Eco-friendly Clothing Brands – Will they Rise or Fall?

The worldwide production of cotton has reached its limit due to land and productivity constraints. Polyester production is bound to the consumption of oil, thus its worldwide availability is decreasing. Therefore the need for new and sustainable fibres such as bamboo, hemp or nettle is imperative (Fletcher 2008). 

The many environmental issues that plague our world today and which are becoming more severe as time goes on, and as the population increases, has exploded with interest and concern from people all over the world wanting to do their part to help. 

Unfortunately, there is a lack of knowledge among consumers about the clothing industries environmental impact and unsustainable nature which is severe in every stage of its manufacture and disposal processes. 

Read more: How to Shop Eco-friendly when it comes to Clothes – Is there such a thing?


Knowledge Versus Action

Growing awareness and increasing consumer’s knowledge about the impacts this industry causes is imperative to reduce the apparel’s harm to the environment. Therefore it is necessary for clothing companies to find more effective ways to encourage consumers to choose eco-friendly clothing (EFC) such as bamboo or hemp textiles.

Unfortunately, there is a gap between caring about a topic and then actually taking action. In 2007, the Green Gauge Report found that, of the 2000 American adults surveyed, 87% were concerned about the environment. Furthermore, 50% felt that environmental legislation did not sufficiently protect the environment (CSRNews, 2007). However, despite the concern and interest in protecting the environment, pro-environmental attitudes were not consistent with pro-environmental behaviours.

Additionally, the lack of knowledge but high interest in the term ‘sustainability’ is also a factor that companies should address, as Wilhelm (2009) found a low level of knowledge of sustainability matched with a high level of interest in the concept.

Bhaduri and Ha‐Brookshire (2011) point out the desire of Generation Y consumers to make informed decisions regarding sustainability and yet they are unwilling to research product options.

Therefore, this indicates that there are numerous barriers that are restricting the ease and likelihood for consumers to align their values with their behaviours. If we are to move forward as a society to adopt more environmentally friendly lifestyles, identifying and finding solutions to remove such barriers is essential for environmental protection from the apparel industry among others.

Scholarly articles have found that there is indeed a gap between these two factors and for reasons that are quite understandable but can be solved.

The surveys that were conducted in many of the scholarly articles surveyed consumers from the Generation Y group. This is due to the fact that apparel companies tend to target this age group because they usually have the most disposable income, are more likely to use clothing for self identity and style then other age groups, and conveniently, this age class is also the target for EFC companies, because they are more likely to engage or care about the environment, as it affects them the most in the future.

Read more: Can Millenials Get Any Better? Tights made of plastic is the next big thing

The surveys found that the most popular factors that compromise consumers buying EFC would be:

  • Cost
  • Inconvenience
  • Style
  • New trends
  • Comfort
  • Lack of knowledge
  • Self expression

Therefore, the big question EFC companies need to ask themselves is, ‘how can we overcome these barriers to entice consumers to choose EFC over common clothing textiles?’

What previous research is consistently telling us is that knowledge is a determinant of eco‐conscious consumer behaviours. For example, studies by Schahn and Holzer (1990) and Meinhold and Malkus (2005) found consumers with greater environmental knowledge being more likely to engage in pro‐environmental purchase behaviours.

Stemming from education, if companies are to encourage a consumer to buy EFC then they need to help the consumer understand how much of a difference they are actually making when choosing to pick EFC.

Does going out of one’s way to buy a bamboo clothing item, for example, really make a difference?  

This comes into encouraging a consumer’s consistency to shop for EFC which is needed for EFC brands to flourish, and not just get the one-off purchase.

Therefore, finding out how much a company is contributing to sustainability can help a consumer understand what they are actually paying for, and increases their likelihood of coming back to buy more and sharing this information with others. Consequently, this comes into the company’s ability to showcase their contribution in a way the consumer can understand, by a means of making it clear in their marketing as well as detailing their contribution in their policy section for consumers to read more on.

The Fast-Fashion Dillema

Another large issue that makes it harder for EFC companies to gain attraction and increase sales is the dilemma of ‘fast fashion’.

Fashion is a concept that is meant to change frequently, introducing new trends and styles which are then advertised in magazines as the latest ‘must haves’. Young women especially are consistently falling victim to the never-ending cycle of keeping up with what’s ‘in’. Clothing trends and styles stay in for a short period before new styles come in and the old are disposed of quickly and thoughtlessly.

Nowadays, it is moving faster than ever due to globalisation. Globalisation has made clothing so affordable that purchasing becomes more tempting and disposing less painless. The quick turnaround of trends is also due to the global population increasing rapidly and in turn, there is a demand for more clothes and more styles.

It is a dilemma for EFC companies to see that the drive to be fashionable often outweighs a consumer’s ethics or sustainability desires. This paradox highlights the clash of the desire to consume with efforts to limit consumption.

What Should EFC Brands Do? 

Clothing brands need to keep up with trends, be consistently advertising their environmental progress/stance, and using education to help consumers gain knowledge about the apparel industry and why supporting EFC brands is helping the world in a BIG way.

In regards to keeping up with style, companies providing ‘basics’ are in the right lane, as basics are always ‘in’.

Boody Eco Wear, a bamboo clothing line has embraced the ‘basic’ life and is succeeding in gaining consumer attraction with 35.7 K followers on Instagram and growing. In their marketing, they are consistently educating their followers about how the bamboo textile is the way of the future due to its sustainable and eco-friendly nature.

@boodyecowear

Some examples include:

  • Bamboo has a naturally fast growth rate, it can grow 1 meter in a day!
  • Because of bamboo’s fast growth, it needs little to no fertilizers
  • Bamboo requires very little if any pesticides as it has no natural pests
  • Bamboo requires 1/3 the amount of water that is used to grow cotton 

Read More: Bamboo Clothing Brands – Are they really Eco-friendly? 

Thank you!

Thank you for reading this blog and caring about your contribution to the world. It is important for us to not only be interested in a global issue, but to actually find ways we can practically go about making a change, and buying EFC is one way to do that. So thank you for supporting this movement!

Yours Truly,

Danielle Packer

The Earth Co. 

REFERENCES:

McNeill, L. and Moore, R., 2015. Sustainable fashion consumptionand the fast fashion conundrum: fashionable consumers and attitudes to sustainability in clothing choice. International Journal of ConsumerStudies39(3), pp.212-222.

Yoo,J.J., Divita, L. and Kim, H.Y., 2013. Environmental awareness on bamboo productpurchase intentions: do consumption values impact green consumption?. InternationalJournal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education6(1), pp.27-34.


