Tuesday, October 1, 2013

vintage finds make a good eco theme

When choosing your decor, be open minded. You may find some unusual things that you would never have thought of using, but with a little imagination, they show themselves to be the perfect accessory.

These wooden spools that were used to spin silk in a previous life will add a touch of vintage charm to your wedding decor when some beeswax candles are added. 
Add some number cards to these vintage bobbins for table numbers.

Simply pick some wild flowers for these delightful glass jars tied with jute twine and your guests will be talking about your 'darling centerpieces' for years to come.

It just takes a little imagination but our favourite eco store has done the hard work by sourcing these vintage gems for you. Take a look at Biome's green wedding page for some truly inspirational vintage wedding decor ideas.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Ethical jewels

Photo and jewellery by Utopian Creations

When choosing your engagement and wedding rings, it's worth understanding how the metal and gems were mined and handled before you invest in an industry that is frighteningly unethical. Read on for more information, but the best solution to this problem is sourcing second hand rings or diamonds. If the design is not to your specifications find a good jeweler who will use the existing gold or silver and gems to re-design them.

There are serious environmental and ethical questions around the jewellery industry. A peek behind the scenes is shocking. Do you love the gleam of gold? The release of cyanide in the extraction process is just the tip of an environmentally dirty iceberg. Dazzled by shiny gems? Much of the fiddly work cutting and polishing the world’s precious stones, such as rubies and sapphires, is done by children.
There is a profound disconnect between where a metal or stone is sourced and how it finally adorns our fingers, wrist or neck. Digging for answers (no pun intended), you get a sense that from the environmental to the ethical, the big picture is worryingly bleak.
“There are a lot of problems with jewellery,” says Cameron Neil, from Labelling Australia and New Zealand (FTLANZ)“There is good stuff going on, but there isn't alot of good news.”
“In the industry, nearly every stage has an environmentally detrimental impact,” says Ben Manning of Utopian Creations. The Adelaide-based jeweler makes every effort to ensure his products are people, planet and animal friendly.
“To start with, metals are mined from the ground. For every wedding ring, 20 tonnes of waste are produced, and large amounts of land need to be cleared for the mine, which can lead to a breakdown of the ecology in the area,” he says.
One of the UK’s first ethical jewelers, Greg Valerio, from Cred Jewellery, believes it’s wrong for the industry to continue this way. “We cannot sell a product which carries a luxury tag and is romanced and sold exclusively as a luxury, aspirational commodity, yet is 100 per cent dependent on the most environmentally damaging and polluting industry in the world.”
But the concerns aren’t purely environmental, not by a long stretch. When Queensland jeweller Melinda Nugent first learned about the issues of child labour and practices of jewel cutting factories, her ethical radar went on high alert.
“I realised I was involved in something I couldn’t stomach. In India child labour is used for cutting work,” she says. “Children are so young that the rods and cones in their eyes are not fully developed, and because they are doing such close work for hours, their eye development is interrupted. Many children are blind by twelve.”
“Sustainable” and “ethical” jewellery may be two different beasts, but the terms are often used interchangeably, perhaps partly due to the times we live in: the fair trade movement is gaining increased market acceptance at the very time we are struggling to address global environmental challenges. It is inevitable, then, that for many people, humanitarian and environmental considerations are increasingly intertwined.
“To me, they are one and the same,” says Manning. In purely ethical terms, decrying conflict diamonds is a no-brainer for most of us. These diamonds are sold by rebel groups (most famously in Sierra Leone) to fund terrorist activities, human rights abuses, or the purchase of guns.
A few years before Leonardo DiCaprio portrayed a diamond smuggler on the big screen in Blood Diamond, global concern about conflict diamonds led to the Kimberley Process, a certification scheme aiming to ensure the diamond trade does not fund violence. While 75 countries have signed up − including major diamond producers, exporters and importers − many in the industry believe that the non-legally binding status of the process isn’t strong enough to eradicate the problem entirely.
The 700-plus manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers who make up the membership of the Jewellery Association of Australia (JAA), also sign an additional annual ethical agreement, says JAA CEO, Ian Hadassin.
“It says they will always implement the World Jewellery Federation system of procedures to prevent trade in conflict diamonds, and make every effort not to deal with companies that use child labour, fail to provide adequate occupational health and safety conditions, or do not respect the environment.”
Admirable goals, but as Hadassin himself readily admits, Australian jewellers wanting to do the right thing soon discover the enormity of the task. “Finding out if companies use child labour is very difficult. The importer sells stones locally, and the retailer won’t know where they come from. Most of Australia’s stones [come] from China and what happens there we don’t know.”
Hadassin likes to think that most of JAA’s members do the right thing, but when asked directly how a retailer (or the JAA) would know, he is honest: “It’s an impossible task…it’s virtually impossible for us to monitor.”
