6 Ways to Celebrate Earth Month

April is Earth Month! While every day in our house is Earth Day, we are always trying to add more and more ways in our business and as individuals to help to fight climate change and save the planet. 

As we look forward to Earth Day on April 22, now is a great time to start planning how you might want to celebrate and what you can do to take part! Here, we share our top six favourite ways to celebrate Earth Month.

1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Adopt the 3 R of sustainability and help to save the planet! 

Reduce what you buy. Before you make a purchase, ask yourself if you genuinely need it or if you can repurpose other items that you already have. Shopping for secondhand clothing and products helps contribute to less waste. Avoid products wrapped in plastic, and limit your food waste by only buying what you need.

Reuse plastic items as much as possible or take to a secondhand store where possible, so they don’t end up in landfill.

Recycle correctly, and choose to buy recycled products to close the loop. Focus on the proper disposal of the items which you don’t need or use any more. 

2. Ditch single-use plastics

Reduce the amount of plastic you use by switching from single-use plastic items. Think of anything you throw away after you use them, like razors, water bottles and coffee cups and instead buy a reusable water bottle that you can keep refilling and take your reusable bags with you when you next go shopping. The planet, and your wallet, will thank you!

3. Tune in to Earth Day Live

Join billions worldwide on April 22 to watch world leaders, youth activists, and social media influencers all come together to talk about ways in which we can #RestoreOurEarth

Most events are still online, as EARTHDAY.ORG will have its second Earth Day Live digital event. Workshops, panel discussions, and special performances will focus on Restore Our Earth™ — we’ll cover natural processes, emerging green technologies, and innovative thinking to restore the world’s ecosystems. 

Some local communities are also holding in-person tree planting and beach clean-ups, where possible.

4. Be An Advocate For Our Planet!

Education is one of the best things you can do to start your journey in fighting climate change. You can do this in so many ways, like sharing facts about climate change & our ocean on your social media, sparking conversations with friends & family, and even organising regular clean-ups with your community. 

Ask your local cafes to ditch plastic straws (if they haven’t already) or supply plastic-free takeaway containers. Better yet, bring your own! Encourage your friends, family and colleagues to use their thermos’. Call out those rubbish tossers! Write an email to your local council and get involved in activities that can spread awareness among your community.

5. Get on your bike

Limit the number of unnecessary car journeys to reduce your carbon footprint. The fewer cars on the road, the fewer carbon emissions polluting the air and contributing to global warming. 

Riding your bike and just taking a walk are two of the best options available. Adding a basket or panniers to your bike instantly increases its versatility. And if you don’t have a bike or don’t know how to ride one, carpool or take public transportation.

6. Invest in Green Technology and Businesses

Support green advancements in technology and businesses striving for change by investing in them. Ultimately, businesses can significantly impact the climate, with only 100 companies responsible for 71% of global emissions, so the obligation lies with businesses to make crucial changes that provide a positive impact on our planet. The big change comes when consumers demand it. 

If the threat of climate change has you questioning where your money is being invested, you may want to consider an ethical exchange-traded fund (ETF). An Ethical ETF is simply an ETF that excludes certain industries or companies from their investment holdings. Ethical ETFs can also require companies to meet certain sustainability targets in order to be eligible for inclusion. Always do your own research about which ETF is best for you and ensure you only invest what you can afford to lose. 

You can help hundreds of ways, but these are just a few easy ones to get you started. Make these a habit in April and continue them for the rest of the year. Each small effort we make to keep the Earth alive for our future generations adds up to a significant impact. 

How will you be celebrating Earth Month? 

How to Compost for Zero Waste Living

Take out the plastic, and food is just about all that’s left in your rubbish bin. In zero waste living, your glass, paper, cardboard and metal are all commonly recycled so your scraps is all that remains.

Food waste makes up almost 40% of the typical domestic rubbish bin, including spoiled fruit and vegetables, the peels, the skins, the outer leaves, the cores, the husks, the seeds. The ‘inedible’ bits, basically.

Composting is one of the most effective ways that you can help the environment. By sending food waste to landfill, Australians are generating methane equal to around 6.8 million tonnes of carbonic acid gas. Methane is 30x more powerful than your average Co2.

Here, we show you options for composting in gardens or smaller spaces as well as environmentally-friendly ways to deal with your food scraps.

Types of Compost Bins

If you’ve got a backyard, you’ve got it pretty easy. You’ll be able to have a tumbler bin, an interior bin that stands alone, a worm bin or you have the option of trench composting.

