If you’re anything like us, you’ve probably tried to go green (or at least green-er) a few times before.
Whether you’ve made lasting habits, or – like us - found yourself breaking your new “green” rules, the reality is that making change can be hard. Even when you really want to do it.
And we know you want to. Our BITS Sustainable Edit is in high demand, and we know many of you are looking to make more sustainable choices – and not just when it comes to buying intimates.
So we chatted to Jenny Ringland, Co-Founder of Green + Simple (a platform FULL of information to help you make greener lifestyle choices everyday) to help point us in the right direction.
What is your goal with Green + Simple?
To be the voice our community trusts amongst all the noise around sustainability claims. We want to inspire as many people as possible to start making small change and provide our readers with all the information and product recommendations they need for sustainable and low-tox living.
We really believe that when multiplied, small change can have a profound knock-on effect. If there is enough noise, around opting for brands with sustainability initiatives, asking where our clothes are made, to challenging our favourite beauty brands on their ingredients lists, then big brands that actually have the funds and power to make change will start to listen.
Who or what inspired you to start the site?
My co-founder Erica Watson and I had babies at the same time (we have five kids between us) and were both freelancing between babies when we struck up a conversion about baby wipes.
We couldn’t believe the hidden chemicals in most mainstream baby wipes and were both just really furious we had been buying what we thought were “good for you” brands.
We felt that if we had made that mistake, then others would have too (especially in those dazed newborn days when you can barely read a label, let alone decipher its ingredients).
That conversation evolved to Green + Simple! Our vision was, and still is, for a stylish one-stop (and judgement-free) destination based on the belief that the greatest change you can make is to start.
Whether it’s switching your baby moisturiser from mainstream to organic, or starting to recycle your soft plastics, making one change at a time feels good and motivates you to make more.
Pic: Jenny Ringland with co-founder Erica Watson
Why is living “green” important to you? And what does it mean? Living green means living a life that is healthier for us and the planet. It’s not the same for everyone though. For me that means minimising plastic use – both from a waste point of view and from an exposure to toxins point of view, buying locally sourced and organic produce when I can, buying second hand as my first option when I need something whether it’s clothes, furniture, even a car.
For me, making a choice that is healthier for us – for example organic produce, organic garments, in inherently healthier for the planet too. It’s important to me because the climate crisis is the biggest challenge we have ever faced as a human race, and it’s a challenge that is happening, because of us.
I want to create a better world for my children, and for their children.
Pic: Jenny wears a mix of recycled op-shop finds and new favourites from ethical brands.
In your role, you must come to know all the latest and greatest eco-brands, which brands are you finding most inspiring in the space right now?
There are so many…
Bassike - we’ve always been a huge fan of the brand but didn’t really know about their long history of sustainable production until more recently. Everything is made in Australia and mostly from organic cotton. We tend to gravitate more toward their basics, which are trans-seasonal, go with everything in your wardrobe and last forever.
Biode - this is a new brand we only recently discovered. They have launched with a small range of products including natural deodorant that’s in compostable packaging. It works amazingly, smells great and when you’re done with it you can literally put it in a pot plant and the packaging will biodegrade. No more plastic! It’s genius.
Rohr Remedy - this beauty brand is based out of Western Australia and was one of the very first organic skincare brands we discovered on our journey. Its formulations are all natural with a high potency of bioactive ingredients based on Indigenous and Australian bush medicine. We love the Kakadu plum face serum and Boab and Rosehip oil. They also do an amazing body moisturiser, soaps and body wash too.
Koala Eco - Natural cleaning products can be a little hit and miss but this one is a real game-changer. The products use Australian essential oils so they also smell gorgeous. As well as a pretty comprehensive range of cleaning products - like glass, bathroom and kitchen sprays - they also do a fruit and veggie wash, hand and body wash and their washing liquid is also incredible. Although they do use plastic, they recently converted their entire packaging over to recycled plastic, which is great because they’re closing the loop and don't use any virgin plastic at all.
When it comes to intimates, organic is my first priority, then it’s carbon footprint.
My top BITS picks are: 1. NICO The Basics Triangle Bra in Black. I am a wireless bra fan, so glad there are so many new bra options without wires like Nico’s range.
What are some of the simple things you do every day to be more “green”, that others could do too? 1. BYO: There are the obvious ones like BYO coffee cup and drink bottle. The coffee cup one is a habit I have had to recreate after COVID and cafes only just starting to accept reusables again. I also try and remember to take a container with me to the butcher rather than accept their plastic wrap meat. Same with takeaway. Our local sushi restaurant accepts my containers. It just means I walk around the corner and order and wait. 2. Plastic wrap swaps: I don’t buy plastic / glad wrap anymore. If I need to cover a bowl of food I use a plate to cover it. Or if it’s fruit or even avocado I place it face down on a plate in the fridge. For larger bowls when I am preparing food I throw a tea towel over the top. 3. Walking: I know it’s a well-used hack, but walking rather than driving has a HUGE impact on our carbon footprint. We live about 800m from my children’s school and we always walk, even though it’s just as easy to drive. Some days it’s a disaster but other days when everyone is happy it’s my favourite time of the day! 4. Recycle soft plastics: With little kids it’s almost impossible to stop packets of food entering the house. My youngest daughter’s pre-school has a collection point that makes it really easy. Did you also know, that the netting used for citrus, like bags of oranges and lemons, can be recycled as a soft plastic? I just learned that the other day.
Pic: Jenny participating in @take3forthesea
What is your biggest concern about Australia’s sustainability journey? That it will be too little too late. It feels like the onus is on us as individuals to affect change, when it should be up to the government and global corporations to lead by example.
Do you have any tips on how people can participate beyond their individual actions? Are there any groups or NFP doing awesome work in the space that you would recommend?
Yes there are so many to read about and consider donating to. Some of our favourites to explore are:
Seedmob Instead of Christmas gifts last year we donated to Seedmob which is Australia’s first Indigenous youth climate network who believes in a future free from climate change, powered by renewable energy.
1 million women is an amazing and inspiring platform founded on the belief that fighting climate change begins with women.
Habitat for Humanity are doing great things supporting communities affected by the bushfires. Many of those same communities have been affected by the current floods. Their programs help rebuild housing and inject much needed funds into the economy.
Any final bits of advice?
Looking for some inspiration? Head over to Green + Simple.