BY SERENA LOW
Thousands of Kiwi students took part in a global strike against climate change last month, and for good reason. We live in a world where nine out of ten people breathe polluted air, approximately 400 million tonnes of plastics are created annually, and 79 percent of these plastics can be found in a landfill or our environment.
We, as a society, have the responsibility to proactively change our plastic consumption behaviours.
Thankfully, there are brands committed to making products that help us do just that – some born right here in Aotearoa. So before you reach for your plastic regulars, check out these cool sustainable Kiwi companies first:
I don’t know about you, but I’ve never considered washing my hair with a bar that is 100% soap free. With my scalp prone to flakes, coupled with bleached locks, there are no other options than to lather with the standard (but effective) H&S and follow with an intensifying conditioner.
Or so I thought. Ethique have a number of solid beauty products – they claim to be the world’s first zero waste, full range beauty brand – and to my delightful surprise, they actually work! I tried the Heali Kiwi shampoo bar, and it works just as well as my regular anti-dandruff shampoo. The Guardian conditioner bar also smells great and should work for any mildly dry hair.
Once you get over the unfamiliar action of rubbing a bar over your hair, you’ll notice how convenient it is. One conditioner bar is equivalent to five 350ml bottles of conditioner, which is said to last 6-8 months. It also saves up to 14L of water which would have otherwise been used to create the plastic bottle!
“What most people don’t realise is that only 9% of plastic worldwide is actually recycled and that eight million tonnes end up in our oceans every year. We need to rethink our entire consumption system, look at circular economy principles and start producing goods with compostable or reusable packaging,” says founder and CEO of Ethique, Brianne West.
One of the biggest offenders of pollution found in the kitchen is plastic wrap. In the morning, we roll out a long sheet and wrap up our sandwich, but by the evening, that same sheet is scrunched up in the trash. LilyBee Wrap is an alternative to cling film, made from fabric and beeswax.
Stacia Jensen, founder and CEO says the idea for LilyBee Wrap came about when she “started thinking about what people did before plastic”. Since its launch, the Wraps have eliminated the need for over five million plastic food bags.
There are a number of ways to use the wraps – seal off an avocado half so it doesn’t oxidise, line trays when making raw protein balls, cover up bowls in the fridge, or even as decorative gift wrapping. And because it’s thicker than normal cling film, these wraps make whatever you’re holding feel a bit safer. However, the wraps do have a strong beeswax smell, and whilst pleasant for most, those with sensitive noses should take note.
Sustainable living isn’t only good for the planet, but it’s good for our health too. Ecostore has a range of cleaning and body care products that have been formulated without those harmful or unnecessary chemicals.
“New ingredients are appearing all the time, new alternatives that are made from natural resources that are good for you and not harmful to the planet. For Ecostore, that means always looking for ways to make things more sustainable, healthier, and more effective. Not doing what’s easiest or cheapest, but doing what’s right. And what works,” says managing director Pablo Kraus.
Beyond doing its job and smelling great, Ecostore is great because they offer refill stations. We use its
dishwashing liquid and hand wash in the office, and when we’re running out, we just pop to our local Huckleberry and fill the bottle up again!
You’ve probably seen that video of a turtle with a plastic straw lodged in his nose, right? It’s no secret to Shay Lawrence, founder of CaliWoods, that even the most isolated parts of the world have been contaminated with pollution. She decided to lead the way and be the first to bring reusable straws to the New Zealand market.
Not only do CaliWoods supply straws with its own bag and cleaning brush, but they also recently released a new line of bubble tea straws – and for a bubble tea addict like myself, that’s a BIG DEAL. I’ve been keeping the straw in my handbag, and have had multiple people comment on how nice the rose gold looks.
Lawrence says individual actions are incredibly important. “They contribute to a global collective change, influence friends and family as well as pave the way for the consumer demand – effectively shaping the decisions of business and government as well.”
SERENA LOW is an International Business and PR graduate who dreams of becoming a polyglot, makes raw vegan durian cheesecakes and loves anything that helps her live more sustainably. Find her on Instagram (@serenajlow).
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