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In our continuing efforts to reduce waste and educate our staff, the PATA Green Team organized a workshop at our Bangkok HQ on August 7, 2018. We invited guest speakers from Tavises – Magic Eyes to conduct the workshop.

“Ah! Ah! Don’t litter. Magic Eyes are watching you” is a merry jingle many Gen X Thais are familiar with, and thanks to the efforts of this organisation, the concept will be passed down to future generations.

The speakers, Pa and Nat, introduced their organisation and their mission. They gave an overview of waste management in Thailand and discussed the 5 Rs – reduce, reuse, repair, recycle and reject – to promote an eco-friendly lifestyle.

Pa and Nat emphasised the idea of refusing to use single-use plastics – especially plastic bags, straws and cups – proposing alternates to single use items such as tote bags instead of plastics bags, reusable tumblers, handkerchiefs instead of tissues/paper towels and reusable cutlery.

To drive the dangers of single-use plastics home, they shared some nerve-wracking facts about plastic pollution:

           

The group shared various ideas about how individuals can manage their waste properly, and how upcycling can be put into practice to give new life to items that would otherwise be thrown away. The speakers concluded their presentation with a poignant video showing humankind’s general exploitative attitude towards the planet.

Today, Lankaow Waan catered our lunch, chosen for not just their delicious food, but also for their recycled and compostable packaging.

     

Efforts made by organisations such as Tavises – Magic Eyes and Lankaow Waan will help educate the world about the benefits and importance of adopting a more sustainable lifestyle. The workshop helped put things into perspective and reminded everyone how important it is to be mindful of the decisions each one of us makes.

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Tips on how to extend the lifespan of business cards

Categories: Green Tips
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Business meetings, conferences, networking events, social gatherings, etc., all of these events have one thing in common – the exchange of business cards among professionals. Though we are living in a digital world with smartphones, laptops and tablets, the exchange of business cards is still a universal ritual in the corporate world. They make it easy for people to connect as they carry essential contact information, however 88 percent of business cards handed out will be thrown out in less than a week. With this in mind, we need to make eco-friendly choices at the time of purchase as well as look for ideas to recycle or upcycle in order to help reduce the impact on the environment.

You can make a start with getting business cards printed on recycled paper – be inspired by these five eco-friendly options. You can also hold back on simply throwing out collected or expired cards even if the stack of cards has piled up to an unbearable level on your desk or in your favorite junk drawer. Give them a second chance with one of the following cool and useful recycling and upcycling ideas:

  1. Make your own chalkboard tags: Apply a coat of chalkboard paint to the business cards and let it dry overnight. Punching a hole in the side will turn the old unwanted business card into a stylish hanging label or even gift tag. It makes a neat label for flowers and herbs in your garden or kitchen when attached to a small stick or a toothpick. Be inspired by examples here.
  2. Convert old cards to reusable note cards: Laminate the cards, add a magnet (if you are using magnet board) to one of the sides and add them to your organizational board. Using a dry erase pen to take notes, write down tasks or other reminders, allows you to reuse the cards as often as you wish.
  3. Turn trash into treasured decoration: Get creative and create a piece of decoration made from old business cards for the next office party or a colleague’s birthday. Surprise your team member at their next birthday with a colorful, personalised birthday banner. Get ideas for the design here.
  4. Take it to the next level: If you have more time on your hands, you may want to consider making your own homemade paper from old cards teared into little pieces. You can find instructions here.

There are many ways to extend the lifespan of a business card, choose an option that is most useful for you.

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April 22 is Earth Day! Did you know that the environmental movement started close to 48 years ago in 1970, when millions of people took to the streets to protest the negative impacts of 150 years of industrial development?

This year’s Earth Day campaign will focus on ending plastic pollution – it is now your turn to stand up, join in, and take action!

