10 ways to be sustainable: and look cool doing it

published 6 November 2018

There’s always a typical stigma attached to sustainability that it’s difficult, daggy and expensive to live a more sustainable lifestyle. You need to be vegan, live in a solar powered home in Surry Hills, harvest your own veggie patch and drive a Prius. But guess what!? Being sustainable is cool now! Hipsters are walking around Newtown with their almond latte’s in custom Keep Cups, organic cotton Patagonia t-shirts are being spotted at every skatepark, you can even offset carbon emissions when buying your tickets to a Radiohead concert. It’s actually become easier than ever now days to go a little greener while maintaining a level of style.

We at goodwork are actively trying to adopt more sustainable practises to our work/life approach at present, but can unashamedly admit to being somewhat of design nerds when it comes to the products or processes we use. So we put together 10 simple ways to help you start living a greener existence right away and look awesome in the process!

1. BYO coffee cup
Are you still taking your morning brew in a disposable takeaway cup? Really? Come on… It’s estimated Aussies throw away one billion single-use coffee cups every year. They can’t be recycled at all, thanks to a plastic lined inner wall on the cup used to insulate heat. Thankfully, thousands of coffee drinkers have already taken action and  sales of reusable coffee cups have exploded, taking their place as a regular in most cafes and coffee joints. There are a stack of colour options and styles available from brands such as KeepCup and Frank Green, to one-of-a-kind pottery cups.

goodwork pick: HuskeeCup
By far the best and most unique looking reusable cup on the market, the HuskeeCup is actually made from the husk encasing the coffee bean. Where traditional coffee cups break easily, are unsustainably sourced, and lose heat quickly, HuskeeCup is durable, comfortable to hold, and will keep your coffee hotter for longer. Get one here.


2. choose products with less packaging
Whenever you go out shopping, make a conscious effort to buy products with less packaging, or if possible packaging made with sustainable materials. The excess packaging on most things you buy goes in your rubbish bin and from there it goes to landfills in most cases. It not only further contaminates the environment but also pose serious health effects to humans and animals. Some stores such as Harris Farm, Scoop and local food co-op stores offer a range of products without packaging, meaning its cheaper for you and better for the environment.

3. stop buying bottled water
Seriously. Stop straight away!  Bottled water sells for 240 to 10,000 times higher than what you pay for tap water, wastes fossil fuels in both production and transport and plastic bottles continue to end up in our landfills. Clean, safe drinking water that flows freely out of our taps is a feat of engineering that humans have been been perfecting for two millennia. Plus, tap water in Australia is subject to more stringent federal safety regulations than bottled water, so when you drink from the tap you know it’s actually safe to drink. Get yourself a reusable water bottle; whether its stainless steel, vaccum sealed, glass, bio plastic or self filtered, re-fill and re-use wherever you are.

goodwork pick: S’well bottle
Sleek. Stylish. Covetable. Keeps water cold for 24hrs and hot for 12hrs. Constructed using tripple walled technology, creates a condensation free exterior that won’t sweat on your hands or in your bag. Tons of styles and colour ways to choose from. Get one here.

4. ditch the straw
Listen up straw swirler! Over 500,000,000 plastic straws are used each day and only in the past ten years, people have come to expect plastic straws in every drink, in an example of extreme waste being generated for minimal convenience. These short-lived tools are usually dropped into a garbage can with no further thought, instantly becoming a source of plastic pollution. The solution!? An uber cool, little bit fancy steel straw could be your answer. Looking for something a little more chic? How about a bamboo constructed reusable straw? Having a cocktail night with the girls? Get a bunch of decorated highly durable cardboard straws. There are endless alternatives to pick up and ditch the evil plastic straw.

5. go paperless
It’s 2018. You have a smartphone. You have an email address. You don’t need printed bank statements, telephone books, paper movie tickets or a printed boarding pass anymore. Save the trees and use an alternative to printing when it’s available. We need the trees to pull the CO2 out of the air, which means we need to stop wasting paper. Airlines, movie theaters and events all have e-tickets which is an easy way to cut back on needless paper use, plus you usually get a small discount for the e-option, so spend it on food or drinks instead!

goodwork pick: Filethis app
Even if you’ve gone to great lengths to ensure your mailbox is free from catalogs, advertisements and other unwanted pieces, you probably still get some paper bills. Do away with those as well with the FileThis app. Made for iOS, the app automatically downloads your statements into a text-searchable, paperless format. It also sends reminders to pay your bill, so you don’t have to worry about late fees. Check out the app here.


6. buy locally
Whether it’s food, clothing or craft items, when you buy local, you reduce your environmental impact because you help cut down on transportation, congestion and pollution. But it also makes shopping a more pleasant experience by supporting local suppliers and craft makers. Visit your local neighbourhood markets, crafts fairs, or food suppliers and chat to that eccentric watchmaker, grab a gozleme from the crazy Turkish lady, pick up that organic coconut candle for mothers day and know you’re helping a small business and the planet at the same time.


7. take a reusable bag to the store
Duhhh! If you’re still not doing this yet, give yourself a big slap across the face. Even my mum hauls a small army of green bags to shops for this, which makes my mum way cooler than you! Harris Farm recently banned all plastic bags in stores nationwide, with Woolworths expected to do the same by the end of this year. It’s no surprise why; it takes between 15 and 1,000 years for a plastic bag to decompose, and Australia uses 5 billion new plastic bags each year. Imagine how much lower these numbers would be if everybody brought their own reusable bag to the store. Stand out from the crowd and display your support against the plastic bag by investing in a funky, re-usable number that looks great and will last longer than the flimsy grey one you’re trying to carry six bottles of milk in.

goodwork pick: Loqi Bag
Spend the next hour pouring over the coolest looking market tote bags you’ve ever seen. Featuring designs from some graphic design heavyweights like Sagmeister and Alex Trochut,  these bad boys are painfully stylish but also super practical being water resistant, OEKO-TEX certified and able to carry up to 20kg. Resist the urge to not buy everything on the site here.


8. ride a bike
Dust the cobwebs off your favourite two wheeled styler and ride your bike whenever you can instead of driving or using public transport. It’s an extremely easy and effective way to help cut down on air pollution and reduce your carbon footprint. It doesn’t even take that much effort, plus you get to spend more time outside or with friends! Most city areas have designated cycle paths and even the explosion in cycle sharing apps like Ofo and OBike have made it super easy to access a bike and get pedalling.


9. join a community garden
Get your hands dirty (literally) and get involved in a community garden to help spread the environmental message. If you know of a community garden, you can help plant your own food, free of nasty chemicals and pesticides. A huge perk is that you get to eat for a fraction of the cost of buying the same foods at the grocery store. Most community gardens are easy to join and only require you to make a small voluntary contribution. If you’re really ambitious, you can start a community garden in your neighbourhood. Bringing home a stack of self grown veggies will impress the elderly Greek neighbours of yours. Ask them for a few tips while you’re at it!


10. change your washing habits
Look, we don’t to hassle you like an over protective mum or anything, but you’d probably want to know that ninety percent of the energy your washing machine uses is for heating the water, so if you use cold water to wash your clothes, it can make a huge difference in energy efficiency. And that tumble dryer is keeping your energy supplier very happy, costing a bomb to dry those old undies of yours. Hang your washing outside, sit in the sun with a coffee (or a beer) and relax for half an hour instead. Multitasking.



Well, there you have it. We’re not experts in sustainability, but we reckon if you take the initiative to change just a few of these things, the more you can live daily without creating waste and the better your impact on the environment. If you have any sustainability tips or hacks you think we should know about, get in contact and share what you’ve got.