Who gives a crap?

There are some things that it’s probably better not to skip on in life. Dental hygiene is definitely one, delicious treats are absolutely another.

Toilet paper also falls into this category, which is why I was so pleased to come on board when Who Gives A Crap reached out to me regarding their latest limited release. I’ve ordered their loo rolls before, and I was already a huge fan of their company ethos. 

The founders started Who Gives A Crap after learning that 2.4 billion people across the world don’t have access to a toilet. That’s roughly 40% of the global population and means that diarrhoea related diseases kill 900 children under five every day- pretty sobering statistics.

Who Gives A Crap have donated almost $500,000 to help fund hygiene and sanitation projects so far, and they’re hoping to turn that figure into $1 million by the end of this limited release. That’s a pretty ambitious goal, which is where WE- the users of toilet paper- come in. After all, everyone needs to poop! And since we do have to do it, you may as well save the world at the same time. It’s consistent small choices being made by a large group of people that will add up to an overwhelming effect.

WGAC aren’t just about saving the world through donations- their toilet paper is made from 100% recycled paper, and in my experience is delivered almost completely plastic free (the sticky tape on the box is literally the only exception). And look how fun the wrapping is! Seriously, I was giggling way too much as I stacked my poetic toilet paper in the bathroom.

I swear this one was a lucky co-incidence.

This all sounds pretty tempting to you, so Aussies can head HERE to start that loo paper on it’s way to you. You’ll even get $10 off your first subscription box if you follow my link! I’m afraid the rest of the world is being denied the poetic rolls at the moment, but those in the US or UK can still get their hands on the original fun prints. The biggest trouble you’re going to have is finding a place to stack it all!

Who gives a crap?

It’s about the little things

Ever since I stumbled across the low-waste community on Instagram, it’s a concept that’s been slowly eating away at my brain. So many of the things that I took for granted before (takeaway coffee cups, plastic produce bags, on-trend clothing) are now little guilt-points on my purchase pathway.

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And sometimes it’s hard! There are days I wish I could just throw my food scraps into the bin without that little voice reminding me that if I just emptied my little apartment compost, I could compose them instead. And why is it so impossible to find ethical clothing in a style I actually want to wear!?

With the weather getting all gray and gloomy here, I’ve been slipping back into the habit of doing what’s easy, as opposed to what’s right (sad face). So brace yourself for a completely self-indulgent post to get myself back into the swing of things -hopefully some of you will get something from it too.

Without further ado- a list of zero waste moments that bring me joy

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  • French press coffee on the couch in my little apartment, where I can’t see the carpark below me but I can enjoy the wind in the trees above it. My cat likes to sit within stroking-range on the back of the couch, and it feels like the world stops for a moment
  • Eating a flaky croissant from a soft cotton bag and pretending I’m actually bustling through the streets of Paris or somewhere equally as exotic
  • Ignoring the shower walls that need scrubbing and instead focusing on the one bar of (amazing) soap, my solid shampoo, a bad-ass safety razor, and that one potplant that for some reason is happiest perched in the corner there. Yes, the walls need a wipe, but at least I don’t have to fight through a half-dozen plastic bottles to do it.
  • Coming home from the supermarket and being able to unpack everything without having to bundle a bunch of plastic together to take down to the bins.
  • Opening my pantry and seeing a sleek lineup of tidy jars, all neatly labeled and awaiting my next baking adventure

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…yes. It is impossible. That last point is a big ol’ lie. Despite everything the interwebs promised me, my low-waste pantry is definitely not a minimalist paradise. It’s an overflowing mess of tea, spices and at least three different jars of the same brown rice. Still, at least a girl can dream.

So what about you? Are you trying to cut down waste in your life? Or is there another habit you’ve been letting slide? I would love to hear the tactics you’re using to get back on track.


Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to subscribe for updates, and if you want to see more of me, come say hello on my Instagram or Twitter, I would love to see you there!

