Moving towards a plastic-free life

Thankfully more & more celebrities are bringing to light the frightening impact of single-use plastic on our planet – to animals, our waterways, & the chemicals leached from them into our bodies. Sadly, I don’t understand why so many people will only follow an action once a ‘celebrity’ spruiks a cause. Don’t get me wrong, I think they should do it more!

I do not claim to be perfect but as a family of 5, we are slowly moving towards decreased plastic consumption & hope that we can encourage you to make these simple changes too

1. Loo paper – we use Who Gives a Crap – they are made from 100% recycled materials & wrapped in paper (not plastic like the supermarket brands)

2. Paper towel – while you’re ordering your loo paper, add in some paper towel from Who Gives a Crap – again it’s made from sustainable materials (sugarcane & bamboo) & comes wrapped in paper.

3. Coffee cups – sorry to sound harsh but if you’re not using a recyclable coffee cup by now, slap a big “L” sign on your forehead. There’s literally no excuse not to have a reusable cup – we love Frank Green (although my bestie hasn’t loved hers), KeepCup & I love my glass one from The Source. Single use coffee cups are not recyclable. They contribute to landfill. If over 300 cups per year are yours then it’s time to take your head out of the sand & buy one. Now.

4. Pantry staples – I started buying from Naked Foods about 4 years ago. Take up your own glass jars, they’ll weigh them, then fill ’em up. I also love The Source. Check them both out to see if there’s one near where you live. Honest to Goodness are also great – we visit them at Orange Grove Market most Saturdays – if you forget your jars, they will give you produce in paper bags.

5. Water bottles – again, slap that big ‘L’ up on your forehead if you’re still buying single use plastic water bottles. They contribute to landfill, chemicals leach from the plastic into your water then into your body & they cost a lot when you think about it! Buy a reusable water bottle. Now. My sons have glass water bottles w detachable silicone bases for home, we have 5 stainless steel water bottles too which are shared around. We never leave home without at least 3 of them (joys of 3 children – someone is ALWAYS thirsty).

6. Soap – I really dislike those plasticky (is that a word?) soap packets. We are loving the Ecostore soaps – you can even buy them in Woolworths. Ecostore get bonus points IMO as they are a carbon zero factory. How awesome is that?! We also love their washing machine powder (comes in a cardboard box). Their laundry liquids are also great & come in renewable sugarcane plastic. Big ticks all round!

7. If you have little ones, buy some corn starch nappy bags – we love Wotnot brand, they come in cardboard packaging & are about $8 a packet for 50 bags.

8. Produce bags – I love ONYA bags to take to do my grocery shopping, they are great for putting fruit / veg in, rather than doing the juggle of apples, pears & bananas rolling off the scales at checkout (we’ve all been there!). I’ve had mine for about 2 years & they are in perfect condition. They are made from recycled plastic drink bottles, giving those single use products a 2nd life – why not, seeing as they will never degrade?! I also have Ever Eco bags which I’ve had for a year & are in perfect condition. These are also made from recycled plastic drink bottles (also called ‘rPet’).

9. Organic fruit & veg bags for the fridge – we LOVE the Harris Farm organic muslin bags. They keep our herbs, veggies & even lettuce super fresh in the fridge. I can genuinely say (no sponsorship) that they have prolonged the life of many a veggie in our fridge.

10. Toothbrushes – you guys think about how many plastic toothbrushes you’ve had in your life & that not one of them has ever degraded. YUK. No excuse not to switch to bamboo now – my faves are from Harris Farm Markets (Bondi Beach Store) which unfortunately don’t seem to be on their website & Nourished Life. My older children (aged 6 & 8) use the bamboo toothbrushes & the 1 year old has a bamboo but also a Jack & Jill which are made from 100% corn starch & are biodegradable. Plus they won’t break the bank at only $5.95 each. Plus the legends at Nourished Life deliver to your door & I can honestly say I have to hold in my excitement when one of their gorgeous pink boxes arrives on my doorstep!

11. When you’re buying sushi, ask them to hold the soy sauce plastic fish. Even better, ask (nicely) your local sushi joint not to pre-pack them into the boxes. It will save them money & have a positive impact on the environment.

