Plastic pollution is a problem in small islands like Rarotonga without recycling plants so, to combat this, Rochelle Ellison-Lupena and Raukura Ellison have teamed up and are offering a range of eco- friendly products that contain mostly plant-derived and sustainable ingredients: no sulphates, no parabens or harmful chemicals.
Since the sale of reusable coffee cups and water bottles took off, plastic straws have also been banned in many bars in Rarotonga.
Ellison, the health and PE teacher at Tereora College, says rather than using plastic packaging they have opted for paper bags, mason jars, twine and wooden scoops to package their products.
“We want to make products that work for people and are sustainable at the same time,” says Ellison.
Ellison-Lupena has been experimenting from her home in Auckland with natural skincare recipes and sends them to Rarotonga for Ellison to see what people are interested in.
Their brand name is Manuia Makes.
Ellison said it was hard coming up with a name for their line of products; she laughs saying they had actually changed the name several times. At first they considered RnR (Raukura and Rochelle) and then Manea Makes.
They are making only small batches at a time but the demand for their products has been insane, Ellison says. They were selling out within a day of posting on the Rarotonga buy/swap/sell Facebook page.
The most popular product Rochelle made was a coconut and mango body butter.
Rochelle also made activated charcoal cleansers and Brazilian red clay cleansers alongside single use lotion bars and pure coconut soap cleaning bars which Ellison says is great for stain removal.
Another interesting product they are supplying is beeswax wraps. Beeswax wraps are a reusable, washable and sustainable alternative to single use glad wrap or cling wrap.
All over the world people are starting to see the appeal of homemade or green and eco-friendly products and people are more conscious about their purchases than ever.