Hey there Baluers,

What’s been going on this week

First, the bad. You might have heard that the wilds of Utah are being threatened. The US President wants to massively reduce the size of the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. I travelled to Utah to hike in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in 2014, and it remains one of my favourite places in the world. But that’s not why we should defend it. Ethical retailer Patagonia have been quick to point out the cultural, environmental and economic benefits (not to mention the moral imperative) of protecting the areas. Take action to defend the land we have left.

Now you’re ready for the good things. The Co-op supermarket are cracking down on food waste by (transparently) selling food past its best before date. We love these guys, and not just because cooperatives are great. They’ve also been the first to back a Government deposit return scheme for bottles, which is a great way to encourage recycling and reduce waste.

Talking of reducing waste, we want to give Freiburg in Germany a big old high five. They’ve introduced a city-wide scheme whereby people pay a €1 deposit for a reusable cup. They get their cash back when they return the cup to one of 100 cafés in the city. It’s been running for a year and has been very successful so far. Ask your elected representatives to do the same in your city!

Christmas is… happiness and oranges

You’ll probably hear ‘Happy Christmas’ a lot this month. But are we happy? (Sorry to be a downer). Action For Happiness are trying to help us get there, and they’ve released a kindness calendar for December. With doable tips for each day, it might just bring the kind of happiness that doesn’t come with a receipt.

So now we’re happy, let’s decorate 🙂 But how to do that ethically? Pebble magazine have some great ideas, and Wonderful DIY have A LOT of ways to make good with orange peel.

Another area we like to highlight this time of year is gift wrapping. Traditional gift wrap is single-use and often not recyclable. That’s a disaster – so let’s do it differently. TreeHugger have 10 great tips on eco-friendly wrapping options and Olio, the zero waste experts, have a nice little vid on this too.

And what about ethical brands?

Shopping-wise, this week’s shoutout goes to Birdsong and their new concept store. It’s packed with amazing ethical brands and you’ll find the very friendly Birdsong team on hand to help you out.

Next week we’ll have more on a Makers Christmas: how to create useful, beautiful gifts rather than buy them. But if you are wanting to buy gifts, remember to use Balu’s ethical search engine.

Big love from Giselle @ Balu