The ecogene Story
My eco journey began a few years ago after moving from Japan to the east coast of Australia. Living in a quintessentially Australian surfing village has been an eye-opening experience for me. Almost everyone seems to have a connection with the ocean and a relatively high level of environmental awareness – a world apart from Tokyo.
After a stroll on the beach with a friend, we came across a plastic bag on the street. While I noticed the bag just as my friend had, unlike her I didn’t take any action. “That’s how plastic accumulates in the ocean” my friend commented, as she bent down and picked it up without hesitation. Standing next to her I felt somewhat ashamed at my complacency.
“Why didn’t I pick it up?”
I thought to myself later. Was it because I didn’t drop it or because it wasn’t in my backyard that I felt somehow relieved of a sense of responsibility? Was I embarrassed and didn’t want to stand out as the only person on the street taking action? Or was it simply because I thought it was just one little piece of plastic and picking it up wasn’t going to make a difference anyway?
This moment and these questions to myself stayed at the forefront of my mind for quite some time. I realised that while some of these reasons had probably influenced me, it was really more because I felt I simply hadn’t done the right thing.
This one small event was an awakening moment for me.
It made me realise that I could, at the very least, help change the world by picking up one piece of plastic and should stop justifying my inaction and start doing what I feel is right and start to take more responsibility for the environment.
From that point on I started making environmental education a personal priority by reading books and watching documentaries on plastic pollution and other environmental challenges that are having such a huge impact on our planet.
Inspired by Bea Johnson and her excellent book Zero Waste Home, I stopped using plastic bags and cling wrap. Instead, I started making and using my own beeswax food wraps, produce bags and everyday cosmetics such as lip balm and toothpaste.
As a family, we dramatically reduced our consumption of all single-use plastic items and started composting all food waste thus incorporating a more environmentally-friendly mindset into our daily lives. It doesn’t change overnight, but is a work in progress.
I read recently that people consume over 300 million tons of plastic products annually, much of which is single-use and is not recycled. It doesn’t need to be this way. I believe, if we can simply raise our level of consciousness and take responsibility for our personal choices, we can have the future we want for our children and the planet they will inherit from us.
I started ecogene because I want to contribute to a better future by providing products that inspire small but significant changes to some of our everyday lifestyle needs. With over 150 million tons of single-use plastic produced globally each year, the need to reduce our reliance on plastic has never been more important.
I feel fortunate to have been inspired by my friend and I hope that what I do now might inspire others to transition to more sustainable and environmentally friendly practices.