It’s about the little things

Ideas for a no-spend weekend! (That I would actually want to do)

Everywhere you look on the ‘frugal’ side of the interwebs, you’re going to stumble across a bazillion list-oids for great ways to save money. I love saving money! Count me in.

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Hello darkness my old friend…

One of the more popular lists seems to be ideas for things to do on a no-spend day/week/weekend/life. Again, I’m so on board with this. It’s easy to look at the day off looming ahead and start to wonder what you’re going to do with all of that spare time- maybe the movies? Brunch? Dinner with friends? Or perhaps you should go and check out that sale, just in case…

I am a huge fan of all of these things, but if you’re trying to save money for something special, weekend spending can really derail your efforts. The only problem is that a lot of these lists are full of things that don’t really appeal (or apply) to someone like me:

Meet the neighbours (you mean, talk to people?)

Join an organized sport (nope)

Hold a baby (could be creepy)

Window shop (you think I have that much self-control?)

So without further ado, I present my abridged list of things to do on a no-spend weekend! To keep it short, I haven’t included anything that I would do anyway (going for a run and meal prepping both seemed to crop up a lot). Nossir, these are all activities that I don’t normally participate in, but would definitely consider a fun or productive way to spend a day off.

Here we go!

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Volunteer There are so many places that are always looking for helping hands to support their daily running- it’s just a matter of finding one that aligns with your interests. For example, I would definitely be on board with gathering some friends and going to volunteer at the guide-dog HQ in exchange for wriggly puppy playtime! Maybe you love sports or get joy from being up to your elbows in dirt (me). I can promise you there’s someone out there just waiting to put those urges to good use.

Visit a Library  Apparently libraries are something that still exist? Who knew. The library used to be my absolute happy place when I was a kid- I would always leave with more books than I could carry, and could easily burn through one a day. I even remember a period where I would get my ‘quality time’ with Dad by going to the library and then out for takeways on a Thursday night.

So many great library memories! I don’t know why I ever stopped going.

– yes I do. Because I grew up, and grown up Abbie likes excuses to spend money.

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But in a library, there’s never any pressure to pick a book you’re definitely going to enjoy, or that you’re even going to read. Apparently libraries these days are also full of other great things like DVDs, audiobooks, movie nights, craft clubs and laugh clubs (maybe that’s just mine?). Channel eight year old me and head to your local library for so many books they make your arms hurt, and then head home to binge on your new (free) treasures. Can’t be bothered signing up at your local? Dig out that book you’ve been swearing you’ll read ‘one day’ and make it today.

Play tourist in your own city When you’re travelling, it’s normal to walk out your front door with a to-do list bulging with great activities for the day ahead. But be honest here- how many great activities in your own town will you ‘get around to doing one day’, or dismiss as ‘just for the tourists’? Time to play make believe! Write a list, grab your map, and try to tick off as many spots as you can on your tourist adventure. You may need the help of google beforehand to get a complete list of museums, art galleries, tourist sights and fun free activities to cram in- the friendly people at your local Visitor Information will be a wealth of information as well. Throw on a fake moustache and your very best foreign accent, it’s time to explore your home town like you’re not a local (bonus points if you find a Gallery opening with some free bubbles).

Host a Film Festival So what if all you’re playing is the first three seasons of Breaking Bad, or if you’re the only attendee. You are a classy individual and the sole curator of the latest entry on the festival circuit- Cannes, eat your heart out! If you feel like socializing, invite some friends over to join and really turn it into an event. Pick a theme (maybe every film with Jennifer Aniston ever, terrible horror films,  the most obscure 80s DVDs you found during your earlier library visit, or each person’s favourite childhood movie) and binge your heart out.

Crank out the board games or cards  Those pesky friends still hanging around from your film festival? Time to bring out those dusty old board games! I secretly love game nights- a group of my friends have co-ownership in the Firelfly boardgame and get together regularly to try and finish it (we have- once). And who doesn’t like Monopoly? Everyone apparently, but I’m going to make you play it anyway. If you really want to make it interesting, you can always play by my family rules- winner does the dishes, loser gets first go at the dessert.

