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What is the planet happy to give me to eat today?
Let's flip around the concept of looking in a recipe book for something that we would like to cook,
heading off to the supermarket to buy the required ingredients then coming home to make that for dinner.
20 Mar 2016
Pledge single use plastic free in July
Experts predict by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Take part in Plastic Free July and pledge to stop using single use plastic items for one month.
5 July 2017
Glass Containers for safe food storage by Wean Green
Fabulous new larger size glass containers from Wean Green make it even easier to use glass at home for all your food preparation and storage,
as well as for lunch boxes, picnics and outdoor catering.
20 Mar 2016
Tanjung Puting orangutan sanctuary expedition
In September 1996, my mother, father and I shared a truly remarkable journey to "Camp Leakey"
at the heart of Tanjung Puting National Park in the south of Kalimantan, Indonesia.
20 Mar 2016

23 July 2019

How to get rid of insects naturally



The number of chemical pest control options have increase rapidly over the years due to their efficacy in deterring insects. But most of the synthetic chemicals used these pest control products are extremely harmful to humans and other animals. Natural pest control can be just as effective, if not more, at repelling insects in and around your home. Here are four natural household insect repellents that are safe to use in your home.

Peppermint oil
Peppermint oil is a great alternative to the mainstream harsh chemical and plastic laden pest control options. The major chemical compounds found in peppermint oil include terpene, alcohol and menthol. Each one is a natural fumigant through smell. Insect's and rodent's smell receptors pick up on the compounds and are repelled effectively.


How to use: Apply at least 5 drops of peppermint oil to each cotton ball and place in various locations around the house. This will repel insects and rodents. Place the oil in areas where rodents get inside your home such as small cracks in the wall, doorways and windowsills. It’s important for them to detect the smell before entry. It masks the pheromone trail of rodent excreta that then attracts other rodents and shows them the ‘pathways’ in your home. Refresh the cotton balls at least once a month.

Huon Pine
Huon Pine has been used in Tasmania as a pest deterrent for more than 150 years, so it’s safe to say it works! Huon Pine has a scent that naturally repels insects, like silverfish, moths, fleas and mites. Although it won’t kill pests or solve any infestations, it will stop them nesting in the area. This makes it great for the wardrobe and kitchen cupboard.  You can also protect your pet from itchy bites with Huon Pine as it naturally repels fleas. Sprinkle some inside the cover of your animal’s bed or with fresh hay when cleaning a cage. 

Sandalwood
Burning sandalwood replaces the need to burn citronella candles made from paraffin and toxic mosquito coils which contain a combination of chemicals including various pyrethroids. When burnt mosquito coils release numerous suspected and known human carcinogens including aldehyde, formaldehyde, small particles and several benzene derivatives. Some coils can contain Octachlorodipropylether (S-2) which expose humans to bis-chloromethyl ether (BCME), an extremely intoxicating lung carcinogen.


Sandalwood is  an effective natural repellent and provides a safe alternative to mosquito coils. Essential oils such as lemon eucalyptus, geranium, soybean, citronella, fennel, thyme, clove oil, celery extract, neem oil and picaridin are also effective at repelling mosquitos.  

Red cedar
Red cedar blocks are an effective moth deterrent and a safe alternative to chemical moth balls. The pleasant natural cedar aroma will deter moths without harmful chemicals

09 July 2019

The world's first plastic free crystal deodorant stick





Reduce unwanted odours from sweat this summer with Biork, the world's first plastic free crystal deodorant stick.

The trend towards mineral or crystal deodorants without aluminium is increasing as more people experience skin irritations when they use deodorant with aluminium chlorides and other artificial ingredients. The anti-bacterial agent of Biork is a potassium crystal, also called alum which has been used as an antibacterial and deodorant since ancient times, especially in Asia. Biork’s deodorant without aluminium comes from Europe and contains a natural aluminium sulphate compound that does not have the harmful side effects of aluminium chlorides commonly found in commercial antiperspirant deodorants. Potassium alum remains on the surface of the skin and fights the bacteria to reduce odours, whereas aluminium chlorides penetrate the skin’s pores, constricts and deforms them. When the pores are blocked, the skin cannot breathe, and this causes skin irritations and stains.

The crystal used in Biork is encased in a container made of cork sustainably sourced from Portugal. Cork is a no waste material that is obtained from the bark of cork oaks. It’s a renewable raw material that’s easy to recycle and is recommended by nature conservation organisations as cork oaks contribute in a highly valuable manner to mitigating climate change. Cork oaks store up to 30 per cent more CO2 than other trees, and a cork oak that has its bark is harvested regularly binds more than three times as much CO2 as an unused tree. With an area of around 2.3 million hectares, the Mediterranean cork oak forests absorb around 13 million tonnes of CO2 per year. 

Biork is suitable for unisex use and is free from aluminum chlorohydrate, alcohol, perfumes, parabens, preservatives and dyes. To use Biork, you simply moisten the crystal with water, glide it over the skin where needed and pat the crystal dry for storage. Biork will provide up to 24hrs of protection against sweat odour, and one stick will last for over 12 months.

25 June 2019

Nourish your body with hemp seed oil




Hemp Seed Oil is a nourishing and antioxidant rich oil that can be applied topically, as well as taken internally. This multi-tasking oil contains all 10 essential amino acids plus 14 fatty acids including gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), an omega-6 fatty acid that acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory that encourages skin and hair growth and new cell generation while moisturising and nourishing the skin. Here are three ways to incorporate hemp seed oil into your daily routine to nourish your skin, hair and body.

Hair

Hemp seed oil contains many beneficial nutrients that help to stimulate hair growth, nourish and moisturise the scalp, improve elasticity and strengthen strands. The ceramides in hemp seed oil help to form a protective barrier that assists in retaining protein and moisture in the hair and scalp while the Omega-3, Omega-6 and Omega-9 fatty acids promote new hair growth.

To Use: There are a number of ways you can apply hemp seed oil to your hair. For a serum, rub a small amount of hemp seed oil to your scalp and hair, leave for 10 minutes before shampooing. For a treatment, add a few drops to your hair conditioner, or make a hair mask with hemp seed oil, apply, leave for 30 minutes and rinse.

Skin

Rich in omega fatty acids, hemp seed oil is particularly beneficial for those with acne, eczema, psoriasis, and inflammatory skin conditions. It dissolves stale sebum and drives out grime, dirt and pollution from deep within the pores while its moisturising properties create a protective barrier over the skin to prevent moisture loss. It also moderates oil production, soothes inflammation, contains anti-aging properties and is non-comedogenic which means it doesn’t clog pores.

To Use: For general face and body, either use alone or add a few drops to moisturiser for extra benefits. To nourish cracked heels, dry hands and elbows or reduce the appearance of scars, massage a small amount into the affected area daily until healed. For a complete body treatment, combine hemp seed oil with an exfoliant like raw sugar to make a scrub, and rub all over your body.

Body
Hemp seed oil is one of the best plant-based proteins and contains high-quality nutrients that offer many health benefits. The omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in hemp seed oil helps to lower cholesterol levels and support weight loss by accelerating the body’s metabolic process. These essential fatty acids also improve immunity and regulate intestinal flora.

To Use: Hemp seed oil is not suitable for cooking with heat as it has a low smoke point. Instead, use cold for salad dressings and smoothies. Alternatively, consume 1 to 2 tablespoons of hemp seed oil daily or as recommended by your health professional. Larger doses can be toxic.