JinGam, H., 2011. Are fashion-conscious consumers more likely to adopt eco-friendly clothing?. Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management: An International Journal15(2), pp.178-193.e

Reusable Produce Bag Review- The Days of Plastic Are Numbered…

The days of plastic are going, going, and soon will be GONE! It will be a thing of the past if THIS generation has anything to say about it and I can imagine the generations after us will be scoffing at how silly we were to use it with almost everything we use and worse still, chuck it out after a single use, leaving it for our planet to almost never decompose. Plastic actually takes approximately 400 years or more to decompose, so that means, every bit of plastic that ever has been created, still exists today! They do eventually degrade into small pieces of plastic – microplastics – but that affects marine life of all shapes and sizes including plankton, and consequently can affect the whole marine food web, the consequences of this are still not 100% understood.

See more: Tonnes of plastic missing from the ocean – Where is it all going? 

Coles and Woolworths in Australia have made drastic changes to reduce plastic by banning their single-use plastic bags used to carry consumer’s groceries. Instead, they have replaced them with reusable grocery bags which have made a MASSIVE impact to Australia’s plastic bag waste.

Australia cut a WHOPPING 80% of their plastic bag use in 3 short months, the Australian Associated Press reported, citing the National Retail Association.

This amazing change shows the power consumers can have when we all work together to make a difference. At first there was a bit of resistance from some of the public when this change was implemented, as every drastic change has, but once time had gone on and people got use to it, it has now almost become normal to bring your own reusable bag. By slowly incorporate changes like this and introducing new ideas, people catch on fast especially when they are educated about the significant impacts they are being a part of.

A lot of what consumers were confused and frustrated with about the ban on single use plastic bags was because there were so many other ways such as food packaging that were still using plastic, so it felt pointless to ditch plastic bags especially because they have been very convenient for many years to consumers.

This is a very good point, and that will need to be addressed as well in time. When companies are pushed enough from consumers via us leaving comments on their websites, or leaving reviews and feedback, then companies will adjust their practices to adhere to what we desire.

Ditching plastic bags however is a great first step in the right direction, and any change makes a difference, in fact the Australian Associated Press reported that an estimate of 1.5 billion bags have been saved from landing in landfill or our oceans, in the 3 short months that Australia has made this change.

 

How Can We Do More?

Another way supermarkets still use plastic is the single use plastic bags used for our fruit and veggies. There is a way we as consumers can avoid using them; and that is with Reusable Produce Bags!

When I bought them, I was so excited to share them with my family, because my mum uses a lot of those single use plastic bags, so she was excited to use them too!

Reusable Produce Bags have numerous advantages over the average plastic bag such as its mesh fabric helps your fruit and vegetables to breathe better when they are kept in your fridge, whereas plastic reduces the ability for air to pass through.

Additionally, the mesh fabric is handy if you want to wash your fruit or vegetables under the sink, as the water is able to pass through easily. What is also very exciting is that the mesh fabric itself is made from 100% Recycled Plastic Bottles! This means that, not only are you reducing your plastic usage but you are also reusing more recycled plastic bottles instead of them ending up in our oceans or in landfill. Two eco advantages in one!

 

Here is a video of me explaining the benefits of the Reusable Produce bags and using them in the supermarket!

Thank you!

I hope you enjoyed the video and are intrigued about how else you can reduce your plastic use! If you liked the produce bags or have some other ideas about how to reduce plastic in the supermarket, or heck, in LIFE, please comment below! I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic 🙂

 

Yours truly,

 

Danielle Packer

The Earth Co.

A Conscious Christmas – 7 Ways to be Eco-friendly this Christmas

Wow, it is this time of year already! I swear, the older you get the more time just flies by! However, I am not complaining because Christmas has come along again and it’s always a great time of the year to be with family, friends and just overall great company.

The more I have become aware of humanities impact on the earth, the more I question the things I buy before I purchase them. This is because I am astonished that everything that is made has had to come from SOMETHING natural, some natural resource or chemical process that has affected the environment in some way. Now, of course, this mindset can be a little exhausting if you get into too much depth with it, but it is an important thought to have if you want to start being more environmentally conscious.

Because Christmas is coming, this is the time for us to buy all sorts of things, and sometimes unnecessary things, which means more unnecessary waste and harm done to our earth. Unless we can be smarter Christmas shoppers this year!

I have a few tips I went by last Christmas and I felt like I was very happy with them as well as my family and friends. Here they are:

1. Buy Smart – Buying smart means to buy a gift that can be reused over and over again for many years to come! That way, there will be less waste and it will be a handy gift for life!

Suggestion! Eco-friendly Christmas Bundle! 

2. Experiences – Instead of buying a material gift, try using Groupon or Adrenalin, or a similar platform to find experiences to give to your loved ones.  Giving someone an experience can end up being the best gift of all because they create beautiful memories that last forever and they may be experiences that they would never have given themselves otherwise. 

3. Safe Presents – Buy your loved ones gifts that are natural and toxin-free. Not only will this protect them from nasty additives but it can be a way of educating them about how easy it is to shop for the things you love but protect yourself and the environment at the same time.

Suggestion! Toxin and cruelty-free makeup!

4. Donation – If you don’t especially desire anything this Christmas and think your friends and family would be buying you just any old thing, you can suggest for them to put your Christmas present money towards a charity of your choice! Christmas is a great time to give to those that may not be fortunate enough to get a Christmas gift or spend it with loved ones, so your gift will be even more special. 

Suggestion! My chosen charity last year was buying land from the Daintree Rainforest so it is forever protected against deforestation!

5. Christmas Wrapping – Use newspaper or a reusable gift bag to wrap your gifts! I have gift bags that I have received from my friends and family and kept them over the years for my own gifts to give. However, if they are to my family, I usually ask if I can take them back to reuse them again haha. Otherwise, there are companies out there that provide Christmas wrapping paper made from 100% recycled newspaper!

6. Clothing – Clothing is a very popular present to give, but is actually very environmentally costly. To be more eco-friendly you can give them clothing made from bamboo! It is ALOT more sustainable and environmentally friendly!

Boody Eco Wear

To understand more about why Bamboo clothing is more sustainable than cotton or polyester clothing, have a peep at the article below!

See More: Bamboo Clothing Brands – Are they really eco-friendly? 

7. Plastic-free Gifts – If you do want to give your family or friends something that won’t last forever but will be a great present anyhow, try and find a plastic-free alternative! Plastic is a big no, no for the environment however luckily in today’s society, there are so many companies out there creating plastic alternatives to so many products.

Suggestion! For example, if you want to buy them a shampoo set, buy them a Natural Shampoo bar!

 

Thank you!

Thank you for landing on this blog to better your knowledge on what you can do to help our planet! Now more then ever we need more environmentally conscious people like you, doing the little things that make a big difference. Thanks for being a part of the movement and I hope to hear from you in the comment section below! I would love to hear any other ideas you have for a more Conscious Christmas!

