#58 Every Small Change Makes A Difference

This time the girls talk about some little things you can do at home to help the environment. Cloth Nappies is one but lots of other things like not using plastic straws and so much more.

Transcription: Every Small Change Makes A Difference

[Music]

Andrew: Welcome to Nappy Leaks with Vicki Simpson and Vashti Wadwell. How are you doing Vashti?

Vashti: Good thanks Andrew, how are you?

Andrew: Not too bad. How about you, Vicki?

Vicki: Yeah, good, how are you?

Andrew: Doing fine. So reviews, thank you everybody who’s given us reviews in the iTunes store. When you give a review, it actually makes it easier for parents to find our podcast. And because of all the great reviews you guys have given us, we’re now a featured podcast on the Apple Podcast platform.

Vashti: Wow.

Andrew: If you go to parenting, you’ll see our podcast as a featured podcast. And we’re also now on every single podcast platform I can find. So if there’s a podcast platform we’re not on, that you want us to be on, let me know. We’re on Spotify, Google, you name the podcast platform, we’re there. Even ones I’ve never even heard of before. 

Vicki: And actually, talking about review, this is a personal request. I know it takes a little bit of time to place a review, but for a small business, it makes a huge difference.

Vashti: It’s massive.

Vicki: So if you have got, if you’ve had a good or a bad experience with any products or a business, taking the time to make a review, because I can tell you now, if someone has a bad experience, they, because I do it myself, it’s like [noises], I’m going to have a, I’m actually going to have a bit of a whinge about a dentist that I took Gabe to yesterday. He doesn’t brush his teeth, he’s got a hole in one of his baby teeth. And I was taking him out for a treat after the dentist, and I happen to mention that. Because he doesn’t brush his teeth and it’s driving me insane, and he’s eight years old and I’m balancing this whole you’re eight years old, you need to take responsibility for your own oral health. But then I’m still your Mum. How long do you keep brushing your kids teeth for? And he’s going to have a very, very painful experience of why it’s important to brush your teeth, because he’s going to have to get this tooth filled, because it’s not due to fall out for another, you know, between one to three years. So he’s going to have to get a filling in this tooth. And I said I’m taking him out for a treat. And I just got this whole Judgy McJudge, which is the opposite to what I do. I try not to judge anyone for any of their decisions. You want to know what his treat was? Avocado sushi, because most of the time I can’t be bothered.

Vashti: Sushi is very high in sugar though. But it’s one of the healthy treats.

Vicki: It was one of those assumptions that she made that I was going to take him out for a lollipop or something after he saw the dentist. 

Vashti: I’ve gone to dentists and doctors and they’ve got lollipops sitting on the counter.

Andrew: Doctors support dentists, that’s why they put lollies on the counter.

Vicki: Anyway, they’re going to, I’ll actually discuss it with the dentist first before going and writing my negative review. But so many times I forget, when I have a really good experience, or when I really enjoy a product, I don’t actually take the time to, it’s only a five minute thing, but from a small business perspective, you’d think I’d have a better memory to do that.

Vashti: I had the most beautiful review yesterday.

Vicki: Did you?

Vashti: Yeah, we were open on a day we’re not normally open, Sundays, it’s the only day we’re not open.

Vicki: I saw we’re doing a live, and I’m like what are you doing at Nest on a Sunday?

Vashti: The Paddington Baby Fair was on, so there was a few of us businesses that got together that we all do baby and children’s stuff, and we had a little mini market. The gorgeous collective next door to us, they had a whole heap of second hand kids clothes, and their second hand kids clothes, I went in there before it actually opened, and walked away with half a dozen pieces, and most of them still had their tags on them. They were brand new, and they were really nice brands, in great condition. 

Andrew: Unwanted gifts, maybe.

Vashti: Maybe, but this is, I actually love the girls at the gorgeous collective next door, because they do have some amazing products, and I’ve picked up a couple of really nice things, and yesterday I got a whole heap of stuff for my kids. But we opened up yesterday to be part of it, and I had a couple with their little one come in towards the end of the day, and they had a stash of nappies from, a stash of cloth nappies that they’d picked up before their little one was born that they’d been struggling with, so we did a fitting, and I showed them how to get a really nice fit with the nappies, cloth nappies they already had, and they ended up walking away with a few new ones as well. And then they left me a lovely review. It was just really beautiful.