The industry lacks large-scale systems to trace where your jewellery comes from. Unless your retailer has put in substantial effort to verify ethical origins, it all comes down to individual honesty. A wholesaler may say their product comes from a factory operating under humanitarian conditions, but there’s no onus of proof.
Even the question of “What is ethical jewellery?” is not easily answered, because, as with all ethical inquiries, the answer is subjective and addresses a huge range of issues.
At Cred Jewellery, it took Valerio and his business partner eight years to track down a source of gold they were convinced was sourced responsibly. “The jewellery industry as a whole is amazingly un-transparent. It’s very, very secretive. But the Holy Grail for us was to get transparency. We had to know where our materials were coming from,” he says.
Valerio ended up sourcing his ethically produced gold from South America, but encountered derision from industry colleagues when they heard he wanted to let customers know exactly where their wedding rings came from. “Nobody in the UK was doing this in 1996. Everybody thought we were completely bonkers.”
Not only did Valerio prove the naysayers wrong, but his partnership with the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM) has allowed him to work directly with small-scale miners who use good labour practices that actually improve the social and environmental conditions in the communities where they mine.
“In Colombia we’ve witnessed community miners taking over old disused mines left by the large-scale companies, going back over those sites to reclaim what was left of the gold deposits, and reforesting. They are clearing up all the mess the big companies left when they left Colombia because of the violence.”
With Cred Jewellery’s wedding rings now sought after by couples across the UK and further afield, Valerio’s long-held vision to see fair trade gold on the market may soon become a reality.
“ARM and the Fairtrade Labelling Organision (FLO) are currently working together to bring a fair trade gold to the international market, hopefully in 2010,” he says. Nugent’s business, Ethical Jewellery Australia, is based on commitment rings (of the wedding, engagement and you-are-really-important-to-me-but-this-is-not-an-offer-of-marriage kind). Her unease about the diamond industry has meant a long slog to come up with a product she is happy with.
To allay her environmental concerns, Nugent buys from a refiner monitored by the US Environmental Protection Agency, sources Australian diamonds so she can ensure they are conflict free, and makes her own jewellery from recycled metals rather than buying from overseas to avoid child labour issues. “You can’t do mass produced stuff in the way we’re currently doing it,” she admits. “I’ve had a lot of opposition from other retailers, from people saying, ‘You can’t do it’. I’ve proved them wrong and it is getting easier, because people care more,” she says.
Manning, who aims to avoid harm to people, planet or animals as a result of his business, has yet to find a diamond source he believes in. “Argyle Diamonds may be OK environmentally in Australia, but they are owned by Rio Tinto and you’re just helping their profits in other parts of the world where there are no controls,” he says.
He’s also unimpressed by Canadian diamonds, which are often touted as being ‘conflict-free’, he says. But the raw products are mined out of the ground in a sub-arctic environment, Manning points out, by trucking everything in and increasing the rate of permafrost melt.
Manning spent five years investigating every stage of the jewellery process to make sure products matched his ethics on environmental, humanitarian and animal welfare grounds. “I am only person selling 100-per-cent sterling recycled silver, which I get mainly from photographic and X-ray waste, while the copper I use is from mobile phone chargers collected by Mobile Muster,” he says. Manning also sells to other jewellers the sustainable supplies he’s worked so hard to source, and is a proponent of industry education. “Our industry really lags behind in this stuff, I think, because of our links to mining. It’s satisfying to be able to have an impact.”
While Manning, Valerio and Nugent all happily report that demand from consumers is growing rapidly, Cameron Neil from FTLANZ says it’s unsurprising that ethical and sustainable jewellers choose to address production issues first and foremost. “Small operators tend to look at solutions around manufacture – how it’s put together, fair wages – rather than extraction, which really has to involve the bigger players,” he says.
Ultimately, the key to changing unethical processes lies with demand. Yolande Kyngdon, an honours student in the Faculty of International Studies at the University of NSW in Sydney, is currently conducting research on the feasibility of fair trade diamonds.
“I worked for a diamond merchant and it became clear that there wasn’t a section of the market dealing with ethical consumption. It spurred me on,” she says. If she’s correct, and if projects like the FLO/ARM partnership on fair trade gold take off, the big guys may finally start listening:
“The idea would be to give consumers a chance to vote with their dollars, and to raise awareness, which in turn puts pressure on bigger business to change,” says Neil. Until then, Kyngdon’s own solution to the issue is simple, but radical: “I just don’t wear jewellery.”
This information was sourced from Green Lifestyle Magazine. Thanks  to SUE WHITE for this contribution. Sue is a freelance writer based in Sydney and a regular contributor to Green Lifestyle Magazine.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Checklist for Catering an Eco-Friendly Green Event

