Eco-Conscious Geelong Store Recycles the Un-recyclable

A Geelong mother and daughter duo’s determination to look after the environment has fuelled their decision to open an ‘eco alternative’ shop in Pakington Street.

Photo: Pixabay

Heather Storer and Erin Petrie opened Live Eco in October last year, seeking to make a difference to the world and hoping to “spark the fire in you to want to make a difference too”.

“The idea for Live Eco came about as Mum and I wanted to be a hub for everyday eco items, we wanted people to pick something up in their home, such as a peg, and for them to know that there was somewhere they could go that would potentially have the eco alternative or where they could find out more information if not,” Erin said.

She said her mum, Heather, had always been environmentally savvy and was using reusable supermarket bags long before it was trendy.

“Mum has always been wary of chemicals in cleaning products, make up, hair care as well as chemicals in food, so we were brought up in an environment where we were encouraged to think twice about things before we used or consumed them,” Erin said.

Erin, a nutritionist, said she joined her mother’s commitment to living an eco-friendly lifestyle when her passion for helping people eat well and feel good “slowly splashed over into the environment”.

The mother-daughter team say the eco-conscious lifestyle is not hard to obtain, beginning with making small changes to look after the environment.

“Mum and I had been making small changes over the last few years from toilet paper, to cleaning products, to personal care products as, although we were both already wary of these, we were still able to make adjustments to make even better choices than we were already making,” Erin said.

She said the idea behind Live Eco was to “make looking after the environment really easy for people” by becoming a Terracyle drop off point, collecting and recycling metal lids and hosting Live Eco parties to educate people about eco-friendly options.

Terracycle is a recycling company that sorts and recycles waste into repurposed products. Live Eco collects the following items to send to Teracycle to be recycled.

Dental and oral care items including;

  • Toothbrushes
  • Toothpaste Packaging (as empty of product as possible)
  • Floss containers
  • Outside packaging for toothbrushes and floss containers

Beauty and hair products including;

  • Empty mascara and lipstick tubes
  • Empty eyeshadow palettes
  • Hairspray cans
  • Moisturiser, shampoo, conditioner, hair mask containers
  • Face care containers e.g eye cream, face moisturiser and toner
  • Eye liner and lip liner sticks
  • Foundation and concealer tubes

And miscellaneous items including;

  • Metal lids and metal bits (check they are metal and not aluminium by seeing if they are attracted to a magnet) 
  • Beer/cider caps
  • Pasta sauce, stir fry, salsa jar lids
  • Metal bit of pegs
  • Pens, markers and textas

Erin said these items would otherwise end up in landfill, which is a “Band-Aid solution” and many items meant for landfill “easily end up in our oceans”.

“Many of the materials items are made from these days will last for hundreds of years,” she said.

“If we don’t start to think more about the items we buy, and if it wasn’t for companies like Terracycle and many of the sustainable brands we stock in our shop, marine life will become endangered, the damage that landfill contributes to climate change will increase dramatically, and we will slowly start running out of places to store our rotting waste.”

Erin admits that being environmentally friendly can be “overwhelming” due to the “variety of options and opinions out there” but she recommends starting with making small and simple changes to your supermarket shopping routine.

Erin’s eco-friendly tips:

  • Use reusable bags, keep some in your car and keep a scrunchable one in your handbag or glove box so it’s easy to remember
  • Use reusable produce bags for your fruit and veg or just place them in your trolley so you don’t need to use produce bags at all
  • Choose fruit and veg that doesn’t come in plastic packaging
  • Opt for cardboard or glass packaging for items where there is the option, such as with mineral water or pasta
  • Make a trip to your local bulk store to stock up on some items
  • Planning meals at home a few nights a week so that your using what you buy and reducing the amount your throw in the bin


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