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Bring Sustainability Into Your Kitchen In Time For Christmas

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‘Tis the silly season. But that doesn’t mean you have to abandon all reason and get caught up in the commercialism that can often be 21st-century Christmas.

And, if you’re stuck on some last-minute present ideas, we make generous gift-giving a no-brainer. Literally, everyone you know has a use for the locally-designed marvels below – perfect for Xmas events, summer barbecues, and well into the future!

13th December, 2018

Our edit of sustainable utensils, cleaning products, and storage solutions. From left to right: Kitchen Essentials Kit ($60) from Yesēco, Mesh Produce Bags ($29 for 5) from Seed & Sprout, Reusable Stainless Steel Drinking Straws Gold ($19.95 for 4) from Kappi, Ekobo Gusto Lunch Set ($229) from Top3, Bamboo Straws ($11.95 for 4) from Ever Co. Rhombus Table Trivets, 12 ($44) from Champ Co, Lemon Dish Liquid ($4.49) from EcoStore, EcoCoconut Dish Brush ($7.50) from Biome, Reusable Clear Food Wrap Set ($27) from Seed & Sprout(Props: Cork Yoga Roller ($55) and Cork Yoga Block ($32.50) from Sure Project). Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli. Propping and styling assistant – Ashley Simonetto.

Elle Murrell
Thursday 13th December 2018

Circular ways of thinking are now starting to infiltrate our ‘growth’ obsessed societies, from donut economics to thrifting, closed-loop home utility systems, and farm-to-table consumption paired with composting. More and more people are beginning to realise that, maybe, the infinite climb isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

While gifting and using sustainable solutions won’t revolutionise the way the world functions overnight, shunning that which is short-lived, cheap, and the endlessly ‘new’ can help slow the spin of our self-made hamster wheel.

So, don’t let upgrading to the next Thermo-trix-extraordinaire get all your attention, trade some everyday kitchen ‘essentials’ for alternatives, which have never been more important.

Reusable Stainless Steel Drinking Straws Gold ($19.95 for 4) from Kappi, Rhombus Table Trivets, 12 ($44) from Champ Co, Ekobo Gusto Lunch Set ($229) from Top3, Bamboo Straws ($11.95 for 4) from Ever Co, Bamboo Cutlery Set ($19.95) from Ever CoProps: Cork Yoga Roller ($55) and Cork Yoga Block ($32.50) from Sure Project. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli. Propping and styling assistant – Ashley Simonetto.

Shunning that which is short-lived can help slow the spin of our self-made hamster wheel.

Utensils + Cutlery

We all now know plastics are a problem; it turns out our rampant use of straws (an estimated 10 million per day in Australia) finally tipped the scale or, more aptly, any speculation. It’s now inspiring to see many Australian venues transition to reusable varieties. This is a trend that you can carry on over to your home, and every picnic or party you attend this summer!

What’s true of straws is also relevant to plastic cutlery and crockery too. Eating alfresco? Bring along your old-faithfuls from home. If you can’t make that work, choose alternatives that are sustainably manufactured from eco-friendly materials, which can be composted. Remember, plastic forks, spoons, and knives cannot go in your recycle bin because the utensils are the wrong shape to be properly separated by sorting machines, and only some councils will accept plastic plates.

A few Other Options

Reusable Stainless Steel Drinking Straws in gold ($19.95 for 4) from Kappi

Reusable Bamboo Straws ($11.95 for 4) from Ever Co, contrary to some misconceptions these are easy to clean, with a brush included in the pack. They are also biodegradable at the end of their multi-month lifespan.

No straw at all.

Reusable Bamboo Cutlery Set ($19.95) from Ever Co. Another product from the family owned and operated, Australia-based company.

Ekobo Gusto Lunch Set ($229) from Top3, Perfect for a group of four, these set is made from a combination biodegradable, highly-renewable bamboo fibre with a 100% food-grade melamine binder.

Metal cutlery and sturdy crockery from home.

Rhombus Table Trivets ($29.95 for 6) from Champ Co. These entertaining and long-lasting coasters are Melbourne designed and made, utilising recycled aeroplane tyres!

