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.


Plastic Beehives!

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

Plastic beehiveI recently wrote about beekeepers using plastic frames for honey storage in beehives.  We avoid using these as we are concerned from a bee health point of view but also environmentally.  But it's not just the frames that are available in plastic, you can now buy full plastic beehives.  When the hive is at the end of its life what will happen to it?  I find it pretty concerning when there are so many people trying to avoid plastic use that industries are just coming up with more plastic ware!  Shouldn't manufacturers be coming up with smarter, more environmentally friendly options? Do they not care about the future of our planet?

It's not just at the end of the beehives life I'm concerned about.  If a beekeeper has American foulbrood (AFB) in their hive, the hive has to be burnt to eradicate it.  AFB is a disease of honey bee larvae and pupae. It wipes out an infected hive and is spread to other hives by the movement of contaminated hives and equipment, it's highly contagious.  It is pretty upsetting when you have to burn a hive but I think it would feel pretty bad watching the plastic burn.  Can you imagine what that does to the environment if beekeepers are burning plastic beehives and frames? I would love to see plastic beehives banned.  Just my personal opinion.
 

Purchase Sweetree honey with no plastic residue

Topics: Plastic Free
 

Plastic Avoided In The Production of Sweetree Honey

Written by Stephanie on August 23rd, 2017.      0 comments

Many people, including Martin and I, like to limit the purchase of food in plastic packaging.  People do this for various reasons but mainly for environmental or health motivations.  One way of limiting plastic is to purchase food in glass jars instead of plastic.  When we were deciding how to package our honey it had to be glass.  It is so much healthier, attractive and environmentally friendly.

But have you thought about how honey is stored before it goes into the jar?  In the beehive honey used to always be stored on beeswax comb foundation which was wired into a wooden frame.  But what is most commonly used now is plastic frames with plastic sheets embossed with hexagon indentations for the bees to work with as a foundation. The other common one is a wooden framing with a plastic insert foundation.  Here are some photos of what they look like.

plastic-foundation       Plastic-frame

The thing that concerns us about these is the possibility of plastic residue getting into the honey, the bees health working from a plastic foundation, let alone the environmental issue of what to do with the plastic frames and foundations when they are broken or past their best.  We was concerned to see all these plastic beehives (the whole hive in plastic) for sale at a beekeeping conference we recently attended.  That's a lot of plastic!  What will happen to them when they are finished with?  I guess they will end up in the landfill!

Sweetree's policy is to use wooden hive gear and frames with beeswax foundations wherever possible for our honey collection.
Wax-frame
Beehive frame with beeswax foundation
 

Purchase Sweetree honey with no plastic residue

Topics: , About Sweetree , Plastic Free
 

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
 

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
 

Plastic Free July!

Written by Stephanie on June 30th, 2017.      0 comments

Plastic bottles, bags and takeaway containers that we use just for a few minutes use a material that is designed to last forever.  They break up rather than break down (becoming permanent pollution), they are mostly down cycled (made into low-grade products for just one more use) or sent to the landfill and escape from bins and trucks to end up in our waterways and the ocean.  Alarmingly scientists predict that there will be more tonnes of plastic in the ocean than tonnes of fish by 2050!  Imagine the impact on our food chain!  Every bit of plastic ever made still exists and in the first 10 years of this century, the world economy produced more plastic than in the entire 1900's!!

 

What is Plastic Free July?

This month is 'Plastic Free July'  It is a simple idea developed in Australia in 2011, which aims to raise awareness of the amount of plastic in our lives by encouraging people to eliminate the use of single-use plastic during July each year.  What a fantastic way of reducing plastic in landfills!  We love it!!

They have created a challenge that you can sign up for.  Schools, cafes, government agencies and community groups across the world have joined thousands of individuals saying no to single-use plastic.