 

Yours Truly,

 

Danielle Packer

The Earth Co.

 

 

What about Animals in Religion, do they matter?

This is one of the many questions that people in society today ask themselves and have quarreled over. It is becoming more common to ask these questions because the biggest animal right movements are happening today and are increasing in awareness and momentum. This is shown through changes being made in the live export industry, greyhound and horse racing industry, animal testing bans across well-known brands, community protests, education through social media and a significant rise in the Vegan population which is expanding across the world.

But, even though we are seeing a large increase in animal right movements, it is interesting to question why religion has not played a major role in this movement.

Religion, most often, focuses on love, serving others and compassion; but what I always questioned and found hard to understand was whether or not these morals were extended towards animals? As well as, do religious people believe animals have souls? Or, why don’t spiritual teachers talk more about our care of animals?

Buddhism and Animals

 

I would like to start with Buddhism and their Five Moral Precepts that they live by. They are encouraged to refrain from:

  • Harming living beings
  • Taking what is not given
  • Sexual misconduct
  • Lying or gossiping
  • Taking alcohol or non-medicinal drugs which weaken mindfulness and moral judgment

We can see that the first precept clearly states to ‘refrain from killing or harming living beings’. The key word here is ‘being’, which includes all living creatures including animals. In Buddhism, they are regarded as sentient beings and believe they possess Buddha nature and therefore can attain enlightenment (Buddhist Society of Western Australia).

Though not all Buddhists are Vegetarian or Vegan and although they would agree with the Buddhists teaching, the teaching does say to refrain or to reduce harm, so commonly that is what they will practice, if not become Vegetarian or Vegan.

 

Christian Teaching and the Subject of Dominance

 

The most common argument that Christians and Theologians, such as the famous Aristotle and St Thomas, make from reading Genesis which includes the three words ‘subdue, rule and dominion’ in relation to creation, is the understanding that humans have dominion over animals. With that, they imply that humans should be able to do whatever we like with them, which would include eating them, using their services for work such as on the farm, using their fur or hide for clothing or other materials, or using them for scientific experiments, among other things.

Though the book of Genesis (the first book of the Bible) uses these terms, it does not suggest humans to abuse or mistreat creation. This would be clearly inappropriate in the light of God’s creation which is in the image of God, indeed a God of pure love.

Unfortunately, these terms make it easy for us to justify our continued use of animals and make us feel less uneasy if witnessing animal misfortune at the cost of our own desires. However, with such interpretations of the Bible that can potentially lead to immense suffering to animals, more consideration, prayer, and understanding is recommended to be taken into account before making these life choices.

But what does dominance really mean?

Interestingly, the Hebrew word, ‘rule’ is r-d-h. However, Davis, author of ‘Scripture, Culture and Agriculture’, translates r-d-h and its prepositions to ‘mastery among’ rather than ‘dominion over’ and the Bible even uses the term when referring to a shepherd looking after his flock.

It is easy to assume that the term ‘master’ could also imply dominion and the use of others that are ‘lesser’ than us. On the contrary, Genesis 1:26 reminds us that our mastery among creation is conditional on our creation in the image of God. Which means that this hierarchy that we have over creation is actually subverted by mutuality, because the obedience by which creatures owe to humanity, is actually reciprocated by an obedience of humanity to creatures.

As it is also written in the Bible, ‘…do unto others, as you would have them do to you’ which applies to all human relationships (King 2016).

HealthPost natural supplements and skincare

Animal Suffering Versus Human Suffering 

 

We are continuously made aware that humans are superior to everything and everyone else in this world and this topic is especially brought up when talking about animal suffering. Society makes it seem that animal suffering is not morally significant because human suffering represents the worst type of suffering in the world whereas animal suffering is ‘middle class’. Is this idea rational? (Linzey 2009).

Of course, if we asked anyone, ‘do animals suffer’? The common answer would be that they agree that they do suffer. However, the argument would be that the subject matters less.

In this argument, it is enlightening to compare this statement to other aspects of human life. For example, this way of thinking could be compared to white men (or women) believing they are superior to men of color, as well as the rich believing they are superior to the poor. These teachings, of course, do not align with Christianity or other religious values and so these examples can be used to understand how we perceive our suffering to the suffering of animals. These differences have nothing to do with our moral treatment towards others because we all originated from the same source of life. Therefore, we can see that our defects or perfections do not dictate how we treat each other and thereby the complexity of an animal’s mind has nothing to do with how they should be treated (Linzey 2009).

For such as the man is, he is as God made him and the very same is true of the beast’, Humphrey Primatt, 1776

Are Animals Inferior?

 

Aristotle states, ‘it is not sinful for a man to kill brute animals for by divine providence they are intended for man’s use according to the order or nature…’

What we can say to this statement is that just because animals are naturally inferior does not mean they should be treated morally inferior as well. There seems to be confusion between the moral treatments of others despite them being supposedly ‘inferior’.

If he is right and we do have power or dominance over animals, then it should not be assumed that we give up our morals and intend suffering upon those that are ‘less than’, or that our every use of power towards animals is justifiable, indeed it is about how we use our power morally over others.

C.S. Lewis, beautifully states, ‘It is our business to live by our own law and not by hers (nature)’

Even if these verses did not exist, it makes sense that any power that is exercised by Gods permission must reflect their own attributes which include love, generosity, mercy, and compassion. Indeed, it would be hypocritical if we would assume humans could treat animals with a lack of these attributes and in God’s will (Linzey 2009).

HealthPost natural supplements and skincare

 

Animals as Non-Rational Beings?

 

What is also a common topic among theological scholars and Christians is that animals are non-rational beings and therefore their suffering is less than of humans who are rational beings. This logic comes from the understanding that because humans are rational, we can experience being threatened or can be scared and suffer through anticipation of future pain thereby causing suffering. Animals, on the other hand, because they are not rational, do not experience these ‘extra’ sufferings that humans endure.

But is that really the case? If we consider wild animals being taken prisoner, or taken to laboratories to be studied on, they are left in cages on stone floors and unaware of what is going on. As a result, they experience the terror of not knowing, and because they are less rational, they have the disadvantage of not understanding their situation. Human suffering, on the other hand, can soften our pain by understanding the situation and reasoning with it, like if we went to the dentist and strange tools were being used on us, we can conclude this is safe and for our own benefit. Whereas animals, do not have such understanding and get performed on with these scary tools as well, but usually it isn’t for their own good and would be more so traumatic and painful (Linzey 2009).

Are Animals Moral Agents?

 

Because animals are not supposedly rational, we could say that they have no morals and thereby cannot live by them. However, though they may not be moral agents they remain ‘moral patients’ in that because they cannot choose morally, they can be harmed by the deliberate choices of moral agents. In saying that, we can understand that if animals are not moral agents, then they must be morally innocent (Linzey 2009).

