We’re digging a little deeper into #plasticfreejuly with our resident waste warrior and Finders Keepers Partnership Executive, Ashleigh! When Ash isn’t welcoming you warmly at our markets, she’s working on her side hustle Shift!
It’s a new age hub for living lightly! Get ready to take some serious notes (or screenshots)! Ash gets us started with some small manageable tips from reducing waste to eco tips for working from home, as well as clever DIY’s.
“I have taken the extra time at home to try new recipes and DIYs, getting creative in my favourite (and productive!) way. I am driven by feeling a sense of achievement, so finding creative outlets that fuel that, works best for me”.
Read on and drink up plenty of eco goodness and get set to make some small shifts together…
Can you share your journey of mindful consumption and living lightly. How did you get started and what inspired you?
My journey really began when my sister and some of her uni mates started a sustainable fashion runway show in 2011, Undress Runways, to showcase Australian fashion labels producing ethically. Although I’d heard of sweatshops (who hadn’t) I’d never given much thought to how my clothes were made.
That is when I started learning about this concept of ‘ethical fashion’ and seeking out brands that were transparent with their production. And then, in the best possible way, it snowballed! I started Shift to share interviews with brands and makers putting sustainability first, and began sharing my own journey too – I wanted to share how simple and beautiful it could be to make small ‘shifts’.
I returned from overseas and decided to reduce my reliance on supermarkets, instead shopping with small, local businesses. Then I discovered you could refill your own containers at bulk food stores – game changer! Like it or not, I’d set my own challenge to see how little waste I could produce, documenting as I went. It’s a challenge I still love to explore!
2020 has been a challenging experience for many so far! What has kept you focused, inspired and productive? Do you have any eco tips for working from home?
I try to stay focused on what I can do myself, in my own space, and with the time and resources I have. I find that helps day-to-day in trying not to get caught up in the stress and gloominess that can come with these big events that are out of our control.
I have taken the extra time at home to try new recipes and DIYs, getting creative in my favourite (and productive!) way. I am driven by feeling a sense of achievement, so finding creative outlets that fuel that, works best for me. I’ve also started a permaculture course online and I’m devouring it! I am finding the principles of permaculture align so well with my perspective on life, which helps with the motivation.
In terms of eco tips for WFH, try using the extra time not commuting to do lovely ‘slow living’ things, like soaking your beans from dry instead of buying in cans, making your lunch each day, brewing loose-leaf tea, calling your electricity company and making the switch to their renewable energy plan.
It feels like the world is catching up with all things conscious and with thanks to social media lots of sharing and talking about new ways of doing things. What are some of your favourite changed habits that help our earth?
I’ve been making many of my own toiletries and other things for several years now, from deodorant to moisturiser, lip balm, dry shampoo, bug spray, cleaning products – the list goes on! Deodorant has to be one of the best and simplest shifts I’ve made, when I think how little I am spending on the ingredients, how effective it is and how much single-use packaging I’ve saved (I’m still using the same little jam jar years later!). I encourage everyone to have a go at that one – just a few things from the pantry does the trick! See DIY Deodorant recipe below!
The best habits I’ve formed that I just cannot shake (even if I tried!) are using what I have first..
The best habits I’ve formed that I just cannot shake (even if I tried!) are using what I have first – seeing value in the things around me, and reusing as much as possible – and choosing second hand as often as I can. Again, I thrive on the challenge of it all!
DIY DEODORANT RECIPE
1 Tbsp cornflour (or tapioca/ arrowroot powder)
1 tsp bicarb soda
2 tsp (to start) coconut oil/ olive oil/ whatever oil is in your pantry
Essential oils of your choice
Mix together and add more oil or cornflour as needed to reach a fluid paste consistency, that is easily rubbed into the skin like moisturiser. Swipe a small amount onto your finger and rub under your arms after showering. Keep in a sealed jar – you may need to mix it occasionally if the oil separates a little.
What are you currently, reading, watching and listening to?
I’m reading Clare Bowditch’s heartfelt memoir, Your Own Kind Of Girl, drinking in her raw stories on early struggles with mental health. I’m watching lots of permaculture and how-to videos (haha!) peppered with some zone-out Netflix like The Sinner. I listen to podcasts on my daily dog walks, like Osher Günberg’s Better Than Yesterday, Mind Body Green, Meditative Story and Futuresteading.
A little bit of a self-betterment and mental health theme going on here.
Can you share your Plastic Free July suggestions and onwards?!
The best tip I have is to choose one to three things that you can commit to doing from now on!
The best tip I have is to choose one to three things that you can commit to doing from now on! Don’t try to start with a huge list – trust me, that’s a set-up for failure.
A great place to start is with a bin audit at home – have a look at what you’re buying and what ends up being thrown away. Then jump online and research what to do about it.
Lots of food scraps? Consider a compost bin. Lots of single-use and plastic packaging? Consider what you could make yourself (e.g. snacks, nut milk, toiletries), or whether there’s a non-plastic option (e.g. pasta in cardboard; unwrapped produce), or even places to refill near you. You’ll be surprised how much you can reduce your waste by making a few small changes.
And of course, reuse! Even in these uncertain times, reusables are safe provided we employ standard hygiene practices. Start with the basics: BYO drink bottle, coffee cup and shopping bags (bonus points for produce bags too!), as they can easily form a little kit that waits by your door or in your car each day.
Can you share your go-to conscious products?
1.The Kitchen Collection – 4 Pack by HONEYBEE WRAP
Every low-waster needs wax wraps for food storage! They are so versatile – pack snacks for on-the-go, cover bowls of leftovers, and keep your cut produce fresh – no need to buy cling wrap again!
2. “Crescent Moon” Ceramic Travel Cup By Carys Martin Ceramics
A takeaway cup is another great investment, I love having something handmade and unique too.
3. Geranium & Clary Sage Natural Deodorant by Babs Bodycare
If you’re not keen on making your own deodorant, there are some great plastic-free options out there, made using natural ingredients.
4. Orange & Poppy Seed Bar Soap by Sweet Nola
Buying solid ‘naked’ soap is a great way to cut packaging, and save money as liquid soaps are mostly water anyway! Use blocks at the sinks around your home.
5. The Everyday – Normal Skin and Hair Bundle by Nuebar
I’m a total shampoo and conditioner bar convert. They last for ages, travel well, and lather beautifully – try them for yourself!
6. Shell Notebook by The Little Press
Look for products made using recycled and natural materials – an easy one when it comes to notebooks!