Fishy business

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Fishy business
10th July, 2018

We’ve all heard the adage we are what we eat, but what about the one that goes we eat what we wear?

Blue Mountains Food Co-op supplier Import Ants recently published an alarming story about Fish, Fibres and Food.

Here is an edited version.

When fish eat fibres, the fish and the fibres end up on our dinner plate. But there is more to the story!

Fish like eating microplastic fibres

Fibres absorb chemical pollutants and pathogens

Food that we eat from the sea has significant amounts of plastic in it

But why do fish eat these fibres?   

New research has found that the “scent” of plastic appeals to foraging fish just as much as the scent of their natural food. So fish are being tricked into eating plastic because of how it smells. And with all the plastics that are entering our oceans it is not just fish that are affected by them.

At Vancouver Island University’s Nanaimo campus, Dr. Sarah Dudas leads a team dissolving oyster guts to leave behind the microplastics they have ingested and she is finding them in almost every shellfish.

Prawns, oysters and other molluscs are filter-feeders. When these filter-feeders are eaten by larger marine life they act as a gateway into the food chain.

So where are these plastic fibres coming from?

There has been a lot of research lately that is showing that much of this plastic fibre is coming from our laundry. Every load of synthetic clothing empties an estimated 1.7 grams of microfibers into the water stream, and these are not filtered out at treatment plants.

In 2013, Dr Peter Ross director of the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Pollution Research Program, began sampling water off the coast of British Columbia for microplastics.  His study published in Science Direct found 9,200 particles of microplastic per cubic meter of seawater.

Using a spectrometer he found these microplastic particles originated from four main sources. Micro-beads common in toothpaste & cosmetics, polystyrene from packaging, nurdles the hard resin pellets used as the raw material for other plastic products, however the majority were from microfibers in synthetic fabrics.

Food we eat

Plastics and chemicals are finding their way into the food chain.

In a study published in the science journal Nature in 2015, marine researchers bought fish at public markets in California and Indonesia and examined their stomach contents. Around one in four fish at markets in both locations had plastic particles in their guts.

However, it is the chemical makeup of plastic that may be having a more harmful effect.

Rolf Halden, director of Arizona State University’s Center for Environmental Security suggests that the chemicals used to make plastic may migrate into the fish flesh and thus the edible parts of seafood.

We know that microplastics act as a sponge, absorbing chemicals in the water. These may sometimes be found “in accumulated concentrations that may be harmful to humans”, says Halden.

In Australia, researchers in a controlled laboratory study headed by Bradley Clarke, an environmental scientist at RMIT University, spiked microbeads from face cleaners with “environmentally relevant” concentrations of the pollutant polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and fed them to Murray River rainbow fish. They found 12.5 per cent of PBDEs from the microbeads leached into the tissue of the fish.

It is already known that PBDE levels in seafood biomagnify up the food chain. PBDEs and other similar pollutants are linked to neurological health problems, impaired immune function and fertility problems.

So what can we do?

It is easy to feel that your choices make only a small difference to what is a very large problem. But we know that corporations and governments don’t change without financial incentive or public pressure. So you have more power as a consumer than you think.

  • Woolworths and Coles have now banned single-use plastic bags in stores across Australia.

  • Starbucks in the UK have removed plastic straws and cutlery from their shelves. Customers have to ask if they want them. March 2018

  • McDonald’s shareholders are considering a proposal to remove plastic straws in May 2018

  • Australian retailers are phasing out microbeads – April 2018 – a recent federal government commissioned assessment of 4400 relevant supermarket and pharmacy products found only six per cent still contained microbeads

Australia has been slow at legislating to reduce plastics in our environment, preferring voluntary agreements with the manufacturers. We can do better. However, with the growth of people power and some wonderful groups like Boomerang Alliance and Take 3 for the Sea pushing for government and industry to improve, change is on its way.