Vicki: It does make your day.

Vashti: It really did. I got home after doing a P&C meeting yesterday afternoon and saw that come up, and I was like, oh.

Vicki: Look and it’s always disappointing when you get a negative review. We got one recently where we did absolutely everything we could for a customer. What had actually happened was she had a parcel and she’d given us, at check out she’d given us an authority to leave, and so we sent the parcel with an authority to leave, and they left it, and it got stolen off her front door step. So there was really nothing we could do. We went and spoke to the courier about it. Had many discussions with the courier about it actually. But their position was, the had the A.T.L. and it was left. Now what we were arguing was, was it left in a safe spot? Because even though you have an authority to leave…

Vashti: They still have to leave it somewhere safe where it’s not seen from the street that anyone walking down could just walk up and pick it up.

Vicki: And that was the argument that we had, and they would have nothing to do with it. So our hands were tied with that particular one, and we did actually get a negative review, which was unfortunate. But at the end of the day, the thing is as a business, you kind of get stuck between a rock and a hard place. Had we sent that with a signature required, and it had got taken to the local post office or the local depot or what have you, because she had said that she had a six week old baby, and she couldn’t even do the police report. We needed the police report to take it to the courier. And so Keren had actually helped her be able to do that online and stuff like that. That’s what I mean, Keren had gone over and above to help this customer. But if we had actually sent that out without an A.T.L., and then basically made this customer go out, we still would have been in the wrong. As businesses, sometimes we can’t win. 

Vashti: You can’t win.

Vicki: But we do kind of the best, and it’s always disappointing that we can’t, you know, give that extra…

Vashti: I think even still getting that negative review, because we had one just before Christmas as well with a similar sort of situation where we’d sent something signature on delivery. Because it was quite a large parcel. They weren’t home, so they got carded and they had to go and pick it up. And it wasn’t just down at the local post office, apparently it was 20 minutes away at a depot. That was quite difficult for our customer because they did have a young baby, I understand that. But it was a substantial order. 

Vicki: And if that goes missing…

Vashti: And it was two weeks before Christmas, which thieves are rampant just before Christmas. They walk the streets looking for parcels sitting on doorsteps and stuff like that, and I didn’t feel comfortable leaving that. If I had left it with an authority and something had happened, it would have been in the other boat.

Vicki: That’s why we ask at checkout whether the customer gives that authority to leave or not. But as a business, sometimes you’re caught between a rock and a hard place. But what I’m saying is, whether you have a negative or a positive experience, the reviews, and you know what, I have actually found from time to time that the negative or the less than…

Vashti: The not so nice.

Vicki: Yeah, the not so nice reviews actually help us to improve our processes.

Vashti: They definitely do. 

Vicki: We had one a year or two ago, everything the customer had said was right, and I read it, and yeah, we 100% deserved that negative review, because we absolutely let her down. Every way. Multiple ways. But I tell you what, we put some processes in place that actually improved our customer service. But anyway, reviews are important for a small business, both for future customers, but also to help us improve our processes. We’re always open to constructive feedback actually.

Andrew: Not just reviews, honest reviews.

Vashti: Honest reviews.

Vicki: Honest review, yeah, constructive. 

Andrew: It’s very important that other people that look at the reviews don’t look at the reviews and go they’re all good, they must be all fake.

Vicki: Yeah, yeah, exactly.

Andrew: Because people don’t trust it when it’s all good.

Vicki: I don’t, I certainly don’t. I like constructive feedback. Kind of calling us names and stuff like that is…

Vashti: That doesn’t get anyone anywhere.

Vicki: No, it just gets your back up. This one lady a couple of years ago, who we really let down, that really helped us improved. So yeah. 

Andrew: So today’s show is every small change makes a difference to the environment.

Vicki: Yes, including reviews. I had no idea. So that was actually quite poignant. I’m going to have to put a jumper on because Andrew has got the fricken nipple freezing bloody aircon on again.

Andrew: I didn’t adjust that, that’s Jenna’s temperature.

Vashti: Jenna wears a jumper all the time though, doesn’t she? And she’s got an onboard thermostat with a baby onboard.