Kitchen Essentials Kit ($60) from Yesēco, EcoCoconut Dish Brush ($7.50) from Biome, Safix Coco-Fibre Scrub Pad, Small ($3.95) from Biome, EcoCoconut Round Scourers ($6) from Biome, Multi-Purpose Kitchen Cleaner ($10,90) from Koala Eco, Lemon Dish Liquid ($4.49) from EcoStore. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli. Propping and styling assistant – Ashley Simonetto.

Cleaning Products

How bad can chemical cleaning products be, after all, they need to be ‘strong’ enough to actually clean?

Well… if these substances are capable of chemically eroding charred-on food in a few moments, spare a thought for the damage they can do over years of build-up in our delicate ecosystems. And don’t overlook that they’re airborne, ‘volatile’ and you’re inhaling them, too. Luckily, there are a plethora of friendly alternatives.

GREAT ALTERNATIVES TO TRY

Kitchen Essentials Kit ($60) from Yesēco. This chic Australia-design is the ultimate combo of plastic-free cleaning tools – all made from 100% natural, biodegradable and compostable materials.

EcoCoconut Dish Brush ($7.50) from Biome.  A coconut husk fibre dish brush with FSC timber handle, this long-lasting design is naturally antibacterial, non-scratching, and biodegradable.

EcoCoconut Round Scourers ($6) from Biome. Another coconut husk fibre design from the brand, which makes all its products to ethical standards in Sri Lanka.

Safix Coco-Fibre Scrub Pad, small ($3.95) from Biome. Featuring natural coconut fibers bound together by a non-toxic adhesive., this pad is useful for delicate surfaces and stay fresh and effective for months. It’s made by a fair-trade cooperative in India.

Multi-Purpose Kitchen Cleaner ($10,90) from Koala Eco. ‘Natural cleaning products can be created from high concentrates of pure essential oils, combined with quality plant-derived biodegradable ingredients,’ explains founder Jessica Bragdon.

Lemon Dish Liquid ($4.49) from EcoStore. This plant-based dishwash liquid from the New Zealand Brand is pH balanced and has been independently benchmarked against the market leader to ensure excellent results. We recommend investing in the bulk-buy 20-litre variety to reduce on plastics too.

Mesh Produce Bags ($29 for 5) from Seed & Sprout, Reusable Clear Food Wrap Set ($27) from Seed & Sprout, Reusable Beeswax Wraps ($15) from Sustainable Wraps, Reusable Silicone Ziplock Bags (24.95 for 2) from Kappi. Photo – Caitlin Mills for The Design Files. Styling – Annie Portelli. Propping and styling assistant – Ashley Simonetto.

Food Storage + Preservation

One of the most memorable segments on the ABC’s revolutionary War on Waste series, came when a collective of bold shoppers unwrapped their overly-pre-packaged purchases at the checkout and left the waste for the supermarket to ponder (and recycle?). They carefully placed these items in reusable bags, wraps, and containers – privy to the fact that letting good food spoil would be just as careless. It all just made so much sense.

So too did the supermarket chains’  plastic carry bag ban, which has already prevented an estimated 1.5 billion bags from blowing off into the wilderness to trap, suffocate and uglify. The impact of that one small change speaks for itself, and this momentum seems to finally be taking hold! Now for the next step…

MUCH Better designs

Mesh Produce Bags ($29 for 5) from Seed & Sprout. So stylish, so simple, so effective! These lightweight reusable bags are made from organic cotton.

While we’ve already covered storage containers that can take you from home to work and back, a trio of other useful innovations edging out ‘Glad’ wrap to keep your food fresh include:

Reusable Clear Food Wrap Set ($27) from Seed & Sprout.

Reusable Beeswax Wraps ($15) from Sustainable Wraps.

Reusable Silicone Ziplock Bags (24.95 for 2) from Kappi

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The Design Files acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands on which we work, the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to Elders past and present.

First Nations artists, designers, makers, and creative business owners are encouraged to submit their projects for coverage on The Design Files. Please email bea@thedesignfiles.net