Deep clean the house I know, this one doesn’t sound that fun. But how great will you feel at the end of the day when that one nagging corner of clutter isn’t glaring at you anymore? Ideas to get you started – the patch of mould in the bathroom, the expired goods in your pantry, that overflowing cupboard, or that task that came into your head as soon as I said ‘that one nagging thing’. Find a playlist or audiobook that is going to make this less painful for you, and get to it!

Bake One way to really clean out the kitchen is to use up all of those half-empty treats in a delicious experiment. If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably got a few boxes of pre-mix that are waiting for the apocalypse. Now is the time! That warm, gooey brownie is going to taste a lot better fresh from your oven than it would on an afternoon coffee date. If sweets aren’t your thing, why not try your hand at a loaf of home-made bread?

Learn a new skill The more ridiculous, the better. Always wanted to know how to juggle? This is the day. Or how about knitting or origami?  Or those crosswords that apparently make you really smart. Even learning a new language is easy to get started in this technological age- free programmes like Duolingo can get you on the right road.  Just be sure not to rush out and spend all your moolah getting set up for your new skill- if you’re anything like me, there are probably more than enough resources lying around the house.

Review your budget Yaaasssss, Abbie’s favourite thing. Pour yourself a nice cup of tea and clear a space, it’s time to brush up on your finances! Look over your spendings for the past few months- anything you can cut back on? Anything you need to start setting more money aside for? Now is also a good time to call up your suppliers and try your luck at getting your bills reduced- most companies have a surprising amount of wriggle room once you break the news that you’re considering changing suppliers. Make sure to check for any subscriptions that you’re no longer using (do you really need that Audible subscription now that you’ve discovered all the audiobooks available through your library’s website?). While you’re at it, why not set some financial goals for the rest of the year? Look at what you want to achieve and then work backwards to find a way to squeeze it into your budget.

Write down some goals While you’re planning ahead with your budget, why not think about what else you want to achieve in the next six months?

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It’s proven that writing your goals down makes you much likely to achieve them and even the most overwhelming goal can seem a little more possible if you break it down into baby steps. Use your no-spend day to get on course for the rest of the year or if you’re really artistic (which I am not), you could use the day to make one of those fancy vision boards.

Have a pamper day I guess? I’m as much of a sucker for a newly painted set of nails as the next gal so team this with a movie & a steaming cup of tea (can you tell it’s winter here at the moment?) and that sounds like a good avo in.

Host a clean-out potluck with friends Round up a bunch of friends, forbid them to spend a penny, and watch what everyone tries to create from the depth of their pantry. Edible? Maybe not. Hilarious? Hells yeah. I’m going to give it a go and report back!

Reach out to someone Be it that parent that you really should call, or that high school friend that you haven’t seen in years. Pick up the phone, or even better- send a letter! Channel your primary school crafter and make it a work of art. Make sure to put some glitter in that envelope as well- just so they never forget you.

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Rearrange your room Because nothing makes a fun day off like lugging heavy furniture! But seriously, changing things up is a great way to make you look at your room with fresh eyes, and maybe you would like to try the bed on the other wall for a bit?

Start a journal Is it just me or is journaling back in style? It feels like I’m seeing amazing layouts everywhere these days. You can use a journal to clear your head, tidy your thoughts, or record your daily life. It may feel dippy to be recording your deepest dreams and fears or who you saw for coffee yesterday, but as someone who has found diaries from eight year old Abbie, I swear that you’ll be happy you wrote it all down later!

Do any of the above in a blanket fort Because blanket fort, obviously

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Ideas for a no-spend weekend! (That I would actually want to do)

I solemnly swear that I’m up to some good

It’s easy (for me, at least) to spend a fair bit of time thinking about where my money is going- or rather, where it’s vanishing to.

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This month I want to start spending more time thinking about where my money is going. And yes, that is a very important set of italics.

