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.


Avoiding Insecticides that Affect Bees!

Written by Stephanie on September 2nd, 2019.      0 comments

One of the biggest threats to bees is the use of insecticides in home gardens, farms, orchards and market gardens.  They are designed to kill good and bad insects, including bees so please avoid them.  Sprays and coated seeds containing neonicotinoids are linked to bees disappearing around the world.  Unfortunately they persist in the environment for a long time, so keep on affecting bees.  The European Union have banned neonicotinoid insecticides for two years until further studies have been carried out.  This is fantastic! 
 

neonicotinoids food chain-392-696Avoid products that contain these:

  • Acetamprid    
  • Imidacloprid  
  • Thiacloprid   
  • Thiamethoxam


Tui, one of New Zealand's gardening suppliers, says that “the solution is to reduce the risk of insect attack, by keeping plants healthy, well watered and well fertilised to maintain a strong plant. Insects are more likely to attack weak plants. If insect problems do occur, choose one of the natural based insect control options available”  They have a range of bee friendly products and you can also purchase natural based insect controls such as Easy Trap, Kiwicare and Yates products.

Or you can make your own all-purpose garden spray by using ingredients from your kitchen cupboard, there's loads of recipes online.  
 

If you have to spray:

  • Spray carefully and spray in the late evening with bee friendly sprays after bees have gone to bed.       
  • Don’t spray while plants are flowering.
  • Don’t spray insecticides for a fortnight before flowering.      
  • Avoid spraying plants that bees are feeding on.

One major problem is that there are many pest controls, including neonicotinoids, used on produce and as a seed treatment, there seems to be no restrictions in place.   How can we stop this happening?  We can:
  • Grow our own fruit and veges    
  • Preserve your own food    
  • Buy from your local farmers market and ask the producer how they handle pests
  • Eat organic produce and food.  Hopefully this will then increase the supply of organically grown food and decrease the amount of sprays being used in crops.
 

Read more on looking after our NZ bees here:

 

Reducing Our Plastic Free Footprint While Travelling

Written by Stephanie on July 25th, 2019.      0 comments

Venice-Plastic-RubbishWe've recently come back from a trip to Europe for my brother's wedding.  When we were in Venice I was shocked to see so many plastic bottles in the rubbish bins, the bins were about 5 meters from each other and they were all full.  But I was flabbergasted to find out the bins get emptied every half an hour!!! So this photo is just half an hours plastic waste!!

I'm so glad we took our own reusable drink bottles, we would have gone through a huge amount of plastic otherwise.  The great thing about Italy, and probably many other countries, is there are water fountains and taps everywhere to refill drink bottles.  There really is no need for this wastage. 
 

Here's some tips for reducing plastic when travelling:

  • Take resuable drink bottles
  • Pack solid bars for shampoo, conditioner, deodorant and moisturisers, such as Ethique's great range.  I like to wrap mine in Honeywraps or pop them in a resuable KaiCarrier reusable plastic bag
  • Pack a bamboo toothbrush
  • If you need a regular coffee fix take a reusable cup or drink in the cafe instead of having a take-out.  Pop it in your carry-on to use on the flight
  • Dine in instead of take-out
  • Say no to straws or if you can't live without them take your own reusable straw
  • If you really need to store something in a plastic zip lock bag try reusable ones instead of the supermarket ones, we love KaiCarrier
  • Take your own fold-up shopping bags so you can say no to plastic bags when shopping.  They come in very handy!


 
 

NZ Garden Bird Survey

Written by Stephanie on June 26th, 2019.      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 learn more about NZ's common and widespread birds as well as inform future conservation efforts.

The survey runs from Saturday 29th June until Sunday 7th 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. 

Last time we did the survey 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!
 
 

World Environment & Arbor Day

Written by Stephanie on June 5th, 2019.      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 catching the bus, biking to work, planting trees, tidying up trees, picking up rubbish on a bush track, beach, park or along the road; every little bit helps!  