Andrew: That’s true, that’s true.

Vashti: I like that you’ve actually got a jumper in the office.

Vicki: Because my husband likes nipples. What can I say?

Andrew: This is the office jumper.

Vicki: He had the air conditioner on, I don’t know if you can actually hear, my teeth are chattering. But he had the air conditioner on at home at 20 degrees.

Vashti: No, 24 is better for the environment Andrew.

Vicki: Exactly.

Andrew: If you’re wondering at home why Andrew didn’t have it down lower, that’s the lowest it went. So cloth nappies are obviously one of the biggest things you can change, and here’s some interesting stats. Now, these stats come from the Victorian Government website.

Vashti: I like that we’re going to the Victorian Government website, when we’re based in Queensland.

Andrew: Well obviously their S.E.O. is the best because they’re the first one that came up on the search.

Vashti: There you go, maybe we should talk to the Queensland State Government, Premier Palaszczuk, could you please do something about your environmental focus here in Queensland?

Andrew: I don’t think she listens to the podcast, you’ve got to send her an email.

Vashti: Well maybe if everyone listening to this podcast…

Vicki: She actually lives just up the road, just by the way. She lives in our electorate.

Vashti: If everyone who listens to this podcast writes to their local government and say we need to do something about our environmental focus.

Vicki: This is Queensland, they’re more interested in mining.

Vashti: Yeah, coal seam gas. We won’t go there.

Vicki: Adani. Let’s not go there.

Andrew: Here’s the stats.

Vicki: Yes, let’s go there. Let’s actually go there.

Vashti: No, let’s not go there.

Andrew: 3.7 million disposable nappies are disposed of each day in Australia. Now this is an interesting stat actually, because that same 3.75 million stat, because I obviously looked at a couple of website, some of the websites said Australia and New Zealand. Some of the websites just said Australia. But it was the same number. I’m going to go with what the Victorian Government said, they just said in Australia, 3.75. 

Vicki: OK, so let’s put that in perspective, we have a population of 24 and a half million. 

Andrew: Yep. 

Vicki: That’s a lot of nappies for a very small population. Well of course obviously not everybody is wearing nappies, but kids wear multiple nappies a day.

Vashti: Well those under two are only about 1% of our population aren’t they?

Vicki: Sorry?

Vashti: Children under the age of two, who you would assume would be using cloth, well in nappies, is about 1%.

Vicki: Actually, you see it on the Huggies website that they promote that disposable nappies aren’t really a problem because it only represents 1% of the landfill. But…

Vashti: The waste, the landfill.

Vicki: …but the amount of kids that are in nappies when you consider, I haven’t actually done the math on this because I’m good at math, but I’m not that good at maths. Actually working out how much rubbish the under twos are actually creating, if 1% of everybody’s rubbish is disposable. Well then the under twos, I am actually shaking I am so cold with a jumper on. The under twos represent what, 2% of the population, I haven’t actually done the maths on that. It’s an awful lot of rubbish that we’re creating in the first two years of our lives, pretty much. 

Vashti: Massive. 

Vicki: I wish someone would do the math on that. I haven’t actually asked anybody. 

Vashti: Have we got any mathematicians listening?

Vicki: And it’s maths because we are Australian, not American. So yes, it’s maths. 

Andrew: Here’s the other stat that goes with that. It takes one cup of crude oil to make each one of those nappies.

Vicki: I don’t believe that stat.

Vashti: That is such an old stat, it really is. Look, there is some merit to it, I think. I don’t think there’s a cup of crude oil in each disposable nappy.

Vicki: I think because given that oil, especially crude oil, is actually a finite resource that with the number of, you’re talking about 3.75 million disposable nappies every single day, being used. Just in Australia. I don’t even know what the world wide statistic would be.

Vashti: That’s 3.75 millions cups of crude oil being used every day.

Vicki: OK, let’s do the maths. So that’s a million litres of crude oil every day, just in Australia. That doesn’t add up to me. 

Vashti: But in the same respect, that is, there is some credence to that myth, I suppose you could call it, because the machinery that’s used to make disposable nappies does take oil…

Vicki: As do the ships of course, to transport them and all of that.

Vashti: And the cars and the trucks and everything like that. So yes, there is some credence to it.