  • Switch to a non-plastic kitchen scourer like the Eco Max Kitchen Scrubber

  • Support companies that have policies to reduce plastics

  • Use a reusable cup and drink bottle

  • Take your own carry bag and say no to the plastic bag at the checkout

  • Don’t buy things packaged in polystyrene or excessive plastic packaging

  • Do buy natural fabrics and avoid synthetic fibres

  • Use a no phosphorus Bio-compatible laundry detergent then reuse your grey water on the garden

  • Say no to straws, plastic cotton buds, cutlery and lollies on plastic sticks

  • Use your own container and fill up at a bulk food shop

So be the change you want to see in the world and remember every little step we each take together makes a giant difference.

To read the full article from Import Ants click here.

 

Refill not landfill
10th July, 2018

A worldwide love affair with bottled water is costing us dearly and not just our hip pocket.  In 2017, The Guardian revealed that almost 20,000 plastic bottles were consumed per second globally, and that figure would increase another 20% by 2021, “creating an environmental crisis … as serious as climate change.”

Australia’s bottled water consumption generates over 60,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year and despite most being recyclable, billions of plastic water bottles end up in landfill or as litter in our waterways and oceans. New studies have also discovered that the largest source of micro-plastics consumed by humans come from drinking bottled water.

But there is good news. Did you know you could refill your reusable water bottle at the Blue Mountains Food Co-op? The Co-op has free filtered water available on tap in-store for thirsty shoppers, locals and tourists.

“It has always been the Co-op’s remit to provide opportunities for shoppers to reduce waste wherever possible,” says Halin Nieuwenhuyse, Blue Mountains Food Co-op manager. “To that end we stock a large range of non-plastic, eco-friendly shopping and produce bags, food storage containers, stainless steel, bamboo and glass drinking straws, keep-cups, water bottles, and locally-made ceramics. And we welcome donations of label-free glass jars and bottles for re-use.

With China now refusing to accept the world’s waste, it’s more important than ever to be mindful of the products we buy and choose package-free or reusable packaging where we can.”

To support Plastic-free July the Co-op is offering non-members the opportunity to shop at member’s prices all this month when they BYO reused or recycled containers, plus go into the draw to win a Plastic-free Living prize pack. See bmfoodcoop.org.au or in-store for details.

Edible Garden Festival 2019
5th July, 2018

Organisers of this year’s hugely successful Edible Garden Festival and Trail are planning an even bigger and better festival for 2019 and they need you, the food growers of the Blue Mountains, to register interest.

Jump on their facebook page to like and follow for updates and information on how you can be involved in this great community initiative. Or drop them an email at ediblegardenfestival@gmail.com

Photo by Cameron Bryce taken at the Whitton’s garden.

 

 

 

10 minutes with…
5th July, 2018

Renee Tilley of Paudha Healing

Q: Briefly, what is your background and what prompted you to start making natural beauty products?

Renee: I worked in the legal industry for 20 years until recently; very far removed from the world of beauty! It was after the birth of my daughter in 2011 that I decided I wanted a change in direction and enrolled in a Bachelor of Heath Science (Naturopathy). My study of herbal medicine and further research I undertook led me to start making my own natural beauty products. I was fascinated by the benefits of herbs and natural ingredients and also blown away by the results I saw in using these ingredients in my own skincare.

I went on to study an Advanced Certificate in Cosmetic Chemistry, which really opened my eyes to some of the chemicals used in the beauty industry and ingredients I did not want to use in my products. I love making products that contain ingredients that actually have a purpose/benefit to the skin, not just a filler to make the product look or feel nice but with no real benefits. I was receiving requests from friends and work colleagues who had tried my products and wanted to buy them as presents, so with a little push from my amazing hubby, we decided to turn what was my hobby and passion, into a business. It kind of snowballed from there and I am so happy I can now share these products with so many people.

Q: What does ‘Paudha’ mean and how does it inform your business?

Renee: ‘Paudha’ means plant in Hindi and that is what I wanted the range to be about, using beautiful plant-based ingredients to create an affordable skincare range for everyday use. Since launching we have received our accreditation with Choose Cruelty-Free Australia, which means neither our final products nor any of the ingredients have been tested on animals, during the course of their production. This is something we are very passionate about. We also package all of our products in glass jars in order to reduce our environmental impact.

Q: What is special about living and working in the Blue Mountains?

