Monday, 12 October 2020

People, Planet and Profit - The future of businesses

In technical terms it is called the Triple Bottom Line and it is the future of all businesses. The TBL is a framework to evaluate the performance of a business, and it takes into consideration the fact that businesses have a huge impact on the world and ensures that this impact is positive. Unfortunately, many so-called successful businesses make huge profits at the expense of its workers, community and environment.




The TBL ensures that a business can measure its success not only by its profit, but also by the positive impact it has on people and planet. That includes its employees, its neighbouring community, its consumers, its collaborators as well as its operations, carbon footprint, manufacturing processing, source of raw materials, and so on.

A business that has specific social or environmental objectives that serve as its primary purpose is called a 'Social Enterprise' whereby the TBL is an inherent element from conception. Social Entrepreneurs are therefore entrepreneurs who start and run a business for the greater social good and not just for the pursuit of profits. In addition, they usually invest their profits in the business's primary objectives, rather than having them pocketed by shareholders. 

The Eco Market is a good example of a Social Enterprise. Through its operations, it has a positive impact on its community of conscious consumers and producers; and a positive impact on its environment, by promoting and advocating for a sustainable lifestyle. Profits are re-invested to reach new ambitious goals for an even greater impact and for the benefit of all.





In Europe, Social Enterprises legally exist in Denmark, Luxembourg, United Kingdom, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Finland, Lithuania, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Greece, and under development in Latvia and Poland. There are many several Social Enterprises in Malta but are not yet legally recognized as such.



Enter SEAM - Social Entrepreneurs Association Malta. A non-profit association launched in September 2020, which was formed for the attainment of these purpose;

1. - To raise awareness and educate society about the concept of Social Entrepreneurship, particularly amongst start-ups and students

2. - To facilitate those who aspire to become social entrepreneurs and encourage cross-border collaborations

3. - To lobby for the recognition of the Social Enterprise Act as a legal business type in Malta. 



To learn more about SEAM and social entrepreneurship, please visit their website. They have a very comprehensive FAQs. You can also join as a member and become part of a conscious network of businesses and individuals committed to bring positive change in Malta.


















Sunday, 11 October 2020

How to embrace a Zero-Waste lifesytle

Hands up those who are living a Zero-Waste lifestyle? If I had to ask this question in front of a crowd, I don't think I'd see any raised hands at all. Why? Because nobody is possibly living the perfect trash-free, plastic-free life that they would wish. Zero-Waste is a process, and it does not happen over-night. If you try to make a significant change from one day to the next, it is very likely that you won't succeed. 

Embracing a Zero-Waste lifestyle is a process. It is a mindful deliberation to tackle one habit at a time and stick with it until it becomes part of your daily routine and you don't even need to think about it anymore. 

The Eco Market's mission was always to facilitate and encourage people to live a more sustainable lifestyle. Our efforts have been, amongst others, organising events featuring a selection of approved eco-vendors together in one place for your convenience, raise awareness about sustainability issues, promoting and highlighting a number of products and services that are exceptionally eco-sustainable, and now we are introducing a new approach. 

Today, we are happy to launch our very first product, the Zero Waste Starter Kit. In collaboration with 7 local green businesses, it consits of a curated variety of every day objects to help you transit towards a sustainable way of living.   



The Zero Waste Starter Kit includes:

* Duo-pack reusable veggie bags - by Veco
* Reusable medium beeswax food wrap - by Frank Wraps
* 4 bamboo straws - by Wasp Emporium
* A month's supply of toothpaste tablets - by Hames Sensi
* 3pc bamboo cutlery set - by Rebels with a Cause
* Duo-pack reusable cotton cosmetic pads - by Gabe Boutique Malta
* Pack of 50 bamboo cotton buds - by Rebels with a Cause
* Plantable seed-paper Greeting Card - by ByDyring



The total retail value of the combined items in the box is Eur 44.65. We are offering you the chance to buy everything at only Eur 36.99 including a convenient and reusable carton box and free delivery in Malta and Gozo. 

