Welcoming a new addition to the family is a celebration quite like no other! Whether it be a friend or family member bringing this bundle of joy to the world; it is often hard to find a gift that sums up the excitement you have for their new baby! In this in-depth gift guide, we've curated a selection of organic and eco-conscious products that not only pamper and support the well-being of the mother and baby but also contribute to creating sustainable and nurturing environment around them.
1. Organic Baby Clothing: Soft, Safe, and Stylish
Organic baby clothing is not only soft and gentle on a newborn's sensitive skin but also free from harmful chemicals and dyes. Consider gifting a set of organic cotton onesies, pajamas, or bodysuits that ensure comfort and safety on the newborns delicate skin. We also recommend bamboo as an option for a newborn baby's sensitive skin.
2. ZERO Dry Wipes: The Eco-Conscious Baby Essential
Traditional wet wipes, often laden with chemicals and harmful synthetic fibers, can be harsh on a baby's delicate skin. ZERO Dry Wipes, on the other hand, offer a gentle and eco-conscious alternative. Made from sustainably sourced wood pulp viscose, these wipes are soft, hypoallergenic, and free from all chemicals, fragrances, and additives. They are perfect for diaper changes, baby bath time, and general cleanups, providing a safe and gentle experience for both mother and baby. Plus, ZERO Dry Wipes are biodegradable, reducing their environmental impact.
3. Nursing Essentials
For moms who breastfeed, nursing essentials are invaluable. Opt for organic cotton nursing bras and bamboo nursing pads, which provide comfort and easy access for feeding.
4. Organic Skincare Products
Treat the new mom to a selection of organic skincare products that prioritize natural and plant based ingredients. Look for moisturizers, body creams, and balms specifically designed for postpartum care. For the baby, choose gentle organic baby lotions and oils that keep their delicate skin soft and hydrated.
5. Eco-Friendly Diapers
Consider gifting a supply of cloth diapers. These diapers are not only better for the environment but also gentler on a baby's skin, reducing the risk of diaper rash. Look for brands that prioritize sustainability and use non-toxic materials.
6. Natural Teething Toys
Teething can be a challenging time for both babies and parents. Natural teething toys made from organic materials like rubber or wood provide a safe and soothing solution. These toys are free from harmful chemicals and provide relief for sore gums.
7. Organic Baby Blankets
Soft and breathable organic baby blankets are perfect for swaddling, cuddling, and keeping the newborn warm and snug. Opt for blankets made from organic cotton, bamboo, or other natural fibers.
This thoughtful gift guide for new moms and newborns emphasizes the importance of choosing organic and eco-conscious products that prioritize the well-being of both mother and baby. From the gentle and chemical-free ZERO Dry Wipes to organic clothing, skincare, and eco-friendly diapers, these gifts not only celebrate the special occasion but contribute to a more positive impact on the environment.
To keep our houses spick and span, many of us turn to clean cloths or rags to lend a hand. Whilst these clothes are useful and easy to keep around the home the unfortunate truth is that the majority of cleaning cloths on the market are made from polyester, a synthetic material that has a lesser-known, but significant environmental impact. Polyester cleaning cloths, when used, shed microplastics that pose a threat to our health and the environment.
The Microplastic Menace:
Microplastics are tiny plastic particles, often less than five millimeters in size. They can be divided into two categories: primary microplastics, which are intentionally manufactured at a small size, and secondary microplastics, which result from the degradation of larger plastic items.
Polyester cleaning cloths fall into the category of primary microplastics. These cloths are manufactured from synthetic polymers, which are essentially plastic. When you use them to clean surfaces, tiny fibers break off and become airborne, contributing to the microplastic pollution problem.
The Dangers of Microplastics:
- Environmental Impact: Microplastics released into the environment pose a serious threat to ecosystems. They can be ingested by marine life, making their way up the food chain. This contamination eventually affects humans who consume seafood, amplifying the risks of plastic ingestion.
- Health Concerns: Beyond the environmental implications, microplastics can have direct health consequences for humans. When we breathe in or ingest these particles, they can accumulate in our bodies, potentially leading to inflammation and other health issues.
- Persistent Pollution: Microplastics do not readily biodegrade, which means they persist in the environment for an extended period. This long-term pollution can have far-reaching consequences for both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.
A Safer Solution: ZERO Reusable Cleaning Cloths
Fortunately, the ZERO store has launched a PLASTIC-FREE cleaning cloth that is a safe alternative to polyester cleaning cloth. Consider making the switch to ZERO cleaning cloths made from natural fibers;
- Biodegradability: Natural fibers are biodegradable, meaning they break down naturally over time without harming the environment.
- Reduced Microplastic Shedding: Unlike synthetic materials like polyester, natural fibres shed no microplastics during use.
- Sustainability: Natural fibres are a more sustainable material option because they are renewable resources and require fewer chemicals in their production.
- Healthier Cleaning: Using the ZERO cleaning removes the risk of inhaling or ingesting microplastics while cleaning, safeguarding your health.
By opting for natural fibre cleaning cloths, you not only protect the environment and reduce your exposure to microplastics but also support sustainable practices and healthier living.
Cleaning is an essential part of maintaining a healthy home, but it should not come at the cost of our environment and well-being. Polyester cleaning cloths, while convenient, shed microplastics that can have far-reaching consequences. Making the switch to ZERO cleaning cloths is a small but meaningful step toward reducing the microplastic menace and promoting a cleaner, safer, and more sustainable future for our families.
What is in your cleaning cloth? Learn about the hidden plastic + chemicals in household cleaning items!
At ZERO, environmental consciousness and sustainability are at the forefront of our brand values. We strive to make responsible choices and create products that align with our values. Unfortunately, not every brand can say the same… One common household cleaning cloth uses rayon in its products; a material that may be more dangerous than you think.
The Rayon Controversy:
Rayon, often touted as a synthetic alternative to natural fibres, has found its way into various consumer products, including cleaning cloths, personal hygiene items, and even clothing. While it may appear harmless, the process of creating rayon involves the use of toxic chemicals and can contribute to environmental degradation.
Here are some reasons why Rayon should raise concerns:
- Chemical Processing The creation of rayon involves the use of harsh chemicals, such as carbon disulphide and sulfuric acid. Exposure to these chemicals can be detrimental to workers in rayon production facilities.
- Environmental Impact The production of rayon generates significant environmental concerns. The chemical discharge from rayon manufacturing plants can contaminate nearby water sources, harming aquatic life and communities.
- Lack of Biodegradability: Rayon is not a naturally biodegradable material. When disposed of improperly, it can linger in landfills, contributing to long-term environmental problems.
- Health Risks: In some cases, prolonged exposure to rayon fibres can cause skin irritations and allergies. The chemicals used in its production may also pose health risks to consumers and workers in the supply chain.
