The Benefits of Peat Free Compost

Increased consumer interest in peat-free composts will encourage less peat extraction in the UK and reduces the damage of lowland bogs. This infographic from www.compostdirect.com provides some ideas on the benefits of going peat-free.

The benefits of Compost - Compost Direct

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Posted by Eco Warrior - December 18, 2014 at 11:13 am

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Time to Save Life, Future, and World

A thoughtful infographic, especially at this time of the year, from Packaging Express.

Packaging Express

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Posted by Eco Warrior - December 16, 2014 at 8:29 am

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Planning on Ethical Christmas Gifts?

It feels like only the other day that the sun was shining and I was at the seaside in Devon, picking out grains of sand from my ice cream as the sweltering noon day sun bore down upon me in all its fury.

But indeed it had been only yesterday that I walked home from work in the advancing night hours, shivering uncontrollably through three layers of clothing and contemplating what this inevitably meant… Christmas is on its way!

Christmas of course signifies presents, and particularly so for the young ones. This being the situation it may be an idea to consider buying ethical Christmas presents this season, bringing happiness and joy for the children whilst doing something positive for the environment and encouraging acceptable employment conditions for the workers who create these products.

There was a time not very long ago when the idea of taking environmental and ethical factors into account when embarking on our Christmas shop might have seemed just a little whimsical, even eccentric. Today nevertheless it is very much more mainstream, and the possibilities to us are much more numerous and varied.

Ethical shopping for people of all ages

Obviously it is not just about the kids. For older friends and relatives it is also remarkably simple these days to find ethical jewellery whether one is looking for necklaces, bracelets, earrings or whatever else in the range.

Nowadays even everyday items for example stationery and kitchen utensils are available as fairtrade and ecologically sustainable products. And green food production of course is pretty much an industry all of its own. Whole stores as well as chains exist where nothing but eco products are available. Soaps, shampoos, toiletries and related items that have been ethically manufactured is usually more than a match in terms of quality for the more popular supermarket or big commercial brands.

Belief and Philosophy

The philosophy and honest belief driving this mode of shopping is usually that the receivers of ethical gifts derive twice the pleasure from the product they love coupled with a positive feeling that in some small way just receiving it has helped the world to become a better place. It envisages a world in which exploitation and environmental exploitation play no part in the process of production. With the extended product ranges now available there is absolutely no reason why we cannot all play at least some small part in helping to realise that goal.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - December 9, 2014 at 9:22 am

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Rampant consumerism blamed for tropical deforestation

It has long been know that the consumer economic model damages the environment. Now a bunch of researchers have pinned the damage down.

According to Chalmers University of Technology in Gothernburg, Sweden, international trade in four key farmed and wood products is becoming increasingly damaging to tropical rainforests as time passes. In fact beef, soy, palm oil and timber account for over a third of recent deforestation. As one expert quoted, “The trend is clear: the drivers of deforestation have been globalised and commercialised.”

Apparently the study, which was commissioned by the the US think-tank The Center for Global Development, looked at rainforests in seven nations, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea, all major exporters of the products that drive deforestation. Europe and China turned out to be the biggest importers of CO2 emissions linked to deforestation from the millennium through to 2009.

Proved: consumer demand drives deforestation

The research highlights how more than a third of global deforestation can be laid at the door of the four core products mentioned. If Brazilian beef is taken out of the equation, much of which is raised for domestic consumption, more than half of deforestation in the nations analysed is down to international demand.

The researchers also looked at the magnitude of the CO2 emissions that can be attributed to the flow of trade. The numbers are distressing. It looks like a massive 1.7 billion tons of carbon dioxide is emitted as a result of the commodities analysed, with a third down to exports. By clarifying the links between consumption and environmental impact, the study hopes to identify more effective measures to cut the loss of tropical forests through targeting the worst offending commodities and the nations importing them.

Some good news…

On the bright side, a growing number of corporate organisations are cutting deforestation out of their supply chains, under pressure from their buyers, the public, governments and rainforest conservation organisations. Giants like Unilever and McDonalds, formerly appearing not to care, are increasingly reluctant to be involved in environmental destruction, and are busy – at long last – pressuring their suppliers to “stop expanding production on forest land”.

