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Top 5 Weird Eco-Inventions

So progress is great right? The world is going crazy for new and exciting inventions that make our lives easier, whilst limiting the negative impact on the planet.  But that fine line between eco-genius and eco-crazy sometimes becomes a little blurry!  If you haven’t managed to keep up with the latest eco-trends, here’s our top 5 list of the ‘most interesting’ green developments!  P.S. We don’t actually stock any of these products (yet) so you’ll have to let us know if you think we’ve made a mistake there!

1. Cigarette Butt Clothes

We know that smoking isn’t healthy – but to be honest a lot of our daily habits are pretty destructive.  Finding ways to minimise the damage of those habits that society just can’t kick has become an industry in itself!

It is true that discarded cigarette butts are a huge eco-problem, not to mention an unsightly vision in our environment.  So finding a way to repurpose them may not be such a bad idea.  

Here’s where the Chilean designer Alexandra Guerrero comes in! She found that when treated properly those used cigarette ends could actually come in quite useful to make a unique new hat!

Okay so the cigarette butts are purified to make them safe to use in fabrics, but we’re still not sure how we feel about wearing used butts on our body!!

Recycled-Cigarette-butt-yarn

2. Eco-friendly Moss Carpet

Eco-friendly carpets have sprouted up from all kinds of materials – sisal, coir, jute, recycled bottles … even discarded fishing nets! But our favourite will always be the ‘moss carpet‘!

They do say that walking on grass can help your blood circulation do here’s a way to bring it into your household!  

Designed by Nguyen La Chanh, the moss carpet is made from a type of foam that holds the moss.  then the humidity of your bathroom does the rest of the work!  Whilst its a bit of a statement piece … we’re really not sold on the practicalities of it I’m afraid! 

3. Football Generator

The ‘Soccket’ football is eco-energy generation on a whole new level!  Fancy being able to send the kids out for a ‘knock around’ and reducing your electricity bills at the same time?

Okay – so the bicycle generator to make a smoothie idea didn’t catch on once we realised just how much cycling we would need to do to turn the light on.  But apparently the Soccket can power an LED lamp for 3 hours from just 30 minutes of play (which is no time at all when someone else is doing the hard work)!

The ball was being piloted in resource poor areas to help with improving access to lower cost energy sources.  But things have gone a bit quiet over recent months … perhaps someone kicked it over next door’s fence.

4. Shocking Power-Savers

Sometimes we switch the light on without really considering whether we really need it.  So here’s a pretty radical way of making yourself think twice before flipping the switch!

‘Switch Me’ was made by a French designer in a humorous attempt to change those wasteful habits! We’re told that it’s ‘threatening’ appearance is all it takes to stop the automatic pilot.  Maybe ‘putting the big light on’ will become more of a punishment than a helpful family task with this painful switch!

But don’t worry, we think its more of a metaphorical statement than an actual pain inducing instrument!  We hope so anyway!

Image Credit: (DesignBoom)

5. Killer Shower Curtain

And whilst we’re on the subject of painful measures to change our consumption habits … how about this eco-themed shower curtain? 

Designed by Elizabeth Buecher, the shower curtain slowly fills up as you shower.  Both sides inflate as the water level rises to prod you with its spiky plastic horns! That’s one painful way to tell you that you’ve used your quota of water for the day!

A great idea to raise awareness of our water consumption, but it looks like something that has more of a place in ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ than in our family bathroom!

 

Top 10 Sustainable Cities

Edinburgh is officially the UK’s greenest city, according to a study undertaken by First Mile – London based experts in eco-commercial waste. In fact, our Scottish friends dominate the top 10 sustainable cities in the UK list, holding the top 3 slots!  

The abundance of green spaces in Edinburgh brings this beautiful city in at the top of the charts.  Closely followed by it’s Scottish counterparts of Aberdeen and Glasgow!

York led the charge of English cities with a well earned fourth place. York have high recycling rates and a lower ‘disposable-fashion’ usage than elsewhere in the UK.

The survey looked at 21 major cities in the UK, assessing everything from air quality and recycling rates, to electric vehicle usage and plastic consumption.

How to have a Sustainable Easter?

