Plastic Free July: How to Work Towards a Plastic Free Kitchen

plastic free kitchen

Do you look at the rubbish bin in your kitchen and see plastic waste overflowing? It’s plastic free July, and we’ve got heaps of great tips on how you can get yourself working towards a plastic free kitchen.

With a bit of forward planning, you can drastically reduce the amount of single use plastic that you use in your household. Here’s how!

plastic free kitchen

Plastic Free Kitchen

Food storage

  1. Only use washable or biodegradable containers and jars.
  2. Save jam jars and use them for storage.
  3. Eliminate the need for cling film by committing to containers with lids. And yes, I know that you can never find the lids when you need them. So have a look at something like Agreena or a beeswax wrap to use in place of cling film when you can’t find the lid!

Food Storage and Reusable Wraps

Apiwraps Reusable Beeswax Wraps
Apiwraps Reusable Beeswax Wraps

Cleaning

  1. Choose your dish cleaning equipment thoughtfully and buy natural bristle bottle brushes and washable dishcloths.
  2. Choose Biobags for the rubbish bins.
  3. Get maxi compost bin for the green scraps. Get a worm farm for scraps, too.

Plastic free brushes and dishcloths

Ecococonut plastic free cleaning brushes
Ecococonut plastic free cleaning brushes

Cooking and Food

  1. Choose wooden cooking utensils over plastic ones.
  2. Avoid using non stick cooking ware. The stuff that makes a cooking ware ‘non stick’ is actually plastic.
  3. Try shifting to bamboo cutting boards. Aside from the fact that it’s more eco friendly, it is also beautiful and can function as a serving board as well.
  4. Choose reusable silicone mats like Agreena instead of baking paper or cupcake papers.
Apiwraps Reusable Beeswax Wraps
Agreena 3 in 1 reusable wraps

Shopping

  1. Never use plastic bags. Instead, always have a stash of reusable carry bags on hand for toting your produce. There are some lovely ones from Apple Green Duck or Onya Reusable Bags. Ever Eco also have some great options. Or you can simply grab a cardboard box.
  2. Only buy fresh food loose or packed in cardboard.
  3. Avoid buying processed food. Almost always processed food comes in a single use plastic packaging.
  4. Try to choose products in glass instead of plastic, or cardboard. For example, I choose my pasta based on the fact that it’s in a cardboard box, not a plastic one. And I’ll choose jars of tomatoes instead of tins (tins are lined with plastic). My local farmer’s market even sells milk in glass bottles (with the cream on top – delicious!).
  5. Speaking of local farmer’s market, when it comes to produce, shopping at your local farmer’s market is the best option. Simply put, less transportation is less packaging. I stopped shopping at the supermarket long ago, and it’s heaps easier to go plastic free when you shop in bulk or at the market.

Want to see more? Check out our range of plastic free products here.

Image credits: Main image: Deposit Photos, Apiwraps: Apiwraps, Ecococonut: Ecococonut, Agreena: Agreena.

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Kin Kin Naturals: Natural Cleaning Products Made With Sustainability At Its Heart

If you’re an environmentally conscious person (and especially if you have kids), you’re probably on the lookout for good natural cleaning products. Children can be the highlight of your life, but there’s no denying that they’re messy. You want products that do the job, but don’t contain anything that might harm your children, your own health, or the environment.

The natural beauty of Kin Kin on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast inspired the range natural cleaning products.

How Kin Kin Naturals began

Kin Kin Naturals was founded by Felix and Sandy van der Kooij, who live in the tiny town of Kin Kin in South East Queensland. Felix used to work as a PhD-qualified formulator for the laundry detergent giant OMO, but the gorgeous unspoiled environment of Kin Kin inspired him to make a green change in his lifestyle. He decided to dedicate his life to making natural cleaning products that work just as well as the big ‘nasties’.

The business started to take off in 2008, and now the biggest problem they have is keeping up with demand.

What’s so good about Kin Kin Naturals?

Kin Kin naturals contains no ingredients that might be harmful to human health or the environment – no sulphates, phosphates, palm oil or alcohol ethoxylate. Instead, they make their natural cleaning products with simple ingredients like coconut soap, bicarbonate of soda, oxygenated soda, and citrate. They use essential oils for fragrance.

Felix keeps his formulations low in sodium salts as well, substituting eco-friendly potassium instead (which is actually good for the soil). All their products are easily biodegradable, even in low-oxygen environments, making them safe for septic and grey water systems.

This company takes the concept of sustainability to heart. They source their ingredients locally as much as possible, and their highly concentrated products use the minimum of resources for packaging and shipping. Kin Kin naturals likes to keep their carbon footprint small – their factory is only 200 metres away from their home.

Kin Kin Naturals – Natural Cleaning Products

They keep their product range small so they don’t get overwhelmed. Felix likes to tweak the formulations until they’re just right, with the correct balance of ingredients.

