Super Bees food wrap – the Beeginner’s set

Screen Shot 2018-06-22 at 9.52.32.png

Start your plastic-free life with this starter kit. Learn how to use each SuperBee’s Wax Wrap for many items in your kitchen and home. Includes 3 different sized beeswax wraps in pretty patterns.

Handmade from:

  • 100% Cotton
  • Beeswax
  • Tree Resin
  • Organic Coconut Oil

Quantity & Size:

  • 1 x 20 cm x 20 cm (7.9 in x 7.9 in)
  • 1 x 26 cm x 26 cm (10.2 in x 10.2 in)
  • 1 x 33 cm x 33 cm (13 in x 13 in)

To order, please visit their website: and please do mention us!

Brain-washing DOES work

Last night, a friend brought us dinner from a local Thai restaurant. The food was delicious, but what ruined the enjoyment for us was the fact that it was packaged in plastic bags AND then put into polystyrene foam boxes (wholly unnecessary).  The polystyrene boxes were clean – I mean, like completely clean! – because the food was in plastic bags, but what should we do with those boxes? Donate them to the other food stalls?

The friend who had brought the food laughed at us. “Just throw the boxes away,” she said, looking at us as if we were barking mad to be stressing over eight polystyrene boxes. “Nobody wants them secondhand, they’re cheap-cheap!”

A few short years ago, the pile of needless food packaging sitting in my dustbin would not have caused me such consternation, but now it does. That eight polystyrene boxes did bother me a great deal. And that is a good thing.

Because they are so bad that New York City is joining a growing group of cities in banning them: single-use expandable polystyrene products (including cups, bowls, plates, takeout containers and trays and packing peanuts) are not allowed to be possessed, sold, or offered in New York City. They are almost impossible to recycle and causes havoc when leaked into environments and contaminate drinking water….imagine eating a ball of styrofoam. That’s what some animals are doing, blocking up their intestines.

Look, this bird is eating discarded foam!

pacificbeach.jpg

Photograph from Midtown Miami Magazine. Please click on the read a very good article.

So when people tell me to stop proselytising about environmental issues, I tell them this: brainwashing does work. I absolutely loathe these awful packaging now instead of shrugging them off, ignoring the problem.

I hope more governments will join NYC and other cities in banning single-use EPS or levy high taxes on them to make them unattractive.

IMG_3902

Environmentally friendly educational toys

Think before you buy: your kids’ toys are killing the planet. 90% of all toys sold is made of plastics, and there are very few toys that are able to be recycled or repurposed.

******

When my children were tiny, I caused some bad feelings amongst family members because I banned plastic toys: I politely refused to accept those noisy, battery-operated, garish plastic monstrosity, especially those with flashing lights!

My parents-in-law used to make toys for my children: almost 30 years later, we still have some of those precious toys (Photo: Harry Helium, made by my mother-in-law based on a story I wrote).

Screen Shot 2016-04-17 at 15.37.21.png

My parents, who weren’t so good with the sewing machine or hammer, nails and saw, entertained the children with nature (Photo: drawing from 30 years ago!)

mushrooms.jpg

No, they did not suffer not owning any plastic toys. They made their own with discarded packaging and stuff they find around the house (Photo: the two sisters making something).

DSC00123.JPG

When my children got older, I softened my stance a bit and allowed Legos into the house. But by then, they had gotten over the idea that toys are fun. They much preferred pets, and at one stage, we had two dogs, two cats and eleven rabbits. That rather large menagerie did not leave them much time for gadgets either!

Screen Shot 2018-06-03 at 16.34.15.png

Recently, I visited my children’s father’s classroom (he teaches Design & Technology) and saw these Chinese puzzles that his Year 8 students made:

This can be made environmentally friendly by suing softwood. The design is from MYP Design & Technology textbook published by IBID Press.

Here is something you can make simply at home with your children, using paper or even flour tortilla! A hexaflaxagon that my daughter made:

Screen Shot 2018-06-03 at 14.59.56

The instructions are here. Have fun!

Related reading: There’s A Huge Problem With Kids’ Toys That No One’s Talking About

Here’s an innovative company repurposing plastic toys:

First published in www.raisinghappystrongkids.com

Plastic – it needs government involvement

Asia is the worst region for massively producing and underly managing its plastic waste. According to UN Environment:

34636663_10156595914605712_8574250887558463488_n

On my walk this morning, I saw many discarded ones (which will inevitably end up in landfills and oceans) and was offered many by shopkeepers who automatically pack my purchases into plastic bags.