photo by Piknik Studios

Whether you are catering your eco-frienldy wedding or green event yourself or working with a venue and or caterer, you can make a more environmentally friendly event simply by reducing your 'food miles', which means the distance that the food has traveled from the paddock to the plate. The main reason for minimising food miles is that the transport of food significantly contributes to greenhouse gas production.

Here are some key things to consider when you plan to cater a green wedding or event: 

• Select locally grown produce to reduce your ‘food miles’.
• Use fresh, minimally processed and minimally packaged foods.
• Consider using sustainable protein sources such as beans, lentils, chickpeas and chicken in your menu.
• Locally sourced eggs, chicken and pork are more sustainable animal protein sources, select them over beef and lamb.
• Choose sustainable seafood. You can find a helpful guide at www.marineconservation.org.au
• use organic food and drinks where possible.
• use reusable, compostable or recyclable tableware.

Step 1. Planning the menu 

When organising your green wedding or event, it is important to consider what foods will be served and how they will be presented.

• Plan your menu around foods that you know are produced in the local area and are in season. Seasonal food guides are available locally from some fruit markets and online at www.ecofriendlyfood.org.au
• Be sure to include some vegetarian options as meat production is a significant contributor to global warming.
• If you do plan on serving red meat, reduce the portion sizes. You can substitute red kidney beans or lentils for red meat, and chickpeas for white meat.
• Buy only what you need for the event – It's best to let your caterer know exactly how many people you are expecting before the food is ordered to avoid excess waste.

You can find some great sustainable recipes here:  www.ecofriendlyfood.org.au/recipes

Step 2. Purchasing the food

Organic food and drinks have a lower ecological impact per kilogram compared with conventionally grown produce because less energy-intensive methods are used in their production.

• To reduce food miles:
– Shop for local foods and buy produce that's in season.
– Purchase bread from the local bakery.
– Try to select Australian-made products.
• Look for certified organic foods as much as possible.
• When Australian-made product is not available, purchase fair trade items, e.g. coffee, tea and chocolate.
• Buy products with minimal packaging, or packaging that can be recycled or reused.
• Buy one large container instead of many individually portioned ones.
• Use reusable shopping bags to reduce the number of plastic bags ending up in landfill.

Step 3. Preparing the food

• Conserve water by turning off taps when not in use.
• Wash fruits and vegetables in a partially filled sink rather than under running water.
• Switch off any cooking equipment that isn't being used.
• Ensure that equipment is in good working order and that any new equipment purchased is energy efficient.

Step 4. Presenting the food

• Use jugs for drinks rather than single-serve bottles.
• Serve foods on reusable platters and plates.
• Avoid using disposable cutlery and tableware. If you need to, use products that can be recycled or are biodegradable like palm leaf plates or Green Bean eco-tableware.

Step 5. reduce, reuse, and recycle - some practical tips to managing your waste

Waste management is one of the key components of a Green Event. One of the major threats to the environment is the amount of waste produced. Australia is the second highest producer of waste per capita after the United States, sending 18 million tonnes to landfill per annum. When food is wasted, the energy and water used in producing the food is also wasted.

• Avoid over catering by confirming the number of event attendees and communicating this number to your caterer at least two weeks before the event.
• Plan to serve filtered or unfiltered tap water instead of purchasing bottled water.
• Donate food waste to compost, chicken feed or a worm farm, rather than landfill.
• Reduce packaging and try to use what has been or can be recycled.
• Reuse plastic or glass containers where possible.
• Print menus on 100% post consumer recycled paper or use a blackboard.

Step 6. Increase awareness by informing your guests that you are planning a green event

• Invite your guests in an environmentally friendly way and mention that you are planning a green event and what it means to you.
• Provide the MC with a script to explain to guests that the food choices being provided are sustainable and why you are passionate about helping to preserve the environment.

When you are interviewing caterers and or venue locations make sure they are aware of your expectations and ask if they are willing to follow the guidelines presented below to ensure your event is as friendly to the environment as possible.

