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 Free July: Tip #4 - Reduce Packaging

Written by Stephanie on July 30th, 2018.      0 comments


Monthly-PlasticThe photo to the right was 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?  I think if you held onto your plastics for a month you would be surprised how much you used!

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 pre-packaged food, you can make or buy little cloth bags to put 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 using cloth bin bags (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 or farm shop and take your own cloth bags
  • Store food in the fridge in a non-plastic container, in a bowl with a plate on the top or cover or wrap them in HoneyWraps or you make your own bowl covers
  • Make or buy fresh bread from the bakery and pop into a cloth bag, you can make your own
  • Wrap cheese in an old linen towel
  • Learn the art of furoshiki gift wrapping, it's fun!
  • 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 reusable travel coffee mugs
  • Don't use plastic straws; don't use straws at all or use stainless steel straws
  • Use wooden toothbrushes and biogegradable dental floss
  • Make the most of bamboo and other natural fibre products!  You can purchase sustainable dish brushes, etc from EcoWarehouse
  • Save glass jars and containers for storing bulk food and leftovers
  • 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 or even better get them to bring some more plates and cutlery with them, less waste!

See other blogs on this topic:


Check out our range of plastic free products

Topics: Enviromental Plastic Free Reducing Waste
 

Plastic Free July: Tip #3 - Plastic Free Shopping

Written by Stephanie on July 25th, 2018.      0 comments

Here are some tips for limiting plastic when you are shopping this Plastic Free July.

 

EnviroSax-Oriental-Spice-Bag-4-542-569

General:

  • Say no to the plastic bags that shops give to carry your goods, see Limit Plastic Bag Use, always have a folded up bag or two in your handbag
  • Choose items in glass, paper, cardboard, etc as opposed to plastic
  • 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


Food:EnviroSax-Oriental-Spice-Bag-4-Folded-31

  • Take your own containers for deli and butcher items, there are more us doing this now so you might not be the first for your butcher, you can do it
  • Buy loose fruit and veggies and not the ones pre-packaged
  • Use your own cloth produce bags for fruit and vegies
  • Buy nuts, dried fruit, flour, legumes, coffee, rice, oats, etc from bulk bins using paper bags of cloth bulk bin bags (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)
  • Purchase from a farmers market or your local farm shop and take your own bags
  • Take cloth bags or tea towels to your local baker (farmers market or farm shop) for bread, or better still make your own bread with your bulk flour!  You can make your own cloth bread bags by following these instructions
  • Buy wine with natural corks
  • Give up chewing gum (would you believe chewing gum has plastic!)
  • Buy loose tea leaves instead of teabags, they also have plastic in them, let alone the plastic they wrap the boxes in
  • Grow your own veggies and fruit
Plastic Wrapped veges and fruit-607
Avoid pre-packaged items

Rethink-Produce-Full-26
Use cloth alternatives
 
                    

Cleaning Supplies:

  • Make your own cleaning products, there are lots of websites with recipes but check out Wendyl Nissen's recipes
  • Take your own reusable containers to refill at bulk buying shops such as Bin Inn
  • Use cleaning clothes such as Enjo, no other products are required
 

Bathroom Items:

             

See other blogs on this topic:


Check out our range of plastic free products

Topics: , Enviromental , Plastic Free , Reducing Waste
 

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

Written by Stephanie on July 17th, 2018.      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), or 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 when eating at places like food halls and when eating takeaways away from home.
 

Drinking on the Go:JOCO-12oz-vintage-green-974

  • Keep a reusable travel mug in your car at all times, as soon as it's been washed put in straight back in before you forget
  • Keep a reusable coffee mug on your desk at work
  • If you're going for a takeaway coffee while at work and have forgotten your reusable mug just grab one from the staff room
  • If  you forget your reusable mug when ordering a coffee ask for 'no lid'
  • Carry a reusable water bottle with you at all times or use a glass on your desk instead of the plastic cups
  • Say no to a straw when ordering cold drinks or carry stainless steel straws with you.
 

