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10 clever ideas for better living

Living in a lighter and more eco way can be as easy as swapping out a few everyday products for something better …

Living in a lighter and more eco way can be as easy as swapping out a few everyday products for something better. Here’s a load of smart switches to make in the year ahead.

1 Mini KeepCups

Instead of the littlies getting their takeaway fluffies in a disposable cup, get them an extra small KeepCup and let the kids join the reusable coffee cup revolution. The new XS size is just right for fluffies, or if you’re a grown up, short blacks. There’s enough plastic in 25 disposable cups and lids to make one XS KeepCup. Over 60,000 KeepCups have been sold in New Zealand in the last two years, meaning that disposable cup waste is being diverted from landfills, and trees aren’t being felled for paper pulp. www.keepcup.com

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2 Compostable nappies

Make the switch from disposable to compostable. Many Good readers are dedicated cloth nappy users, but when you’re away for the weekend or during that precious summer holiday, the last thing you want to be bothering with is cloth nappies. The good news is that there’s an alternative to your standard disposable nappy: compostable Little Genie Bio-Nappies. They’re made from as many compostable and biodegradable materials as possible, and testing found that when the nappies were buried in a soil environment, 90 percent of the nappy padding degraded within 31 days, compared to other disposable nappy brands which showed no sign of degradation whatsoever.

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3 Biodegradable cloths

There are plenty of eco-friendly cleaning products around, but what about an eco-friendly cleaning cloth? Chux’s new Biodegradable Absorbent Cloths are cloths are machine washable and totally reusable, but they’re made entirely from the natural materials of viscose cellulose and bamboo fibres, which are renewable resources that break down in compostable conditions. Chux cloths are perfect for mopping up spills and wiping kitchen, bathroom and laundry surfaces. The packaging’s eco as well – it’s recyclable and printed with soy-based inks. www.chuxchallenge.co.nz

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4 Healthy lunchbox snacks

Looking for a sweet treat that’s good to eat and isn’t full nasty artificial flavors, colours and preservatives? Only Organic Big Me yoghurt mini rice cakes are made with growing kids in mind. Packed with the very best organic ingredients, they’re created by gently puffing grains of wholegrain rice, then coating the tops in delicious organic yoghurt. Only Organic’s Big Me mini rice cakes are gluten and egg free, too. A fun-sized snack that beats a packet of biscuits. www.onlyorganic.co.nz

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5 Plant-based shampoo and conditioner

If you’re washing your hair in the shower, it’s not just your scalp that’s getting lathered, it’s your hands and body too. That’s why it’s important to use shampoos and conditioners that are kind to your hair and skin and won’t strip out all those naturally protective oils. A brand new formulation from ecostore will keep your hair soft, shiny and healthy – without stripping or coating it with nasty chemicals. Here’s another bonus for those with curly hair: you can use the conditioner, enhanced with sweet almond oil and olive oil as an anti-frizz product. When you’re in the shower, don’t rinse your hair after conditioning, suggests Hala, a stylist with Peter Dutton Hairdressing. Instead, comb the product through your damp hair and leaving it to dry naturally. If you don’t touch your hair too much, it’ll stay beautifully de-frizzed for a day or two. www.ecostore.co.nz

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6 Natural diffuser

Plug-in home fragrances suck power, look ugly and don’t often smell all that delightful. Fragrances from aerosol cans are equally nasty – and then there’s the issue of disposing of the can. Why not try a diffuser? Willow reed sticks are placed in a glass apothecary bottle, absorbing the fragrant oil and releasing a delicious fragrance. Simply flip the willow reeds once a week to ensure continuous fragrance. The 100ml diffuser will last 8 to 12 weeks in a medium sized room. The Aromatherapy Co. Naturals diffusers are locally made from 100 percent natural products and the packaging is 85 percent recyclable. www.thearomatherapycompany.co.nz

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7 Raw pet food

Give your pooch something raw instead of all that processed and canned pet food. Raw Essentials pet food is sourced, killed and packaged locally. The range includes a number of pest species like possum, rabbit, hare and catfish, which means it’s also giving a helping hand to New Zealand’s native flora and fauna. What’s more, says Vet and Raw Essentials owner Dr Lyn Thompson, feeding our pets unprocessed and unadulterated meat is better for them because it’s what their bodies are designed for. A final bonus – a raw diet results in less pet poo! www.rawessentials.co.nz

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8 Eco loo paper

Switch that cheap 12 pack of toilet paper for something that’s 100 percent biodegradable and sustainably produced. Green Cane Eco Paper is made from a mix of canes and fibrous residue waste that’s leftover after sugarcane has been crushed and the sugar has been extracted. The paper is made from 70 to 80 percent recycled residue which is blended with a certified sustainable timber fibre to make it strong and soft. A little known fact is that sugarcane is a type of grass. It grows like topsy in tropical regions and is harvested annually, leaving the lower stalk behind to regrow for next year’s crop. Sweet! www.greencane.co.nz

9 A good oil

Try a dab of jojoba oil instead of your usual moisturiser. Jojoba from the Jojoba Company is a carbon negative crop – each hectare of Australian-grown jojoba absorbs nearly 1.7 tonnes of carbon from the atmosphere. Jojoba soothes, nourishes and moisturises skin and it’s known for its anti-wrinkle properties. It’s also naturally antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and hypoallergenic. You can use it all over your body and even in your hair as an intensive treatment. www.thejojobacompany.com.au

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10 Green grease monkeys

Want a mechanic who gives you advice about how to lower your fuel bill and reduce your emissions? It’s worth shopping around to find a garage where they care as much about the planet as they do about things on four wheels –. Take the example of Onehunga-based Auckland Auto Clinic, recently awarded New Zealand’s first ISO 14001 environmentally certified automotive repair and service centre. “We try to do everything as ethical and environmentally friendly as possible,” says clinic owner Dave Rouse. That includes sending used oil away to be power generators and be made into cement, and old tires to be shredded and make into supermarket carpark bump stops. “Its not just about running our vans on bio-diesel, cutting back power, water, wasted trips, improving recycling, and how carefully we purchase and dispose of things,” says owner Dave Rouse. “It’s about developing a culture within our company so that we are all dedicated to continual improvement in every aspect, including the environment.” www.autoclinic.co.nz

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