Going green event checklist to go over with your caterer ✓

  • Ensure you go over this catering guide with your caterer and venue coordinator.
  • Send your invitations electronically or on recycled paper.
  • Increase awareness by telling the guests that they are attending a green event.
  • Ask the venue:
    •  if  food waste and recycling bins will be provided
    • to serve food on reusable platters and plates
    • can they conserve water in the food preparation
    • to provide separate recycling and food waste bins.
    • is it possible for the food waste be donated to compost, chicken feed or a worm farm?
    • to switch off unnecessary lights and power sources

Monday, July 1, 2013

How to set up an eco friendly gift registry

What on this great green Earth are you wishing for? Creating a gift registry from our favourite eco frienldy lifestyle store is now easier than ever with the new wedding registry and wish list at www.biome.com.au

We love Biome's stylish eco friendly homewares that will not only make your home look amazing, they are also practical and functional. Even if you’re already living together, setting up your gift registry is about creating a home that combines both of your personal styles.  It’s the perfect opportunity to upgrade your basics and welcome some new healthy items into your home.

To set up your eco friendly gift registry simply create an account at www.biome.com.au by clicking on 'my account' at the top of the page. Once you are logged in to your account, click on your name at the top of the page, choose 'my whishlists' from the list. Click on 'new wishlist - creation and directions for use' and then name the wishlist whatever you would like. It's best to use both names i.e.  Jane & Joe's wedding registry

Now you can start shopping by adding the products you would like to your wish list. On each product page you will find a box that says 'add to my wishlist'.  Once you have created your gift registry and added all the items you want, you can then email the list to your guests. For more detailed instructions please visit our gift registry instruction page.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Eco wedding – pure beeswax candles

Thank you to Cate at QueenB for sharing this lovely post on lighting up your wedding naturally with  beeswax candles.

We’re pretty spoiled for choice on things to write about at Queen B, but I have to say that one of my greatest delights is when our customers share photographs with us of their events and we can see our hand-crafted beauties doing their thing.

It’s one thing to use candles at a wedding or event, it is another thing entirely to use completely natural beeswax candles with their unique golden light (not to mention that your guests don’t have to breathe in toxic fumes all night)… that simple choice will not just create a special ambiance  but you’re also supporting bees, our beekeepers, the regional communities they live in, jobs at Queen B… not to mention the environment and planet!  One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.  Wedding… becomes eco wedding… luxury wedding… different… special!

While my raison d’étre may be hand-crafting natural, non-toxic, carbon neutral, eco candlelight, we are fortunate that our candles appeal just as much to the luxury end of the market as they do to the conscious or eco consumer… not that they’re mutually exclusive!
Anyway, I thought it might be nice to share some of the photographs from events we’ve lit.  A picture speaks a thousands words (and, often, so do I!).  These photographs are from a wedding held at The Wharf in Sydney.  Flowers by

For this wedding, the candles were used in two ways:

  • Ambience – rising to the challenge of creating a warm, romantic, intimate ambience in a huge warehouse space, our 8-9hr tealight candles were placed in mini-fishbowls at each guest’s place setting and dotted along the windowsill around the venue.  NB putting candles into a glass not only provides wind protection but the glass reflects more light… giving you more bang for your hard earned buck.
  • Queen B beeswax tealight candles at each guest’s place and dotted along the windowsill of the venue Queen B pure beeswax 8-9hr tealight candles are the longest burning tealights on the market… so the ambience goes on and on.

eco wedding, sustainable wedding, eco event, sustainable event, beeswax candle
The sea of beeswax candles created a lovely light feature table for this eco luxury wedding created a beautiful impact
eco wedding, sustainable wedding, carbon neutral wedding, eco candlelight, beeswax candle, beeswax wedding
Create a sea of beeswax candlelight with the clever use of fishbowls, hurricanes, plinths, tealight holders, votive glasses etceco wedding, sustainable wedding, eco event, sustainable event
Creating a candle feature at your eco wedding or event is a high impact way of creating instant ambiance 

A sea of candlelight feature table – our bride wanted to create a sea of candles as a feature at the event.  This was cleverly achieved on a budget by using large fishbowls, glass plinths, tealight holders and votive holders along with various sizes of candles to create the look.  The flickering of the flames reflecting off the glass holders of different sizes and shapes created the look of hundreds of candle flames.

