“Be honest about who you are, flaws and all. You never know who you are inspiring just by being you” Mandy Hale.
Hi, I’m Tammy Logan, I’ve spent my whole life in Gippsland except for a few years in Melbourne to study. My husband has also lived his whole life in Gippsland and together we have two children aged eight and ten (as of 2019).
I’ve always taken steps to reduce my environmental footprint and my entire working life has been in the sustainability sector, but in 2014 a feeling began to grow inside me that it wasn’t enough anymore and that I needed to work harder to make a difference. It was important for me to be the environmentalist I hoped my children would be. I didn’t know how to satisfy this feeling because I thought I was already doing everything within my means. But then in early 2015 I found the Plastic Free July Challenge – to refuse all single-use plastic for one month.
The idea instantly appealed to me because it was something I could do without spending large amounts of money and it wasn’t going to take me away from my home or family. It was really just about changing the way I shop (or so I thought), yet it could make a huge difference to my family’s environmental footprint. I’d also attended a presentation six months earlier at my work on the problem of plastic in the ocean and was shocked by how bad the problem was. It felt like I was meant to be at this point in my life so I started the plastic free challenge immediately – a month early – and couldn’t stop when the challenge ended.
Completing the challenge has been one of the most positive things I’ve ever done. It has revealed to me that I do have choices and I do have power to effect change. During the challenge I also became aware that it was possible to pursue a zero waste lifestyle as I was finding many of my plastic free solutions involved no waste at all. I decided to work towards reducing all my waste. We’ve had great success at this and I’m very proud of our achievements given we live in a rural area and not a city with easy access to bulk and specialty stores. For most things that I can’t find unpackaged or plastic free, I make or go without. Over time I have found a solution to almost all our needs and we don’t feel like we are going without.
Learning how to do things differently from the norm of consumerism and convenience has been the most time consuming aspect of pursuing a zero waste lifestyle but also very satisfying. Most things turn out to be very easy once you know what you are doing.
I’ve come to believe that food is something we need to value and make more time for. We need to slow down and be more mindful of the impacts of our choices. If we continue to focus on convenience and the cheapest option we will continue to damage our health, animals and the environment.
I didn’t start this lifestyle because I had lots of spare time; I made specific decisions about how I wanted to lead my life and guide my family to better reflect my values. I’m so glad I’ve done it because the rewards have been more than I expected. We’ve improved our health, saved money, bought more local and ethical products and produce, learnt to make things from scratch, wasted less overall, and educated ourselves and others.
I’ve been enthused by how far my not-so-eco-conscious family has come on this journey with me, and it’s because there is so much to be gained.
I think the key to our success as a family is that we allow each individual to have their own thoughts and values and encourage good decision making rather than dictating what one must think and feel and do. And, really, striving for plastic free and zero waste living is about careful and intentional consumption. It’s a way of protesting against a wasteful society and saying we can do better. If we all make better choices as often as possible, we can make a huge difference with our individual actions.
In this blog I share how we significantly reduce our waste and other ways of practicing sustainability. Please take some time to look around and leave comments, as I hope our experiences give you the opportunity to learn from us and that we can learn from you too. I would love to hear about your experiences, learnings, and insights.
Gippsland Unwrapped is also about giving you choices. In Gippsland, we have challenges related to living in small geographically dispersed communities, so if this is you, I hope to help you over come those. Of course, it’s all still applicable to city folk wanting to reduce their waste too.
Why the name Gippsland Unwrapped? Well, local living and community are very important to me for environmental, social and health reasons. Gippsland is my place. I’m connected to the people and environment here and so my blog name represents the importance of living local to live sustainably. The Unwrapped aspect of my blog name obviously refers to avoiding packaging but also to revealing sustainable solutions.
Together I believe we can make a difference and I hope that you will see that a waste free life is about gaining fulfilment, not giving it up.