I’ve reached a stage with my money where I’m no longer the panicking, impoverished arts student. I wouldn’t say that I’m functioning with a grown-up level of income (what’s a real job again?) but I am at a point where it’s time to start thinking about how my spending is serving the world – what lives am I changing, what values am I representing?

I’ll be the first to raise my hand and confess that I’m frequently guilty of going for the bottom line. Why bother spending top dollar on some boring essential when I can duck down to Big W and get what I need for just a few dollars? But it’s time to stop kidding myself (and yes, this hurts). More often than not that bottom dollar is supporting sweat-shop labour, unsafe conditions, and probably terrible environmental practices.

If I’m voting with my money, then I sure don’t want it to be going to those people. I want to live in a world stuffed full of companies that are truly trying to make a difference! Hell, I want to live in a world that still looks like our world in fifty years. If that means shopping a little more mindfully and perhaps forking out more for businesses that support my goals, then I guess that’s a small price to pay.

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WALL-E is adorable, but not if his world becomes our reality

While I’m at it, I’m going to do my best to support the people with the dreams! The good folk in my area who have taken the dive and are trying to make good when the whole world says they can’t. I’m talking delicious freshly baked breads, beautiful plants (from somewhere other than the supermarket I’msosorryIcan’tleavethemtheretheyneedmeeee), handmade ceramics, locally grown organics, coffee from that new spot that just needs time to become the next big thing. Doesn’t that just sound like the dream?

And maybe I will have to make some sacrifices to follow through. Maybe I cut down my takeaway coffee habit to so there’s money to pay more for my veges, or maybe I save for the items I truly want to bring into my life from suppliers that I honestly want to support. The great thing about having a budget is that it’s totally possible to look at your spendings in black & white and re-evaluate as circumstances change.

I’m not going to lie, this is going to be hard for me. After so many years of being dirt-poor, parting with more money than I absolutely have to is going to take some getting used to. But I’m going to take a big ol’ breath and let go of the reins a little, putting my money where my mouth is. Because what’s the point of money, if we’re not using it to make the world a better place?


Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to subscribe for updates, and if you want to see more of me, come say hello on my Instagram or Twitter, I would love to see you there!

I solemnly swear that I’m up to some good

When it’s time to say No

We live in a world that places value on Yes. Yes to staying late at work, Yes to the third girls night out in a month, Yes to that upsize.

Yes means that you’re a team player, a go-getter, someone who’s seizing every opportunity that life throws your way. But do you also sometimes feel trapped by the big Y-E-S?

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(Gratuitous Hiddles GIF because we’re getting deep)

As I’ve detailed before, when I’m not able to make ends meet with acting gigs, I cover my bills with a variety of casual jobs. These all dove-tail nicely and usually mean that I’m able to earn more than I need to to keep afloat. And I mean way more. It’s completely normal to get a ‘By the way, are you free on…’ every time I’m in an office. My knee-jerk reaction is always to say yes, because who’s going to turn down extra money? If I don’t practice my No muscle, there are times when I can look at my diary and realise that I’ve worked 50-60 hours in a week. My workplaces are probably grateful to have an extra set of hands available and I know that my bank account always sure appreciates the extra boost, but how is any of that helping me move towards what I actually want in life? Looked at objectively, my Yes is serving everyone but me.

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The self-sacrificing Yes can disguise itself in a number of ways.

Online sales are my weaknesssss- I’m the person that will open a dozen tabs and add hundreds of dollars of items to my cart before coming to my senses and leaving everything behind. So where has my Yes to their emailed invitation gotten me? I’ve probably wasted a few hours of work time and decided that I need to completely overhaul my wardrobe, browsing the sale was really only the good little capitalist in me trying to burn my hard earned money on some low-cost, sweatshop clothing. Is that really what I’m working for?

The real irony is, the more I’ve been working in a day-job, the harder it is for me to resist the chance to throw my money away. I’ll find myself engaging in hard-core research for products I don’t even need, because deep down I’m trying to justify the overwork. I’m working so hard so I deserve to spend money on the things I want – or the things they tell me I want. And then what do I have to do to replace the money I spent?