On the other hand, if not made from rayon, most cleaning cloths are made from Polyester which offers all kinds of different environmental concerns such as the shedding of microplastics and contribution to landfill.
As conscientious consumers, it's essential to seek alternatives to products that raise concerns about their ingredients or manufacturing processes. Fortunately, there are eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives to cleaning cloths available in the market.
ZERO cleaning cloths made from natural and biodegradable materials. These alternatives not only reduce your environmental footprint but also eliminate potential health risks associated with rayon.
The hidden dangers of rayon in products like cleaning cloths highlight the importance of informed consumer choices. As we strive for a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future, it's crucial to consider the materials used in everyday items and the impact of their production processes. By supporting brands that prioritize transparency and eco-friendly materials, we can contribute to a healthier planet and a safer, more sustainable future for all.
Nasty chemicals are more common than you think in baby wipes..
Wet wipes are a convenient and popular way to keep ourselves and our surroundings clean. They are used for everything from cleaning our faces to wiping down surfaces, but what many people don't know is that these wipes often contain harmful chemicals that can be damaging to our health and the environment.
Here are seven dangerous chemicals that are probably in your wet wipes.
Nasty Chemical No 1: Formaldehyde
Formaldehyde is a chemical commonly found in wet wipes, despite being a known carcinogen. It is used as a preservative to prevent bacterial growth and to keep the wipes from molding. Formaldehyde has been linked to skin irritation, respiratory issues, and even cancer.
Nasty Chemical No 2: Ethylene Oxide
Ethylene oxide is another commonly used preservative in wet wipes. It is also a known carcinogen and has been linked to developmental and reproductive toxicity. Exposure to ethylene oxide can cause skin irritation, headaches, and nausea.
Nasty Chemical No 3: Phthalates
Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to make plastics more flexible and are often found in wet wipes. These chemicals have been linked to hormonal imbalances, developmental and reproductive issues, and even cancer.
Nasty Chemical No 4: Parabens
Parabens are a group of preservatives commonly found in cosmetics and personal care products, including wet wipes. They have been linked to hormonal disruptions, reproductive issues, and even cancer.
Nasty Chemical No 5: Synthetic fragrances
Synthetic fragrances are often added to wet wipes to make them more appealing to consumers. However, these fragrances can contain harmful chemicals such as phthalates and synthetic musks, which can cause hormonal imbalances and allergic reactions.
Nasty Chemical No 6: Methylisothiazolinone and Methylchloroisothiazolinone
Methylisothiazolinone and methylchloroisothiazolinone are two preservatives commonly used in wet wipes. They have been linked to skin irritation and allergic reactions.
Nasty Chemical No 7: Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate (SLS)
Sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate (SLS) is a common ingredient in many personal care products, including wet wipes. It is used as a foaming agent but has been linked to skin irritation, hormonal imbalances, and even cancer.
None of these nasties should be near your skin, your baby's skin or introduced to your home.
However, there is an alternative: ZERO plastic free dry wipes made from 100% sustainable wood pulp and free from any chemicals.
Here are some reasons why switching to ZERO plastic free dry wipes is great for you bub, the environment, and your budget!
- REASON # 1: ZERO chemicals:
Unlike many wet wipes, ZERO plastic free dry wipes are free from any harmful chemicals, including preservatives and fragrances. This means they are gentle on the skin and won't cause any irritation or allergic reactions.
- REASON # 2: They don't create plastic waste and microplastics.
By using ZERO plastic free dry wipes don’t have microplastics. Microplastics are small plastic particles that are not biodegradable and can harm the environment, wildlife, and human health. They can be ingested by marine life, leading to starvation and suffocation. Microplastics can be ingested by sea life and enter our food production ecosystems and eventually are ingested in our own bodies.
- REASON # 3: Sustainable and eco-friendly
ZERO plastic free dry wipes are made from sustainable wood pulp that is biodegradable and compostable. They are free from any plastic, making them an eco-friendly option that won't harm the environment.
- REASON # 4: Versatile
ZERO plastic free dry wipes are versatile and can be used for a variety of tasks, including cleaning surfaces, wiping hands and faces, and even as napkins. They are also strong and durable, so they won't fall apart during use.
- REASON # 5: Cost-effective
Switching to ZERO plastic free dry wipes can be cost-effective in the long run. Since they are reusable and can be washed multiple times, they can save you money compared to disposable wet wipes.
By making this small change, you can help reduce plastic waste, save on the family budget, improve your skin and reduce skin irritations and frankly, improve your health because you're reducing the risk of exposure to nasty chemicals and reducing the microplastics in your home.
Read our testimonials and find out why our customers are making the switch to ZERO, and loving it!
Benzalkonium chloride, a common ingredient in many household and personal care products, has been a subject of increasing concern due to its potential health risks. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into what Benzalkonium chloride is, its side effects, its presence in various products, and the safety considerations surrounding its use. Additionally, we'll explore safe alternatives, like ZERO Dry Wipes, that are free from not just Benzalkonium chloride but all harmful chemicals.
What is Benzalkonium Chloride?
Benzalkonium chloride (BAC) is a quaternary ammonium compound that serves as an antimicrobial agent and preservative in a wide range of products. Its primary function is to kill or inhibit the growth of bacteria, viruses, and fungi, making it a popular choice for disinfectants, sanitizers, and various household cleaners.
Benzalkonium Chloride Side Effects:
While Benzalkonium chloride is effective at disinfection, its use is not without potential side effects. Some individuals may experience skin irritation, dryness, or redness when exposed to products containing BAC. Prolonged or repeated exposure may exacerbate these symptoms, leading to more severe skin issues.
Is Benzalkonium Chloride Safe for Skin?
The safety of Benzalkonium chloride for skin is a topic of concern. While it is generally recognized as safe when used as directed, its presence in personal care products like hand sanitizers has raised questions about its potential to cause skin problems, especially with frequent use. Individuals with sensitive or dry skin may be more prone to adverse reactions.
Benzalkonium Chloride and Cancer:
There have been concerns about the possible link between Benzalkonium chloride and cancer, particularly when used in mouthwashes and other oral care products. Some studies have suggested that long-term exposure to BAC may be associated with an increased risk of oral cancer, though further research is needed to establish a conclusive connection.
Products with Benzalkonium Chloride:
Benzalkonium chloride can be found in a wide range of products, including but not limited to:
- Hand Sanitizers: Many hand sanitizers on the market contain BAC as an active ingredient to kill germs.
- Disinfectant Wipes: Household disinfectant wipes often utilize BAC to sanitize surfaces.
- Contact Lens Solutions:BAC is used in some contact lens cleaning solutions.
- Topical Antiseptics: Certain topical antiseptics and first aid sprays may contain BAC.