Dishwashing detergents

Kin Kin Naturals makes both liquid and powder dishwashing soaps. The Eco dishwashing liquid was tested and recommended by CHOICE. The formulation is so pure and gentle that Kin Kin Naturals has received feedback from people with sensitive skin that they no longer need to use gloves when washing dishes.

  • Liquid detergentsLime & Eucalypt; and Tangerine and Mandarin (coming soon).
    • Contains coconut-based surfactants, rain water, potassium citrate, glycerine and essential oils
    • Only a few drops will take care of an entire load of dishes
  • Dishwasher powderLemon Myrtle & Lime
    • Contains coconut and sugar based surfactants, cleansing minerals, enzymes and essential oils
    • Use 15 ml (one half dispenser) for a full load of dishes

Laundry soaps

This range has laundry liquids for regular and delicate clothes, as well as a soaking powder to remove stubborn stains. They’re all suitable for both front and top loading machines.

  • Regular laundry liquid – Eucalypt & Lemon Myrtle; Lavender & Ylang Ylang
    • Contains coconut-based surfactants, rain water, potassium coconut soap, potassium citrate, enzymes and essential oils
    • You only need 35 ml (a little over 2 tablespoons) for a full load
  • Wool and delicates liquidEucalypt & Rose Geranium
    • Contains coconut-based surfactants, rain water, potassium citrate and essential oils
    • Use 20 ml (a little over 1 tablespoon) per load and 5–10 ml (1/3–2/3 tablespoon) per tub for hand washing
  • Laundry soaker & stain removerLime & Eucalypt
    • Contains sodium carbonate (washing soda), sodium percarbonate (oxygen releasing soda), sodium citrate (water softener based on citrus), sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), anionic surfactant and essential oils
    • Use 2 tablespoons per load or bucket full of water for soaking

Kin Kin natural cleaning products really are that concentrated (yes you can wash a whole load of laundry with only 1 tablespoon of laundry soap). That tiny bit will leave your clothes smelling amazing – fresh and clean, with no strong chemical fragrances. The dishwashing soaps cut grease without drying or irritating your hands (and also smell wonderful).

You can browse the whole range here at Hello Charlie.

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Main image credit: Kin Kin Naturals

A to Z of Hints, Tips and Swaps for Plastic Free July

plastic free july

Plastic Free July is almost here! Started back in 2011 with just a handful of people in Western Australia, Plastic Free July has grown to reach millions of people across more than 150 countries.

All you have to do to join the Plastic Free July challenge is to ‘Choose to Refuse’ single use plastic across the month of July. It’s easy to do, and every small step makes a difference.

plastic free july

To get you started, I’ve come up with an A to Z of things that you can do to meet the challenge:

A  –  Agreena wraps. Silicone wraps that take the place of glad wrap. They stretch over the top of bowls and plates and reseal them. You can use them as sandwich wraps or to keep single things fresh in the fridge, like a half a lemon. Or use them to replace baking paper in the oven. Genius!

B –  Biobags. Can’t get your head around lining your rubbish bin with newspaper? Or like me, never buy the newspaper? Well, Biobags are completely compostable. Much better for the environment than plastic rubbish bags.

CCoffee cups. Reusable ones, of course. Say no to the takeaway cups and go with one that you can use over and over.

DDrinking cups – stainless steel ones that you can take with you; or D is for deodorant in tins or jars; or D could be for decanting bulk packs into smaller jars at home.

E – Eggs – okay, so this is a bit of stretch, but I buy my eggs at the farmers market. I buy lots of fruit and veg, too, and it’s all plastic free. And did I mention that they are the most delicious eggs ever, laid by happy hens who are watched over by alpacas and maremma dogs?

FFilter jug. Get yourself a filter jug so that you can have filtered water at home, and then you can fill your reusable water bottle up for getting out and about with. A filter jug also works a treat with a Soda Stream so you can have fizzy filtered water if that’s your thing (it’s definitely one of mine!).

GGlass baby bottles and sippy cups. Okay, so these aren’t usually single use plastic items, but glass is better for your baby by far.

HHair brush. You can skip the plastic entirely by choosing a wooden hair brush or comb.

IInsulated food jars. Brilliant in winter for warming soups and stews. “I” could also be for individually wrapped snacks (just say no!).

J – Jars. Save all your jars and use them for storage, for dinky salads for lunch, for making salad dressing. Or even for making your own jam from all the extra fruit at the end of summer.

KKeepleaf. This great brand will keep single use snaplock bags and sandwich wraps out of the bin! Cute, easy to use and easy to wash, too.

LLunchboxes. From stainless steel to long lasting plastic, nothing cuts down on single use plastic day to day like a lunchbox.

M – Milk. Okay, so I’m back to my local farmer’s market. But how good is this – Schultz Organic Dairies sell milk in glass bottles. With the cream on top, too, I’m happy to add!