We’re all accountable

It just goes to show, it isn’t good enough to simply focus on the nations where deforestation happens. It’s equally important to shine the spotlight on commercial organisations that drive it and the consumers who demand the products derived through deforestation. Everyone is accountable, right down the chain.


Post by the Rainforest Foundation. Image by Nicola Jones via Flickr.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - November 28, 2014 at 3:43 pm

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Bio-Based Polythene: The Future of Sustainable Plastic?

The evolution of bio-based polythene has proven to be a benefit to the industry, to the economy, to the environment and to society. Indeed, cultures around the world rely on plastics to meet many challenges, including the packaging and transport of goods and food stuffs. It is difficult to imagine a world without the convenience of plastics but meeting the strict environmental standards imposed by EU environmentalists has proven challenging to businesses and consumers that rely on plastic products for any number of solutions.

Bio-based polythene is a very happy alternative for responsible users who seek to lower their carbon footprint, reduce their energy consumption and protect the environment that we shall pass on to future generations. Bio-Based polythene end product will be the future because they are a win-win result for manufacturers and consumers.

Yes, bio-based polythene may cost about 7 percent more than fossil fuel alternatives but their shelf life is 20 percent longer. New bio-based polythene products are gaining in popularity. They offer the double edged advantages of being 100 percent recyclable and carbon positive, a long sought after combination that helps businesses improve their mandated green credentials and bring their carbon footprint in line with EU standards.

There are some green solutions that you know are the future. Bio-based polythene is one of those rare discoveries that appears to be the future of plastics. Consumers have warmed to bio-based Polythene and solidified its place in the market. In 2011`, 3.5 million tonnes of bio-based polymers were manufactured around the globe. That compared to 235 million tonnes of fossil fuel based polymers. But, the future looks bright! By 2020, industry experts project 12 million tonnes of bio-based polymers will be produced every year. This is encouraging news.

Bio-Based Rather Than Oxy-Degradable

Just when it seemed that oxy-degradable polythene compositions were the answer to the carbon challenges presented by the plastics industry, bio-based polythene was discovered. Consumers, environmentalists and manufacturers soon began to wonder about the practicality of plastics that completely degraded after two or three years.

Bio-based polythene products are a more satisfactory solution to the environmental impact of the industry. Food stocks and specifically sugar cane have proven to be the most environmentally beneficial polythene. With sugar cane-based products, manufacturers are producing products that rely on photosynthesis during the plant’s life to create a carbon positive product.

While sugar cane captures CO2 from the atmosphere, it releases oxygen into the atmosphere. Taking as much or more carbon from the environment and depositing an equal or greater share of oxygen to the environment makes sugar cane based polythene a carbon positive material. Add to this effect the fact that manufacturers are now using the waste to fuel their equipment and we scan see undeniable environmental benefits that did not exist just a few years ago.

Biotechnology: The Future of Manufacturing

For many years the plastics industry was the whipping boy of environmentalists who definitely made an impression upon plastics manufacturers and manufacturers in other sectors. The progress made by plastic manufacturers will copied by other sectors. Bio-based manufacturing will be implemented by other challenged manufacturing sectors. The process of replacing fossil fuels and their volatile pricing with carbon positive energy sources will make for a much more sustainable future.

Biotechnology will continue to develop new and exciting crops for plastic production. Scientists are already working to improve crop genomes in order to boost the desired effects. Genetic modifications of the plants used in bio-plastics have already increased the effectiveness of bio-plastics and can only offer us a glimpse of the future potential and direction of biotechnology.

The Bio-based Polythene Future

To fully understand why scientists are encouraged with bio-based polythene, it is necessary to understand that bio-based plastics contain renewable carbon. This is a driving force behind the commitment to bio-based production and a significant advantage over fossil fuel-based plastics. At the end of the life of the bio-plastic, the carbon is returned to the atmosphere but no new carbon is added to the environment.

To further increase the sustainability of bio-based plastics, some products can be degraded. Sugar cane based polythene is one of those products. This product can be disposed alongside food waste. Additionally, biodegradable agricultural bio-based plastic mulch can be ploughed into the field which further saves on the collection and storage capacity of plastics.

