This month’s focus has been all about reducing our plastic use, which is phenomenal, but how do we continue to implement that beyond July and moving forward? We chatted to three inspirational 'Plastic-Free' advocates and asked how their enviro-friendly journeys started and how we can recycle, reduce and eliminate plastic from our lives...
GOOD CITIZENS EYEWEAR
FOUNDER, NIK ROBINSON
Can you please tell us a little bit about your brand and what you do? Good Citizens Eyewear was born over a family dinner discussion with the kids about global plastic waste. From Selfridges London giving the brand an entire window next to Prada for three months to talking at the United Nations and winning major design and sustainability awards, the brand has captured imaginations around the world.
We make planet-untrashing eyewear! We turn discarded single-use plastic bottles into eyewear frames. And we make them here in Sydney. It takes the plastic of one 600ml bottle to make a pair of frames exactly. Our award-winning design is modular, so every part is repairable and customisable.
Why was using recycled plastic important to you when you created Good Citizens? As a family, we’d often talk about the global plastic waste issue and wondered what we could do to help. Plastic bottles are an incredible menace when discarded thoughtlessly. Over one million bottles are sold worldwide every minute and only 7-9% are recycled; often the rest end up in landfill and the ocean. The boys getting upset, worrying the world was going to ‘break’ was the catalyst to do something. Our purpose is to ‘Untrash The Planet™’ We made a promise to use only 100% recycled materials in our products. Chasing 100% recycled has been incredibly difficult but we are committed to not using virgin plastic in our products when there is so much plastic trash on the planet. One of our greatest missions is to make people think about their plastic consumption.
What's your advice for people who want to reduce their plastic use There are some simple ways to reduce plastic use that don’t take much effort. Obviously, our advice is always going to be use a reusable drink bottle instead of buying single-use bottles, especially for water!
[Good Citizens Eyewear is available in-store}
FOUNDER, VANESSA GRAY LYNDON
Can you please tell us a little bit about your brand and what you do? Biode was created with the aim of creating natural products that work which are good for your body and good for the planet. All of our products contain non-harmful, natural but effective ingredients and our packaging is compostable at home, meaning you are able to ensure the packaging returns to earth and not to landfill. We love seeing the journey our community has taken in becoming autonomously responsible for their own waste footprint.
Why was being plastic-free important to you when you created Biode? We saw how much plastic, particularly single use, that dominated the shopping landscape. We thought there had to be a better way, and so we worked hard to find packaging suppliers that would work with us to ensure that our packaging could be composted at home. We use recycled paper with vegetable-based inks so it is completely non-toxic. We also teach our community how to compost which has so many more benefits than just being a way to deal with our packaging. It can turn food scraps into beautiful and regenerative humus (soil) that is great for your garden.
What's your advice for people who want to reduce their plastic use? Don't overwhelm yourself by trying to make too many changes at once. Look around and make one change at a time, and before you know it, you will have removed a LOT of single waste plastic from your life. Your red bin (and landfill) will thank you for it! Think of one thing today - maybe it is using a keep cup or having your coffee in, rather than takeaway. Or perhaps it is saying no to the bags for your fruit and veg or using a soap bar instead of a pump soap. Small steps do add up, and they ALL make a difference.
FOR PURPOSE RECYCLING
Can you please tell us a little bit about your brand and what you do? Hello! My name is Erik Sumarkho and I started For Purpose Recycling. After studying environmental management at university, while working in waste management, I became obsessed with understanding solutions to ocean plastic pollution. This healthy obsession took me to many places like waste conferences in Kuala Lumpur, remote villages in Sumatra, and universities in Java. After four years, the research was clear: supporting community waste banks in Indonesia is a very cost-effective way to prevent ocean plastic.
FOUNDER, ERIK SUMARKHO
Waste banks known are community non-profit spaces where locals exchange recyclables (plastic, cardboard, cans, etc) for cash and other rewards like cellphone minutes and health insurance. There are over 8,000 of them spread across 34 provinces in Indonesia. The issue was that some waste banks were incredibly successful while others could barely stay open.
For this, we decided to create a product where the proceeds made from its sales went to supporting this incredible network of community waste banks. Since launching 12 months ago, we’ve funded the collection of 1,980 kgs in Waste Papua and North Jakarta, which is the same weight as a fully grown hippo!
Why was being plastic-free important to you when you created F.P.R.? Nowadays it’s pretty hard to navigate the Wild West of buying products claiming to be ethical or sustainable. For us, it was crucial to create an organisation that strived to always take the environment and people into consideration in every business decision. Generating no plastic waste as part of our operations is core to our ethos since our mission is to: fund waste collection, recycling infrastructure, and other critical support to coastal communities in Indonesia, that do not have access to basic waste services. Having a place like Nash + Banks makes it easier for people, as they can rest assured Niccii has done all the hard work of researching ethical standards of the products in store!
What's your advice for people who want to reduce their plastic use? Here are two! Number one, soft plastics which are anything that is easy to scrunch like bags or snacker wrappers are bad, so avoid it the same way you’d avoid bumping into your ex or farting in public. Number two, have a little curiosity about what goes into your bin. Be like a responsible late teen learning about contraceptives. For example, if you notice a lot of takeaway plastic food containers then consider eating out more!
[For Purpose Recycling products are available in-store]
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