NNappies. Even if you used a cloth nappy just once a day, think how many disposables you could keep out of landfill!

O – Oranges, apples, lettuces … Use a produce bag instead of grabbing a plastic bag, or instead of buying prepacked fruit.

P – Personal care. There are so many plastic free alternatives for personal care these days. Try Natracare or Organyc for plastic free single use tampons and pads. Or go with some Hannahpads, a Lunette menstrual cup or Modibodi period undies.

Q – Quinces. My neighbours have a quince tree, and they don’t cook them up, but I do. And then I go all old school and share them around as poached fruit, jam and jelly. And of course I store them all in my saved jam jars. Delish!

R – Refuse, reuse, reduce, rot and then finally – recycle.

SStraws, shampoo bars, shopping bags. Plastic straws are a scourge. Go with stainless steel, bamboo or even paper. Shampoo bars are my new love – no plastic, they last forever and my hair loves them! Shopping bags – I won’t let anyone leave the house without a shopping bag.

TToothbrushes. There are so many biodegradable toothbrushes on the market now that there’s just no excuse for using a plastic one.

U –   Um – umbrella? Okay, so now we’re at the tricky part of the alphabet. But my point here is to buy good quality things that will last, rather than buying throwaway items. I bought a windproof umbrella years ago, and I still have it (thanks to my name in permanent marker on it!)

V – Volume. Buy in bulk and save on packaging. Although I have to admit that it did take us a while to get through 15kgs of porridge oats, it was totally worth it. And I do love porridge!

WWaterbottles and Wipes. Don’t buy water. Just don’t. And for wipes – get biodegradable ones, because the non biodegradable ones are made from plastic cloth. Or better still, make your own wipes.

X – X Ray Fish. Okay, so this has absolutely nothing to do with anything but my children had an A to Z caterpillar train that had animals for each letter. Much to my amusement, X was an X Ray Fish. Never caught one of these myself, but who knows? Or you could have X for Xylophone – sustainable toys that can be handed down for generations.

Y – Yo Yo bags. Otherwise known as boomerang bags. My local farmers market always has a stash of bags that you can borrow or you can hand in.

Z – Zzzz. Because you’ll sleep with a clear conscience if you can manage even a few of these …

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Main Image Credit: Deposit Photos

Shopping Guide: What To Look For In Natural Laundry Powders

natural laundry powder

Your favourite laundry detergent may get your whites white and your colours fast, but have you ever wondered how it affects everything else it touches? What does it do to your skin, your lungs, your pets, the air in your home and the waterways downstream?

Unfortunately, if you’re still using conventional laundry products, you might not like the answer to that.

natural laundry powder

I made the switch to green cleaning products a long time ago, after learning about the many questionable chemicals in the big name brands I was putting in my shopping cart. I’ve learned that laundry detergents leave a chemical residue that can be absorbed into our skin or inhaled into our lungs. Sometimes, the chemicals in that leftover goop have ill effects like eczema, eye irritation, and rashes. Some of them are endocrine disruptors and possible carcinogens. And we don’t even need many of these ingredients in the first place!

After being clued in on all this, I decided to green up my family’s laundry. Today, we’re helping you do the same by showing you what to look for and what to avoid when choosing natural laundry products.

Say ‘no’ to:

Manufacturers have already removed some of the problematic chemicals from laundry products. But there’s still a lot of sneaky ingredients out there that can really harm your health and the environment. There’s also a lot of greenwash in so-called natural laundry powders and liquids. Here are some ingredients of concern:

Synthetic fragrance

We’ve come to expect a certain aroma from freshly laundered clothes. However, that “spring morning” or “ocean breeze” scent usually comes from synthetic fragrance – and fragrance is sneaky.

Fragrance isn’t just one ingredient. Usually, it’s a cocktail of chemicals of varying levels of safety. When you inhale that familiar “clean” smell, you may actually be breathing hazardous air pollutants. In fact, there are nearly 4,000 stock chemical ingredients used in fragrances, and some of these are hormone disruptors, allergens, and carcinogens. Manufacturers don’t have to list which chemicals they use because fragrance ingredients are considered trade secret.

Why do companies include potentially harmful chemicals in fragrance? Because natural ingredients, like real essential oils, are expensive. So when choosing laundry products, look for those that specifically indicate that the scent comes from natural sources. Steer clear of anything with ‘fragrance’ or ‘parfum.’ Personally, I think fragrance is unnecessary because clean laundry should smell, well, like nothing. ‘Clean,’ after all, doesn’t really have a smell, does it?

Phosphates and EDTA

Phosphates make laundry detergents more effective at lifting dirt off clothes. However, phosphates are a real menace to the environment. They increase algae growth in streams and waterways, which then depletes oxygen levels in the water, essentially suffocating marine life.