A few tips for creating this look:

  • most good florists will have glassware that they can lend/hire to you for the evening rather than purchasing it.
  • if you’re having an event at home or not using a florist for your event, hire glasses (lowballs or highballs) as another cheap way of creating this look without breaking the bank
  • otherwise, most thrift stores have a huge range of glassware for sale… I’ve lit an event before where I bought over 150 glasses for 50c each and then dropped them back the next day.  That’s a win win!  And the different sizes, shapes and heights of the glasses create a beautiful look… if that’s the look you’re going for!… it’s not the luxury eco wedding look, but it is a lovely look!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

How to plan an eco friendly wedding

Often couples who plan an eco friendly wedding want to demonstrate to their family and friends, that they care about the environment and the impact that a large event like this creates and that this is the lifestyle they have chosen for themselves. But for any couple interested in planning a natural wedding, it's a good idea to start with a different frame of mind.

Most importantly - Don't Stress! Trying to make your wedding completely eco friendly may be overwhelming, but by choosing the important parts to “green up” can make all the difference. It’s not just about being the most eco friendly, it’s about working in the right direction to make a difference. In the end knowing that you have made an effort to protect the planet, is well worth it.

Here are a few eco friendly planning tips to help you get started:

Choosing A Venue

One of the first steps in wedding planning is choosing a venue. A truly sustainable ceremony might take place in a venue powered by solar panels and illuminated by light-emitting diode (LED) lighting, and wiped down afterwards with eco friendly cleaning products. When scouting out venues, ask how the facility handles food and drink, table settings and trash, to see if it’s done in an eco friendly way.

The best caterers for a sustainable wedding, minimise waste of resources and use locally sourced ingredients.

A list of questions to ask might be:

  • Do they recycle paper, plastics, cans and glass if it can’t be done on-site. 
  • Do they offer local and organic food choices. 
  • Do they serve food on reusable dish ware that’s washed and reused after the event. 
  • Can you provide utensils like palm leaf plates that are biodegradable in an approved commercial composting facility. 
  • Do they provide condiments, beverages, sides and other items without individual packaging. 
  • Do they donate left-over food scraps to an agency like OzHarvest , Second Bite , FareShare , Food Bank or other organisations that support the homeless by distributing surplus food. 

Virtual invites

Before any of this can happen, you have to alert your friends and family to your upcoming nuptials with an invitation. If you’re planning a sustainable wedding, that can mean breaking with tradition.

For traditional weddings, “the invitation is really what sets the tone for the event, often employing the upcoming wedding’s colours and motif. But more and more green-minded couples are dispensing with printed save-the-date notices and formal printed wedding invitations. One eco friendly alternative is the online invitation website Evite, which offers about 50 free wedding/engagement announcement designs that can be customised with the couple’s event information and sent out to their friends and family via email and Facebook. The guest list is updated in real time; you can opt to be notified when guests RSVP or comment, and can export your guest list to an Excel spreadsheet for easy access.

The Wedding Dress

These days, eco friendly wedding dresses are becoming more and more popular thanks to the popularity that is building on the importance of planning an eco friendly type of wedding. There are a number of wedding dress designers worldwide, who showcase a variety of wedding dresses to choose from whether you are tall and lean, voluptuous and short, petite and slim. Because of this, choices for environment friendly pieces have become aplenty, making it more competitive with non eco friendly dresses. An eco friendly fabric is charmeuse which combines hemp and silk to give a lovely sheen and wonderful drape. Hemp is grown without the use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers and wild peace silk are cocoons that are harvested only after the moths have emerged. You can find made to order dresses using this fabric at Threadhead Creations on Etsy.

The least expensive and best green option is considering a second hand gown or those dresses that are being passed from one generation to another. You may need to do a little cleaning or alterations, but a second hand gown is always the best way to stay sustainable on your wedding day. If you think these dresses are going to be cheap or tacky, think again. Websites like Preowned Wedding Dresses sell designer dresses like Vera Wang and Monique Lhuillier (which retail at up to $15,000) for half price, and sometimes even less.

The Bridesmaid Dress

Bridesmaids may wear dresses they had already purchased for some other occasion or bought at vintage shops. These days there are no rules as to what to wear especially if you have the environment in mind while planning your green wedding.

The Grooms Attire

Both Groom and groomsmen are encouraged to rent rather than buy tuxedos unless the Groom is sure he will get a lot of further use out of it. If your groom has his own kind of style why not consider putting together a second hand ensemble from a thrift or vintage store.