As C.S. Lewis suggests, ‘so far, we know that animals are incapable of sin or virtue, therefore they can neither deserve pain nor be improved by it’.

Do Animals Have Souls?

 

Of course, no one essentially knows if animals do have souls or not. But this question leads me to think, does it matter? Does an animal not having a soul mean it is accepted by God for us to cause the suffering unto another or the understanding that animals deserve more suffering then humans?

Additionally, if animals do not have souls and therefore are not going to be recompensed in some future life for the suffering they have had to undergo in the present, it makes it even more sense that their suffering acquires even greater significance (Linzey 2009).

Again, C.S. Lewis answers this topic of question beautifully,

 ‘‘…if it means animals do not have a consciousness, then how is this known? They certainly behave as if they do, or at least the higher animals do. I myself am inclined to think that far fewer animals than is supposed to have what we should recognize as consciousness. But that is only my opinion. Unless we know on other grounds that vivisection is right we must not take the moral risk of tormenting them on a mere opinion. On the other hand, the statement that they ‘have no souls’ may mean that they have no moral sense makes the infliction of pain upon them not easier but harder to justify. For it means that animals cannot deserve pain, nor profit morally by the discipline of pain, nor be recompensed by happiness in another life for suffering in this. Soullessness in so far as it is relevant to the question at all is an argument against vivisection’.

 

Thank you!

 

Thank you for reading this blog and I hope you got something out of this topic today! There really is so much more to learn on the subject and I will continue to write more about this subject if you’re interested. If you do want more on this topic, please feel free to leave your ideas or views on the matter in the comment section below! I would love to hear what your thoughts are regarding this topic and if you would want to learn more.

 

Yours Truly,

 

Danielle Packer

The Earth Co.

 

References:

King, S.W., 2016. Vegangelical: How Caring for Animals Can Shape Your Faith. Zondervan.

Linzey, A., 2013. Why animal suffering matters: Philosophy, theology, and practical ethics. Oxford University Press.

How is Coconut Oil Good For You? The Unbelievable Health Benefits

Coconuts have been used as a major food source for thousands of years by millions of people in Asia, the Pacific Islands, Africa, and Central America. Before these people were introduced to western and modern day foods from across the world, they relied heavily on the coconut plant to sustain life. What is amazing to think about is that they didn’t suffer from heart disease, cancer, arthritis, diabetes and other modern degenerative diseases. However, when they started incorporating modern western foods into their diet and abandoned their traditional, coconut based diets, these diseases started to show up. This transition was noted by many researches that the more ‘westernized’ the people came in regards to their diet, the more their health deteriorated. Their diet did include other nutrient-rich foods that did contribute to their overall health but they were not the ‘secret’ to their underlying absence of disease and illness. What researches had found was that the most common and staple food used in all of these countries was the coconut plant.

Biome Eco Stores - Zero Waste, Toxin Free, Ethical Choices

The ‘Fat’ in Coconut Oil

We are constantly being told in our society to avoid fat, and it makes sense, its called fat for a reason right? This is where the misconceptions arise. There are ‘good’ fats and ‘bad’ fats that we need to be aware of, which you can learn more about here. To be healthy and free of disease we need essential fatty acids which come in the form of Omega 3 and Omega 6. Medium-chain fatty acids like those found in the Coconut plant, are also important and are considered conditionally essential.  This means that under certain circumstances, they are just as important as other essential fatty acids. 

Coconut oil was thought of as a food to avoid due to its high saturated fat content among other food groups as well such as meat, margarines and fried foods. However with the Coconut plant, the saturated fat it contains is made up of small and medium chain triglycerides as oppose to other saturated fats like animal fats which are long chain triglycerides.

We are told that if we reduce our fat intake by 30% of our total calorie intake, then it will help reduce our risk of heart disease. This may be true for some fats but coconut oil is another story. Look at the Polynesian people for example, they consume coconut oil daily and in large quantities, in fact, their fat intake can contribute to 60% of their total calorie intake which is twice the recommended amount.  

Additionally, Coconut oil is better for our health because it is burned in the body easily whereas long chain triglycerides goes to the circulatory system before it is finally used as energy.

What is Virgin Coconut Oil?

The difference between Commercial coconut oil and Virgin coconut oil is dependent on the way it is processed. Commercial coconut oil is produced from dried coconut ‘meat’ and then undergoes refining processes to make the oil edible. Once it has been refined, it is called Refined, Bleached, and Deodorized Coconut oil. This is the most commonly used coconut oil when cooking.

Virgin oil, on the other hand, does not undergo the refining process because the oil produced is already edible.

The chemical properties are the same in both Commercial and Virgin so the health benefits remain the same because they have the same medium chain fatty acid composition, it is just the process they undergo that the name changes.

In regards to health, Virgin Coconut oil is better for you due to the biologically active substances which are normally lost in the refining process remain intact in the oil.

Disease Prevention

Coconut oil is highly respected in many cultures of the world and not only as a valuable and diverse food source but for medicinial purposes as well. For example, in Central America of Panama, people are known to drink coconut oil by the cup, which they found to help overcome sickness faster. Additionally in Nigeria, palm kernal oil (which is similar to coconut) is their most trusted remedy for all types of illnesses, and because it has been used there for so long, it is their most commonly administered traditional remedy.

Coconuts are disease fighters due to their antibacterial, antiviral, anti-parasitic and antioxidant properties. It is even used in baby formula because it provides many of the same nutrients as human breast milk! Additionally, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has deemed the consumption of coconut oil as not only safe, but can be used to treat a number of common illnesses.

People use to think that coconut was something that contributed to diseases such as heart disease or other cardiovascualr diseases but what studies are showing is that coconut actually helps prevent these diseases.

Coconut oil has also been mentioned in cancer prevention studies. This is because Coconut oil does not affect blood lipids and will not cause an increase in cholesterol or cause cardiovascular disease.  It even increased the High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) or the so-called “good cholesterol”, reducing the risk of coronary heart disease.

Additionally, Blackburn et al (1988) stated that Coconut oil is, at worst, neutral in regards to an atherogenicity of fats and oils and can be beneficial to prevent and treat some heart diseases.

At the start of this article I said the Coconut plant is a Nutraceutical substance. That is a substance that offers nutritional value as well as pharmacological effects. It is a nutraceutical due to its biologically active substances.  There are studies that are still trying to understand the effects of these substances on human health and the interest is going big worldwide!

How do I use coconut oil? 

Regular usage of coconut oil can really improve your overall health and help prevent diseases. If you are overweight, it can help you to loose weight; if you have digestive problems it can help with that as well.

