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How to go plastic free one product at a time

Thanks to this entrepreneur who’s tackling plastic waste

In partnership with CHANGE 

Remember when buying water in a single-use plastic bottle was totally acceptable, a miracle vessel, and at one (low) point a fashion accessory? In 2021 it’s mind-boggling to think about the mountains of plastic waste we have created thanks to our eternal quest for convenience.

The good news is not everyone was blind to the environmental catastrophe that was unfolding. For entrepreneur and former outdoor guide, Simon Karlik, eliminating single-use plastic was the key driver behind his stainless-steel water bottle business, Cheeki, which he started a decade ago with the vision that one day his customers would be using his coffee cups at cafes and refilling his bottles at their workplaces. 

Fast forward to 2020 and the same drive for reducing waste has culminated in CHANGE, a revolutionary cleaning brand skipping the need for single-use plastic. 

“A common question we got from our customers was “how best to clean your water bottle? We initially set ourselves the challenge of creating a water bottle cleaner but my wife and I wanted to create a solution that would stick to Cheeki’s ethos of eliminating single-use plastic,’’ Simon says.

“So, we created a tablet made from bi-carb soda with a few other additives. Then we thought, why stop there? Why not create a whole range?”

Launched in the middle of a global pandemic, the CHANGE system works by popping a cleaning tablet in a reusable bottle, then adding water. And with the average cleaning product made from up to 95 per cent H2O, it means a significantly smaller carbon footprint and a lot less single-use plastic.

change cleaning tabs

Currently, the range consists of multipurpose cleaning tablets, glass cleaning tablets, washing machine cleaning tablets and also tablets to make your own hand sanitiser. There’s also an essentials kit that comes complete with recyclable Repeat bottles. Simple, smart and most of all, effective. 

“Statically speaking each Australian uses up to 130kg of plastic each year. Just one quick look down the cleaning aisle of your local supermarket and you can see the shelves filled with single-use plastic. We knew we had to make a change,” says Simon.

Here’s more of our chat:

What’s been the hardest part so far about launching a start-up?

CHANGE is my third business now and there is definitely no one-fits-all strategy. Launching a start-up is both equally exciting and scary. The hardest part was launching during a global pandemic but the most exciting part was bringing a brand-new product into the market.  

What’s the best sustainable LIVING advice you have ever received? 

The smallest changes have the biggest impact. 

What is your sustainability philosophy?

I’m a big believer in finding better ways to do things. Better for us and the planet. 

What are some easy daily hacks you have for living a less wasteful life?

The littlest changes make all the difference, my favourites are:

  • Switching out your takeaway coffee cup for a reusable one
  • Look for products that have less packaging, this means the manufactures have used less raw materials reducing both waste and cost
  • Use a reusable water bottle and reusable grocery bag
  • Aim to reduce, not just recycle.  

 Would you ever look at making the tablets all natural?

CHANGE tablets are currently made from a base of Sodium Bicarbonate, with tiny amounts of ingredients that we cannot classify as natural. As we are so new to the Australian market the current legal requirements only recognise the amount of ingredients in the tablet and not once it has been diluted. This has made it very difficult to get the certifications to be classified as natural. In saying this, we are continuing to work and develop our products to be certified – stay tuned! 

CHANGE cleaning

Related; Holly Rankin’s tips for fighting climate change 

Related; The beauty hacks you’ll find in the kitchen 


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