Did you know that it takes 7,000 uses in order for a single canvas bag to pay back the resources that it took to make it? Or that a person could spend up to 20 years without using traditional toothpaste and still have perfectly healthy teeth?
Sustainability guru and Founder of eco-store Parva Kirsty Mootz took the time to share some of her favourite eco-hacks and her top five tips for living a low impact life... well, this is what works for her but it might spark a flame within you too.
Over to Kirsty.
1. Look at how you buy food and how you waste it
Thats what I did first. I quit Coles and Woolies and I shopped online for groceries (from Harris Farm, family owned and source a lot of their produce from farmers) and had it delivered. Going to the supermarket in a shopping centre can be dangerous and tempting.
This saved time, money and it reduced my food waste immensely as I only bought what I needed for the week. Delivery was free and I could choose for it to arrive at a time that suited me. It also allowed me to use things up in the pantry, so I never had too much rice or pasta or tins of stuff that sat there waiting for years to be used.
2. Get a worm farm
For me, composting food scraps is a must. Even if you only have a small balcony, you can still have one. They are amazing little things those worms! I didn’t have room for a garden, so I gave the compost and liquid fertiliser to the local community garden.
3. DIY as much as possible.
The internet can teach you almost everything you need to know! I started with No Tox cleaning 15 odd years ago and have never looked back. Bicarb, vinegar and tea tree essential oil can clean almost anything (except marble!). Then, I moved onto skincare and beauty products (and it became a business). Making my own means way less money wasted, no nasty chemicals in my house on my skin or down the drain and the amount of plastic saved is immense.
4. Buy second hand.
Op shops are amazing resources. Your dollars support charities who support vulnerable people, and they are filled with wondrous treasures, just don’t swap one shopping habit for an op shopping habit!
I've bought second hand exclusively since I discovered Vinnies in the early 90’s,(yep, I'm old). But even then when I looked at my consumption habits, I realised that although I wasn’t supporting big companies with a throw a way business model, I still had cupboards of clothes bulging at the seams, so I stopped.
I was obsessed with vintage clothes and my collection was immense but it's mostly gone now, I sold it all to start my skincare business and I don’t miss any of it (and I really thought I would). If I wanted to do my part for the planet, I'd just have to stop.
5. Buying “eco” brands isn’t the answer to reducing your impact
Using what you have, sourcing second hand or buying new products that have recycled content is how we change our impact. Brand new canvas bags (organic or not) take 7,000 uses to pay back the resources used to make one, that's over 19 years of every day use.
All glass or metal tins used in skincare are recyclable but made from virgin resources instead of recycled content. With Australia's recycling crisis most of that glass will sit in a warehouse forever and never turned into another thing. Join pay it forward, tool library, clothes swap; we all have so much stuff to share around.
Now to end, I'd like to share some of the best products hacks that I use all the time:
1. Bicarb Soda is a must in any house. It helps with baking and it can be used to scrub anything when mixed into a paste with water; it's better than Jiff or Gumption. You can even clean your teeth with it – I have for 20 years (don’t use coconut oil as you’ll see in most DIY tooth powder recipes, it blocks the drains. You can add it to coconut oil as a deodorant, use it as dry shampoo, or make a paste and use as shampoo followed by a vinegar rinse. It can be used as a carpet deodoriser, face scrub or a bath soak. The list goes on!
"Using what you have, sourcing second hand or buying new products that have recycled content is how we change our impact."
2. Vinegar is a bit the same. It's anti-bacterial and kills mould.
Regular White vinegar mixed with bicarb to scrub can be used to clean the oven, shower or toilet. Dilute and use as an all purpose cleaner, use instead of fabric softener (doesn’t leave and odour.
Apple Cider - Dilute it in water and use as rinse conditioner after a bicarb scrub. Or, dilute with water and use as a face toner.
3. Use what you have in your kitchen to create a lovely 15 min facial.
Steam - fill a pot with boiling water, add citrus peels or a few drops of essential oils and place you face over it with a towel over your head about 30/40 cm away and let the steam open those pores. Take a break if its too hot! Splash your face with cold water and pat dry.
Honey Mask - cover your face and neck in honey, it's sticky but worth it! Leave it for 5mins, add a spoonful or two of any sugar to your face and a little water and gently exfoliate. Rinse off with warm cold/warm water. Leaving face slightly damp moisturise with coconut oil or olive oil if you have dry skin or a little sunflower or sesame oil if you are prone to oily skin or break outs. I actually use the pot of now warm water to soak my feet with a bit of bicarb while the oil soaks into my face.
Kirsty developed a passion for creating her own skincare after doing a lot of sustainability courses after the birth of her son. She likes to make everything from scratch and when she started making skincare and sharing it with family and friends they encouraged her to develop her hobby into a business. She is committed to reducing her footprint and sharing what she knows with others to empower them to make more ethical and sustainable choices when it comes to the things we put on our skin.