As for the future of bio-based polythene, the fact that production actually reduces the amount of consumed energy compared to fossil fuel based plastic production is a significant win for the process. Combining this lower energy consumption with the lower Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions produced by bio-based polythene, it is only natural to see this process as the future of plastics. Some bio-based products actually consume 50 percent less energy and emit 66 percent less GHG. This is progress. This is the future of plastics and bio-based polythene will lead the way.


Bio:

Established in 2007 in Witney, Oxfordshire, Polythene UK quickly made its name as the UK’s leading independent supplier of polythene products. In early 2013, the company moved to new premises specifically designed to be carbon neutral and equipped with a high-tech renewable energy system.

Image by Kate Ter Haar via Flickr

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Posted by Eco Warrior - November 20, 2014 at 9:25 am

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Simple steps to make your business more eco-friendly

See no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil. This is the attitude that many consumers used to have before the pressure to reduce our carbon footprint was increased.

78% of consumers now claim that they would boycott a product or service if their environmental credentials turned out to be false, according to research by Cone Communications. In order to retain customers, businesses will have to devise a long-term eco strategy to ensure they are flying the green flag.

A typical office consumes a copious amount of energy through the sheer volume of electrical equipment used including computers, printers, phones and many other appliances. Many businesses don’t realise how much energy they could save by implementing a few changes around the workplace. The greater the amount of energy saved, the more money your business will have at the end of the year, not to mention improved green customer loyalty.

Switching lights off when they’re not in use, keeping the room temperature even so the workplace never gets too cold or too warm and turning appliances off when you leave for the day are all familiar ways in which we try and save energy at work.

But what about the lesser known energy sucking appliances?

Hand dryers

Hand dryers are essential workplace equipment, yet the older models waste unnecessary energy due to the length of time they run for and the higher rate of power used. Simple mathematics states that the frequency in which employees take trips to the bathroom, multiplied by the number of staff you have, quickly adds up to a large energy bill.

While you may believe that paper towels are the lesser of two eco evils, paper towels are a green warrior’s nightmare. Not only do they destroy trees, reducing the amount of oxygen produced in the environment, but they also waste energy during their disposal. Recycled paper towels are not much better either, although moderately greener than other towels, they still use energy during disposal.

So how can you avoid this issue? By installing energy-efficient hand dryers. The latest models of hand dryers have been constructed to be as eco-friendly as possible by producing a concentrated stream of air, as opposed to older models which disperse hot air in a downwards direction. This dries the hands quicker and therefore decreases the length of time it is on for. You’d be surprised how affordable the new models are too, and the initial cost is only a small price to pay for the amount of savings made from conserving energy.

Boiling water tap

Overfilling kettles wastes £68 million a year in energy costs, according to the Energy Saving Trust.

Although the research focused exclusively on households, businesses must take these findings as a warning. With large numbers of thirsty staff, the kettle is most likely being filled and boiled at an average of 20 times a day. Overfilling your kettle means that it takes longer to heat the water inside and requires more energy to do so.

We all know how long it takes for a full kettle to boil, and while you don’t want to sound like a slave driver, consider how much time is wasted if every one of your 20+ employees spends five minutes in eco2 (1)the kitchen waiting for the kettle to boil.

Solve two problems in one by fitting a boiling water tap tank in your kitchen. This allows employees to instantly access boiling water for their beverages without wasting any time or energy.

Recycling

An overflowing bin is a common sight at the end of the day for most offices. Due to packaged sandwiches, drinks cans and plastic wrappers, our day-to-day working routines easily generate quite a lot of waste.

While there is not much you can do about the packaging that has already been created, you can act in an eco-efficient manner by disposing of it properly. Be responsible for your waste, don’t just put it all in the same bin and send it to the landfill. By setting up clear separate bins for different items, such as plastic, cans and paper, you can effortlessly recycle your waste, which will help to curb your carbon output in the long run.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - November 14, 2014 at 9:26 am

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Eco Friendly Tourism in Mallorca

As environmental damage is becoming an ever more paramount issue, many tourists are feeling the need to do their part to help our little green planet. Usually the common traveller will book a flight to an all-inclusive tourist resort built over the remains of what was a beautiful forest but now, it seems, things are changing. People are beginning to look at where we stay, how we travel, and what we do whilst we’re away in a completely different manner. Instead of huge hotels & mega resorts, local farms and teeny agritourism hotels are beginning to hold much more of an appeal. Such places allow us to still enjoy a relaxing holiday, without encouraging the downfall of our planet.