The Zero Waste Starter Kit comes as a limited edition. Secure yours by pre-ordering it from HERE.





You also have the opportunity to include your own personalised message on the greeting card and we can deliver it for you as a gift, just in time for Christmas! 










Friday, 4 September 2020

Zero Waste Week 7-11 September

The 5 Rs - Refuse, Reduce, Re-use, Recycle, Rot. 

You have heard of these before, I am sure, but how ingrained are these concepts in your daily life? Are you just aiming to reduce waste? Or are you also mindful of what you buy and what you consume?


On occasion of Zero Waste Week, here are some insights on the core concepts of a zero-waste lifestyle.


Refuse

Refuse anything with single-use plastic. Refuse anything that has a short life span and leads to its waste sitting in landfill for years and years to come. Such as bottled water, take away coffee cups and containers, and useless packaging. 

For example, I obviously carry a bag with me when I go shopping. At the pharmacy where i shop, they pack everything in a paper bag with the pharmacy's logo. Its almost second nature to them, no matter how small the object is. I always refuse the paper bag and just chuck my items into my own bag. I always smile and tell them 'save a tree' - at the beginning they used to give me a suprised/weird look, but now they almost got used to me and smile back.


Reduce

We all know that we buy way too much stuff; stuff that we don't really need. Being mindful of what we buy is a smart thing to do, it will save us money and keep our homes tidy - and when our living quarters are in order, so are our minds. That is basically a suprising benefit of minimalistic living, I suppose. Take a look around your house - you will probably find things that you don't want or don't use anymore. Find someone who does and pass them on. 

Leaving products on the shelf sends a powerful message to the business who made that product. It says whether or not they should keep doing what they are doing. Don't forget that for every euro you spend, you are casting a vote. Best is to buy things that have the longest lifespan possible, the least amount of waste possible, without sacrificing quality. 


Re-use

There is so much we could re-use. All we need is thought and immagination. For example, you can take your own containers when ordering take-away food. You can use reusable cloths instead of wet wipes and napkins. You can take your own pantry jars to the supermarket.

The fashion industry is the second highest polluter on the planet. Re-use clothes and accessories as much as possible. If you don't want them, donate them to a good cause or swap them at events. Learn to do some basic mending. Transform an old top into a one-of-a-kind bag.


Recycle

The process of industrial recycling has its own challenges and its own carbon footprint so it should be kept as a last resort. How familiar are you with recycling? Do you know what goes in each bag? Do you know how to recycle items properly? Do you know where you have to take certain items? 

For example, did you know that glittery wrapping is not recyclable? Did you know that printer cartridges have a recycling scheme? Do you know how to dispose of medicines, electrical equipment, or batteries? If you are unsure, reach out to your local council or WasteServ for information. 


Rot

Also known as composting, is the act of turning food waste and other organic items back into nutrient-rich soil. Consider talking to your farmer as it is very possible that he or she will be happy to take your organic content. 

At this point we can close the loop and go back to refuse. Refuse to buy and prepare large amounts of food which will likely go to waste. Cook using fresh ingredients in small batches. Take a good look at your pantry and cupboards before buying anything new and try to use what you already have bought. Plan your weekly menu to ensure you buy the right ingredients in the right amounts. The most common reasons why food gets wasted in Maltese households include too much cooked food, leftovers are not eaten, food left in the fridge that goes off or left for too long. Avoid these mistakes and you'll certainly notice a decrease in your organic bin. 




Want to make a difference?

Inspire others by sharing this article with your friends and family on social media.

Pledge to go zero-waste for a week - notice how it makes you feel - and imagine a world free of avoidable waste!



Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Preparing for the planet's climate future

How are you taking the threat of global warming?

Are you considering happening it slowly or quickly?

Are you thinking of how many people, or animals, or eco-systems, are going to be effected by it? 