 

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 ‘Beating Air Pollution’, where everyone is called on to reduce air pollution, here's some things we can do:
  • Use public transport or car sharing, cycle or walk
  • Turn off the car engine when stationary, or better still look into purchasing hybrid or electric car
  • Reduce consumption of meat and dairy to help cut methane emissions
  • Compost organic food items and recycle non-organic trash
  • Switch to high-efficiency home heating systems and equipment
  • Save energy: turn off lights and electronics when not in use


Arbor Day


Arbor 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.

This arbor day get 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.  
 
 

So Many Reasons to Love Honeywrap Food Wraps!

Written by Stephanie on March 16th, 2019.      0 comments

There are so many reasons to love Honeywrap food wraps....

  • Honeywrap is one of the only beeswax wraps that use GOTS Organic cotton.  Honeywraps mission is to protect the planet and that can't be done without choosing organic cotton.  Organic cotton is made without pesticides therefore it is better for the environment, the farmers and eventually our own health as our skin and food is not exposed to the harmful chemicals used in the manufacturing process of traditional cotton.
  • HoneyWrap-Medium-11Honeywrap customers have now saved the equivalent of 11 million meters of plastic from going to landfills and oceans and encouraged people to use more beautiful, sustainable alternatives!
  • They are locally and hand-made
  • The Fabrics are collaborations with Kiwi artists such as Evie Kemp, Natty
  • Honeywraps provide work for people with disabilities with the Create Your Own Starter Kits
  • Honeywrap supported over 100 different causes in 2018 with donations
  • They can be used as a non-slip mat perfect to stop plates or chopping boards from slipping on the bench
  • They make great place-mats for little hands
  • Honeywraps' make awesome jar openers - for those really stuck lids and when you don't have any muscles about!
  • Honeywraps are fine to be posted overseas; making an awesome gift for overseas visitors- small and easy to post with a little kiwiana
  • We love that Honeywraps can be composted after they have come to the end of their life, it's recommended to cut them up so they break down faster.


Purchase Honeywraps here

HoneyWraps-group
 
 
 

World Wildlife Day

Written by Stephanie on March 3rd, 2019.      0 comments

Today is World Wildlife Day and this years theme is “Life below water: for people and planet".

The ocean contains nearly 200,000 identified species, but actual numbers may be in the millions. Globally, the market value of marine and coastal resources and industries is estimated at US$3 trillion per year, about 5% of global GDP. Over three billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods. Marine wildlife has sustained human civilization and development for millennia, from providing food and nourishment, to material for handicraft and construction. It has also enriched our lives culturally, spiritually, and recreationally in different ways.

The capacity of life below water to provide these services is severely impacted, as our planet’s oceans and the species that live within it are under assault from an onslaught of threats. As much as 40% of the ocean is now heavily affected by the most significant and direct threat of over exploitation of marine species as well as other threats such as pollution, loss of coastal habitats and climate change. These threats have a strong impact on the lives and livelihoods of those who depend on marine ecosystem services, particularly women and men in coastal communities.

This is the first World Wildlife Day to focus on life below water. It is a great opportunity to raise awareness about the breathtaking diversity of marine life, the crucial importance of marine species to human development, and how we can make sure it will continue to provide these services for future generations.

This coincides nicely with NZ Seaweek, find out what's happening in New Zealand this week to help us connect with beautiful oceans.
 

Find out more about World Wildlife Day

 
World-WildLife-Day



Social media kit - https://www.wildlifeday.org/sites/default/files/PDF/WWD2019_social_media_kit_01.pdf
 

This Week is Sea Week: 2-10 March

Written by Stephanie on March 1st, 2019.      0 comments

Seaseaweek smallweek is New Zealand’s annual national week for the sea and focuses on learning from the sea.  It’s about exciting and inspiring all New Zealanders to renew their connections with the sea! It's not just for children, it's a great time for all of us to get to know our ocean, its habitats, characteristics and inhabitants better.  This years theme is 'Care for Our Seas'.

