A Simple Swap to Save The Planet (And Your Wallet)

 

Since Ryder was old enough to go to the cafe, he has been pretty obsessed with, well, anything that has a straw. Kids are magnetised to them: The rainbow of colours, their ability to turn plain old water into a bubbling volcano, and the delightful bonus of getting a bendy one. It’s no wonder kids want more more more straws!

It’s harmless fun, right?

Well, since being on this journey of creating eco-fashion, I have noticed the devastating impact straws have, particularly to our marine life. Many of you have seen the seriously hard to watch clip of a turtle with a straw stuck in it’s face.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here’s a great read on Why Straws Seriously Suck.

I know it’s hard sometimes to keep on top of all the things that we should be doing. I personally feel overwhelmed every time I read one of these articles. But there are actually some easy little swap outs you can make that will make a massive difference.

And swapping your straws may be the easiest one of all.

So, how do you swap out a straw? Easy, check out a store like Biome. They have a whole range of amazing products for plastic free, re-useable, toxic free and organic living. (*note: I have not been paid to promote their products, I stumbled across their site and just loved their stuff).

And the best part? This simple little swap will save you money.

Consider this: A 40 pack of plastic straws from the supermarket costs about $1.30. Sure, this might last a couple of months (Ryder would have a straw with EVERY drink if he could, and of course a new colour for every day!) but compare that to a metal straw from Biome, at $3.50 this little beauty is going to last me forever.

Boom! A simple swap that will give you the peace of mind that you’ve done something good for the planet today (and your bank balance).

As for Ryder, he’s stoked with his new straw. He especially likes the satisfying “ping” it makes when it taps against the glass. And apparently, it’s even better for blowing bubbles!

 

Want to swap out more than just the straws?

Here are my top picks for Biome products. Why not grab these from them while you’re there for maximum impact = maximum feel good = maximum budget saving = maximum environment saving points!

1 – Wax Food Wraps: Replace that cling film. I was a little sceptical at first about whether it would do the same job as cling wrap, but I’ve found it’s flexible (slightly sticky) at room temperature and stiffens when refrigerated whilst still holding shape.

http://www.biome.com.au/food-wrap-covers/8440-hemp-reusable-food-wraps-set-of-3-799665875541.html?search_query=wrap&fast_search=fs

2 – Coffee Cup: Don’t add more to the 500 million disposable cups we Australians use each year. Once you’ve used a keep cup 15 times, you have reached break even in its life cycle, including cleaning. Every use after that is a bonus for the planet!

http://www.biome.com.au/reusable-coffee-cup/15251-keepcup-cucumber-med-12oz.html

3 – Lunch Bags: Zip lock bags are such a guilty convenience for me, (and that satisfying snap when you seal them is hard to resist). But these re-usable lunch bags have all the convenience without the waste. And as a bonus, they’re dishwasher safe!

http://www.biome.com.au/lunch-boxes/14866–lunchskins-large-sandwich-bags-sub-size-navy-shark-854735005409.html

4 – Waterbottles: It is estimated that 38 billion disposable water bottles that end up in landfills each year. One of these re-usable ones reduces that number while saving you money. Toxin free, BPA free and no nasty chemicals in your H2O.

http://www.biome.com.au/221-water-bottle

 

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11 Surprisingly Easy Ways to Immediately Become More “Green”

I would have never thought the most devastating thing to happen to me today would involve a green bag.

But this unassuming carrier was the catalyst for a near epic breakdown.

Since I started this eco fashion brand, the impact I have on the environment has suddenly jumped to the top of my conscious, promptly replacing Game of Thrones plot lines, Niece’s birth dates and where I put my keys (but let’s be honest, that one is always a bottom dweller). I’ve become hyper aware of the devastating impact that we have on the environment as consumers. And now that I am a producer of clothing as well, despite my best efforts to produce a sustainable product, I know I am contributing even more to the ever growing pile of “things” we humans consume and produce.

So I know I have to start changing my behaviour to help offset this impact.

And the green bags were supposed to be my first step. Then today happened and I forgot the friggin bags! As I trudged along with my flimsy plastic bag bulging with shopping (“yes”, I told the friendly attendant “they WILL all fit in one bag!”), cursing my forgetful brain, I realised that it’s OK to fail sometimes (I am human after all, phew, quite a relief to know I am not a mummy robot sent back in time to make sandwiches!).

So I picked myself up, along with my son after a long day at Daycare, and wrote my wishlist of the habits I was going to do my best to break.

Here is my list of 11 small behaviour tweaks I’m endeavouring to do this year to help minimise my impact on the environment:

Reducing Plastic:

1. Bring a keep cup or re-usable mug to the coffee shop. Ask for your coffee without a lid. Did you know that coffee cups account for 60,000 kilograms of plastic waste per year!

2. Take your bags to the supermarket. Keep some bags in your car boot for next time you’re at the shops to avoid using plastic bags (must remember this one!)

3. Purchase less packaged foods. This is a tough one, I know, especially for busy people. The good news is Coles and Woolworths Supermarkets now accept plastic food packaging as well as plastic bags for recycling. The Greater Good Project did a great piece on how much plastic we really throw out each week. Another idea is to shop at bulk buying outlets like scoop and wholefoods where you can purchase all of your dry ingredients plastic free!

3. Leave an empty water bottle in the car so that if you get thirsty you can stop and fill it up – a lot of parks now have water refilling stations. If you’re worried about that article you read that claimed drinking water from bottles left in hot cars cause cancer, that’s a myth according to the Cancer Council of Australia.

4. Support businesses that care – there are lots of businesses that have wood or plastic take away containers.

5. Recycle as much as you can. Don’t just chuck the jar of peanut butter because it’s too hard to rinse out. And always check for the recycle sign on the bottom – there are lots of items you may not know you can recycle: Here’s a great read from SBS Australia: 7 things you should be putting in recycling.

Reducing Chemicals:

6. Use soap nuts and other eco detergents

7. Make your own cleaning products (scrubs, toothpaste etc) to reduce waste. Keep an eye out for an upcoming post from me on this one.

Reducing Wasted Clothing:

(Now, I’m not suggesting you start embracing a naturist lifestyle and do away with clothing altogether, but being more mindful of where your clothes come from and their true lifecycle can make a big difference. Remember that clothing is not a perishable item, it does not just go off so there’s lots of ways to make the most of its life span.)

8. Purchase second hand clothing and toys where possible. Op shops and Facebook buy/swap/sell groups are a great place to start.

9. Try to fix or alter garments before disposing of them. Or if you’re like me and more likely to sew your fingers together than fix a button, take it to a low-cost dress maker.

10. Make less purchases, but make them quality items. Vote with your $ for the brands you support and those who are trying to make a change.

11. Why not reuse a garment for something else like a rag, a cover for something in the garage, or for kids’ craft.

For me, obviously those green bags are the top of my list! Since my meltdown, I’ve hidden green bags all around the house, front door, in every nook of the car to make sure I won’t forget again. Hopefully this is one small step to checking off every item in my environmental to do list.

I really encourage you to try some of the things above. Behaviour change is hard, but remember that something is better than nothing. Feel good about all the little changes you’re making and don’t get too caught up about forgetting your green bags every now and then.

Here are my top reasons I remind myself to do these things every day:

  1. Try to preserve this amazing planet and the people in it
  2. Be a part of something bigger
  3. Save money
  4. Be an example to others to make changes
  5. Because it feels good!