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
  • Choose food that isn't pre-wrapped.
  • Take your own 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 9th, 2018.      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.  The trick is to put them straight back in the car or in your bag when you've emptied them.
  • Don't buy fruit and veges pre-packaged in plastic, instead choose the loose items.  Use your own small cloth bags or paper bags to collect them, we love the Rethink produce bags.  
  • EnviroSax-Oriental-Spice-Bag-2-162Use cardboard boxes from the supermarket to carry your shopping
  • Buy fresh bread in paper bags, or even better make your own bread
  • Ask the butcher to wrap meats directly into paper or take your own reusable containers.  Our butcher (Wholly Cow in Hamilton and Cambridge) is more than happy fill our containers.
  • Buy bulk as much as you can to avoid over packaged products, then decant or free-flow when you get home.  Buy items from the bulk bins using paper bags or these great Rethink bulk bin bags.
  • Ask your local grocery store and/or market to stock paper/cloth bags, if they don't already.  Or organise some boomerang bags for them.
  • Use newspaper to line your rubbish bin instead of a plastic bag - check out this website for more details.  Buy paper rubbish sacks instead of the plastic ones from your supermarket, they are surprising tough.  To avoid mess and smell in your bin start composting, a worm farm or get chickens for your scraps.  Or you can put your wet scraps in a container in the freezer until rubbish day.  But remember food scraps turn into methane in the landfill so composting, worm farms or chickens are a better option.
  • Instead of using plastic bags when walking the dog use newspaper to wrap up their business.  Or you could look into cornstarch based compostable bags online or from your pet supplier, then have a dedicated pet poo composting area.


See other blogs on this topic:


Check out the plastic free items in our online store!

Topics: , Enviromental, Plastic Free , Reducing Waste
 

Plastic Free July!

Written by Stephanie on July 1st, 2018.      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), and they are either unrecyclable or down-cycled (made into low-grade products for just one more use).  When sent to the landfill they can 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!  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 and our household will be taking the challenge again.  We've been taking it every year for the past few years and it's made a big difference to our waste. We took baby steps at the start, which seemed hard at the time but now we only put out a rubbish bag about once a month (that includes the business and home).  

We store food in glass jars and containers, use old biscuits tins for baking, using stainless steel drink bottles, reusable coffee cups, use reusable bags when shopping, take our own containers to the butcher, we've ditched liners in our rubbish bins and use paper rubbish sacks, use Honeywraps instead of plastic food wrap, use stainless steel strawsshampoo, face and body bars, etc.  We love some plastic free products so much we now sell them on our website for you to also enjoy!

Our focus this July and ongoing at home is reducing more plastic packaging by looking at better options (glass, paper, homemade, etc) when purchasing and being more prepared when having takeaway meals (I'm getting together a travelling kit).

All our honey is stored in glass jars, we don't use plastic frames in our beehives, our propolis is in glass bottles, we use paper bags instead of plastic at the markets, we're avoiding plastic in our production and product deliveries.  Any soft plastic (eg from pallets of jars, etc) get recycled into outdoor furniture.  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 upto 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 plastic free product range in our online store!

Topics: , Plastic Free
 

Waste Busters Workshop Week 1

Written by Stephanie on May 20th, 2018.      0 comments

I've just joined a 'Waste Busters' weekly workshop with Go Eco in Hamilton.  It's an opportunity to share ideas on creating less waste, having fun making waste-free products and chatting about creating change in our world.  It will cover: food, the garden, cleaning (personal and home), celebrations, work, recreation and travelling.  Can't wait to learn some new tricks!

It is great that most people are recycling their plastics and other recyclables.  But did you know that China are no longer taking other countries recycling?  Many of New Zealand's recycling centres have plastic piling up with no where for it to go!  Have a read of this example in Huntly where the Huntly transfer station is described as 'slums of Mumbai'.  It's a real concern!

So reducing waste is even more important than ever!  

In session one we talked about what waste is and how to avoid it. I love this definition of waste - 'Waste is a resource we haven't figured out what to do with yet'.  It's so true!  If we think outside the square there might be a use for our waste, we just need to stop and think before we throw things out!

This waste pyramid is very helpful to remember when you are thinking about waste.