It is important to remember the connection between plastics and climate change since the latter is one of the most pressing issues affecting our planet today. An estimated five ounces of carbon dioxide is emitted for every ounce of Polyethylene Terephthalate produced.  Polyethylene Terephthalate, also known as PET, is the plastic most commonly used to make water bottles.

Earth Day Network’s End Plastic Pollution campaign includes four major components. Educating people worldwide to take personal responsibility for plastic pollution by choosing to reject, reduce, reuse, and recycle plastics is one of them. Find out about the other three here.

With only four days left until Earth Day 2018, here are four things you can do to support #EndPlasticPollution

There are many simple and easy tips to help you go green, keep our earth safe, spend less, and make every day Earth Day. Remember that you can make a difference and be the change every single day of the year.

For more easy reading, check out our tips on how to reduce plastic waste on our beaches and in our waters and 3 easy ways to tackle plastic.

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A recent research from The Ocean Cleanup shows that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch comprises an estimated 1.8 trillion pieces of rubbish and is more than 16 times bigger than previously thought. With 8 million tons of plastic leaking into the ocean every year, all litter in our oceans harm over 600 marine species. Publicly taking a pledge to reduce plastic by saying “NO” to plastic water bottles or single-use straws in order to help the environment is a good start, however many of us struggle to go the extra and most important step: consuming accordingly!

With these apps, refusing and reducing plastic in your daily life is made easy, even when you are travelling:

1. WeTap

About: Thirsty? Ditch the plastic bottle with this drinking fountain app. WeTap allows you to find public water fountains easily. You can also assist other by adding new ones to the public database. Utilising and appreciating tap water – both the quality and access – is an important step in ensuring our water remains safe, tasty, and protected. Download the app here.

Where you can use it: worldwide

2. RefillMyBottle

About: Be it a hotel, a shop, warung or retreat business, a group of sustainable businesses on Bali have teamed up to offer travellers the opportunity for a bottle refill of clean water from a gallon or Nazava water filter. RefillMyBottle is a great showcase of the tourism industry’s commitment in preserving Bali’s eco-system. To map the initiative, RefillMyBottle has published an easily accessible Google map of all the places where you can refill your water bottle. Check the map to find the location of the nearest refill point or look for the RefillMyBottle sticker in the window of the establishment to refill your bottle! Download the app here.

Where you can use it: currently in Indonesia, expanding to Thailand and Vietnam

3. Zero Waste Home

About: Find, add and rate bulk locations near you and throughout the world using Bulk Finder. Shop without needless plastic wrappings and packaging. On the Zero Waste blog, you can further find information about living a Zero Waste lifestyle. Download the app here.

Where you can use it: worldwide

Another map (website-based) that provides a directory of packaging-free shops, borrowing shops and other facilities that promote a more environmentally-friendly and sensible consumption is the Zero Waste Map. The map is primarly for use in in Central Europe, however you can also enter new locations for relevant categories, upload your own images and exchange ideas in the forum with other interested members.

You can also learn more about plastic in our oceans with the MY LITTLE PLASTIC FOOTPRINT APP (Beta Version). This app provides fun facts on how to reduce the use of plastic. You can play an interactive quiz, use a Plastic Footprint calculator and learn how to adopt healthy habits regarding plastic consumption. The app also lets you spread awareness among your friends.

 

Interested in more apps that can help you embrace a sustainable lifestyle? Check out three more here.

 

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Guest blogger Jackie Edwards gives tips for sustainable hair and skincare when traveling:

The tide of sustainable travel is rising in Asia, thanks to savvy hoteliers who are in tune with the modern traveler’s wishes to experience the beauty of the world without leaving a huge carbon footprint. Sustainability involves everything from water recycling right through to activities such as tree planting or beach clean-ups. Conscientious travelers are taking it a step further by ensuring their skin and beauty routines are not polluting waterways or using environmentally harmful packaging. In this post, we highlight just a few ways that beauty and sustainability during don’t have to be mutually exclusive concepts when traveling.

