Take the hint, make a difference

   take the hint orangutan pic page (2)

  • Swap teabags for a re-useable tea infuser like this one. You’ll get a better quality cup of tea, without all the extra paper and packaging that goes into a teabag. This one is $9.95 from Victoria’s Basement.

tea infuser

  • Don’t wrap the kids’ sandwiches in plastic wrap. Go retro and use waxed paper. You’ll find it in most large supermarkets or online here.

  • Was that new pair of jeans you’re eyeing off stitched together thanks to child labour? Has your HG foundation been tested on animals? Now it’s easy to make ETHICAL choices when you’re shopping: Bookmark this web address in your phone: goodonyou.org.au then just key brand names into the search engine to find out their ethical rating. So now you can make informed choices every time you shop.  Brilliant.

  • Remember always: the smile that you send out returns to you.

  • ‘Tis the season for Mouldering Vegetable Soup: a brilliant non-recipe designed to eliminate food waste and warm your cockles at the same time. Here’s how I do it: open the veggie crisper, harvest every item that looks suspect (but is still edible) – soft carrots, potatoes past their prime, sad celery, mouldy cabbage etc. Fry up an onion and some garlic in a big saucepan, then roughly chop all the mouldering vegetables and throw them in. (Chop off any actually mouldy bits though). Add in half a packet of green split peas (rinsed), about a litre of veggie stock (enough to cover all the veggies), and cook till everything is mushy. Whizz, serve, and enjoy!

  • Why is palm oil a no-no? Because its production is contributing to the demise of the forests that orang-utans call home. Palm oil is a cheap, versatile vegetable oil that’s added not just to crackers and chocolate, but also cosmetics, detergents, even toothpaste.It’s a saturated fat and the Heart Foundation lists it as one to avoid. But you’ll rarely find ‘palm oil’ listed as an ingredient. Most often, it’s simply called ‘vegetable oil’. Check out non-palm-oil choices on this list of palm oil-free products from the Borneo Orangutan Survival Australia website. And find out more from Say No To Palm Oil. 

  • Prawns should be expensive. There are no bargains on crustaceans: the ones with the cheap price tag are farmed at HUGE environmental cost in south-east Asian countries. They’re fed with tonnes of unsustainably caught wild fish, fed antibiotics, and kept in filthy pens, sometimes with pesticides and chemical sunscreens added. Doesn’t sound too appetising. Help put a stop to unsustainable prawn farming by only buying Australian farmed prawns – they’re the expensive ones! Best varieties are tiger, banana and kuruma prawns. (This recommendation is from the Australian Marine Conservation Society.)  Find out more at the Sustainable Table blog and check out Matthew Evans’ prawny episode of What’s the Catch?

  • Don’t over-fill the kettle when making a cup of tea or coffee. Electric kettles actually draw heaps of power, so if you’re filling it to capacity when all you’re making is one or two cups, you’re simply wasting power, dollars and time. Less water = faster boiling time = less energy and dollars + a quicker cuppa!

  • Are the contents of your makeup bag completely cruelty-free? Spare a thought for the bunnies and check out the ‘Choose Cruelty Free’ list before heading to the beauty counter.

  • Store vegies in the brilliant Fresh & Crisp breathable plastic bags. They really do keep vegies fresher for longer so you waste less. They’re also reuseable, so one pack will last you a really long time. Available in supermarkets and online here.

  • If you must toss a plastic bag in the bin, tie a knot in it first. That helps prevent it getting caught by the breeze and flying out into the wide world. Find out more at Clean Up Australia.

  • Help reduce waste by buying your meat at the butcher instead of the supermarket, where meat is packaged in plastic-wrapped polystyrene foam trays.

  • You might think you’re buying free range eggs. Think again. Labels are misleading. Animal Welfare Labels has put together a comprehensive consumer guide outlining the conditions chickens are kept in for each type of ‘free range’ label. Download it from their website here and help end cruelty to chickens.

  • Read ‘The Giving Tree’ by Shel Silverstein. If you have kids, read it to them too. Simple yet incredibly moving, this little book has a powerful message.
The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein
The Giving Tree available at Booktopia.

  • Buy a Bokashi bucket and get composting. You can toss all your food scraps in there (even meat and fish – but no bones) . It doesn’t smell. Every couple of days you drain off the juice and use it to fertilise the garden. Watch your plants bloom and your volume of household rubbish shrink. Very satisfying! Buy Bokashi bins at some Bunnings stores and online – just Google ‘Bokashi’.

Photo Credit: Baby Sumatran Orangutan hanging on rope, 4 months old, in front of white background. By patriziasoliani   

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