Trench composting involves digging a minimum of a foot deep into the ground to throw your scraps in and then you bury them. Remember with this option, it’s important to make sure that you’re digging pretty deep so that animals aren’t able to dig them up.

If you reside in an apartment or inner city, there are other ways to compost, like bokashi bins and electronic composters that can be kept in your kitchen cupboard or on your counter tops.

Worm farms (also called vermicomposting) are also a good option if you only have indoor options available to you as they thrive in stable temperatures. They use composting worms, which are fast growing and fast eating, instead of earthworms that you just might collect from your garden.

Options for City and Suburban Living

A standard compost bin requires a patch of soil or dirt about 1m² so they are easy to accommodate in tiny gardens or small areas outside of your house.

Even if you don’t have your own garden, look for shared areas where might be able to put one. It might even be possible for you to borrow or share an compost bin with friendly neighbours in your local area. It doesn’t hurt to ask, and it’s an opportunity to build good relations with others in your area.

If you live in an apartment but have a balcony, a tumbler compost bin would work well as they don’t require being dug into the ground.

If you don’t have space to compost bin in your home, community gardens are an excellent place to take your waste for composting. Many accept food scraps without the necessity for you to be a member (although being a member may be a good way to support a neighborhood organisation doing good within the community). Research where the closest community garden is to your home, and get in touch to find out how you can use their bins.

Many areas are now collecting scraps within the organic waste / garden bins so it’s also worth checking with your local council about what they’re currently accepting.

Other ways to cope with veggie scraps

Food scraps can be used in a number of easy and useful ways; vegetable stalks and skins are great in homemade stock, apple cores and skins fermented down into apple cider vinegar, roots sprouted in water and planted in your veggie garden, stale bread makes the perfect croutons when roast or fried for french toast, soft fruit and veg can be used in baking, banana skins can even be used for cleaning! What you can’t, or don’t want to reuse, can then be thrown into the compost bin.

How do you deal with your food waste? Do you compost, or have a worm farm, or a bokashi? Which one is your favourite? 

7 Budget-Friendly Zero Waste Bathroom Swaps

Along with the kitchen, the bathroom is probably one of the key rooms in the house where we can create the most waste. 

If you go into any bathroom, it seems to be full of brightly coloured toxic plastic items like toothbrushes and hairbrushes, disposable items like razors and cotton pads and then there’s toilet paper. 

All that waste before we’ve even started thinking about our water waste or cosmetic products. But let’s just tackle one thing at a time.

There are some really simple, and budget-friendly, zero waste bathroom swaps you can make, which we have listed below.

Try to implement these on a one-in-one-out basis to reduce the number of products you use overall, and retrain your brain to a more minimalist approach.

Toothbrush

It’s estimated that the average person uses 300 toothbrushes a year. That equates to billions of toothbrushes lying in landfills and oceans which never break down. 

Swap your plastic toothbrush for a brush made from biodegradable natural fibres like bamboo instead. Even if you’re a lover of the electric tooth, there are some eco-friendly bamboo electric toothbrush heads out there.

Cotton Pads & Buds

Another easy swap you can make is to ditch the face wipes and cotton pads and swap to eco-friendly, sustainable cotton pads and buds.

We use these reusable pads every day and think they are more luxurious and effective than regular cotton pads. Just pop them in the washing machine when you’re done and they’re good as new (even after that green face mask we’ve just applied!).

Hairbrush / Comb

Another plastic product that can be easily swapped for natural material alternatives is your hairbrush or comb.

A plastic-free bamboo bristle hairbrush will add a lovely natural tone sat on your bathroom shelf and can also improve the condition of your hair and scalp. There’s plenty of options out there that are available in a few different sizes for the needs of every mane.

Soap & Shampoo

Somewhere between our parents’ generation and the present day, soap got a really bad reputation. It’s probably because when you imagine soap you think of horrible mass-produced bars that seem to take forever to lather up and do absolutely nothing for you except dry your skin to the bone. Well, not any more people!

If you’ve got a pump bottle sitting in your shower, make it your last and put ‘plastic-free soap’ on your shopping list. There are some fantastic, and eco-friendly, soap and shampoo bars which are nourishing, cleansing, free from any nasties and include zero-waste packaging, like our Vesica Shampoo Bars.

Razor

If there’s one thing we recommend you do this year, it’s to stop throwing away a plastic disposable razor. Instead, you can significantly reduce your environmental impact (and take it easier on your skin!) with sustainable shaving tools. By making the switch to safety razors that remain durable over time, you’ll cut down on your razor and refill usage for years to come. Pair that with sustainable shaving oils or bars, and both Mother Earth and your skin will thank you in the long run.

