Another cheap plastic peg splits in half while I’m hanging out the washing. I sigh and let the little blue pieces of plastic lie where they fall, soon to be covered in grass.
Later, I’ll replace the head of my electric toothbrush, floss my teeth and use a cotton bud, tossing another little collection of single or temporary use plastics into my bathroom bin.
As I’m doing these everyday things, I often wonder – do biodegradable replacements for these useful items exist?
Who has the time to research the best and most affordable versions of products? You can buy anything online but I don’t want to pay a lot for an inferior product, shipped from across the world.
That’s where Shannon Woloshyn of Eden Ecos comes in – she researches alternatives to everyday plastic products which she stocks in her online store, local shops and markets around the Bega Valley.
“I love the stainless steel pegs that we stock,” Shannon says excitedly “they are made from a single coil of wire so there’s no chance of them popping apart like plastic or wooden pegs often do.”
Shannon is working on the theory that if we all do a little bit – swap those crappy pegs for long-life stainless pegs for instance – we can feel good and collectively make a big impact in reducing the need for plastic products.
“You don’t have to do it all at once – choose the area that suits your life at the moment,” she says thoughtfully, adding that people who buy her stock often expect that she is living a zero-waste life.
“That is not true at all,” she laughs “I’m not perfect. Products made from natural fibers are often hard to come by or expensive so I’m choosing the ones which are both biodegradable or recyclable and also affordable to stock at the online store and to use myself.”
“I used to live in the city and it seemed like it was so much more normal to take your shopping bags everywhere, take your produce bags, even take a container to the butcher or deli to buy meat. Plus, you have so many more options for sourcing products.”
According to Shannon, Europe is leading the way in innovative alternatives to single-use plastic products, with one of Eden Ecos most popular items, biodegradable craft glitter, designed in the UK.
“I’m seeing some amazing products,” she says “the glitter is made from eucalyptus leaves and it’s incredibly shiny and soft. It’s also biodegradable, unlike traditional glitter, which is a microplastic which is polluting oceans and having a negative impact on marine life.”
How biodegradable a product is will always be determined by the environment, Shannon explains.
“Obviously, a biodegradable product will break down faster in a hot compost heap than in the desert.”
Shannon believes that as industry changes in response to consumers being educated about the negative impacts of plastic, we’ll see a return to plant-based products like cellophane, made from cellulose.
“We’re not always long-term thinkers,” she says carefully “but our everyday choices do make a difference. Make changes where you can.”
Eden Eco’s local stockists include; Tribal Suzani in Eden, Eden Visitor Information Centre, Sprout Eden, Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre, Saltwater Organics Merimbula, Nook Café Bega, Bega Valley Market Place, Markets on Lamont in Bermagui and Bodalla Dairy Shed.