Take 11 minutes of your time now to listen to this TED TALK. David Wallace-Wells explains in a very clear way the problems we are already facing, and those which we are going to face soon, and submits reasonable solutions as well. 

We have the science. We have the technology. We have everything we need to prepare today for a better future tomorrow.



Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Let's connect back to nature!

Welcome back to our Eco friendly Malta Blog! 

Today we are grateful for so many things! We all have been an unusual experience and lived a situation that we could have never imagined. It was a dark time where the outside world was forbidden to us and almost all of us were practically locked in our homes. For many, this has been a warning sign for us to take action and mend our broken relationship with nature. An environment that has always surrounded us, but we used to take so much for granted.


We are now all eager to make up for up for this lost time and Eco Market Malta are very happy to announce a new series of events right in the heart of nature. Read till the end for more details.


Connecting with nature can help us feel happier and more energised, with an increased sense of meaning and purpose. A little fresh air, the sun on our skin and bare feet on the ground can bring so many small pleasures, making us feel refreshed and revived. Why does nature have such a positive effect? Did you know that simply being exposed to nature’s wonders stimulates the brain? Your prefrontal cortex which is responsible for your mind’s commands, can take a bit of a rest and revitalize. Connecting back to nature has lots of benefits, some of which you might find surprising!

 

1. Improves Short Term Memory

Who would have thought that a little time with the flowers and trees can actually improve your memoryThe University of Michigan conducted a study that revealed students who regularly went for a nature walk actually had a better time retaining information.



2. Reduces Stress

Nature has a calming effect on our brains. As an added bonus, outdoor exercise, like going for a walk, hiking, and so forth, gets the blood flowing and heart pumping, another way to lower stress levels.


 

3. Increases Levels of Vitamin D

Sure, too much sun can damage the skin and possibly lead to cancer. That being said, studies show that getting between 15 to 20 minutes a day of sunshine will allow your body to absorb vitamin D, which helps strengthen bones and reduce the risk of cancer, type 1 diabetes, and multiple sclerosis.

 


4. Improves Sleep

Spending time in natural light helps our bodies better regulate sleep patterns. When the sun goes down, our brains will release the right levels of melatonin to help get a good night’s sleep.

 


5. Strengthens the Immune System

Research has shown that going outdoors and getting enough sunlight can help boost the immune system. to help fight disease and stay healthy all you need is to take a little stroll outside or enjoy a bit of fun outdoors

 


6. Increases Happiness

In a world full of screens, we often search for happiness in the wrong places. Nature will boost your mood and promotes your mental well-being.

 


7. Reduces Inflammation

Inflammation in the body can lead to all sorts of disorders, from depression and cancer to autoimmune diseases. A study demonstrated that participants who spent a bit of time each week walking in the woods experienced lower levels of inflammation in the body.  

 


8. Improves Vision

Going outside gives our eyes a break from staring at a computer, television, tablet or smartphone. Australian scientists even found that children who spend time outdoors reduce the risk of developing myopia later in life.

 


9. Inspires Creativity

Nature comes in so many colours, from orange-sky sunsets to seafoam green waters and rose-coloured gardens. Spending time outside gives a chance to get inspired by all the gorgeous sights, smells, and sounds of the outdoors. Science backs that up, too, showing that spending time outside actually helps get our creative juices flowing.

 


10. Develops a Deeper Sense of Spirituality

When you connect back to nature, you give your mind the chance to clear the cobwebs and can even count as a type of meditation. Spending time in nature helps us live in the moment as we breathe in the air, listen to the sound of the birds chirping, or feel the grass on our feet. Nature can even teach valuable lessons and reveal metaphors to help us connect with our spirituality.




So here is the exciting news! Eco Market is teaming up with Green Living Malta and together we are introducing ‘Summer Nights in Nature’. Every Saturday, from 11 July until 26 Septemer we will be hosting these exquisite events to help you connect back with nature in one of the most outstanding natural venues in Malta, the beautiful and bountiful Vincent's Eco Estate in Mgarr.