You can incorporate coconut oil in your daily life by:

(1) Using it for cooking and replace it with your other oils,

(2) Eat coconut or coconut products (coconut yoghurt, coconut cream, coconut milk, coconut water) or,

(3) Apply coconut oil directly to your skin and hair in order to recieve its health and healing properties into your body.

(4) Coconut oil can also be used in a toothpaste, which inhibits the growth of Streptococcus mutans, an acid-producing bacterium that is a major cause of tooth decay and they are usually natural toothpastes that will be free of harmful ingredients like fluoride, triclosan, and sodium laureth sulfate (SLS). 

==>You can purchase your own Coconut-based toothpaste here <== 

Thank You!

Thanks for having a read and trying to better your health through healthy and safe alternatives to medicines. I hope you learnt a thing or two and are ready to replace your vegetable oils with coconut oil! I know I am!

What are your thoughts about coconut oil and its health benefits? Please feel free to share your thoughts below, I am excited to chat about this amazing plant!

 

Yours Truly,

 

Danielle Packer

The Earth Co.

 

References:

Fife, B., 2013. The coconut oil miracle. Penguin.

Enig, M.G., 1996. A new look at coconut oil. The Weston A. Price Foundation. http://www. westonaprice. org/health.

Carandang, E.V., 2008. Health benefits of virgin coconut oil. INDIAN COCONUT JOURNAL-COCHIN-, 38(9), p.8.

Chow, C.K., 2007. Fatty acids in foods and their health implications. CRC press.

 

 

 

 

 

Why is BPA Bad for you? Or is it just a Crazy Conspiracy?

What is BPA?

BPA is an abbreviation for bisphenol A, a plastic monomer and plasticizer and is one of the most produced chemicals in the world.

BPA is used in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins used in many consumer goods. BPA is used so much because of its unique and beneficial characteristics, such as it is very clear, lightweight, heat-resistant and shatter resistant. These characteristics make it an optimal material for a large variety of products, such as food packaging (cans, bottles), food containers, beverage bottles, tableware, storage containers, eyewear, lenses, sports safety equipment, electronics, and medical equipment.

Due to its large usage globally, BPA has been studied extensively. While studying this product, numerous concerns have arisen about its safety to our health and thus its continued use is questionable. The media started and has continued to cover this issue since 2008, and has focused particular attention onto BPA’s contact with fetuses, infants and young children.

The most common way BPA gets into our system is through oral intake and skin contact sources which are likely from canned foods with lined epoxy resins, water in polycarbonate bottles or cosmetics where it is used as an antioxidant.

In developed nations, almost all individuals are exposed to BPA continuously through the products we use and the foods we eat. Welshons et al, after measuring BPA levels in human blood and urine is concerned about two things:

(1) that BPA intake may be higher then what has been suggested and,

(2) the concern about long-term, daily intake which can lead to bioaccumulation of BPA. This can potentially lead to a steady-state level which has not been represented by any of the current models for BPA metabolism on single, acute administration.

Does BPA affect our health?

Most of the hazards from BPA have been found from studies that deduced their results from testing on rats and mice which already tells us their results may not be 100% accurate about its effects on humans; however one of the potential health impacts that can occur is to do with BPA’s estrogenicity which was discovered in the 1930’s, but it was not until 1997 that the adverse effects of low dose exposure on laboratory animals were first reported. Below is a list of concerning effects BPA exposure had on the animals and these results are from several studies done between 1997 and 2009.

  • Permanent changes to genital tract
  • Changes in breast tissue that predispose cells to hormones and carcinogens
  • Long-term adverse reproductive and carcinogenic effects
  • Increased prostate weight 30%
  • Lower body weight, increase of anogenital distance in both genders, signs of early puberty and longer estrus
  • A decline in testicular testosterone
  • Breast cells predisposed to cancer
  • Prostate cells more sensitive to hormones and cancer
  • Decreased maternal behaviors
  • Reversed the normal sex differences in brain structure and behavior
  • Adverse neurological effects occur in non-human primates
  • Disrupts ovarian development

This range of detrimental health impacts provides a worthy amount of concern about our continued and varied use of BPA products.

Can BPA Really Affect Men’s Testosterone Levels?

 

BPA is an endocrine disruptor, which means it has the ability to mimic the bodies’ hormones and once it enters the body, it can cause problems with our cell functioning by acting as an estrogen and androgen agonist which can affect our health. This can be in the form of affecting a human’s development throughout the fetal period and may be carcinogenic, potentially leading to precursors of breast cancer (European Food Safety Authority, EFSA, 2006).

Additionally, due to BPA’s estrogenic behavior, it has been shown to reduce sperm count and their activity, be toxic to the liver and may be linked to obesity by affecting fat-cell activity (European Food Safety Authority, EFSA, 2006).

Supporting this theory, there are two studies that have shown that men have a larger BPA exposure than women, and this may have to do with BPA’s correlation with higher testosterone compared with normal women, indeed serum BPA concentrations were significantly higher in normal men and in women with polycystic ovary syndrome then ‘normal’ women.

See More: Things That Lower Testosterone – Plastic Product Alternatives

Food packaging with BPA going into our food/liquids

Food cans were shown in two studies to be a major contributor to our intake of BPA. The food cans that are lacquer-coated with a plastic lining are the ones to watch out for because the foods within these cans were shown to be contaminated by substantial amounts of BPA. In one study, they used plastic flasks which still contain BPA and are made by the same canning industry and found the liquid contents of the plastic flasks had BPA contents between 2-4 ug, whereas the original food cans had contents ranging between 4 and 23 ug. Almost all of the estrogenicity was due to BPA, based upon the results of the E-Screen.

 

What About Pregnant Women?

There have been several human studies that have found associations between maternal BPA exposure during gestation and endpoints in the offspring. In these studies, there was a clear representation between maternal exposure and stronger associations of adverse outcomes of the developing fetus.

It is dependent on the timing of the maternal exposure to BPA and thus results in stronger associations of adverse outcomes of the offspring. This indicates that there are sensitive times as to when BPA can have an impact on the developing fetus.  There were also several studies that found effects when following-up on postnatal BPA exposures and outcomes in young children, indicating that the critical windows of BPA exposure may persist postnatally into childhood.

Does BPA Affect the Environment?

 

The presence of BPA in the environment is due to man-made activities as it is not produced naturally. BPA traces are found in water bodies and the atmosphere from polycarbonate and epoxy resin manufacturing facilities. Fortunately, BPA is readily biodegradable and breaks down rapidly in the environment, in fact, approximately 92-98% is removed by microorganisms. The trace amounts left in water bodies can continue to biodegrade for about 1-4 days in receiving waters and downstream of treatments plants.

However,  there are other studies who state that BPA’s exposure in aquatic and terrestrial environments can be harmful to wildlife including annelids (both aquatic and terrestrial), mollusks, crustaceans, insects, fish, and amphibians, as well as on the embryonic development and the induction of genetic aberrations in crustaceans and amphibians.