11 June 2019

Evohe palm oil free skin care



In her early 20s, Meghan Forrester dabbled in the luxury skincare market and discovered some ugly truths about the industry which made her to question her whole philosophy on life. She decided to give away all of her possessions and live a simple life in the hills of Northern New South Wales - a complete contrast to the bleached hair, red lipstick and high heels that once made up Meghan’s costume.

Fast forward 20 years and you will find Meghan in clothes that can be napped in, shoes that can be danced in, and she’s grateful for messy buns being on-trend. With her warm and engaging presence, Meghan inspires real and uplifting conversations. She believes that life is too short to muck around with faking it, comparing, competing or being hard on ourselves. “It’s all about relationships, being an authentic participant in life and celebrating every moment,” says Meghan.

Meghan infuses this passion into her natural, palm oil free skincare company, Evohe, which she started over 10 years ago with her late husband, Barry Forrester. Evohe epitomises the groundbreaking feats that are possible when two or more people of like mind, join together and dedicate themselves to creating a tomorrow more beautiful and radiant than today. “When we began Evohe, we didn’t want to conform to what every other skin care brand was doing,” says Meghan. “We observed practices that weren’t ethical. Tricks of the trade that meant you could avoid declaring preservatives, and underhanded methods that consumers would never know about – but we would,” she said. Meghan believes the world now wants powerful, innovative natural skin care – not empty promises. “Consumers are tired of airbrushed marketing campaigns and endless lists of unpronounceable chemical ingredients.”  

Evohe skin care is a revolution in natural and luxurious skin care that joins a new generation of independent businesses that are serious about an evolution in ethical and sustainable business practices, and the production of quality, natural products that have minimal impact on the environment. Each product is handmade with love in Australia using the best available Australian extracts. All ingredients are carefully selected to ensure they are high quality and potent with the power to completely nurture the body.

“Mother Nature is an incredible treasure chest of natural ingredients – in fact, she really has done all the hard work for us,” says Meghan. The ingredients used in Evohe skin care are formulated with minimal processing to remain bioactive. This ensures each formulation has an active and potent effect on skin tissue and cells, and works to plump, nourish and hydrate. “Ingredients matter a lot to us and our customers. It’s our mission to formulate the highest quality, most nutritious and purest skin care and cosmetics so you can nourish your skin in the safest and healthiest way possible. We do this by vehemently avoiding cheap, harmful ingredients that should never be found on the skin,” she said.

It’s important for Meghan that customers trust everything about Evohe. For every extract, raw material and essence that goes into an Evohe product, Meghan and her team conduct an extensive supplier audit, ensuring their ethics, sourcing methods and day-to-day actions in business are aligned with the Evohe Conscious Living Checklist. “We have abandoned many opportunities that made good business sense on paper, for collaborators and suppliers whose main concern was the bigger picture not just the bottom line,” she said.

At every stage of Evohe’s evolution, Meghan has steadfastly held to her values. “Many times, it would have been easier to go with a cheaper, less effective ingredient. Even when faced with seemingly no option but to compromise, we’ve resolutely held our ground,” says Meghan. In the process, Meghan has discovered groundbreaking ways to create more efficacious, kinder skin care. “When you use Evohe, you know unequivocally, that the true cost of your beautiful, glowing skin, really does begin and end with the price tag.”

28 May 2019

Carving a sustainable solution with coconuts



When Jake McKeon stumbled across painted coconut bowl souvenirs while travelling around Bali, he thought the bowls in their raw state would be great to sell in his health food business. Following this thought, Jake filled his bags with coconut bowls and returned to Australia. Within six weeks the first batch sold out, and within three months the sales of the coconut bowls surpassed the health food products. “At this point, I decided to create a new business and in January 2016 I launched Coconut Bowls,” says Jake.

After launching the business, Jake began to realise the significant environmental and ethical impacts of his new venture. “Of the billions of coconuts harvested each year for the coconut oil, water and flesh industries, 99 per cent of their shells are discarded and burned as waste,” says Jake. “This contributes significantly to CO2 and methane emissions, and the smoke is an environmental and health hazard to humans and animals.”

Coconut Bowls is now part of the solution to this environmental issue. Jake reclaims coconut shells from companies that treat them as a bi-product and up-cycles them into beautiful eco-friendly bowls. His craftsman cut, clean and sand the coconut shells, turning them into beautiful coconut bowls that you can eat from. Each coconut bowl is then finished with an organic virgin coconut oil polish. “Every coconut bowl is unique with its own shape, size, marking and imperfections - they're one in a billion,” says Jake.

Jake strives to build a company that supports all three pillars of sustainability, environmental, social and economic otherwise known as planet, people and profits. Jake is regularly asked about the fair-trade status of the coconut bowls, and although this is a certification he would ideally like to obtain, it’s currently unachievable due to the current operations of the only three fair trade coconut farms in Vietnam. “We have investigated working with these farms, but due to the large scale that they operate, the way they open coconut shells prevent us from being able to up-cycle them,” says Jake.

Instead, Jake chooses to adhere to his own moral and ethical values, by working with a number of smaller family farms where he pays farmers to sort and package the coconut shells into the sizes he requires. “This ensures they receive an income from products that they otherwise would have to pay to dispose of or burn themselves,” says Jake. This income makes a difference for the farmers Jake works with, who are considered some of the poorest in the country, often earning the equivalent of $1 to $2 per day whereas a single collection from Coconut Bowls can total hundreds of dollars. “With regular collections across the year, the income from discarded coconuts can be more than what they earn for the coconuts themselves,” says Jake.

Once collected from the farms, the coconut shells are sent to a workshop, where local craftspeople and artisans sand and polish the shells. The workers are paid more than double fair-trade standards which is 30 per cent more than regular incomes for similar jobs and receive food, drinks and regular breaks throughout the day. “One of the wonderful things about our workshop is that many of the artisans are family. This is desirable within the Vietnamese culture as many workers must travel hours every day to get to their workplace, meaning less time is spent with family,” says Jake.

Coconut Bowls has grown from strength to strength over the years. Jake has fostered a hub focused on plant-based eating and mindful living, and is currently is working towards achieving B Corporation certification. Jake believes environmental sustainability involves participating every day in making positive decisions that will foster a sustainable future for humans and all beings alike.

“The reason sustainability is so important is very simple; our future and the future of our children depend on it.”

14 May 2019

How to live a truly zero waste life



Anita Vandyke didn't grow up with a hippie mother or a passion for the environment; she was just a person trying to find happiness in all the usual places – money, power, and status. But this idea of success didn’t provide her with the happiness that she expected.

At age twenty-six Anita was a qualified rocket scientist and a manager in a large engineering firm, earning more money than her Chinese migrant parents ever had. On paper, her life was the epitome of success. “I was the one my parents didn’t have to worry about; the daughter who graduated high school with a near perfect UAI, had a well-paying corporate job and the latest Givenchy boots in my closet,” she said. It was a supposedly a picture-perfect life for Anita, but it all changed in an instant when in 2015 Anita has an epiphany.

“I remember sitting in that Board Meeting on Level 6, looking at my boss, my boss’s boss and the big boss, thinking Is this it? Is this who I will become in five, ten, fifteen years’ time,” she recalls. Anita realised then that if she kept going down this path, all her hopes of living a life that was truly hers, one that wasn’t bound by golden handcuffs, would be lost forever. These questions haunted Anita, and the doubt started to make her miserable. “My husband looked me in the eyes and said, ‘You have to quit your job – it’s killing you,'" she recalls. Anita knew then that if she didn’t do something about her everyday misery, she risked losing him. Anita quit her job the next day and since then has transformed her life.

