Switching accounts to ethical institutions

If I have to be attached to financial institutions, I want them to #giveashit about environmental sustainability. I don’t want my superannuation to be invested in the fossil fuel industry. I don’t want my bank to extend financial services to the defence sector, unsustainable agriculture and non-renewable energy.

***This is NOT an ad. I’m just keen to explore my own personal eco-friendliness beyond food, fashion and beauty.***

I’ve been doing a bunch of boring personal admin to switch my accounts over to ethical institutions. I’m trying to broaden the ways that I support environmental sustainability through the corporate sector. I found it a really frustrating onboarding process with @bankaust but I got there in the end. I feel like I’ve gained a few eco brownie points with this new account. I like what they stand for and who they support. I’m lucky to have them as an option amidst a sea of corporate bullshit.

I still have a bunch more changes to make but this is one small step that has unlocked momentum for my accounts. I’ve got my eyes on @australianethical as my next target…

If you have questions please look up their ethical creds online, read their disclosure statements and seek out the fine print. Finance is not my forte and this is most certainly NOT a sponsored post 😜 I’m also expecting to come across a controversial article about all the ethical institutions. Ain’t modern life a funny thing?

Last night, I fed 15 people a low waste vegan meal for $35

Today, I have an astounding hangover after a fun night away with new friends.

Last night, I fed 15 people a low waste vegan meal for $35. For those not in Australia, that’s *incredibly* cheap. I got a massive bag of field mushrooms, 6 large cans of tomatoes, 5 packets of spaghetti, 1 large jar of olives and a giant zucchini for the price of 10 takeaway coffees. In light of #fashionrevolutionweek, the low price of my food begged the questions #whomademyfood#whogrewmyfood? Were they paid and treated fairly? Nope.

It helps me grow and learn when I call out my own hypocrisy. I like to think that this mindfulness can balance me out and will prevent me from being too pious or evangelical about my lifestyle choices. My purchase was ethical in one way but not in another:
✅ Vegan
✅ Almost plastic free
✅ Some items entirely package free
✅ Meal was for staff and volunteers of a charity working to build resilience in the pacific in light of climate change.
❌ Food purchased at @colessupermarketswho (among other questionable business practices) subsidises their costs through pokie/slot machines
❌ Ingredients were not ethically sourced / Farmers may have not been treated fairly to produce this food
❌ Non organic / GMO food
❌ Spaghetti made by Barilla who also have reeeally messed up ethical standards.

One thing’s for sure: I did not let the red wine go to waste last night. Today, I meditated in the sun because I’ve forgotten to look after myself these past few weeks. Look after your planet, your body, your mind and others each and every day. Be patient with yourself. Forgive yourself. Nobody’s perfect. Especially not me

Successfully avoided the freebies.

Staying in a hotel for a few nights and we successfully avoided the freebies. These little rascals can be a tempting way to create waste. Other things we’ve done include leaving a “do not disturb” sign to avoid unnecessary cleaning of our room, separating our recycling in the hope that staff will dispose of responsibly, minimising air con usage, using only one bin for our very minimal landfill (this avoids multiple bin liners being replaced); and sneakily burying coffee grounds / compost in the hotel garden (mwahahahaaa). 🤓Burying coffee grounds just before the cleaner walked by gave me an adolescent adrenalin rush like I was skipping class or hiding a cigarette from the headmaster. Highly recommend for those who like to play it fast and loose

Zero waste at work can be challenging

Zero waste at work can be challenging. I am a UX designer whose life is run by innovative ideas and a never-ending to-do list. For someone who designs digital products, it’s ironic that paper is not safe around me. I used to fill a sketchbook in a month with wireframes, ideas and checklists. While conducting research, I’d go through stacks of @postit notes. On top of that, I design in the open – which means, I print out concepts and stick them on the wall for others to offer input and ideas. I love being organised, collaborative and working across multiple projects, but the plastic covered sketchbooks and an enormous amount of paper usage made me reconsider my approach. I now use a clipboard with scrap paper for ideation. This is my notebook at meetings and my go-to during a brainstorm. New apps like @invisionapp, zeplin and @trelloapp have allowed me to digitise collaboration where possible. I print way less than before. I am also happy that anything printed will be used for scrap paper later on. I now keep my personal checklist on @trelloapp so I can stay organised. I do still use a lot of @postit notes but I’m getting better. This clipboard is roughly $3 from @officeworksand it has totally transformed the way I work. Next up, I’m planning to switch from @sharpie to pencils.

