Love it or hate it, Spring cleaning is a necessary evil that allows you to declutter and start afresh! But are you doing it the eco-friendly way? We were inspired to scrub up plastic-free by local zero waste activist Colleen Black.
While most of us try to remember our multi-use shopping bags, carry an eco-cup for an on-the-go coffee and even whip out a bamboo straw at a restaurant, when it comes to cleaning we tend to forget our good intentions to be green.
Ballito’s Colleen Black has been on a journey towards a zero-waste lifestyle since 2015 and has been pretty consistent, going from taking out one rubbish bag a week to probably one a year! “I stumbled across the term ‘zero waste’ online and it just made sense to do it. I have a very positive mindset and was quite hardcore about it in the beginning – if I couldn’t find something unpackaged, we went without it. Having said that, I am still not completely zero waste, but it is about getting to that goal,” said Colleen, who lives with her husband, Erik.
What she loves most about this lifestyle, she says, is that it moves your focus onto living and experiencing, rather than accumulating and consuming.
“This change impacted our outlook on our entire lifestyle, not just our rubbish bin. We don’t even have a rubbish bin! I am saving time and money, we are healthier and most of all, we are content. Living a simple life helps me focus on what matters to me.” Colleen has also simplified her cleaning routine and sports a minimalist cleaning cupboard. “It is all about going back to basics. Stop overcomplicating your life with all the stuff you think you must have.” She suggested these three easy steps to make your spring cleaning healthier for the environment and lighter on your purse:
One product cleans all
Colleen swears by her trusty Triple Orange Gel. This wonder product is eco-friendly and biodegradable and can be used for just about anything. “I use it to clean dishes, the car, the dog, floors, windows – you name it! Instead of wasting money on a cupboard full of plastic bottles containing a different cleaning agent for each job, which is just a marketing scheme, I only have one and rather use that money for a dinner date.”
Scrub the natural way
Most kitchen sponges are made from plastic – so that’s a no-no. Opt for a greener option such as a natural loofah. “I think psychologically we have been trained that we must have a sponge. It has become such a habit that we do not even think about an alternative. I love a loofah. You can cut the long ones in half and use one half for the bathroom and the other for the kitchen.”
Clean up old school
Life without paper towels seems impossible and after all, what could the harm be in using these handy companions anyway, they’re not plastic… “Paper towels are a single-use product. The amount of water that goes into producing paper towels has a huge impact on the environment and then there is the plastic packaging. If a product is single use, it is a waste of resources. Rather just use a good, old fashioned, cotton cloth.”
DETAILS: The eco-friendly products Colleen uses are available at health and eco-friendly stores like Azikho: Unit 15, Gregory Park, Garlicke Drive, Ballito, 076 898 6697 or online: www.azikho.com
Text: Elana Wagner