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The circular economy is about recycling everything that we produce and treating materials like they’re finite. This is something that is achievable for your business. Processing materials requires energy, causing pollution. A zero-waste approach encourages the redesign of resource life cycle so that all products are reused, limiting pollution.

Based on sourcing, manufacturing, distributing and using ‘efficiently’ for reuse, the following tips could help your business close the loop and become more circular:

1. Mix with the right people: Having a designated sustainability team may drive projects, sustainability must be driven from the heart!  

2. Use the right metrics: Consider a value framework to measure performance and returns.

3. Solve customers’ problems: Consider developing a product recycling programme – upcycle unwanted products to fill a need.

4. Product as services: Invest in innovation and think about products you could lease!

5. Be ready for backlash: Not everyone understands that sustainability can be profitable, so be sure to engage your team, and have a clear message for your stakeholders.  

By modifying each stage in the economic cycle (from production to use) and designing goods to be recycled, businesses can regenerate waste much like an ecosystem. Designing goods to be reused and consume less energy is becoming the norm!

To learn more about how to grow economically but not harmfully watch this.

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We conducted our last PATA staff knowledge development lunch workshop of the year on December 7, 2018. Our BUFFET campaign partner, Thai-SOS, joined us at the PATA Headquarters to raise awareness of issues surrounding food waste and to empower us to share this knowledge with others. You can read the full recap here.

At the end of the workshop, the PATA Sustainability & Social Responsibility Department challenged staff members to a low-waste lifestyle week. This challenge aimed to put the staff’s new knowledge from the workshop into practice and also to serve as a way to encourage conscious consumption and waste reduction of food in its entire cycle (including purchasing, preparation, during consumption, etc.). To participate, staff members had to post pictures of their meals (before, after or both) and specify in the caption what conscious efforts they had made to refuse any form of avoidable waste.

In this week’s Green Tips, we are sharing our new knowledge with you so you can also try to adapt your lifestyle, even at work.

1. Have lunch together

Colleagues who lunch together stay together. Better yet, they can also help finish your fries or the cucumber on your chicken rice that you always pick out. In PATA, our pantry’s drawers store enough reusable durable containers that staff members can easily carry with them to take-away some dishes from local hawker stalls. You can find PATA staff members eating their green curries, som tams and ka prows, family-style at the pantry. This not only saves them money in the long run, it also keeps food waste on the low.

               

Say no to plastic caps & straws

2. For the love of coffee

The day does not officially start until you get your first cup of coffee. We can all agree that most of the time, it’s just much easier to make your way to a Starbucks and get a coffee to go. In Thailand, locals much prefer their kaffe-yen (iced coffee) from a coffee stand. One thing in common about this type of take-away coffee is that it’s always served in a plastic cup, topped with a plastic cap, garnished with a plastic straw and tucked into a plastic bag. It’s high time we break this Earth-killing combo and start saying no to all this avoidable plastic! It is best to bring your own reusable bottle always, but on occasions where you don’t, opt for no plastic caps and straw. Rather than carrying the cup in a plastic bag, hold it with some compostable tissues.

3. Reusable bags, containers and bottles

Everyone should own these top three necessities to live a sustainable life – reusable tote bags, durable containers, and reusable water bottles. Keep these items close to you at all times and you’ll be surprised by the amount of plastic you can refuse in a day. Do not let places with a “plastic bag culture” be an excuse for you to take it. Always choose to refuse a plastic bag even if it means you will have to awkwardly remove your items from the plastic bag it was given in.

4. The power is in your hands

Food is prepared by caterers, but the ultimate decision to leave food scraps behind are made by the consumers. It’s really a shame for someone to pay for their food only to have some of it wasted and tossed into the bin. If you are feeling kind of full at lunchtime, ask for half a portion of your meal instead of leaving it behind. Alternatively, you can always bring your own container and pack half of your lunch to eat later. We are ultimately saving the environment by making sure all the food we purchased, we finish. So, don’t get intimidated by the strange looks you might get as you pack your leftovers. Make it the norm!

5. Sustainability hero

When you have a sustainability hero or green team in the office, they play a big part in influencing other staff members to live a sustainable lifestyle too. You should never be ashamed of the sustainable choices you make in your daily life. Explain to your colleagues why you would rather drink your milk tea without a straw. Call them out if they could’ve avoided using any avoidable wastes. Once you are known as a sustainability hero in the office, you’ll start to see colleagues hiding their plastic bags from you and eventually, they’ll start refusing them the next time they purchase something.

Our challenge lasted for a week to ensure that staff members are consistently mindful of the decisions they make in their daily lives. During PATA’s Christmas dinner, staff members who successfully followed all the guidelines won gift vouchers – a way to commend their efforts and empower others to follow suit.

