tweet, tell the word what actions you will take towards a more sustainable future using the hashtag #EarthHour.

 

Feel part of something brilliant. Sign up here to say that you’ll join millions of people switching off for a brighter future …

When did glass become less eco-friendly than plastic?

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Last week the article ‘Is it time to pass on glass when it comes to serving wine’ was published on the Independent. It really got us thinking – when did glass become less eco-friendly than plastic for some people?

 

In the article, the journalist talks about the popular Italian restaurant chain Jamie Oliver’s Restaurants and their choice to serve wine packaged in Tetra Pak to their consumers.

 

The Chain of restaurants may of course choose to provide their customers with wine in ‘snazzy’ cartons as a marketing point of difference, but to claim Tetra Pak to be a greener choice than 100% recyclable glass as the chain’s MD Simon Blagden does, is we believe, misleading.

 

Tetra Pak’s three material elements – paper, plastic and aluminium, cannot be ‘closed loop’ recycled in the same way like bottles and jars, which can become new bottles and jars again in less than 30 days. In most cases, Tetra Pak cartons must be exported for specialist recycling or incinerated.

 

The article goes on to make selective material comparisons drawing on just manufacturing or distribution elements. What about the energy consumed when extracting oil and mining for Bauxite aluminium? Or the incineration process at end of the product’s life? The article also misses the fact that the majority of wine bottles are now ‘lightweighted’, becoming up to 40% lighter in recent years.

 

People who choose glass bottles for wine aren’t being snobbish. Glass is an inert, taste-free, and endlessly recyclable compound that simply makes it the best – and most sustainable – material for the job!

 

Why? Because glass doesn’t leach, it doesn’t react chemically with its contents and it offers an excellent barrier to gases. Glass is the only packaging material that fully preserves the original taste of wine, and with glass, wine tastes like wine! What’s more, the superiority of glass is confirmed by several independent studies*.

 

Consumers also prefer glass.  82.7% of consumers want to drink their white wine which has been preserved in glass and 74.9% prefer to have red wine in glass. (British Glass Taste Campaign Research)

 

* See e.g. the study, which was carried out by the Institute of Vine and Wine Sciences (ISVV) in Bordeaux, which found that the flavour and chemical composition of white wine changed within six months of being packed in single‐ and multi‐layer PET bottles and bag‐in‐box.

 

 

 

History in a Bottle

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Some people have walk-in wardrobes – Bay Van der Bunt, 63, has a walk-in drinks cupboard, filled with some 5,000 bottles of old spirits and liqueurs such as cognac, armagnac, port and chartreuse.

 

It has taken the Dutchman nearly 40 years to build up what is believed to be the largest private collection in the world, and now he is selling it lock, stock and dusty bottle for €6m (£5m).

 

Mr Van der Bunt can be confident his investment continues to retain its fantastic quality thanks to glass. You don’t have to be a connoisseur to know that glass is the only choice when it comes to preserving quality, purity, safety and taste. Sadly, only a very lucky few will find out just how perfectly. Kim Willsher, a journalist from The Observer newspaper, who interviewed Van der Bunt is one of those and tasted a 203 year old brandy says: “It tastes smooth and warm and hard not to swallow. But a bottle 50 years younger than this sold for €119,162 (£100,000) at auction last year, so it seems only right to savour every sip, especially if each one is worth around €260.”

 

It is probably the most valuable and fascinating drinks cabinet in the world, which includes some truly historic glass bottles:

 

1795 BRUGEROLLE

Said to be the last remaining hand-blown jeroboam (6 litre) bottle in the world and believed to have travelled with the army of Napoleon Bonaparte as it waged war against Austria and the British. The Dutch republic fell to French troops in the same year. Bought from a Chicago collector in 1990 for more than €24,000. Estimated value €138,000 (£114,500).

 

1938 REMY MARTIN LOUIS XIII

More than 1,200 brandies were blended to form this special-edition cognac presented during the royal banquet of Queen Elizabeth and King George VI, in 1938. Only 600 of them are believed to still exist. Bought for €900. Estimated value €53,000 (£44,000).

 

1805 AE DOR, SOLEIL D’AUSTERLITZ

An extremely rare bottle – only three were made. In 1980 the owner of AE Dor kept one for himself, and presented the other two to French president François Mitterrand. Bought in 1989 for €3,000. Estimated value €18,000 (£15,000).

 

This article originally appeared in The Guardian.