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Activists That Inspire Us - Thomas Hiney

This year we're committed to finding more ways to empower you to make more sustainable choices by avoiding damaging, single-use products and more comfort for your day to day. What does that mean for you? More innovative solutions for managing your leaks or sweat. That's worth celebrating!

We've been working with like minding companies and individuals that inspire us to be better.

Thomas Hiney is the co-founder of Sunbutter. An eco-friendly sunscreen that uses a formula that possessed the highest sun protection factor possible for their outdoor lifestyle, SPF50, but was not going to compromise their skin with harsh chemicals or have adverse effects on marine life and corals.

We asked Thomas a few quick q's on his company and what inspired him to be the activist that he is today.

Who inspired you to become environmentally focused?     

The planet! I've been so fortunate to travel and work in wildlife conservation and travel that its always inspiring to protect what you love. People like Jane Goodall, Sylvia Earle and Sir David of course are huge inspirations. But i think being so fortunate to have been to so many places, some under threat and some now under amazing protection and thriving really inspires you to help anyway you can.

Were you a sustainable family growing up?       

To some degree yes. My dad was a huge fan of recycling and washed/squashed and sorted everything! and my mum grew/cooked/baked everything she could. I grew up in a rural-ish town in England and we had great farms around us. So, picking our own fruit and veggies (and eating as I went) was always a super fun activity. 


What big/small changes have you made to be more sustainable in your life? 

We're really lucky that where we live, we have a great bulk food store and farm gates. So, all our shopping is via them. It's fun as it means we eat seasonally (I am so excited to see tomatoes and eggplants!!!) and all plastic free. It's also super fun as we do our shopping on the same day and the staff are super lovely for a chat! During COVID both offered deliveries and still do - so if we're too busy we email an order and they drop it off! So easy!  We also have a little plastic free kit in our car with emergency keep cup and shopping bag - just in case.. This year I also started buying lunch each pay check for charity, so instead of grabbing a coffee and pie after a surf I wait until home and donate the money to some of my fave charities.


Has the environment always been a big part of your life?

Absolutely, we had amazing wildlife in my childhood garden (well by English standards anyway) and so many holidays were spent hiking, rock pooling and being outdoors. It always made sense to look after it. As a family we'd "womble" (like the UK TV series) and pick-up litter as we hiked.


What tips can you give your community to help make changes in their daily lives?

I think just starting is a big barrier. We know some people who have bought every plastic replacement product under the sun - but always forget them. So just set yourself the goal of remembering one thing - a keep cup or reusable bag for example. Another thing is to get involved, people would be amazed how many awesome groups there are around them cleaning beaches, streams, forests or protecting nature areas, planting native vegetation. And, it's such a fun day out!! 


Our sunscreens are made in a solar powered factory in Australia.