Toilet Paper

Toilet paper is full of chemicals that are terrible for our water systems, but there are some really easy swaps you can make. Instead, choose tree-free alternatives like bamboo toilet paper or 100% recycled paper for your bathroom. 

Recycled toilet paper is absolutely better for the environment when you consider the amount of paper that is re-used to make the toilet paper. It also takes less water and energy than making paper from timber. Plus, it creates less pollution.

Cleaning Products

Not only are your bathroom cleaning products full of toxic chemicals harmful to our waterways, oceans and ourselves but they also usually come in chemically coloured plastic packaging.

One of the easiest, and cheapest, ways to cut this waste is to go all-natural and use a warm water and white vinegar (1:1) solution in a glass spray bottle or buy non-toxic eco cleaners.

How zero waste is your bathroom? Head to our blog HERE for more at zero waste home ideas.

9 Essential Items to Build a Plastic Free Starter Kit

We all have the best intentions of living completely plastic-free, but then you accidentally forget to decline your plastic straw when you order your drink, you grab a coffee and realise you left your reusable coffee cup at home, or you can’t make it to the bulk store. We get it. Life happens right?

Don’t get hung up on these things, move on and make changes now so that you can avoid making the same mistakes in the future.

The first step towards change is often the hardest, but a good place to start living a life of less waste is a plastic-free kit.

A plastic-free kit is a collection of essential items which you can keep on your, or near you, at all times so that you’ll never run the risk of being without something and having to opt for the plastic version.

Perhaps you’re just starting out, or you’re looking for some inspiration on how you can reduce your impact even further, so we’ve put together 9 essential items that every good plastic-free kit needs.

Reusable Coffee Cup

Nothing tastes better than a ‘proper’ coffee from a coffee shop, made by an experienced barista. What used to be a quick pick-me-up has now become a morning ritual.

Australians throw out 2.7 million single-use or disposable coffee cups every single day. This adds up to 1 billion coffee cups thrown out every year. Can you even imagine what 1 BILLION coffee cups look like?!

Reduce the waste that you produce by grabbing yourself a reusable coffee cup. Not only do they usually look better than a paper or plastic version, they will keep your coffee warmer for longer and do good for the planet too.

Shopping Bags

Getting yourself a reusable shopping bag is one of the easiest ways that you can reduce your plastic waste.

Up to 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used worldwide every year. These often end up in our oceans and are often consumed by turtles mistaking them for jellyfish, or by whales.

We love an insulated shopping bags to keep our veggies fresh and frozen food frozen for longer.

Tea Leaf Strainer

If you’re anything like us and average upwards of 5 cups of tea each per day, every day then over the course of a year you’ll be sending over 2,000 tea bags to landfills. The numbers are shocking when you think about it!

Teabags are made from a very fine plastic that realised particles into your tea, and our water stream. To reduce your impact swap your tea bags for tea leaves in a metal strainer instead.

Loose tea leaves are often better quality too, so it’s a win-win.

Water Bottle

More than 60 million plastic bottles end up in landfills and incinerators every day. Six times as many plastic water bottles were thrown away in the US in 2004 as in 1997. Plastic waste is one of many types of wastes that take too long to decompose.

Normally, plastic items can take up to 1,000 years to decompose in landfills so add a stainless steel metal water bottle to your plastic-free kit and reduce your impact on the environment.

Metal Straw

Plastic straws are not biodegradable. Most plastic straws simply break into ever-smaller particles, releasing chemicals into the soil, air, and water that are harmful to animals, plants, people, and the environment.

Fortunately, saying no to plastic straws no longer leaves you with the option of a soggy paper straw. Equip yourself with a reusable straw, they are so easy to keep in your handbag so you’ll never be left without.

Zip Lock Bags/Wax Wrap

There are so many better options for eco-friendly food storage on the market than plastic.

Only recently have the wonders of honey bee products been discovered by the masses. In recent years, people are starting beehives in their backyard and now the benefits of beeswax are going mainstream as well!

They may not be a vegan option but beeswax wraps are safe for you and mother earth. They are made of 100% eco-friendly materials and can be left to compost when ready to discard.

Lunchbox

Say goodbye to pre-made sandwiches or salads in plastic boxes.

Get yourself a lunchbox that is made from natural and renewable wheat straw fibre, starch and food-grade PP instead. They are 100% environmentally friendly, BPA-free, non-toxic, renewable, degradable and food safe.