Although there is a suspicion that the environmental exposure is not adequate to cause serious effects, except in unique situations where a large local contamination occurs, the potential hazards are too important, and more investigation is certainly recommended.

 

How do we Manage this Issue?

From reading all of the potential health implications BPA can have, you would assume its continued use would not be allowed. However, the adverse health effects still remain uncertain due to the tests being done on animals or the tests on humans were done with low dosages and do not know what the long-term with small doses of BPA can have over the course of someone’s life.

In 2010, an expert consultation was organized by WHO in 2010 and that expert recommended that public health officials should hold off on regulations limiting or banning the use of BPA. He states, ‘“initiation of public health measures would be premature”. On the other hand, in March 2010 the USEPA declared BPA as a chemical concern, though the USA Presidents Cancer Panel argued for a precautionary approach on BPA in April 2010. The European Union had prohibited the manufacture of BPA in infant baby bottles since 1 March 2011 and will ban their import and sale by 1 June 2011.

This information shows that though BPA has a large variety of potential health hazards, there is a lack of concrete evidence to make enough of an impact to stop the production and usage of BPA. BPA’s advantages in creating highly functional products outweigh the potential health hazards it may cause to humans in the long run.

What does a BPA website have to say?

The BPA website states that polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins have been safely used in consumer products for over 40 years.

Additionally, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) stated that “a consumer would have to ingest more than 1,300 pounds of food and beverages in contact with polycarbonate plastic every day for an entire lifetime to exceed the safe level of BPA”.

What do we do?

==> BUY YOUR REUSABLE GROCERY BAG <==

What we can deduce from all this information is that you should not be too overwhelmed about using BPA products or buying canned foods, but if you can avoid the use of a BPA product, it is recommended that you use the alternative.

Additionally, plastic is not biodegradable and is overwhelming our oceans and wildlife.

By choosing plastic-free products, you are not only reducing your risk of potential health issues but you are also doing a world of good by helping the environment!

 

 

Yours Truly,

 

Danielle Packer

The Earth Co.

 

 

References

https://www-sciencedirect-com.ezproxy.uws.edu.au/science/article/pii/S0890623807002377

http://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/news/161013

https://academic-oup-com.ezproxy.uws.edu.au/endo/article/138/5/1777/2987307

https://www-sciencedirect-com.ezproxy.uws.edu.au/science/article/pii/S0890623807002377#bib2

https://www-sciencedirect-com.ezproxy.uws.edu.au/science/article/pii/S0160412011001206

 

 

 

 

Ways to Prevent Acid Rain – Why Change Needs to Happen Now

Since the industrial revolution in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s, humans have been using the earth’s resources extensively for attaining energy and the means of transportation through burning coal, oil and natural gas. These industries have made our lives a lot easier but come at a high price to our Earth by damaging it in numerous ways which in turn will eventually lead to affect us. Acid rain is one of those consequences, and although attention has been brought to this issue globally and measures are being taken, acid rain remains a significant threat to numerous aspects of our earth and will only get worse while we still rely on the use of non-renewable and unsustainable practices.

Initially, acid rain was only occurring around industrialized sites, but due to the increase in power plants and industries in the world, atmospheric emissions are being transported regionally and even globally.  Astoundingly, acid rain has even been identified as one of one of the most serious environmental problems of transboundary nature (pollution originating in one country but affecting neighbor countries through transportation of air or water).

What is Acid Rain?

Acid Rain is the explanation through which acid falls from the atmosphere in the form of rain, snow hail or fog. It is the washout of oxides of sulfur, nitrogen and other constituents present in the atmosphere. These oxides largely originate from coal-fired powered stations, smelters (producing SO2) and motor vehicle exhausts (NOx).

The degree of acidity is measured by pH value. A normal pH for rain is around the 5-5.5 range. This is slightly acidic because rain slightly reacts with atmospheric carbon dioxide to produce carbonic acid as well as the small amount of nitric acid which is produced by the oxidation of nitrogen in the presence of water during lightning storms.

 

Effects on Soil

The soil is crucial for life to flourish and grow, as every single plant needs and depends on it for their nutrient and water supply.  This means, that we need soil to function effectively for us to grow food and live in a healthy environment. The soil system is very complex and dynamic so even the smallest of changes can have large consequences.

Due to the reactions between these oxides (SO2 and Nox), and other constituents of the atmosphere, protons are released into the soil causing soil acidity. The soil’s pH consequently lowers and in turn leaches nutrient cations (like potassium (K), magnesium (Mg) and calcium (Ca) in the soil) away and increases the availability of toxic heavy metals. In turn, this leaching leads to a nutrient deficiency in the affected soils and therefore reduces soil fertility which in turn impacts negatively on plant growth and the productivity of forest trees and crops. Nutrient cycling, a crucial aspect of soil health and functioning, is also negatively affected by acidification of soil because it disorientates the decomposition of the litter of certain tree species such as spruce, pine, birch and other cellulose-rich materials.

Effects on Aquatic Ecosystems

Unsurprisingly, acid rain makes water bodies acidic and in turn, affects all components of aquatic ecosystems, whether it is the plankton, amphibians or the fish. Some of these symptoms included fish showing increases in mortality rate, reproductive failure, reduced growth rate skeletal deformities and increased uptake of heavy metals.

When the pH gets below 5.5, the number of snails and phytoplankton start to fall and once reaching a pH of 5.2, they start to disappear. Zooplankton starts to disappear at a pH of 5.0 and then below 4.0, more fish species declined rapidly because embryos failed to mature at this level of acidity.

 

Effects on Forest Trees & Crop plants

Acid rain also has a detrimental effect to forest trees and does so in two ways, via through foliage or through the roots. Acid rain causes symptoms such as the damaging of plant tissue, reduced canopy cover and overall tree death. In crop plants, acid rain impacts various physiological and morphological characteristics such as their photosynthetic rate and the stomata conductance which reduce overall crop yield.

What is concerning about acid rain affecting crop plants is that this is the food we grow to feed the world. With an increasing population and climate change bringing us challenges such as acid rain, it impairs farmers, all over the world, the ability to increase current food supply demands. Because by 2050, farmers are expected to double food supply to feed a population of 9 billion people…that is pretty intimidating when normal farming conditions become challenging.

 

How do we reduce Acid Rain?

Below are some ways we can reduce the prevalence and severity of acid rain:

  • Liming – Adding lime to water bodies and soil can help eliminate some of the symptoms of acidification but must be done repeatedly to restore water and species health.
  • Emission control – The most important means of reducing and eliminating acid rain is the reduction of SO2 and NOx emissions as this is where the problem arises. It is unfortunately not common for there to be fuel low in SO2 but there are techniques available to reduce S02 from emissions from non-ferrous smelters.
  • Policy Intervention – In the 1970’s when the effects of acid rain were severely impacting the ecosystems of Europe and America. NAPAP, an acid rain programme was organized to achieve significant environmental and public health benefits through reductions in emissions of SO2 and NOx, the primary causes of acid rain.