Renee: The Blue Mountains is such a special place. I truly believe you can feel the energy up here. When I travel to Sydney and return to the mountains, it is almost as if a sense of calm comes over me and I can breathe properly! We are so blessed to be able to live in such a pristine area. We moved to the mountains seven years ago and since starting the business, my eyes have been opened to the wonderful, supportive community we have here. Our business wouldn’t be where it is today without the support and encouragement we receive, not only from our customers in the Blue Mountains and beyond but the local business owners also. That includes our stockists of course but also other Blue Mountains business owners, that really come together to lift you up, provide referrals and advice.

Q: Any new products on the horizon that you’d like to tell us about?

Renee: I have so many new products in my head! As for what is ready to be released, we have a Shave Oil coming out for men just in time for Father’s Day and we are currently working on a face scrub, although we are still a long way off releasing that, as it needs to go through all the testing etc. Keep an eye out on our social media pages or subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to hear about when our new products are released!

Come to the Co-op Thursday 26th July to meet Renee and learn more about Paudha Healing products in the first of our ‘Meet the Maker’ series.

Plastic-free July BYO competition
3rd July, 2018

BYO containers this Plastic-free July and win!

It’s a win-win situation when you ditch plastic for BYO containers and recycled produce bags at the Co-op. Not only are you helping to protect the environment, and your health, but you will go into the draw to win a fantastic Plastic-free Living prize pack.

During July, every time non-members use their own containers (reused or recycled produce bags, packaging, jars and bottles) to buy food or other unpackaged products they will:

Shop at member’s prices & go into the draw to win a fabulous selection of plastic-free living products

And, during July, every time members use their own containers (reused or recycled produce bags, packaging, jars and bottles) to buy food or other unpackaged products they will:

Go into the draw to win a fabulous selection of plastic-free living products

Don’t forget to fill in your entry ticket at the checkout!

Prize pack includes:

Coco cutlery (1 set of six)

Gingham & Wax natural reusable wraps (2 sets of 3)

Wire Pegs stainless steel clothes pegs

Earths Purities Bicarb Free Deodorant Paste

Clemence Organics Ultimate SOS balm

Ever Eco Stainless steel smoothie straws (pack of 4 plus cleaning brush)

Green Essentials Sustain-a-Stacker stainless steel lunch box

Earthlust 1 litre stainless steel water bottle

Laughing Bird linen shopping bag – locally made

Soaps by Heather – Goats, Oats & Honey 

Beauty and the Bees natural shampoo bar

Natural Value cellulose scrubber

Import Ants non-stick pan brush and palm body brush

Klean Kanteen insulated tumbler

1kg Organic Soapberries from That Red House plus wooden storage box

Organic produce bags

Nina’s bees lip balm

Mieco Bamboo toothbrushes x 2, toothbrush holder and hairbrush

 

 

 

 

 

Early closing for stocktake
27th June, 2018

Coffee tasting at the Co-op
27th June, 2018

Sewing on Saturday
14th June, 2018

Mending Mondays has morphed into Sewing on Saturday – a new monthly drop in group that’s got all your repairs sewn up!

When: Saturday June 23rd 10am – 12pm

Where: Down Ha’Penny Lane from the big shop, up the marble stairs

Come and learn some new skills, share a cuppa and repair or renovate your wardrobe.

Plus, it’s in the bag!

Learn to sew your own reusable shopping bag.

Mentor this month: Jacqueline Wagner

The sharpest tool in the shed
13th June, 2018

Justin Morrissey is the weekend warrior behind Toolo, Katoomba’s tool library. He took time out to talk tools with the Co-op.

Co-op: Briefly, what is Toolo and how long has it been operating?

Justin: Toolo, is the Blue Mountains Tool Library, an artist run, not-for-profit, volunteer managed group that coordinates a resource hub of shared things for members to borrow.

Co-op: What prompted you to start a tool library?

Justin: I’d seen many similar successful projects overseas that weren’t supported by government, just run by people for people, and it seemed to just make sense to have one in the Blue Mountains.

Co-op: Who are your members and how can people join?

