The Buzz Blog

Welcome to our blog 'The Buzz'.  Here we will keep you updated on what is happening in the world of bees and honey and anything else that we think you would be interested in.  If there is a topic you would like to hear about drop us an email and I'll see what we can do.


Sustainable Me Challenge - September

Written by Stephanie on September 11th, 2017.      0 comments

This month's 'Sustainable Me' challenge is to reduce the harsh chemical cleaners in our homes with natural alternatives.

It's the time of year we give our houses a spring clean from top to bottom.  It's a good opportunity to use more natural cleaners that are better for our houses, our families and the aquatic life that are exposed to it once it's washed down the drain.  There are lots of natural alternatives out there now and available in the supermarkets or you might like to try baking soda and white vinegar!
 

Here's What The Challenge Suggests:

Beginner: If you’re wary of baking ingredients as household cleaners, maybe the best way to begin is with commercially available eco-friendly cleaning products such as those available through the Earthwise or Ecostore brands.

Step it up: Start simple and find one or two cleaning product to change over. Baking soda as a scrub for your sinks, counters and tubs is a great way to begin.

Want more? Ditch your chemical cleaners and go all natural. There are lots of internet resources available for someone who wants chemical free cleaners – see the resources section below for suggestions of where to begin.
Every little bit (or drop) helps!

See the OSOF website to read more tips


Read more about:

Check out the eco friendly items in our online store!
Topics: Enviromental
 

Sustainable Me Challenge - August

Written by Stephanie on August 2nd, 2017.      0 comments

This month's 'Sustainable Me' challenge is to reduce our water use. 

You would think in clean, green New Zealand that we wouldn't need to worry about this but our fresh water resources are becoming more and more under pressure.  OSOF (Our Seas Our Future) says that p
ollution from agriculture, runoff from increasing urbanization and antiquated sewer systems has created un-swimmable rivers. And the looming uncertainties of climate change bring further concern for this vital resource.

The average Auckland household uses 174 litres of water per day in winter and slightly more in summer, it's been broken down by:
31% showers and baths
24% laundry
19% toilets

With just a little bit of thought we can make a big difference to reducing our water use.  Reduce, Ruse and Recycle applies to water too!

Water Every drop counts badge-275

Here's What The Challenge Suggests:

Beginner: Find one or two basic water-reducing behaviours such as shorter showers, turning the tap off when brushing teeth and washing hands, etc.

Step it up: Find a bigger way to reduce your household water such as checking for plumbing leaks, installing low-flow taps and shower heads, etc.

Want more?  Get involved in a local advocacy group or join a group planting plants around water ways.  

Every little bit (or drop) helps!

See the OSOF website to read more tips


Read more about:

Check out the eco friendly items in our online store!
Topics: , Enviromental
 

Plastic Free Life?

Written by Stephanie on July 31st, 2017.      0 comments

Did anyone try the 'Plastic Free July' Challenge?  How did you go?  It can be hard to get your head around to start with but as time goes on it does get easier.  The trick it to keep it going beyond July and use those new strategies in our every day life.  The less plastic we use the better off our world will be!

 

Remember instead of using these:


plastic-free-july-line-single-use-products orig-555
 


Try to use these instead:


plastic-free-july-reusables-banner orig-463
 

Check out eco-friendly products on our website

Topics: , Enviromental
 

Plastic Free July: Tip #4 - Reduce Packaging

Written by Stephanie on July 11th, 2017.      0 comments


Monthly-PlasticThe photo to the right is a display at the Waikato Museum that shows how much packaging the average New Zealand family sends to the landfill every month.  Startling isn't it! Do you think your family uses this much packaging monthly?  

You can just imagine what this is doing to the environment with everyone adding their bit to the landfill each month.  If we all did a little something to reduce the amount of packaging we use it will all help! 
 

Tips for Reducing Packaging in Our Homes:

