In June 2017, I packed up my belongings and moved with my partner and my cat into a compact home in the Perth Hills. To completely understate, it was a real adventure. We tore the old shed place apart and built it back up again, furnishing it with items that I managed to source as ethically as possible.
The space was a mere 30 square meters (323 square feet). Think about that for a moment.
According to ABS and CommSec, the average Australian home built in 2016/17 was 243 square meters (2615 square feet) with the average apartment about half that size.
For a year of our lives, all three of us lived in a space one eighth the size of the average, new Australian home.
It was a squeeze, to say the least.
But that’s tiny living for you. We really proved to ourselves (and I suppose many others!) that it’s possible to live with less. To live with minimal amenities and to still really enjoy every. Single. Damn. Day.
Recently, to live more personally sustainably (yes, that’s a thing!), we moved to a place double the size of our compact home (note: the new place is 60sqm, so it’s not exactly a mansion).
Although it’s not tiny living, the choice to move now means that we are closer to all the action and activism. For me, this also means driving less, becoming more involved in my community, balancing and managing my impact better, and more rooms to fill!
While I don’t believe you should deck out a space for the sake of it, a realistic size kitchen and our very own bathroom meant that I had some essentials to buy. See the list below of 7 eco-friendly items that I think every sustainable home simply needs.
1. Who Gives A Crap
I am now a long-awaited Who Gives A Crap subscriber! All Who Gives A Crap products are either made out of recycled paper or forest friendly bamboo without any inks, dyes, or scents. The company also donates 50% of profits to help build toilets for communities in need.
In my last order, I got 48 double length toilet rolls, 12 tissue boxes, and 6 double length rolls of paper towel all for $80. That’s about $1.20 per product, making Who Gives A Crap wonderfully affordable as well.
On top of all their transparency and goodness, the company also delivers straight to your door. I really wouldn’t want anything more out of my loo rolls!
2. Organic Cotton Tea Towels
Having already bought my bed linen from Australian ethical and eco-friendly brand Sheets On The Line, I knew exactly where to go when buying my napery. These beautiful herringbone napkins are ethically made in India using certified organic cotton.
3. Biodegradable Toothbrush Holder
My order with Sheets On The Line was a big one! I managed also to pick up this eco and sustainably sourced bamboo toothbrush holder that goes perfectly with all bamboo toothbrushes and, conveniently, my NEEK lipstick as well!
4. Sustainably Sourced Bamboo Bath Towels
I was searching high and low for beautiful, organic bath towels that wouldn’t break the budget! While I dream of buying Loom Towels one day, I chose to go for local Perth brand, Mulberry Threads Co. for now. Mulberry’s towels and bedding are made from sustainably sourced bamboo and are so soft – the perfect set to get us started in our new home!
5. Organic Cotton Produce Bags
I’ve been a huge fan of Ever Eco ever since I started consciously increasing my positive impact on our planet. Their produce bags are perfect for my Saturday morning trips to Subiaco Farmer’s Market and are made from unbleached GOTS certified organic cotton. Pair that with a Sheets On The Line fair trade jute porta shopper and eco essentials like Eco Max Brushes and Bambu utensils, and you’ve got yourself a winning kitchen!
6. Natural Air Freshener
I’m forever searching for the perfect natural cleaning products and Bondi Wash certainly hasn’t disappointed. Bondi Wash make all of their products from quality Australian botanicals, meaning that they are all 99% to 100% plant-based. This mist spray smells absolutely divine and it feels even better to know that I’m not breathing in anything toxic. You can read more about Bondi Wash in my blog post, The Hunt for Ethical Australian Homewares.
7. Organic Soapberries
Can you believe it’s taken me this long to try soapberries? So, I was overjoyed when Pamper by Nature sent me a little housewarming gift earlier this month – a big bag of them!
Sourced from the Himalayas, soapberries are the shells of the Sapindus Mukorossi fruit. These shells are naturally high in saponin, a surfactant also known as ‘natures soap’.
That Red House Soapberries are the only certified organic soapberries on the market, making them the perfect alternative to laundry powders and artificial cleaning chemicals. What’s even better is that they are waste-free, chemical-free, cruelty-free, hypo-allergenic, and completely environmentally sustainable. Not to mention, they actually work!
Simply pop around 5 shells in the small pouch and throw it in the wash with your dirty clothes. It’s safe to say I won’t be going back to laundry powder any more!
Creating an eco-friendly home doesn’t mean you have to give up anything – and it doesn’t mean you have to go over-board on everything new to the market as well. For me, it’s about balance. It’s about finding the essential, quality items that have a positive impact on people, animals, and the environment, to support businesses and an industry that I truly believe in.
It can be that simple.
What item in your home do you wish there was an environmentally-friendly option for? I’d love to know!