- Mouthwashes: Some mouthwashes and oral care products incorporate BAC for its antibacterial properties.
Safe Alternatives to Products with Benzalkonium Chloride:**
Given the potential risks associated with Benzalkonium chloride, many individuals are seeking safer alternatives for their everyday needs. One such alternative is the use of ZERO Dry Wipes.
ZERO Dry Wipes: Chemical-Free and Safe for All
ZERO Dry Wipes are a revolutionary product that eliminates the need for harmful chemicals like Benzalkonium chloride. These wipes are 100% chemical-free and made from sustainably sourced wood pulp viscose, making them a safe and eco-conscious choice for various applications.
Benefits of ZERO Dry Wipes:
- Gentle on Skin: ZERO Dry Wipes are soft and non-irritating, making them suitable for even the most sensitive skin, including babies.
- Chemical-Free: Unlike products containing Benzalkonium chloride, ZERO Dry Wipes are free from all chemicals, fragrances, and additives.
- Versatile: These dry wipes can be used for a wide range of purposes, from baby care to makeup removal, without any harmful side effects.
- Eco-Friendly: ZERO Dry Wipes are sustainably sourced and biodegradable, reducing their environmental impact.
- Safe for All Ages: They are certified OEKO-TEX Standard 100 safe for babies, ensuring they meet the highest standards of safety and environmental responsibility.
In conclusion, while Benzalkonium chloride has been widely used as an antimicrobial agent and preservative, its potential side effects and safety concerns warrant careful consideration. Individuals looking for safer alternatives can turn to products like ZERO Dry Wipes, which are not only free from Benzalkonium chloride but also free from all chemicals. With a focus on gentleness, sustainability, and safety, ZERO Dry Wipes offer a reliable and eco-conscious choice for everyday use. Say goodbye to harmful chemicals and choose a safer, more sustainable option for your family's needs.
The cat is out of the bag, our ZERO wipes are nothing short of miraculous when it comes to clearing nappy rash and being suitable for the most sensitive of skin,
Hear from our happy customers;
“These wipes are great quality. My baby had a nappy rash from wet wipes and as soon as we changed to dry wipes with water it cleared up. Two days with wet wipes while travelling and the rash was back. Dry wipes=rash gone. The wipes really grab the mess rather than pushing it around so we need only use one wipe per change. Have used the kitchen wipes for cleaning glasses and wiping cupboards. They even survived a run-through of the washing machine!”
In order to create the ultimate wipe we looked at why normal baby wipes cause such irritation; the two main contributors are the fact these normal wipes are made from synthetic fibres and that they are loaded with chemicals in their moisture content. Let’s break this down a bit,
So why do usual baby wipes cause such irritation;
The “usual” baby wipe is synthetic…
90% of wet wipes are made from synthetic fibres, which means they are created from petroleum. These petroleum-derived fibres are named polyester, polypropylene and nylon. They rose to popularity among many skincare and baby brands due to their cost-effective price point, but with more and more customers complaining about how wet wipes cause irritation - we wonder what the true cost is. Well, at ZERO we know the true cost is not only skin irritations but an immense amount of wet wipes made from petroleum ending up in a landfill for hundreds of years.
Whilst, these wet wipes often appear soft on the first touch; under the microscope, these wipes tell a different story. One of the main reasons synthetic fibres cause skin irritation is their rough and abrasive nature. While these fibres might appear smooth to the naked eye, under a microscope, they can resemble tiny hooks or barbs. When you use a wet wipe containing synthetic fibres on your skin, these microscopic "hooks" can scratch and abrade the delicate surface. This mechanical irritation disrupts your skin's natural barrier, leading to redness, inflammation, and uncomfortable itching sensation.
Synthetic fibres have a knack for trapping moisture against your skin. In wet wipes, this can create a moist environment that's a breeding ground for bacteria and fungal growth. As you continue to use the wipes, the friction between the fibres and your skin can worsen, causing further irritation. This can be especially problematic for those with sensitive or reactive skin, as the combination of trapped moisture and friction can lead to a host of skin issues, including rashes and breakouts.
To make matters worse; Synthetic fibres aren't just rough in texture; they can also be laden with chemical additives used during the manufacturing process. These chemicals, which include dyes, stabilizers, and bonding agents, can leach onto the skin when you use a wet wipe. For individuals with sensitive skin, this chemical exposure can trigger allergic reactions or exacerbate existing skin conditions.
So, ready to make the swap?
How are our ZERO Dry wipes different?
Unlike synthetic fibres that can scratch and disrupt your skin's barrier, timber viscose fibres in ZERO's Dry Wipes offer a gentle cleansing experience. They glide effortlessly across your skin, removing impurities without causing micro-tears or abrasions. This barrier of comfort helps maintain your skin's natural defences, preventing redness, inflammation, and the uncomfortable sensation of irritation.
Choosing ZERO's Dry Wipes means opting for a chemical-free approach to skincare. These wipes are delivered to you dry, allowing you to personalize your cleansing routine by adding your preferred cleanser or toner - or simply water. With no added chemicals or irritants, you're in control of the ingredients that touch your skin, minimizing the risk of allergic reactions and sensitivities.
ZERO's commitment to sustainability extends beyond skin care. The timber viscose used in their dry wipes is sourced from sustainably managed forests, reducing the strain on natural resources. The wipes themselves are certified Certified TUV Austria Soil Biodegradable, demonstrating their dedication to minimizing their environmental impact. By choosing ZERO's Dry Wipes, you're making a conscious choice for your skin and the planet.
Go dry, your baby's skin deserves nothing less than the best.
The path of ZERO Labs' groundbreaking journey to develop the world's first plastic-free wet wipe packet is a story of innovation, commitment, and a profound dedication to sustainability. In an industry where convenience often takes precedence over eco-consciousness, this pioneering venture not only revolutionized packaging but also set new benchmarks for environmental responsibility.
01 - Discovery
The journey to create the first plastic-free wet wipe packet has been a testament to ZERO Lab's innovative thinking, perseverance, and commitment to a sustainable future. It showcased the transformative power of bioplastics, setting a new standard for the industry and inspiring others to rethink their approach to plastic packaging.
02 - Insight
Posed with the challenge of developing the first plastic-free wet wipe packet, ZERO Labs rose to the occasion. It was not only a matter of swapping out the non-woven wipe for a plant-based fiber but also innovating a plastic-free material that could function as a resealable sticker and film for the flow wrap packaging. As the project took shape, it became evident that the innovation needed not only to be an excellent product but also compatible with the supply chain typically used for plastic products. The product development team successfully addressed these systematic design challenges and approached the process with a life cycle perspective. Manufacturing, supply chain activities, user engagement, and end-of-life processes were all carefully considered during the development of this cutting-edge product.
