Lifestyle

THE FAMILIES PAVING A PLASTIC-FREE PATH FOR THE WORLD


When it comes to plastic waste, most of us are pretty aware of its environmental impact. If for some reason, you’ve turned a blind-eye to it, or just haven’t taken time to absorb any information about it — here is a quick rundown of how long some of our everyday household products take to breakdown…

Plastic bottle – 450 years 

Plastic bag – 20 years

Plastic straw – 200 years

Disposable diaper – 500 years

You get the idea. Single-use plastic is bad. In fact, according to Popular Science, plastic doesn’t actually ever fully decompose. It just breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces of plastic. Which raises the question, ‘so where does it end up?’ Pretty much everywhere. In our waterways, the earth and in the food we eat. Terrifying right? Luckily, there’s actually a lot we can do about it. Nowadays there are so many incredible alternatives to single-use plastic, once you know about them, you’ll wonder why you didn’t make the switch sooner. 

For the most part, the biggest culprits are the plastics used for food storage. This is because for such short-term use, the long-term impact on the environment far outweighs the convenience, or even habit, associated with using these damaging food storage options. So on that note, we’ll get to the point! Here are our favourite family-owned businesses developing and sharing plastic-free alternatives for food storage and consumption. 

STRAWESOME – BECAUSE YOUR GREEN SMOOTHIE SHOULD BE 100% GUILT-FREE

With 500 million plastic straws thrown away every day in the United States alone and 100 million marine animals killed each year due to plastic debris in the ocean, you can see why Daedre and Brian wanted to do something about it. So, they set to work creating a single product that would make the difference — a glass straw. With a self-described “convoluted background” in architecture and guiding natural childbirth, Daedre had the passionate heart and practical mind needed to create this environmentally-friendly innovation. 

What started as a mission to be a more eco-conscious home, became a mission to encourage everyone to do so… to create a more eco-conscious world. 

Prompted by a friend seeking plastic-free alternatives to straws, Daedre learnt the artful skill of glass blowing and began production almost immediately. Crafting fun characters to decorate the straws and making them all by hand, it’s a true labour of love. One she believes brings joy to both people and the planet. 

At this point, you’re probably wondering where Brian (Daedre’s husband) features in this journey. Well he came up with the name (Strawesome… well done Brian) and supports Daedre with all the administrative duties needed to run a business. 

There are a lot of non-plastic straw alternatives around nowadays, but these ones truly are the greatest. They’re all made of pyrex glass which means they won’t break easily, are fully customisable (from length to width to colour and you can even choose a personalised Strawesome animal decoration) and though Daedre and Brian are based in the US, they ship internationally — so you can get your hands on one no matter where you are in the world. 

INTRODUCING TUPPERWARE’S COOLER AND ECO-FRIENDLY REPLACEMENT — SEED & SPROUT

“Say see-ya to plastic”, is the Seed & Sprout moto… simple and easy right? Well, thanks to them — yes, it is. Created by Byron Bay mum Sophie, Seed & Sprout was born to fill a void. Frustrated by the lack of affordable, practical and most importantly, plastic-free lunchbox alternatives, Sophie decided she’d just go ahead and make her own. And, we’re pretty glad she did. 

It started with a kids lunchbox, but now Seed & Sprout offer an array of environmentally friendly household items that you can replace all your existing eco-UNconscious ones with. From ‘un-plastic wrap’ (yep, that’s like Glad Wrap but it actually breaks down in the environment, so it won’t choke a dolphin or anything like that) to bags, pantry storage and even toiletries, when it comes to slowly moving away from non-biodegradable products in the home, Seed & Sprout has you covered. 

We’re inspired not only by Sophie’s passion for the planet but also her savvy and enterprising mind. Branching out from her origin product to totally own the eco-home space, she’s built an incredible business both purpose and profit wise. We could all learn a thing or two from Sophie… 

GREAT WRAP… COMING SOON 

Another plastic wrap alternative, because the single-use nature of this item just makes zero sense when you look at how long it’s plastic version takes to break down in the environment. Another husband and wife team, and another background in architecture (is there a pattern here…?) Jordy and Julia Kay used combined skills and knowledge of one another’s industries to come up with this compostable plastic wrap. According to Julia, an architect, every material a building is made out of comes wrapped in plastic. And, Jordy found the same issue haunting his beloved world of sustainable winemaking — the palettes were all wrapped in plastic before shipments. So, they developed a biodegradable option to be used specifically for large scale shipment wrapping… and it was going great! That is, until COVID hit and shipments screeched to a grinding halt. It was then, that they turned their focus toward the home. They also needed a plastic-free food storage option for their home and considering they’d already developed one, it was an easy step toward commercialising it for domestic use. 

Great Wrap breaks down “faster than an orange peel” and is now out and about in the world. For those of us keen to shop local and support local business, they’re the only Australian made compostable cling wrap. And just like with Seed & Sprout, we admire their ability to think beyond the one product — shifting and evolving as they see opportunity to do so. 

IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS 

We know it’s not realistic to think that all of a sudden, everyone has the time and capability to completely eradicate plastic from their home. It’s not your fault… the whole supermarket industry is set up to make the plastic options convenient. But, with little shifts everyday, eventually we can all work toward decreasing our plastic usage in the home, and encourage all industry sectors to catch up with us. 

So many countries are making massive moves toward plastic-free being the EASY option for its citizens and thanks to families like the above, we get closer and closer to a plastic-free world everyday. Moreover, as business owners ourselves, we lead the way through our own personal action. By making these small swaps in the office, or talking to our teams about them — we can help to support this movement AWAY from single-use plastics. AND, to take it a step further… for those of us in product design, why not think about how you can include some sustainably driven initiatives into your production?

Learn more about Strawesome, Seed & Sprout and Greatwrap

Words: Phoebe Carden
Photography: Strawesome, Seed & Sprout, Greatwrap

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