Waste Pyramid

Refuse:
When purchasing items or food refuse unnecessary packaging and single-use plastic.  For example purchase items in glass or paper rather than plastic.  Do you even need the item in the first place?  Can you do without? 

Reduce:
If you can't avoid waste then try to reduce it as much as possible, can you borrow instead of buy or buy second hand?  Look to get chickens, start a compost bin or/and worm farm to reduce food scrap wastage.

Reuse:
Can you use it for something else?  If you have to buy things in plastic containers, reuse them for storing items and food.  Pass on unwanted clothes and items to others, there are always people in need.  Mabye give old containers, lids, egg cartons, scraps of material, wood, etc to your local Playcentre for childrens craft. 

Recycle:
If you can't refuse, reduce or reuse then recycle.  Use your councils recycle bins, put all your soft plastics in the specified bin at the supermarket.  Remember to use recycle bins when you're out instead of just rubbish bins, if there aren't recycling bins available then please take items home to add to your recycling.

Recover:
You may be able to recover materials or energy from waste.  I just love this story about some retired men in Wanganui turning trash into cash for the community, check it out!

Dispose:
Finally if you are unable to refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle or recover then the final resort is to dispose of the item in the landfill.  The least the better!

I've been thinking lately that if we have the mindset of people in the great depression that would really help our environment, treat everything as a resource to be used to it's full potential and not wasted.

 

To Help Our Earth Start Using Re-usable / Plastic Free Products

We've decided it's so important that we all take care of our world that we now sell a range of plastic free products  to help our customers start to make a difference:​
 
Topics: , Enviromental, Plastic Free , Recycle , Reducing Waste
 

We've Got Ethique Face, Body and Hair Bars!

Written by Stephanie on March 31st, 2018.      0 comments

You may have guessed that at Sweetree we are passionate about taking care of our environment, our focus at the moment is reducing plastic and waste.  We're so excited to be stocking Ethique beauty bars, we LOVE everything Ethique stands for and their products! Zero plastic packaging, palm oil free, petrochemical free, paraben free, sustainably produced, 100% vegan & cruelty-free beauty bars full of natural goodness.

They produce face, hair and body solid bars which last between three to six times longer (depending on the product) than bottled products; because they’re super-concentrated.  NZ Ethique customers have already saved the Earth from 280,000 plastic bottles, how good is that!

Join us in the revolution and give up the bottle!  #giveupthebottle
 

Purchase Ethique solid bars now

 
Ethique Group Blog-442
Topics: , Enviromental , Plastic Free
 

Check Out Our Plastic Free Reusable Bags!

Written by Stephanie on March 22nd, 2018.      0 comments

Most single-use plastic bags are only used for about 12 minutes but could take a century to break down, let alone the environmental effects of production and distribution! There is more to the simple plastic bag than meets the eye, please read more in this article.

New Zealanders use on average 700 million plastic supermarket bags per year, not including other single plastic bags! We really need to, at least, substantially reduce this but ideally eliminate single use plastic bags all together. The best way to do this is to use reusable shopping bags. 

The trick is to always have reusable bags in all your car/s and in your handbag and when you’ve unloaded your shopping put it straight back into your bag or by the door to put back in your car when you next go out.
 

We have a selection of wonderful resuable shopping bags!


Reusable Fresh Produce Bags - Multi Pack:
This multi pack includes 2 x large and 1 x small bags.  Conveniently available in two handy sizes to use and reuse when shopping for fruit and vegetables.  These bags are made from sustainably produced, Certified Organic, unbleached Indian cotton - 100% biodegradable.

Reusable Bulk Bin Bags - Multi Pack:
This multi pack includes 3 x Bulk Bin Bags & 108 blank stickers for product codes.  These bulk bin bags when shopping for loose bulk bin items such as pasta, legumes, lentils, and seeds.  These bags are made from premium, sustainably produced, certified organic, unbleached Indian cotton - 100% biodegradable.