Vicki: I think a cup is overstating.

Vashti: When that statistic gets bantered about, you’re looking, people sit there and go there’s a cup of crude oil in that plastic nappy. There isn’t.

Andrew: Most of a disposable nappy is made of chemicals.

Vashti: Yes, and no.

Vicki: Actually did you know that the world is made of chemicals. So’s your water bottle over there. So’s your water. 

Vashti: Everything is a chemical. Everything is a chemical.

Andrew: Including oil

Vashti: Yes.

Andrew: That’s what I was getting at.

Vashti: Yes.

Vicki: Yes. Oh, was that a Dad joke, was it?

Andrew: No, it’s true, it’s made of chemicals and oil is used to make a lot of those chemicals.

Vashti: Yep, but in saying that as well, a tree is a chemical. Air is a chemical. 

Andrew: OK, let’s refine it. Man made chemical.

Vashti: OK, so yes a lot of the disposable is made from man made chemicals. But they are, and this isn’t to sit there and make disposable nappies sound better than they are, but there are a lot of companies who are attempting to do research and reduce the number of man made chemicals in their disposables. 

Andrew: OK. So the next one I’ve got is it takes 150 years for them to break down.

Vicki: It never breaks down.

Vashti: No, well they’re guesstimating actually over 500 years, to be 90% broken down.

Andrew: Well I agree that’s a made up one. Because disposable nappies haven’t been around that long. So they’ve obviously just said that statistic so it gets them out of trouble. So we won’t be around when they find out that’s not true.

Vashti: No, so they’ve only been around since, well the first disposable nappy was made in the ‘50s. So I did a bit of research years ago. They didn’t really come into full on production until the early ‘80s. That’s when they took off. Late ‘70s, early ‘80s. Even then they were still quite expensive.

Vicki: But are they using statistics to break down in the perfect environment? So landfill is not the perfect environment. There is no water, there is no…

Vashti: …microbes, there is no air, there’s nothing for it to break down.

Vicki: It is compacted right down.

Vashti: Well they’re finding newspapers that are over 20 years old in landfill that are still legible.

Vicki: Fifties was actually a lot longer than 20 years ago. Did you know that the 2000s were 20 years ago?

Vashti: Yeah, I know. So we’re talking 70 years ago. Newspaper.

Vicki: From the ‘50s. Is 70 years ago.

Vashti: Yeah, but I was talking about disposables were first used in the ‘50s. Newspapers from over 20 years ago.

Vicki: No, I’m pretty sure the newspaper they found that was pretty legible was from the ‘50s. 

Vashti: OK, well there you go, see. 

Vicki: Anyway, 20, 50 years, whatever. For a newspaper that actually breaks down very, very fast in, you know…

Vashti: We’ve had newspapers break down on our front lawn. The local ones that get thrown at us. It’s like, if you don’t pick them up in the rain, they start to fall apart.

Vicki: Exactly, it doesn’t matter if it’s 20 or 50 years, if that is not breaking down.

Andrew: I don’t pick them up because they eventually wash away.

Vashti: Yeah, well there’s that.

Andrew: Especially with all the rain we’ve had lately.

Vashti: But no look, how long a disposable takes to break down is purely a guesstimation because nobody knows.

Andrew: OK, so off of the subject of cloth nappies, let’s move on to washing baby’s bum. Using reusable wipes is also another thing as well, because it turns out that cloth wipes, disposable cloth wipes which you’re using and throwing in the bin are not as bad as disposable nappies but they’re getting there.

Vashti: Disposable cloth wipes?

Andrew: Yeah.

Vicki: How do you get disposable cloth wipes?

Vashti: Disposable wipes?

Andrew: Sorry, not disposable, cloth wipes. Disposable wipes. The ones you take out of the packet, use it and throw it away. 

Vashti: Because they’re actually made from microplastics. 

Andrew: I did not know that.

Vashti: They’re actually a plastic material, a disposable wipe. So it doesn’t break down. And even, this is, I used to use disposable wipes. Not on my kids bum, on my eldest I did. But Mikayla, my middle and my youngest, Mikayla and Kylan, they only ever had cloth wipes because Mikayla was allergic to disposable, we worked that out fairly quickly. But I used to get disposable wipes for myself, when we went away for a weekend, if we went camping or something like that, and I’d use disposable wipes to clean myself up and give myself a little freshen up. I had some left over after one of those trips and wiped down the dash of my car and wiped the paint off the radio markings.

