Shopping is never going to cease. As much as some of us would like to see less wasteful things being bartered and sold, the general desire for trade will never relent. And until the internet stops working, shopping online is not going to vanish. According to PWC, 60% of Australians participate in shopping over the internet. That is a crazy huge amount of the population shopping online.

Hidden amongst the larger commerce sites, sits an online marketplace, that sells upcycled and recycled items ONLY. It’s called Kuttlefish…and I think it’s pretty cool.

The principal goal of Kuttlefish is to reduce waste and consumption by helping people find value in materials rather than throwing them "away". We achieve this by recycling, reusing, upcycling, repurposing, etc. We achieve this by inspiring each other to think outside the box with items and materials in our homes and businesses. We achieve this by creating a circular economy around materials, and buying and selling products that support this goal.

How does Kuttlefish work?

Much like other online stores, people who make items from upcycled and recycled materials, can upload and sell their wares.

Products can be rated, artists can be contacted and idea sharing is encouraged through their forum or browsing their Get Inspired page.

Prospective sellers, don't pay until they sell. And even then, the transaction fees are lower than other online marketplaces - 1% during the first year and 3% thereafter.

The Builder is always looking at ways to upcycle leftover materials for jobs. I love seeing the cool ideas he can come up with. It has a puzzle solving aspect to it that appeals to him.

The marketplace has SO MANY great items. I liked this coat hanger made from an old chair (um, yep!) or old door turned into a table.

This denim pouch would be a great cutlery holder when out and about.

And I think my dad would really like this at his place. Actually, I think all the members of my family would like this.

I am not sharing this because I have been paid or anything like that. But because I like to share little known endeavours that people are making to do things different. I was so inspired by Kuttlefish that I decided to interview Ian, the brains behind the space, a couple questions.

What was the inspiration behind Kuttlefish?
When I lived in Africa, I was surprised at the creativity and resourcefulness of people there. I saw a ton of raw materials that we were missing out on because of the negative stigma with “garbage," and at the same time, an immense opportunity. Years later, with the growth of the internet, social media and e-commerce, Kuttlefish became my project to connect people, their ideas, their resourcefulness, their creativity, and their entrepreneurship, from all over the world.

Did you come across any misconceptions when it comes to upcycled or recycling items?
Yes, I come across misconceptions of the many terms that weave their way into the space - recycled, upcycled, reclaimed, salvaged, reused, refurbished, repurposed, etc. For us, people can debate what the terms mean, but our bottom line is our mission, which is to reduce waste and inspire others to reduce waste, while growing a vibrant marketplace.

When I lived in Africa, I was surprised at the creativity and resourcefulness of people there. I saw a ton of raw materials that we were missing out on because of the negative stigma with “garbage," and at the same time, an immense opportunity. 

Any challenges you have overcome?
Starting a business is not easy, especially in pre-investment funding stages. We need to be highly resourceful and creative in everything we do — and prepared to work around the clock.

Have you always bought secondhand or up-cycled gifts previously? If not, what was the turning point?
I grew up around recycling. In fact, my mother helped start one of the first recycling centers in Santa Monica, California. At a certain age, I decided I didn't want gifts because I thought our culture of over-consumption was creating a one way stream of waste - I didn’t have a “Kuttlefish” to buy things from. The turning point was when I began seeing all the "garbage" as a raw material, and the opportunity for business to mimic natural systems where everything is reused.

Can you share with us some of favorite items right now?
We have a great mix of products on the site right now, and the variety and quality gets better and better everyday. I recently bought a bicycle inner tube bag and a necklace for my fiancĂ© (see attached photos). During holidays, we feature our favorite gift ideas on the site—home decor, bags, jewelry, clothing—there is something for everyone on Cuttlefish.



What are your plans for the future of Kuttlefish?
We plan to continue growing at a steady pace, making sure we don't lose sight of our mission and values. We ultimately want to become the place that people go to for products and ideas that make a difference to people and planet.

And my last question...why the name Kuttlefish?
Kuttlefish, known to be some of the most intelligent sea creatures, are often referred to as “chameleons of the sea” because they are able to change color, shape and texture for camouflage. Kuttlefish represents the ideas of change and adaptation, through the practice of recycling and upcycling. The materials are the same but the form is new, and the “cuttlefish” survives.
It has been over four months, since I started making, my avocado seed shampoo. For those that are new, you can read my first post plus the recipe I used to make it by clicking here.

Right off the bat, I can say that it has been great. Like, really, really great. For the first time, in I don’t know how long, my scalp never became irritated when I did not wash it. If I did not wash my hair after four days, I used to get irritation, accompanied by itching on the back of my scalp.

I always thought this was my scalps telling me that it needed to be washed. But this stopped once I started using avocado seed shampoo. I don’t know if it was because of the seed or reducing the amount of soap.