Bingo. I say yes to overtime again.

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Sometimes not using your Yes won’t make sense to the rest of the world.

This whole blog post started in my head last night when I went to grab a burger on the run for dinner. At the end of my order, I was offered sauce for an extra 50c and obviously said yes because aoli is life.

And then I got ‘and what drink would you like?’

The options on offer were canned soft drink (which I’m avoiding because I’m trying to deny that it’s time for a visit to the dentist) or bottled water (see here and here for the back story on that one).

‘None, thank you’.

‘None?’

‘No thanks’

‘Are you sure? It’s free with the sauce.’

‘I’m good, but thanks’

‘Not even a water?’

‘No thank you.’

I had to turn down a free drink four times before she would accept my answer.

Because who doesn’t say yes to free? Crazy people, that’s who!

Saying Yes would sure have ended the conversation sooner. But then where would I have been? Technically I would have been up the cost of a water, but why do I need it? I had a bottle in my bag, and if I had taken the plastic bottle it would have lurked on my conscience all night.

No matter how badly the lovely woman wanted me to follow the purchase path (probably making her till order easier) and take the ferdydurking free water, withholding my Yes was what was better for me. (Okay, technically it was more of a series of very polite No’s, but you get the point. I’ll write on the power of a good No another day.)

Treasure your Yes-es as if you had a finite amount to give- because you do! How many times can you say Yes to everyone before you suffer a complete breakdown?

Save them for the things that will bring you joy. Say Yes to that movie with friends, that extra-nice bottle of wine, or that short film that you really don’t have time to do but the script is just so.damned.good (guilty). Save your Yes-es for the things that will feed your soul, because at the end of the day, you’re the only one who has to live in the life you’re creating.

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PSA: This post is written from the perspective of a compulsive Yes-er. If you think that mayyybe you’re a compulsive No-er, you go and sprinkle those Yes-es like stardust, you beautiful little nay-sayer!


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When it’s time to say No

 5 MORE Easy Switches to Save the World!

One of my first ever ferdydurking posts (SO long ago), was on 5 Easy Switches to Change the World. For the past year or so I’ve been working towards living in a more sustainable, environmentally friendly way. It’s a lifestyle that I had started to see around instagram (because minimalism is so photogenic guys) but it wasn’t something that really stuck with me until I scrolled past a comment that hit me like a stone- Every piece of plastic ever made still exists. 

The headline may be sensationalist and there are definitely people who dispute the severity of the situation, but isn’t that still a terrifying thought? Every plastic cup, every lost comb, every ridiculous Happy Meal toy, just piling up in a corner somewhere like the opening scenes from Wall-E.

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And that’s not even considering the amount of finite resources that are burned through to make all of that single-use junk.

Like a lot of the scary things in life, it wasn’t something that I had even stopped to consider consider before but it’s quickly become something that hangs out at the back of my mind, waiting to give me an annoying poke every time I reach for a bit of non-essential plastic (amazing slushy drinks with those jelly bits in it, I’m looking at you).

My last post on the topic was the first five changes I made to try and reduce my impact- the lowest hanging fruit, if you will. Tiny swaps that I introduced one-by-one and don’t even think about anymore!

If you feel like you’ve already mastered all of those (and I would love to hear if anyone actually did try any of the swaps), here’s the next five things that I changed as I try to shrink my junk-pile for good!

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  1. Disposable Razors

Straight in with the fun swaps. Lady razors are a pink, strawberry scented, plastic carnival of waste (is that too over the top?). No surprises if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, but I also regularly opted for the big multi-packs of single use razors, because this gal ain’t gonna drop $20 on a razor just for a couple of weeks of silky smooth legs. Think of all the coffee that could buy!

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Swapping to a Safety Razor means that all I have to worry about now is changing out the blade itself, and those chunky plastic handles are a thing of the past. Other fun advantages include a better shave (this one took me by surprise- how can less blades = a better shave?) and feeling a little bit badass every time I pick it up.

