What is Zero Waste?
What is Zero Waste, and what does it have to do with bees?
The simple answer. The aim is to send nothing to a landfill. Refuse what you don’t want, reduce what you need, reuse as much as you can, send as little as possible to be recycled, and compost whatever you can’t.
The less simple answer. It’s really about redefining the system. We currently live in a linear economy where we take resources from the earth and then dump them in a giant hole in the ground. The goal of zero waste is to move to a circular economy where we write rubbish out of existence. The circular economy mimics nature in that there is no rubbish in nature.
Instead of discarding resources, we should be aiming to create a system where all resources can be resumed fully back into the system.
But let’s face it nature needs a helping hand as we seem to be doing a pretty good job of trying to mess it up.
Why Do We Need to Help Bees?
We are encouraging everyone to switch to alternative products such as Beeswax wraps rather than plastic. Therefore, we need to make sure this is sustainable. We need to make sure that Bumblebees stick around to produce the beeswax we need.
Bees are having a tough time at the moment,. The Bumble bee Conservation Trust says :
The story of bumblebees over the past century has been one of decline. Two species of bees became extinct in the UK during the 20th century: Cullum’s bumblebee (Bombus cullumanus) last seen on the Berkshire Downs in 1941, and the Short-haired bumblebee (Bombus subterraneus), last seen at Dungeness in 1988 and officially declared extinct in 2000. A further eight species (a third of the remaining species) are currently listed on at least one of the English, Welsh and Scottish conservation priority species lists due to their large-scale declines in distribution.
The plight of the bumble bee is mainly due to the way the Countryside is managed. Bumble Bees only feed on flowers. In the UK there has been a significant decline in the number of wild flowers growing.
We all know that bumblebees are great pollinators, and therefore have a key role in helping to produce the food we eat. Bumblebees also help pollinate wildflowers ensuring they reproduce. As these plants are part of the natural chain it is easy to imagine how other wildlife such as other insects, birds and mammals would all suffer if bees disappeared.
I think that’s a compelling argument to ensure we all do our bit to help the Bumblebees.
What Can you do to help the Bees?
You don’t need to rush out and become a Beekeeper as there are plenty of things you can do to help.
Why not start with these?
Plant Bee friendly flowers in your garden that produce pollen throughout the year to ensure the Bees have a good supply.
2. Don’t use pesticides in your garden
Bee-harming pesticides and herbicides are implicated in bee decline. The danger that pesticides pose to bees is very real and the European Union has just announced that it will ban the worlds most widely used insecticides from all fields due to the danger they pose to bees.
The ban on neonicotinoids is expected to come into force by the end of 2018 and will mean they can only be used in closed greenhouses.
I think that’s a good reason to stop using all pesticides in your garden.
3. Give them a drink
Bees need to drink so put a little saucer or shallow bowl of water with some stones in it for them to drink from. All that buzzing around is thirsty work.
4. Put a Bee Hotel in your garden
You can buy a Bee Hotel to put in your garden. There are some very nice ones in the shops or online. Or if you’re DIY skills are up to it why not build your own. You’ll need some bamboo canes and off cuts of wood and you can find instructions on how to build one here Bee Hotel
5. Support your local Beekeepers
Buy local honey as this will help support your local Beekeepers who are nurturing and looking after the local bees.
Some of the Best Flowers / Plants for Bees
Doing my Bit
I decided to write this blog post today as we’ve just had a glorious weekend with very warm weather. It was lovely to see the garden filled with birds and insects and it just made me want to share this.
Being an ambassador for this year’s Zero Waste Week 2018 has made me think a lot more about how we’re treating this Planet of ours. If we can all do just a bit more to help Mother Nature then it can only be a good thing.
I hope you’ll do your bit to help the Bumblebees. Why not check out the Bumblebee Conservation Trust who have lots of information and ideas on how to help the Bumblebee.