Stylish EnviroSax Reuable Bags:
These reusable bags are the perfect shopping companion; they fold up nice and small in your handbag, glove box or even your pocket. They are strong, durable, lightweight and stylish!  These bags are so versatile, they can be used for grocery shopping, for a day trip, as swimming bag, use anywhere you would normally use a plastic bag. They have a waterproof coating that makes them suitable for wet items.  They are large enough to hold two plastic grocery bags and can hold up to 20kg. Plus the wide straps made them comfortable to hold in your hand or over your shoulder!! The perfect companion in your everyday life!



Photo Montage


Check out all the reusable bags here!


 
Topics: , Enviromental , Plastic Free
 

Sweetree are Selling Reusable Straws!

Written by Stephanie on March 14th, 2018.      0 comments

New Zealanders throw away 541 million straws each year and they are the most common items collected during beach clean-ups. A straw, that we use only once, can take 200 years to break down into tiny toxic particles that affect our precious oceans and sealife. You may have seen the YouTube clip of the poor turtle with a straw stuck up it’s nostril, it’s not nice!

The great news is that if you like using straws you don’t have to give them up! Just swap from plastic to stainless steel! These straws are incredibly durable, completely dishwasher/sterliser safe and can be used over and over.

We're excited to offer you the following straws:

Reusable Smoothie Straw Packs:
The reusable smoothie straws are used with thick drinks.  They are made wide, the diameter of the straw is 0.95cm, so it's the perfect size for your morning smoothie. 

Reusable Drinking Straw Packs:
The reusable drinking straws are great if you like drinking 'thin' liquids through a straw such as water, juices or lemon water.

Each pack comes with four stainless steel straws and one straw cleaner brush, but in case you want more brushes we also offer:

Cleaner Brush Pack:
Make cleaning your reusable metal straws even easier with these specialised straw cleaner brushes. Two brushes per pack.  Natural fibre, completely plastic-free, cleaning brush pack.  One size fits all.  Also useful for other little places like coffee machines and drink bottle!  More sustainable with compostable natural fibre bristles and highly recyclable stainless steel handle. 


CaliWoods Styled-324-16-695  CaliWoods Styled Smoothie -374-887

Purchase reusable stainless steel straws
Topics: , Enviromental , Plastic Free
 

Introducing a new Eco Dental Care Range!

Written by Stephanie on March 11th, 2018.      0 comments

Here at Sweetree Honey we are passionate about cutting back on plastic use, looking after our environment and minimising waste. We are in the process of adding a whole lot of new plastic free and environmental friendly products to our offering.  We are really excited to introduce you to our first range - eco dental care!

The new dental care range is brought to us by Nelson dentists who are passionate about reducing wastage in the dental industry.  It was essential that they sourced good products, products that were good for the user, while being better for the environment.   For every toothbrush sold one is given to a New Zealand child who doesn't have one. 


Eco Dental Care Offers:

Ecofloss - Bamboo Charcoal Dental Floss:  
This dental floss is 30m of candelilla waxed bamboo charcoal floss with natural mint flavour.  Stunning and possibly the most fabulous dental floss we have ever used.  This is a degradable bamboo charcoal floss with polyester base.  By degradable we mean it will break down faster that normal plastic materials but does this by breaking down into smaller parts.  It is slightly thicker which help remove plaque and bacteria from between your teeth.  It may take a little getting used to being thicker, but it works wonders.

Ecofloss - Silk Dental Floss:  
Pure silk floss.  A little finer than the bamboo charcoal floss so easier to use if you have quite tight gaps between your teeth.

We love that not only is the floss biodegradable but that all floss comes in a recycled and recyclable glass bottle.  But even better is the bottle is reusable, just pop in a refill and it is good to go again.


Ecobrush - Painted Bamboo Toothbrushes (soft and medium):  

These toothbrushes are biodegradable, sustainable and beautiful.  The bamboo is organic and a renewable resource.  It will biodegrade completely, simply cut off the bristles and dispose of the handle in your compost, garden or general waste.  The painted handles make it easy to see whose is whose!

We love that for every brush bought one will be donated to a child in New Zealand that has no toothbrush!

Dental Floss Carcoal

Check out the eco dental care range today!
Topics: , Enviromental, Plastic Free
 

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
 
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