Article by: Eco Mailbox


Just like that, the holidays are nearly over and the new school year is about to begin. There can be a lot to think about and organise for each child that is going back to school so we’re sharing these top 7 eco friendly back to school tips to help you keep the process sustainable and eco friendly with minimal waste!!

Thanks to Green Elephant Market Place  (a great local online store for shopping favourite products ) here is 7 Eco friendly back to school tips to help kick off the new school year right.

1. Do a Stationery Stock Take

Get the school stationery lists from the school website or office. Instead of buying a whole new set every year, go through your cupboards and see what you already have that can be used. You’d be surprised at the number of glue sticks and sharpies that can accumulate….!!

2. Use Books Until they are Full

Our children often come home at the end of a year with exercise books that have at least half of the pages still blank. Instead of automatically buying a new book, just draw a line under the last piece of work and write the new school year, room and teacher underneath. You can buy a new book if and when it’s needed.

3. Mend Uniform

Buying a whole new set of uniforms is expensive. See if your school has a second hand shop or trade with friends who might have older children with uniform going spare. If you have uniform that’s looking past it’s best, think about doing a bit of sewing, mending those holes or patching thinning ‘bum’ areas!! This could save you lots of money.

4. Get set up for Litterless Lunches

Litterless lunches means avoiding anything disposable in the lunchboxes. For example, snack wrappers, crisp packets, yogurt pots, pouches etc. If your lunch box is regularly filled with packets, try changing out just one item with something unpackaged. Maybe give your child a few crackers instead of an individual packet of crisps..?? Buying in bulk and then portioning out snacks each day is much cheaper and saves all that packaging. Home baking is also a great litter free option.

For the main event, try to avoid disposable single use plastic wrap. There are lots of better alternatives including beeswax food wraps, reusable sandwich bags and snack packs from Kai Carrier and cute lunch baggies from MUNCH NZ.

5. Choose Hard Wearing, BPA Free Lunchboxes and Water Bottles

A good quality lunch box and water bottle that is free from BPA or harmful chemicals that can leach into your food and drink is a great investment. Stainless steel is a good option and Meals in Steel have a selection of sizes to choose from. Alternatively, a hard wearing and insulated lunch bag is a great option – especially for summer. Munch do an excellent one, but don’t take our word for it. View the full range of lunchboxes, bags and water bottles over on the marketplace.

6. Use the School Walking Bus or Get on Your Bike

Green up your child’s commute and get involved in the school walking bus or teach them how to cycle safely to school. This is a great way to cut down on using your car, especially if the journey is short. It’s great exercise for your kids and you too if you join them….!!!

7. Use a Natural Sunscreen

It’s important to keep your child safe when they’re in the sun at playtime. This is especially important during terms one and four. Most schools offer lots of shaded areas but not all play areas can be in the shade. If they like playing on the field or going for a swim it’s important that they have sunscreen applied thoroughly. Try a natural sunscreen that is based on a mineral like zinc oxide and choose one that doesn’t contain artificial fragrances, parabens or Vitamin A.

Whether you follow one or all of our eco friendly back to school tips, you’ll be doing yourself, your wallet and the planet a big favour. What’s not to love…??!!

Merge Cafe’s Socks for Souls Initiative

Article by: Eco Mailbox

Amongst all the quirk and flare of Auckland’s Karangahape Road, is Merge Cafe, a cafe with a mission to support those in need. Operated by the not-for-profit charity, Lifewise, they have created a unique space to bring together “those who are hungry and those who hunger to make a difference”.

Here’s a place you can have your caffeine fix, while doing good at the same time.

Recently, Lifewise Merge Cafe has launched  the Socks for Souls initiative, with support from the New Zealand menswear store, Barkers.

From the 27th of September- October 13th with every 3 coffees purchased at Lifewise Merge with the coffee card, they will donate a pair of Barker’s socks to a person in need.

For more information about Socks for Souls, checkout the Facebook event

Prior to Merge Cafe, the establishment was a well-known soup kitchen, serving over 40,000 meals a year to Auckland’s homeless people since 1885.

In 2010, Lifewise made the decision to shut the soups kitchen doors and try out a new approach. Merge cafe opened in its place, an innovative approach seeking to solve the problem rather than nurturing it.

There are a number of ways you can help, from the Socks for Soul initiate, and various pay it forward meal scheme.

Merge Cafe hopes to break the barriers of marginalisation, connecting and welcoming people of all backgrounds, regardless of their social or economic status.

Here at Ecomailbox, we love hearing about the contributions businesses are doing for the community.  ‘Good on Ya ‘ Lifewise Merge Cafe for your efforts in helping those in need.  Visit their website  Lifewise Merge Cafe for more info and ways you can support!


Kia Ora from Kmart. Online shopping is here.

Article by: Eco Mailbox

Kmart fans you can now shop from the comfort of your home anywhere in the country.

Kmart New Zealand’s online store launched earlier today just days before its newest store opens in Petone.

Clothing can only be ‘viewed’ but to start you can shop homewares, toys, baby merchandise, sporting goods, electronics and pet merchandise.

Take a look at its new website. As always, there’s lots of great finds.

Kmart are offering nationwide delivery between two and four days, and 28 day returns on all goods.

We’re happy to see as a major retailer both here and in Australia, Kmart is committed to an ethical sourcing programme, scoring a ‘B’ on the Ethical Fashion Report 2017.

Read more about the ethical sourcing programme here.

Nice one Kmart.co.nz! Happy shopping.