Sweet idea to reduce waste June 07 2015, 0 Comments

A couple of wines and a mid-life crisis helped spark an invention which aims to significantly reduce the waste created by school lunches.

Honeywrap, a natural re-usable food wrap, is one of the creative ideas to be presented at next Sunday's Auckland Fair.

The plastic wrap alternative is made from organic cotton fused with beeswax, tree resin and natural preservatives. It is re-usable for up to a year and fully biodegradable.

Its creators, Auckland mothers Tara Strahan, Amy Demuth and Jo Falloon, came up with the idea over a few glasses of wine when Strahan was feeling fed up with her job and looking for a career change.

"We just thought 'this is a great idea' and no one in New Zealand was doing it at the time. So we started researching different ingredients and came up with something that was long-lasting and effective," she said.

"We took it to a few markets and received such a positive response that we just thought, 'man, we could actually make a few more of these'.

So we started our own website, got a few stockists and it built from there."

Ironically, Strahan is allergic to bee stings and her foot became badly swollen when she was stung by an insect attracted to the wax in the products.

The women now make their wares with the doors closed during daytime, or at night, to keep inquisitive bees at bay.

All three are trained as occupational therapists and Strahan said they ultimately hoped to provide employment to people with head injuries or learning disabilities.

"If we could combine the two that would be really great. That would be the longer term goal," she said.

About 150 exhibitors are to take part in the Auckland Fair, which will be held at Shed 10 on Auckland's waterfront.

Craft exhibitors include Ali Hughes' iDear, featuring a range of cards and paper goods designed to put a smile on faces.

Hughes struck upon the idea while checking out a stationery store during her university studies.

Founded more than three years ago, iDear's website says the cards are "inspired by Ali's love of word play, everyday conversations and the occasional dad joke".

More than 5,000 people are expected at the event, which is sponsored by Yellow.

The showcase of local crafts was launched in 2010, initially based at the Auckland Art Gallery. Its popularity saw it relocate first to the Aotea Centre, before moving again to Queens Wharf late last year.

- Herald on Sunday