  • Grow your own veges and fruit
  • Buy fresh, loose food rather than food in packaging, you can make or buy little cloth bags to put the loose fruit or veges into
  • Say no to the plastic bags that shops give to carry your goods, see Limit Plastic Bag Use, take your own cloth bags instead.
  • Choose items in glass, paper, cardboard, etc as opposed to plastic
  • Buy nuts, dried fruit, flour, legumes, coffee, rice, oats, etc from bulk bins (check out your local Bin Inn Store)
  • Consider buying commonly used items like flour and rice in bulk and share with friends (bags are usually paper)
  • Avoid over packaged products, go for products with the least plastic packaging
  • Go for reusable options where you can, eg refilling containers, refillable toner cartridges, etc
  • Purchase from a Farmers Market and take your own cloth bags
  • Store food in the fridge in a non plastic container or cover or wrap them in HoneyWraps
  • Use reusable lunch boxes and wrap in HoneyWraps rather than plastic food wrap for lunches and snacks
  • Use newspaper to line your rubbish bin instead of a plastic bag - check out this website for more details
  • Instead of using plastic bags when walking the dog use newspaper to wrap up their business
  • Use paper rubbish sacks
  • Use glass or stainless steel drink bottles and coffee mugs
  • Don't use plastic straws
  • Make the most of bamboo and other natural fibre products!  You can purchase toothbrushes, dish brushes, etc from EcoWarehouse
  • When you have a crowd over and don't have enough for them to eat off make sure you use paper or biodegradable plates and bamboo cutlery.

See other blogs on this topic:


Check out our range ofeco-friendly products

Topics: , Enviromental , Plastic Free
 

Plastic Free July: Tip #3 - Plastic Free Shopping

Written by Stephanie on July 9th, 2017.      0 comments

Here are some tips for limiting plastic when you are shopping this Plastic Free July.
 
  • Say no to the plastic bags that shops give to carry your goods, see Limit Plastic Bag Use
  • Take your own containers for deli and butcher items, you will have to brave to do this
  • Buy loose fruit and veggies and not the ones prepackaged
  • Use your own cloth produce bags for fruit and vegies, I've made some little drawer string bags for this
  • Choose items in glass, paper, cardboard, etc as opposed to plastic
  • Buy nuts, dried fruit, flour, legumes, coffee, rice, oats, etc from bulk bins (check out your local Bin Inn Store)
  • Consider buying commonly used items like flour and rice in bulk and share with friends (bags are usually paper)
  • Avoid over packaged products, go for products with the least plastic packaging
  • Go for reusable options where you can, eg refilling containers, refillable toner cartridges, etc
  • Purchase from a Farmers Market and take your own bags
  • Grow your own veggies and fruit
 
Plastic Wrapped veges and fruit-607           vege bags-599

See other blogs on this topic:


Check out our range of eco-friendly products

Topics: , Enviromental , Plastic Free
 

Sustainable Me Challenge - July

Written by Stephanie on July 7th, 2017.      0 comments

This month's 'Sustainable Me' challenge is to participate in 'Plastic-free July' by cutting back on overall plastic use. We have more information on Plastic Free July on another blog post and 'Our Seas our Future (OSOF)' have lots of information on their website.

Did you know that every piece of plastic ever made is still around? It might look a bit different than it did in its original form – discoloured, warped, or in smaller pieces perhaps.  Plastic is found nearly everywhere in our lives, too. Our food comes wrapped in it, our clothing is spun from it and our hospitals use it to save lives. Plastic is found in our wallets, our toys, our cars and our electronics.


It can be overwhelming to think about all that plastic, and to see a path forward to a reduced-plastic life, much less a plastic-free one. Removing all plastic from your life is extremely difficult –prohibitively so for most of us. But every tiny step in the right direction helps, and this month you are encouraged to take one.

Focus on ‘reduce’ and ‘reuse’ rather than recycle – buying and using less plastic means less of it enters the waste stream. Simply find ways to use less and dispose of less. plastic free july choose to refuse-647

Here's What The Challenge Suggests:

Beginner: Start with something simple – pledge to go plastic free for a day or a week. Choose a new behaviour and practice it. It’s that simple.

Step it up: Remove all single-use plastics from your life for one full month.

Want more? Can you go one full month without adding any plastic to the waste stream – single use or otherwise? Challenge yourself to give it a try! Even if it doesn’t work, you will probably learn something along the way that you can incorporate into your regular plastic-reduction routine.

See the OSOF website to read more tips


Read more about:

Check out the eco friendly items in our online store!
Topics: , Enviromental
 

Plastic Free July: Tip #2 - Plastic Free Meals on the Go

Written by Stephanie on July 5th, 2017.      0 comments

Here's some tips for limiting plastic when you are eating and drinking on the go this Plastic Free July.

 

When Eating Out:

  • Take your own containers when ordering takeaways from somewhere that uses plastic (eg Indian), even find a takeaway joint that used eco-friendly packaging
  • Take your own container/s to restaurants for any leftovers
  • Carry reusable utensils such as bamboo or your own stainless steel cutlery from home.
 

Drinking on the Go:stainless-steel-coffee-mug

  • Carry a stainless steel travel mug or water bottle with you at all times
  • If  you forget your travel mug when ordering a coffee ask for 'no lid'
  • Say no to a straw when ordering cold drinks.
 