2. Shampoo

It’s a safe bet that any time you pick up a bottle of beauty product, one of the first ingredients is going to be water (or acqua, if they’re trying to be fancy). So why should I pay for a plastic bottle of something that’s coming out of the tap anyway?

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I had absolutely no faith in shampoo bars when the idea was introduced to me, but I chatted to a couple of friends who were already using them and decided throw caution to the wind and give them a try.

Lush’s Honey I Washed My Hair was the first bar I reached for (because honey, obviously). It took a couple of washes for me to get used to the idea of using a bar instead of liquid shampoo, but now I can’t see myself ever going back. Why would I? I’ve noticed literally no difference in the condition of my hair, the bar sits snugly in my soap rack next to the soap of my dreams so I don’t need extra bottle in the shower, AND I’m saving the world (or at least my tiny part of it).

3. Cotton Face Rounds

I’ve always had this weird thing about taking my makeup off with a flannel (Face cloth? Wash cloth? Mini towel?). I have no idea why, but I’ve never been able to get on board with it so cotton face rounds were a fixture in my bathroom. Once I started being more mindful of my waste, I couldn’t really ignore the growing binful of rounds & wrappers ever week.

But what to do? I still really didn’t want to switch to a flannel, but I had no idea what else I could use to take my makeup off- particularly heavy stage makeup! Luckily, google came to the rescue and I stumbled across the hidden world of these babies.

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Reusable cotton rounds! Such a simple solution. I now have two spaces in my bathroom drawer- one for clean rounds and one for dirty. Once I’ve used a rounds to get rid of my face, it gets thrown in the dirty sections and come wash-day the whole lot of them get thrown in an Onya Bag with the rest of my washing and come out ready to go again! What a bunch of champions.

4. Single Use Cutlery

The western world loves to eat on the run.

That was one huge thing that I noticed during my time in Italy- food ‘on the go’ isn’t a thing. Even my coffee in a keepcup was the cause of much hilarity! Over here in Australia, food is always a rushed event. Grab a salad and a plastic fork, eat it on the tram. After a curry? Grab some takeaway with a cutlery pack and eat it at your desk. We’re always in a rush and those single-use plastics just keep piling up.

Now, I’ve always been a bit of a cutlery hoarder – I once went through airport security and had to hand over six metal forks that I had apparently been carrying around with me- but that’s not what you could call an ideal solution. Luckily, in an airport in Hong Kong, I found the perfect solution! I now have a little tube that pops open to reveal a half-sized fork, spoon, and collapsible set of chopsticks (because Hong Kong). It sits in my backpack and means that I never have to say yes to cutlery again. Finding a solution that works for you might take a bit of looking, but I believe in you.

5. A Rubbish Bin

Say what? Swap out your rubbish bin?? I know, this is a weird one.

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To be honest, getting rid of my rubbish bin was more of an accidental swap – when I moved into my little house over a year ago, I always intended to get the perfect rubbish bin for tiny kitchen, but nothing ever seemed to be right. My rubbish solution always ended up being a bag slung over a cupboard handle- ugly and plastic.

As I converted more of my purchases to recyclable or reusable alternatives, I noticed that my bagful of rubbish was getting smaller and smaller and decided to make a concerted effort to cut it down even more. Now my waste system consists of a carton for my recycling and a bokashi compost system for all of my food scraps- everything else goes into this odd little bucket that I somehow acquired on an Ikea trip.

Is it the perfect rubbish bin? Not by a long shot. It’s small, annoying to try and stack rubbish in, and I can’t find anywhere to keep it that doesn’t drive me nuts. And THAT is what makes it perfect for me. Having rubbish in my kitchen is now a friction point- it annoys me to see it there and it’s a pain to take down to the bins.  You had better bet that any time I’m weighing up a purchase I start thinking about that annoying little rubbish pile in the corner of my kitchen and look for an alternative that I can tuck away into my recycling instead. And any time I do succumb to the easier plastic alternative, that wrapping will sit there and judge me until I take it to the building’s bins, prodding me to seek out alternatives. It’s all about the baby steps!


Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to subscribe for updates, and if you want to see more of me, come say hello on my Instagram or Twitter, I would love to see you there!

 5 MORE Easy Switches to Save the World!

5 Easy Switches to Change the World

6th March – Dentist’s Day! (go floss)

Depending on the people you hang out with, you may be aware of a growing movement for a low waste/zero waste/plastic-free life. I can’t remember when I first heard of the concept, but it very quickly wheedled into my brain and has slowly been changing the way I live day-to-day.

The great thing about trying to live with less waste, is that it really isn’t that hard. You can change as little or as much as you feel inclined to, and every little change is still helping. One less coffee cup thrown in the bin may not feel like it’s worth the effort to you, but if every office worker in America refuses one take-away coffee cup a year? 124.73 million cups saved. Doesn’t that make you feel a little better? It certainly give me hope. So without further ado – 5 steps I took to change the world!

  1. Disposable coffee cups

I live in Melbourne. This means that there is more caffeine in my veins than red blood cells-FACT. We Melburnians take coffee very seriously (perhaps too seriously?) In fact, apparently Australians go through approx 50,000 coffee cups every 30 minutes and I can guarantee that I see at least 80% of those clutched in the hands of office workers in the Melbourne CBD . When you think that every one of those cups comes with a plastic lid & a polyethylene-coated paper body, that’s a serious chunk of plastic that can be easily avoided. To combat all that wastage, I now compliment my coffee habit with this sassy lady:

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Keepcup was my choice because it was easily accessible for me, I could customise every piece of it, and replacement parts are cheaply available if I need them. They have fun releases like this Star Wars series that I’ve been trying to resist. My Keepcup apparently broke even with disposable cups after 15 uses and is completely recyclable at the end of it’s life. Also, just try and tell me that this isn’t the prettiest cup you ever did see.

Like any change, making this swap should be about what works for YOU so have a look around at what others are using. My little sis has a collapsible cup that I handed off to her after it drove me crazy and she won’t leave the house without it. If you’re going to be using your new world-friendly alternative, you had better make sure it’s one that brings you joy every. freaking. day.

2. Plastic bags

We’ve all heard this one- the plastic bag is one of the easiest swaps and can have a huge impact. In fact, there are a number of countries and towns that now tax plastic bag usage or ban them entirely. Most people stop at swapping out the plastic bags used to haul their shopping in from the car, but you’re about to become so much cooler than that! How about refusing all of those smaller bags you use to pick up your produce? Or that paper bag your daily sandwhich comes in? Meet your new eco-best friends:

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Onya Bags are what I use to replace all of those incidental plastics that you come across, but you can find alternatives anywhere. I initially went with Onya Bags when I found them in an online eco store in Australia, but there are tons of options. If you’re located outside of Australia, then why not grab some of these? Or why not grab some cheesecloth & make your own?

The trick with this swap is to make sure you always have a bag or two handy. Produce bags are super-light and compress down to nothing, so you won’t even notice that one floating around in the bottom of your bag (until you need it. Then you’re an eco-WARRIOR).

I combine mine with one of these amazing bags, which I use for completely hedonistic purchases like fresh pastries or baked bread. Because you know what’s nicer than eating your croissant from a crinkly paper bag? Smugly handing over your soft, creamy cotton bag and enjoying every single flaky bite, feeling like you’re on the banks of the freaking Seine. I always recommend Lizzie’s Bags in particular because she works with women in Mumbai to provide employment, and they’re soft & light enough that it’s easy to forget you’re carrying it (again, until you’re an ECO-WARRIOR. See above).

3. Water Bottles

You don’t need me for this one. Find a bottle that’s not made of plastic. If you’re like me and you’re always leaving your bottles at home, buy three and keep them everywhere you need them. When you need water, fill & drink. Repeat as needed. Plastic schmastic.

