The winners of The Circle Awards AUS & NZ 2021 have officially been announced, and our carts (and hearts) are full of sustainable swaps we never knew we needed.
From bamboo bedding with no nasties to ten litres of almond mylk from a single glass jar, you're going to be feeling some serious homegrown pride for these Australasian peeps. Check out these six standout winners from The Circle Awards AUS & NZ 2021.
With voting open to the public for all entrants across all categories, The People's Choice Circle Award was arguably the most anticipated from the event.
Taking the crown for the inaugural year is The Swag. The world's first totally natural produce bag that will keep your fruit and veg crisp for two weeks or longer in the fridge. Yes, you read that correctly.
If you're shocked to learn one in five grocery bags end up in the bin per Aussie household, we're with you.
Thanks to its three innovative layers, when dampened with water, the bag provides hydration and breathability for fruit and vegetables—reducing plastic pollution and saving households thousands of dollars each year in food waste.
Claire Maloney, Founder and Director at The Bravery, says, "The Swag is an ingenious, brilliant and essential example of how simple some of the solutions to our biggest challenges can be." We couldn't agree more.
As the People's Choice winners, The Swag will be receiving an Urban List $25K media package, so keep your eyes peeled on-site for more info on this genius innovation. In the meantime, head here to get one for yourself.
The Very Good Bra
Taking on the world of fast fashion, Fashion category winner The Very Good Bra is a game-changer. Transforming one of the least sustainable garments—with 99.9% of bras typically ending up in landfill—this is fully-compostable at the end of life and doesn't compromise performance. In fact, it's the world's first zero-waste and circular economy bra.
"It's remarkable to see the transformation of this local startup, taking on the world one lady at a time," explains Camille Reed, judge and Founder and Director of Australasian Circular Textile Association (ACTA). "It's very impressive to see the range available to suit every possible figure and the ingenuity to see compostable materials solving the challenge for where metals and hardware would be.”
Ulu Hye Mylk Bases
We've said it before, and we'll say it again, you can't beat a good dairy alternative. If you constantly find yourself refilling your fridge with almond milk, Ulu Hye Mylk Bases—the Food & Drink category winner—is a must-buy. Anything but basic, each jar makes up to ten litres of ‘mylk’ by simply mixing the paste with water.
The best part? Not only are they saving the waste of expired cartons, but they've also already prevented over 500,000 milk long-life cartons from ending up in a landfill. It was this that amazed The Circle Awards Judge and Urban List Lifestyle Editor, Morgan Reardon.
"What we loved about Ulu Hye was their dedication to minimising food waste and unnecessary packaging," says Reardon. "Their forward-thinking formula is absolutely the way for future food consumption, and I can't wait to see them in mainstream grocery stores soon."
The range includes almond, blended nut, hemp, hazelnut and chocolate bases. Shop them all here.
The Hello Cup
Say goodbye to micro-plastics and meet Beauty category winner, The Hello Cup. Completely reusable and recyclable, a single Hello Cup can last up to five years—the equivalent of 2,130 single-use products. The brainchild of registered nurse Mary Bone and bestie Robyn McLean, each cup is hypoallergenic and manufactured in New Zealand from medical-grade TPE.
The Hello Cup's already making waves worldwide and currently tracking towards preventing one billion single-use period products from going into landfills by 2025.
Anna Ross, The Circle Awards judge and founder of Kester Black, says, "The Hello Cup have refined menstrual cups to make them more comfortable and environmentally friendly. By adopting a fun tone of voice and a visually appealing design, they're making reusable menstrual cups more accessible to the mainstream masses and saving millions of single-use tampons and pads from ending up in a landfill."
Why settle for good when you get great? Home Garden & Utilities category winner Great Wrap is Aussie innovation at its finest. A home-compostable stretch wrap made from potato waste at their solar-powered factory on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula.
Motivated by the shocking statistic that Australia puts 150,000 tonnes of stretch wrap into landfill each year, Great Wrap offers a progressive step towards the goal of a reusable solution.
Making waves with no signs of slowing down, they're set to launch commercial wraps and on track to become Australia's largest manufacturer of stretch wrap.
Founder of Small Giants and judge Berry Liberman thinks Great Wrap is a brilliant innovation.
"These kinds of products help us bridge from the current system to deeper, further innovation and behaviour change,” says Liberman. “Mainstream convenience products that are circular by design are key to mitigating the immeasurable damage currently being wrought by business-as-usual.”
You can get your hands on Great Wrap here.
Although tempting, don't sleep on Ettitude—winner of the Lifestyle & Technology Circle Award. This sustainable homewares brand is doing things differently from others in the market with their extensive range of bedding, sleepwear and accessories all made from their innovative CleanBamboo™ fabric.
ICYMI, most bamboo bedding, often uses toxic rayon and viscose. Taking things into their own hands, Ettitude did away with the nasties and developed their own completely biodegradable fabric. Produced in a closed-loop system, using five hundred times less water with less than half the typical levels of carbon emissions, it's no surprise they were on the judges' hotlist.
Judge and author of I Quit Plastics And You Can Too, Kate Nelson, assures, "This is an important step forward for encouraging supply chain transparency and for sustainable fabrics."
Feeling inspired to cut the waste with these sustainable alternatives? For more easy swaps that make a difference, check out the full list of winners from The Circle Awards AUS & NZ 2021 here. We'll see you on the cleaner (and greener) flipside.
Design Credit: Dominique Lonsdale