When you look at generations gone by, your grandmother would have chosen flowers that were handy. Give your florist a general style and colour scheme, and any flowers that you dislike, but generally allow them flexibility so they can use what's in season and readily available locally. Though local choices may be limited, it’s easy to be creative. Think out of the box and incorporate things like herbs, fruits and even vegetables, using whatever is fresh you can create an interesting and eco friendly arrangement. Being conscious of the season when planning the date can also create a positive impact. If your heart is set on a certain species choose to get married at the time of the year that particular flower will be in season. Just because strawberries are available year-round doesn't mean they taste great all year, the same goes for flowers. For something really different you could get crafty and make your bouquet out of fabric and buttons as shown on our blog.


Carbon dioxide levels are now at 400 parts per million so consider using low-carbon transportation when the big day arrives by searching for a green alternative to your standard limo company or you could hire a Nissan Leaf or Toyota Prius to make a real eco statement. Inspire guests to leave their cars at home and hop on a bus or train instead of taking a taxi. If you simply can't arrange sustainable transport you can offset your emissions - Easy Being Green offer an all-in-one wedding carbon neutral package.

The Decor

There's no doubt that ensuring your guests are dazzled by your choice of decor, is a huge part of creating the atmosphere for your reception. Get creative, there are so many simple things you can do, even if you don't have a lot of time, rather than depleting the earth’s resources by purchasing your decor, many couples choose to rent them instead, from places such as lovestruckweddings.com.au

The Gift Registry

What on Earth do you wish for? To avoid the waste of unwanted or unnecessary gifts register for gifts that wont hurt the environment. Biome Eco Stores is a Home Body Lifestyle store that has the Planet in mind.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Large Functions in Australia Contribute to 1.3 billion Tonnes of Food Wasted Each Year!

An Australian wedding calls for large-scale preparation of food with lavish menus being the order of the day, which can also result in large amounts of food wastage. When planning large scale events, whether it be for a wedding, private function or corporate event, choose a restaurant, function centre or venue that considers food waste, and reduces it where possible.

By working closely with caterers and event staff, your celebration can also be a an environmental success by reducing the waste simply by asking them to provide the leftovers to OzHarvestSecond Bite,FareShareFood Bank or other organisations that support the homeless by distributing surplus food.

Planning food volumes with your caterer makes them aware of your concerns and together you will be able to minimise the amount of food wasted. It's important that you factor in the number of guests attending and communicate these details properly to your caterer. That way, they can get the number and quantity of food as close as possible.

A good caterer will know how to minimise portions not options. Most people can't eat more than 500g of food for dinner. A buffet with too much variety means that people can't sample everything whereas an a la carte menu can mean less wastage as the portions can be controlled and the options are limited.
When planning your menu consider sourcing lower environmental impact food choices, for example, you can use the Australian Marine Conservation Society’s Sustainable Seafood Guide.

Some other ideas are to plan your menu around what's in season at the time of your event and use local produce as much as possible which will help reduce the packaging and transporting the food vast distances.

Think Eat Save is an anti-food waste and food loss campaign that encourages you to reduce your foodprint. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), every year 1.3 billion tonnes of food is wasted. At the same time, one in every seven people in the world go to bed hungry and more than 20,000 children under the age of five die every day of hunger. Think Eat Save encourages people to become more aware of the environmental impact of the food choices they make and take informed decisions. Think Eat Save provides great advice on their website on how to reduce your food waste.

Another great resource is Love Food Hate Waste.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Green catering

We are all aware of how much waste a large event like a wedding can create.  Now there is no need to feel guilty when you entertain.  Whether it be for an elegant natural wedding or a rustic family BBQ at Biome Eco Friendly Stores you can find many choices that will suit your style and budget.

wasara-kaku-plates-small-square-6- (1)

The Wasara range (pictured above) is perfect for a natural wedding with 100% biodegradable and compostable single use tableware that is produced sustainably from bamboo, reed and bagasse pulp. The delicate appearance resembles a fine porcelain. It makes an ideal green catering disposable option for posh parties, picnics natural weddings and green events.

At Biome Eco Stores you will find small, medium and large plates, bowls and cutlery.

Prices range from $11.95-19.95 for packs of 10 pieces.

View the Wasara green catering range at www.biome.com.au

Green Bean eco friendly dinnerware is a collection of stylish single-use products for serving food that is made of  Balsa wood. It has a smart contemporary look and feel, and comprises of plates, cutlery, skewers, party picks, chopsticks and cones. The Green Bean green catering range is disposable, biodegradable and compostable. green catering prices are available when you order over 100 of each item although 1 month lead time may be necessary.