Avocado seed shampoo update

Avocado seed shampoo update

My hair felts thicker with the added bonus of becoming more manageable. I don't have straight hair or curly hair. It sits in the middle, something akin to a lions mane when I brush it. It became less lion maneish. Overall, it also felt less dry when I was using the avocado seed shampoo. I do style my hair most days...usually it is in a bun though.

I even went on national TV with hair washed in this concoction and no one knew…except you.

The ultimate goal was for me, to eventually move away from soap based hair washing, and try water only.

In between October and December, I made up three batches of the recipe. The last batch affected my hair a little different. I could start to see a result of using less shampoo, with more oil production than normal.

By the time January rolled around, I had run out of liquid shampoo. I decided to try avocado seed on its own, omitting the soap element.

If you are thinking of doing the same, DON'T.

Avocado seed boiled down on its own will grow mold within a couple days. It was pretty gross going to wash my hair and discovering a layer of green mold floating on the surface (I didn’t wash my hair with it; instead I fed it to my compost). This never happened when I added soap to the mix previously. I could let a bottle of the avocado seed and shampoo mix sit in my shower for a month with no issues. 

Just as this happened, there was an avocado shortage at my local farmers market. Actually, it was around the state. All other avocados for sale were from overseas. Since that is not inline with my local/seasonal rule, I figured now is a good time as any to try washing my hair with water only.

I expected the oiliness to increase, but it didn’t. It stayed the same, and now it is slowly moving down my hair. I brush my hair more, to help the oil move down. I dd fear that it would be a matted oily mess, but it's not. 

Will I go back to using avocado seed shampoo?

Yes, I would – but at the moment, I am going to stick with trying water only. If I get to my wedding and my hair is looking not so great, then I will knock together another batch. I have read a couple of blog posts about people that use only water (here and here, to name a couple). There is even an eBook called HAPPY HAIR: THE NO POO BOOK! by the fabulous Lucy AitkenRead.

It seems to work for them. I have been water only for about five weeks and so far the results are nothing to complain about. Over the weekend I applied a vinegar, egg and oil mask, massaged it in the rinsed after 30 mins. It is the only thing I have put on my hair other than water.

Part of this plastic free and zero waste experiment, has not just been about the waste, but also questioning what I need and don’t need. Maybe shampoo is one of them. 
Help us #SaveTheBulkApp!

If you have ever asked me a question about where to start with plastic free or zero waste living, one of my first responses will be to download the Bulk App.

Bea from Zero Waste Home is the brains behind the Bulk App. She created and runs this fantastic resource, that allows people anywhere in the world, to log in and find out if there are bulk stores in their area. It is an invaluable tool, made available free to everyone in the zero waste and plastic free community. I have used it extensively when I travel and regular update with any gems I come across. For instance, my local bulk food store is tucked away in the streets of suburbia. Unless you walked down the small street and popped your head in, there would be no way to know that unpacked food can be bought here. Having the bulk app allows anyone, to find options for bulk shopping in my suburb.

The Bulk App needs saving. Technology has changed, the zero waste community has expanded, and the app needs much needed improvements and funds to keep going.

Bea sent out the call to arms below. I urge you to pass this around, tell your friends and family and let's save the Bulk App.

As you already know, buying in Bulk is essential to reducing packaging waste, which is why, in 2013, I created the free mobile app, Bulk, to enable the zero waste community to share and locate bulk food bins and liquid refills worldwide.

Today, more than 11,000 users have entered more than 3000 locations, in more than 30 countries: over 1500 location in the US, 400 in France, 300 in Canada, 145 Australia, etc. (Thank you if you’ve shared and rated your local bulk suppliers!). The app has globally become the zero waste community’s most useful tool.

From the very beginning, we wanted the app to rely on the community rather than advertisement. We financed it using a grant that I received from winning the Green Awards, but keeping up with the ever-changing operating system technology has revealed to be very costly. My family has donated $5000 out of pocket to keep the app alive over the years, but we can no longer endure the costs. The time has come for the community to come to the app’s rescue!

With the help of Zero waste community volunteers, I launched a crowdfundingcampaign this morning to save and, depending on the funds received, improve the app (improve the international mapping system, add features such as comments and pictures, and build a website so that if you’re planning a trip, you can prepare an itinerary based on bulk locations).

Bulk's fate is now in your hands too: Will you help us save it? 

We count on you to spread the word about the campaign! –maybe through your social media (#savethebulkapp), or your website? 

With your support, we’ll be able to save a valuable waste-busting tool and make package-free shopping easy and available to thousands more.

Together let’s keep growing a waste-free world for future generations!

Help us #SaveTheBulkApp!

What can I do for you?

Thank you to everyone who has sent emails and left comments with suggestions for my wedding. I have had so many great ideas come my way. The tipping point of kindness came last night, when someone offered me their wedding dress. So. Kind. 

I wish I had more giveaways on the blog...but it's kinda hard to do when I so rarely buy anything new myself.

Instead, I want to ask what I can do for you this year? What would YOU like to see more of on the blog? How can this space improve? What don't you like?