Most laundry detergent companies have already removed phosphates from their products. However, some of them replaced phosphates with EDTA, another problematic chemical that doesn’t biodegrade easily and is toxic to animals.

laundry detergent cheat sheet button

Optical brighteners

Optical brighteners don’t get clothes clean. They just make them look that way. These chemicals create an optical illusion by absorbing UV light and reflecting back blue light, making clothing look whiter and brighter. Optical brighteners are designed to bind to fabrics after washing. They can then rub off onto skin and may cause irritation and allergic reactions if you happen to be sensitive to them.

Optical brighteners are sometimes made from benzene, a known carcinogen. They’re also terrible for the environment. They biodegrade poorly and may be toxic to aquatic life.

Harsh Surfactants

Surfactants help loosen grease and dirt from clothes. They’re really, really good at cleaning. Unfortunately, the most common surfactants used in laundry powder (SLS, SLES, and ALS) can cause skin and eye irritation. Studies have also linked these sulphates to neurotoxicity, developmental toxicity, and cancer. Another big issue with sulphates: during the manufacturing process, they can be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, a Group 2B carcinogen.

Chlorine bleach

It may help you get rid of that annoying coffee stain on your favourite white shirt, but chlorine bleach is still really bad stuff. It’s a definite environmental toxin and a suspected endocrine disruptor and carcinogen. It can cause serious damage if inhaled and is irritating to noses, eyes, and throats. There’s also evidence that even just passive exposure to bleach can increase your child’s risk of respiratory and other infections.

Dyes

Dyes aren’t there to clean. They’re only added for aesthetic reasons, like that blue stripe in toothpastes. They’re totally unnecessary. Worse, dyes can be irritating and can cause allergic reactions in people who have skin sensitivities.

Say ‘yes’ to:

There’s no need to pollute the planet or compromise your health just to have clean clothes. Look for natural laundry powders with these safer ingredients:

Essential oils

Essential oils give your clothes a lovely fresh scent. They also have the added benefits of being naturally antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and mood boosting.

Try: That Red House laundry tonics; Little Innoscents essential oils; Mt Retour essential oils

Baking soda

Bicarb soda is probably the most versatile green cleaning product there is. It’s an ingredient that gets all sorts of messes out, and yet is about as simple and natural as it gets. It’s tough on stains (like crayon) and funky smells (like sweat). It also softens fabrics, discourages bacteria growth, and even helps clean your machine!

Try: Abode Laundry Powders and Liquids, Ecostore laundry powders and liquids

Washing soda

Also called sodium carbonate or soda ash, this alkaline compound is a highly effective cleaning agent. Like baking soda, it’s great at getting stubborn stains and grease out. It also acts as a water softener, helping laundry detergent work better.

Find it in: Resparkle Laundry Powder, Abode Laundry Powders and Liquids, Ecostore laundry powders and liquids.

https://www.hellocharlie.com.au/resparkle-laundry-powder/

Oxygen bleach

Unlike chlorine bleach, a potent irritant, oxy bleach is gentler on clothes and won’t produce toxic chlorine gas. Ecostore’s excellent Laundry Soaker and Stain Remover uses sodium carbonate peroxide instead of chlorine bleach to get even the nastiest of stains out.

Try: Kin Kin Naturals Soaker; Ecostore Laundry Soaker; Ecover Laundry Bleach Oxygen

Soapberries

If you haven’t tried doing the laundry with soapberries yet, you’re missing out. These little cuties are actually the fruit of a tree grown in Nepal. The shells contain a natural soap that removes grease and grime just as good as conventional detergents. They’re naturally antibacterial and anti fungal, and you can chuck them in the compost when you’re done with them.

Try: That Red House Soapberries

Woolen dryer balls

No need for wasteful (and toxic) dryer sheets — woolen dryer balls are chemical free and eco friendly, and can help reduce wrinkles and decrease drying time.

Try: That Red House Dryer Balls

Natural laundry powders vs. supermarket brands

If you think natural laundry powders and liquids can’t possibly compare to supermarket brands in terms of cleaning, think again. Ecostore, for instance, has topped mainstream brands like Surf, Persil, and Cold Power in categories like Quality of Clean, Feel of Clothes, and Overall Satisfaction.

Ready to make the switch to green laundry products? Hello Charlie has a good selection of natural laundry powders, natural laundry liquids, soakers, and fabric softeners that are better for you and the planet. Go check it out now!

What are your favourite natural laundry products? Share below!

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Shopping Guide: What To Look For In A Natural Laundry Powders

Ecover Natural Cleaning Products: The Eco Friendly Way To Clean

ecover natural cleaning products

Ecover was one of the first companies in the world to manufacture natural cleaning products.

This Belgian company was founded in 1979 with a mission to produce eco friendly cleaning products, starting with the biodegradable surfactants in their detergents. They built the world’s first ‘ecological factory’ in Belgium, from mostly recycled or recyclable materials – an environmentally aware building to make natural cleaning products! It features a 6,000 square metre green roof that resembles a garden. It lessens the building’s environmental impact and provides a place for local wildlife. They even have ospreys!