For many of us, Easter is a time for religious celebration and reflection.  And more often than not, our Easter weekend is also filled with gifts of the chocolate variety!  But with all of that chocolate, packaging and wrapping, how can we have a more sustainable Easter in 2019?  Well … we’re glad you asked.  Here are our Top 5 Tips on making your Easter celebration more eco-friendly!

fair trade products

1. Buy Fair-Trade Gifts

If you’re thinking of buying edible little treats this Easter then choose fair-trade chocolate! Fair-trade chocolate means that the cocoa farmers are guaranteed to receive fair payment for their work.  This means that they are supported in improving their living conditions and encourages the sustainable development of local communities.  

And of course, it doesn’t need to be chocolate that you buy this Easter.  You can always opt for a healthier, more eco-friendly option like a gift for the home or fair-trade stationery. That would make a lovely change from a chocolate egg that doesn’t last the day (if you’re anything like us)!

Go Organic Sustainable Easter Tips

2. Go Organic

Organic farming methods are proven to have a much more positive affect on the environment than traditional methods.  Not only does it protect the natural habitats of birds and wildlife, it also guarantees that your produce won’t be full of artificial chemicals and pesticides.

If you’re looking for organic Easter eggs then take a look at our Dark Chocolate Chunky Easter Egg by Montezuma! Or maybe give our Vegan option a try with the ‘Moo Free’ Original Easter Egg (with choccy drops).

 

Stay Local Easter Sustainable

3. Stay Local this Easter

We all love a good Easter feed don’t we?  This year why not make your Easter feast from locally sourced produce bought from small shops and local markets?  Not only will you have a tasty culinary treat, you will also be supporting local farmers and businesses. Visit the Farmshop Website to find out details of your local Farmers Markets.

Buying local produce also reduces the environmental cost of transportation and helps to keep communities thriving!  If you choose to eat out this Easter then why not pick a family-run restaurant or cafe that specialises in local produce.  

Make a sustainable Easter resolution

4. Make an Easter Resolution

We’re all used to making new habits and promises at New Year, so why not start Easter off with a sustainability resolution?  

A family Easter celebration is the perfect time to develop a new habit for your household.  How about deciding to have a ‘Vegetarian Day’ once a week?  Or commit to exchanging your single-use cups for an ecoffee cup?  How about deciding how you can move to zero waste in the kitchen? 

Reduce Reuse Recycle Sustainable Easter Tips

5. Reduce, Re-use, Recycle

We’ve all heard the phrase!  And some of us will actively live our lives but it!  But times of celebration often involve a host of unnecessary packaging and waste.  If you’re buying Easter eggs then choose those with minimal packaging.  A lot of the egg packaging is coated with a shiny film which means that it cannot be recycled.  Check the boxes for the recycling sign before you buy!

Or why not pick a product that is wrapped in recycled packaging already?  Green & Blacks and Montezuma commit to this as a sustainable choice.  Our Divine chocolate packaging is plastic-free and wrapped in minimal cardboard (all of which is recycled and recyclable).  And did we mention that it’s also ‘free-trade’?

Top 5 Sustainability Habits!

So it seems that our days on this planet are seriously limited by the damage we have already done to our environment.  Whilst most of this damage has been done in such a short space of time, regenerating our planet will not be quite as quick or simple!

Often our decisions about how to be more eco-friendly are seriously hampered by a lack of information and sometimes by lack of opportunity!  There are some things that we do which just cannot be completely sustainable, no matter how hard we try.  Things like air travel, heating our homes and wearing new clothes all have an impact on our planet that we wish it didn’t!  But do we have to give these parts of our lives up completely? Often making simple changes to the choices we make can dramatically reduce our environmental footprint.  It’s not perfect, but if everybody makes those simple changes then its a good start!

5 Sustainability habits to save the planet

Some Facts & Figures:

Statistically the human race only makes up 0.01% of living things on the planet.  And yet our ‘developments’, decisions and lifestyles have had a major impact on our environment.  This is what the statistics say:

  • Over 80% of wild animals and half of the plants on Earth no longer exist.
  • Over 60% of all mammals on this planet are now purposely bred for our food chain.
  • Between 70% and 95% of the loss of Arctic Sea ice is ‘man-made’.
  • Around 17% of the Amazon Rainforest and 50% of the Great Barrier Reef have been lost in the last 50 years.
  • Over 5 trillion plastic bags are produced every year. Laid end to end they can encircle the world 7 times.
  • We bin over 7 million tonnes of food each year, more than half of which is perfectly edible. Meanwhile, nearly 15% of people across the world don’t have enough to eat. 
  • The amount of rubbish we generate in the UK alone is enough to completely fill Lake Windermere in just 8 months. 

