Kitchen hacks to help the planet

Ipswich resident Kaitlyn Leeds was a child when she realised just how much rubbish was going in the bin.

“I remember growing up as a kid, and a daily task was to take out the rubbish,” she said.

“We’d have a full wheelie bin, come bin day.”

So when she got her own home, Ms Leeds started looking for small changes that could make a big difference for the environment.

“I found most of the rubbish came from the kitchen, so that was an obvious place to start,” she said.

Now she’s encouraging other Ipswich residents to have a go at making some sustainable changes around the home.

“Start by thinking about something of concern to you,” Ms Leeds said.

“It could be the amount of rubbish, electricity usage or even water usage.

“Start with small adaptions first so they stick and become part of your ‘normal’ routine.

“Once you feel happy with the changes you’ve made to one aspect of your home, then bring in another.”

Check out the latest episode of Sustainability in the Suburbs in which Ms Leeds shows us how easy it can be to start sustainable habits and where she finds her inspiration.

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Find out more: www.1millionwomen.com.au/

Last year, the community told Ipswich City Council they’d like to know how to get rid of single-use plastic and packaging to help them be more sustainable in their everyday life.

Ms Leeds said there are a number of ways Ipswich residents can reduce their use of disposable packaging.

“If buying takeaway food, support businesses that use sustainable packaging options or allow you to use your own reusable coffee cup – COVID-19 aside,” she said.

“Shop at bulk foods shops. It’s so easy to take some reusable jars to these shops and fill up with staple items such as flour, sugar, grains, and even detergents and oils.

“I’ve personally come to enjoy making my own snacks and cereals, so packaging is removed altogether.”

Sometimes packaging is unavoidable, but Ms Leeds said there are ways to dispose of it while being mindful of the environment.

“Set up a bin system for packaging you can’t avoid,” Ms Leeds said.

“I have a bin for landfill – about one small bag per week.

“I also have a bin for recycling, a bin for Containers for Change bottles, a bin for compostable scraps and lastly a soft plastics bin which I take down to the supermarket.”

Sustainability in the Suburbs is all about sharing stories, knowledge and ideas help us all live, eat and play the sustainable way.

By working together we can protect and enhance our environment and its liveability for current and future generations.

Keep an eye out for more videos featuring sustainability tips and tricks from Ipswich residents or share your own using #sustainableipswich

Find out more at Ipswich.qld.gov.au/sustainability

And she says it’s important to keep at it, even if you slip up.

“I don’t worry if there’s some days I can’t completely adhere to this, as I generally try the best I can most times,” Ms Leeds said.

“It’s important you don’t give up straight away or after one failed attempt.”

DIY Foaming Hand Soap Recipe

Ms Leeds also makes her own kitchen products.

“For a homemade cleaning option, I like making my own foaming hand soap,” Ms Leeds said.

“Try out a few recipes that have been tried and tested. 

“It also depends if your family is conscious about chemical usage at all.  That’s what started my interest in homemade cleaning products – skin reactions to conventional products. 

“I wanted to learn more about what was in our cleaning products, food, and so on.”

She uses the below recipe from Wellness Mama.


  • 350ml of water – distilled or boiled is best if not being used within a few weeks
  • 2tbsp of liquid castile soap
  • ½ tsp of olive oil or almond oil
  • Essential oil (optional)


  1. Fill the soap dispenser with water to within 2.5 centimetres of the top.
  2. Add at least two tablespoons of liquid castile soap to the water mixture. Note: do not add the soap first as it will create bubbles when the water is added.
  3. Add the olive or almond oil and any essential oils if you are using them.
  4. Close and lightly ‘swish’ to mix.
  5. Use as you would any regular foaming soap.

Source: https://wellnessmama.com/8631/foaming-hand-soap

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