Let's head to the beach sometime over this week and enjoy our wonderful NZ coastlines.  Get in the water, walk on the beach, look out for different wildlife, take a rubbish sack and pick up rubbish.  Why not  grab a NZ sealife guide out of the library and take the kids to the rock pools for a fosick around!

 There will be a wide range of events, activities, opportunities and competitions around the country.  

Check out what's happening in your area this Seaweek



 

 

Where Do you Put Your Dental Floss?

Written by Stephanie on February 1st, 2019.      0 comments

EcoFloss LowWhere do you put your dental floss?  Our dental hygienist suggested in the shower!  It's been the perfect place for us to remember to floss, I'm flossing way more than I used to.  I was worried about the container collecting condensation but I keep it out of the water on a shelf in the shower and it's perfectly fine, as you can see in this photo. 

You might be able to tell we're just about out of dental floss but the great news is, with eco-floss, I can just replace the reel of floss in my glass bottle with a refill!  No plastic wastage anymore!  Perfect!
 

Check out the eco-floss and refills here


 
 

You Look After The Environment More Than You Know When Eating Sweetree Honey!

Written by Stephanie on December 21st, 2018.      0 comments

Thanks to everyone that ate Sweetree honey this year, you stopped 10,000 plastic pottles going into the landfill this year alone by eating your honey out of glass jars instead of plastic ones!  Your old glass jars are now being re-used or recycled which is fantastic!  

But believe it not you have done more than that!  Did you know that most beekeepers have plastic hiveware, such as plastic honey frames, in their hives??  What happens to this hiveware at the end of it's life?  It goes in the landfill!  Let alone what plastic residue is going into the honey and beeswax (it's gets pretty hot in a beehive on a hot summers day)!  
 
Sweetree Spring Harvest frame 1-390made a decision right from the start to avoid plastic for our honey, not just the end product but all the way through the process.  It's so important for our customers health, the bees health and the health of our planet!

The plastic frames are so popular with beekeepers now many of the major suppliers don't even promote or sell the wooden frames any more.  It does cost us a lot more to have the old fashioned wooden frames but it's worth it!  

It does concern me that there are millions of plastic frames out there that will end up in the landfill so when talking to beekeepers try and get them to go back to the good old wooden frames!  We all need to start caring about this issue!

Thanks for supporting us and our planet!
 

Purchase Sweetree honey with no plastic

 

Conservation Week 15 - 23 Sept

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

Conservation Week is run by Department of Coservation (DOC) to encourage people to get involved in nature and help to take care of it.  It’s a nationwide celebration of kiwis pitching in to help our native plants and animals.

This year conservation week is aiming to raise awareness of the biodiversity crisis that New Zealand is facing with more than 4,000 of our species threatened or at risk, and what we can all do to help.  DOC says "The species at risk include those that people know, like the Māui dolphin, and those that aren’t well known including fungi, snails, insects, lizards and fish. All of these species are part of what makes New Zealand unique. When we lose a species, we lose part of ourselves".

Thousands of New Zealanders are already involved in conservation activities. DOC says "When we pull together we can make a big difference".

DOC and other conservation groups are organising events around the country, these provide opportunities to join in, get active and show your love for our nature. They also showcase our special species and the things  we can do help conserve them.


What Can We All Do?



 
 

Waste Pyramid - Reduce Wastage

Written by Stephanie on June 7th, 2018.      0 comments

This second blog in my 'waste pyramid' blogs is about reducing waste.  If we can't avoid waste then we need to try and reduce it as much as possible.

I've already covered food waste in my previous blog so please check that out.  