Packaging and content of personal care items

When buying creams and serums to take along with you on your trip, ensure that as many products as possible come in biodegradable, compostable or plantable packaging and that they don’t contain chemical ingredients that are harmful to you and the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified personal care products and pharmaceuticals as “emerging contaminants of concern” for fish. These chemicals can lead to various diseases in sea life, which are in turn consumed by other animals up the food chain. Do your share for the environment when shopping for personal care items abroad by avoiding products containing toxic ingredients, some of the most common of which include phthalates, sulfates, and parabens.

Opting for a natural look

Those with long, multi-ethnic hair can choose a perm over natural hair as a way to reduce the need for styling while traveling the globe. While styling curly hair can be more challenging than ‘relaxed’ hair, perms can affect our health and the environment, as toxic chemicals used in these treatments can once again make their way into our water system, affecting fish and other marine life.

One study by Women’s Voices for the Earth (WVE) found that long-term exposure to products commonly used in hair salons leads to a plethora of negative health conditions frequently faced by salon workers.

Styling curly hair and having beautifully defined curls is easy. It requires two main things: deep moisturization, and a hair diffuser, which is used to give curls an extra bounce. Forego shampooing and use a conditioner instead. While conditioning hair in the shower, add a little olive, coconut, or argan oil and rinse out afterward. For an extra moisture boost, add a bit more oil, comb hair out and voila! You won’t even need to dry your hair afterward.

For makeup, try replacing your favorite commercial brands with mineral makeup brands, which possess beautiful textures and long-lasting power, much like best-selling brands.

DIY beauty

You can make a plethora of travel products yourself and if you use fragrant essential oils, we guarantee you will become hooked on the quality of what you produce. Think exfoliants made by mixing coconut oil with rock salt or sugar, or homemade deodorant made by blending a tablespoon of shea butter, a teaspoon of baking powder and few drops of an essential oil like lemon or bergamot. Think of how much plastic you will be saving by foregoing store-bought versions.

Reuse and recycle

Do you remove makeup with disposable wipes? There is no need to do so when you can do a much better job with a piece of cloth (cut up into squares) and a dab of micellar water, which removes even the toughest makeup products.

To remain beautiful while on the go, try to balance practicality and rapidity with mindful use of resources. Reuse materials when you can, make your own products to go, and support brands that care for the environment and support the causes that mean something to you.

 

Interested in learning more about DIY beauty? Find out how to use coffee grounds in your beauty routine. We’ve also got some great tips on eco-friendly travel essentials for you here. Be sure to check out PATA’s Responsible Business Travel Guidelines for more information about being a responsible traveller before, during and after your trip.

See more of Jackie’s writing: 

A little closer to home: sustainable everyday life choices

A guide to sustainable travel for seniors

Beginning at home – the next generation of sustainable travelers

How to choose an eco-friendly hotel

Greening the air inside of your home

 

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Whether you are planning a beach holiday to escape the winter that is coming to your part of the world, or whether you live near the beach, it is important to practice mindfulness for the environment. Here are some easy ways to minimise your footprint:

Before you leave

Remember to turn off lights, unplug your electronics and most importantly, turn off air-conditioning before you leave your hotel room or your home to limit energy use. Refill your reusable water bottle to avoid buying plastic bottles, and pack some snacks in reusable containers. If you are staying at a hotel, look for snacks in minimal and environmental friendly packaging.

On the way

Choose an eco-friendly mode of transportation to get to the beach. Go for a stroll if the beach is in walking-distance of your accommodation, ride a bicycle if available, or check for local busses to take you as close to the beach as possible.

At the beach

Apply an organic, mineral-based sunscreen that does not harm people and the ocean – For guidance on purchasing an ocean-safe option, you can find helpful tips here.

If you plan on exploring some coral reefs, read our tips for responsible diving and snorkelling.

Stay hydrated! For many, sipping the water of a coconut is a beach essential. Consider bringing your own reusable straw to reduce plastic waste. There are many different options of reusable straws for you to pick from.