Toothbrush

It’s estimated that the average person uses 300 toothbrushes a year. That equates to billions of toothbrushes lying in landfills and oceans which never break down.

Swap your plastic toothbrush for a brush made from biodegradable natural fibres like bamboo instead.

Hairbrush

Another plastic product which can be easily swapped for natural material alternatives.

A plastic-free bamboo bristle hairbrush will look oh so pretty sat on your bathroom shelf and will also improve the condition of your hair and scalp. 

Do you have a plastic free kit? What do you keep in yours?

5 Ways to Have an Eco-Friendly Valentine’s Day

Are you a full-on romantic, with Valentine’s plan carefully constructed in January? Or are you more of a last-minute, petrol station flowers and chocolate, panic buyer?

Plastic wrapped chocolates. Cute teddy bears made in sweatshops. Flowers imported from across the world. They might tell your significant other that you care, but what are the consequences for the planet, and the people making them?

Either way, if you want to celebrate the most romantic day of the year, it can be easy to get caught up in the hype. Often, this means spending money on things that aren’t environmentally kind or ethical.

Being more aware of what you consume on Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to mean missing out on all the fun and romance. You can still show someone you love them without extravagance or mass-produced plastic.

This year, have a little heart and show some love to the planet by aiming for an eco-friendly Valentine’s Day. Here’s how to keep it free from plastic and full of ethics.

1. Dinner for Two, Minus the Food Waste

A candlelit dinner is as green as it is romantic – think of the electricity you’re saving!

Eating at home can be as romantic as eating out. Set the scene with mood lighting, candles and music, and leave the washing up until the next day!

It’s also a great excuse to enjoy the warm weather of the Australian summer and pack up a picnic and enjoy a bike ride to a local beauty spot. An afternoon in nature is good for the soul, just remember to leave nothing but footprints behind!

Whether you go out or stay in, spending quality time with your loved one over a delicious meal is the perfect way to celebrate anything.  In either case, avoid over-ordering/cooking so that all the surplus food that you don’t eat doesn’t end up in the bin and aim to eat as much local produce as you can.

2. Free From (Plastic and Bad Ethical Practices) Chocolate

If you’re feeling the love, why should that be at the detriment of someone else? The chocolate trade is steeped in bad ethics, from unfair working conditions and pay, to the use of palm oil. So this year, look for a Fairtrade box of chocolates. Warm cocoa also makes a tasty drink to share with many health benefits. Cacao is available at most health food stores, look for one without plastic packaging.

3. Finer Florals

Seasonal, locally grown food is sustainable, and the same can be said for flowers. When it comes to beautiful bouquets, keeping things environmentally friendly means that roses are out. When buying flowers, consider the amount of plastic wrapping they come in too. Would a potted plant be a better option? It’ll certainly last longer!

Also, if your flowers have come from overseas, there’s every chance that they’ve been grown and cut by someone not paid a fair wage. This is especially true at this time of year to meet demand.

4. A Handmade Valentines

You don’t need to be a genius to be creative. Remember how simple life was when you made your own Valentines cards? Just because you’re an adult now, it doesn’t mean you can’t still make them.

Can you bake a cake or cook your Valentine’s favourite meal? Can you make them a beautiful Valentine’s card? Or write a poem, a piece of music or a song? Maybe you’re good with wood or metal. Painting or sketching. Can you sew without stitching yourself up? Whatever you can create, the chances are it will be more appreciated than something bought from a shop.

If words or art aren’t your thing, something else that can be given is a massage. Set aside an hour and do a loving massage for your partner. You could also make this into a fun activity for both of you by getting your partner to exchange the massage. 

Get as creative as you like, safe in the knowledge no one else will be giving the same gift. It doesn’t matter how good it is; it’s the thought that counts!

5. Valentines Experiences

Experiences are often worth so much more than stuff. You can keep it simple with a walk in the park or an evening together playing board games with no phones or tablets. Dedicating time to each other, including the kids if you want to, can be so valuable.

Buy gift experiences like cookery class if they love being in the kitchen and you have the budget. Or simply handwrite some IOU messages, and leave them around the house. You could promise a massage, making dinner for a week or a trip to the cinema.

If you’re thinking of going away for the weekend, look for eco retreats. One that is accessible (and affordable) by train rather than driving gives you even more eco points.

Go against the grain, and do something different whilst being mindful of the planet. Often, a simple “I Love You” with breakfast in bed is more than enough.

Have less of an impact, show the planet some love and opt for an eco-friendly Valentine’s Day this year.

Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Let us know how you’ll be spending it this year in the comments below.