Overall, with the rapid economic development and energy consumption throughout the world due to population growth and dependency on energy, fossil fuel consumption has increased significantly during the last few decades. Use of fossil fuel is the major cause of large-scale generation of acid precursors in the atmosphere and steps need to be pushed to significantly reduce our reliance on non-renewable sources of energy.

 

What Can You Do To Help?

  • You can participate in public protests that want an end to fossil fuels
  • You can donate to organizations that are that push against fossil fuels
  • You can vote for a party that pushes for renewable energy
  • You can learn more about this issue and talk about it with your friends and family. Education is powerful and with it, we can make small but powerful change within our own space of community and let it spread!

 

Thank You!

Thank you for taking an interest in the environment and educating yourself on world issues like acid rain. It is through education where change happens and it is important to find out ways you can make small but powerful changes in your life to make an impact.

 

Yours Truly,

 

Danielle Packer

The Earth Co.

 

References:

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/184/4142/1176

https://nph.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1469-8137.1985.tb03667.x

http://www.jeb.co.in/journal_issues/200801_jan08/paper_02.pdf

 

 

The Real Horror This Halloween – The Scary Truth About Plastic

Halloween is just around the corner, with its scary movies and trick or treat traditions. But given the current state of our planet, it’s clear the real horror story is happening here and now, on our own doorstep, right in front of our eyes.    One of the scariest truths of our generation is our 20th century-born love affair with plastic.

We’ve become so reliant on it that about 40% of all plastic produced is for packaging, used once, and then discarded. i

The convenience of plastic packaging has created habits that come with terrifying impacts. Every minute around the globe, we buy one million plastic bottles, one million disposable cups, and two million plastic bags.ii

The scary truth

As a synthetic material, plastic doesn’t biodegrade. As it gets battered and bruised in our environment, it becomes more and more brittle, breaking down into ‘microplastics’.

Microplastics are small pieces of plastic less than five millimeters long that are being consumed at all levels of the food chain.

Scientists have even found microplastics present in plankton!

Microplastics have found their way into our seafood, our water, our honey, our beer…

We don’t yet know the impact that it will have on human health, for this generation or those to come, but the evidence we have about how it affects marine life paints a disturbing picture for the future of the human race.

Read more: Tonnes of Plastic Missing from the Ocean – Where is it all going?

 

The transgenerational effect

Prior to the 1970s, polychlorinated biphenyls, better known as PCBs, were used in a range of products from electrical appliances to household paints.

In the 70s and 80s, scientists uncovered ‘extensive contamination’ to humans and the environment and PCBs were banned. Newer research has linked the chemicals to endocrine and immune system disruption, and reproductive failure in vertebrates.v

Now, more than thirty years later, the accumulation of these chemicals in the food chain could cause many of the world’s orca whale populations to collapse over the next century.

This case study provides some insight into the effects that our consumption of synthetic materials and chemicals can have on our environment and life on earth in years to come.

We can turn the tide!

It’s so easy to be terrified into inaction by the scary truths we see on the news every day. Trying to fix the big picture can feel impossible.

That’s why it’s so important to remember that every single tiny positive change each one of us makes to reduce our impact is a huge deal if we all do it together.

Here are 10 things you can do today to help reduce and change the future impacts of plastic:

  1. Arm yourself with a reusable water bottle and a reusable coffee cup.
  2. Remember reusable shopping bags when you’re out and about.
  3. Opt for food and skincare packaged in glass, aluminum, and cardboard.
  4. Switch to a bamboo or cornstarch toothbrush.
  5. Replace plastic scrubbing brushes with plant-fiber scrubbing brushes.
  6. Choose plant-fiber fabrics that won’t contribute to microplastic pollution when washed.
  7. Invest in beeswax wraps.
  8. Switch to reusable sanitary pads or period underwear.
  9. Try shampoo and soap bars.
  10. Spread the word about the solutions!

 

Remember, every natural and reusable solution you choose to use is a vote for a better future.

We can turn the tide, together.

 

Where does it go?

Our waste infrastructure is an overwhelmed and overflowing monster, and devastatingly every single minute we dump a lorry’s worth of rubbish into our ocean. iii

This level of synthetic, man-made pollution is unprecedented.

The world has never faced anything like it.

Currently, our plastic habits are killing 300,000 marine mammals and 400,000 seabirds every year. And if nothing changes, by 2050 there will be 500 times the amount of plastic in our ocean than there is now. In other words, there will be more plastic down there than fish.iv

 

Thank you!

Thanks for tuning in and I hope you learned a thing or two from this blog! Let me know your thoughts below in the comment section, I’d love to hear what you have to say or what practices you are taking to tackle this global issue.

 

Yours Truly,

 

Danielle Packer

The Earth Co.

*Republished from The Clean Collective*

References: 

i National Geographic
ii BBC, Drowning In Plastic
iii BBC, Drowning In Plastic
iv BBC, Drowning In Plastic
v National Centre For Biotechnology Information

 

Stainless Steel Straws – A Must for Eco-friendly Junkies

Some plastic facts:

  • The annual production of plastic has increased 200-fold from the 1950s to 2014
  • 90% of plastic worldwide doesn’t end up getting recycled
  • Plastic straws are too lightweight to make it through the mechanical recycling sorter
  • One of the most commonly found plastic items on our beaches are plastic straws
  • Straws end up in our oceans from human error – left on the beach, or are blown from trash bins
  • Approximately 71% of seabirds and 30% of turtles have been found with plastics in their stomachs. When they ingest plastic, marine life has a 50% mortality rate.

Plastic waste is a large issue globally and it is only until recently that people are starting to make a change in order to reduce their plastic footprint.

It is very easy to think that this ONE straw or this ONE plastic bag won’t do any harm. But remember there are billions of people in this world and we all have those thoughts. Now, if we all think like that, then that’s a huge contributing factor as to why we have so many environmental issues with plastic and its disposal processes.

We need to be a part of the CHANGE we want to see in the world, and not be a part of the problem.

To start being a part of the solution to this dilemma, we can reduce our single plastic use items as this is where our plastic problem gets out of hand.

There are various ways you can reduce your plastic use. One way is to continually reuse the plastic items you already have at home such as your plastic bags, bottles and containers. Use them over and over again until they are on their last legs!

Another option is to invest in products that are made to be reused and serve the same function as many plastic products. This is a great way to reduce your environmental footprint substantially.

One of the most commonly found plastics on the beach and in the ocean is plastic straws.

