It was four years ago, when I did my first “Plastic Free July” and made the move of eradicating plastic wraps and food covers from the cupboard. We invested in Bees wax wraps and fabric covers, elasticated around the sides, and reusable sandwich wraps to cover and wrap food as a result.

It was small move, which would make an impact, positively, on the environment. What’s that quote? “It’s just one straw, said five billion people”? Something like that anyway.

Every year, I have committed to making another change within our household. Bren, who is resistant to change takes a bit to come around, but really, he is all in. We have made quite a few recently… I am obviously the instigator, and recently, after subscribing to a years worth of  bamboo toothbrushes delivered for the whole family, looked up the cost of things and asked me nicely to just slow down… This seems to be a running pattern in my life, being told to slow down. I reacted by telling him about this photo I saw of all of these old plastic toothbrushes, which were found on the beach, which would never, ever, fully break down. In fact, they would break up into nano pieces of plastic and be ingested by our wildlife and seep into our soil, before reminding him (again) about that whale which got washed up on the beach recently with insane amount of plastic found in its stomach: 5.9kg of over 1000 random plastic objects. Did you hear about that?

The sperm whale was almost 10 meters long. Its stomach contained 115 plastic cups, along with plastic bottles, straws, plastic bags, thongs and other plastic matter – no doubt killing it with its lack of nutrition. It’s a concern when a whale, who simply swims along and opens its huge jaws to eat, is ingesting more plastic than food.

In fact, I read somewhere that if it continues the same way as it currently does, that by 2025, when Nahlo is only 8 years old, the oceans will hold one tonne of plastic for every three tonne of fish. By 2050, Nahlo will be in his early 30’s and there will be more plastic, in weight, than fish in the ocean. This is fucking shocking. Wouldn’t you agree?

I know we are busy and plastic is one of the most epic and convenient inventions, but truth is, that it’s killing us. It’s killing our environment – our beautiful Mother is being destroyed.

I’m not here to chew your ear off and try to convert you. I’m faaaar from perfect. I walk into my bathroom, and sitting on the bench alone is a myriad of plastic. A Hand pump of soap, moisturisers, children’s bath toys, toothpaste. I am keen to make a change.

Everyone is busy and the last thing you need to do is stress out. But perhaps, there are small ways, we can chip away at making a sustainable change in our lives. Are you with me? I feel like I’d love some support in this.

Does anyone out there make their own deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, hand soap and toothpaste, which they LOVE, and want to share the recipe? I have a thermomix, so it can’t be hard!

I do the whole bi-carb and vinegar thing with my hair – and it’s good for a couple of weeks, before my scalp starts to get itchy. I go back to the stuff in a bottle, then whens it’s good, revert again… then repeat.

I have tried different handmade toothpastes and some are ok. To get Bren to convert, I’m going to need something that froths. Same goes with Shampoo.

I have looked at many recipes, tried them, wasted ingredients and am still yet to find a good solution to some of the above.

Here are some things I have converted to, which you might find interesting:

  • We now buy all of our toilet paper and kitchen paper from ‘Who Gives a Crap’. 50% of their profits helps build toilets in developing countries, which is pretty epic. When you look at the dollar, you might think that it’s way more expensive than wherever you get your usual supply, however the dunny paper lasts a long time and the kitchen paper is way more, super absorbent than the most absorbent one you will buy at the supermarket. If you want $10 off your first order, let me know! They have a ‘refer a friend’ scheme.
  • We just subscribed to bamboo toothbrushes in our first year’s subscription. I’m yet to find a bamboo toothbrush, which is as soft as what I would prefer to use, but I’m determined. Has anyone found a nice soft one yet?
  • Cloth nappies. I bought heaps of these when I was pregnant. To be honest, after the first two poos out and about and having to carry two poos wrapped in cloth around in my hot car for the day wasn’t that fun, so I unfortunately reverted back to the convenience of disposable nappies while we are out and about. When we are at home, we use cloth nappies. For those who prefer less bulk and a more minimalist approach, Bare and Boho are awesome. We have two shells and lots of inserts and simply rinse and exchange while one hangs out to dry. We also have a couple of other cloth ones, which I liked the pattern of, for in between.
  • Recently after seeing ad after ad in my feed for these period pants, I decided to jump on board and got my first order through Modi Body. These are fucking awesome. Be gone pads! These are much, much nicer to put on.
  • Bees wax wraps can be found all over the place. They’re awesome to wrap food. Same goes with reusable sandwich wraps. Cling wrap is dead.
  • When I’m out and about with Nahlo, we will sometimes get a juice or a smoothie. We bought a bamboo straw and keep it in our regular bag. We also carry around bamboo cutlery, which comes in a cute little bag and entertains Nahlo while I can sit and enjoy half a tea or coffee before it goes cold.
  • Instead of moisturiser, I oil up. I have done for years, and it gives me the space to self-massage, which always feels amazing. My favs are Cold Pressed Black Sesame Oil, which is Vata pacifying – in other words, it helps ground my reactive nature) and I also love Hemp oil, which I keep in the fridge. This is amazing to use on hot days. Both these oils come in glass jars.

I read on a friend’s facebook thread the other day, which followed a gentle post about this kind of stuff, and I was shocked to see a response by someone saying that this will do nothing – swearing and using foul language and abuse, saying that this was useless and stupid, and if anyone was serious, they would go straight to the big guys and corporations, direct. I felt like abusing the shit out of him. He was so rude and disrespectful – just the byproduct of being uneducated in this department I guess.

Every little bit counts: the amount of times I have pulled out my bamboo straw and it has sparked a conversation, and then inspired others to do the same is amazing. It creates a ripple effect that collectively moves our smaller circles, which moves others smaller circles, and eventually ripples across the globe.

I’d love to know if any of this has made you shift your thoughts about what little things you maybe able to change? I know it makes me feel great, when I make a small change, regardless of how small it is. I was sick of the guilt of using plastic forks if I had to grab a quick bite to eat, and all I could think of was Nahlo having to battle with plastic, when he goes for a swim in the ocean when he is my age. Kind of like when I was in Koh Tao in Thailand not long ago, and dove under the sparking blue waters to emerge with a smiths crisps packed on my face.

It doesn’t need to be rushed and stressful. We simply bring it, over time, to the forefront of our mind and heart. It rests there, because we care. When it arises in our thoughts again, and again, it is time to act. Sustainable actions come with kindness and practice.

Remember, kindness is at the heart of all practices, which work.