The team knew that replacing plastic in wet wipe packaging was no small feat. They had to identify a sustainable, biodegradable material that could withstand moisture, maintain product integrity, and meet stringent hygiene standards. After numerous trials of combining bio-based polymers into composite films, a biodegradable, compostable film derived from corn starch emerged.
04 - Scaleable Insight
Creating a plastic-free product was just the beginning; the ZERO Labs team was committed to minimizing their environmental footprint throughout the entire lifecycle of the wet wipes and its packaging. Every process or material used in the production process was stripped back, reinvented, trialled, and perfected as the most sustainable solution available.
A Sustainable Life Cycle Approach
Creating a plastic-free product was just the beginning of ZERO Labs' commitment to sustainability. The team understood that a genuinely eco-conscious solution needed to minimize its environmental footprint throughout its entire life cycle – from production to disposal. This meant scrutinizing every aspect of the product's creation and distribution. Processes and materials were reevaluated, redesigned, and optimized to achieve the highest level of sustainability. It was not merely about producing a biodegradable wet wipe packet but also about rethinking the entire production process to align with eco-friendly principles.
Challenges and Triumphs
Replacing plastic in wet wipe packaging posed considerable challenges. The team faced not only technical obstacles but also had to navigate the complex landscape of supply chains and consumer expectations. Yet, the commitment to sustainability drove them forward. As the project advanced, it became clear that achieving scalability was essential. The innovation had to be accessible to a broad market to create a meaningful impact. This required collaboration with various stakeholders, including suppliers, manufacturers, and retailers.
The challenge presented to ZERO Labs was no small feat: create a wet wipe packet devoid of plastic. This ambitious goal meant more than just substituting the conventional non-woven wipe with a plant-based alternative. It required a complete reinvention of the packet material to offer a resealable and functional solution that could match the performance of traditional plastic-based packaging. As the project began to gain momentum, it became increasingly apparent that the innovation had to meet not only stringent environmental standards but also seamlessly integrate into the existing supply chain accustomed to plastic products. The product development team embarked on this journey with a holistic approach, considering every phase of the product's life cycle – from manufacturing to supply chain logistics, from user engagement to end-of-life processes. Developing a plastic-free wet wipe packet involved extensive research and innovation. The team had to identify a sustainable, biodegradable material that could withstand moisture, maintain the integrity of the wipes, and adhere to rigorous hygiene standards. This quest led to numerous trials and experiments with various bio-based polymers until a breakthrough occurred. A biodegradable, compostable film derived from corn starch emerged as the material of choice. It not only met the technical requirements but also aligned with the core principles of sustainability. This discovery marked a critical milestone in the project, demonstrating that environmentally responsible alternatives could compete with conventional plastics in terms of functionality and performance. The ZERO Wet Wipe is set to launch in-store in November 2023.
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Entering the beauty aisle is not a simple walk in the park, there are thousands of products trying to sell themselves as the most “sensitive” or most “sustainable”. But today we are going to put these claims to the test and reveal the truth about makeup wipes. Let's break down what each wipe is truly made of, assess their performance, and compare their environmental impact to see who comes out on top - the Normal Makeup Wipe or the ZERO Makeup Wipe.
First of all, let's break down what each wipe is made from;
Normal Makeup Wipe
ZERO Makeup Wipe
When it comes time to get down to the nitty-gritty, which wipe is best to remove even the toughest mascara?
Normal Makeup Wipe
ZERO Makeup Wipe
Now; finally let's compare the environmental footprint of each wipe, which wipe leaves less of a trace?
Normal Makeup Wipe
ZERO Makeup Wipe
The winner of the battle is evident: the ZERO Makeup Wipe emerges as the clear champion, with the product boasting plastic-free, reusable, and biodegradable features. Choosing our ZERO Makeup Wipe means you're opting for superior performance, a reduced environmental impact, and a commitment to a greener future for generations to come. Shop our ZERO Makeup Wipe now!
Did you know that an astonishing 90% of baby wipes are made from plastic? Yes, it’s true - that soft wipe you use for your little one is crafted from the same materials to make plastic water bottles! Despite their deceptive softness, these wipes contain petrochemicals that create polyester, which is the primary material for baby wet wipes. Whilst these baby wipes aren’t explicitly saying their product is “Made from Plastic”, the truth is the origin of the raw material is the same.
Polyester is a fiber made from petroleum-based materials - the same materials to create plastic. This means that just like harmful single-use plastic water bottles, these baby wet wipes are destined to end up in our oceans and landfills for hundreds of years. It is wild to think that polyester dominates the composition of nearly all baby wet wipes, cleaning wipes and makeup wipes in the market.
All because it is easy and cheap to produce…
But here at ZERO, we firmly believe that easy solutions are not always the right ones. That's why we've dedicated years to developing a product that may have been "harder" to create but "easy to decide on" for conscious parents like you - a product that is chemical-free, plastic-free, and truly sustainable.
The trouble with baby wipes is that the wipe itself doesn't end the plastic content; all wet wipes are wrapped in plastic as well! At ZERO, we know that our dry wipes are the most sustainable option on the market because they are thoughtfully packaged without plastic and free of any harmful chemicals or inks that hinder recycling efforts. Just consider the staggering 25,000,000 kilograms of plastic wet wipes used in Australia each year, and imagine the additional plastic used for wrapping - it's an alarming environmental issue.
Choosing our ZERO Plastic-Free Dry Baby Wipes is not just an eco-conscious decision; it's an investment in your child's future and the health of our planet. By making this switch, you are taking a stand against the harmful effects of single-use plastics, contributing to a cleaner, greener planet.
Still unsure of whether to take the jump and try our dry wipe? Here are some reasons why our ZERO Plastic-Free Dry Wipe is the best solution for babies and the environment!
Reason #1: ZERO Chemicals for Gentle Care
Unlike many conventional wet wipes, our ZERO Plastic-Free Dry Baby Wipes are completely free from harmful chemicals, including preservatives and fragrances. This ensures that they are gentle on your baby's skin, preventing any irritation or allergic reactions. We've eliminated harmful chemicals and preservatives found in many wet wipes, swap wet for dry and notice the difference in your little one’s skin.
Reason #2: ZERO Microplastics
By using our ZERO Plastic-Free Dry Baby Wipes, you are actively contributing to the reduction of plastic waste and the prevention of microplastics in our oceans and ecosystems. Microplastics are small non-biodegradable plastic particles and pose a significant threat to marine life and human health through pollution. Normal wet wipes shed billions of microplastics when they enter any waste streams or waterways. By choosing our compostable wipes, you play a role in breaking the cycle of plastic pollution.
