Archive | May 2012

Ethical Office Furniture

I was reading recently about how one of the subsidiaries of IKEA are clear cutting old growth forest in Russia to make furniture. This got me thinking about sourcing ethical furniture for the office.

Given the current economic climate, it’s likely that many organisations can’t afford to refit the office anyway! However, if you are looking to change your office furniture, ask yourself:

a) Do you really need to change the furniture? (Yes you’ve probably asked that question already, but ask it again!)

If you just want to freshen up the office, can you rearrange the furniture to create a different look and feel? If the furniture is getting tatty, how about looking around to see if you can get it renovated.

b) Can your existing furniture be renovated?

Look in the Yell list of furniture restorers in Edinburgh to find a restoration service. If you’re feeling creative, why not try restoring the furniture yourself? Do an online search for inspiration using terms such as ‘up-cycled furniture’ ‘reclaimed furniture’ – it could be an ideal team building exercise for a creative office!

c) can you buy second hand furniture?

Edinburgh Recycle  and Office Furniture Edinburgh  sell good quality second hand office furniture.

d) can you source furniture made from reclaimed materials?

Most furniture made from reclaimed materials tends to be vintage style and highly crafted, hence highly expensive and not ideally suited to an office environment. Future Furniture based in Glasgow offer office furniture and have a clear environmental policy, including using a proportion of reclaimed and recycled materials.

e) can you hire the furniture instead?

Office Furniture Edinburgh has furniture to hire.

f) If you are getting rid of your old furniture can you recycle it?

Junk Me based in Edinburgh and Glasgow collect office furniture and donate much of it to charity. Edinburgh Recycle collects old office furniture to sell on. Alternatively you can advertise your furniture in the local and charity press.

Links in this blog-post do not constitute endorsements, but give an idea of what is available in and around Edinburgh, because that’s where I’m based. There are more options in Edinburgh and it’s easy to search online for similar companies in your local area.

As ever, bold text contains hyperlinks that take you to other pages where you can find out more.

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Scottish Bird Fair

I was delighted that the RSPB gave me free tickets for the first ever Scottish Bird Fair, held at Hopetoun House near Dalmeny in West Lothian. I did a long blog post on the event on Crafty Green Poet and a shorter post on the ringing demonstrations from the British Trust for Ornithology also on Crafty Green Poet, here.

There were events for all ages (Eco Activities for Children) and for everyone from the complete beginner (Beginners Birdwatching Walks) to the seasoned birder (Wader Identification Workshop). An interest in birds is often a good starting point for an interest in wider conservation issues and this event made the most of that connection through looking at issues such as the state of Scotland’s seabirds and the reintroduction of the beaver to Scotland.

Hopefully this will become an annual event and if it does, it is well worth going to.

As ever, bold text contains hyperlinks that take you other webpages where you can find out more.

Green Roofs and Office Allotments

It’s great to have greenery around the office. A few pot plants can make all the difference between a sterile working environment and one that feels much more relaxed and welcoming. You can even grow herbs or tomatoes on office windowsills!

And how about taking the greenery a step further?

More and more buildings are being built with space for green roofs, like this office block in Edinburgh.

Green roofs look attractive, can reduce a building’s carbon footprint, are easy to care for and can offer habitats for insects and birds, thus helping to preserve the local wildlife. Some green roofs can be used to grow vegetables, if the access and weight bearing features of the site are good enough.You can find out more about green roofs at the Living Roofs website.

If you have the land, you could even set up an office allotment, like this one outside an office on the outskirts of Edinburgh.

Office allotments offer not only a source of low cost food, but a chance to grow food organically. The allotment can be set up as a pleasant place to sit at lunchtime and working on the allotment can develop team relationships outside the office itself. Good exercise in the fresh air too, so it’s healthy! The Scottish Allotments and Gardens Society is a good place to start if you are wanting information about allotments.

If you’ve got experience of growing food plants in your work environment, please feel free to share your ideas in the comments section below!