This originated with me sending regular emails to my close friends and family on environmental issues and changes which could ‘green’ their lifestyle. The group has unintentionally grown quickly as friends of friends ask to join. The EcoEmails don’t always give people an easy solution to a problem but try to make them aware that every decision they make has environmental and sustainability consequences. If you would like to join pls email me at

Wine May 28, 2008

Filed under: Food — ecoemails @ 7:59 pm
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United Kingdom is the largest wine importer in the world

Grapes require a large amount of water (550,000 liters per ton)
The exact amount of water used depends highly on local climate…

The greatest climate impact from the wine supply chain comes from transportation.
Wine usually comes in virgin glass bottles which require energy to make and are heavy and therefore use lots of energy to transport…

Barrels made from French oak are from trees on average around 170 years old.
Removing an old, slow-growing tree and replacing it with a young, fast-growing tree will sequester more carbon.
Therefore if the forest is managed sustainably this process is beneficial.

Buying wine from near countries reduces the transport costs and therefore the emissions
Buying wine in cartons use less energy to make and transport
Buying wine from rainy areas require less water to be produced


I got all this information from:


Dishwasher May 14, 2008

Filed under: Energy,Shopping — ecoemails @ 7:56 pm
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1. Don’t put your dishwasher next to your refrigerator will make the fridge have to work harder due to the heat coming off it.
2. Delay the start of your dishwasher for off-peak utility hours
3. Skip the pre-rinse, most dishwashers today are powerful enough to clean the plates with out rinsing them.
4. Air dry, instead of letting your washer use electric heat or a fan to dry the dishes, just open the door at the end of the washing cycle and let them air dry.
5. Picking the right size. Choose the size model that fits your needs. A compact model is more efficient than a large one unless you have to run it several times a day.
6. Run it when it is full
7. Choose your washer wisely (look at energy efficiency rating)



Shadegrown Coffee May 12, 2008

Filed under: Food,Shopping — ecoemails @ 7:55 pm
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Shade grown coffee …
preserves habitats for migratory birds on coffee farms, also letting beans mature more slowly and creating richer flavors
Shade grown coffee is cultivated by allowing the presence of other beneficial plants and trees to remain, shading the coffee plants with a canopy of leaves and branches. Unlike this more traditional method, many larger coffee farms clear all vegetation except for the coffee plants, eliminating important habitats for animals, especially songbirds, and typically requiring more chemical inputs. Coffees that are organic and shade grown can also qualify for Bird Friendly Certification.

* Taste. As the coffee beans mature more slowly in the shade, natural sugars increase and enhance the flavor of the coffee.
* Healthier. Shade grown coffee is most often organically grown, free of chemical use.
* Promotes healthy environment. The shade trees filter carbon dioxide and aid in soil moisture retention which minimizes erosion.
* Provides bird habitat and greater biodiversity. Migrating bird populations have been in rapid decline since the introduction of “sun” coffee and the consequent destruction of rainforest for more coffee plantations. As many as 150 species of birds have been identified on shade coffee farms.
* Helps sustain rainforests. Coffee plantations which are chemically dependent suffer from soil depletion and increased erosion. Rainforest is stripped to provide fresh growing ground. Shade coffee farms are, for the most part, organic and sustainable.


Fairtrade May 8, 2008

Filed under: Food,Shopping — ecoemails @ 7:53 pm
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Fairtrade is good for the environment too…

The Fairtrade system includes environmental standards as part of producer certification…  requires producers to make environmental protection a part of farm management and minimize the use of energy.

Fairtrade producers receive a Fairtrade premium for investment in environmental products of their own choice, e.g. solar-panelled system, replanting trees, environmentally friendly ovens fuelled by recycled coffee hulls and the dried shells of macadamia nuts…. etc…


Food Waste May 6, 2008

Filed under: Food,Waste — ecoemails @ 7:51 pm

1/3 of all food purchased goes straight in the bin

85% of food thrown away is edible (i.e. not peelings, bones, tea bags)
On average each we waste £460 a year on buying food that we’ll throw away and not eat.
And the UK’s food waste accounts for equivalent emmissions as 20% of the cars in the UK.

Main reasons for waste food:

·                                 Buying more than we need – unplanned shopping

·                                 Storage – fridges are often too warm

·                                 Not eating short shelf life items before their use by date

·                                 Informal or unplanned eating patterns leading to food bought that is not needed.


70% of all fridges are too warm
1-5C recommended fridge temperature


Dove 2 May 2, 2008

Filed under: Protest,Shopping — ecoemails @ 6:55 pm
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Today Unilever have called for a moratorium – a complete halt – on rain forest destruction in Indonesia.
Unilever’s CEO Patrick Cescau has promised that all of Unilever’s palm oil will be sustainable by 2015.

This is brilliant news…

But Unilever were working on this with Forum for the Future before Greenpeaces’ campaign – Greenpeace simply pushed them to make it public earlier. Read the Jonathon Porritt blogs about it HERE and HERE.