Not only are the products guided by the concept of sustainability, so are the manufacturing and packaging processes. Their business practices are clean as well. Ecover is a certified B-Corp, which is similar to a Fair Trade, awarded to companies that pass the rigorous certification process. They’re working towards a zero carbon footprint, and plan to be recycling or composting all their waste by 2020.

ecover natural cleaning products

What do we love about Ecover?

  • Vegan friendly – no animal or insect derived substances used in manufacture
  • Leaping Bunny certified by Cruelty Free International since 2011
  • Ecologically sourced ingredients instead of petroleum byproducts
  • Working to reduce, and eventually eliminate, palm oil from all products
  • Uses sustainably grown French rapeseed oil instead of palm oil
  • Yeast-grown surfactants for ecological foaming action
  • Fresh, mild fragrances that are always at least 50% natural, and completely biodegradable
  • Doesn’t leave any unnecessary chemicals behind
  • Completely biodegradable
  • Septic tank friendly

If you’re super sensitive to fragrances, the Ecover Zero range has no added fragrance at all.

And Ecover aren’t content to rest on their laurels, either. They’re always researching and working to come up with better products.

Ecover’s Natural Cleaning Products

Ecover makes green cleaning products for laundry, dishwashing, and general home care.

Laundry

Ecover laundry products contain no optical brighteners or enzymes, but still performed well when tested against standard detergents in both hot and cold water, easily removing a wide variety of stains, including oil, coffee, ink, blood, wine, and grass. You don’t have to sacrifice stain lifting power to use eco friendly cleaning products, and this proves it!

One of our bestsellers is the colour safe stain remover. The stain remover comes in convenient stick form with a brush on the tip. For soaking, try the oxygen bleach to get rid of stubborn stains and brighten whites.

The delicate laundry liquid is suitable for fine fabric, silk and wool. It’s Woolmark approved and helps keep the surface of your fine woollens smooth and like new. You can use it either for hand washing or in the delicate cycle of the washing machine.

The fabric softeners make your towels fluffy and your shirts easier to iron. The gentle scent comes from plant-based ingredients and freshens without overpowering.

Ecover’s laundry products have a lot to recommend them:

  • Ten times less toxic to aquatic wildlife than regular laundry detergent
  • Concentrated formula for less packaging
  • No animal testing
  • The bottles are made from 100% plant based plastic that’s renewable, reusable and recyclable
  • Mild, natural scent

Dishwashing

Whether you’re looking for washing up liquid or dishwasher tabs, Ecover makes a green cleaning choice for you. Are you tired of strong smelling detergents that are harsh on your hands and leave a soapy residue on your dishes? Ecover’s dishwashing selection solves those problems for you. The rinse aid prevents calcium deposits for a streak free shine even in hard water.

General household cleaning

Ecover’s general household cleaning range works for floors, countertops, mirrors, toilets, and whatever else needs cleaning.

Clean your toilets with a light scent of pine and mint instead of an eye watering stench of bleach. Named one of the 10 best eco friendly cleaning products by The Independent, Ecover toilet cleaner uses natural ingredients such as citric acid and plant-based fragrances to leave your toilet clean, hygienic and smelling fresh.

The cream cleaner removes grease and stuck-on grime from tiles, enamel, stainless steel and chrome without scratching. It uses minerals and natural cleaning compounds to clean stove, fridge or bath with no worries.

Want to know more about Ecover? Shop the whole range here!

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Onya Reusable Bulk Food Bags: What You Need To Know

onya reusable bulk food bag

Why should you use Onya reusable bulk food bags or reusable bulk food bags in general? If you care about the Earth you’ve taken the adage to heart: reduce, reuse, recycle. Buying in bulk is a cost effective way to feed your family. Personally, I like it because I can see what I’m buying – the product isn’t all bundled up in plastic.

onya reusable bulk food bags

What do you use bulk packaging for?

So you want to use less plastic but carrying bulky canisters and glass jars to the bulk food store can be a pain. Paper bulk food bags are easier on the recycling front, but they’re still single use packaging. They’re not particularly sturdy either.

And what do you do when your jar is still half-full, but you’re on a grocery run? You don’t want to risk running out of staples in the middle of the week. Well, Hello Charlie has got the solution to your bulk-packaging woes: Onya reusable bulk food bags.

What are Onya reusable bulk food bags?

These attractive bulk food bags are designed to make your life easier. They boast a long list of features to make your trips to the grocery fast and convenient. You don’t need  to carry around jars and containers to take to the store, just bring these compact reusable bulk food bags with you instead.

What’s so good about them?

