What’s your go-to reusable item?
I adore the totes and crossbody bags from The Other Bag theother-bag.com. They’re made from abandoned fishing nets, nylon waste and plastic bottles, and they are stylish, strong and colourful.
For fruit and veg, I use the Swag original www.theswag.com.au - the design involves three layers of natural unbleached cotton, all of which play a part in keeping fresh produce fresher for longer.
Your top tip for never leaving home without it?
It’s the crossbody bag from The Other Bag. It holds essentials (keys and phone). I can also take the straps off and throw it into larger bags with kids’ stuff, groceries etc.
How do you try to be a conscious consumer?
I buy local and choose seasonal produce whenever possible. I seek out things that are recycled, or recyclable and refillable – and avoid plastic at every opportunity. I keep cloth bags in my car for grocery shopping or any shopping so I always have them and never have to rely on store bags. I avoid plastic water bottles and take my own reusable glass or metal water bottle everywhere. I use stainless steel containers for lunches and leftovers, and our children know never to use drinking straws.
I also think coconut oil is indispensible – great for washing and moisturising, just about anything really. Mixed with baking soda, I use it to brush my teeth.
The best eco tip you’ve heard?
Composting. Not a new idea, but the old ones are often the best. It’s so simple and enriches our garden. Composting reduces food wastage and the need for chemical fertilisers; it encourages beneficial bacteria and fungi in our soil and reduces our contribution to methane producing landfill. In our little city yard we have two composts and a worm farm, and we compost everything: fruit, veg scraps, nutshells, coffee grounds, tea and tea bags.
Favourite eco brand?
Western Australian skincare company Mokosh https://www.mokosh.com.au I’ve been obsessed with their products since first coming to live in Australia. Their products contain pure organic nutrients for the skin, are free from synthetic ingredients and plastic packaging, they are high performing and smell divine. Rohr Remedy, https://www.rohrremedy.com/ another Western Australian skincare business with simply stunning products. For my reusable cups and bottles it has be Sol Cups https://www.solcups.com/.
Small or big - what’s your current eco aim?
It’s focused on our company, with expansion of Koala ECO into the US. We have had so many requests from stockists and consumers in the States, so we are in the process of setting up a US-based offshoot. My twin sister and my brother are part of this. I love that this is a family company.
Your favourite place to buy fresh produce or package lite food…
Living in Sydney, I go to Harris Farms, QE Foodstores, and Bondi markets.
What eco alternative are you thinking about investing in?
You just can’t go past Sheep Inc! I love the colours and the button detail. I also think that ethical fashion company https://www.eileenfisher.com has some beautiful pieces I would love to have in my wardrobe – one of their organic linen crepe wraps would get a lot of wear from me…
What did ISO make you realise you could live without?
If I have my family around me, and they are safe, I don’t need to ask for much more. I’m a minimalist at heart, so I guess ISO reinforced for me that I am content with a very simple lifestyle. Deep and sustaining relationships with a handful of people are more meaningful than a wide circle of acquaintances and a busy social life. Because our extended family is either in the States or the other side of Australia, I am so thankful for Skype and Zoom etc. ISO or not, I think life would be difficult without being able to see and speak to loved ones.
The ISO habit you’d like to carry forward?
The reassurance of knowing how enriching life can be at its simplest. I don't want to sound clichéd, but there’s so much joy to be had from reading a book, or listening to music or birdsong; of knowing that there are times when we can hold still and pay attention to our inner lives, rather than being distracted by the pace of life in the twenty-first century. ISO helped me to feel like I was simultaneously in a state of calm and in a state of heightened awareness: that I was living each moment. I’d like that experience to carry forward into whatever lies ahead.