At Biome Eco Stores you will find small, medium and large plates,  small, medium and large bowls, cones, serving cups and cutlery. Prices range from $7.50-19.95 for packs of 10 pieces.
View the Green Bean green catering range at www.biome.com.au


These budget friendly Palm leaf plates are made from the naturally shed palm leaf sheath. These biodegradable plates are sturdy, leak proof and can withstand hot and cold temperatures, including baking food and microwave. The rustic nature of these plates and bowls make the perfect addition to any green catering event, family picnic or BBQ or any occasion when you are catering outdoors. They can be washed and used again for a limited time depending on how they are used and they make the perfect alternative to plastic and paper plates anywhere, anytime. When you're done you can just pop them into the compost heap instead of sending them to landfill.

Biome Eco Stores stock dinner plates, small side plates and small round bowls (as pictured above). Prices range from $12.95-15.95 for packs of 25 pieces. 

View the green catering Palm leaf plates at www.biome.com.au

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Volunteer vacation honeymoon - for the intrepid couple

Once the wedding is over, of course you want to relax, but if you're the intrepid sort you'll find that a volunteer vacation for your honeymoon will be valued as a precious memory to start your marriage together and there's no better cultural immersion than to earn respect working side by side with locals who need your help.

The options are endless, pick a trip that you're passionate about and leave the land, animals or people better off than before you arrived. The bonus is you may find you take away more from your volunteer vacation honeymoon that you bargained for.

Thailand volunteer vacation & hilltribe treck - from $1742 AUD 15 Days

Asia -Thailand

Experience the diversity of Thailand on an adventure that includes hill-tribe trekking in the North, beach time in the South and life-changing volunteer projects on a pristine Andaman island. You’ll make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged children as you pitch in at the local school, and after a rewarding day, you can really immerse yourself in the island lifestyle as nights are spent in a beach side homestay. Then trade the beach for the hills and a chance to trek to resilient hilltribe villages.

Highlights: Giving back through a volunteer vacation with a school and community projects, experiencing local life in a homestay, blissing out in Khao Sok National Park, visiting a community tourism project on Koh Pra Thong, trekking small hilltribe villages and fields.

Explore & Cambodia Laos - from $1050 AUD 13 Days

Asia - Thailand, Cambodia, Laos

Spend time on your volunteer vacation honeymoon with one of our projects in Laos and Cambodia and you'll take away so much more than souvenirs or photographs—you'll engage the local community with building and education initiatives. And you’ll still have the opportunity to explore incredible ruins at Angkor Wat and experience French influences in riverside cafés. Whether you're marveling at stunning scenery, Buddhist monasteries or the face of a smiling child, this journey will allow you to dig deep into the people and culture of South East Asia.

Highlights: Volunteer vacations with New Hope Cambodia in Siem Reap, meeting workers of a local NGO in Luang Prabang, marvelling at the magnificent temples of Angkor Wat, enjoying a local homestay, relaxing in the riverside town of Vang Vieng.

Zambia volunteer vacation & safari - from $1599 AUD14 days

Africa - Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa

For travelers eager to give a little something back to the world that’s given them so much, Zambia needs you! This adventurous trip across three countries combines an authentic safari odyssey through national parks in search of the Big Five with time spent working on volunteer projects that benefit the people and animals of the region. Walk with rhinos and gain personal insight into the culture of the Shangaan people one day, participate in the Livingstone community volunteer program the next. Karma—it’s the ultimate travel rewards program.

Highlights: Your volunteer vacation at a Livingstone community project, Spotting the Big Five in Kruger National Park, gazing out across Victoria Falls, walking in search of rhinos and searching for wildlife from a 4x4 in Matobo National Park, witnessing Shangaan traditions, discovering the less-visited Zimbabwe.

Volunteer vacation in Peru Amazon - from $1399 AUD9 days

South America - Amazon, Peru

Experience the Peruvian Amazon on this exciting and hands-on jungle adventure. Travel by motorised canoe up the Tambopata River to the G Lodge Amazon. Spend five days of your volunteer vacation at a centre for the rehabilitation and conservation of wild animals. Work alongside staff to feed and take care of animals so they can be successfully released back to their natural habitats. Next, spend two days in the rainforest learning about traditional medicinal plants, spotting birds, cayman and monkeys.

Highlights: Your volunteer vacation in the Amazon with the rehabilitation and conservation of animals, exploring the jungle and searching for wildlife.

