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Sustainability Struggles, Fails and Triumphs!

Posted by Bronwyn Newnham on

A couple who live around the corner from our home put their rubbish bin out for the first time in 12 months. 12 months and no rubbish! That is so impressive. 

I would not have known about this amazing feat, however, during the COVID 'stay-at-home' my neighbourhood created a Facebook group, and reported their achievement.

There is a quiet battle going on behind us. A battle between the petrochemical companies, who use a by-product called ethylene to make plastic cheaply and efficiently, and people who are increasingly concerned that we are in a worldwide environmental crisis caused by our dependance on plastic. While these plastic companies worldwide have promised around a billion dollars on recycling efforts, they have invested 20 billion in plastic creation. 

I am slowly trying to move forward into less and less dependance on plastic. Every time I make a change in my addicted plastic habits, I do not feel as much pain or inconvenience as I predicted.

So, here is the list of my proud achievements thus far;

  1. I have been using coconut oil as a toothpaste, and I thought I would hate it, however now, I cannot abide the saccharine taste of store toothpaste. 
  2. I have learned how to compost. This means more trips out to the compost bin, but the offset is, less trips to the rubbish bin, so not too much pain.
  3. I have stopped putting plastic liner bags in my kitchen rubbish bin. Without the messy vegetable peelings the rubbish is pretty odour and slime free, so no problem.
  4. I am using reusable carry bags and cotton reusable vegetable bags. This has actually become more convenient, and now I find the plastic vegetable and shopping bags annoying. 
  5. Eastfield Natural Food Store encourages us to take in our old dish and laundry detergent bottles and refill them. These are organic, and grey water friendly, they smell delicious and delightful, and I find that I cannot go back to the icky superstore products anymore. 

And on it goes, slowly slowly I am becoming more plastic free, and surprising myself how easy it is to change my plastic habits, and super surprised at how little inconvenience it causes me. 

As I find products that help me detox from my plastic habit,  I want to share them with everyone, so we are increasing our Eco range of products in store. These help to reduce our plastic dependence, and are such good quality, without the built in obsolescence of so many products that we pay for in the super stores.

My favourite of these is our Untrashy Stainless Steel Clothes Pegs.

Every time one of my plastic pegs cracks and breaks I feel strangely excited. I am now so close to no plastic pegs on my clothes line. The Untrashy Pegs are made using marine grade stainless steel, and are completely recyclable and built to last forever, which is a huge contrast to my old plastic pegs which seemed to be designed to break. 

Another absolute fav of mine is the Fair Trade kubu rattan basket range in store. The cane is grown and the baskets woven in Indonesia. The cane is harvested then buried in mud for around 4 weeks. When it is brought out of the mud the cane is a beautiful soft grey and bug and worm free.  These will cost you more than a plastic laundry basket but outlast one by about a decade. 

fair trade cane baskets

It is so interesting that the nations of Africa are world leaders in plastic waste reduction law. Let's follow their example and learn from their concern about the environment we live in. 


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