By embracing a zero-waste life, Anita has been able to go back to university to study full-time to become a doctor, move out of her in-law’s house into a 59-square metre apartment, and has dedicated her life to something greater. “Working in corporate Australia didn’t reflect who I was, but that doesn’t mean it’s not right for everyone, you certainly don’t have to quit your corporate job to live a more eco-friendly life. But you do have to find what works for you,” Anita said.

The zero waste living movement is centred on reducing the waste you send to landfill and reducing the amount of plastic used in your life. But Anita wants to show people that living a truly zero waste life also means not wasting your life away. “Quite simply, plastic is Mother Nature’s non-renewable resource, and time is ours. We shouldn’t waste either one,” she says.

In her book, A Zero Waste Life in Thirty Days, Anita provides simple ways to live an eco-luxe life, one in which everyone can be zero waste activists without depriving themselves of the modern luxuries of life. “In living a truly zero waste life, you actually gain more – more time, more money and more life,” says Anita. “Isn’t that what we all want in the end: a life of happiness, a life of luxury, a life that isn’t wasted?”

How to live a truly zero waste life



Extract from A Zero Waste Life in Thirty Days ($21.99)

TIP 1: Replace your disposables with reusables - replace items such as plastic bottles, paper napkins, plastic grocery bags, disposable coffee cups with reusable options. Make yourself a zero waste kit to take everywhere. A zero-waste kit can include; a reusable water bottle, reusable coffee cup, cotton bag, stainless steel drinking straw and a spork.

TIP 2: Set up a composting system that works for you – food waste is a major issue. Food sits in our landfills and emits toxic greenhouse emissions. It’s time to compost food scraps instead of sending them to landfill. This might be as simple as sharing a compost bin with a community garden or even setting up your own. Shareapp is a free community app that allows you to see what compost bins are in your local area.

TIP 3: Shop the outer aisles of the supermarket or at bulk stores – shopping the outer aisles of the supermarket means that you are buying package-free food. Not only is this better for the planet, it’s also a healthier option for you and your family.

TIP 4: Make second-hand your first choice - whenever you need to buy something, try to see if you can buy it second-hand first. Look at local thrift stores, ask neighbours and friends, try eBay - make a good effort to try to buy second-hand before buying new. 

TIP 5: Be mindful of your time and money – put yourself on a spending ban, eliminate unnecessary engagements from your calendar. Money is a renewable resource that we should not waste; time can never be gained back – we should be mindful of how we use both these resources.

TIP 6: Head outside - By enjoying the outdoors and seeing how amazing Mother Nature is, we can learn to appreciate that every step, no matter how small, is important in helping our planet.

30 April 2019

How to compost



Composting is a rewarding planet-friendly activity that creates a closed loop in your own home by turning food scraps into rich nutrients for your garden. Reduce landfill waste and greenhouse gas emissions by learning to compost your household food scraps using a garden composting, Bokashi, or worm farm.

Garden Composting


You can set up an outdoor garden compost heap without any special equipment by creating a designated heap in your backyard; though if you want something a bit more contained, you can purchase a compost bin.

Balance your carbon and nitrogen (which makes a successful compost) by including a mixture of high nitrogen “green” matter (fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds and grass clippings) and high carbon “brown” matter (leaves, straw and shredded paper). If you have excess carbon, decomposition slows down. If you have excess nitrogen, you will end up with a stinky pile. A recommended ratio of carbon to nitrogen for an outside compost pile is 25:1, so 25 brown parts to every 1 green part.

Good For: Those who have a medium or large backyard and create lots of food scraps or organic garden matter.

Build a compost heap > add scraps + brown matter > water > mix > wait > add to garden

Bokashi

A Bokashi is a compact 1.5 litre bucket that uses microbes to ferment and decompose waste. The fermentation process does not produce smells and can be used on almost all foods including dairy, meat and fish. The Bokashi bucket tap allows you to drain the excess liquid as you fill it up which you can use to fertilise your garden, clean drains and break down waste in septic tank systems.

Good For: Those who have limited or no outdoor space but still want to quickly decompose food waste.

Bokashi bin > add scraps + Bokashi powder > drain liquid > fill bin > bury contents in garden

Worm farm

A low maintenance and fun way to dispose of your organic waste. You can set up a worm farm in a wheelie bin, or there are kits and DIY options available. All you need to grow your worm farm is food waste and a weekly watering, the worms will take care of the rest. The worms used in worm farms aren’t common earthworms – they are compost worms, usually either red, blue or tiger worms. The castings and diluted worm juice can be used for garden fertiliser.

Good For: Those who have a balcony, or shady outdoor area and want a low maintenance option. Worm farms flourish both inside and out and don’t take up too much space.

Worm farm bin > add scraps > water weekly > drain liquid > bury castings in garden



16 April 2019

How to use activated charcoal powder





Activated charcoal is a highly porous and detoxifying natural substance that draws bacteria, chemicals, dirt, and other micro particles from the skin and hair. Here are three easy ways to incorporate medicinal grade activated charcoal into your daily routine to naturally cleanse and purify your skin, hair and body. 

Whiten teeth

Activated charcoal powder can be used to whiten teeth and promote good oral health. It draws out oils and stains from teeth and helps to balance pH levels in your mouth to prevent bad breath, gum disease and cavities. 

To use:

Dip a clean, wet toothbrush into the activated charcoal powder and brush teeth gently for two minutes. Spit carefully and rinse well. Repeat daily to achieve noticeable results in two weeks.

Cleanse skin

Cleanse your skin with a homemade activated charcoal facemask. The highly porous substance binds to and helps pull oil and dirt out of your pores, making them less visible. 

To use:

Mix ½ teaspoon of activated charcoal powder with ½ teaspoon of bentonite clay using a wooden spoon in a glass bowl. Add enough water to form a smooth paste. After cleansing, apply the mask evenly. Leave on for up to 10 minutes, then wash off and moisturise.

Hair wash

When used on your hair, activated charcoal draws out oil, dirt and toxins, just like it does for your skin. Plus, because activated charcoal won’t leave the residue regular shampoos will, your hair will feel lighter and have more volume.

To use:

Massage ½ teaspoon of activated charcoal powder into your dry scalp and leave for 15 minutes. Rinse with water and follow with your regular natural hair care routine.



02 April 2019

Natural Evolution



Business ideas can arise in the most unlikely circumstances. For Robert Watkins, the idea to produce the world’s first green banana flour occurred when he accidentally drove over a hand of green Lady Finger bananas on his farm in Tropical North Queensland. Now this second-generation farmer is leading a commercial food waste movement with innovative technology that is reducing tonnes of food waste and creating a benchmark for food processing globally.


Over five million tonnes of food is discarded annually in Australia. Not only from households, but along the whole supply chain costing the Australian economy over $20 billion annually. Robert Watkins is aware this issue seeing first hand, at farm level, the quantities of fresh produce discarded weekly due to strict supermarket guidelines. “Week after week I would have to dispose of perfectly good bananas because they were considered unsaleable for the supermarket giants,” Robert recalls. That was until late one summer afternoon in 2010 when Robert accidentally drove over a hand of Lady Finger bananas that had been baking in the Tropical North Queensland sun. The crushed green bananas resembled the appearance and texture of flour which instigated the idea for Natural Evolution Foods first product, Green Banana Flour.