Reason #3: ZERO Single-Use Plastics
With the ability to rinse and reuse our wipes up to seven times, you are not only reducing waste but also saving money on usual wet wipes! This reusable aspect of our wipes was important for us to ensure that long-lasting value is delivered to our customers and the environment. At ZERO, we don’t believe in the term “single-use” and prioritise either recyclable and/or circular design in all of our products.
Reason #4 ZERO Landfill
Our ZERO Plastic-Free Dry Baby Wipes are crafted from sustainable wood pulp, making them completely biodegradable and compostable. Once composted, the wipes will completely biodegrade in the soil in only a few weeks! Whereas polyester-based wipes are destined to sit in landfill for hundreds of years and are unable to biodegrade. Bid farewell to baby wipes that linger in sewers and landfills. Our wipes gracefully return to nature once you're done reusing them, which, by the way, you can do up to seven times.
Step into a world of plastic-free products at the ZERO store, and make the switch to our radical dry reusable baby wipes!
Designers with respective careers in UX and product design industries, plastic waste was a theme they faced often. They were continually shocked at the magnitude of waste big business created in product manufacturing.
Having children of their own opened their eyes even more to the sheer volume of waste that comes along with raising kids. Most of it, they realised, was made from plastic - purchased for convenience, outgrown quickly, and destined to sit for 500 years in a local landfill.
Throwing themselves into the research and spending months in the R&D process, ZERO was born. To solve the biggest problem that they believed really matters to parents, the waste associated with nappies and wipes.
“Evey parent we spoke to felt some level of guilt with the sheer volume of waste created by disposable nappies & wipes and knowing they are all made with plastic.
“We knew from our research and our knowledge of product design and manufacturing that the problem was solvable. Some brands do a little good, but we knew that to make a real shift, we need to get a 100% bio-based, high quality nappy into the hands of the mainstream customer. Eco needs to move out the niche market and into every shopping trolley globally”
“In every respect, customer demand is stronger than the offerings on the supermarket shelf. We can’t recycle our way out of the plastic waste issue. We need to make the products needed for modern life with ZERO plastic - that's why we are here”
How is the vision coming to life?
“We have only recently released our first product - a dry wipe for babies, cleaning and skincare. It feels amazing to see it in peoples' homes and on shelves in stores.
“We are super proud of the quality of that product from an environmental impact perspective. Our dry wipe is an alternative to the wet wipe, and people don't always realise the plastic problem created by the wet wipes on the market today. 85% of all wet wipes are made from some form of plastic, and they are all wrapped in plastic packaging. It's a huge waste issue.
“On an emotional level, it's the stories I hear from our customers that make all the hard work worthwhile. When mums tell us that they won’t use anything else now because their babies skin is irritated using other wipes, we knew we were onto something! And that's just our first product! The nappy is going to blow people's minds!”
What's next for the brand and when can customers expect the ZERO nappy?
We have a wet wipe coming that is a world first - 100% plastic free wipe and packaging. That will come out before the nappy but our big goal is manufacturing the ZERO plastic free disposable nappy. We are really hoping to manufacture that product here in Australia and we will be channeling all revenue from the wipes product into standing up an Australian based manufacturing facility here in Sydney. That's the plan, and every sale of our wipes gets us closer.
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Our commitment to people and planet is embedded into our business model and our everyday decision making.
STARTING FROM ZERO
We scrutinize every stage of our product life cycle so that, while solving global problems, we don’t create more. By formalising our ESG approach and communicating it to our customers and investors we’re setting the standard now for the company of the future.
THE FUTURE OF FMCG & MANUFACTURING
Climate change is the biggest challenge humanity currently faces and we will continue to meet this crisis at more disastrous levels for generations to come unless we make immediate, radical alterations to the ways we produce and consume.
We believe delay is the new denial in the race to protect our planet, and we’re not alone. Customers are more aware of the environmental impact of their purchases than ever – and they, too, are demanding a revolution.
Lasting, impactful change must be made from the ground up, and we are incentivised by the current urgency to establish world-class green manufacturing practices, shaking up the Fast Moving Consumer Goods market everywhere from design to materials and methods of distribution.
The ZERO brand is setting the new standard for manufacturing, striving for utmost operational excellence in this era of unprecedented change.
THE NORTH STAR FOR THE ZERO BRAND CAN BE SAID IN A FEW WORDS: What, Why, How?
Our Why: Zero impact childhoods. To radically reduce a child’s environmental footprint.
Our What: We create intuitive, design-led children’s products that solve global environmental problems.
Our How: We engineer children’s products to eliminate plastic waste and reduce environmental impact at every stage.
Here is the code of conduct we live by:
- Be rigorous in material selection at the beginning of the process
- Take ownership for the whole product life cycle
- Create materials and products with the aim that all return to dirt at end-of-life
- Where possible, meaningfully repurpose existing industry bio-waste in our products to circumvent landfill
- Don’t waste time – maximise each minute.
- Our resources are limited. We use lean operating processes that keep the business focused on the most important things that will achieve maximum impact
- Measure and report on the impact we have on the environment and our community
- Be accountable even when no-one is looking
- Prioritise the wellbeing of our community, as it has a flow-on effect for the planet
- Design the future – thinking ahead with a goal in mind in everything we do
- Commit to open source transparency with our customers
Here’s what we believe.
We believe if nothing changes, nothing changes.
While we believe in the power of big ideas and meaningful dialogue, we’ve also got to start turning strategy into real world action.
ZERO is rewriting the script – solving the single-use plastics problem for parents with products that make it possible to raise a child with zero impact.
We believe in doing the right thing even when it’s hard.
Knowing the right thing is easy, living it out is the hard part. We promise to keep it real and face the facts. To always tell the truth, to hold ourselves accountable, own up to our mistakes and use them as opportunities to make ourselves better for you. To bring you climate solutions, not more problems.
We believe the plastics problem is real and solvable.
We’ve made it our mission to help solve the plastics problem. By harnessing renewable energy sources, the best emerging tech and innovative manufacturing techniques, we’re leading a radical shift towards a plastic-free future.
We believe a better future starts now.
The easiest way to build a brighter future? Start investing in it now. We’ve got ambitious visions of a plastic-free world – one our kids, and their kids, can be proud of – and it starts now.
OUR IMPACT PILLARS: 2025 GOALS
Because we’re a new company, we have an opportunity to Start from Zero. Launching with a clean slate enables us to reinvent and innovate at each stage to minimise our impact.
Underpinning each pillar is our transparency policy. Good, bad or ugly, we’re committed to understanding the true impact our company has on people and planet:
(Target Activities by EOY 2025 are published internally for all goals and reviewed annually.)
