Buddha Wear

Tabea Kleine, Managing Director at Buddha Wear, is eagerly awaiting the delivery of cotton eco bags for the store, to replace the current stop-gap paper option. “I am so glad that we are moving on to the best bag for the environment. Hopefully we can get people to reuse them, bring them back in, which would be cool to see.”

Over the past 18 months, she’s been through a personal plastic epiphany. “Working for buddha wear definitely has made more more aware of not using plastic bags. The owner, Joy, and I went shopping once and it’s crazy how much more conscious she is about everything. So she really doesn’t get anyone to put something in a bag, she just has her own bag or chucks it in her handbag, so she’s really just taking it a step further. It’s great to see her and learn from her and adapt the awareness that she has for these kinds of things. Now, I always use old bags to put in some books that I need to take home or whatever it is.”

She’s noticed her customers are also on a similar bag journey: “We ask a lot of customers, ‘Well, do you actually want a bag?’ and so many times they actually said no, and were fine. I have the impression that especially in Manly or Avalon, where we have our other store, people there are actually already quite aware. They’re saying ‘Oh no, I’m fine, I just have to walk across the street and put in my car.’ So already you can see that there’s a movement in the right direction.”

As is often the case, totally eliminating plastic is a challenge: “We ship our clothes from Indonesia to here, and it so often happens that the boxes the clothes are in break on the way from Bali. So we do have our original clothes packaged in plastic bags, however we now reuse them. We collect them all and two or three times a year, depending on how much we have, we send them back for reuse.”

Each business faces its own challenges - for The Butcher & The Chef it’s single use gloves; for Buddha Wear it’s dye. “We have to dye our clothes and obviously the process of dying isn’t very environmentally friendly. With some things, you just have to try to minimise it as much asyou can. We only get our clothes dyed in a factory that recycles the water within the building and is not putting it out in the river as other local dying companies do.”

And just like the Butcher & The Chef, there’s a extra cost that the business is absorbing. “Joy’s highest goal in all of that is being eco friendly and producing as sustainably as possible, so we’ll just absorb it in our overall cost. She wouldn’t manipulate this goal just for better overheads.”

BusinessesAlex Davidson