Is it unethical and/or unsustainable to use bees wax?

With beeskin we want to make the world a better place. We want to contribute to save the world from plastic. But there is a movement of people who demand not to use any bees wax at all. These people argue the following:

  • Bees should not be exploited by humans
  • Insects in general suffer from pesticides and monocultures in farming
  • Higher colony mortality shows unsustainability
  • Honey, pollen, wax and other produce from bees have been industrialized

So is it unethical to use bees products?Obviously it sounds humiliating, if bees are being industrialized. Strong language always helps to create attention. But we believe this argumentation is wrong, even counterproductive. We should not argue that every use of nature is unethical, it is the way we use and treat our nature. We can treat it in a sustainable or unsustainable way. So is there a sustainable way of keeping bees?

We believe yes. Beekeeping is sustainable when the interactions between humans and honey bees contribute positively to healthy populations of locally-adapted indigenous bees living in the wild and in the apiaries of beekeepers. Wooden hives instead of plastic, located in environments without monoculture or pesticides and a modest usage of honey and beeswax of each hive.

The number of insects has decreased due to different studies. Possible causes of the decline have been identified as habitat destruction, including intensive agriculture, the use of pesticides(particularly insecticides), urbanization, and industrialization; introduced species; and climate change. (wikipedia) We also believe that insects are very important for our biological cycle and especially for birds and plants. With Beeskin we want to support beekeepers with their work to help increase the number of healthy bees.

Around 1920 there were 25 mio. horses in the U.S., as they were needed for agricultural purposes. During the course of time horses were replaced by tractors and machines and now there only live around 4 mio horses in the U.S.  (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/hit-peak-horse-hit-peak-160806851.html) This decrease in population was also due to economical reasons. Horses were needed less and they are costly to live with. Food and shelter is expensive. Maybe supporting sustainable beekeepers helps to grow the number of bees again, that we so desperately aim for. Most studies claim pesticides and intensive agriculture the most important reasons for bee mortality.

Sustainable beekeeping is all about trust and knowledge. We try to understand, where our wax is coming from. We talk to our beekeepers. All our materials are sourced in Europe and also only sold in Europe. We believe in local business to save unnecessary transport cost. Today most of beeswax wraps are imported from the US and Asia. This is the unsustainable part in this market.

Plastic is one of the most imminent environmental dangers in todays society by killing animals, causing cancer and polluting oceans. And it is not getting any better. A study says by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish. So, Beeskin is supposed to help on a small scale to reduce the usage of plastic foil and to reduce plastic waste a little more. And this by supporting bees colonies, not harming them.

If we support sustainable beekeeping, we support a growing number of beekeepers to make their little contribution to our blooming meadows.

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