Eco granny’s turning social media green

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FIVE years ago, a woman in Ipswich became a grandmother. She now has six grandchildren, and in her words, they are six more reasons to save the earth.

A woman with a love of nature, yet Lindie Rush insists she is just an ordinary person.

Then how did she become Instagram’s Eco Granny?

Several years ago, Lindie learned about the existence of palm oil and the effects that came with its use. She discovered that palm oil was an ingredient in about 70 per cent of the things that humans use or consume.

What is Palm oil?
Palm oil is derived from the fruit of the oil palm tree. The palm fruit yields both palm oil and palm kernel oil. Palm oil is extracted from the pulp of the fruit and is an edible oil used in food. Palm kernel oil is extracted from the seed of the fruit and is used in the manufacture of cosmetics. Palm oil plantations are the main driver for deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia. These two regions account for 85 per cent of global production of palm oil.”
Source: www.orangutan.org.au/what-is-palm-oil

In order to avoid buying products containing palm oil, Lindie began looking for alternatives when doing her grocery shopping.

Soon enough, she began to be equally concerned about the amount of plastic being used as well.

Her awakening started her on a new journey, chronicling her daily environmental questions and answers on Instagram as ‘Eco Granny’.

Lindie Rush – aka Eco Granny – relaxes in the backyard of her new house

by Marissa Lim
Lindie Rush – Eco Granny on Instagram – began documenting her journey on her plastic-free, eco lifestyle in 2016.

 

“I’m really there for the support from people who are like-minded,” Lindie explained.

“It’s nice to be able to connect with people who are thinking the same, and doing the same. That keeps you motivated.”

When she was younger, Lindie recalled that her local supermarkets were much smaller and only stocked basic grocery items such as tinned foods and cereals.

“When I was a child, it wasn’t like it is now,” she recalled, “you took your own bag to the shop, and (the supermarket staff) put your groceries in paper bags – they weren’t using plastic bags.

“You would go to the butcher for your meat, to the bakery for your bread, and the fruit and veg shop for your fruit and vegetables.

“But, over the years, they just added more and more things to the supermarket and with that came more and more conveniently packaged, processed food.

“Now it’s three times as big as it used to be.”

While Lindie admitted plastics could not be completely avoided, especially when living and compromising with the family, but she said she makes sure all her waste is disposed of properly.

In her kitchen, there are three separate bins, a large one for glass, one for recyclable tins and cardboard, and a much-smaller non-recyclable bin that typically has a weekly waste amounting to the size of a small cereal box.

Compostable waste is sent to her worm farm which, in turn, provides additional nutrients to fertilise her mini vegetable garden.

A special clay compost pot positioned in the centre of a herb garden

by Marissa Lim
Lindie Rush has installed a special clay pot in her mini herb garden that contains scraps and a mini worm farm.

 

Because Ipswich no longer allows its residents to place glass in its recycle bins, Lindie collects the glass and bring it to a nearby recycling station when her bin is full.

And because recyclable items often end up in landfill in Australia, Lindie is choosing or storing most of her groceries in glass, tin or cardboard containers.

That way, she explained, at least those materials could be reused, repurposed, recycled, or could break down in the environment if it ends up in landfill.

Lindie pointed out that, even if plastic containers were marked as recyclable, there was a limit to the number of times that would happen because the material degrades over time.

Instead, she said, she relies on an 80-20 rule, managing to live 80 percent plastic-free, progressively replacing it with more sustainable alternatives.

Lindie also collects and donates used dental products – such as toothbrushes, toothpaste and dental floss boxes – to Terracycle ().

And, while 70 per cent of her household furniture is secondhand, the remaining 30 per cent – furniture such as mattresses, refrigerator, washing machine – was purchased new.

Some things she has not been able to find alternatives for are cheese, green peas and pet food, all of which come in single-use plastic packaging.

Her transition to a more eco-friendly lifestyle has won her many social media fans and, according to Eco Granny, if an ordinary person like her can achieve this, then everyone can.

“Sometimes it’s fun, because it’s like a challenge,” Lindie said.

“When there’s a problem, you (just need to) think about what the solution is.”

Her secret for newcomers with questions, is to hop over to the Zero Waste Facebook page if they are unsure about answers.

Eco Granny’s advice on how to go green

Instead of Use
Shampoo bottles Shampoo bars
Disposable razors/disposable razor heads Reusable metal safety razors
Single-use, disposable sanitary products (pads, liners) Reusable sanitary products (reusable pads, leak-proof underwear)
Disposable baby nappies Reusable cloth nappies
Toilet paper in plastic packaging Recycled toilet paper with paper packaging
Plastic toothbrushes Biodegradable bamboo toothbrushes
Plastic toothpaste tubes Toothpaste in a jar
Makeup with plastic packaging Makeup with bamboo packaging and eco-friendly packaging
Band-Aids in plastic packaging Organic bamboo adhesive bandages
Supermarket foods in plastic packaging Bulk food stores (reusable produce bagsor containers)
Processed food Fresh produce (fruit, vegetables, some meat)
Plastic cling wrap Reusable beeswax wrap
Regular baking paper Compostable chlorine-free baking paper
Plastic straws Reusable metal straws
Electric kettle (or other appliances made of plastic) Metal stove-top kettle (or other sustainable plastic-free options)
Chux, sponges (cleaning materials that are often discarded after use) Reusable towels (towels that can be washed and reused)
New furniture Secondhand furniture (mostly made of wood)
Bin liners (plastic bags) Composting waste, recycling (NO use of bin liners or plastic bags to dispose of waste)
Plastic pegs Stainless steel reusable pegs
Plastic or glass screen protectors for mobile phones Liquid screen protector
Plastic phone cases Compostable phone case

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Words: Marissa Lim
Images & video: Marissa Lim / The Argus

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Want to read more?
The original version of this story is one of 30 in a special online Climate Change edition of The Argus that was compiled by Queensland College of Art students from a final-year course called Transmedia Storytelling.