Try as we might carrying our own reusable bags, our efforts need to be backed by governmental legislation.  This is the success of Ireland’s “PLASTAX”:

34469335_10156596459475712_4138325999014117376_n.jpg

Yesterday, it was reported that the Indian Prime Minister vows to abolish single-use plastic by 2022. You can read it here.

Screen Shot 2018-06-06 at 9.50.52.png

Here’s hoping that other governments, particularly in Asia, will jump on this bandwagon.

In the meantime, pop over to our ideas section to see how we made a reusable bag from an old dress in less than 5 minutes 🙂  Please click on this link.

 

Death of a pilot whale…let his death be your beginning

Screen Shot 2018-06-05 at 12.37.27.png

Pilot whales are majestic creatures of the sea and are in the same family as dolphins. Like us, they are mammals” warm-blooded and give birth to their young. The mother pilot whale nurse her calves for more than three years, and the mother-calf bond is typically strong for this species (Photo: wikipedia).

Last week, a young male pilot whale was washed up in a canal between the Thai-Malaysian border.  A large group of volunteers tried to keep him alive by helping him stay afloat with buoys and holding up umbrellas to protect him from the scorching sun. The young whale vomited up five plastic bags, but the other EIGHTY in his stomach, weighing a whopping 8 kgs), killed him in the end.

To read, please visit the BBC by clicking on this link:

Screen Shot 2018-06-05 at 12.44.58.png

A few short years ago, eco-activism is the province of the hardcore but since then, there had been so many wake-up calls that we can no longer ignore. Adopting “green” practices and making changes in our lives is something that we all have to do. It is our responsibility.

South East Asia is the biggest user of plastic bags that end up in landfills and oceans. This is effect of those plastic bags.

Please do not let this pilot whale die in vain. If you have not join the green revolution yet, let his death be your beginning. With Simple Green Planet, we will show you the simple changes that YOU can make in your lives to make the planet a better place for all.

Please click on the orange icon at the left of this page and follow us on Facebook.

Main photo: ThaiWhales/Facebook

Repurposing a holey dress

IMG_3793.JPG

Clothes these days are dirt-cheap. But look closer. What do you see? Sweatshop labour and harmful chemicals polluting the environment. And these cheap dresses don’t last long.

This lovely-looking dress (impulsive beach buy) lasted a few washes – admittedly, I wear them hard – before holes started appearing.

Fortunately, I have a very practical partner-in-crime (Jane) who came up with the idea of repurposing the dress into a reusable cloth bag:

2ED0EDBC-90E0-4080-8308-E8E0BF8F1B5B

It took less than 5 minutes to make this (no stitching involved), and I have used my “new” bag twice in the last three days:

…and Jane made a scarf for herself, too 🙂

AC0E753A-9E1A-4781-A715-0C8184688093

Why was she tittering? Watch this video, which gave Jane the inspiration in the first place. Highly recommended (*thumbs up*) and may it inspire you too (*wink wink*).  Looking forward to seeing more repurposed dress-bag around ….. and stay posted for more ideas, giveaways and fun.

How green can you go?

A couple of days ago, we went on an eventful trip to Phuket Town to look for eco-packaging for Jane’s biscuits (her contribution to the Ride 4 Kids bake sale).

Our destination (after a loooong stopover in Boat Lagoon for a spot of clothes shopping) was Gerbera House right in the middle of Phuket Town. This old-fashioned shophouse, spread over two higgledy-piggledy floors, is a proverbial treasure trove of baking stuff. You could literally find anything here.

Screen Shot 2018-06-01 at 19.50.27.png

And as with everything in our society today, plastic is always the cheap and convenient option…..hmmph!

Screen Shot 2018-06-01 at 19.58.19.png

Our preferred choice wasn’t so available: we couldn’t find simple brown paper bags of the right size. So should we buy doilies and wrap the cookies in them, and tied with ribbons?

Screen Shot 2018-06-01 at 19.58.32.png

As we were in the shop debating our options, the friendly traffic police clamped us!!!!! Apparently, even if you are legitimately parked (i.e. in a parking bay on the right side of the road), it is a clamp-able offence if your car is facing the wrong way!!!

