veganuary

Ask the

The team from Veganuary answer your questions about veganism 

Each month, send us your questions and we'll pitch them to those in the know. Whether you're unsure about the best way to cook tofu, or you need some vegan dating advice, we've got your back.

With spring on its way, what are the best ways to make sure my outdoor space is wildlife-friendly?

Supporting wildlife is as much about the things we don't do as the things we actively do, for example, avoiding the use of chemicals. What we might see as 'pests' are oft en someone's dinner and may be supporting a diverse ecosystem. And since wildlife flourishes in wild places, a manicured lawn with a spotless patio is not going to be an attractive proposition. Just don't tidy up too much.

Instead, provide appropriate habitats - wood piles, swept-up leaves, self-set wildflowers (aka weeds), vegetation and twigs all provide food and nesting material for animals. You might also like to make or buy bat boxes, bee hotels, hedgehog homes or toad abodes. If you can compost your kitchen and garden waste you may just provide a home for slow worms, too.

Plant a variety of wildlife-friendly plants including buddleia for butterflies and hyssop for bees. If possible, stagger your planting so that there is food available throughout spring and summer. Ponds are great for wildlife, even small ones, but provide ramps out to keep wildlife safe.

And finally, it is worth remembering that we don't get to choose who visits, so if you were hoping for an eagle owl and you get a wood pigeon, that is still a wonderful outcome.

I'm a new vegan, and I love candles. How do I make sure candles I buy don't contain beeswax?

Candles can be made of a number of waxes including soy, paraff in and beeswax. Paraff in is probably the most commonly used material because it is the cheapest for manufacturers to use but paraff in is a by-product of the petroleum industry and while it is vegan, there are some associated health concerns.

So, how do we know what each candle is made from? If the label does not state the wax used, it is likely to be made from paraff in. Since beeswax costs so much more (due to one pound of beeswax requiring 33 million flower visits by bees), companies tend to shout about it.

And similarly, with soy. Those who make candles without cheap paraff in or without exploitative beeswax tend to let their customers know. If you're unsure, try searching online for 'soy candles' or 'vegan candles'. You might be surprised at the range!

One great company is Vegan Bunny, which produces beautifully scented vegan candles in plastic-free packaging.

And if you would like your purchase to do even more good, check out the online shops of Viva!, Animal Aid and New Haven Project, which all sell plant-based candles with profits supporting their own work for animals.

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Our Star Buy

Spring Blossom Soy Candle, 50 hours A beautifully sweet, romantic and flowery smelling candle, hand poured from soy wax. It's naturally scented with luxury rose geranium, lavender and sweet orange essential oils.
£10.50, veganbunny.co.uk

For more from Veganuary, visit veganuary.com.
Email Gemma.Tadman@primeimpact.co.uk with your questions about veganism and the planet.

VeganLife

The lifestyle magazine written by vegans for vegans.