After numerous test batches, Robert and wife Krista started producing small 6-kilogram batches of green banana flour in their kitchen which they sold through Roberts families’ café. “We were surprised by how quickly our green banana flour was selling. Before we knew it, people where phoning orders in and we were months behind in production,” Krista recalls. The demand for green banana flour forced Robert to refine production processes and after six months, he had designed the world’s first banana peeling machine which increased output to 300 kilograms per week. “It wasn’t long until these quantities sold out too,” Robert recalls. In August 2014, Natural Evolution Foods secured a grant to build the world’s first and only pharmaceutical grade banana flour factory which increased output allowing Robert and Krista to keep up with demand, expand their product range and enter overseas markets.

Natural Evolution Foods is the first company in the world to commercially produce green banana flour and has made incredible scientific discoveries. One of the most significant is discovering the highest natural resistant starch found in a variety of bananas grown in Tropical North Queensland locally known as Lady Fingers. Robert and Krista are now taking interest for international commercial use of their trademarked and patent pending technology, NutroLock. “What began as a purpose and use for tonnes of wasted bananas each week has evolved into a new market for all growers and not just for their waste,” Robert says. “Growers finally have the option of another marketplace for their produce, can earn more for their higher grades of bananas, and save on packaging and freight by supplying Natural Evolution Foods.”

19 March 2019

How to ferment vegetables at home


Fermenting vegetables at home is a great way to reduce your food waste, improve gut health and save money.

Step 1: Choose your fermentation equipment

Fermenting vegetables does not require a lot of specialised equipment. Vegetables can be fermented in a dedicated fermenting crock, a clean glass bowl or glass mason jar.

Step 2: Prepare your vegetables for fermenting
Almost any vegetable can be fermented aside from vegetable high in chlorophyll, like kale or spinach. You can ferment one vegetable alone or create a mix of vegetables, along with complimenting herbs and spices. Grate, slice, chop, or leave small vegetable whole. The different ways you prepare the vegetables will produce different results.

Step 3: Use salt, whey or a starter culture

Salt and water is all you need for lacto-fermentation, with sea salt being the best option. Many recipes call for fresh whey as a ferment starter, but it isn’t necessary. Using salt will give the same result. You can also use a vegetable starter culture for a faster fermentation, but it isn’t essential.

Step 4: Use water to prepare the brine

You will need enough brine to be able to submerge the vegetables completely. The best fermentation results are achieved with a 2% brine. For every 100 grams of vegetables, you need 2 grams of salt. Filtered water is essential, in particular, water that is free of chlorine, chloramines and fluoride. Chlorine and fluoride will not support a healthy ferment as they kill the microbes.

Step 5: Weigh the vegetables down under the brine

Once the vegetables have been prepared, place them into the chosen fermentation vessel and weigh them down under the brine. Keeping them in an anaerobic environment during the fermentation period is important. Use a small glass, ceramic cup or plate to keep the vegetables submerged.

Step 6: Leave the vegetables to ferment at room temperature before moving them to the fridge

The fermentation time will depend on numerous factors, including temperature, the quantity of salt and the nature of the vegetable. After leaving the vegetables to ferment at room temperature for three days, taste it. If they are not as acidic as you would like, leave them and taste after another three days, and so on. Once you are happy with the taste, move them to the fridge.

05 March 2019

Sustainable living inspired a sustainable business




Adversity can often be a catalyst for positive change. For Talia and Luke Borda, founders of That Red House, a second cancer diagnosis prompted a sustainable and organic change that led to a new business distributing a natural laundry product which changed their lives and many others around the world.

In 2002, Luke was diagnosed with cancer and after undergoing seemingly successful treatment, in 2006, his second diagnosis confirmed their ultimate fears. In a bid to improve their health, Talia began researching chemicals and ways they could reduce their chemical exposure by switching to organic food and using toxin free products. “I was horrified to discover the extent of what we were unknowingly exposing ourselves to every day,” she recalls. After a few years of living their new lifestyle and the birth of their second baby, Talia and Luke decided they wanted to take their sustainable pursuits one step further. They sold their house in the leafy eastern suburbs and began the process of building an eco house and sustainable organic produce garden in the Adelaide Hills. “It was a massive task with two little ones and one on the way, but it was an amazing decision and one we are thankful for every day,” Talia says.

With this new organic lifestyle however, Talia was struggling to find an organic and grey water safe option for the laundry that allowed them to safely use on the vegetable garden. “I really needed a 100 percent chemical free, biodegradable and preferably organic detergent that actually worked on three dirty little boys,” Talia recalled. After much research, Talia discovered soapberries, the fruit of the Sapindus Mukorossi tree, native to Nepal.

Soapberries contain a substance called saponin, in the pericarp (flesh) of the fruit, which acts as a natural soap. They have been used for thousands of years throughout the Himalayas for a multitude of purposes. To harvest the berries, the trees are scaled manually and the berries are picked by hand by local communities, native to the area. They are harvested, dried in the sun, deseeded and packed. “No chemicals are used at any stage of the process, they are 100 percent certified organic and completely raw,” Talia says.

After using soapberries for a few years, Talia and Luke decided to take the plunge and start their business, That Red House, in 2013. “I discovered them, loved them and decided that the world needed to learn about my little secret too,” Talia says. They imported around 600 kilograms of soapberries which quickly sold out. “It was clear that people were ready to embrace the idea of a completely natural way to clean their clothes, and were becoming wise to the chemicals used in mainstream detergents and cleaning products.”

Now Talia and Luke distribute That Red House Organic Soapberries all over Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Mexico, Bermuda and across Europe. They have expanded the range to include Laundry Tonics made from 100 percent pure essential oils which can be added to the soapberries for fragrance. “Our aim at That Red House has always been to strive for a sustainable, organic, eco-conscious, zero-waste, chemical free way of life,” Talia says. “This supports our desire to maintain the health of our loved ones and the planet which can never be replaced.”

19 February 2019

Sustainable homewares made on a corner block




Heart-warming beauty lies in businesses built from humble beginnings and handmade products crafted with care. Natalie Lane who has turned her passion project into a thriving business from a corner block in Brisbane has never looked back.

After returning from backpacking around India, Natalie printed her travel photos into an album to relive the moments from her trip. Years later, she rediscovered the album on a bookshelf and was surprised at how few times she had viewed it. Flicking through the pages, Natalie found it hard to pick only a couple of photos to frame, and wished to display the whole album and change the page at any time. Within that split second, the idea for a book frame was born.

Formally an industrial designer, Natalie combined her skills with her environmental passion to design an artisan range of sustainable frames. “I was eager to work in a business where values of respecting the environment would be part of the company culture and would be a guiding light for decision making - so I started one,” she says. After developing a successful prototype, Natalie launched her environmentally sustainable business, Corner Block Studio in 2015 with her debut product The Book Frame - a wooden adjustable hanging frame to display an open book. Soon after, The Record Jacket Frame and Card Frame evolved.

Living sustainably has always been an integral part of Natalie’s life and instilling environmental values into every aspect of her business is no exception. Natalie sources two groups of timbers for making the frames, recycled hardwood and new pine. She works with experienced timber mills to acquire high quality reclaimed timber from de-commissioned buildings including bridges and homes, and process them to premium quality standards. “Using recycled timbers is not an easy option, we choose to use it anyway because we think it’s important to protect our bush lands and forests,” Natalie explains. Every hardwood frame is designed to showcase the timbers natural characteristics and details of its former life such as small nail holes or a squiggle left by a creature. “It’s a joy to discover these unique features as we make each frame,” she says.