12. The last tip would be one that you hear from me ALL. THE. TIME. As a consumer, every cent you spend is like a voice to the companies you buy from – buying their apples in a plastic container wrapped in plastic rather than the loose ones tells them to produce more plastic. Purchasing parsley not wrapped in plastic sleeves (like the legends at Harris Farm) says we are cool with that – we all wash our herbs when we get home anyway. Refusing to buy single use plastic water bottles tells the producers we don’t want this rubbish (literally) in our lives. Supporting companies who utilise biodegradable corn starch based packaging & produce encourages these companies to produce more of the awesome products & hopefully eventually bring down their prices as a result of increased demand.

I still have a lot of room for improvement & am shocked by how much soft plastic rubbish we create. Being conscious is not enough & I am striving to improve all the time.

I’d love to hear your tips on moving to a more plastic free life – leave me a comment on Facebook.

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Embracing an ethical, sustainable, enviro friendly Christmas

I embrace the mantra that every cent we spend is a vote for what products we want this world to create. I also embrace minimalism so my gifts are often services (massage vouchers from a local business are a favourite); disposable (soap, candles, organic tea) or a product I feel has a positive environmental impact & will be a gift that won’t be broken/discarded quickly (reusable bag or coffee cup)

All I want for Christmas is youuuuu, but failing that, my top 12 gifts for this Christmas (in other words things I would be very happy to receive!) are:

1. Onya recyclable produce bags – I take mine everywhere (I mean EVERYWHERE – I recently took them all the way from sunny Sydney to snowy Scotland). They are brilliant in place of single-use plastic bags, are sturdy, only weigh about 10 grams each & are made from recycled plastic bottles.

2. Native flame eco candles – they are produced in Tasmania & made from coconut wax (did you know many candles are made from genetically modified soy?) & a timber wick. I’ve bought 3 so far as gifts & everyone has loved them.

3. Shampoo bar – a massive bonus to any product that has been reinvented purely with the environment in mind. Say goodbye to bulky single use plastic bottles with these bars.

4. Seedlings – I genuinely believe it’s cool to care about the environment. You need minimum space to grow some herbs & if I (no green thumb) can grow oregano, thyme, parsley, mint, basil, kale & chilli, you can do the same.

5. Home made treats – gingerbread are very easy to make, as are lots of Christmas treats. Forego the store bought goodies laden with flour, sugar, palm oil & preservatives. Pop it in a reusable container, wrap a ribbon around it & a fresh gardenia (my absolute favourite!).

6. Organic tea or coffee – tea & coffee are one of the most sprayed crops, meaning organic really is the only way to do coffee. I love Clipper organic teas, especially as their tea bags are unbleached. You can grab them in About Life.

7. Reusable coffee cup – if you know someone who is still buying single-use coffee cups lined with plastic (no peeps, they are NOT recyclable), then this is the perfect gift for them. My favourite is Frank Green – they have a great range of customisable colours. As a side note, I was thrilled to see on War on Waste last night a guy has come up with a formula to separate the plastic from paper in coffee cups. How frightening is the statistic of 7-11 selling 70 MILLION coffees per year in Australia alone. That’s one brand. In one country. In one year. 

8. Reusable water bottle – there’s nothing cool about toting a single use plastic water bottle which leeches chemicals from the plastic. Even less cool is the impact it has on our environment, with every bottle taking many many lifetimes to degrade. Don’t put your head in the sand, there are so many awesome reusable water bottles around now. I’m putting the Frank Green glass water bottle on my Christmas list.

9. Bamboo sheets – if you’ve got a little more to splash on me, I mean, your family & friends, bamboo sheets are a lovely gift. I’ve got my eye on some Ecosa sheets

10. Low-tox suncream – when you live in Australia & are applying suncream to yourself & your children daily, you really want to be applying a product that you understand what ingredients are being put on your skin daily. My picks are Little Urchin & Little Innoscents (which I am currently using on my 1 year old) – there are some other great low-tox brands out there now.

11. A subscription to Tooshies by Tom – as a Mum using disposable nappies & wipes, I am conscious of the environmental impact they have. In my experience these nappies work well & are super cute! Plus what parent or carer would be unhappy to receive their boxes of nappies & wipes delivered to the door rather than lugging them from the shops?!

12. A subscription or at least the first order to get the ball [roll?] rolling so to speak of Who Gives a Crap. I LOVE these products & have been using their loo paper & paper towel for close to a year & am proud to be using a product that is recycled & made from bamboo & sugarcane. They are wrapped in individual rolls with funky patterns (my sons love making the wrappers into paper planes). It’s a present that is sure to get used & again, is something ANYONE would love to receive delivered to their front door & not have to lug home from the shops. Plus their emphasis on charity is pretty incredible.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, health & happiness are our greatest wealth xx