Walking the talk – retail manager Yulia Podrul
As part of our series where we find out more about how some of the team at ecostore are living sustainably we caught up with Yulia, the retail manager at our Auckland store in Freeman’s Bay. Yulia shared with us her passion for keeping fit with dance and how becoming more aware of the products she uses at home has helped her to be kinder to the planet.
Tell us about yourself
I’m the assistant retail manager for the ecostore shop in Auckland. It’s a pretty varied role, so each day is different. My main duty is to look after all of the non-ecostore products that we stock from natural teas, supplements, toys and eco accessories. I also offer support and encouragement to the wider retail team and take care of their time sheets and the weekly roster.
We are so lucky with the group of people we have in store. Everyone is positive, friendly and brings something special to the team. I really enjoy my work and I love being a part of a company who are considering their impact on the environment.
Latin-American dancing is my main interest outside of work. It’s great for fitness and the dancing community is very social, so it has become a big part of my life. I used to dance competitively, but now it’s just for fun. I’m pretty interested in fitness and there’s a great gym just up the road, which is really handy to go to after work.
What eco-activities are you involved in and what changes have you made to live more sustainably?
I live really close to work, so I walk every day, which means I don’t have to rely on using a car or public transport. I love morning walks, so I take the opportunity each day to make it a little bit of a ritual. Auckland city is really green, so enjoying a coffee while I commute on foot is a great way to start the day.
I’ve changed a lot of the products I use at home. I’ve become more conscious about what ingredients are in my cleaners, laundry and personal care products and make sure to choose products which are free of chemicals that may have a negative impact on my health and the environment. I use skincare products and makeup that is paraben free, so I have switched from using mainstream cosmetic brands to natural ones.
I’ve been making an effort to minimise my waste by buying in bulk and re-using packaging where I can. I have a re-usable glass coffee cup and drink bottle, which has stopped me from using the disposable plastic alternatives. If I forget my coffee cup I won’t buy a morning coffee! I separate my waste streams, and make sure to recycle everything I can.
Energy is expensive, so I make sure to switch all of my appliances off at the wall when they are not in use. My washing machine is really economical and I make sure to set it to cold for the shortest wash to save on water. Every little bit counts!
I think it’s important to support the local community, so each weekend I shop locally for organic produce at Saturday morning farmers markets. Here in New Zealand we have amazing agriculture, and when fruit and vegetables are grown seasonally without chemical filled sprays they taste so much better!
What have been the main benefits for your family and the planet from being involved in these activities?
I think that making small changes do add up to have a significant impact on the environment. Sending less rubbish to the landfill, saving power and water and using less disposable items helps to preserve the planet. Being mindful of using products with less harmful chemicals has been good for my health too.
What are your favourite ecostore products and why?
I love the geranium and orange laundry liquid – it works well and the scent is beautiful. I also use the coconut and vanilla body wash, which is equally as delicious! The new jute bags that have recently arrived in store are also great to have on hand at the supermarket.
What tip would you offer to those looking to make more environmentally responsible choices?
Shop locally to save money and support the community you live in. I’d also suggest researching the products you are using, and reading up on which ingredients are safe for you and the environment.