It is hard to put a number on it, but it has been estimated that we use around 10 million straws a day.. yep that may even be an underestimate..! Scary stuff!

Straws aren’t usually a necessity for the average person, but a lot of people do like the occasional straw to enjoy their drink.

If you are one of these people but don’t want to contribute more plastic pollution to our oceans or contribute to landfill, then don’t worry, there is a solution!

Reusable Stainless Steel Straws!

They are a great option to enjoy your drink and to help the environment.


These straws are beautifully made from 100% #304 Food Grade Stainless Steel that are great to use for smoothies, juices, iced coffee… you name it!

They are zero waste, plastic-free and are Australian owned.

It even comes with its own little cleaner!

Another option, are reusable bamboo straws, which are another great alternative to single-use plastic straws. They are also biodegradable, so there are no waste issues with these beauties.

 

Thank you!

Thanks for caring! It is really inspiring to see how many people are so motivated to do their part and really embrace how individuals can make a difference and understand its power to encourage others to join this amazing movement as well.

HealthPost natural supplements and skincare

Yours Truly,

 

Danielle Packer

The Earth Co.

 

 

Can I Compost at Home? And is it Really that Effective?

Landfill is reaching capacity limits due to an increasing population and thus increasing amounts of waste, especially with our single-use culture.

Food scraps are one of many waste products that get thrown into our bins and end up in landfill. To reduce your landfill footprint you can compost your food scraps to use on your garden bed. This is a viable means of organic waste management that you can implement at home.

What is Compost?

Compost is the decomposition of plant remains and other non-living materials which turns into a dark and earthy substance, which happens to be excellent for enhancing plant growth by enriching soil health.

What is the Science behind it?

 

Composting is a natural process, in which living organisms such as microbes, decompose organic matter into biologically stable, humic substances that make great soil amendments.

The organisms then feed on the organic matter and through respiration generate the energy that they use for movement, growth, reproduction or stored energy.

The organisms then excrete the organic material that enriches the soil. When the organisms die, their bodies add to the organic matter in the compost pile.

Biome Eco Stores - Zero Waste, Toxin Free, Ethical Choices

 

 

Why Do We Use It?

We use compost to enrich our soil to be able to grow things continually and effectively. We choose to use compost when our soil is depleted of nutrients and has poor soil structure which is necessary for air, water and root penetration to access nutrients.

Additionally, soil can be chemically imbalanced, such as being too acidic or too alkaline.

By adding compost, you are adding living organisms, better soil structure to put plants in, and more nutrients for your plants to use to grow!

 

 

Is Compost as good as we are told?

So here is the tricky bit! When we think of compost, we think it is the antidote to our gardening or agricultural problems.

But is it really that perfect?

What I found out to be astonishing is that no, that is not the case! There can actually be significant consequences to adding compost to your garden or farm but this comes down to what compost you buy. The commercial compost packages are the ones you need to look out for, especially the cheap ones. They can contain harmful toxins that can not only impact your soil health but be harmful to your health. On some of their bags, they even say to wear a mask when applying the compost… that’s not a good sign! These bags are usually the ones filled with just wood chips or something simple and are therefore not fully degraded into the luscious soil we imagine when we think of compost.

Additionally, micro-plastics can be found in commercial and cheap compost brands as well!

We are all becoming aware of our ongoing issue of plastic contamination in our world especially to our oceans, but they are coming up in our soils too! Unfortunately, there is little research done to analyse the long-term impacts of microplastics in our terrestrial environment but I can’t imagine it can be good!

 

 

 

How does Micro-plastics end up in my compost?

They can enter the environment either directly from products such as cosmetic products, or industrial abrasives for example. Otherwise, they can enter the soil through environmental degradation of larger plastic pieces. Additionally, when we wash our clothes in washing machines they contribute to the dispersal of microplastics from our clothes via water treatment plants, which can end up in agricultural fields.

See more: How to Shop Eco-friendly when it comes to clothes? Is there such a thing?

This can harm the soil if they are ingested by micro and mesofauna species such as mites, nematodes, beetles and others, and then its contamination accumulates in the soil food web (Rillig 2012).

An estimated 125 and 850 tons MP/million inhabitant have added annually to European agricultural soils either through direct application of sewage sludge or as processed biosolids. This is at least equal to, and probably much higher than our estimate of 110 to 180 tons MP/million inhabitants emitted annually to surface waters (Nizzetto et al. 2016).

In large farmland estates, a likely culprit for the increase of micro-plastics in our soils is from the application of sewage sludge from municipal wastewater treatment plants to farmlands. This is based on new microplastic emission estimates in industrialized countries (Nizzetto et al. 2016). Unfortunately, scientists do not know the long-term consequences this has for sustainability and food security.

From this information, it is clear that cheap, commercial compost may not be the best choice of fertilizer to use in your garden. However, you can always make your own compost, as commonly said, ‘the best things in life are the ones you make yourself’.

If you are thinking of making your own, you need to make sure you put in the right things and avoid some rooky errors.

 

How to make your own Compost

What to add:

  • Food scraps
  • Tree/plant litter
  • Soil
  • Newspaper
  • Woodchips
  • Cardboard
  • Hay
  • Coffee grounds
  • Sawdust
  • Lawn Clippings

 

Tips

  • Make sure you have a lid to warm up the soil, protect it from larger animals
  • Water it a little – the ideal moisture content of the compost pile is between 45%-60% by weight, this should feel moist to the touch when you squeeze a handful of blended feedstocks. The material should keep its form but not give out any excess water.
  • Air temperature affects microbial growth and activity in the compost pile and so affect the rate at which they are active. In summer, spring and autumn months composting are at its fastest whereas, in winter, it is likely to come to a complete standstill.
  • Use a little bin in your kitchen for you to put only your food scraps in, and then when it is full, head outside to put into your large compost bin

Cooperband, L 2002

Thank you!

Thanks for caring about what you can do to reduce your waste and increase your environmental awareness, it is a knowledge that is very valuable in today’s age with climate change and an increasing population creating more concerns for our worlds health and our wellbeing.

 

Yours truly,

 

Danielle Packer

The Earth Co.

 

References

Cooperband, L 2002 ‘The Art and Science of Composting – A resource for farmers and compost producers’, Centre for Integrated Agricultural Systems, http://files.webydo.com/223087/artofcompost.pdf

Rillig, M, C 2012, ‘Microplastic in Terrestrial Ecosystems and the Soil’, Environmental Science and Technology, https://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1021/es302011r

Nizzetto, L, Futter, M, Langaass, S, 2016 ‘Are Agricultural Soils Dumps for Microplastics of Urban Origin?’ Environmental Science and Technology, vol. 50, no. 20, pp. 10777-10779, <https://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/acs.est.6b04140>