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Bob People: Talking Sexy Shaving & Sustainability with Kappi Founder, Emily Carlstrom


It was a chance viewing of ABC’s War on Waste that sparked Melbourne based wife and husband duo Emily and Fred Carlstrom to think a little deeper about how the way we live has an impact on our planet.

In their plight to use less waste in their everyday, it was the search for reusable items that weren’t ironically packaged in plastic that led the Carlstroms to identify a gap in the market, and so Kappi was born.

A zero-waste online store that makes reducing your footprint a little easier, the offering includes razors that are actually cool and make Emily feel sexy (“who knew this was a thing? she laughs”), eco bamboo tooth brushes, water bottles (one of the world’s most used waste items) and neatly packaged shopping and travel starter kits.

All minimally designed in a muted palette, the collection is for those who favour both sustainability and design.

Here, we sit down with yoga instructor one half of Kappi, Emily Carlstrom, to talk realistic tips to slowly but surely reduce waste, and why it is now more important than ever to be mindful of the choices we make on a daily basis.


Talk to us a little bit about the Kappi journey?

My husband Fred and I started Kappi at the end of 2017 after a huge wake-up call to the plastic pollution that is plaguing our planet. We had just watched ABC’s ‘War on Waste’ and were inspired to start reducing the amount of waste we produced. It was while shopping for some reusable items that we realised there was a gap in the market for reusables that were stylish, functional and that didn’t come packaged in plastic! We were so shocked while out shopping that items that were designed to reduce your waste came packaged in so much waste! And so, Kappi was born. What started out as a side project is now my full time job. Our vision is to end single-use plastic pollution and through Kappi we hope to inspire people to reduce their impact on the planet. 


Can you remember what fact about recycling or waste that startled you the most?

Nearly one million plastic beverage bottles are sold every minute around the world. 1,000,000 every 60 seconds! And, most of these are not recycled; most end up in landfill, in our oceans or are ingested by wildlife.


You’re not only business partners; you are also married - talk to us a little bit about how you practice minimising waste at home?

We try to minimise our waste through all aspects of our lives. At home, for many families, the biggest source of waste is in the kitchen! Here are some of the ways we minimise our waste in the kitchen;

·       We plan our meals every week to minimise food waste

·       We shop at a local organic grocery store and always bring our organic cotton produce and grocery bags 

·       We compost our food scraps

·       We cook enough for dinner to be able to take leftovers for lunch the next day (this helps us to avoid buying packaged food whilst at work)

·       Any soft plastics that make their way into our fridge (mainly only tofu packaging) gets recycled via Red Cycle.

·       We visit Bulk Food Stores to purchase all of our pantry staples (not only does this minimise waste, it also saves money as you only have to buy the amount you need)

In the bathroom, we use bamboo compostable toothbrushes, safety razors and biodegradable floss to help minimise our waste. I’ve also recently started using Mukti Organics for skincare, which comes packaged in glass. 

Fred and I are now very mindful when purchasing anything new (be it food, clothing, or things for around the house) on how it was made, the longevity of the item and what it comes packaged in.

“Now, more than ever, it is essential that we all become more aware of the effects of our actions - what we consume, the amount of waste we create, the foods we’re eating and how we vote with our dollar.”

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What advice would you give to someone who's just starting out on their sustainable journey?

That it IS a journey! Don’t be hard on yourself if you can’t change everything straight away. Take it slow and start implementing things gradually so that you don’t overwhelm yourself and revert back to old behaviours. Another piece of advice is to always be prepared - have your re-usables on hand (for me that’s always my water bottle, coffee cup and grocery bag) so that you can always say no to single-use plastic. Follow inspirational people that are kicking goals in this arena – my favourite is @plasticfreemermaid – on Instagram. Also, Plastic Free July is a great initiative to help kick-start your sustainable journey.


Favourite Kappi product at the moment? 

My favourite product at the moment is our Safety Razor. It has been an absolute game-changer for me. Not only does it reduce waste in the bathroom, it actually gives me the best shave and reduces irritation and ingrown hairs. I use our Matte Gold razor and I actually feel sexy shaving – who knew this was even a thing? 

Any favourite books, shows, or podcasts about the environment and how to protect it?

I’d definitely recommend ABC’s ‘War on Waste’ as this is what kick-started the Kappi journey and gives insight into the waste epidemic and practical tips on how to reduce your waste.

Read Yvon Chouinard’s ‘Let my People Go Surfing’ – it’s a story of Patagonia’s journey to becoming one of the most respected and environmentally responsible companies on the planet. 

My favourite podcast at the moment is The Plant Proof Podcast by Simon Hill – he shares ways to be more mindful and conscious with how we live, and the impact everyday decisions have on our health and the health of the planet.

What are you excited about cooking this winter? 

I’m really excited to be cooking and eating delicious warming soups. Melbourne winter is so chilly and there is nothing better than cosying up with a beautiful bowl of soup.


You’re also a yoga teacher – talk to us a little bit about mindfulness, how we can be more mindful, and how this relates to our care for the environment?

Mindfulness means something different to everyone. Personally, Fred and I interpret it to mean slowing down, taking stock and working out what really matters to us.

Mindfulness allows us to hold up a mirror to our own lives and see it from a different perspective.

Mindfulness is such a powerful tool for being able to create meaningful change in society. If society as a whole were to cultivate increased mindfulness, I believe the world would be in a very different state than it is in today.

Fred and I meditate daily and we both move our bodies every day in our own way (yoga for me, cycling/running for Fred). Exercise and meditation really help provide the clarity that cultivating mindfulness demands.

Now, more than ever, it is essential that we all become more aware of the effects of our actions - what we consume, the amount of waste we create, the foods we’re eating and how we vote with our dollar.

One of my favourite quotes is “the greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it” – Robert Swan. It's our time now to act and do all we can to protect this beautiful planet we call home.

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