Does travelling green even matter?

The positive effects of travelling green are generally very much underrated. Air travel is the biggest culprit, so travelling by train can easily wipe hundreds of KGs of CO2 off your carbon footprint, helping the environment and not to mention saving you a buck or two. Hotels that use renewable energy and grow their own produce also help ensure that food transportation emissions are kept to a minimum.

Environmental activities are also greatly beneficial, even if only for the local economy! This can include preservation tours or even visits to conservation areas. This gives the locals a chance to spread their knowledge and bring the ever-pressing issue of climate change into the open, allowing it to becoming a more pressing issue for the masses.

Where can I be green?

mallorca2It may come as a surprise to hear you don’t have to book an expensive eco-tour for your holiday to be deemed environmentally friendly. You can be green pretty much anywhere. Majorca, one of the Spanish Balearic islands, is one area up and coming under the eco-tourism spotlight.

Majorca has always been a tourist based island with many well-known resorts popular amongst package holiday fans. Hotel chains and restaurants take pride of place here, meaning consumption is rife and plastic bottles litter the otherwise beautiful sandy beaches.

But do not despair! Majorca has been looking to clean itself up and is now putting in some much needed effort to preserve what’s left of its beautiful landscape. Most areas of the wetlands and forests are strictly protected to prevent construction companies from getting the rights to destroy the land and build more money- grabbing tourist traps.
So – how to be environmentally conscious in your holiday choices exactly?

Stay somewhere local

There are many green hotel alternatives scattered throughout Majorca. Guillo Finca – a farm based hotel in Pollensa – guarantees all energy comes from renewable sources! Son Bernadinet also offers green living and what’s more, even the food is environmentally friendly; organic and grown all at the hotel!.

Eating Green

Majorca is home to many passionate farmers who provide local farms with fresh, home-grown produce. Buying from these markets will ensure there are no pesticides or artificial ingredients which is absolutely great for your health. It also means there is no plastic involved! You could perhaps make a salad or fruit bowl to take on you with walks or even to have a picnic.

Eco friendly cafes such as Ziva in Palma, Bon Lloc or Eco-Vegetaria offer locally sourced, organic produce in eco-friendly cartons, meaning if you haven’t booked an apartment and have no means of cooking, you still have options!

Green activities

Wildlife Travel Map of Spain - Balearic Islands (Eco Tourist Maps)

Wildlife Travel Map of Spain – Balearic Islands

Depending on how devoted to being green you are, there is a huge range of different activities Majorca can offer you. The really devoted green fingered tourist could always head down to the local farm or market and give a helping hand in exchange for bed and board! Finca Son Barrina organic farm is one place that accepts helping hands from holidaymakers, and they grow a dazzling arrange of fruit and veggies for local restaurants and grocers.

If you want a more relaxed approach to being green that’s fine! Avoid beaches and head to one of the many conversation sites scattered throughout the island. Llevant Peninsula Nature Park in the north east of the island is a good spot that’s great for hikers, with plenty of flat and hilly terrains for you to try and tackle. Here, you will find beautiful, untouched nature that is a genuine home to birds and other wildlife, rather than discarded coke bottles.

Archipelago Maritime Terrestrial National Park (try to say that in one breath!) is another treat for those looking to seek out the more undiscovered areas of Majorca. The ban on fishing has resulted in the waters teeming with tropical fish, whales and turtles. This area is located south of the island, about 1 hour’s boat ride from San Salinas.

If these don’t tickle your fancy, here’s a huge list of national parks, local beaches and ‘no frills excursions’ for you to ensure you’re being as environmentally conscious as possible. And remember – no taxis there and back!

What do you think? Is eco-tourism something you could be interested in? Or does it all sound like a lot of effort? Let us know!

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Posted by Guest Author - November 7, 2014 at 5:16 pm

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Anamalz hit the children’s ethical gifts mark every time

Kids love animals. It’s wonderful to see a small child making friends with an animal, whether it’s a goat or guinea pig, cow, dog, cat or hamster.

In every child’s development there comes a time when they’re on an equal footing with non-human creatures. A time when they’re on much the same wavelength as furry beasts, and see no real difference between themselves and their pet.