Andrew: That’s right, yeah.

Vashti: And that was a “natural”, put the italics, the inverted commas…

Vicki: Yes, Karen.

Andrew: Naturally handmade chemicals. So the recommendation there is obviously use a washer and water, and it’s probably the most environmental way you can do it.

Vashti: Yeah.

Andrew: So washing, let’s move on to washing. The recommendation is to use biodegradable and phosphate free detergents?

Vicki: No, not necessarily. Do you know what? For the most part, most detergents will actually break down into non-harmful chemicals. Everything breaks to a chemical.

Vashti: Salts?

Vicki: Yeah, bleach breaks down to salt, and all of that sort of stuff. So by the time it’s actually treated, we’re talking about the waste water goes into the sewage system and is treated just like toilet water anyway.

Andrew: Actually the article that I read also said cloth wipes, sorry disposable wipes are actually also causing problems in the water ways and the sewage system, if you’re throwing them down the toilet. 

Vicki: Yeah, I think there’s a whole range of issues with wipes and what they call fatbergs, but it’s actually not just the wipes. It’s the combination. So they’re called fatbergs for a reason, and that’s because people are also, animal fats should not be tipped straight down the sink. That’s actually because what happens is they’re liquid when you’re tipping them down the sink, but then by the time they get into the pipes, and what have you, they resolidify. And people are also washing, sorry flushing “flushable” wipes. I just did the whole Karen air commas, flushable just means that it can flush down the toilet.

Vashti: You can flush your phone if you really wanted to. It’s not going to be good for it. But you know.

Andrew: It’s not the sort of feature they put on an iPhone. Flushable. 

Vicki: So the problem is that the wipe aren’t breaking down at all, and so they’re coming in there with the fat that is also being flushed down the, sorry put down the sink. And the combination is actually creating cement like blockages in the pipes. Probably what happened on the Centenary Freeway the other day. 

Vashti: I came through late that night. Goodness me, that is a disaster.

Vicki: For anyone that doesn’t live in Brisbane, the Centenary Freeway is already a, well we call it the Centenary Park Carpark actually, and so they had to close it, inbound, during peak hour traffic. 

Vashti: Morning peak hour traffic.

Vicki: Yep, which was awesome. And we were going against the traffic actually to drop the kids at school, and yeah, I ended up just hanging around school. Got myself some breakfast, got some petrol, really…

Andrew: Just to say that Bubblebubs warehouse did not open on time that day

Vicki: No, and do you know what, the funny part is that we live five minutes away and had Andrew left at 9 o’clock on a normal day, it would have taken him 20 to 30, 40 minutes to get here.

Andrew: I got on the phone to everybody and said don’t leave home yet.

Vicki: Don’t bother.  But anyway, so one of the reason that that pipe would have busted, because it was a sewage pipe, would have been from flushable wipes being flushed down, so it’s a major issue.

Vashti: And also the sheer volume of what we had come through. 

Vicki: Or it’s just [beep] highway. 

Vashti: Literally. Andrew’s going to beep that one.

Vicki: You’re not going to cut that one out?

Andrew: I’ll clean all that up. Not using fabric softener is another recommendation.

Vashti: That’s correct.

Vicki: Yeah, because fabric softener has got fats in it.

Vashti: That makes it also, well fabric softeners as do optical whiteners, leave a coating on top of the fabric to make them appear whiter and brighter or feel softer. So that can coat them and leave, reduce your absorbency.

Vicki: And what happens with the fabric softeners is they actually make the fibres go floppy which means that they’re not sticking up as such. And making them less absorbent.

Andrew: Cool. Here’s another interesting stat that I found as well. 

Vicki: Someone needs to rewrite parts of this article on the Victorian website.

Andrew: Maybe. Over the three years that you’re washing cloth nappies, you’ll use 20,000 litres of water. But it takes 500,000 litres of water to make the same number of disposable nappies.

Vicki: Oh.

