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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.

What Does Organic Really Mean?

Whether it is food, beauty products or textiles, the word ‘Organic’ is often spread around like an eco-friendly badge of honour.  But what does it really mean when you buy something bearing the organic label? Well the word basically means ‘working with nature’. In other words organic farms work hard to use fewer nasty chemicals, preservatives and additives in their production methods.  Strict European regulations are in place to govern how organic farms must operate.  This is supported by rigorous inspection and certification requirements. So that organic certification really is worth the paper its written on. Learn more below:

Fewer pesticides - organic products

Traditional farming methods use over 300 pesticides to put food on our plate. These are then part of our meals and the products we use in everyday life. Nasty things those pesticides. Organic products on the other hand only use plant-based fertiliser and treatments. So ... no nasty chemicals making their way to your dinner table!

Did you know that there is up to 50% more wildlife found on organic farms? Good things ... breed more good things! Organic farms are often a haven for beautiful butterflies, birds and bees. All helping to keep our eco-system ticking over nicely!

What does organic really mean? Fewer preservatives

Artificial preservatives and colourings are routinely added to products made in a non-organic setting. Thankfully the European standards require organic production methods to eliminate the use of hydrogenated fats and controversial artificial colourings. Keeping our food and household items free from hidden nasty chemicals.

What does organic mean? Planet friendly

Agriculture plays a big part in climate change and is reportedly responsible for 1/3 of greenhouse emissions worldwide. Organic farming methods do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions than other methods. This is because healthy soils contain 5x as much carbon as forests. Imagine if we all went organic?

“If all UK farming was converted to organic, at least 1.3 million tonnes of carbon would be taken up by the soil each year – the equivalent of taking nearly 1 million cars off the road!”

Quoted by the Soil Association. Find out more at https://www.soilassociation.org

Disposable Coffee Cups – Scary Facts

We’ve all done it haven’t we? Running a little late. Need a quick hit of caffeine. So we grab a disposable cup at one of our favourite haunts! Whether its paper or plastic … here are some alarming facts about our choice of cup!

Fact One:

The majority (something like 99%) of disposable cups are not suitable for composting or recycling. 

Fact Two:

Over half a trillion disposable cups are made each year. We don’t even know how many zeros there are in that figure, but to put it into context … that’s over 70 disposable cups for every single person on the planet.

Fact Three:

The majority of plastic made today is actually produced for single-use items.

Fact Four:

Over 35% of the trees chopped down each year (around 4 billion) are used in paper industries.

Fact Five:

Very limited amounts of recycled paper is used to make disposable cups, mainly due to health risk concerns.

Fact Six:

Consumer waste has increased from 40kg to over 550kg per person, per year. Wow … what are we doing?

So there are the facts.  We have to put a stop to the production of single use plastic and paper cups by reducing the demand for them.  With so many alternatives now available … there really is ‘no excuse for single use’!

Problems with Disposable cups. Reusable cups

Top 5 Reasons to Choose Soy Wax Candles

Sometimes it’s difficult to know when you are making the right choice for the environment. An expert eye could take a look at our lifestyles and no doubt spot thousands of items and behaviours that are harming the planet.  The rising trend of eco-conscious shopping and living has given us all a reason to question our consumer choices – but sometimes it is hard to get the right information in order to make an informed choice.

We know that we cannot live our lives without leaving a significant footprint on the planet, but every little choice can at least make a contribution towards reducing the size of that footprint.  

We all love candles don’t we? Whether it is to accompany a relaxing bath, dinner party or for a lovely scent in our home. Here we explore the difference between soy wax candles and their traditional paraffin wax alternative.

Soy wax candle in glass jar

What is Soy Wax?

Soy wax candles are made from processed soybean oil. It does not contain artificial ingredients and is in solid form at room temperature. It has a lower melting point than traditional waxes, hence they often come in glass jars and containers. By comparison, traditional candles tend to be made from paraffin, which is a residue from the refining of oil. Not a nice product!

If that’s not enough, here are our top 5 reasons to choose Soy Wax Candles:

Reason 1: Soy wax is environmentally friendly

The soybean is a renewable resource, offering a sustainable ingredient for consumable goods.  Using it as an ingredient for candles has a considerably lower impact on the planet than its paraffin alternative – which is of course a by-product of non-renewable energy. 

Reason 2: Soy Wax has a cleaner burn

We know that paraffin wax candles give off black soot when they are burned.  This can leave a residue around your home and stain items around the burning area. Soy wax candles on the other hand do not give off any harmful by-products that could damage your home.

Reason 3: Soy Wax does not release toxins in the air  

As a natural product, soy wax candles do not give off any harmful toxins when you burn them. Paraffin reportedly release at least 11 known toxins (such as including methyl ethyl ketone and naphthalene) – some of which are dangerous carcinogens.

Reason 4: Soy Wax Candles last longer 

As an ingredient soy wax is much more efficiently burnt. With a lower  melting point it doesn’t cling to the sides of the jar, burnt more evenly and can last up to 50% longer than paraffin wax candles. So less clinging, more efficient burning and longer lasting.  Where do we sign?

Reason 5: Soy wax candles are better quality 

Okay so this is a bit of a subjective point, but reportedly soy wax candles give off a stronger scent than other waxes. Generally this is due to the use of essential oils in the candles, rather than harsher chemical scents. There is also a larger pool of wax around the wick, which enables those essential oils to evaporate into your room.

So – here’s a quick summary.  Soy wax candles are better for the environment, more cost-effective, non-toxic and better quality.  Let’s make the switch!