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June 29, 2023 3 min read

Read about us in a recent interview we did with The Natural Parenting Magazine ...

When you hear the word ‘utility’ it doesn’t exactly set your heart a flutter. Rather, a utilitarian world tends to conjure up images of grey or beige, square or clumsy, unconsidered objects. It suggests the basic, bare minimum. Something that gets the job done but very little else: function without the form. But utility and usefulness is a good thing. So why does it have to be so well, ugly?

The good news is that this is all changing. Useful can now be beautiful. And Shayna Stalker from The Waste-Free Home is leading the charge. Between her immaculate curation of sustainably made products and their own reclaimed wooden objects, their hand-made cotton items, and their relationships with bespoke local manufacturers, they are turning useful into desirable. Who’d have ever thought you could lust after a mop? The Waste Free Home’s Cuban Mop has that exact effect. 

But that’s not all that’s turning on its head. As a society we are more conscious of our impact and are looking for better ways. We are tiring of our disposable culture. Where things seem designed to be throw-away. Where plastic has the monopoly. And where it’s cheaper to buy new than to repair.

COVID19 seems to have us all craving a simpler, slower, more considered pace. Whether that is in the form of shopping local, making our own bread, or returning to crafts. It seems there is a mainstream realisation that we can only make change if we be the change. That change is becoming easier to peruse with the help and inspiration of companies like The Waste-Free Home. 

Started from a Studio at the bottom of their garden and fuelled by a dream to eliminate unnecessary waste, The Waste-Free Home is seeing a real desire to be good. Since starting in mid 2019 the company has expanded their range of products from sustainable and waste-free natural products, adding a range of long-lasting, hard-wearing, repairable, and always beautiful alternatives to the disposable.

The hard work has essentially been done for us. Each product has been meticulously researched, tested and reviewed. Care instructions are given. And each package arrives hand wrapped in plastic-free packaging. Best sellers include Amber glass pump bottles, Weck storage jars, the now famous Cuban Mop, wooden drying racks, and a selection of kitchen items, made by Shayna’s father from reclaimed wood.

Whether these objects allow us to refill, reuse, or repair they are all useful, minimise our impact, and offer longevity. And with just a little care and minimal maintenance they are designed to last a lifetime. Sure, on the face of it, like-for-like, a wooden dish brush may seem expensive compared with a familiar plastic version. But think for a moment about the cost of ownership. How long that plastic object will last in your home, where it will go once you have finished with it, the impact manufacturing it had on the earth and the people who made it, and also just how damn ugly it is! That beautiful wooden alternative suddenly seems a little more reasonable and a lot better for the planet. It doesn’t take long to see that we can now have our cake and eat it too. We can now choose useful items for our home that are sustainable, long lasting, and quality but  also beautiful to look at.

For beautiful, useful, plastic-free inspiration follow @thewastefreehome on Instagram, or browse online at thewastefreehome.co.nz


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