Saturday, 10 July 2021

Plastic-free July

Plastic Free July is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution - so we can have cleaner streets, oceans and beautiful communities. 


Why is plastic bad?

Plastic is basically made from natural gas and crude oil, which are both fossil fuels, and its creation process significantly contributes to carbon emissions. Plastic bags pose a great threat to marine life and birds, as it is often mistaken for food, which leads to poisoning, choking, entanglement and blocked intestines - all of which usually result in death. Plastic does not biodegrade. Unless recycled properly, plastic will remain on our sideroads, beaches, and oceans for well over 500 years. Compare this with the average plastic bag use of 25 minutes. Not more than 9% of plastic is recycled globally. Malta has the lowest recycling rate in Europe, at 19% compared to 56% of Germany.

We need to move away from this throw-away society that we have sadly been accustomed to. It is killing the planted and killing us, too. Either through pollution, new diseases, or even by plastic consumption. Studies reveal that humans are consuming a horrifying amount of plastic. A 2019 joint study quantified that a human on average eats the equivalent of a Lego brick of plastic every year. Even scarier, microplastics, which are tiny plastic particles smaller than 5mm, are even present inside human placentas, which researchers say is a matter of great concern.


So what do we do?

It is not easy to live without plastic since it is the primary packaging for almost everything, but there are many different actions we can take to fight the plastic problem. Here are some ideas:

* Refuse plastic straws and plastic cutlery

* Take reusable bags with you when you go shopping


* Get hold of a reusable water bottle and always carry it with you

* Install a water filter at your home

* Pack your lunch in reusable food wraps and containers


* Avoid snacks and supermarket shelf-products with excessive plastic packaging 

* Switch to reusable metal razors and bamboo tooth-brushes


* Choose return & refill schemes to buy food items such as nuts, pasta, and legumes, but also washing liquid, body wash, and shampoo

* Write to your favourite brand and ask them to ditch the plastic! You can find a sample letter here

* Support local businesses that are plastic-free

* Join the Wave of Change, a local non-profit organisation raising awareness about marine pollution. Last month, its founder Neil Agius broke a world record for the longest swim (124.4km) from Linosa to Malta, in 52 hours, in an attempt to encourage more people to take action. You'll need to pick up 6 pieces of plastic trash, snap a picture and post it on social, and ask 6 friends to do the same. 

* Take the worldwide Plastic Free July challenge. Enter your details here to take the challenge and get inspired by the latest plastic-free ideas. Together we can make a difference and be a part of the solution. Join 326 million people worldwide!



Tuesday, 29 June 2021

9 Benefits of becoming a sustainable business

The future is green. (We never get tired of repeating this phrase!)

As the effects of climate change are now being felt by everyone, consumers around the world are becoming more sensitive about their consumption and are demanding more responsibility and bold actions from businesses in order to reduce their carbon footprint and produce more environmentally sound products and services.


Businesses with a serious intention to be active in the next 5-10 years have started working on strategies to make their operations more sustainable, in line with their customer's demands, upcoming laws & regulations, and because it is simply the right thing to do. It is highly unethical for a business to generate a profit whilst disrupting and damaging the environment. 

Some of the most important aspects that a business needs to look at are energy efficiency, water efficiency, waste generation, and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions; and whilst there are many other actions that a business can take to go green, it is imperative that the first step is a change in mindset. Starting from the CEO all the way down to line employees, everyone must put sustainability at the forefront of every decision regarding the business; from the choice of suppliers to the type of coffee served in the kitchenette. 


Benefits of going green

In 2019, Forbes stated: "What is good for the planet, is also good for business." Let's have a quick look at the pro-points for becoming a sustainable business.


1. Brand Image
A business going green makes customers feel that it is a trustworthy company and will gain favor. A good business is not about making tons of profit, but about providing an excellent product or service according to customer's needs. 

2. Minimized costs
Investing in efficient lighting will reduce your utility bills. Reusing and repurposing as much as possible will save you money on purchasing new stuff. Using the cloud will decrease your printing needs. Refilling your ink cartridges will also save you money.

