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

 

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War on Waste

Watching War on Waste on ABC the last two weeks, I iniitally felt despair, followed soon after by motivation & determination.

I always thought I was pretty good when it came to minimising waste & optimising recycling but turns out I can certainly lift my game in two particular areas.

Food waste: a staggering amount of food waste is thrown out by Australians every year. Put in financial terms, it would be close to $3,000 per family. I am committing to better utilisation of my food (not letting it turn rotten); as well as composting.
So what are my food scraps that cant be used? I’ve been keeping an eye on that too – banana peels, apple cores, pear cores, plum stones, banana skins, avocado skin & stones, radish tops, eggshells, coffee grinds, soggy leftover cereal, tea leaves, strawberry tops, leftover baby food that cannot be used, herb & kale stalks, outer leaves of cauliflower & outer husks & cobs of corn. I have 2 plastic containers that I keep in the fridge & fill with any food scraps. I am surprised at how quickly they are filling up.

Soft plastics: once again, an overwhelming statistic that only 1-2% of our soft plastics are recycled. You may have noticed the REDCYCLE bins at coles / Woolworths supermarkets, then again you may not have because for some bizarre reason they don’t seem to want to encourage people to recycle their soft plastics. The test is: if it’s soft plastic & can be scrunched into a ball, throw it in the REDCYCLE bin. You can pop onto their website & enter your suburb to see the closest bin – mostly in Coles & Woolworths. This psoft plastic waste is then re-purposed by the legends at Replas – currently predominately being made into commercial furniture but it would be great to see it move to homes & non-commercial usage.

Since watching War on Waste episodes 1 & 2, I have HALVED my rubbish. I am fortunate that my Mum is part of a Community Garden so I am able to give her my fruit & veg scraps to add to their compost bins. I have also started a separate “soft plastic” disposal just above my normal rubbish bin which I will then take to the RedCYCLE bin at the shops (for locals reading this, Coles Edgecliff is the closest).

My biggest bin contributions currently are nappies – I use a brand made from 40% sustainable materials (Tooshies). Their wipes are compostable. I also use compostable nappy bags made from corn starch which are from Wotnot (via Nourished Life).

I need to either stop using baking paper, or find a more environmentally friendly alternative. Suggestions anyone?

I have recently started using Who gives a Crap paper towel, which is made from sugarcane & bamboo – & is biodegradable.

Rubbish bin liners themselves – check out Compost-a-Pak. It seems like a no-brainer but so often when we see images of rubbish tips, the overwhelming thing is the tied up rubbish bags. Let’s support companies like this.

Got 20 seconds? Sign this petition to get Coles & Woolworths to stop wrapping small amounts of fruit & vegetables in plastic & styrofoam. All you need to do is put in your first name, surname, email address & postcode. Your name does not have to be published if you wish. When I signed it today there were over 193,000 supporters.

Got another 20 seconds? Sign this Greenpeace petition to ban plastic bags in NSW. Let’s hope we don’t get a pathetic ban like Tasmania whereby they just used a loophold & introduced thicker bags that they could then call “re-usable”.

Coffee drinkers, I’ve got my eyes on you. It’s time to care. Cafe owners too – rather than discounting a customer for bringing a re-usable cup, how about penalising someone for not bringing one. I guarantee charging 20 cents extra per coffee for a disposable cup will motivate people to remember it. as an Owner/Manager, could you also look at the expanding ranges of compostable coffee cups.

FUN SITES TO FOLLOW IF YOU’RE SERIOUS ABOUT THIS
Be an Unf**ker – these guys are awesome at short, succinct posts that make you realise what a f**ker you are being to the environment. If you action even half their posts, you’re doing well!
The Greater Good Project
Take 3 – it’s not their only message but how simple is it to pick up 3 pieces of litter when you’re next at the beach?
Obvious Bits – follow them, it may just be a lightbulb moment for you
ME (Alice aka 6 Clean Ingredients) –  come visit me on Facebook or Insta. I am a firm believer that making your own meals from scratch goes a long way to helping the environment. See what I’m growing in my garden, feeding my growing boys, low-tox products I’m using for my baby girl, how I’m embracing minimalism & doing my best to be an eco-warrior & of course pass on everything I am learning to you!

Please share this post – if it helps just 100 families change their habits forever, I would be absolutely thrilled (& Mother Nature will send you a big hug) xx Alice

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