Did you know?

We only have 12 years to limit a climate change catastrophe. Even half a degree increase in world temperature will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.

If you would like to do the same in your workplace, feel free to drop us an email to SSR@pata.org for more information. We hope that you are able to incorporate these 5 tips into your daily lives and make sustainable living your new year resolution!

Extra reading:

Do your part to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Learn to regrow some of your kitchen scraps here.

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Tourism 2020: Quality over Quantity

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Credit: Nawalescape on Pixabay

The future of Bali’s tourism industry is likely to promote green and sustainable tourism through ‘Tourism 2020’ and Tri Hita Karana.

On the sidelines of the 2018 Indonesia Tourism Attraction Expo and Forum (ITAEF), held in Kuta last week, House of Representatives Commission X Member, I Putu Supadma Rudana, told local news wires that the future of tourism will change for the better.

He suggested Bali could lead the way and be a prime example of tourism development based on being a Tri Hita Karana – Green Sustainable Tourism Destination.

Read more on Bali’s sustainable future here.

By Gapura Bali.

 

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Blue Economy: a sustainable ocean economic paradigm

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Credit: Pixabay/Bruno Glätsch

Sustainable Blue Economy Conference – This conference represents an important opportunity to take stock of both the opportunities – and the challenges – which the Blue Economy concept presents, in the context of SDG14 – Life Below Water.

As the single largest natural asset on the planet which represents some 99% of the earth’s living volume, the ocean delivers numerous benefits to humanity.

For the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Blue Economy paradigm is a natural next step in the overall conceptualization and realization of sustainable human development. It mirrors our long-accepted definition of sustainable development as one that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Click here to read the full article on Blue Economy.

By Andrew Hudson for United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

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brunei, local guides, explore, forest, river, boat, journey, into the wild

Ecotourism creates local employment in Brunei. Credit: Maurice Spee

It may be best known around the world for the fabulous wealth of its head of state, the Sultan of Brunei. But the tiny country of Brunei Darussalam, which occupies a small portion of the island of Borneo, is quickly developing a reputation as a centre of ecotourism.

In Ulu Temburong National Park, Leslie Chang runs the Sumbiling Eco Village where visitors can find themselves deep in the wild just a relatively short drive from the bustling capital city of Bandar Seri Begawan.

Read the full article here.

By Ken Foxe for Lonely Planet.

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bike riding, sustainable transportation, couple, holiday, vacation, countryside

Enjoy the summertime while practicing eco-friendly habits. A little goes a long way in terms of sustainability, and every bit of effort counts.

Here are seven tips to help you go green this summer:

  • Stay hydrated by carrying your own refillable tumbler or water bottle. Refuse to use single use plastic bottles, cups and straws.
  • Get a few indoor plants, they can act as natural air purifiers and will liven up your space.
  • Save on your electricity bill by letting in natural daylight. Remember to turn off lights, fans and other electronic appliances when not in use. Switch to energy efficient LED light bulbs.
  • Use eco-friendly deodorants to stay fresh this summer. They are better for your skin and, of course, the environment. If you can’t find them in the market, try this simple DIY.
  • Prepare a hearty meal at home and avoid processed foods. This will minimize waste generation and will also be beneficial for your health.
  • Ride your bicycle or walk to travel short distances. Use public transport to cover greater distance. If you can’t avoid driving, try staying within the speed limit, as this is more fuel efficient.
  • Instead of using the dryer for clothes, let your laundry dry out in the summer sun.
  • Shop for produce at local markets. This supports the economy and the community at large.

If you’re planning to go on holiday, try going green and help to preserve the beautiful destinations for generations to come.

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community, helping each other, sustainability, growth, teamwork.

Participation in a community-oriented program in Nepal. Credit: Giving Way

The term “sustainable travel” has a green glow to it, connoting eco-friendly practices and environmental responsibility. But the human side of sustainability, as defined by the World Tourism Organization, addresses community impact, both social and economic, and is newly gaining traction among travel companies.

“There’s a lot of people who think ‘eco-tourism’ when they hear ‘sustainable tourism,’ but that’s a piece of the puzzle,” said Kelley Louise, the executive director of the Impact Travel Alliance, an industry nonprofit organization that focuses on sustainable travel. “Sustainability has a positive impact not only on the environment, but the culture and the economy of the destination you’re visiting.”

Organizations promoting social impact travel aim to emphasize not just big do-good trips, but to educate travelers about their smallest decisions, such as eating at a locally owned restaurant.

Read the full article here.

By Elaine Glusac for The New York Times.