Snacking on the Go:

  • When ordering ice cream choose a cone over a tub
  • Look for a local sausage sizzle
  • Buy from bakeries, cafes, etc that use paper as opposed to plastic bags
  • Take snacks in a non-plastic container or wrap them in honey wraps.


 
Topics: , Enviromental, Plastic Free
 

Plastic Free July: Tip #1 - Limit Plastic Bag Use

Written by Stephanie on July 3rd, 2017.      0 comments

As mentioned in my last blog post this month is Plastic Free July.  We're going to give you some tips on how to be plastic free.  These tips on our how to avoid plastic bag use.
 

How to Limit Plastic Bag Use

 
  • Store cloth bags in your car and/or handbag so you always have them when you out shopping.  Don't accept plastic bags from stores, instead use your cloth bags
  • Use your own small cloth bags or paper bags in the fruit and veggie area of the supermarket
  • Grocery BagUse cardboard boxes from the supermarket to carry your shopping
  • Buy fresh bread in paper bags
  • Ask the butcher to wrap meats directly into paper
  • Buy items from the bulk bins using paper bags
  • Ask your local grocery store and/or market to stock paper/cloth bags
  • Use newspaper to line your rubbish bin instead of a plastic bag - check out this website for more details
  • Instead of using plastic bags when walking the dog use newspaper to wrap up their business.



See other blogs on this topic:

Check out the eco-friendly items in our online store!

Topics: , Enviromental, Plastic Free
 

NZ Garden Bird Survey

Written by Stephanie on June 26th, 2017.      0 comments

Garden SurveyNow, this is a great event to be part of!  It's the yearly 'Garden Bird Survey'.  By surveying birds in our gardens, parks or school grounds, we can help Landcare Research, NatureWatch, TopFlite, Birds NZ and Forest & Bird, together, learn more about NZ's common and widespread birds as well as inform future conservation efforts.

The survey runs from now until Sunday 2nd July.  Just choose a day that suits you, grab a comfy seat and binoculars and look and listen in your garden for one hour.  For each species record the highest number seen at any one time (not the total seen over the hour).  

You can find out more details on their website and record your data on the online form.  There are identification and tally sheets as well. 

In our home garden in Horsham Downs, Hamilton we recorded:
4 x fantail
5 x greenfinch
2 x myna
1 x song thrush
2 x starling
2 x tui
12 x welcome swallows
1 x Kaka - we couldn't believe it when we saw it in our tree!
 
Topics: , Enviromental
 

Sweetree Endeavours to be Sustainable

Written by Stephanie on June 11th, 2017.      0 comments

Here at Sweetree we are endeavouring to become more sustainable to help the environment.  All Sweetree honeys are packaged in glass jars, our propolis in glass bottles, we use paper bags instead of plastic at the markets and we are currently investigating compostable pouches for our bee pollen. We believe storing food in glass, as opposed to plastic, is much healthier for the end consumer and certainly the environment.  It also allows them to reuse or recycle the packaging after the honey has been eaten.

capping-618But it goes further than just the end product, we want the honey to be healthy all the way through the process. We ensure the honey in not stored in plastic the whole way through the process. A high percentage of beekeepers use plastic frames and foundations on the hive for honey collection, these are more economic and robust than the wooden frames and natural beeswax foundation. We have continued to use the traditional wooden frames and beeswax comb foundation wired into the frame. We believe this is not only healthier for us humans but also for the bees, let alone less plastic going to the landfill.

When harvesting our honeys we always make sure we leave enough food stores on the hives for the bees to keep them healthy over the winter and to avoid supplement feeding as much as possible in spring.  Once the honey is harvested from the hives we ensure it is not damaged by heat and pollen grains are not stripped out, therefore retaining the natural goodness of our honeys.

In both our home and business we have substantially reduced what we send to landfill, we avoid over packaging, avoid one use plastic, buy bulk, reuse or recycle as much as we can and purchase locally as much as possible.

We like to offer our customers variety on our website and sell earth friendly products that relate to bees and honey such as bee friendly seeds, HoneyWrap reusable food wraps, HoneySticks non-toxic beeswax crayons, etc. All proceeds from the bee friendly wildflower seeds go back into research to help the NZ bees; we have raised a total of $2013.

The local Rural Women of NZ group I am involved in, has a 'Share the Surplus' project. We often see fruit trees laden with fruit and not picked and it seems such a shame when there are so many people struggling to put food on the table. Our project turns that surplus into preserves. We collect fruit from people who have surplus fruit on their trees, make preserves in recycled Sweetree honey jars that customers have returned, and give it to those in need.