4. Sanitary Products

Lady moment here. If you have your period regularly, that shiz will get expensive. And inconvenient. And you know what else it is? Really ferdydurking wasteful. We’ve been conditioned not to talk about any of this (unless it’s laughing with our besties in our tight white jeans while trying to sell these products to others), so it’s understandable if you’re a little squeamish about this conversion. It took me a while to take the first tentative steps, and to be honest? I would really rather not be talking about it right now either. But I will, because I love you, and just like anything, once you get the change over and done with, it really ain’t so bad. Right, here we go.

lunette-menstrual-cupMenstrual Cups

Yes, after years of grabbing your product of choice and just gettingitoverwith these might take a bit of getting used to. But you know what? Once you get the hang of using one of these babies, it’s kind of great. No more desperate dashes to the 7-11 to buy tampons and then ANYTHING ELSE so tampons aren’t the only thing you’re buying. No more finding those random lone soldiers in every single handbag you own. No more having to figure out what you do if the toilet cubicle you’re in doesn’t have a bin and it’s change time. Just use-wash-disinfect-tuck away for another month.

Yes, you probably had a moment of sticker shock (it costs HOW much??) but if you factor in how much you pay every month and the fact that you can use this bad boy (bad lady?) for several years at least, your bank balance is still going to come out on top. Take a deep breath, make a cup of tea, do the googles. Your body (and your bank balance, AND your earth) will thank you for it.

5. Food Wraps

We live a busy lifestyle these days, there’s no denying it. If you’re *ahem* ‘fiscally aware’ like me, then that probably means that you prep & eat one or more of your meals on the go most days. If you’ve thoughtfully prepared a sandwhich/slice/mystery deliciousness (please let me know your mystery deliciousness) then you’ll probably wrap it in some clingfilm/saran wrap/gladwrap or tinfoil and feel pretty proud of yourself. But what happens to the waste when that meal finishes? Let me introduce: Beeswax Wraps

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Through some sheer magic these wraps bind to themselves for a tight seal, keep your food fresher for longer than standard wraps, clean up like a dream and smell freaking amazing. They are usually also made of organic cotton, which means at the end of their life they can be tossed into the compost with the rest of your scraps. Literally any situation where you would use normal food wrap, you can use these babies. Because they’re stiffer than your standard wraps, you can even get creative and use them in even more situations! Again, these feel like a pricey investment when you’re getting set up, but it’s one that means you’ll never have to buy wrap ever again. 

BONUS ROUND

This is an Abbie-specific swap. I was actually tentative about including this in the list because it’s not really in line with the plastic-free lifestyle and it’s really also me admitting that I’ve been sucked into some crazy first world luxury that I should be able to do without. But you know what? While a completely zero-waste lifestyle might appear to some, I think most people are more interested in the changes they can make to be kinder to the earth without forgoing the life they’ve worked hard to live. So that being said, meet one of my greatest plastic-producing vices.

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That’s right. Sparkling water. Not even soda- just freaking fizzy feelgood. I love it. I could drink a liter of this stuff without any problems. Only there is a problem – unless you go for the super expensive designer brands, the only way to purchase sparkling water is from your local plastic-filled soft drink aisle. And so I got to thinking about how I could maintain my fizzy habit without having to eyeball those plastic bottles in my recycling every week. It took a bit of time but eventually I put on my big girl pants, smacked down my inner Scrooge, and purchased one of these bad boys:

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 SodaStream Sparkling Water Maker

And I love it. It’s yellow! And I can fizz to my hearts content. You can practically see the angel song shining out of it. AAHHHHHHHHHH

The empty cylinders are swapped out to be refilled and I have unlimited sparkling water with zero plastics (aside from the refillable bottle, which I will upgrade to glass when it’s time to replace).

You might not care about ENDLESS FIZZY WATER so this swap probably won’t make much sense to you- but what do you care about? If you looked through your rubbish, what plastic items would you see again & again? And how could you swap those out if you really had to? Have a think, and then let me know. I would love to hear your suggestions!


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5 Easy Switches to Change the World