Deforestation is one of the biggest environmental threats to our planet. By veering away from materials and suppliers that practice deforestation methods, we’re doing our part to ensure that it’s not continuing on our watch. Speaking of materials, our products are 100% plant-based (packaging included), meaning we minimise greenhouse gas emissions in both production and in decomposition.
Eventually, we’ll manufacture (and, in the longer term, vertically farm) true circular material for all products, with soil as the final state.
The ZERO brands product development process will ‘design out’ non-recyclable, non-biodegradable and non-compostable landfill waste – ultimately delivering all materials to compost.
We’ll circumvent bio-waste from existing plant-based agricultural industries (with minimal or no environmental impact) to maximise the use of existing resources, rather than sourcing from new.
We don’t have time to waste. We’ve made a conscious effort to foster a culture that prioritises deep thinking and strategy to enable us to align teams, make better decisions, set clear goals, and execute right the first time.
03: Energy & Emissions
It’s simple: We’re for renewable energy.
We’ll utilise renewable energy for all production, and generate renewables for on-site use. We aim to be a closed system so all resources are reused, and our material selection aids in this endeavour. For example, the PLA we use breaks down to water and C02, which we plan to capture and re-use in our factory.
We’ll collaborate with global thought leaders to make data-based decisions on material emissions and partner with freight suppliers who use electric capabilities, or are transitioning to electric. And by manufacturing in the company of consumption, we’re removing sea and air freight energy and emissions impacts.
04: Water & Chemicals
Clean water is one of the world’s most precious – and endangered – resources. It’s preservation is imperative. We will minimise and reduce water use throughout material and product development, as well as on-site through water capture and efficiency planning. We'll start also harnessing natural disinfectants across the board that won’t impact water run-off quality and utilise plant-based materials grown organically, along with low water usage crops. We’re also setting up a lab to test aeroponically grown raw materials, with a long-term view to ensure we reduce our agricultural footprint.
05: Human Impact
We are accountable for the impact we have on the environment and our community.
And that community consists of our team and investors, our customers, their families and carers and the wider community who aren’t our customers. By developing products that minimise landfill waste, carbon emissions and deforestation, we’re hoping to have a positive impact on more than just our customers.
We have high standards at ZERO and we hire exceptional people who have a genuine interested in making this company a success. We are also continually assessing the genuine ambition and alignment of our investors to a net zero future. Our team are passionate, genuinely interested in circumventing our environmental crisis and climate change. We believe in the diversity of people, culture and ideas in order to solve these challenges.
6: Traceability & accountability
As a company we strive to behave ethically and responsibly from end-to-end.
We’re creating a robust reporting infrastructure using Global Reporting Initiatives to monitor our performance and ensure accountability for our continuous improvement.
We’re also engage independent, third-party assessors to undertake life cycle assessments on our products – from the raw materials to our customer’s hands, for validation and authentication.
In the near term, we will continue to engage external providers to monitor our suppliers for management, ethics, integrity and employee wellbeing. And in the long term, we’ll employ vertical manufacturing for material true traceability.
OUR 5 STEP CIRCULAR PROCESS FOR CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT
01: Set Goals
Create benchmarks and set goals using OKRs, including broad and aspirational goals with "sub-goals" to be achieved in shorter time frames.
02: Develop Roadmap
Develop roadmap and framework across whole business with action plans to achieving future state.
03: Monitor and Action
Monitor goals, KPIs and action plans, and analyse gaps to achieving our future state, and either maintain, improve or optimise. Consider what our goal drivers are when deciding when and how to communicate goals externally.
Communicate ESG strategy to stakeholders while demonstrating alignment to business objectives. Highlight ESG policies and programs already in place. Share company-specific ESG goals and metrics. Evaluate progress and engagements in key areas.
05: Review and Assess
Set up an internal team to identify and evaluate risks, opportunities and performance. Assess financial and brand impacts alongside environmental and social.
To be both sustainable and affordable, we need to think big. A sustainable business model works at a small scale, but most consumers are priced out of the equation. So in order to make a massproduced product with a real shot at zero-carbon impact, we need to apply innovation at every stage of the game – from supply chain, to manufacturing, right down to the way we run our organisation.
We score total net impact against these four phases:
- Material source
- Freight & Distribution
- End of Life
THE ZERO BRAND PROMISE:
Our brand stands for ZERO.
The hard facts are that even with greater awareness of the harm created by plastic, industry is creating more single-use plastic globally every year.
We can’t recycle our way out of this mess.
We can’t clean the mess from the oceans.
We need to stop making single use plastic products completely.
The world needs ZERO and when we say ZERO we mean it.
The zero brand promise:
1 / ZERO B*S*
We value radical transparency. No B** S**T here.
We promise to share what's in our products and to share what we know about their impact. We will share this information even if we get it wrong. We haven't yet, but we might, and we will own it. We also make a promise to call out the issues as we see them. To make a noise, to rattle the cage, and to keep going until we are no longer the outliers until all product companies take the climate crisis as seriously as we do.
2 / ZERO WASTE.
our products are made from and return to nature.
We promise to make products that are superior to the ones they are replacing in terms of waste and impact. Like for like, ours will create less waste. Our north star is ZERO plastic, but we also look at the lifecycle of each product to understand wher teh material is from through to how it degrades. The goal is to use only bio-based materials that compost at the end of life. All our products are industrially compostable, not all will be home compostable but we are working on it. From day one you will know that even if your ZERO product ends up in landfill, the degraded product will not create microplastics.
3 / ZERO PLASTIC.
We replace plastic with bio based materials.
Traditional plastics made from fossil fuels don't break down for hundreds of years, as they do, they create to microplastics that can harm our oceans and marine life.
ZERO products are a better alternative, as they are made from a mix of natural plant-based fibers like sustainably sourced wood pulp or hemp, and innovative bioplastics that are biodegradable and made from renewable sources.
Most of the bioplastics used in our packaging are starch-based and don't contain petroleum or fossil fuels. We may use a small amount of PBAT (a petroleum-derived material) in our experimentation, but we won't release a product with PBAT unless we clearly disclose it on the packaging and product info.
We are open to using a low blend of PBAT, but only in combination with biobased materials, not to replace the biodegradability of traditional plastic. We consider the overall impact of our products, including the NET carbon impact of bioplastics made from food waste, and strive to continuously improve our products.
4 / ZERO HARM.
We make our products to end the creation of microplastics.
We make our products to do no harm to humans or the planet.
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ZERO PLASTIC WIPES - Better for your skin, better for the planet.
Our wipes come dry because it's better for the environment. No plastic wrapping, no chemicals added, and the reduced weight means less impact in transit.
But they are also better for your skin.
If your looking for a way to reduce your plastic consumption, and take care of your skin, here are some ideas to get you started.
Our FAVE ways to use ZERO wipes wet.