Better packaging options

If I had my way, @invisiblezincau would be sold in a small glass container (100% plastic free) that I could return to them for reuse. It is an amazing product but it comes in a whole mess of plastic packaging. This is a company that has sound moral and ethical standards, its vegan and the product itself goes on smooth and lasts all day. I want to be able to support them but the packaging lets it down. It’s been hard to find an alternative. I’m currently using @sun.and.earth.zinc which is made from coconut oil and shea butter and comes in a reusable tin. It’s rock hard in winter and the mix is slightly inconsistent and clumpy on application. But otherwise, it’s a fair substitute for invisible zinc. I truly hope established brands are hearing our call for better packaging options

4 people. 1 hour. 7 bags of trash.

4 people. 1 hour. 7 bags of trash.

Thank you @ameerkat_47@_michaelacatherine and Peter for making this a Trash Party. We found a sock, a rubber duckie, a condom wrapper, 2 syringes, 10 golf balls, 3 @cocacola cans, 2 @carmanskitchen wrappers, 4 @mcdonaldscups, 5 beer bottles, a @jackdaniels_us can, lots of broken glass, countless straws (mostly #maccas), an unmanageable amount of plastic bags; and an alarming amount of highly recognisable chocolate wrappers including products from @nestle@cadburyoz and @whittakersnz.

It might be the designer in me speaking here, but the haunting resilience of this vibrant packaging seems like a terrible way to achieve brand awareness. I am hopeful that soon it will be normal for companies to take responsibility for the waste they generate by preventing it at a packaging and product design level.

I don’t believe this waste is created by people disposing of rubbish irresponsibly. It all appeared after the flash floods in December and looks like it’s been carried downstream from neighbouring homes.

To all the companies tagged here: How can we prevent this waste from being generated in the first place?

Zero waste is all about habits, not morality

Last month, I helped the amazing @anakresina and @dominictaranto collect used disposable coffee cups from our office bins at @redbubble.

Like most offices, we have a bin at each pod of desks, plus the big ones in the kitchen. For one week, the three of us casually trawled through countless bins dotted around two floors of our Melbourne office, collecting as many cups as we could.

It’s been a great way to raise awareness. We’ve been super conscious not to make anyone feel bad – I am a firm believer that the point of zero waste is all about habits, not morality. In order to keep moving forward; education, inspiration and incremental habit-forming is key. The next step for this project is the inspiration piece and I can’t wait to show you what they have planned for these cups. They’re about to bloom into something very special.

Do you want the good news or the bad news first?

Hmm… Do you want the good news or the bad news first? At 7 months, our progress is really good: At our current rate of waste creation, I’ve estimated that we would fill one landfill bin every 8 months, and one recycling bin every 5 weeks. Previously, it would take 2 weeks to fill both bins.

Our household has 3 people and one dog. One of us is slightly more obsessed with zero waste than the others… Guess who!?  If we were to stop making incremental improvements, this is the rate we’d be at. I think that’s pretty great! I thought it would take much longer to get to this stage. Plus, a lot of the waste we’re still creating is from products we bought before my zero waste rampage. I also love not needing to take the bins out… Now for the bad news… We recently found out that our waste collection service has been cutting corners by dumping recycling into their landfill trucks.

It’s not all the time, but it’s still really messed up. We’ve put pressure on body corporate who are in the process of rectifying everything. I have an inkling/hope that the service provider will lose their very big contract (over 200 dwellings… that’s a lot of wasted recycling!).

Until now, I’d never thought to check how our bins are being collected. I put my trust in the fact that recycling goes to a recycling plant. Every area is a little bit different, so we’ve learnt our lesson to be aware of what happens to our waste after it leaves our home. Another positive from this is that we are even more committed to reducing our recycling waste.