Vashti: That’s pretty interesting. I’d never actually done the research on that, so…

Vicki: Yeah, I’m not going to comment and look like an idiot. I’m going to keep my mouth shut. People can just think that I am, and I’m just not going to prove it to them.

Andrew: I read it off the internet, it must be right.

Vashti: Of course it is, of course it is. 

Andrew: And I read it off a government website, so it must be even more right. 

Vashti: Yes, well.

Andrew: They also do recommend consider when you’re replacing your washing machine, using a front load machine because they use less water.

Vashti: A lot of top loaders today are actually becoming a lot more water efficient as well though. I’ve seen some top loaders on the market just recently that are almost as water efficient as a front loader.

Andrew: And they also say too, if your front loader doesn’t sense the load, try to fill it every time. And there’s nothing wrong with putting ordinary clothes in with cloth nappies.

Vashti: Just keep them in with smaller things. 

Vicki: And after your prewash.

Vashti: Do your prewash first. 

Andrew: So some other things not related to cloth nappies. Straws.

Vicki: Oh, I’m so a Vasco girl.

Vashti: A what?

Vicki: Have you never heard of that term?

Vashti: No.

Vicki: V.C.C.O. or V.S.C.O. girl, they have, I don’t actually have the water bottle, but they have a particular water bottle and they take their stainless steel straws. It’s an Instagram thing. I have teenage girls, what can I say?

Vashti: There you go.

Vicki: V.S.C.O. girl or something like that.

Andrew: We have metal straws at home.

Vicki: We do have metal straws.

Vashti: We’ve got metal straws.

Vicki: The kids prefer them actually.

Vashti: My kids love it. Especially Kylan, he cracks it if I make him a banana smoothie and he can’t have a straw in it in the afternoon. Like, why do you need a straw, we’re at home? Like… 

Vicki: I just wish I would remember to take them with me.

Andrew: Shopping bags for vegies? We’ve got those.

Vicki: Yes, I hated when people come home with a bag of tomatoes that they have put in a plastic bag. If I forget my reusable bags, just put them in the fricken trolley, you’re going to wash them anyway.

Vashti: Do you know what? I hate going to the shops and seeing people put a bunch of bananas in a plastic bag. 

Vicki: Yeah, what’s the point?

Vashti: Or a punnet of strawberries or cherry tomatoes. 

Vicki: What?

Vashti: I was at the shops a couple of weeks ago and somebody had a punnet of cherry tomatoes in a plastic bag. I’m like why?

Vicki: No, look everything, whether I remember them or not, they end up just in the trolley. Even if it’s three pears. Oh well, my bad for forgetting it, I’ll have to wash them now. Which you should probably do anyway when you’ve got three kids.

Vashti: I was doing the pick and mix bar where you get all your nuts and your crackers and things just next to the fruit and veg. I was actually going down and picking up the plastic, paper mushroom bags and putting my pick and mix into the paper mushroom bags. But one of the shopping centres, I can’t remember who it was, and I’m not going to use their name, has actually put a plastic strip into the paper mushroom bag. 

Vicki: Why?

Vashti: So that the staff can see what’s in the bag without opening it, apparently. 

Vicki: Right OK, well that makes sense. The other day I went to, because I always forget to take containers to get ham and stuff from the deli, and I’m not saying that you have to do all the things, but I try to just do little things because I don’t recycle my…

Vashti: Your soft plastics.

Vicki: My soft plastics, so I try to just reduce. Reducing is better than recycling anyway. So I went up to the deli girl and I said, can you just forget the plastic bag? Can you just whack it in the paper?  They do that pick it up in the plastic bag. Just put it in the paper. And she said I have to use a glove anyway. And I’m like oh, just use the plastic bag then. I’m not stupid about it. Because she was going to have to use a glove rather than the plastic bag to pick it up.

Vashti: So why couldn’t they use the tongs? Don’t they have tongs there that they can use?

Andrew: No, they don’t have tongs. Not now.

Vashti: My deli’s got tongs.

Andrew: Because then it’s tongs that you’re using on different things.

Vicki: Cross contamination.

Vashti: They’ve got tongs, they generally have a big batch and they’re constantly washing them throughout the day. 

Andrew: I’ve never seen tongs in my deli.

Vashti: There you go.