Setting Sustainable Habits!

Whilst we would love for everyone to be perfect … we know that isn’t possible. That’s why we love the quote “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly.  We need millions doing it imperfectly.”  So here is our basic guide to being a Sustainability Imperfectionist! 

1. Have A No Car Day

Set aside at least one day a week/fortnight/month (whatever you can do) where you refuse to use your car.  Take public transport, cycle or walk to work!  If you can’t use alternative transport then what about a car share? 

Once you’ve started a habit of doing this … think about how you can double your efforts. If everybody reduced their use of cars by just a small amount just think what that would cumulatively add up to! 

2. Go Meat Free

Don’t be afraid! We’re not asking you to become a vegan or vegetarian.  But we can significantly reduce our consumption of meat and meat products with some small changes to our lifestyles.

‘Wherever possible, choose vegan alternatives.  Anything from soaps and moisturisers to clothing and chocolate. Reducing the demand for animal products in this way will help to limit the impact on the planet.

And what about have a ‘meat free’ day once a week?  It will be good for our waistlines as well as the planet!

5 Sustainability habits to save the planet

3. Reduce Household Waste

Did you know that over 1/3 of our food goes to waste every year?  A large proportion of this will be in the manufacturing process, but our individual households still contribute a considerable amount to this.

Make a weekly plan of meals and only buy the food that you need.  That way you will use all of the contents of your fridge before the ‘sell by date’ goes whizzing by.

And what about those leftovers from the evening meal? Well … a little bit of ‘bubble & squeak’ for lunch tomorrow sounds lovely!

 

4. ‘No Excuse For Single Use’

Have a quick lifestyle audit!  How many times do you use something just once and then throw it away?  Take away containers? Plastic straws? Face wipes? Kitchen roll?

The results will probably surprise you. But fear not … there are alternatives for pretty much everything.  Make a small investment to ‘reduce your single-use’. Anything from travel cups and reusable water bottles … to stainless steel straws and washable kitchen towels.

 

5 Sustainability habits to save the planet
5 Sustainability habits to save the planet

5. Kick the Plastic Habit

Yes we’ve saved the best til last! We all know the impact that single-use plastics have on the environment.  But there are many ways we can help!

Cut out unnecessary plastic bottles by switching from shower gel to traditional bars of soap.  Take a refillable bottle to the gym. Either reuse old plastic bags to avoid them going to landfill, or invest in a cotton tote bag to take shopping with you.

Whilst it isn’t an ideal solution, recycling is a must.  Always check the packaging of products before popping them in the recycling bin.  Or maybe only buy products that can be recycled? Perhaps choose goods that are actually made from recycled plastic so that all of those nasty materials are put to a good use.

 

Welcome to Fairtrade Fortnight!

For two weeks each year we come together with partners from around the world to celebrate Fairtrade and all the amazing benefits it brings to communities.  Events are held around the Fairtrade community to highlight the work of people who grow our food and raw materials.  These people are some of the poorest and often exploited workers in developing countries.

This year the celebrations span from the 25th February to 10th March.  The 2019 Fairtrade Fortnight focuses on the people (particularly women) who grow the cocoa to make our beloved chocolate. Promoting the work that they do, campaigning for better conditions and improving the sustainability of their livelihoods and production methods.

Living Pay Campaign: ‘She Deserves £1.86’ – This is the amount that a cocoa worker in Africa needs to earn each day to achieve an acceptable standard of living.  Typically in areas such as the Ivory Coast, a cocoa farmer will be paid around 74p a day – meaning that the majority of farmers live below the poverty line.  Often the situation is worse for female farmers as they have fewer rights than male farmers.  The Fairtrade Organisation is actively campaigning to pay all workers an acceptable level of ‘living income’.

Fairtrade Fortnight

How Can You Get Involved?

1. Sign the Petition – this petition calls on the UK government to ensure that poverty reduction is a priority in all of our trade deals with developing communities. The petition opens on the 25th February 2019. Sign up today.

2. Choose Fairtrade Chocolate – Do your research about Fairtrade products and buy chocolate and coffee from organisations that have actively signed up to Fairtrade principles.  Look out for the Fairtrade Foundation logo.  

3. Promote the Fairtrade message – share the message with your friends, tell them how great fairtrade chocolate is and help to spread the message far and wide.