3. Increased profits
Every improvement, no matter how small or minuscule, can enhance the productivity of your business operations ultimately resulting in savings. 

4. Compliance
Being the first to regulate your business in view of upcoming new legislatures pertaining to your industry, will provide you with numerous advantages, one of which is the flexibility to work with your own timeline and not be restricted by deadlines and the threat of fines.


5. Attract new customers
Customers who may have previously preferred a competitor will be happy to make the switch in the light of your environmental practices. Studies show that businesses that regard the environment, enjoy higher consumer retention and lasting loyalty.


6. Attract funds
The EU Green Deal is a set of policy initiatives with the aim to make Europe climate neutral by 2050. For this purpose, it is mobilizing 1 trillion euros over the next decade to support businesses with a genuine intention of going green. 

7. Press attention
Journalists are always looking for new exciting content, and sustainability makes good PR. Be creative by organizing something to attract their attention and you will be gaining a ton of free press.


8. Become a role model
Establishing yourself as the market leader and becoming a great example for others to follow will bring about new unexpected benefits, such as new partnerships, new opportunities, and a happy loyal workforce. 

9. Get featured on Eco Market Malta's platforms.
As a sustainable and responsible business, you can benefit from additional promotion by being featured on Eco Market Malta's platform. Product-based businesses can join our online sustainable marketplace Coral, while service-based businesses can be featured on our Green Directory, which will be launched very soon. 


A Green Directory for Malta & Gozo

Our aim is to make it easy and convenient for customers to connect with sustainable businesses for everything that they need. For this purpose, we are launching a 'Green Directory for service-based businesses in Malta'. A virtual place for such consumers and businesses to interact and promote green practices that are both environmentally responsible and commercially feasible. 

Thanks to the Green Directory, all sustainable businesses, whether small or large, will have space to showcase and promote themselves to an ever-growing list of conscious consumers. They can highlight their environmental attributes and green policies, receive direct messages from potential clients, and enhance their online presence. Consumers, on the other hand, will be able to find environmentally responsible service-based businesses in one site, with quick search functions, smart filters across several industries and categories, all to make it easy and convenient for them to make the right choice when choosing a genuine service-based business, without having to worry about greenwashing. If you own a green business you can submit your listing today from here. Choose between free or premium listing for a minimal yearly contribution and benefit from several additional cool perks. 


Success through sustainability

Do you want to learn more about transforming your business to be more successful and more sustainable? Download our latest free e-book 'Success through Sustainability' from here. (You will need to subscribe to our newsletter).


Saturday, 29 May 2021

Thoughtful End-of-year Teachers Gifts

If you are reading this, thank a teacher :)

Indeed we have many reasons to be grateful for teachers. They show support, kindness, great dedication, and the ability to deal with children of every age on an almost daily basis. 

A teacher wears many hats; oftentimes they are a coach, a nurse, and a big sister/brother. Most teachers go beyond their job description, for this challenging but also very rewarding profession. 

Have you thanked your teachers yet? Here are some thoughtful gifts that will show your gratitude. 

Click on the images to learn more and go to the Eco Market store for easy online purchase.


Ceramic Roses made with recycled material - €8









Round Earrings made with dried cactus leaves - €36









Truffle Vegan Assortment Box - €18









Silver pendant with Swarovski crystal necklace - €25









Pistachio & Raspberry Semi-Freddo (pack of 3) - €15









Say it with a Candle - Thank you Teacher - €20









Olive wood heart Keyring - €12









Zero Waste Starter Kit - €36.99










Beeswax Food Wraps - Mumbai Magic Collection - €15









Aloe Vera Plant - €7





Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Inspiring mindful and sustainable living - A blog with a purpose

The term eco-anxiety or eco grief are some of the terms that are becoming more common. Many people are not only becoming more worried about the state of our planet, but are also aware that climate change can affect our physical well-being through pollution, the spread of disease, and food quality. Louisa Tonna, mom of two young boys, acknowledges that this type of worry has been with her for as long as she can remember until she decided to do something about it. 

Louisa founded 'Tears of Green', a blog to inspire mindful and sustainable living, to help her cope with her concerns by focusing on positive news, and at the same time spread awareness. 