Vicki: But here I am, can you just put it in paper instead, and no. But my bad.

Vashti: But even if you took your containers from home, they’d still have to use a glove, and it would be a different glove for each thing.

Vicki: Yeah true, it does have to be a different glove, but at least they wouldn’t be using the paper then. It’s not about trying to be perfect, and I actually think that is the problem with the whole eco movement, and especially 100 Women, oh my gosh. Love that site and hate that site, because there’s just that whole perfection. And it’s not about perfection, it’s about progress. Just do the little things.

Andrew: There’s only 100 of them, how much noise could they make?

Vashti: 100 million.

Vicki: 100 million women. But they’ve got some great ideas, but it’s all perfection.

Vashti: It’s not so much them, it’s some of the people who are on the site, I’ve noticed. The 100 million…

Vicki: I’ve had many arguments with randoms.

Vashti: 100 million women, they put things up there and they say try this. And you’ll say yeah, I do that but I don’t do this or I don’t do it all the time, or whatever. And someone else would jump on, OK clothes driers are a prime example. I’ve had an argument over that. You live in Queensland in Australia where you get amazing sun nine months of the year, or ten months of the year or whatever, well yes we do get amazing sun. But I have a solar system and I have a heat pump drier and I don’t have the time to stand there and hang washing out at 11 o’clock at night. I’m busy, I’ve got three kids, I’ve got a business, I volunteer at my kids’ schools. I’ve got a lot on my plate already.

Vicki: And I’ve had pretty much that same argument with someone who was like, she just went on and on and one. I was like mate, take the log out of your own eye before you look at the speck in mine. Are you completely off grid, and do you drive a car? You can’t be perfect. And that drives me insane because we all know that I’m a huge, huge advocate for mental health, and you know what, if putting clothes on the line puts you over the edge, but you’re still using cloth nappies, use a damn drier. You do you, I’ll do me and we’ll just, you know, live in harmony.

Vashti: It’s not about everyone doing it perfectly, or a small number of people doing it perfectly, it’s about everyone doing it imperfectly.

Vicki: Exactly.

Vashti: And every little thing that you do to help…

Vicki: Makes a difference.

Vashti: It’s going to make a difference.

Vicki: Which is this whole podcast, isn’t it. Little things.

Andrew: Little things, just little things. Reusable sanitary products.

Vashti: Love my cloth pads.

Vicki: Yes.

Andrew: I always know when it’s that time of the month because the little wet bag appears in the bathroom.

Vashti: Yeah, Brent has the same issues. We’ve got this little wheelie stack of drawers that sits next to the basin, because one of my children decided to flood my en suite and all of the drawers in the vanity got filled with water. And then because they’re chipboard they all swelled and we couldn’t put the drawers back in. So we’ve got this little wheelie trolley thing, and it’s got a handle over the top and I just clip my wet bag onto that, which is right next to the toilet. 

Andrew: The playhouse is closed.

Vicki: I think I might just have to hang a wet bag permanently. I just keep changing it.

Vashti: Well the other one that I really love is the strucket. I can put my pads in there and I just need to make sure that…

Vicki: See, you don’t have dogs. 

Vashti: No, we don’t.

Vicki: Can I tell you, dogs also like reusable pads. I’ve got, it’s really…

Andrew: Yeah, but when you get them back from the dog, they’re not reusable.

Vicki: No, they’re not. But the funny thing is, kids really do pick up on your actions rather than your words, and it’s, I’ve got one child that’s cycling already and it wasn’t even a concern, she doesn’t care what her friends think or anything like that, but because I’ve been using recyclable…

Vashti: Reusable.

Vicki: …menstrual products, yeah sorry, reusable menstrual products since she was born essentially, it’s just like what is the norm for her. So it was not even a stretch for her. 

Vashti: I’ve already spoken about it, well there is no privacy in our house. But yeah, the kids see my cloth pads there, and Mikayla is all over it. She’ll be using them when she starts.

Vicki: And Modi Bodi is amazing. I so need to get some for Abby actually. Make it so much easier at school than having to take wet bags and stuff like that. And tend to get them, as long as the dog doesn’t get on them. Seriously, hence where there’s a wet bag hung on our towel rail because it’s out of reach of the darn dog, because you put them in the dirty clothes basket, he’ll go raiding the dirty clothes basket.

