When it’s lunch time and you want to get food on the go, you’ll know the difficulties faced when it comes to grabbing a quick meal that doesn’t involve plastic packaging in some form.

Some local companies here in Hobart are dedicated to changing this, though.

We dropped by Sush Sushi and were delighted to find out about their approach to Zero Waste.

Sush has been open since 2003, when it first operated as a takeaway. It has since grown to also offer online catering, wholesale and opened a restaurant called Sush Track in 2015. They are all about clean, fresh and natural food and have committed to removing as much plastics as possible from their takeaway packaging. It is fantastic to see local Hobart businesses getting on board and taking responsibility for their plastic consumption!

We interviewed the Sush Company Director David Painter to talk about how Sush tackles the issue of sustainability in Hobart.


Tell us briefly about your lifestyle (or business) and how you are tackling the sustainability issue.

I come from a Quaker background, so the solution to most problems to me seems to be simplicity. Take only what you need. Simplicity also accords with Okham’s Razor which is a scientific or mathematical principle that states that the simplistic solution is usually the correct one. This can be seen in nature. Also in Buddhism and Martial Arts. So much of modern life is just way over complicated. Human beings are capable of incredible ingenuity, and its really marvellous. I think play and experimentation are important, even vital. But just because we can do something, doesn’t always mean we should. I am very choosy about what I do with my time.

I try to produce more than I consume. That is actually amazingly difficult, we are sort of forced into a consumer culture, we are educated to make choices in terms of consumption, not so much in terms or creativity. So I’d really like to hold creativity and simplicity up as key values for my lifestyle and for my business.


What does living a more sustainable life (sustoming) mean to you?

About being creative and productive and about the real value of your work. I spent a long time out of work, doing things in the community, volunteering, and I did not realise at the time, but I was resisting falling into an unsustainable life style. I was determined that real work had to ad value to our community and our environment. It means leaving the world a better, richer, healthier place than you found it.


What inspires you to live more eco-consciously?

Desperation and deep sadness. Because I grew up in this magnificent natural environment and then I went away to see the world and I saw how much damage people do to each other and the environment. People under pressure to survive. It makes me very sad and afraid. But then I come back here and I look at the beauty in Tasmania, which of course exists in many other places too, or even the beauty in art and science, and I figure that all that just happened, and now its our heritage. The natural world is what I aspire to, effortless and graceful beauty.


What is your favourite ‘zero waste’ product and why?

Probably food, all the wonderful traditional foods of the world. Stuff that is local a grown in a way that gives more than it takes from the land. For obvious reasons. Food that we harvest and cook together and consume together. I often reflect that our grandparents were at war, Japanese and Australian. Now we’re down here making making sushi together in Hobart. Food not bombs.

The other thing I buy most is books. But in terms of being actual zero waste products, aimed at reducing waste, I have some nice thermoses and keep cups, lots of beautiful bento and wraps from Japan. I love the printed fabrics.

As a fave, probably my thermos, there’s nothing better than having a cot cuppa on a cold mountainside somewhere.

And honey!


What advice would you give to an aspiring Sustomer (someone starting their zero waste journey)?

Every journey begins with a single step. Keep it simple and do what you know you can achieve. Changing your life begins with changing your daily routine. Find the easiest thing and start there. Once you make a few changes you can start to challenge yourself.

Also, don’t look away from the hard issues. We owe it to each other and to the future generations, to acknowledge what is happening to our planet, our oceans and farmlands. We all need reality checks. Talk to people you trust about your feelings. Don’t make any bold statements or claims that you might regret.  Be honest and realistic.

Buy what you know you will always need and use, again and again. Don’t buy impulsively. Savour the purchase. Actually holding off for a day or two or until you can save up, you enjoy it more, the anticipation and looking forward. And if your interest in a purchase can survive a few days, pfft, you don’t need it.


Are there any innovations (products or initiatives) or people who you admire, for their commitment to a zero waste future?

Everyone who composts well. Everyone who grows their own anything, even just a herb. Effective Micro-organism (EM) is a great product for breaking down waste and compost. Great to see BioPak in our market offering alternatives to plastic. I get a bit torn between single use bio-degradable and byo, because a lot of byo still contains plastics and are often a gimmick.

So Sustomi is great because it brings attention to Bees, and we should all cherish bees, and the cloth is organic, so it fulfils both bio and byo – Yay Sustomi!


Looking at our lifestyles holistically, what is your vision for the future? What needs to shift in society and how might it function?

The other day I thought that all problems can probably be solved on the individual or cultural level, in terms of behaviour. However we tend to look for technology to solve things. This usually results in moving the problem. I think that the pioneers of the future are going to be lifestyle pioneers, learning how to live simply, how to cherish nature. These are things that we never really left behind but recently consuming has become too much the focus.

Education, or even just having the opportunity to experience life that is rich in cultural value, rather than material value. Material stuff is good, as long as it truly expresses our deepest care and respect for each other and for creation.