Check if the beach is a smoke-free zone in case you are a smoker. If smoking is not banned, make sure to bring a eco-friendly portable ashtray to keep the beach free from cigarette butts as they contain hazardous substances that are threat to the marine life.

Always take your trash with you, or dispose of it in a designated bin. Pick up litter if you see any in the water or in the sand. You may even want to participate in a beach clean-up initiative or simply dedicate five minutes to collect litter you find near you. Also check our tips for reducing plastic waste on our beaches and in our waters.

For more reading and tips about beach travel, visit our friends at beachmeter.com.

With these simple tips in mind, all you need to do is get your friends or family together for a sunny and relaxing beach day!

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What does sustainability mean to you personally? How can you engage with issues such as poverty or sustainable consumption that relate to the SDGs?

One approach may be to start by looking at your individual values and establishing a personal sustainability action plan. This should be an achievable, realistic plan to take on a short-term project that you believe in that can lead to a more sustainable lifestyle! Identify changes you would like to make in your daily or weekly activities and start to practice these changes until they become a habit. When establishing your personal sustainability plan, check that it meets the RISE criteria: is it repeatable, inspirational, sustainable, and enjoyable?

There’s no reason to wait till the New Year to make a resolution! Raise awareness now, and take action! Inspire others to join the movement. Remember that challenging yourself or someone else can make a big impact through building strong communities of passionate and like-minded people. Be creative and come up with a plan to make the most of the last month of 2017. For example, how about trying to live a…

FREEcember

…with possible action points such as the following:

  • Try a new approach to your diet: how about a meat-free Monday or milk-/dairy-free week? A dietary shift can help to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and ultimately have the positive environmental impact you would like to make.
  • Go plastic-free: shop at a local market to avoid unnecessary packaging, use a reusable water bottle, coffee mug or lunch box and most importantly, say no to using plastic bags! You will help keeping our precious world clean and wildlife safe.
  • Spend a gadget-free Sunday: include some time to unplug and disconnect when planning your weekend or your next getaway.  
  • Enjoy a car-free weekend: if you are relying on your car to commute to work during the week, give your car a rest on the weekend and cut carbon emissions by using public transport or a bicycle to get around. This little change will help to reduce pollution from engines and improve air quality.

 

If this is something you are already doing, maybe you find some more idea with a

DOcember

  • Stay healthy: start a fitness– or yoga-challenge, join a gym class or simply take the stairs instead of an elevator whenever possible.
  • Start a 5-minute journal to become more mindful and live with intention.
  • Recycle and upcycle with do-it-yourself projects to reduce waste to landfill and to reduce waste generated in manufacturing processes! You can also donate unwanted clothes or other household items to a charity to help people in need.
  • Carry a reusable shopping bag with you every day, and keep a reusable drinking cup at your office to purchase your after-lunch refreshment in a eco-friendly way.

 

Your passion is the fire that fuels your action, so keep helpful reminders about why you want to live more sustainably. We dare you to establish a sustainability plan that can help guide your way to a more eco-conscious lifestyle.

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Earth Day, Saturday, 22 April, is all about environmental protection.

 

We’ve all heard about the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), which help to reduce pollution caused by waste, conserve natural resources, save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

 

Many industries, including the tourism sector, are big contributors to environmental pollution; however, with proper waste management, a business can improve its business reputation, reduce waste costs and save energy. Reducing the amount of used paper in the offices can make a considerable positive impact.

 

Here are some ideas on how to reduce your paper waste in the office, even after Earth Day:

 

  1. Share files internally:

With Google Docs you can work simultaneously with colleagues on a document or spreadsheet. That means you do not need to share printed papers anymore. Other programmes that offering interactive document editing features include Microsoft Office 365 and Basecamp. For file storage and sharing, Dropbox or WeTransfer are popular options.

