INTO ECO

Wallpaper is a big trend now, and the papers, inks and glues used in their manufacture are all very important.

Building from scratch is always a great place to start when considering the layout and positioning of your home in relation to sun, wind and land size, but we aren’t always in that position. You don’t have to be a hippy with a mud-brick home to be sustainable and you can go further than changing all your lighting to fluoro and LED and putting your appliances on a timer. Consideration is the key — each time you go to redecorate or purchase a new item for the home, take a moment to think of the sustainable option. Over time, as you ‘layer’ your interior with sustainable products and solutions, you are not only getting a home with a conscience but leaving a better world behind you.

Bathrooms have become our luxury corner of the world and a large percentage of renovation budgets go into this area. The bathroom does become expensive but you can find sustainable options that will add to your ‘star rating’ for the building and for each individual appliance. Look at the water star rating when purchasing each individual item. This company was the innovator of saving water in our toilets and has remained true to this since inventing the dual-flush system in the 1980s. Another company leading in the use of water recycling and flushing systems, while not undermining the comfort, is Roca. It started the We Are Water Foundation to help encourage better water usage. The flow on your tapware is also a consideration, just as much as is turning it off while you are brushing your teeth. Even the materials in our cabinets can make a difference. Reece has the Cibo Eco range, made completely from bamboo. Its compact density makes it water-resistant, which helps inhibit the growth of mould, an important factor in a steamy environment.

Furnishing and decorating our homes is possibly our biggest challenge when recycling what we no longer are happy with and bringing in new items to update the look.

Wallpaper is a big trend now, and the papers, inks and glues used in their manufacture are all very important. Tamara, from Funky Wombat Textiles, is a local boutique wallpaper manufacturer who takes all these elements very seriously. She says, «Our paper is FSC certified and manufactured with non-woven wallpapers that African Lace and Bottlebrush Yellow wallpapers — non-woven papers that don’t expant or contract when on the wall makes the lining up of the pattern a little easier than the older styles are breathable, which eliminates vapour lock that can contribute to mould and mildew. They are also scratch-resistant and shower-proof, which makes them suitable for bathrooms and kitchens. They also have a fire rating as the papers don’t expand or contract like in the old days. We use a digital process which means less waste, with all pigments water-based with no water used in the printing process.» Then it is a simple process of using a starch-based adhesive, not a chemical one, and you have the latest look while adding another sustainable layer in your home.

Buying second-hand furniture and reupholstering is a simple way of not creating landfill, but what about when purchasing a new piece, as you still will want to upgrade it later on? Jardan is a Melbourne firm that looks at its sustainable footprint from every stage of product manufacture, from using CFC or biodegradable materials through to the water-based stains on its timbers. Its policy is about waste and energy minimisation and it offers reupholstery and rejuvenation of products to extend their life to save them from landfill. Have a look at all manufacturers’ policies on their websites and, if they don’t have one, ask during the purchasing stage.

Even buying online can become a sustainable task. Eco Chic — ecochic.com.au — based in Queensland, has products that look at the life cycle of each piece as well as being economically sustainable. To help with any carbon footprint, Eco Chic donates 15 per cent of all sales to the organisation, 1% For The Planet, which helps approved environmental organisations around the world.

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