It’s good not to have to worry about transporting heavy glass jars every week, I can tell you that. With the Onya bags, all you have to do is fill them up, fold down the top, and secure with the hook and loop fastening strip. They’re intended as top-up bags, so when you get home you should transfer your food in more permanent containers. You can safely store pasta in your Onya bags, but for long term storage it’s better to use glass jars or other airtight containers.

Onya reusable bulk food bags are:

  • Lightweight, compact, sturdy and stylish
  • Long-lasting – many Onya customers have had theirs for 10 years or more.
  • Made from 100% BPA free, food safe recycled plastic drink bottles
  • 100% recyclable anywhere that accepts rPET
  • Covered by a 12-month manufacturer’s warranty
  • Washable in warm soapy water

Features:

  • A clear window made of non-toxic, BPA and chlorine free PEVA
    • You can see what’s in the bag
    • You can easily write the contents and shop code with a coloured wax pencil or whiteboard marker
  • The tare weight is on the bag in both ounces and grams
  • A convenient clip secures the Onya bag to your purse

Sizes and colours:

  • Comes in small, medium and large
    • Small bag: 27cm long x 11cm wide with 6.5cm gusset
    • Medium bag: 35cm long x 15cm wide with 8.5cm gusset
    • Large bag: 40cm long x 21cm wide with 10.5cm gusset
  • Available alone or in sets of 3, with a sturdy tote bag (holds 10 kg)
    • Tote bag size: 30cm long x 39.5cm wide with 24cm gusset
  • Selection of colours, with attractive retro styling

Want to see more from Onya? Shop the range here!

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Main image credit: Onyalife

Organic Clean: The Greenest Clean

Organic Clean, Natural Cleaning

There are more people today who are interested in natural cleaning products. Maybe because there are more information out there about the effects that mainstream cleaners have on the environment and our health. Because of this, more consumers are now looking for safer and greener cleaners. Organic Clean aims to fill in that need.

Organic Clean, Natural Cleaning

 

How it all began

The company owners have 50 years experience between them in the organic food and cosmetic industries.

When it comes to cleaning, they noticed that the market lacked Australian Certified Organic (ACO) approved products.  If there were existing in the market, they’re normally not transparent with their labelling.

Some comes with ingredients that weren’t as safe as claimed. And some products don’t disclose their ingredients at all. After all, Australia doesn’t require this from cleaning products.

That’s when Organic Clean was born. They aim to make natural cleaning products with transparent labelling. Products that will only use safe and organic ingredients.

Organic Clean ingredients

The surfactants used in Organic Clean products come from coconut oil extracts and the soap nut tree.

The natural saponins they use are biodegradable and hypoallergenic. This ingredient is gentle on skin and clothing too. As an icing on the cake, saponins are natural insecticides and insect repellents.

Essential oils

Essential oils can add pleasant scents, yes. But they also add germ killing and deodorising properties to products. Here’s a list of the essential oils Organic Clean use:

Lavender is a versatile oil and has a relaxing trait. But it’s also deodorising and an antibacterial.

Cinnamon Bark  has a great and  lovely smell. But it is also a disinfectant, antiseptic, and an anti fungal.

Peppermint is a hybrid between watermint and spearmint. It is a great insect repellent and have strong antibacterial properties.

Sweet orange and its main ingredient limonene is a good grease cutter. Sweet orange is an antibacterial and anti fungal. But it also has anti-inflammatory and anticoagulant properties.

Tea Tree extract is famous for its antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. But it’s also an anti fungal.

Lemon is a powerful and popular cleaning agent. It has antiviral, antibacterial, grease cutting, and deodorising properties.

Lemongrass is a broad spectrum antibiotic, antiviral, and anti fungal. It is also a used as an insect repellent and as a deodorant.

Organic Clean has spent years of testing to make sure that their products are as safe and effective. They never contain bleach, phosphates, or ammonia. Plus, all are septic tank friendly.

They don’t use any artificial perfumes or fragrances either. Essential oils are a much better alternative for a scent sensitive person.

These products are as tough on dirt as any standard cleaner. For old built up grease, just spray and let soak for 30 seconds before wiping.

Certified by multiple agencies

Organic Clean’s products only uses organic ingredients. And all their ingredients are from certified organic farms. Only approved to use in organic products were used for their non plant substances. And no GMOs can be found in their ingredients.

Currently, ACO doesn’t cover cleaning products. But Organic Clean is certified with the Allowed Input Standard for Australia.

Organic Clean is Vegan Accredited and is Choose Cruelty Free Certified.

Want to know more about Organic Clean? Shop the range here, or see some of the products below!

 

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Dr Bronner’s: Castile Soaps vs Pump Soaps (What’s the Difference?)

dr bronner castile soaps vs pump soap

You’ve probably heard about Dr Bronner’s soaps. This family-owned company has been in business since 1948, and they’re one of my favourite ethical brands. Dr Bronner’s castile soaps have been around from the start, but the pump soaps are a more recent addition. So what’s the difference between the two?

dr bronner castile soaps vs pump soap

The castile soap is the result of generations of soap making expertise. Dr Bronner’s castile soaps are pure, and that purity means that you can use them for so many different things.