Voluteer honeymoon China – Pandas - from $1827 AUD14 days

Asia - China

This unique itinerary introduces the highlights of the Middle Kingdom — from the historic gems of modern Beijing to the ancient walls of Xi'an and cosmopolitan glitter of contemporary Shanghai while allowing you to give back to the community at the same time. From the palaces and temples of Beijing venture to the countryside to experience the grandeur of the Great Wall and work with intellectually challenged youth at a unique organic farm centre designed to offer employment opportunities and training to intellectually challenged people. In Xi'an witness the world-famous Terracotta Warriors, in Chengdu indulge in the culinary spice that is Sichuan cuisine and volunteer at the largest panda reserve in the world to help ensure these distinctly Chinese icons are around for future generations to admire.

Highlights: A volunteer vacatiuon at a rural organic farm and working with the local community, coming face-to-face with pandas at the Bifengxia Panda Center, exploring the bustling markets and streets of China's biggest cities, hiking along the Great Wall, standing in the middle of Tiananmen Square and meeting the Terracotta Warriors.

For even more adventurous volunteer vacation honeymoon ideas visit the Great Adventure website.

Don't forget to create your eco friendly gift registry at Biome Eco Stores so you are sure to receive eco friendly gifts that you actually want and that are useful to you.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Eco Friendly wedding dress

Eco-conscious brides-to-be will know that when planning a natural wedding, there are several issues to address, but the wedding dress will most likely be one of the biggest considerations on their list.

Here are some fun and somewhat green wedding dress ideas from natural brides who have taken the plunge down the aisle.

This 'natural bride' is a fashion designer. She and her 'natural groom' had joked over the years that they’d get married once they collected enough bread tags to cover a dress, a feat which prompted family and friends to join in the collection to speed things along. The multicolored green wedding dress was made of 10,000 bread tags collected over ten years. 

Treating the tags like scales, she created an overlapping pattern, which also disguised the stitching. The 10,000 plastic tags were sewn with her sewing machine onto a cotton base fabric with a corset underneath. All in all, the fifteen pound green wedding dress only cost $36 but took her hundreds of hours to make. Each tag bears a “best by” date, bringing back memories of their time together over the years. Now that's commitment!

Talk about popping the question!

This Canadian bride wore an eco friendly wedding dress made out of 13 feet of bubble wrap as she walked down the aisle. The green wedding dress used over 13 meters of re-used packing material that was put together by pupils and parents from her school for a fashion show featuring recyclable materials. This green wedding dress is made from sheets of carefully stitched bubble wrap, attached to an inner cloth lining, and finished off with white foam packaging material.

The bride remarked "There was quite a lot of popping as I walked down the aisle, I was very nervous, but having the bubbles to pop, really helped calm my nerves".

 Wool you marry me?  

Little Bo-peep would be jealous of this dress.

When this breeder of rare sheep, decided to get married in a green wedding dress made of the wool from her beloved Lincoln Longwool sheep, she wanted "to prove that wool is not just something for knitting baby booties, and that native breeds can have just as big a presence today as in the past."

This green wedding dress took a spinner and dressmaker 67 hours to make. "But it was worth it", said the groom who wore a wool waistcoat. In keeping with the theme, she had a shepherds crook, and the ring cushion was made of fleece. They are obviously a tight-knit couple.

Follow the paper trail

This amazing green wedding dress was made with only toilet paper, tape and glue inspired by "Gone With the Wind" and Japanese Origami.

It's clear to see that you can be as creative as you like when creating your green wedding dress but the most popular choice when planning a natural wedding would be to find a pre-loved dress.

Don't forget to create your eco friendly gift registry at Biome Eco Stores so you are sure to receive eco friendly gifts that you actually want and that are useful to you.
For more info on how to create an eco friendly wedding dress visit www.naturalweddings.com.au

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Green event

Planning a natural wedding or green event is not only about responsibility to the environment, it’s also about love. Your love for each other, your love for family and friends and your love for the Earth. Your wedding is a great opportunity to affect your extended family and friends by making earth conscious decisions that enhance the natural beauty of the setting. 

Just as we have an impact on the environment in which we live, the environment also has an impact on us. In nature we experience the beauty and organic wildness of the earth, which has a measurably positive effect on our psychological and physical well-being when we cater a green event. 

photo credit: Jose Villa

 Save time, resources and money by finding a vendor you can hire your natural touches from, for your green event.

you can hire these and many more pre-loved items from lovestruckweddings.com.au for your green event.
Make your own decorations from materials that you already have around the house. Ask friends and family to donate fabrics that fit your theme. They'll love to see their old dress hanging as bunting on the day of your green event.

 Or you can find lots of hand made decorations on etsy.com like these beer can stars for your green event.

Ask your friends and family for Earth friendly gifts that are useful to you by registering for your 

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