MEET THE FOUNDERS:
Jenny Ringland and Erica Watson of Green + Simple
Green + Simple is a lifestyle platform that shares realistic advice on sustainable living. Co-Founders Jenny Ringland and Erica Watson wanted to find toxic free products for their kids and soon found there was a much bigger discussion to be had which inspired them to launch Green + Simple. We chatted with them about the platform, what they hope to achieve and what advice they have for those who want to lessen their environmental impact on the planet.
Tell us a bit about your backgrounds.
We’re both journalists. We met about 15 years ago as reporters at News Limited and stayed in touch as our careers progressed. We both started freelancing after having babies, and have been published in global publishing and media platforms, as well as creating content for wellness and retail brands.
What led you to launch Green + Simple and what do you hope to achieve?
It all started from a conversation about baby wipes! We were talking about how we’d always tried to make healthy choices for our babies in the products we bought but were feeling disillusioned as the products we had been using weren’t as healthy as we thought - they were laden with toxic chemicals. We felt that if we had been green washed then so many other people must have been too. It then led to a wider discussion not only about the chemicals found in baby and personal care products but the huge amount of waste we were creating as a result of having children. We felt that at the time there was no one source of information, that was both informative and inspiring at the same time. Our aim is to create a community for people to be inspired, encouraged and informed about sustainable and low-tox living, in a judgement-free space. We believe the greatest change you can make is to start - and hope to inspire as many people as we can to make small incremental change.
How does sustainability factor into your everyday lives?
We are always trying to do the best we can. It started like most people with our keep cups and reusable water bottles and progressed so that we are always on the lookout for ways to live a little lighter. We love to shop at farmers markets and bulk food stores but it’s not always affordable or viable every week. So we’re always trialling different options - like a weekly order of organic veggies from our school co-op, or buying in bulk at the supermarket - not just from the pick your own section, but choosing the largest bucket of honey, or the largest box of washing detergent. It saves money and saves on packaging. We’re the first to admit that sometimes the wheels fall off. Mostly when we have a sick child or life is particularly hectic that week. We are always calling or texting each other about our fails, like when we order sushi takeaway and forget BYO containers and it all comes wrapped in plastic. We feel like we can always do better, we’re on a journey that’s for sure.
"We believe the greatest change you can make is to start."
What are some of your favourite brands that are doing their bit for the planet?
We were recently lucky enough to go to a preview of Marnie Skillings new sustainable fashion label, Skillings. She’s the real deal. She uses all organic cotton, sources vintage trim, uses natural dyes and repurposes old garments and fabrics to make her designs. We love Koala Eco cleaning products, they’re all natural, give back 1% for the Planet and its founder Jess Bragdon is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. Then there’s Rohr Remedy - a natural skincare company founded on the use of Australian native medicinal plants.
How do you inspire your little ones and future generations to think more sustainably?
We try and talk to them about the little things we do each day, like why we collect our soft plastics to recycle them, or why we don’t leave the tap running while we’re doing our teeth. They love any shared experience. Like most things to do with kids, getting them involved is the best way for them to learn. Whether it’s getting their hands dirty in the veggie garden or encouraging them to chat to our local farmers market stall holder, they’re like little sponges and retain a lot more than we often give them credit for.
What simple steps can you recommend for readers who want to start making that move towards helping the future of our planet?
We truly believe that the greatest change you can make is to start. Whether it’s packing a reusable coffee cup in your bag each day, saying no to straws or making the pledge to be mindful of how many lights you have on in the house at once (try giving yourself a limit of only four on at any one time and see how you go!). All it takes is one small behaviour change, and you’ll be surprised by how motivated you’ll feel to make more changes in your life.