The ZERO wipe superpowers come out when wet. Add water and you have the ultimate water wipe. No sticky residue, no irritation on skin from fragrances or additives. And, they are super soft!
#1 - With micellar water to wipe away your makeup without irritation. The fibres of our wipes grip makeup like nothing else you’ve tried.
#2 - Use warm water to cleanse off oil-based cleansing balms, face masks or activate a treatment with steam.
#3 - Toner or liquid treatment like AHA - cotton pads can be abrasive, but not these babies.
PLUS - Rinse & repeat for a more sustainable wipe - Yep, that’s right, our wipes are designed for you to wet, rinse and repeat.
Our FAVE ways to use ZERO wipes as is.
Our wipes come dry and you can use them in much the same way you use a cotton pad only they are softer, a better shape for navigating your beautiful face, and - let us say it one more time, they didn’t come wrapped in plastic.
#1 - Use with micellar water to cleanse skin of makeup or skincare treatments.
#2 - To correct makeup - great for edges of a red lip, or an OTT smokey eye.
When designing our dry wipes, we experimented with and researched extensively the most environmentally friendly and best-functioning fiber. Our result; is wood pulp.
Compostable, biodegradable, and made from 100% Natural Material. Whilst the same can be said about Cotton and Bamboo wipes; we have found that Wood Pulp is the natural material that has the smallest environmental impact across its whole lifecycle. With wipes being needed day-to-day and often only having single use; we believe choosing a fiber with the lowest environmental footprint from start to finish is the most ethical mode of production.
What is Wood Pulp?
Wood pulp spun lace non-woven is made from trees, taken from well-managed natural forests. Wood pulp is a renewable source of biomass produced from the kraft pulping process. The wood is broken down into its cellulose fibers for it to be transformed into our tissue. Because the wood pulp is a cellulose-based fiber it is incredibly absorbent. Don't be alarmed by the fact it is made from wood; this 60gsm wipe we have created is softer than cashmere in our opinion! Our wood pulp has superior strength compared to cotton wipes and can be used for baby's bottoms to tough stains on kitchen counters.
How is it better than other wipes?
The most common kind of baby wipes on the market currently contain some form of Polypropylene or made of Polyester. A staggering 90% of wet wipes contain polyester fiber! (Zhang et al., 2021) As a biobased product, wood pulp is reporting a “60% lower environmental impact compared to polypropylene” (Echeverria, 2021). Whilst we know polypropylene wipes are more cost advantageous, we know that producing wood pulp is not only bettering the environment but offers a better performance as a wipe! Choosing wood pulp over polypropylene wipes has endless benefits. The production of wood pulp wipes requires LESS fossil fuel depletion, LESS ozone depletion, LESS toxicity for the human health of those involved in the production, and the list goes on!
Lifecycle of Wood Pulp?
One thing we require of any product of the Zero Store is its ability to be compostable and 100% biodegradable. Synthetic wet wipes are a huge contributor to waste, especially in sewer systems, and we believe that there is no excuse for wipes ending up in a landfill. Any wipe made with synthetic fibers or chemicals will end up in a landfill as they are unable to biodegrade. Once you have finished using our wipe; either dry or wet, they can be composted at home or industrially. The wipe will be broken down in about 45 days. Our bio-based wipe not only outperforms the plastic-based wipe in lower resource consumption it reduces the contribution of plastics and microplastics in our environment.
Echeverria, D. V. (2021). Process-Based Modeling Framework for the Life-Cycle Environmental, Economic and Social Sustainability Dimensions of Cellulose-Based Material. ProQuest Dissertations Publishing.
Yun, T., Cheng, P., Qian, F., Cheng, Y., Lu, J., Lv, Y., & Wang, H. (2020). Balancing the decomposable behavior and wet tensile mechanical property of cellulose-based wet wipe substrates by the aqueous adhesive. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, 164, 1898–1907. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2020.08.082
Zhang, Y., Wen, Z., Lin, W., Hu, Y., Kosajan, V., & Zhang, T. (2021). Life-Cycle Environmental Impact Assessment and plastic pollution prevention measures of wet wipes. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 174, 105803. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.resconrec.2021.105803
This Article is by Meg Fisher
Zero Wipes Sustainability & Product Development Lead
Bachelor of Commerce at UNSW
Bachelor of Design in Textiles UNSW
MS Candidate in Sustainable Fashion at GCNYC
Is ZERO Australian owned?
The ZERO brand is Australian owned and operated.
What does ZERO refer to?
We are so glad you asked. Zero stands for both ZERO plastic, and ZERO waste.
At ZERO, we believe the problem created by plastic is MASSIVE for both people and the planet, so we have taken a firm stand on not using ANY plastic in our products. When we select the materials used in our products, we make sure that they create ZERO harm at the end of life. This is a non-negotiable design constraint for us. We won’t make a product unless we know that when our product degrades at its end of life ZERO products won’t add harmful chemicals and microplastic to the soil.
What is a dry wipe? & How do I use it?
If you’re new to the concept of a dry wipe? Here is the low down…The super absorbent fibers of our dry wipe are thick, absorbent, and soft on skin. When you add a little water and use wet, you get all the benefits of a traditional wet wipe, but you don’t get any of the greasy residue or fragrances. When used dry, they soak up liquid like nothing else we have seen on the market and can be used instead of a kitchen cloth that is typically made from polypropylene.
Isn't a wipe just for babies?...spoiler, no way!
We have designed this wipe with babies in mind, but we have discovered that wipes are used by the whole family. Makeup removal, sticky toddler faces and so many other uses around the home, office and gym.
Why is this product more environmentally friendly?
The environmental impact of our product is far superior when compared to a wet wipe because we have removed all the plastic. Wet wipes come wrapped in plastic, but most have plastic in the wipe itself. Sneaky! Our wipe is also a lot lighter to freight so that means a lower carbon footprint. Unlike your standard wet wipe, our wipes are not single use: They are engineered so you can rinse & repeat for a more sustainable wipe. When you try them, you will see what I mean! Our ZERO wipes biodegradable within 45 days in landfill, and If you have a composting unit at home, you can drop them in the compost and watch them disappear. No more landfill, no plastic in the oceans, and no more micro plastics.
What are our 100% plastic free dry wipes made from?
Our wipes are made from 100% wood pulp. And before you ask, we thought long and hard about making a product out of wood, after all you have to cut down a tree. But, here’s our position. We made this product to replace plastic product equivalents like wet wipes and polyester dish cloths. Plastic is bad. Really bad. It's made out of crude oil and chemicals and the process of making plastic emits huge amounts of carbon to the atmosphere, and toxic run off to our waterways.
Read more about why we chose wood pulp, and how it stacks up: Why wood pulp?
But couldn’t you have made it out of something else?