It’s something that responsible, nature-aware parents all over Britain are trying to encourage more of. Children who are kind to – and can empathise with – their fellow creatures will undoubtedly be better equipped to handle the human race’s challenges than kids who don’t have a close affinity with the natural world. So it’s good to see the super-cute Anamalz range taking off like a rocket.

Anamalz Wooden Tiger

Anamalz Wooden Tiger

So what’s the Animalz story? The Anamalz range is fun and original, a collection of moveable animals that little ones play with happily for hours. They’re hand crafted from organic maple, a fast-growing hardwood that’s harvested sustainably, plus eco-friendly textiles. So there’s a very low environmental impact attached to these toys.

The perfect way to inspire creative play, empathy and vital learning, every animal is unique with its own wood grain patterns and markings. Each animal includes a unique printed code too, which your child can use online to find out more about their animal, download a birth certificate and play games on the special Anamalz website. All in all Anamalz deliver more of an experience than an ordinary toy and the range is a top choice with ethically-minded parents.

Anamalz Wooden Hippo

Anamalz Wooden Hippo

Anamalz are manufactured to the highest European standards. The resources used are renewable and the glues and paints completely safe, 100% non toxic. There are loads of lovely creatures to choose from including cows, pigs, horses, gorillas, crocodiles, bears, hippos and a cool gift set, where kids can choose their two favourite animals. The gift set comes with a special branded calico bag and a colourful set of Anamalz cards, with the creatures displayed in their ‘natural’ habitat’. Fun!

In a world where plastic toys still rule it’s good to find great quality, sturdy wooden toys manufactured from the moral high ground. The less damage we do to our environment, the more children understand how important our fellow creatures are to our survival and the more respect your children have for their fellow sentient beings, the happier and safer the human race’s future will be.

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Posted by Eco Warrior - October 29, 2014 at 8:01 pm

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The problems of global warming

It’s amazing to see how intuitive the younger generation is about the problems of global warming and the need to preserve our rainforests.

While adults rage over whether the predicted impacts are really quite as dire as scientists claim, children, quite simply, get it.

These are the young people who will be tomorrow’s decision makers, politicians, business leaders and lobbyists and who will inherit the mess. Decades of baby boomer growth and industrialisation will have left a hugely damaging legacy which they will have to fight to restore and respond too – where action has not already been too late.

So perhaps the most effective thing we can do to take action against global warming now, is to focus on our younger family members and friends and engage them in the topic, for their ideas, their enthusiasm and their strong desires to change and make good.

Frankly, our generation has had every opportunity. Whilst we are now reluctantly beginning to recycle, re-use and avoid excess consumption (if only to manage our dwindling budgets), it’s the next generation who are coming up with incredible ideas to tackle the problems in very real ways. For us, the responsibility lies in nurturing their passion and enthusiasm to better things, giving them support to learn and discover more, showing a real interest in their own interests and taking action on family levels to make small changes, which together will combine into something great.

Ask your children questions, hear their views and discuss the issues. Share thoughts and set family recycling and carbon reduction challenges. Commit to reducing the family’s carbon footprint. Commit to showing integrity with your changes – put your money where your mouth is – set the right example. Write letters with your children to lobby parliament, your local MP, your local supermarket. Get excited about it, watch them grow and take the first steps to preserving the planet that the baby boomers inadvertently near-destroyed.


Guest post by the Rainforest Foundation. Image by Len Radin via Flickr

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Posted by Guest Author - October 27, 2014 at 8:54 am

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Greening the Supply Chain

Many people view the process or notion of ‘greening’ a supply chain as one that will ultimately end up costing a lot of money. This is not the case. Greening the supply chain can in fact end up saving a company money in the long run. The misconception that it adds huge costs to operations is one that probably hinders some companies from moving in this direction.

Being environmentally responsible should not just be something we look at as individuals. As company owners and employees, we have a fantastic opportunity also to make a positive change for the good of the environment. Changes to an operational supply chain don’t necessarily need to be vast or implemented quickly; they can be done in small steps in order to ensure ease of implementation.

This info-graphic from Snap Parcel covers the topic of greening the supply chain and offers some suggestions on how to implement it into an operation. It also examines how some world famous companies have implemented a green element to their supply chain and what can be learnt from that.

Greening the Supply Chain

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Posted by Eco Warrior - October 11, 2014 at 6:23 am

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