 

  1. Multitask:

Consider to invest in a dual or multi-monitor setup. According to the CIO Magazine and the Kyocera Environmental Survey 2011 employees print documents for cross-referencing them with another document. Giving employees more screens can also boost productivity at the same time. LCD monitors typically outlast computer upgrades, so this is one cost you’ll only need to pay once.

 

  1. Communicate with staff:

Explain to staff why it is important to minimise paper use and encourage them to join in the movement. Perhaps a competition that tracks the number of pages printed per person and shared with the team can be implemented and can incentivise staff to use less paper. Of course, this works best if staff are supported with paper saving facilities (online document stores, dual monitors, etc.).

 

  1. Make printing inconvenient:

An easy but effective way to save paper may be to reduce the number printers or paper available. Without fewer available printers in the office, employees are more likely to print less. This tactic can also help to save printer costs.

 

Sometimes, printing is absolutely necessary. Follow these rules for eco-friendly printing.

 

Successfully reducing the use of paper is a not done overnight. It takes effort and continuous education to move away from paper and establish a culture that shuns waste. Adopting the right tools can go a long way toward creating an environment to support a paperless office.

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Recycling Tips for Your Post-Holiday Waste

Categories: Green Tips, People and Places, Planet, Waste
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Wondering how to deal with all that decorations and waste from gift giving after the holiday season? Here are 5 handy tips for your post-holiday waste:


  #1: Christmas Trees 

Don’t throw away your Christmas trees when the holiday is over. Real Christmas trees are biodegradable, which means they can be easily reused or recycled for mulch and other purposes. Learn how to recycle your Christmas tree and give it a second life.

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 #2: LED Lights 

If your lights still work after the holiday season, reuse them for as long as possible. When they can no longer be used, take the time to help the environment and have them turned in for recycling. Check out where and how to recycle your old lights.

#3: Gift Wrappingshutterstock_167381660

Don’t just toss wrapping paper, boxes, ribbons, bows, or other gift wrap accessories that are in good shape. You can preserve recycle wrapping paper of all kinds by unwrapping your gifts carefully and save wrapping for crafts as well as future celebrations or holidays. Here are 19 ways to repurpose gift wrap, plus another 30 fun ways to reuse leftover gift wrap.

#4: Cards 

Wondering what to do with all the holiday cards after the holidays are long gone? It’s time to get crafty – check out these websites for more ideas on recycling and reuse your used holiday cards:

#5: Gift

amazon

Amazon Give Back Box (photo credit: Amazon)

Are your gifts not quite your taste? Here’s what you can do with unwanted gifts after the holiday.

Let’s us make an effort to be ‘zero-waste’ in time for New Year’s, and beyond!

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Challenge Yourself – Have a Plastic Free July!

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Plastic Free July

Image Source: plasticfreejuly.org

Plastic is used daily, in the form of bags, bottles, packaging and many more. Sometimes we use plastic for only a brief moment to carry our groceries home or to drink a cup of coffee, but it can take up to 1000 years to decompose. Plastic is destructive for the environment, it lowers the fertility of our soils and is harmful for wildlife. More plastic has been produced in the first ten years of this century than its predecessor. So try to start reducing plastic waste by reusing daily plastic items and recycling.

Here are 8 ways to reduce plastic waste:

  • Purchase your own reusable bag
  • Don’t use straws
  • Buy boxes instead of bottles for laundry detergent for example
  • Use Reusable containers to pack your food
  • Purchase your reusable bottle
  • Make your own juices, healthier and no packaging
  • Talk to others on how they can reduce plastic waste
  • If you own a store, offer a discount to those with reusable bags or put a price on plastic bags to remind everyone that these are bad for the environment

What Are You Doing For Plastic-Free July?

Learn more about how to reduce the amount of plastic in the environment with these 17 tips to use less plastic. For more tips on how to make this plastic free July most successful click here!

Take action and join the Plastic Free July Challenge now; a challenge accessible to everyone to educate us on how to reduce plastic waste.

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