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Credit: Shutterstock

Many people all around the world enjoy coffee on a daily basis; however, the environmental impact of growing coffee is often not considered. We have previously shared how to enjoy a sustainable coffee break and how to give coffee grounds a second life. If you are interested in more ideas about how to reuse coffee grounds in the garden, in your house, as part of  your beauty routine, check out this blog with 21 creative ways to reuse your coffee grounds.

For now, let’s take a step back and have a look at the roots of coffee manufacturing to rethink what else we can do to green our coffee routine.

Traditional coffee farming techniques characterized by shade-growing methods have been widely replaced with sun-cultivation farming over the years. This is an issue because manufacturing sun-cultivated coffee means widespread deforestation and the elimination of plant diversity. Moreover, the growing use of fertilizer causes environmental harm and can impact the biodiversity of a region, as well as human health. So, look for the more environmentally friendly option of shade-grown coffee next time you shop coffee beans for your home or office.

When speaking about coffee, we often think of coffee beans only. Let’s have a closer look at another produce along the way: the coffee cherry fruit. Did you know that every year 46 billion lbs of the coffee cherry fruit is wasted, even though they can be used to produce coffee flour, or be eaten as a superfood packed with antioxidants? Or, try cascara, an herbal tea made from the dried skin of the coffee cherry fruits – another wonderful by-product of coffee production. Starbucks has even picked up on this in 2017 by introducing the cascara latte!

However you enjoy your cuppa, do try to make a conscious choice to consider how it is produced!

 

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Credit: Shutterstock

The countdown has begun! This joyous time of year has become its own season filled with lots of joyfulness, delicious treats and creative decoration for many people around the world. If you are looking for creative ways to host a fun and sustainable year-end gathering at work, we have just the right ideas for you.

Why not repurpose your office waste into some unique Christmas decoration? Gather old magazines, recycled paper or carton, as well as other recyclable waste from around the office to get the crafting session started. Take this opportunity to also talk about waste management and how to reduce waste in the office during the event.

Choose from a variety of green decorating ideas that are already out there or come up with your own using recycled goods from around your office. Whether you are creating ornaments, wreaths, or other décor, you will be surprised by how ‘waste’ can be turned into something glorious. You may even ask everyone to bring some more supplies from their homes. Be inspired by these recycled ornaments and check out these Christmas and winter crafts made from old toilet paper rolls or others made from old egg cartons.

You can even make your own Christmas cards or gift tags using old magazines or newspaper. All you and your colleagues will need are scissors and glue! And in case you are missing some essential arts and craft supplies, look for environmentally friendly options when purchasing them.

To take your get-together to the next level, you may even want to consider running a little workshop on how to upcycle used coffee grounds from your office’s pantry. A self-made candle from coffee grounds or a bar of soap makes the perfect eco-friendly Christmas gift.

Last but not least, put on some Christmas tunes and simply be jolly. Are you ready for the holiday season now?  Let’s get crafting!

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Top tips for a sustainable Valentine’s celebration

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Valentine’s celebration

During the month of love be sure to impress your Valentine whilst simultaneously doing your part to help and protect the environment. Read on for tips about how to celebrate a memorable and sustainable Valentine’s Day.

 How to celebrate?

  • Have a low footprint Valentine’s dinner – Instead of the usual dinner date, why don’t make a romantic dinner at home using locally grown ingredients and with organic wine or juices. Avoid the crowds and higher prices and have some fun at home as a couple!
  • If home cooking isn’t your thing, then try to make the extra effort to find a restaurant that embraces green practices. Choose a restaurant that serves organic, locally sourced food. Check out the 10 best sustainable restaurants around the world!
  • Create some ambiance by using beeswax candles. They’re the perfect accompaniment to a romantic dinner and eco-friendly

Green gift ideas

  • Use art to express your love! Try making a homemade gift, or support a local artist. Check out these green gift giving tips for some ideas
  • Spoil your loved ones with organic Valentine’s Day treats. Buy organic and fair trade chocolate to support sustainable development. Here’s your guide to fair trade chocolate
  • Flowers are a classic symbol of love. The best option is to buy flowers that will never die – a perfect metaphor for your love! If you buy cut flowers, buy locally and buy organic, but try to choose potted plants whenever possible instead of cut flowers. Wow your loved ones with these amazing potted flowers gift options for Valentine’s Day
  • If your sweet Valentine is a lover of organic body care product, what better way to pamper your partner than by giving an organic massage oil and a massage? Check out websites such as Ebay or Amazon to find the perfect organic products
  • Still stuck for ideas? Check out our post, “Sustainable Holiday Gift Ideas
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