We've long been advocates of anti-plastic alternatives to everyday items, and it's because we're aware of the facts. One million single-use plastic bottles are purchased globally every minute, which is 20000 per second and according to National Geographic, 91% of all plastic is not recycled. Plastic consumption is increasing, and in the next year alone, over half a trillion plastic bottles will be sold. These are the alarming facts that inspire us to work towards positive change and a plastic-free future, and the time for that change is now.
Earth Bottles share our values, and they've seen the environmental effects of plastic waste firsthand. Determined to make a positive impact, Earth Bottles started on their mission with a reusable stainless steel bottle, and it was just the beginning of their war on waste. Now, they've branched into a range of eco products and they're involved in regular beach cleanups around Australia too.
Danni Carr, Founder and Co-Owner of Earth Bottles, stepped away from her environmental activism to chat with us about the impact of plastic and how even a small effort can make a big difference...
Where did the idea come from for your business?
After lots of family holidays to Bali, we became increasingly alarmed with the amount of plastic pollution we were seeing. It continued to increase in Bali over the years and we felt there needed to be a change. I then started making wooden-look insulated water bottles for my husband, Ash Grunwald, who is a musician. We started doing bottles for other bands and it kind of grew from there.
Where does your passion for ethics and sustainability stem from?
We have always been fairly conscientious about our impact on the Earth and aware of the many global challenges we face as a community. Ash has done a lot of activism work over the years to raise awareness for different environmental issues, so we've been lucky enough to meet many people 'on the frontline' of a lot of these issues, and have had some great insight and opportunities to help.
We just knew; after seeing first-hand the amount of plastic water bottles being consumed, we realised that it needed to change and that awareness needed to be raised around this issue. It started as bottles and has now grown into a full range of eco products.
Your travels in Bali revealed the plight of plastic waste. What was it like to experience one of the world’s most plastic-polluted areas?
Oh, it’s devastating. We've lived in Bali for over three years and at times it has been really disheartening. In saying that though, just this year I am feeling a real shift here, with the locals especially. There has now been a plastic bag ban issued in Bali and a lot of education around this issue. It’s hideous in the rainy season though; in the surf, the ocean is just full of plastic, and you are literally swimming with it hitting your body.
Tell us about your work with beach clean-ups?
This has been awesome. We've done clean-ups in Australia and a lot of them in Bali. It’s a great opportunity to feel that we are making a direct impact. We are heading back to Australia and embarking on a Clean The Coast Tour, with Ash doing regional shows up and down the coast and after the shows (most likely the next day) doing beach-cleans in the same area. We will have lots of local businesses in these areas and local clean-up groups involved. We are expecting to remove hundreds of tonnes of plastic from the East Coast of Australia, then collect data on what we find. Notifying each local council of what we are finding to be the most commonly occurring plastics in their area. For example, some areas have lots of bait bags left behind by fishermen, so possibly that area may need to have more bins available for them, or perhaps local fishing shops may have a solution. In Torquay, we often find lots of takeaway food containers and disposable coffee cups, so we would like to see the council take action and work with local takeaway food shops to come up with better packaging options. We welcome anyone to come and join in and the clean-up dates will be announced on our website as they are booked in.
Why are you passionate about paying it forward?
From the very beginning of Earth Bottles, I wanted to donate a portion of our sales to different charities that are close to our hearts. We started with the Breast Cancer Network of Australia and Beyond Blue and now support many different charities by donating $2 per bottle. We also donate $5 per gift pack to Fifteen Trees, who plant a tree for each gift box we sell.
Why do you care about the health and wellbeing of those who work in your supply chain?
This was paramount for us and the process of finding a manufacturer who could supply us BSCI Certification to ensure that all workers are paid correctly and have a safe working environment. I've been to the factory and also conduct video audits. We've had the same manufacturer from the start, who we trust and have a great relationship with. It is so important when dealing with suppliers that they are able to supply you with this information, as it is often overlooked in the name of buying a cheaper product.
How can we all contribute to eco-activism in the face of climate change and environmental concerns?
I often get messages from people feeling a little overwhelmed with all the information getting fed to them about the evils of plastic. The important thing is to not focus on being 'perfect' but knowing that even the smallest changes can make a huge difference. You don’t have to do it all, but just do what you can. I find that when people start by making a small change like switching to a reusable cup or bottle, then slowly they start to make other changes like replacing plastic cling wrap for wax wraps and so on. Once you feel a little more empowered by your choices, then you can start to educate others and really start changing the way you consume. Just remember, you don’t have to be perfect, just do what you can. It all helps.
Support Earth Bottles' sustainable lifestyle range and shop plastic-free everyday alternatives at earthbottles.com.au.
Contributor: Rebecca Standley.
The Fashion Advocate x