We think we can soon, and we are experimenting with bamboo, hemp and a fermented material called PHBV - its essentially fermented sugar cane waste. Once we have a product that we know is high quality and is a net improvement on wood pulp, our customers will be the first to know.
How do I dispose of the wipes?
Our plastic-free wipes are biodegradable, and they can go in your compost.
Do the wipes have toxins and irritants?
Absolutely Not. No fragrances, or chemical residue. If your skin is sensitive, these are perfect.
What size is each wipe?
Wipe Sheet Size: 175mm X 190mm
How thick are the wipes?
They are the perfect thickness for use on skin and around the home. The weight of our wipes is measured in grams per square meter or GSM, ours are 60 GSM. To put that in context, your average tissue is around 15 GSM.
How big are the dry wipes boxes:
Pocket Pack: 10.5cm (H) x 9.5cm (L) x 2.5cm (D)
Pamper Pack: 5.5 (H) x 10 cm (L) x 18.5 (D)
Party Pack: 9.5cm (H) x 10 cm (L) x 18.5cm (D)
How many sheets come in a pack:
Pocket Pack: 5 wipes - great for school bags and handbags
Pamper Pack: 35 wipes - ideal for the makeup stand or home office.
Party Pack: 60 wipes - perfect for high frequency areas like the kitchen or bathroom.
What carbon offsets are, how and why they're purchased and why they're not our golden ticket to curbing emissions growth.
Before we kick off we want to acknowledge that this is an inherently complicated topic, with strong arguments both for and against. Carbon offsets have become an increasingly popular tactic for fighting climate change. At its most basic, a business, government or individual can pay someone else to cut (or remove) a given quantity of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. This is known as ‘buying a carbon offset’.
THE NUTS AND BOLTS
Carbon offset projects have to meet three criteria to be effective. 1. There must be additionality, meaning the project could not have happened if it wasn’t funded by carbon offsets. 2. No leakage – emissions can’t be reduced in one place if it means they’re increased somewhere else instead. 3. It must be permanent – so it won’t be reversed in the future.
All incredibly hard things to guarantee, or even police.
GOOD ON PAPER
But we all know how that story goes. Offsetting has morphed into a ‘get out of jail free card’ of sorts for big corporations looking to avoid sustainable restructuring. In some cases, the largest polluters exceeded allowed emissions in return for funding projects, such as forest preservation. As journalist Lisa Song recalls, “In case after case, I found that carbon credits hadn’t offset the amount of pollution they were supposed to, or they had brought gains that were quickly reversed or that couldn’t be accurately measured to begin with. Ultimately, the polluters got a guilt-free pass to keep emitting CO2, but the forest preservation that was supposed to balance the ledger either never came or didn’t last.”
WHICH PROJECTS YOU SPEAK OF?
The types of carbon offset projects that corporations buy from are diverse. They range from planting trees, protecting existing forests, or renewable energy projects. Many reports on offsetting projects show that they simply don’t deliver on, well, offsetting carbon - especially when it comes to tree planting and reforestation projects.
DEAR TREES, IT’S NOT YOU. IT’S US.
Planting trees to save the earth is certainly alluring, and definitely has a place in the race against climate change. It’s our way of feeling like we are physically giving back to the planet in a way that will have long term positive impacts. However, planting rows of monoculture trees is not beneficial to ecosystems, and it can’t replace slashing carbon emissions. One newly-planted tree can take as many as 20 years to capture the amount of CO2 that a carbon-offset scheme promises, and needs to live for 100 years to make an impact on CO2 levels (and not get chopped down - try promising that will never happen).
The Climate Council Australia supports limited carbon offsetting for unavoidable fossil fuel use while implementing sustainable alternatives. “If you are planning to offset unavoidable fossil fuel use, our advice is to offset like-for-like. If the source of greenhouse gas emissions is burning fossil fuels, then this should be offset through projects that avoid the consumption of fossil fuels elsewhere”. In other words, an oil company burning high levels of emissions funding a project planting trees is not sufficient.
WHAT ABOUT US?
On the other end of the spectrum, individuals like you and I might choose to offset a plane flight for a small price. Can we be sure it’s doing what the airline says it’s doing? Not entirely, as research shows it’s not always possible to prove. But very few of us can live a carbon-free lifestyle, so individuals buying offsets can act as a buffer until a more sustainable way of travelling is in place.
SUMS IT UP
Carbon offset projects will never curb emission growth if fossil fuels continue to be burnt, and petrol cars continue to be bought, and our growing global population is given no option but to consume the way we are today. But it’s certainly a place to start. We’re keen to hear from you - where do you stand on carbon offsetting?
We use single-use plastics for mere moments, but their impacts last forever.
Ironically, the creation of plastic was hailed as the saviour of the environment - humans were no longer constrained to the limitations of the natural world. And while people met its invention with excitement and praise, this glorified view of using a plastic product just once before discarding it didn’t last long.
The first recorded analysis of plastic in our oceans in the 1960s was met with a change in environmental awareness and an increase in scientific studies. Society was slowly becoming aware of the quickly spreading waste problem.
So where does single-use stand today? There are a few main reasons as to why these plastics are damaging not only to the planet, but to humans too.
Single-use plastic is the highlight of our throw-away culture, and it accounts for a whopping 40% of all plastic produced in Australia. The anti-litter campaigns that ran in the late ’50s onwards put the onus on us, aiming to teach people to throw their trash in the bin (while diverting attention away from those producing the excess of single-use waste).
What was conveniently left out back then is that there is no ‘away’ in 'throw away' - it all still exists. And what does end up in recycling is met with an incompetent recycling system that sees less than 10% of Australia’s plastic recycled.
Plastic poses a threat to our health
In living with single-use plastics, we are exposed to dangerous chemicals. Many of the chemicals in plastics are known as endocrine disruptors, which disturb the body’s hormone systems. Plastics containing endocrine disruptors are used extensively in packaging, construction, food production and packaging, cookware, health care, children’s toys, home electronics, textiles, and cosmetics, just to name a few.
Exposure through “leaching” (the transfer of chemicals from plastic to the water or substance it contains) can occur anytime during the plastic's infinite lifetime, from manufacturing to consumer contact, recycling, to waste management and disposal.
The persistent production and purchase of single-use plastics in our society has an overwhelmingly negative impact on the climate.
Recent reports show that plastic production contributes to climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions at every point in its life cycle - from drilling for its source materials to disposal. If we continue to produce plastic unrelentingly, its greenhouse gas emissions could reach 1.34 gigatons per year by 2030 - which, for reference, would be equal to adding nearly 300 new coal-fired power plants - during a time when we desperately need to reduce emissions.
While we can all do our part to live plastic-free lives, in reality it comes down to putting onus on companies that profit from single use plastic. Legislation will have a role to play too.