The Easy Swaps

I don’t often do reviews- indeed, this part of my blog is the least attended to. However, today I address my secret dream of being a beauty vlogger and speak out about one of my passions- the environment. 
I stopped fooling myself it was easy to just not buy anything ever a while ago. Like most females, my skin is constantly too oily or too dry, and I have the impulse to look pretty on certain occasions. Like every one else, my sneakers wear through. So, here is a post on the “easy swaps” I’ve made this or last year, on a journey of taking better care of the planet. 
Why, you ask? Because, as consumers, we have power in our pockets. There is a power in what we support, or rather in which brands we support which practice good behaviours. So, when you engage brain and a little bit of research before wallet, good things come out of it. Standards go up for other companies, and prices go down. Furthermore, everything on this list is made in Australia as well as not being tested on animals and every other standard I could test it against. 
 Let’s get into it. 

EVERYONE

Etiko sneakers.

The only brand with an A rating on the ‘Ethical Rating Website’, these guys caught my attention. They sell sneakers and clothes similar to Converse, but give you an entire speil at the bottom of every page as to how they are different. Organic cotton, fair trading certificates and environmentally friendly rubber, all for the same price. Mine took a little while to break in, but now they’re pretty confortable. I’m just waiting for someone to call them knock-offs so I can give them the run-down. 

  

Lucas’ Papaw Ointment
Everyone knows this. I just realised it was a great swap for my assortment of lip balms, and also works on everything else. Made in Australia, pure fermented fruit and not tested on anyone or anything. Beware of phonies who do add chemicals to take the price down a dollar or two. 

  
“The Horse” Leather Watches

I figure a few people might disagree with my definition of ethical at this point, but hold up a second. There are plenty of bad quality watches out there with synthetic bands. I would much rather support the environment with a long-lasting watch, which I don’t constantly have to change the batteries of, than fill land-fill with my cheap attempts at “trying to help”. Furthermore, these guys are situated in North Sydney and are super nice [a couple of my mates went to check out their warehouse last year]. 

  

ARGUABLY AIMED AT FEMALES 

ASAP Creams [but especially the night one]

I don’t have time to apply moisturiser in the morning. So, I like one I can put on at night that keeps me covered for the day. These guys make their stuff in Australia, don’t test on animals, the stuff smells amazing. However… it is pretty pricey. There’s an Australian run company called “Adore Beauty” who do amazing things [free shipping, promos, run by two women, give you a free Tim Tam with every order], which is where I got a free sample of this stuff from, and I actually think I will purchase it again. However, I can understand why one would shirk it. [They do have their own website, but it’s way too intimidating and doesn’t come with Tim Tam.]

Organic Care Products

I had never regularly used conditioner until last year. Truthfully, it was an ad for fabric softener that alerted me to the fact it’s there so your hair isn’t constantly frizzy and all over the place, which I had never known. Anyway, I was already buying soap and shampoo from these guys, but their conditioner is such a happy thing to use- it feels good, smells good and the bottle is aesthetically pleasing. The inside goodness is all natural, vegan, grey-water safe and uses sustainable palm oil [because boy-cotting doesn’t work as well as finding a solution to a problem]. The outside [bottle] is recyclable and already 100% recycled. Australian made and owned, and about $3.50 at Coles. 

  
Goodness Products

These are from New Zealand- I’m sorry to have let down that front. However, they deserve an honorable mention because they are so good. The once a week scrub has not let me down for smelling good and getting gunk out of my skin. The daily moisturiser is okay, but as I said I don’t wear day moisturiser often due to time. The under-eye cream is pretty good, especially for its price compared to other eye-creams, and I am excited to try their night cream. It’s good stuff, very well priced, easy to get [you can get a try-box off Adore Beauty for $25], all natural and not tested on animals. 

  
DEFINITELY FOR FEMALES

Giftbox

I had heard about this sort of stuff going on in America, but I’m happy to hear it’s now in Australia too. Buy a box of tampons, give a box of tampons. Organic, cotton, giving to charity- make a bad time of the month slightly better. 

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Rubbish

I began this year with
 
51 Shirts
18 Pants
12 Skirts
18 Dresses 
15 Coats
6 pairs of Shoes
11 Jumpers 
 

  
Before you judge me, maybe you should start by counting your own clothes. It’s kind of scary.