The aim is to not only to connect people back to nature and promote all the benefits that we've just mentioned, but also to connect you with a mindful community of like-minded people. Both Eco Market and Green Living are advocates of sustainable living and the people and activities that will be presented, will focus on shaping a more sustainable, greener future.  


Expect to find ongoing activities for children of all ages, to help them keep busy, entertained and educated. Children learn their relationship with nature by playing with nature, the ground, the leaves, the pine cones and other safe organic matter, everything completely in line with covid-19 guidelines. The events will be complimented with sunset DJ tunes, a variety of enjoyable workshops for adults, vegan and plant-bs food, wines, beers and of course a charming selection of Eco Market stalls.

The Olive Grove at the Vortex, Vincent's Eco Estate, Mgarr

These events will kick off on Saturday 11th July with a jamming session hosted by no other than Peter Paul, frontman of Tribali! Peter Paul will be heading his popular drum workshop during this event where everybody is welcome to bring their own drum and join in to create a positive vibration through rhythm. We will also welcome Nadia Cassar, our resident gardener with her famous workshop 'How to grow your own food at home', as well as DJ Armani who will be doing a special set with his son.  

Follow the event on Facebook for more information about activities and relative prices. 

The Olive Grove at the Vortex, Vincent's Eco Estate, Mgarr

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Saturday, 27 June 2020

ECONYL - the futuristic fabric

ECONYL® regenerated nylon is a truly innovative and futuristic fabric; it is made from waste, it's infinitely recyclable and can unleash infinite possibilities for makers, creators and consumers. It's all part of the ECONYL® brand vision to make the world a better place by pioneering closed loop regeneration processes and delivering sustainable products.

After four years of tireless research and development, a relentless innovator, managed to see his dream come to reality. "When I see a landfill, I see a goldmine", says Giulio Bonazzi, CEO and president of Aquafil, a global leader in synthetic fibres and a pioneer in quality, innovation and sustainability. 



What is Econyl?

ECONYL® yarn is recycled nylon. Nylon is created artificially using plastic to form strands of thread which are then woven together to create fabrics. As it is made of plastic, it doesn't biodegrade therefore its use is a major concern for the environment. 



How is it made?

ECONYL® is made by first collecting nylon waste including carpets, ghost fishing nets and scraps from mills. Then there is a regeneration and purification process where the collected nylon waste is recycled back to its original purity. After that the regenerated nylon is processed into textile yarn which can be used for new fabric and materials for designers to utlize in their own creations. 



What can be made out of ECONYL®?

The possibilities are endless. Apparel such as swim wear, jackets, sports wear, hand bags and other fashion accessories such as sunglasses - but also carpets, flooring, car interiors, sofas and cushions.


World-famous brand using ECONYL®

For pre-fall 2020-21 Gucci has developed Gucci Off The Grid, the first collection from Gucci Circular Lines, an initiative created to support the House’s vision for circular production. Designed for those mindful of their environmental impact, Gucci Off The Grid uses recycled, organic, bio-based, and sustainably sourced materials, including ECONYL®.


The new TOMMY JEANS eyewear collection, recently launched by Tommy Hilfiger, is the first that features styles made of ECONYL® regenerated nylon. The brand is using recycled materials in an effort to a promote a responsible business. Their intention is to expand the use of ECONYL® as much as possible in order to decrease their carbon footprint.”


Burberry has launched a new capsule collection crafted with ECONYL® yarn. Burberry’s heritage is anchored in material innovation, from the invention of gabardine – a breathable, weatherproof and hardwearing fabric – by Thomas Burberry in 1879 – to its use of innovative materials today. The ECONYL® yarn collection is one example of the 50 disruptions Burberry is making throughout its supply chain to create a more sustainable future for fashion.