Using her business to share her environmental values, Natalie is careful about the materials she chooses and aims to create modest, long lasting designs with minimal impact on the planet.  Natalie chooses to make her products from timber for its natural, re-purposing and decomposing qualities. “Timber is not energy-intensive to process, compared with alternatives such as plastic and metal, and net carbon dioxide intake of a hoop pine plantation is of great benefit,” Natalie explains.

The future is exciting for Corner Block Studio as Natalie works on designing and creating prototypes for new products. While she is gathering feedback, choosing materials and preparing to hand-make the first release in early 2018, we’re eagerly waiting with anticipation.

05 February 2019

These eathically made sustainable undies are mighty good



Imagine if your undies were ethically made, environmentally friendly and came with a carbon offset. This was the idea for Hannah Parris and Elena Antoniou, founders of Mighty Good Undies, an ethical and sustainable underwear brand that supports communities and offsets carbon emissions from the production of each garment. 

With a decade of experience in public relations working with many brands from luxury to fast fashion, Elena started to feel there was something devastatingly wrong with the whole system and wanted to do something about it. She was drawn to develop an ethical brand that not only produced good quality garments but empowered consumers to make better choices for the planet.

Hannah, an accomplished social science researcher specialising in environmental impact, was already working in the ethical textile space and had made strong connections with internationally recognised organic and Fairtrade suppliers and production mills. She had met with organic cotton farmers and makers, and through this was able to see a positive side of the fashion industry where the production of environmentally friendly garments could sustainably support its producers and suppliers. Together, the powerhouse duo set out to create an environmentally friendly brand that encompassed high ethical standards, and in April 2016 Hannah and Elena launched Mighty Good Undies. 

With transparency at their core focus, Hannah and Elena choose to only work with trustworthy and certified farmers and manufactures to produce their garments. Their manufacture, Rajlakshmi Cotton Mills, has a partnership with cotton producers, Chetna Organics, and together the companies have Fairtrade and Organic cotton (GOTS) certifications for all Mighty Good garments. Their Fairtrade factory commits to Fairtrade benefits for all workers in addition to offering subsidised housing, educational fees for all children up to university level, free transportation to and from work, subsidised meals, medical care, interest free loans, annual bonuses and guaranteed yearly pay rises. “When you support a Fairtrade brand, it means quite simply someone was paid a living wage in a safe environment,” Elena explains. 

Hannah and Elena strive to be as conscious as they can in every decision they make. One of their core philosophies is to not use plastic packaging, instead they use certified organic cotton draw sting bags. In addition to this, they have matched up each pair of Mighty Good Undies with an internationally certified carbon emissions offset. For every garment sold, Mighty Good company purchase 1 kilogram of carbon emissions. “This is just another small way of us trying to look at our business holistically and mitigate any damage we may cause through our business,” Hannah says.

Eager to expand their range and tackle other eco-issues, Elena and Hannah are in the process of developing a washing bag that mitigates microfibres in the washing machine, a problem that has increased with the excessive use of synthetic fabrics. What mighty good work!

22 January 2019

Tim Silverwood - a passionate advocate for protecting our oceans






Growing up in an environmentally friendly household, Tim Silverwood developed a keen interest in sustainability throughout high school and later furthered his environmental pursuits at university and through a career in conservation. Tim spent many years throughout his twenties travelling, but it was a trip around Asia that awakened him to the true impact of plastic pollution and waste. “I was shocked and devastated to witness rivers choking on trash, beaches covered in pollution and waste being dumped directly into mountain streams. I realised that waste and pollution were serious issues and only getting worse, I wanted to do something to turn things around,” says Tim.

An avid surfer, Tim felt compelled to help the ocean he loves so dearly. In 2009, Tim’s desire to change the state of plastic pollution coincidentally lead him to two like-minded people, Amanda Marechal, and Roberta Dixon-Valk. Amanda, a keen surfer, initially came up with the idea of collecting rubbish after each surf and, after consulting with her friend Roberta, a marine ecologist, together they formed the concept of Take 3. After Tim was introduced to the pair in 2009, they decided to officially register and launch the organisation in 2010.

Witnessing pollution and littering made Tim more aware of the disconnect that exists between humankind and the biosphere that sustains us. “Humans have quickly forgotten, or conveniently ignored, the fact that we are living, breathing animals that share a remarkable biome with millions of other living creatures. We are not separate from the natural world; we are part of it. The pollution from single-use plastic and other complex human-made materials marks a key moment when a species, us, is sacrificing life for future generations and countless innocent creatures. I simply can't justify the price we are currently paying in the pursuit of a convenient lifestyle,” says Tim.

Amanda, Roberta, and Tim have always known there was something special about the #take3forthesea action. “It is so simple, catchy and gives anyone, anywhere the opportunity to give back to our spectacular planet,” says Tim. They have seen huge growth in public awareness of the Take 3 message without the need for expensive advertising campaigns or media promotions. While they have directly visited over 150,000 school students and delivered hundreds of community activities, their major impact has been through social media with the Take 3 hashtag (#take3forthesea).

In 2011, Tim joined a three-week expedition to study the accumulation of plastic in the North Pacific Sub-Tropical Gyre, commonly referred to as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. “It was an incredible experience that opened my eyes to the vastness of the ocean and the scale of the plastic pollution pandemic,” Tim recalls. Seeing the problem firsthand motivated Tim and he began building his network of colleagues globally who were similarly committed to addressing the problem. This gave Tim the platform to stand up and demand changes with confidence. “I knew more than ever that change was critical and entirely possible,” he says.

Tim points out that there is no ‘floating island of plastic’ in the North Pacific nor in any of the five major oceanic gyres. “Yes, there are higher levels of plastic gathering in these naturally occurring ocean vortices, but the plastic is still highly dispersed, mostly small, microplastics, and not always on the surface, it descends deep into the water column,” he said. Tim believes the media has largely contributed to the misunderstanding of the ‘garbage patch’ which has resulted in lots of attention to bold plans to clean it up, but Tim says this is not the ‘silver bullet’ answer to the problem. “If we are serious about solving plastic pollution we have to stop the problem at the source. That means addressing our consumption, our waste production, our waste management and the leakage of our waste into the environment and waterways,” he says.

“I have always loved the expression that, we are the people we have been waiting for,” says Tim. “As someone who has been working on this issue for over ten years, I can proudly say that we have come an incredibly long way.” Waste and plastic pollution are now key issues discussed in all sectors of society in countries like Australia, the UK, and many other areas. Tim believes the only reason people are discussing plastic pollution solutions is because people have taken action themselves by liking photos on Instagram, signing petitions, sharing viral videos, watching documentaries, purchasing reusable products and picking up rubbish. “As Dr. Seuss writes in The Lorax, ‘Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not,’ " says Tim. “So, whatever you are doing, keep it up, and do a little bit more.”

16 January 2019

How to filter your water with charcoal


Kishu Binchotan charcoal is an active carbon made from tree branches.  Due to its extremely porous structure, Binchotan charcoal is renowned for its ability to absorb impurities, unwanted tastes and odours from water such as chlorine and releasing beneficial natural minerals. It can also be used to purify indoor air, keep closets, drawers, and refrigerators free from odour, dampness and mould and improve the health of soil and plants.
 