Justin: Members pay a small fee of about less than $2 per week, to borrow items from the library, they can join online or in person at the library, sign a form, present some ID, and then they can borrow to their hearts content.

Co-op: What projects has Toolo initiated since its inception?

Justin: We’ve had all manner of activities, like casting and modelling workshops, digital making and 3D printing demonstrations, an artist in residence program, and the Katoomba Falls Kiosk pop up art space for 9 months. Pretty good going for a library just turning two years old in July.

Co-op: What are your plans for the future of Toolo?

Justin: Toolo needs to have about 300 members to maintain viability, to pay the rent, insurance, and test and tag electrical equipment. Once we have 300 members we are a viable entity that can remain sustainable for future generations.

We plan to continue to educate the wider community about sustainability in the creative industries about innovation and entrepreneurship for creatives. The tool library offers an incredible shift in economies and we hope we can encourage people to join so that we may also be able to employ staff locally to run the programs and become tool librarians.

Click here to join Toolo online or pop into the library at 8 Froma Lane, Katoomba.

Opening hours: 3 – 6pm Thursdays and 9am -1 pm Saturdays.

Repair Cafe for Katoomba

Blue Mountains Food Co-op is joining forces with Toolo to start a Repair Cafe – a monthly pop up where the local community can learn how to fix, mend, restore and reuse broken and worse for wear household items. There are currently 1,500 Repair Cafes worldwide  keeping tonnes of ‘hard rubbish’ out of landfill and ensuring valuable skills are passed on.

If you have repair skills you would like to share please contact the Co-op or Toolo at hello@bmfoodcoop.org.au or toolo.blue@gmail.com

Fresh pickings
13th June, 2018

Seasonal fruit and veg

Local citrus

When life gives you lemons! We have spray-free, juicy lemons from Carlingford but hurry they won’t last long!

These beautiful ‘Romanesco’ broccoli were a hit with shoppers.

New in the big little shop

Everco Bamboo straws 

4 pack includes cleaning brush. Sustainable and biodegradable. Made in Indonesia.

Green Essentials bamboo straw

Single straw that is package free. Bamboo, 100% BPA-free, PVC-free, phthalate-free and lead-free.

Laughing Bird tea towels, aprons & bags

Locally printed and sewn on linen featuring Blue Mountains Flora, Fauna and scenes.

Nim Veda Organic Rosewater 

Food grade rosewater in a misting spray.

Featured product – LIP BALMS

Hurraw Vegan lip balms

Organic coconut, lime, Earl Gray, orange, grapefruit, green tea, chocolate, Moon (Blue chamomile vanilla), chai, black cherry (tinted). Made in USA.

Est Velvet lip balm

Nourishing olive oil, beeswax and honey, calendula oil and vitamin E. Made in Melbourne.

Weleda Everon lip balm

Nourishing and protecting with organic jojoba oil, shea butter, rose and beeswax.  Really great for wind burnt lips. Made in Germany.

Locally made lip balms

Nina’s Bees lip balm

Locally made, plastic free packaging. With Nina’s bees honey and beeswax, coconut and almond oils.

Wild Earth Luscious Lime lip balm

Locally made using Malfroy’s  beeswax, organic cocoa butter, fair trade shea butter calendula infused sunflower oil, and lime essential oil.

Clemence Ultimate Lips and Glamour Lips lip balm

Soothing, nourishing + protective. Anti-viral Lemon Myrtle may provide relief from cold sores. 100% certified organic ingredients. BPA free tube. No parabens, sodium lauryl, sulphate, petrochemicals, PEGs, artificial fragrances, nanoparticles or unnecessary ingredients. Glamour lips is tinted.

Green Living Cocoa Lip Balm Kit

Make your own kit! Includes everything you need to make your own. Currently out of stock so place an order with Alison Monday to Wednesday.

Out of stock

Melrose bulk shampoo code 947 – Supplier has discontinued.

Melrose bulk almond oil – Supplier has discontinued however we still sell this in 500ml bottles.

The price is right

We compared our prices with a local supermarket to bring you this price comparison for June 2018.

 

 

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