I’m sorry to admit that about a quarter of that was accumulated just over the last year. I got a job for the first time, a bank card with access to online shopping and a lot more free time to browse. Therefore, I ended up with a lot of things I never knew I’d needed. And, at the end of last year, I decided that it had to stop.

A few things sparked this.

Firstly, a lot less money in my bank account than I should have had for someone who had been working for a year. I had no idea what to do with my savings, and so hadn’t really been budgeting to save. Now, I realise, that was quite silly. [I have, since then, set up a budget. I have not, since then, kept to my budget. Baby steps.] I wanted a pair of running shoes because I started running, so asked for some money from my Nan. After spending the money on the shoes, I realized I could have just kept the money and bought a pair second hand from the markets or an op shop. That left me rather disappointed in myself, thinking of a hundred better uses for that money. 

Secondly was realizing that, even if I went to the effort of looking up ethical clothing or trying to buy from good companies, the amount of energy and resource it takes just to create clothing is enormous. I read an article by a group I follow, 1 Million Women, about a documentary called “The True Cost”, and freaked out a bit. Even if you’re trying to do the right thing, it’s clear a lot of companies have cottoned on to the fact that a lot of people are looking for “sustainable”, “eco friendly” substitutes because Western society is being pummeled with information about a dying environment. Things with green tags have popped up- I most recently saw them at Ikea, H&M AND Bonds- advertising how they’re helping the environment by reducing the impact of the product. However, even if I buy from a company which has signed treaties and has certificates which say they’re doing their part, there is no guarantee no animal, person, worker, or child is not going to get hurt- it takes energy and people to make stuff, simple as that. Buying from these people wasn’t doing as much good as not buying from anyone.

And finally, looking at all the clothes I actually have, the question is raised- do I actually need any more? The answer is simply, no. In a society where we complain constantly that we have “nothing to wear”, I attempted to reconcile that with cultures where they do not wear clothes, or where the same dresses are passed down to generations, resewn, rehemmed, redesigned, but of the same material someone’s grandmother wore. And the amount of stuff I owned, simply because I wanted to own it, embarrassed me. It still does. The number of clothes that I began this article with is after I donated everything I didn’t want or haven’t worn in ages to charity.

 I originally wanted to make a resolution not to buy any new clothes, or anything new that I didn’t need, including a laptop which I’d been considering for a while. After all, my family shares a good PC and I have a tablet to myself. But then I realized that I couldn’t rely on the loophole of going and buying second hand clothes because the mentality of MORE and the actual spending of money wouldn’t change. It’s a mentality that because I can, I should. Even if, in fact, I can’t and shouldn’t.           
 
So, this year I’m going to try and not buy stuff. I saw an article about a woman who could fit her entire years worth of rubbish in a glass jar. In a household where I fill my bin once a month and my family fills the bin at least once a week, I figured that was a bit of a stretch. But I want to change my heart. I decided that, for the majority of gifts, I would still buy things but stick to the companies which I know are doing good. As for myself, it’s time to start wearing what I already own. There’s a Japanese theory that you should only own what makes you happy [which significantly reduces the amount of stuff in your life], regardless of sentiment and monetary value. That was also sort of an inspiration, although I own a lot of bland smart casual stuff for work I should probably keep [despite the fact that a t-shirt and jeans makes me very, very happy]. 

I want to wear everything I own until it’s literally falling apart-this has only happened with a few pairs of shoes, a shirt [which my mum threw out on my behalf] and a pair of pants [which I took part of and made a bag]. Apparently the average person in the U.S. throws out 86 pounds of clothes a year- that’s insane. But I realized that, if I’m going to stick to the clothes I have, I am going to have to wear them until there is so little left that I will have to throw them out and no one will recognize them. Old t-shirts will become pyjamas, and old/odd socks will go in the rag bin. I want to live a life where I get creative, not consumerist. I want to live a life which doesn’t have a lasting negative impact on the planet, or on the people making mass produced clothes. I want to live a life I can be proud of. 

And so, this year, that’s going to be me not buying new stuff [and subtly implying a few things to friends for my birthday].
 
Feel free to join me.