Super proud of our own CHURPINA, a Maltese swim-wear designer and creator who uses ECONYL® regenerated nylon in her pieces. Self-taught seamstress Charlene Joan Sant creates elegant and playful pieces full of beautiful summery prints and cute names like 'Dawra Durella' and 'Qabza Zigarella'. Her approach towards sustainability carries on beyond the product as she packages her swimwear in re-usable branded string bags and uses bio-degradable material for overseas packaging. Discover Churpina: https://www.churpina.com/





A 2,000-square-meter “green carpet” was the star center-piece for the third annual Green Carpet Fashion Awards in Milan, made of Econyl, its yarn made of regenerated nylon created from discarded fishing nets and other nylon waste. The Green Carpet Fashion Awards are an annual event, with 2019 hosting the third edition, celebrating the industry's engagement with sustainability, climate change and social responsibility. The GCFA awards are granted to members of the fashion community effectively embrancing real changes in the system's production chain - reducing waste, finding alternatives to plastic, protecting small sustainable businesses and innovatio and research. less planet-harmful technologies and innovations. 




Images credit: ECONYL.COM, CHURPINA.COM, NATUREEPI.COM

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

A message to all local fashion influencers

We remain with the Sustainable Fashion theme and today we have a guest post by Tonya Lehtinen, who runs a pre-loved / vintage business with the brand of 'Vogue Xchange'. The cute shop in Gozo sells not only clothes, but also accessories such as sunglasses, bags, shoes, belts etc. Tonya just took on a sustainable initiative, and is today sending a challenge to local influencers to support sustainable fashion. 
Welcome back to our Eco Friendly Malta Blog!


The past couple of months of time-out, for many of us, have been challenging but very healthy for our well-being. There has been no shortage of time to exercise, rest, connect with our families and even be playful on Tik Tok - essentially havign a change to re-evaluate how we approach the world.

I have been really impressed and excited to see so many new home industries, creative initiatives and pro-action towards more sustainable lifestyles. With nowhere to go and nothing to buy I quikcly realised, as many of my friends did, how little we really need.


After the initial panic of 'how am I going to survive', my attention moved to how can I support others and I took my que from Food Bank Gozo to temporarily use Vogue Xchange as a clothes bank to utlize the clothes I had in stock. This is where it got interesting.

I did not anticipate the overwhelming response to an open call for children's clothes donation for the Vogue Xchange Clothes Bank. Clothes came flooding in, far outweighin the need and quickly I was faced, point blank, with fast fashion's massive wasteland. I dived into a depression for a couple of weeks trying to figure out how I would, being the custodian of these donations, find an ethical, sustainable and creative solution for the excessive amounts of clothes I now had.


My goal became finding ways to repurpose these clothes and keep them out of landfill. I connected with a number of young people wanting to make things out of the fabrics and came across a fashion student who is now creating her collection by upcycling and by learning how to create new products out of the clothes. I became more and more determined to create a circular economy within the second hand market. I am currently working on some exciting plans for the future to make this happen.


The fast fashion industry is toxic and many steps in the production of garments need to change but more importantly, much more importantly, what needs to change is the way we consume fast fashion, what we buy and how we care for it and obviously how we discard it. Second hand clothing is the fastest growing fashion trend globally although it is still not vogue in Malta - this is where Malta's young trending influencers can and should play a role. It is important for influencers to stand with Malta's sustainability deveopment vision because it is definitely going to become a topic of importance.


So with this said, I am challenging all local fashion influencers to show their sustainability colours by helping second hand initiatives. They can promote the second-hand movement in their feed, they can help local sustainable fashion designers and up-cyclers to get more exposure, they can donate their pre-loved clothes and visit Vogue Xchange in Gozo, where I will be happy to explain the details of this non-profit initiative.

Furthermore, Vogue Xchange raises funds for FAA (Flimkien ghall-Ambjent Ahjar) and other local environmental causes. Finally, I wish to send a gratitude message to those sent their donated clothes to Vogue Xchange. Thank you for showing kindness to the planet. 

Tonya can be contacted on the Vogue Xchange Facebook Page