For her 2018 new year’s resolution, journalist Lottie Dalziel decided to live more sustainably. But making small, practical changes to what she purchased each week proved more difficult than she’d thought.
“It was hard to find information, or credible brands,” she says. “I just wanted someone to tell me exactly what to do and I’d do it. So, I thought, why don’t I use my skills as a journalist to pull together the knowledge I need and provide people with actionable steps that they can take.”
The result of Lottie’s epiphany was Banish, a straight-talking, informative website and online store, where you can buy environmentally-friendly replacements for everyday items like kitchen dish brushes and bin liners, as well as sustainable beauty products and haircare.
About a month ago, we recycled our two millionth blister pack, which was one of our biggest achievements
Two years later, Lottie launched BRAD (Banish Recycling and Disposal program), which recycles household items such as blister packs, toothpaste tubes, bread tags – you simply send them in a shoe box to their Sydney warehouse and BRAD’s 80-strong team of volunteers does the rest.
“About a month ago, we recycled our two millionth blister pack, which was one of our biggest achievements,” says Lottie. “It was such a pinch-me moment, as there have been so many organisations and individuals along the way that didn’t take me, or BRAD, seriously – they didn’t believe in the collective impact of individuals. Now, we’re able to point to what we’ve achieved, which is really exciting.”
So, what was the moment that changed everything?
Quitting my job in magazines to work full-time on Banish was a pretty big moment! I’d always wanted to work in media (I have a double degree in nutrition and media) and I was working as digital content manager for Women’s Health, Men’s Health and Beautiful. We weren’t financially secure [at Banish], but I couldn’t keep working on it as a side hustle as I knew I’d burn out.
Making that decision really made me pull up my socks and give it my all.
What do you wish people knew about recycling?
That it isn’t as hard as you think, and that items do actually get recycled in Australia. There’s such a misconception that everything goes into landfill, but it doesn’t. But in fact the best thing we can do is consume less.
What makes all your hard work worthwhile?
I love our volunteering sessions. With BRAD, we have 80 volunteers who give up three hours on a Saturday once a month to sort through other people’s recycling and it’s just the best thing ever. It’s so lovely to connect with other people who want to roll up their sleeves and work together for a purpose. Their excitement is infectious.
For so long, as a solo founder, I was working by myself and I forgot how amazing it is to be part of a team, and the volunteers are that for me.
What do you do in your spare time?
I’m at the beach! I’m very lucky to live very close to the beach and I try to get in the water every morning, whether I’m swimming, surfing or just having a dip. I wouldn’t say I’m a great surfer but I’m definitely getting dumped less than I used to.
If you weren’t running Banish and BRAD, what would you be doing? I’d probably still be doing some kind of social enterprise. I’ve just always been a problem solver and if it wasn’t Banish I’d be working elsewhere in the field.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Don’t take no for an answer! There’s no such thing as ‘no’; there’s just ‘not right now’.
Can you finish this sentence: Nothing feels better than…
A swim in the ocean. You never regret it.