Screen Shot 2018-06-01 at 20.07.11

Screen Shot 2018-06-01 at 20.30.53.png

Well, we certainly didn’t run into this happy chappie (shown on the right), reported in Phuket News 😦

So off to the police station on the tuk-tuk to pay the THB500 fine, back to the car via motorbike taxi this time, before rushing back to school!

Yes, it does sound like a palaver, but we had a fun day out, learned something new and had a good time overall.  And really, this is what we are trying to promote with Simple Green Planet: the little things you do everyday that slowly moves you towards a different – and more green – way of thinking.

IMG_0171

Please follow us by clicking the orange icon on the left of this page to stay tuned to our escapades ….. and join us!

*NOTE: Nikki came with us and she survived 😀

 

Your hair and the environment

11136717_515294855277845_288119919524902510_n

s-l300

My waist-length hair is one of my few concessions to vanity, and as my daughter also has long hair, we go through one (plastic) bottle a week of shampoo, unless we can get our hands on industrial-sized version of our usual brand (not easy in Phuket; we rely on family and friends to courier them over when possible).

And because I live in a hot country and I run and cook everyday, I wash my hair several times a week. The hair products that work best for me are from Aveda, a company that prides itself in its natural ingredients as well as its environmental leadership:

Screen Shot 2018-05-29 at 14.03.40.png

However, not all of this company’s products come in glass bottles. Some, like my Shampure shampoo and conditioner, are in plastic bottles. Looking at my empty plastic conditioner bottle this morning, I wondered about alternatives.

Screen Shot 2018-05-29 at 15.43.41

 

I recalled my daughters’ and niece’s favourite shop: Lush. When the first Lush store appeared in the UK, the girls were besotted with the brand. My niece said that her greatest ambition was to work for Lush. Reason: you feel like you are stepping into a delicious store each time you enter a Lush outlet.

DLtVEQoW0AUQDOy

A google image search on Lush yielded this colourful and tempting montage:

Screen Shot 2018-05-29 at 14.13.35.png

The youtube clip below shows how Lush’s shampoo bars are made. Each bar is good for between 60-100 uses. Which means, you are saving on average 3 bottles of shampoo with each bar….3 bottles less for the landfill and oceans each time you buy a bar! And aren’t they just delicious 🙂

Please follow us by clicking on the orange icon on the left of the page. We will be posting more about homemade cosmetics and cleaning products.

 

 

What we did before plastic

Screen Shot 2018-05-28 at 9.37.12

In the “olden” days, the greengrocer would wrap your purchases up in old newspapers, or better still, tip them into your shopping basket. It was the same all over the world.

Unfortunately, in our current “convenient” way of living, shopkeepers and retailers rely heavily on cheap plastics to wrap up their wares. Recently, Marks & Spencers sparked an outcry by wrapping ONE lime leaf in a lot of plastic.

Screen Shot 2018-05-28 at 10.01.31.png

To read the original article, please click here.

Screen Shot 2018-05-28 at 9.57.23.png

In our recent forays around Phuket, we visited a traditional herbalist in the old town and took some charming photos (as well as bought good stuff for cheap – goji berries and ginseng, amongst others).

Screen Shot 2018-05-28 at 9.37.37

The lady behind the counter painstakingly measured out her wares with her old fashioned scales.

Our purchases were put in paper envelopes made from old brochures. How lovely is that ❤

IMG_0163.JPG

The smart straw

Over lunch at a local little cafe today, we both lamented that food outlets automatically give out plastic straws with drinks ….. and because human beings are not programmed to think all the time, we automatically use those straws that are put in our drinks!

450px-Coconut_drink.jpg

 

Which leads to the question: are drinking straws necessary

Yes…sort of.

 

 

 

So fact of life is, food outlets have to provide drinking straws. BUT these don’t have to be plastic. There are environmentally-friendly alternatives available to plastic single-use straws, such as paper straws and those made from plant starch. They do cost more than their plastic peers, but with widespread use, the prices will come down.

The best option, even from an economical perspective, are those that can be reused, such as stainless steel and bamboo ones.

We were delighted last night to see that the bar Outriggers Phuket uses stainless steel straws….so classy and green! Thumbs up to the resort. Cheers!

To buy your family set of stainless steel straws, please visit our Eco Store.

Related post: The Last Plastic Straw