So why make a new type of soap when the castile soap is so good?

Dr Bronner’s say that over the years many people have asked for a thicker, more moisturising soap. They wanted one that could be used with a pump dispenser, and a soap that is USDA certified organic. (The pure castile soap is not USDA certified. The water and saponification agents used in manufacture are inorganic and can’t go towards the 95% organic ingredients necessary to get the USDA label.)

About Dr Bronner’s Pump Soap

Which is where Dr Bronner’s pump soap comes in. It’s made with shikakai, a form of Acacia concinna, an Ayurvedic medicinal plant that has been used in skin and hair care for hundreds of years. The bark is powdered and added to the soap for its moisturising effects, as well as acting as a thickener. It also has antifungal properties that make it a great dandruff shampoo for non colour treated hair.

If you find the castile soap a little dry for personal care, you’ll like the pump soap. I’ve never found Dr Bronner’s castile soap drying, even with my super dry skin. But I’ve been trying the pump soap in the shower, and I do like the extra hydration.

In addition to the shikakai, the pump soap also contains organic grape juice and sucrose. These ingredients act as humectants, helping the skin hold on to its natural moisture (and incidentally bringing the tally of organic ingredients up over 95%, making this soap USDA organic).

Let’s compare the ingredients:

Pure Castile Soaps vs. Pump Soaps

Dr Bronner’s Pure Castile Soap

water
coconut oil*
potassium hydroxide*
olive oil*
hemp oil*
jojoba oil*
citric acid*
tocopherol (vitamin E)*

Dr Bronner’s Pump Soap

organic grape juice
sucrose
coconut oil*
potassium hydroxide*
olive oil*
shikakai powder
hemp oil*
jojoba oil*
salt
citric acid*
tocopherol (vitamin E)*
* USDA certified organic

 

 

As you can see, they’re very similar. The main difference between the two (aside from the moisturising) is in the look, scent, and texture. The pump soap looks quite different from the clear pure castile soap, since the shikakai is brown and about the consistency of cinnamon powder.

The formulation of the peppermint pump soap is different, using a different mint blend with spearmint oil, so it’s not as cooling as the pure castile soap version.

Classic Dr Bronner’s castile soap is only suitable for foam pump dispensers (diluted with three times as much water). If you use it in a normal pump dispenser, it tends to get clogged, which can be frustrating. The pure castile soap also makes a better household cleaner, since bathrooms, dishes and countertops don’t need moisturising.

In general, whether you use the pump soap or pure castile soap is a matter of personal preference based on how your skin reacts – they’re both great cleansers.

Dr Bronner’s make great soaps, whether it’s the castile soap, the pump soap or the bar soaps. But the rest of the range is pretty fantastic, too! Try the bestselling hand sanitiser, my family’s favourite natural toothpaste, or the lovely all purpose magic balm.

You can check out the Dr Bronner’s range here at Hello Charlie.

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Products We Love: Bon Ami Powder Cleanser

Here at Hello Charlie, we’re all about discovering and sharing the best and freshest innovations in the world of eco living. But there’s also something to be said about the old school products that have been low key “green” long before green living was even a thing.

The Bon Ami Natural Home Powder Cleanser is one of these.

You see, Bon Ami has been a household cleaning staple for more than 150 years, but it can still compete with its more modern counterparts in eco friendly cleaning. This green cleaner isn’t exactly exciting or flashy, nor is it knocking you over the head with words like “nontoxic” or “eco friendly.” It’s just a simple cleaning product that gets the job done while helping you minimise your eco footprint.

Bon Ami natural powder cleanser

What can the Bon Ami cleaning powder do?

Since 1886, people have been using Bon Ami Powder Cleanser on their tubs, sinks, toilets, tiles, stoves, ovens, cookware, bakeware, dishes, and wood furniture.

It effectively removes grease splatters, baked on food, soap scum, water stains, deep seated grout stains, mould, smudges on woodwork, scratch marks on china, rust stains, and other messes.

Bon Ami gets food residue off most countertops without scratching the material. It absorbs odours from pots and pans. It’s tough on soil and smudge marks on outdoor furniture. It removes scuff marks from floors. And because there’s no dye, you can even use it to get crayon marks and fingerprints off your white walls.

What’s in Bon Ami cleaning powder?

From the beginning, Bon Ami has stayed true to their name, choosing their commitment to people and the environment instead of caving to the pressure to use chemical additives — even when everyone else was. To this day, the original formula still has just 5 simple ingredients: limestone, feldspar, biodegradable cleaning agents (alkyl polyglucoside), soda ash, and sodium bicarbonate.

Unlike most mainstream powder cleaners, there’s absolutely no nasties in Bon Ami. No perfumes, dyes, chlorine bleach, and anything that can make you, your family, or Nature sick.