Kishu charcoal is made from Japanese Holm oak, which grows on the forested hills of Kii Peninsula. Oak trees are not logged, but instead, branches are cut off selectively leaving the tree alive and healthy. To make Kishu Binchotan charcoal, oak branches are stacked inside kilns and baked at incredibly high temperatures over several weeks. Oxygen is then shut off and turned on again and its flow slowly increased. This centuries-old process turns wood into carbon, and at up to 98 per cent, Kishu Binchotan charcoal has the highest content of carbon of any charcoal making it one of the purest and highest quality charcoals available on Earth.
 
How to use Kishu Binchotan charcoal to filter water
  1. Before using, boil the Kishu Binchotan charcoal stick for 10 minutes, remove and allow to and cool completely. It is now ready to be used. Re-boil the charcoal stick every two to three weeks to get rid of everything it has absorbed. Also, take care not to drop the charcoal stick as it is easily breakable.
     
  2. To purify tap water for drinking, place the boiled and cooled Kishu Binchotan charcoal stick into a pitcher of water. Leave for a minimum of five hours, or overnight for best results. The charcoal stick will alkalise the water, absorb chemicals and toxins, and release beneficial minerals into the water. The charcoal stick will stay hard and not discolour the water. One stick will last for approximately three months if you boil it every second week.
     
  3. Once your Binchotan charcoal stick has reached the end of its indoor life, improve soil health by recycling it in the garden. Break the charcoal stick up into pieces and mix it into new soil or apply it over a garden bed. The Binchotan charcoal will improve the movement of air and water through the sol, alkalise the soil, and reinforce trace elements.

19 June 2018

5 single-use plastic items everyone needs to stop using now




Our cumulative use of single use plastic is vastly affecting our planet and while this problem on a global scale can seem overwhelming, on a personal level it is more achievable. Fight plastic pollution and say no to the below five single use plastic items below; it’s a simple action you can do to tackle the increasing plastic pollution problem.

PLASTIC BAGS & PRODUCE BAGS

Australians use an estimated 5 billion plastic shopping bags every year with around 50 million entering oceans and waterways causing fatal harm to marine life. The phase out of lightweight plastic bags has been set for seven out of eight Australian states and territories. Although this is positive step forward, the replacement offered by large supermarket chains of a thicker more durable plastic shopping bag is merely a Band-Aid solution. Prepare for the plastic bag ban with truly biodegradable, plastic free reusable shopping and produce bags.

STRAWS

Single use plastic straws are one of the most insidious polluters in the world. They are an item of convenience for most people and are essentially useless, but millions are used daily worldwide despite their harmful effects on the environment.

Used for an average of 20 minutes, plastic straws have an incredibly short ‘consumer use’ lifespan. Although recyclable, the small and lightweight design of plastic straws make them difficult to sort at recycling facilities. Instead, they are discarded in landfill or blown into the environment, inevitably making their way to oceans and waterways.

The environmental effects of single use plastic items are permanent and widespread with plastic contributing to approximately 90 percent of the rubbish floating in our oceans, contaminating every square mile with 46 thousand pieces of plastic. Straws are one of the top ten items collected at beach clean-ups posing potential threat to seabirds, turtles and other marine animals.

Plastic straws are made from polypropylene which is derived from petroleum, a non-renewable resource that uses vast amounts of energy to produce. These chemically produced products are non-biodegradable and when disposed photodegrade over time, causing each piece of plastic to break down into small fragments further polluting the environment and endangering wildlife.

Help reduce the environmental impact of single use plastic straws by requesting no straw with your drink or buy and use a reusable straw.

History of manufactured straws:

1800’s

Straws made from the stalks of rye grass were used in the early 1800’s to improve hygiene at restaurants and soda fountains. Unsatisfied with their weak structure, Marvin Stone designed the first paper drinking straw in 1888.

1900’s

Joseph B. Friedman designed and patented the bendy straw in 1937. The rise of fast food chains in the 1950’s increased popularity of convenience food in disposable packaging. Nonbiodegradable plastic straws made from non-renewable resources quickly replaced paper straws in the 1960’s.

2000’s

The increased production and consumption of nonbiodegradable plastic straws over the past century has contributed to the accumulation of plastic pollution in the environment. Environmental campaigns now encourage consumers to stop using plastic straws and use reusable straws instead.

COFFEE CUPS

We use approximately 1 billion disposable coffee cups each year, making this single use item one of the largest contributors to waste along with plastic bottles and bags. Many cannot be recycled as they are lined with polyethylene and take up to 50 years to degrade.

What people also forget is that it’s not just about the waste at the end, but the precious non-renewable resources that would go into making takeaway items, like coffee cups, in the first place. The environmental repercussions of disposable coffee cups begin well before the consumer has purchased their coffee where precious natural resources are used and pollutants are emitted to manufacture and transport the cups. Put an end to unnecessary waste and stop using single-use coffee cups. Choose a reusable coffee cup such as a KeepCup or dine in! 

WATER BOTTLES

The demand for convenience, driven by busy lifestyles has fostered a society with an insatiable desire for disposable solutions. At the forefront of this convenience driven culture is the excessive production and consumption of bottled water. Currently, one million plastic bottles are purchased every minute worldwide with predictions of a 20 percent increase by 2021.

Bottled water is an unnecessary product developed by profit driven companies to sell to consumers at a price nearly 2000 times more than the cost of sourcing it directly from the tap. Use your consumer power to prevent further damage to the environment. Stop purchasing bottled water and invest in a good quality reusable stainless steel or glass water bottle.

12 June 2018

Reduce your food waste




Australia’s increasing food waste is becoming an epidemic that is impacting the environment and economy. Over 5 million tonnes of food is discarded annually. Not just from households, but along the whole supply chain from farms to transport, manufacturing and supermarkets costing the Australian economy over $20 billion annually.  

The government has committed to reducing half of Australia’s food waste by 2030, and you can help by reducing your household food waste. Most household food waste occurs due to incorrect storage. Start by reducing the waste of the top five wasted foods as discovered by OZ Harvest.

BREAD

Prevent bread from going stale or mouldy by storing it in the freezer. If bread becomes stale, use it to make bread pudding, French toast, crotons or dumplings. Avoid plastic bread bag waste by using a reusable bread bag

BAGGED SALAD
Reduce plastic and food waste by purchasing whole salad vegetables and make a salad from scratch, opposed to bagged salad. Use The Swag to keep produce fresher for longer.

POTATOES
Reduce food waste by storing potatoes correctly. Don’t wash potatoes until you are ready to use them. Keep them away from direct sunlight and store in a cool, dry and dark place. Hessian Produce Bags help to prolong the life of potatoes by absorbing moisture and allowing air flow. 

BANANAS
If you don’t like eating over-ripe bananas, don’t discard them. Freeze them to use later in a smoothie, banana bread, muffins, ice-cream, in porridge or pancakes. Full Circle ZipTuck Reusable Bags are a great zero waste solution for storing over-ripe bananas in the freezer.

MEAT
If you eat meat, it’s important to check the use-by date to ensure you store it correctly for use. If you aren’t going to eat the meat before its use-by date, freeze it. Meat can be stored safely in the freezer for up to six months.