We have a lot to still work on but we are trying to do a little bit at a time, every little bit helps.  We believe that if everyone did a little bit towards the environment it would make a huge difference and we encourage you to make some little changes in your everyday routines to help our beautiful earth!  Thanks!
 
20160718 132503-292
Our lovely Rural Women group making jam for the food bank
Topics: , Enviromental
 

World Environment & Arbor Day - 5th June

Written by Stephanie on June 5th, 2017.      0 comments

Today is 'World Environment Day' and 'Arbor Day'!  It's a great reason to get out there and do something to help our environment, whether it's planting trees, tidying up trees, picking up rubbish on a bush track, beach, park or along the road; every little bit helps!  We've just spent last weekend planting over 250 trees around our wetland but it's an ongoing effort to think about the impact our every day activities have on the environment and lessening that impact.  

 

World Environment Day

world environment day wallpapers environmental awareness nature green savelife pollution clean 12-648World Environment Day is the United Nations’ most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment. Since it began in 1974, it has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated in over 100 countries.  It is an t is an opportunity to raise awareness and promote action on national environmental issues. 

World Environment day is a day for people to do 'something' to take care of the Earth or become an agent for change.  We can act locally, national or globally; as in individual or as a group.

This year's theme is ‘Connecting People to Nature’, which implores us to get outdoors and into nature, to appreciate its beauty and its importance and commit to being involved in protecting the Earth that we share.



Arbor Day


Matt-Planting-TreesArbor day is the day of the year when people are encouraged to plant and care for trees.  The first arbor day was in USA in 1872 when a Julius Morton began a large scale planting of trees to beautify his town and encouraged others to do the same.  It took off and now many countries observe this day as a special day to plant and tend to trees.

Arbor Day is an excellent opportunity to take stock of the trees on your property and plan for the future. Inspect your trees, note any broken branches or evidence of disease or insect infestation. Think about how planting new trees might improve the look of your property or provide wind or heat protection.

Even better get into involved in a local reserve native tree planting initiative!  There are plenty of events happening around the country you could take part in, search online.  This photo is of our son planting trees at the Waiwhakareke Reserve by the Hamilton Zoo last weekend, a crew of people meet on the last Saturday morning of every month.  If you want to join the team or for more information call Stephanie on 0272447759 or email tui2000inc@gmail.com

New Zealanders are being challenged to plant a native tree on Arbor Day this year to set a record for the most trees ever planted on one day in New Zealand.  You can log the trees you plant here


Read more about Sweetree's native tree plantings


 
Topics: , Enviromental
 

Sweetree HaBEEtat - More Tree Plantings

Written by Stephanie on May 18th, 2017.      0 comments

You may recall that in 2013 we dug out a swampy area at the back of our property into a pond to create habitat for native birds and for our bees, it's our Sweetree HaBEEtat.  Over the last few years my stepfather has been growing and tending to native plant seeds and together we have planted hundreds of native flax, grasses and trees around the pond.  The pond is now looking fantastic and is the home to quite a few ducks, frogs, pheasants and the occasional visit from Tui.  As the trees grow we hope to see more native birds down there and that it will provide food for our bees throughout the year.

This weekend we had a working bee where friends and family joined us to plant over 250 plants.  Here's some photos of the day, it's coming along nicely!

IMG 1889  IMG 1896
pond3  pond2
    IMG 1901


 

Read More:

Topics: , Bee Friendly , Enviromental
 

OSOF Sustainable Me Challenge for May

Written by Stephanie on May 3rd, 2017.      0 comments

Wow April went fast, on to another challenge in the 'OSOF (Our Seas Our Future) Sustainable Me Challenge'. Each month this year we will be challenged to test out an environmentally friendly behaviour that in some way impacts ocean health. It gives us the challenge to try something new for the month and decide if we want to adopt it more in our lives. January's challenge was to stay away from one use plastic and styrofoam when eating out, February was to drive less, March was to avoid microplastic and other chemicals in personal products and April was to preserve some fresh produce.

This month's challenge is to
 reduce our overall energy use by taking an energy break.  Did you know that our collective household energy consumption contributes 585 kilotons of carbon to the Earth's atmosphere each year?  You can just imagine the impact if we don't use energy for one day (or even half a day) each month.  We would make a small but significant impact on our collective carbon footprint. 

There's lots of ways we can unplug and take a day off from superfluous energy use, for example: turn off the TV for a night and go for a walk instead, have a candlelit dinner or bath, read a book, do a puzzle, or play a board game instead of spending time online.
 