Bon Ami is biodegradable (great for the planet) and hypoallergenic (great for people with allergies). It’s safe enough for children to use, especially if yours have started taking on some of the chores. All Bon Ami packaging comes from recycled paper and bottles.

The Bon Ami Natural Home Powder Cleanser has an A+ rating from EWG, which means it’s “of lowest concern” and has “good ingredient disclosure” with “few or zero known and suspected health and environmental hazards.”

How to use Bon Ami Natural Home Powder Cleanser

Lightly wet the surface you want to clean. Next, sprinkle Bon Ami powder and rub it in with a wet cloth or sponge. Rinse off a couple of times. Don’t use hot water when rinsing, as this will only separate the powder and create more residue to rinse off.

Bon Ami is not intended for glass, mirrors, brushed stainless steel appliances, and lacquered surfaces. So if you’re unsure if the powder is too abrasive for a particular surface, test first on an inconspicuous area.

Lastly, don’t use too much powder. A little gets a lot done!

If you’ve sworn off bleach and other harsh chemical cleaning products, as we have, we highly recommend Bon Ami. You can get it right here at Hello Charlie. This is really good stuff that perfectly balances effectiveness, affordability, and safety. Give it a go!

What do you think of Bon Ami cleaning powder? Any other old fashioned household cleaners you think we should feature? Share below!

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Bon Ami Powder Cleanser

Images: Bon Ami

Why You Shouldn’t Clean with Bleach

People have been using chlorine bleach to clean their homes and clothing since the 1950s. For many, the smell of bleach is the smell of clean. But is it really clean? Today we’re discussing why you shouldn’t clean with bleach.

New research conducted on over 9,000 European children, ages 6–12, found that this popular cleaning solution was actually associated with a higher chance of illness. Children from bleach-using households were found to have 20% greater incidence of influenza, a 35% increase in tonsillitis and 18% increase in general infections.

Why You Shouldn't Clean with Bleach

Chlorine bleach fumes can be enormously irritating to the respiratory system. Children are at particular risk because of their underdeveloped lungs and lower size and weight. To make matters worse, mixing bleach with other common household chemicals, such as vinegar and ammonia, can produce deadly – even explosive – results.

Common symptoms include:

  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irritated eyes, nose and throat
  • Chest pain
  • Fluid in the lungs and pneumonia
  • Severe breathing difficulties
  • Vomiting
  • Permanent damage to the lungs and air passages

The poison can also be absorbed through the skin, causing pain, inflammation and blisters.

Why you shouldn’t clean with bleach

Bleach might not even be as effective a cleaner as some think. Most people don’t know that it loses its effectiveness over time and when exposed to heat, light and oxygen. Even if stored undiluted in a cool, dark place, it only has a shelf life of about six months. A bleach solution loses its disinfecting power after one day.

Bleach can be a useful cleaning agent. You need a fresh, potent bleach solution (about one part bleach to nine parts water). Spray it on and leave it in contact with the surface you’re cleaning for 30 seconds to 10 minutes to kill all the bacteria. If you have small children you know 10 minutes is plenty of time for the worst to happen. Children are curious and get into everything. They’re fascinated with whatever the grownups are doing (especially when they’ve been told not to touch).

Be careful when cleaning with bleach, even if you’re not mixing cleaning solutions. For example, don’t use a bleach-based product to clean your cat’s litter box. It can mix with ammonia from the cat’s urine and give off toxic fumes. Other cleaners can be just as powerful and deodorising, without the risk.

Safe alternatives to bleach

Luckily, there are non-toxic cleaning options. Rubbing alcohol will kill germs, and hydrogen peroxide can be used to disinfect household surfaces, too. Baking soda and white vinegar are cheap, non toxic and easy to use. Use essential oils to add nice smells and an extra antibacterial kick.

If you’re not a do-it-yourself type, Hello Charlie stocks a full range of safer cleaning products for your household, for laundry, dishes, floors and surface cleaning.

  • Abode is an Australian brand with an extensive natural cleaning range.
  • Ecostore is a New Zealand brand that has a full range of natural cleaning products and personal care products. If you’re looking for a product that will whiten clothes, check out their Laundry Soaker & Stain Remover.
  • Ecover is a Belgian brand with a full range of cleaning products. I love their Stain Remover – it’s so popular we have trouble keeping it in stock!
  • Organic Clean is an Australian brand that is ACO certified organic, with a small range that will still cover your household cleaning.
  • Resparkle is another Australian brand, with a good range of natural cleaning products. I love the Nursery & Toy Cleaner – what a great idea!
  • And if you’re looking to get rid of mould, try the Vrindavan Mould Solution Surface Spray. It’s naturally antifungal and antiseptic, and uses clove essential oil to kill mould spores.

Check out the full range of bleach free, natural cleaning products here at Hello Charlie.

Image: BigStock