05 June 2018

The 5 R’s to zero waste



Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot




Every item we use has an environmental cost - some greater than others. We can all make a difference by being mindful of the waste we generate. Review your lifestyle by using the five R’s to manage your waste. Start implementing these small changes into your daily routine and you will discover just how easy it is to live sustainably.

Refuse

Every purchasing choice you make is a vote for the world you want. Think carefully about the environmental impacts of all purchases. Start refusing things you don’t need and say no to single use disposable items that end up in landfill such as plastic bags, water bottles, straws and coffee cups.

Reduce

Review your lifestyle and find ways to reduce your consumption and save resources. Can you stop junk mail and paper deliveries, reduce power usage or eliminate lunch box waste? Be mindful about your actions and realistic about your purchases. Buy quality products that will last a lifetime and start taking action to reduce daily waste. 

Reuse

Start reusing and repairing items instead of buying brand new. Replace single use products with reusables - swap paper towels for fabric cloths; plastic food wrap for beeswax wraps; and single use batteries for rechargeable batteries. Save money and waste by mending broken items or find a new purpose for items that can’t be repaired.

Recycle

Maintain a closed loop system by recycling as much as you can. Use external recycling facilities that accept hard to recycle items that cannot be recycled by your curb side collection program such as light bulbs, batteries, electronics and soft plastics. Visit Planet Ark’s Recycling Near You website to find alternative recycling services.

Rot

Composting your food scraps not only provides you with nutrient rich fertiliser for your garden, it also helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions produced by landfill. Instead of discarding food scraps in the general waste bin add them to a compost heap, bokashi bin, worm farm or community compost bin.

29 May 2018

Six World Environment Day tips that can make a difference


Small Everyday Changes Everyone Can Make That Will Have a Huge Impact


With World Environmental Day right around the corner, thoughts turn to how to save the planet and reduce our collective negative impact on the environment. While that sounds like a monumental task, TerraCycle, the company that specialises in recycling the ‘non-recyclable’, has six easy suggestions that can help you start making changes. 

TerraCycle is an international recycling and upcycling company that takes hard-to-recycle packaging and turns it into affordable, innovative products. The zero waste recycling bins are collection points for designated waste items that are not usually recycled by council services. This diverts the items from landfill, giving them a second life through TerraCycle’s specialist services in recycling and re-purposing materials. 

Six World Environment Day tips that can change the world

1. Recycle wisely – Australians are keen to recycle; 98 per cent of Australian households get behind it. What about toothbrushes, coffee capsules and cosmetics – waste that doesn’t go in the recycling bin? Brands like L’Oréal, Colgate and NESCAFÉ Dolce Gusto have partnered with TerraCycle to make their products nationally recyclable through free recycling programs, open to all Australians. Solutions for ‘non-recyclable’ items – from batteries to X-rays – can be found at Recycling Near You.

2. Carry a reusable water bottle – It’s no secret disposable bottles are bad for the environment. Nearly one million plastic bottles are bought every minute around the world and less than half of those bottles are recycled. Fortunately, reusable water bottles come in every shape, colour, material and size – there is sure to be one that fits your lifestyle. Make this the year you switch.

3. Become a coffee cup warrior – Remember when ABC’s War on Waste filled a Melbourne tram with 50,000 disposable coffee cups? That’s the number thrown away by Australians every 30 minutes. Slash that statistic by grabbing a KeepCup or BYO kitchen mug to your local takeaway.

4. Choose products with sustainable packaging – Send a message to manufacturers that sustainable packaging matters by purchasing products with packaging that can be refilled, reused, recycled or upcycled and reduce the nearly eight million metric tonnes of plastic that end up in our oceans each year.

5. Invest in sustainable businesses – Use your money to make a difference by investing in companies that adhere to a triple bottom-line business model of being socially, environmentally and financially aware. Green-thinkers worldwide can now invest in TerraCycle US, through its recently authorised $25 million Regulation A offering.

6. Have reusable bag; will travel – We’ve all heard of reusable grocery bags, why not take it a step further and use a linen or hemp bag for all your shopping and errands. This simple change would help reduce the 9.7 billion single-use plastic bags Australians use every year. 

Recycling at Biome with TerraCycle


Biome Eco Stores currently offer a complimentary in store 'end of life' TerraCycle recycling program to all Biome customers.

What we can recycle for you at Biome:

1. Cosmetic, skin care and hair care packaging*

2. Packaging from in-store purchases

3. Pens, pencils, markers and highlighters

4. Wine corks

5. CDs, cassettes, memory sticks and other data storage

6. Toothbrush and toothpaste packaging*

*All containers must be completely cleaned out for us to take them from you.

TerraCycle for the workplace

You can purchase TerraCycle recycling bins for your workplace or organisation from Biome. The bins are a perfect closed-loop solution for any workplace where used items accumulate including home offices, tuck shops, schools, small businesses and community groups. Choose bins for recycling coffee capsules, office supplies, pens, snack wrappers, mailing labels and tape, CDs and more.

Purchase TerraCycle Boxes at Biome. 

To learn more about TerraCycle or to recycle in its free recycling programs, visit www.terracycle.com.au. Those interested in investing in TerraCycle US, Inc. should visit www.ownterracycle.com.

29 March 2018

15 simple environmental initiatives to change the world


 
We all have the power as individuals to create significant, positive and lasting change. Here are 15 simple environmental initiatives you can do today to help make the world a better place tomorrow.

  1. Join 1 Million Women movement and take practical action on climate change in your everyday lives to cut pollution, reduce waste, save energy and lead change.
  2. Take 3 For The Sea – take 3 pieces of rubbish when you leave the beach, waterway or anywhere!
  3. Plastic Free July – Go plastic free in July and try to continue it throughout the year.
  4. Join the Don’t Palm Us Off campaign - advocate for mandatory palm oil labelling in Australia by sending an email to your premier.
  5. Spread awareness – it’s free! Talk to family and friends about our current environmental issues and encourage them to live more sustainably.
  6. Clean up Australia Day – volunteer to pick up rubbish from an area near your home or office.
  7. Quit single use plastics – stop using single use plastics and choose reusable products instead.
  8. Plant a tree on National Tree Day or any day!
  9. Compost your kitchen and garden waste – Composing reduces landfill waste and greenhouse gasses.
  10. Reduce your food miles - buy organic and seasonal produce from local producers.
  11. Shop palm oil free – Use Palm Oil Investigation’s barcode scanner app to check the ingredients in a product or shop palm oil free with confidence at Biome Eco Stores.
  12. Leave the car at home – take public transport, cycle or walk.
  13. Reduce food waste – plan your meals, only buy what you need and eat leftovers.
  14. Meat Free Monday – reduce your weekly meat consumption by eating vegetarian or vegan meals on Monday.
  15. Reduce, reuse and recycle – actively take part in reducing your waste, reusing what you can before purchasing new, and recycling what you can.
The collective power of individual actions can create significant change!
 

 

20 March 2018

Earth Hour Australia 2018


Be part of the world’s largest grassroots movement for climate change. Take action on climate change by switching off on Saturday, 24 March, 8.30pm – 9.30pm local time, for the future of Australian wildlife.

WWF’s Earth Hour is a great home-grown Aussie success story. Initially starting in Sydney in 2007, Earth Hour has grown into a worldwide phenomenon which is now celebrated in 187 countries and 7000 cities around the world.

