It’s the first Saturday of the month. The morning air is still crispy although the rays of sun are already shining through the leaves of the trees.  The gate of Elwood Primary School is already open and the court yard is full of sellers of all kinds. You can find here everything from fresh local vegetable produce to second hand clothes or hand crafts. It’s all colourful and cheerful around here. There is a band on stage that is getting ready to play in a moment and of course the coffee line is getting longer and longer.

There is a newcomer to this market who has just started her business. We met with Rachelle there.

A St Kilda resident, mother of three small children who is passionate about recycling and reducing waste has started her own business of making sustainable wraps. She is showcasing her colourful, different sizes of wraps on the table and her little helpers are eager to sell the product to everyone. While checking out the variety of cloths I asked her about the origin of the idea of the wraps. As it turns out the idea comes from a blog post about do it yourself food wraps sent by a girlfriend.

“I have a bee hive in our backyard in St Kilda. I had wax and my sister is a quilter who had fabrics. We both had by-product from our activities that we could put together and make a sustainable product that is waste essentially and makes a new product that can be used to reduce other waste.” But of course it’s not just that it also takes a commitment that you want to live sustainably and want to reduce waste and help others reduce their waste as I got to know from Rachelle.  These sustainable wraps that she is making reduce the use of plastic wraps like gladwrap, zip lock bags, sandwich bags or plastic bags for storing food and soft plastics in particular that are really bad for us. “They actually do a better job than plastic bag in the fridge for broccoli or other types of vegetables that you usually keep in the cold section in plastic” says Rachelle. We’ve also got know from her that this product is not only good for us because it reduces our use of plastic but the ingredients that are used for its creation have positive effects. Such as bee wax has antibacterial properties, coconut oil has antifungal properties and tree resin/ pine resin has antimicrobial properties. Together they reduce the chance of any kind of bugs at microscopic level.

According to Rachelle’s experience they seem to keep the product fresh. They do a really good job. And what is also important they last for a long time. You can reuse them over and over again for 6-12 months and then you can simply compost them.

Why are they great? Because this way we are reducing waste, not damaging the environment or ourselves. “I think any little bit of reduction is helpful. I have been trying to reduce my use of plastics. I recycle my soft plastics now“ recounts Rachelle.

Looking around the market it seems like the perfect environment for this product. Most of the people are shopping here because of this explicit purpose they want to buy their food straight form the farmer. “It’s not going through that whole packaging process and I like that ethos “she admits.

“I am an advocate for less packaging and less waste. At home we are always trying to reduce, reuse and recycle. We are also composting and showing a good example for the kids. Kids are learning about this in school so it is nicely reinforced at home. We are making a product that helps others reduce their waste. “

Glancing at the stall her kids seem very enthusiastic about this project. They like helping in the making as well as in the selling. It brings the whole family together and teaches good values.

Find Sustainable wraps on Facebook.

Words and photos by Szilvia Csanyi Port Phillip Council. 

           Rachelle the warrior