Guest blog by Louisa Tonna

Watching David Attenborough's documentary in 2020, 'A Life on Our Planet', was a wake-up call for me to really increase my efforts towards living more sustainably. It opened my eyes to what's to come, a reality which we are already seeing unfold, but perhaps are unconsciously (or consciously) choosing not to see.


I believe that each and every one of us can make a difference, and the more we work together, the better the results will be. Education is key and by learning and increasing our understanding of the risks being posed, the better informed we'll be and can take the right action. We can't just sit still and wait for governments and policymakers to make a change; it has to be a collective effort.

I know that we are running out of time and that much of the damage we've caused is irreparable, but I still have hope that we can slow down climate change and reduce the damage going forward. This is why I created Tears of Green. I use my time to learn as much as I can and communicate these findings to my readers, making changes in my own life as I go along. I am also getting to know some amazing people in the sustainable community and collaborating with them on little projects for change.

Mindfulness forms the core of my principles. Tears of Green explores living mindfully and the way in which it leads to living sustainably. Mindfulness is mainly about being in the present moment, self-care, enhancing our connection with nature, taking in our surroundings, and appreciating what we already have; the world around us, our loved ones, and even our materialistic belongings. It is about living a slower, more conscious life. These things, among others, for the basis of leading a sustainable life. This is why I believe that mindfulness and sustainability go hand in hand. One intrinsically leads to the other. 


Follow Tears of Green blog

Find them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.






Thursday, 13 May 2021

Eco-friendly food packaging

Guest post by Bella Roy from Pedigree


Did you know that consumer packaging is a top culprit of street littering and causes the most amount of waste in landfills?





Eco-friendly packaging is known to others as sustainable packaging, green packaging or environmentally-friendly packaging. It is the use of earth-friendly materials to package a product. A company that uses eco-friendly packaging materials can communicate its values on environment conservation to its customers and use this to leverage its brand image and reputation. 

Environmentally friendly packaging is a form of packaging, usually made of recycled or renewable materials. This is safe and sustainable for both the individual and the environment. The main features of sustainable packaging are that they produce little to no environmental waste, are safe for people and the environment, and are made of reusable or biodegradable materials.



PET Plastic

This type of packaging uses plastic materials that are safe, non-toxic, strong, flexible, and recyclable. It is one of the most popular transparent packaging materials often preferred over glass packaging due to the safety it provides. It is very light, comes in different shapes, sizes, and designs, and available in different colours. Another advantage of using PET plastic packaging is that it offers an excellent barrier; hence, the integrity of a product is maintained. 



Glass 

Glass is a trusted eco-friendly material. A consumer may choose glass over others due to its ability to preserve a product's taste and integrity. Its main advantage is the fact that it can be used over and over without losing its quality or purity. Glass is moisture-proof and heat-resistant. It is a good material for the long-term preservation of food and is can be transparent which is an important feature for food packaging. The commonly used glass containers in food packaging are bottles with narrow necks and jars or pots that have wide openings. Glass is widely recycled and is considered a sustainable material. The downside is that it can break or damage and is bulky and heavy to transport.


Metal

Metal packaging is usually made from Stainless steel, Aluminum, or Tinplate. The properties of food-safe metal make the packaging are that it is heat resistant, durable, and is often widely recycled. This type of packaging has been used since the 1990s primarily in the packaging of carbonated and non-carbonated drinks. 80% of all metal bottles ever produced are still in use to date. Metal packaging can be recycled to infinity making it the most eco-friendly packaging method, however, it requires regular integrity testing to ensure everything is safely contained and secure.


Kraft Paper

These types of eco-friendly food packaging are used internationally in the industry. Also known as butcher paper or brown paper, it derives its name from the German word Kraft - which means resistance, strength, and effectiveness. Kraft paper is made of wood pulp. It's coarse and brown in colour. Since the materials used to make these bags are mostly plant-based, they are very friendly to the environment. They are also recyclable and compostable.