Andrew: I also found some information from Planet Ark. They said every type of plastic is recyclable. Except some councils don’t recycle everything…

Vashti: No, they don’t.

Andrew: …so you’ve got to check with your local council to find out what they recycle.

Vashti: And the other issue there is OK, it might be recyclable, but every time they recycle it, if you’ve got, water bottles or PET and they recycle those into bench parks, they still have to add some new plastics into that. It’s not 100% recycled. There’s some new product.

Vicki: But as it says, reduce, reuse, recycle. Recycle is actually the last thing you should be doing. You reduce your impact in the first place. So you don’t buy it or you don’t use it in the first place. Like I was saying with the fruit and veg and stuff like that. You just take it home and wash it instead. And then reuse, I just got a massive order, and I felt sick to my stomach. I should have just gone down there and got it. We were getting an order from Ikea, and I thought I’m just going to get all the glass containers, because I needed some more. And the amount of packaging that they used on that was horrendous. But it was the paper packaging, don’t get me wrong, I could have recycled it and all of that. But instead, chucked it all on my local group for someone to come pick up who was moving house. It was actually the reusing, and it still has a lot of life. And hopefully they will just pass it on and reuse it again before it’s recycled.

Andrew: That stuff would have been great to wrap all your glasses and everything in. 

Vicki: And there was so much of it.

Vashti: Every time we get a box in at Next, I take those boxes home and build up a nice little leaning tower in my carport full of empty boxes, and then I just put it up on Facebook and people come and pick them up for moving house and stuff. Only with the rain that we’ve just had here in Brisbane, a few of them got quite damp, so I might need to dry them out.

Andrew: So they’re already compressed. Here’s something interesting I read on the website I found. This is off the Planet Ark website. Shopping bags are a contamination in the recycling cycle.

Vashti: Because they’re soft plastic.

Andrew: Yeah, they’re soft plastic, and what actually happens is when they go on the conveyor belt, they go into the conveyor belt and jam the conveyor belt and stop the entire system.

Vicki: Wow.

Andrew: Which I thought was interesting actually. And I found a good page on the ABC News website, which is also where the Planet Ark video was as well, and I’ll put that in the show notes. And that shows you the video of how they recycle everything which is very interesting to watch. And also tells you a website that you can go and find out what your local council recycles. And the website is recyclingnearyou.com.au will tell you what your local council recycles.

Vashti: That’s cool.

Vicki: Because I know Ipswich City Council, did they drop their recycling completely? Or they were going to?

Vashti: They dropped components of it. I can’t remember what it was, but there was something that was an everyday recyclable thing. Glass, I think it might have been. You couldn’t put glass into your standard recycling, you had to collect it and take it down to the local recycling centre.

Andrew: And then the entire council got sacked.

Vashti: Well yeah, there was that as well.

Andrew: I don’t know if it was a related topic, but the entire Ipswich City Council got sacked.

Vashti: Yeah, there was a few issues with Ipswich City Council. But we won’t go there.

Vicki: No, because I can’t remember. Can’t remember what it was about. 

Andrew: Cool guys, that’s all I’ve got. Anything else that you want to add?

Vashti: Just do what you can do. It’s just the little things. As Vicki and I have always said.

Vicki: Yeah, aim for progress not perfection. 

Andrew: Excellent. Thank you Vashti.

Vashti: Thanks, Andrew.

Andrew: Thanks, Vicki.

Vicki: Thanks, Andrew.

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Andrew: Bye everybody. 

Vicki Simpson is wife and mother to three children, and owner and founder of Bubblebubs. Vicki has been making and selling cloth nappies through her website for 16 years. Bubblebubs is now one of the most recognised and awarded cloth nappy brands in Australia, and is currently expanding to other countries. You can find out more and contact her through her website, bubblebubs.com.au. Vashti Wadwell is mother to three children and has been using cloth nappies for 14 years. She is the owner of Australia’s first cloth nappy store, Nest Nappies, located in Brisbane, Australia. Vashti can be contacted through her website, nestnappies.com. If are finding the podcast helpful, and would like to make it easier for other parents to find, please leave a review on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. I am your host, Andrew Simpson. 

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