Rethink-Produce-Full-26Other Things We Can Do To Reduce Waste:

  • Borrow instead of buying
  • Buy second hand instead of new
  • Learn to repair or get someone else to repair things rather than throwing out, it's amazing what a new lease of life items get by doing this
  • Wrap presents in fabric or use reusable paper gift bags
  • Take your own reusable containers for takeaway food and drinks
  • Take your own containers to the butcher for your meat
  • Take reusable cloth bags everywhere you go
  • Look into getting chickens, start a compost bin or/and worm farm to reduce food scrap wastage
  • Do not buy drinks in plastic
  • Avoid single use plastic 
  • Ditch plastic straws
  • Have a 'no circulars' sign on your letterbox
  • Plan your meals and use left overs for lunches or other meals
  • Use the bulk bins or buy bulk through a food co-op
  • Use cloth napkins instead of servettes

There is so much we could all be doing!
 

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:​
 

Waste Pyramid - Refuse Wastage!

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

The way things are going I'm worried earth is going to end up like the movie WALL-E, where humans were driven off earth because it was unsustainable to live there anymore.  People were consuming at a fast pace without thought, while the earth was piled up with mountains of rubbish until nothing would grow anymore.  The mountains of rubbish in the movie looked the the recycling piles that are growing in New Zealand right now - have a look at this, we can't ignore it so easily when it's on our back doorstep!
 
Huntly Refuse Centre

We've all be sucked into the consumer age but we need to try and get ourselves out of it for the sake of the planet and future generations!  This first blog in my 'waste pyramid' blogs is about refusing waste.  This is the first thing we need to think about when we purchase items and we need to be asking questions of ourselves before we buy things.  We need to refuse wastage!
 

Before Purchasing Ask Ourselves:

  • Do I really need a new ...?  Can we do without it?
  • Could I get the old one fixed rather than replace it?
  • Could I buy second hand?
  • Could I borrow from someone, if it is something I don't use often?

 

When Purchasing Always:

  • Consider the less packaged option, refuse over-packaged items
  • Choose items that you can get parts for and can be fixed if broken or refilled/reused
  • Refuse single use plastic, styrofoam, etc
  • Refuse plastic! We'll have more on this over plastic free July but some tips are:
    • Choose items in glass, paper, and cardboard over plastic
    • Take your own re-usable coffee cup when getting a takeaway coffee
    • Carry a reusable non-plastic drink bottle
    • Take your own containers to takeway places you know will use plastic or styrofoam
    • Store containers, reusable utensils, straws, etc in your car for meals on the go
    • Choose skin and haircare in bar form, in tin or glass over plastic bottles
    • Always have reusable shopping bags in your car/s and in your handbag
    • Use reusable containers, paper or wax wraps for school/work lunches.
 

Refuse By Using Reusable Products Such As:

Ethique hair and body bars
Joco coffee cups and stainless straws
Reusable shopping/produce/bulk bin bags
Biodegradable dental care products
Honey in glass jars
Honeywrap food wraps

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.
 
 

Waste Busters Workshop Week 2

Written by Stephanie on May 24th, 2018.      0 comments

We've just had week two of the 'Waste Busters' weekly workshop at 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.  

Did you know that putting your food waste into the rubbish bin increased our green house gases!!!  The food will  decompose without oxygen and release methane gas, which over time raises the earth temperature.  Find out more here - Love Food Hate Waste.
 

FoodWaste-900Growing Food To Reduce Waste


This week we covered growing food to reduce waste.  If we grow some of our own food we reduce wastage in many areas, we reduce:
  •  Water and resources associated with intenstive growing
  • Transport costs
  • Imperfection waste (only the good looking fruit or veges get sold in stores and imperfect items usually get dumped)
  • Spoilage (so long as we share or preserve our surplus)
  • Packaging (single use plastic)
Not to mention reducing our costs!

Not only can you grow your own fruit, veges and berries but you can easily grow your own micro-greens and sprouts.  Micro-greens and sprouts are a great way to start!
 

Options for Food Waste

  • Start a compost bin or bokashi unsink system (so easy)
  • Maintain a worm farm
  • Have chickens or feed someone else's chickens, or pigs
  • If you have surplus produce then share with friends or neighbours or if you have a lot of surplus contact a community food bank or an organisation like Kiavolution that distributes food to those in need.
 

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:​
 
 

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
 
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