Cardboard and Paper

Cardboard and Paper are organic and environmentally friendly materials. It is lightweight, has a low cost compared to metal and glass, and is widely recyclable and compostable. However, when cardboard packaging comes in contact with moisture and humidity, its barrier integrity will be compromised, making it easier to tear or damage. The downside of recycled paper and cardboard is that they contain harmful mineral oils and other substances that may contaminate the food beyond the safe-for-consumption level. 



Sugarcane

Sugarcane is a plant-based, tree-free renewable material made from sugarcane plant waste left over after sugar extraction. This fibrous paste-like material makes durable containers that are attractive to environmentally conscious consumers and require much less energy to produce than plastic products. It is suitable for cold and hot applications, sturdy, durable, can handle greasy food, and 100% biodegradable/compostable, It is also microwave and refrigerator safe and does not contain any toxic dyes, even in the unbleached design. 


Cornstarch

The materials used to make these types of eco-friendly food packaging are derived from corn and maize plants. This means they are biodegradable, which is critical when it comes to environmental conservation. it is imperative that the packaging is disposed of properly to ensure it does not take too long to decompose. When properly disposed of, the materials will break down into carbon dioxide and water, which cause no harm to the environment. The materials are cheap, sustainable, and easy to produce, hence, they are ideal for companies with a wide variety of foods to package. 


Eco-Friendly Packaging can be a great move for your business!

With more and more companies looking for ways to reduce their ecological footprint, switching to eco-friendly packaging makes sense. Most businesses are looking to go green with their packaging and doing so does more than just help the environment. It can also help the business save money while making your company more appealing to customers. 

Consumers take a lot of factors into consideration when choosing which companies to support. They are increasingly seeking companies that do their part to reduce their negative impact on the environment. A large % of customers feel better about purchasing products with packaging that is made from recycled materials, for instance. By committing to using eco-friendly packaging in your business, a company can improve its brand image and appeal to more customers. 



Thursday, 6 May 2021

A sustainable design studio in Gozo

Guest post by Aprille Zammit

I spent summer leaving vanishing footprints in the sand as I scanned the beach for washed-up sea glass. I was on a mission to do my bit to help the environment, utilizing my creativity as my device to do so. When the time came to present my idea to Dr. Jane Goodal at a Roots and Shoots camp in Switzerland that fall, I was extremely nervous. I explained to her, full of youthful enthusiasm, that I was determined to create hundreds of these sea glass ornaments to sell and donate the profit to her cause. Sixteen years later, I still strive to use my creativity for positive change. 



In the current climate, I need to constantly remind myself that every little bit helps in establishing positive change. After spending a couple of years working as a graphic designer in the consumer industry I became complacent and decided it was time for me to branch off and work with clients who share similar motives and the belief that we can all have a positive impact on this world. 




I founded my multidisciplinary studio, Swell StudioAt Swell Studio we take an idea out into the middle of the ocean. We spend time with it. Exist with it. Allow it to grow and form. Have fun riding it before letting it wash onto shore smoothly presenting itself, intentionally created in a unique way, and leaving an impression on whoever's shore it arrives. We believe every person has the power to take ownership of their actions to benefit others and the world as a whole. We strive to use eco-friendly material and produce work consciously. No two waves are the same. We believe making an impression is a must no matter how small the project may be. 






We have created an array of work including logo designs & branding, packaging designs, commissioned artwork, invitation designs, and a variety of printed matter. We also offer photography and screen printing services. We can screen print your design on shirts, different fabric, wood, and paper materials. We take a client's desires from ideation through to fabrication. We strive to work with clients who consider their impact on the environment and the people around them. 




Screen printing is a process I love practicing to output my work and clients' designs. I fell in love with screen printing back when I was attending Virginia Commonwealth University. The ability to physically output my designs and creations by hand felt very satisfying and refreshing in the increasingly digital world. I loved the slight unpredictability the medium presented and getting my hands messy with inks. It was a process I could get lost in for hours, mixing colours and pulling editions, the flow state of creating. The inks I work with are all water-based inks and eco-friendly. I create commissioned artwork using this process as well as editioned pieces. I'm happy to announce that from summer 2021, I will be holding screen printing workshops to share my knowledge and passion about this tactile process of creating. 


Visit Swell Studio's website page

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