Ultimately, I want to be as helpful as I can be, when I blog and share. I have posts coming up about life without bulk food stores and other blogs posts around those obstacles. But I want to make sure what I am sharing here serves you. 

So tell me in the comments below or shoot me an email (hello[at], with any thoughts or suggestions.
Upcoming events
Image courtesy of Livewell Yarra

Below are a list of upcoming events around Victoria, through the month of February and March. All of these will be found on the events page.

Talking Rubbish
Hosted by Sustainable Living Festival

When: 2.00pm - 3.00pm on Saturday 13 February 2016
Where: The Shed, Sustainable Living Festival - Big Weekend, Birrarung Marr, Melbourne 3000
How much: Free

Zero waste living workshop
Hosted by City of Port Phillip

When: 6.30pm - 8.30 pm on Wednesday 24 February 2016
Where: St Kilda Town Hall, 99a Carlisle Street, St Kilda 3182
How much: Free
Bookings: Online FULLY BOOKED

Backyard Feast cooking demonstration

Hosted by Warrnambool City Council

When: 9.30am & 12.45 pm on Saturday 20 February 2016
Where: Civic Green, Cnr Liebig and Timor Streets, Warrnambool 3280
How much: Free

Zero waste living workshop
Hosted by City of Port Phillip

When: 6.30pm - 8.30 pm on Wednesday 2 March 2016
Where: St Kilda Town Hall, 99a Carlisle Street, St Kilda 3182
How much: Free
Bookings: Tickets available soon

Another big event coming up later in the year, is our wedding. We are very excited about planning our big day....actually the Builder is more excited than me, and is organising most of it. It will not be a small event, but rather large! Or larger than I ever imagined my wedding would be. If I organised it, then we would be straight to the registry office, followed by a loooong picnic lunch at one of the gardens in Melbourne, just the two of us.

We are planning it as a plastic free and zero waste wedding, which we think we can pull off. My biggest concern is food waste.

We kicked things off with a second hand engagement ring. I never wanted one. While they are a beautiful statement, personally, I did not understand the need for them. Then my Mum offered the Builder an old ring of hers and he surprised me with it a couple days after. It's nice to have something from my Mum. I have already decided to wear an old ring of hers as my wedding band too. 

I am also going to reuse a dress that I have, rather than buy a new one. But more on that later...

So, for all those that have planned weddings, what tips would you have? I'll pass them onto the wedding planner ;) 
Around 6 months ago, I announced on Instagram that I was writing a children’s book.

The first draft and title have been completed. Over the summer I will work on the draft (probably multiple drafts…) hopefully getting it to a final stage by March. From there, I will begin the illustrating process.

Why a kids book and not one for adults?

There are already TWO books and an eBook geared at adults wanting to reduce plastic and waste. Beth Terry’s book (read, loved and have passed onto many people), Bea Johnson's zero waste guide (have not read, heard only fabulous things and am waiting for it be available at my library) and Lindsay from Treading My Own Path eBook guide (another good read).

There really is no need to add another book to either genre. These three ladies have sorted it.

However, there are not many Australian kids’ books, focusing on plastic pollution. So I decided to write one. The main aim is to present an ordinary family, doing ordinary things and how changing a handful of habits, can reduce single use plastic and potential pollution. My biggest hope, is that it will act as a tool for education and drive conversations within the family home.

..and yes the main character will have red hair! 
post signature
This is my local bulk food store in Melbourne.

It's not your typical, new one. It does not have everything I need either. But it has the essentials. The space is small and smells like roasted nuts.

My local bulk food store

Not much is organic, but it's mostly Australian and very affordable. Everything sits in the bags they are delivered in. Beans, lentils, nuts, dried fruit, flours, salt, grains, popcorn, ...really just about anything dry is available. The only thing wet is peanut butter and olives.

It was the first bulk food store I discovered.

The place has been in its location for over 20 years, originally part of a big market in Moonee Ponds, of which is now a desolate parking lot (soon to be apartments). Ray's Top Nuts is one of the few survivors of the old market and is still run by the same man all that time. My boyfriends Teta and Jeddo (grandma and granddad) shopped there, then his parents and now him. I kinda like that this place and its owner, have served generations of my boyfriends family.

They never bat an eye when we first brought in our bags or jars, commenting that some of the older customers use cloth bags.

And that is my local bulk food store in Melbourne.

post signature
I realised the other day, that a odd habit has grown from my attempts to reduce my waste.

If I am running late, not prepared my lunch for the week, can't afford to get lunch out at a cafe or takeaway in my own container (you know, the last couple days before pay day....) I will usually hastily throw some apples and oranges into my handbag for lunch.

Since we don't compost at work (yet!!), I take my scraps home. You know, the apple core and orange peels. One day I did not have a container to take my peels I put them into my drink bottle. This was at lunch time too. I continued to fill it up with water during the day. Strange yes, but the water tasted nice, like orange and apple.

I took photos of my odd habit...

It made me wonder, if anyone else has any odd habits that have created while trying to reduce waste? Share below...
post signature