Save Energy-484Here's What The Challenge Suggests:

Beginner: Pick one day this month to test out an energy break. Power down for 1 hour or more to start, and if that works, then try it a bit longer the next time. Find ways to make it fun for your entire household to give this the best shot at working.

Step it up: Commit to a full- or half-day energy break once a week.

Want more? On top of a weekly energy break, look around your house to find out how to make more impactful, longer-term changes to your home or your lifestyle. 

See the OSOF website to read how saving energy is good for the environment and the different things you can do to reduce your energy output.
 

Read more about:

Check out the eco friendly items in our online store!
Topics: , Enviromental
 

OSOF Sustainable Me Challenge for April

Written by Stephanie on April 1st, 2017.      0 comments

A new month, a new challenge with 'OSOF (Our Seas Our Future) Sustainable Me Challenge'. Each month this year we will be challenged to test out an environmentally friendly behaviour that in some way impacts ocean health. It gives us the challenge to try something new for the month and decide if we want to adopt it more in our lives. January's challenge was to stay away from one use plastic and styrofoam when eating out, February was to drive less and March was to avoid microplastic and other chemicals in personal products.

This month's challenge takes place in our kitchens, to preserve some fresh, local produce for the depths of winter.  What a great idea!

preservesHere's What They Suggest:

Beginner: Just freeze something. This is the easiest way to preserve fresh foods. Make a basic freezer jam, or simply slice up some plums and pears and stash them away for a winter’s morning.

Step it up: Get preserving! Try out some pickles or jam through the links provided above and below.

Want more? Go crazy in the kitchen with jams, chutneys, sauces, kimchi and soups. How much can you preserve?

See the OSOF website to read how preserving is good for the environment, and find great recipes and ideas.

I recently froze some blueberries and raspberries ready for baking and smoothies and have been planning on making some kimchi and sauerkraut, so this will be a good excuse for me to get my act together!  If you have too much produce you can always swap with your friends. My dad has been giving some of he's bottled beetroot from his garden.  There's nothing like home preserves!  It taste so much better than canned food and it's better for the environment!


This challenge works in perfectly with Sweetree's photo competition!  Email us a photo you have taken of reused glass jars (not just Sweetree jars) being used creatively and you could be in to win $108 worth of goodies!  Show us your storage ideas, preserves, anything!
 

Read more about:

Check out the eco friendly items in our online store!
Topics: , Enviromental
 

'Bee Sweet and Reuse' Photo Competition!

Written by Stephanie on March 12th, 2017.      0 comments

When we were deciding how to package our honey it had to be glass.  It is so much more healthier, attractive and environmental friendly.  I came across this on Glass for Life facebook page which sums it up quite well - "People trust glass more than any other packaging material to protect the flavor and freshness of their food and drink. And for good reason. Glass is safe and healthy, pure and virtually inert. It’s made of natural ingredients—sand, limestone and soda ash. Glass is 100% recyclable and highly sustainable— unlike most other packaging materials, it can be recycled over and over. And glass says quality without even trying. Glass is life, for all the right reasons."

Lots of our customers reuse our honey jars for jams, chutneys, sauces and for storing items.  Any jars we get back I get together with the local Rural Women group and we make jam to give to the local food bank.  My pantry is full of them for nuts, seeds, etc.  What do you use empty glass jars for?
 

Competition Time!


We would love to see what people do with used glass jars so we have decided to run our photo competition again.  Email us a photo of glass jars (not just Sweetree jars) being used creatively and you could be in to win!  Show us your storage ideas, preserves, anything!

Please note the photos are not being judged on photographic ability but rather the original use of one of our empty honey jars!  You have plenty of time to be creative, the competition will close on 30th June!!

The best photo wins $108 worth of goodies - 500g Sweetree Kirikiriroa honey, the latest Good Magazine (will be Jul/Aug edition by then), Tui Sports massage & body balm & World Organic Luminous Rosehip & Orange Moisturiser.

Second best photos wins - World Organic Luminous Rosehip & Orange Moisturiser worth $48!

The first entry wins the latest Good Magazine!

 
Bee-Sweet-Reuse
 
Here's some ideas from our photographer, Claudia Aalderink who owns The Mandarin Tree art and concept store in Gordonton. There are more ideas on our Pinterest page and some coming on our Facebook page over the the next month or so.
 
bead-in-jar                pumice-in-jar
 
Bee-Sweetree-Reuse-Keepsakes  Bee-Sweetree-Reuse-Pencils

 
Topics: , Enviromental, Recycle
 
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