Of course, you don't have to sign up, but just take the challenge yourself.  The challenge is quite simple - attempt to refuse single-use plastic during July.  'Single-use' includes plastic shopping bags, plastic cups, straws, plastic packaging...basically anything that's intended only to be used once and then discarded. If refusing ALL single-use plastic sounds too daunting this time, try the TOP 4 challenge (straws, plastic bags, plastic bottles & coffee cup lids).
 

Avoid These:


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


Instead, Use These:

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

What are We Doing for Plastic Free July?

Sweetree we will be taking the challenge!  We've been trying to eliminate plastic for the last few years.  At home we store food in glass jars and containers, using the old biscuits tins for baking, using stainless steel drink bottles, reusable coffee cups, saying no to plastic bags at shops (taking my own cloth bags to the shops), use paper rubbish sacks and use Honeywraps instead of plastic food wrap. 

All our honey is stored in glass jars, our propolis in glass bottles, we use paper bags instead of plastic at the markets and we are going back to investigating alternative pouches for our bee pollen.  But we can always do better!   This month, and ongoing, we will really be careful about the products that we buy and eliminate plastic packaging, especially single-use plastic, as much as possible.  

Why not join thousands taking the challenge to refuse single-use plastic?  Any time is better than none - a day or a week, the whole month or longer!  If you want to you can sign up to get recipes, ideas & everything you need to take part.  We will be posting more blogs with ideas of how you can reduce plastic throughout the month also.

Look out for my weekly blog this month on how to reduce plastic use this 'Plastic Free July'.  Like us on Facebook to keep up to date!
 

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

Topics: , Plastic Free
 

Plastic Free July!

Written by Stephanie on July 1st, 2016.      0 comments

Lightweight plastic bags can end up in our waterways and oceans, and they don't go away.  Plastic bags remain for centuries posing threats to wildlife by entanglement, suffocation and entering the food chain.  Did you know we throw away 22 million plastic bags each week in New Zealand?  These take 20 years to break down in a landfills.  There is 189,000 tonnes of plastic dumped into our landfills every year.  We find that very concerning.  What can we do to limit that?

 

What is Plastic Free July?

This month is 'Plastic Free July'  It is a simple idea developed in Australia in 2011, which aims to raise awareness of the amount of plastic in our lives by encouraging people to eliminate the the use of single-use plastic during July each year.  What a fantastic way of reducing plastic in landfills!  We love it!!

They have created a challenge that you can sign up for.  Schools, cafes, government agencies and community groups across the world have joined thousands of individuals saying no to single-use plastic.

Of course you don't have to sign up, but just take the challenge yourself.  The challenge is quite simple - attempt to refuse single-use plastic during July.  'Single-use' includes plastic shopping bags, plastic cups, straws, plastic packaging...basically anything that's intended only to be used once and then discarded. If refusing ALL single-use plastic sounds too daunting this time, try the TOP 4 challenge (straws, plastic bags, plastic bottles & coffee cup lids).
The Top Four

What are We Doing for Plastic Free July?

Sweetree we will be taking the challenge!  We've been trying to eliminate plastic for a while.  At home we store food in glass jars and containers, using the old biscuits tins for baking, using stainless steel drink bottles, reusable coffee cups, saying no to plastic bags at shops (taking my own cloth bags to the shops, although it can be hard to remember to take them!), use paper rubbish sacks and use Honeywraps instead of plastic food wrap. 

All our honey is stored 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.  But we can always do better!   This month, and ongoing, we will really be careful about the products that we buy and eliminate plastic packaging, especially single-use plastic, as much as possible.  

Why not join thousands taking the challenge to refuse single-use plastic?  Any time is better than none - a day or a week, the whole month or longer!  If you want to you can sign up to get recipes, ideas & everything you need to take part.  We will be posting more blogs with ideas of how you can reduce plastic throughout the month also.



Look out for my weekly blog this month on how to reduce plastic use this 'Plastic Free July'.  Like us on Facebook to keep up to date!


See other blogs on this topic:
Topics: , Enviromental, Plastic Free
 
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