This year Earth Hour is drawing attention to the impact climate change has on biodiversity. Australia is home to an amazing array of unique plants and animals. More than 80% of Australia's flowering plants, mammals, reptiles, frogs and almost 50% of our birds occur nowhere else on Earth. However, our beautiful Australian wildlife and iconic places are under threat and we’re losing species at an unprecedented rate. Turtles on our beloved Great Barrier Reef, koalas in the forest, rock wallabies in the bush, and penguins in Antarctica are suffering from the impacts of climate change.

By switching off your lights for one hour on Saturday, you’re taking part in a symbolic action that helps to spark the conversation for change. I believe the collective power of individual actions can create significant change. Use this initiative as an opportunity to encourage individuals, businesses and governments around the world to take accountability for their ecological footprint and make stronger global commitments that provides real solutions to our environmental challenges.

Go beyond the hour and take positive action to protect our planet!

Specific impacts in Australia include:

Green turtles and the Great Barrier Reef

Rising sea levels are threatening Raine Island in the Great Barrier Reef, currently home to one of the world’s largest nesting sites for green turtles. A recent study (supported by WWF) showed that higher temperatures in nests are causing turtle eggs to produce females. Around 99% of the green turtle population is now female, signalling a potential population crash. 7

Koalas

With higher average temperatures, global warming is changing the water and nitrogen content of eucalyptus leaves, the koala’s only food, making them less nutritious. As a result, koalas are not getting enough water and nutrients from their natural diet and have to leave the protection of their tree-top homes, making them prone to predators and traffic.

The black-flanked rock wallaby

The black-flanked rock wallaby, which habitat includes the desert and bush in many parts of Northern and Western Australia, is highly endangered. More severe and longer droughts will result in food and habitat loss, leaving these beautiful animals with nowhere to go.

Antarctica

Antarctica is one of the fastest warming areas on the planet. The accelerated melting of Antarctica’s ice sheets has contributed to global average sea levels rising, increasing the risk of coastal flooding in Australia.

The melting ice is putting pressure on Antarctica’s many coastal and marine species, including penguins. A third of the Adélie penguin colonies in Antarctica could disappear in less than 50 years due to the impacts of climate change on food supply of krill and fish.


Related: B Corporations redefining business success; The environmental problem with palm oil; What is a circular economy?
 

16 March 2018

How to have an ethical Easter


Lots of chocolate is consumed at Easter to celebrate the occasion but this can cause more harm to the environment than you might think. Below are five important aspects to consider when purchasing chocolate to help you have an ethical Easter.

Is it palm oil free chocolate?

Around 300 football fields of the world’s most biologically diverse rainforests are felled every hour for palm oil plantations, killing around 6000 orangutans, plus Sumatran tigers and many other species every year.

Australians unknowingly consume on average 10 kilograms of palm oil each year and unclear food labelling makes it hard for people to exercise their consumer choice. Palm oil is a high yield and low cost versatile ingredient used extensively in most manufactured foods, cleaning products, body care, make up and bio fuels. Inadequate government labelling regulations allow brands to hide palm oil behind more than 200 alternate names such as vegetable oil, Glycerine, Plant Surfactant and Caprylic Triglyceride, making it extremely confusing for consumers to identify. Palm oil-based butter which mimics the taste of cocoa butter is used extensively by chocolate manufacturers as a production cost saving measure. When purchasing chocolate this Easter, make sure you purchase 100 percent palm oil free chocolate

Is it ethically made and Fairtrade? 

Is the chocolate made and owned by locals? Where was the coco sourced? Was it grown and harvested sustainably? Were the workers treated and remunerated fairly?

These are the questions that you should ask yourself before purchasing chocolate for Easter. According to Choice, approximately 70 percent of chocolate consumed globally is sourced from West Arica where over two million children under the age of 18, some trafficked, work under treacherous conditions to harvest the cocoa. By purchasing ethically made and Fairtrade chocolate, you’re supporting cocoa farmers who provide safe and sustainable employment for their community.

Do you need to consider food allergies?

It’s important to consider if the recipient has any food allergies when purchasing chocolate this Easter as you don’t want to cause any allergic reactions. Are they lactose or gluten intolerant? There is a wide range of dairy free and gluten free Easter chocolate options for people with food allergies.

Does it align with the recipient’s values?

Shopping by a person’s values is important to remember when purchasing Easter chocolate especially if the person lives a vegan, cruelty free or palm oil free lifestyle. There is a large range of vegan chocolate available from local chocolate artisan. 

Is the packaging environmentally friendly?

Most Easter chocolates are wrapped in aluminium foil which is recyclable through council recycling bins but only if you follow the correct guidelines to ensure it is filtered correctly at the recycling facility. Collect all the small used aluminium foil wrappers and scrunch them up into a tight large ball then place it in your recycling bin. This will ensure the ball is sorted correctly and has the highest possible chance at being recycled.






09 March 2018

B Corporations redefining business success



B Corporation® certification recognises purpose-driven businesses that run with the highest level of transparency and accountability, and are committed to improving social and environmental conditions for all. They have one shared vision - to create a global movement using the power of business to drive positive change. They are driven by the value they add to the wider community, not profits, and operate at a higher social and environmental level, considering all business impacts and being responsible for them.

B Corp® shows how businesses can operate sustainably and change the world for the better. The rigorous assessment conducted by B Lab, a non-profit organisation, reviews a company’s governance, transparency, environmental and social impact and certifies businesses on their ability to create value for all stakeholders, not only shareholders. 

“Together, B Corps redefine success in business by competing not to be the best in the world, but to be the best for the world.” - B Corp®

Recently, Biome became the first Australian retailer awarded international B Corporation® certification for its success in operating a business with the highest social and environmental standards. Listed alongside renowned Australian brands including KeepCup and Tom Organics, Biome joins 173 certified Australian businesses, and 2,441 certified B Corporations® from 50 countries.

“Since launching 14 years ago, we have relentlessly built a sustainable and transparent business that supports employees, suppliers, community and the environment. We are proud to have passed the rigorous assessment and join the ranks of world changing brands that work towards creating a global movement using the power of business to drive positive change.”Biome

Look for the B Corp logo when out-and-about and support businesses that are working to be the best for the world.

If you own a business; find out how you can be a B Corp certified business here and be part of the change for good!

Related: Shave waste free and save the environment; The environmental problem with palm oil; What is a circular economy?
 

02 March 2018

Zero waste body care swaps



Adopt a zero waste body care routine and say good riddance to bathroom rubbish!

A standard bathroom can contain cupboards full of toxic and disposable products from plastic toothbrushes to disposable sanitary products. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approximately two billion disposable razors enter landfill every year. Additionally, it is estimated women use between 10,000 to 12,000 disposable sanitary products in their lifetime. Adopting a zero waste body care routine is an easy way to reduce your waste. It is as simple as swapping the disposable items you normally use for environmentally friendly reusable options.

10 zero waste body care swaps:
  1. Disposable razor > reusable safety razor
  2. Disposable pads and tampons > menstrual cups and reusable cotton pads
  3. Plastic loofah > sea sponge
  4. Synthetic body brush > natural sisal body brush
  5. Deodorant in a can > deodorant in a glass jar
  6. Plastic toothbrush > bamboo toothbrush
  7. Body wash in a plastic bottle > a bar of soap
  8. Packaged skincare > DIY skincare using natural ingredients
  9. Plastic hairbrush/comb > wooden or bamboo hairbrush/comb
  10. Packaged Shampoo and conditioner > shampoo bar and apple cider vinegar rinse 
Products can be purchased in our four Brisbane stores and online here.

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