Newsletter – Feb Week 1

planet positive stories

Last week I started my annual declutter of the house. It’s something I’ve done every November before the deluge of Christmas gifts arrive into the house, but with college it was delayed until now. In recent years we’ve manage to knock the Christmas deluge tradition on the head, but the annual declutter continues.

When I started this process it was an uphill struggle. I just couldn’t make a dent in the amount of ‘stuff’, and decluttering was more of an exercise in reorganising than rehoming.

Thankfully after 5 years of low-waste living I’m really seeing the difference. Having successfully rehomed hundreds of items and refusing entry to new ones, I can now see the bottom of drawers and the back of cupboards.

I won’t lie. It hasn’t been easy. This is because I have a mindset of ‘rehoming’ rather than ‘getting rid of’.

  • I refuse to donate anything that isn’t brand new to charity shops, because I know that things that look ‘second-hand’ often get dumped.
  • I refuse to bin something that is still functional, even if I can’t find a new home for it.
  • I refuse to bin something that is repairable, even if I don’t currently have the money/skill to repair it at the moment.

Part of me wishes it was easier to rehome things in Ireland. People seem very reluctant to buy second-hand items online, which can make the process unbearably slow. But I think making it too easy would have it’s drawbacks.

Knowing how hard it is to rehome things has made me much more cautious about buying things in the first place. Over Christmas I decided I wanted a lovely yearly planner by Badly Made Books and I went to far as to put on in my virtual shopping basket, but I didn’t complete the purchase. I knew I had a few half-filled notebooks in my bedside locker and told myself I could only buy a new notebook or planner when I’d used them up.

If you’re in the process of decluttering you might like my articles on

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Photo by Sarah Dorweiler on Unsplash

In February 2021, TASC will embark on two new projects which aim to ensure climate action responds to the needs of all communities and, in doing so, advances climate justice.

Some great ecological innovations in the pipeline!

Plant based food company Strong Roots open veggie food bank in London

Strong growth in sail-powered cargo ships

Senegalese farmers plant around 152 million in the world’s largest mangrove reforestation project

37 ways to use less plastic

The power of one person as one customer convinces dry cleaners to switch to reusable garment bags

Are you an SME with an idea for a sustainable service/product? Get ready for the next round of funding by joining this consortium

A report on the circular economy in Rwanda

Make your own furniture polish with just two ingredients

Nissan produce first car using ‘closed-loop’ aluminium recycling system 

Vietnam installed 7.4GW of solar panels in less than 12 months. That’s 25 times more than it installed in 2019: equivalent to more than half of Australia’s entire capacity in a single year.

The world’s biggest diesel engine factory in France is and switching to electric motors.

Germany is the first country in the world to ban the killing of chick embryos after the sixth day of incubation starting on the 1st January 2024.

Three major European banks – Credit Suisse, ING and BNP Paribas – to stop providing financing for oil exports from the Ecuadorian Amazon.

A zero wasters guide to decluttering 

China doubled its construction of clean energy in 2020

China passed landmark environmental law protecting the Yangtze, one of the country’s two ‘mother rivers.’

On the 18th January, Alberta’s energy minister announced the province was cancelling 11 coal leases and ‘pausing’ future sales.

Bison have been returned at last to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in Montana.

Very clever synopsis of greenwashing

UK company Ecotricity strikes landmark deal to secure geothermal power from Cornish plant

A journo’s experience of using ethical living app CoGo

Canada looks to reduce food waste through ‘sustainable insect production

Guide to eco toilet paper 

New US president Joe Biden signs the country back up to the Paris agreement

Roscommon family to turn old KFC restaurant in Leitrim into Ireland’s first organic drive-through restaurant using food from their own farm.

Great resource for kids on how to become a Plastic-free ambassador 

Design By Nature is a design competition for UK university students and recent graduates do design concepts that help address climate change.

Designer creates flat-pack chair made from old laptop cases

Thanks for reading and have a happy sustainable week. You can catch up with me on Facebook and Instagram between now and next week’s newsletter.


Published by Elaine Butler

I am a circular design consultant helping manfacturers prepare for the circular economy

2 thoughts on “Newsletter – Feb Week 1

  1. Hi I’ve just read your latest email very interesting i have trouble getting rid of things especially if they have semtimental value so i created a think about it later box so can sit down with the items and really decide if someone else could use it. I really need to go through my attic but leaving that till the cold weather is over. Best wishes Pennyxx

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    1. That’s a really good strategy. I tend to declutter in waves. The first time I declutter there are probably things I keep ‘just in case’ but as I pass through the room again and get more comfortable decluttering I’m happier to release more and more stuff, but only to the right person. I find it much easier to give something to someone I know will appreciate it. Donating items to a charity shop not knowing who will get them or if they will be binned is too hard for me.


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