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Q&A with the Green Stew

“If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito in the room..."

This week we speak to Lauren Ryburn at the Green Stew about all things sustainable, her recent partnership with Ecostore NZ and her thoughts on the future of the industry.

Could you give us a description of your experience within the yachting industry?

I have been a Stewardess in the Yachting Industry for just over 6 years. I’m actually a qualified Spa therapist by trade so my role has always been a dual role as a Stewardess/Spa Therapist. I’ve worked on a range of different sized Motor Yachts ranging from 45m – 100m and have had the pleasure of sailing to many different areas of the globe. I’ve also been running my eco-yachting blog and instagram page The Green Stew for a few years now after feeling the urge to help in some way to drive the Yachting Industry towards a greener more sustainable future.

We love your mission at The Green Stew, what was the main driving force behind you wanting to make changes onboard? 

After having worked in the yachting industry for a couple of years I quickly became alarmingly aware of the large eco-footprint that the Industry was having on the environment and the throw away mentality that we seem to have adopted onboard. The amount of waste that one yacht produces in a single day is shocking! Not only general landfill waste but also the chemical waste that is being flushed directly into the ocean harming the delicate eco systems below us.Witnessing this first-hand along with the initial feeling of utter helplessness and frustration quickly became the driving force for me to take action and start making small positive changes in my own daily practices onboard. I then created The Green Stew Instagram page and began sharing my eco endeavours with fellow crew in hopes of inspiring them to do the same.

If you could give one tip to another crew member for wanting to make sustainable change onboard what would it be?

My first tip would be – Never think that you are too small to make a difference or have an impact.

My favourite Eco-tip and one of the easiest ways to become eco-minded is to QUESTION EVERYTHING! 

Ask yourself before making a purchase, “what is this made of and where will this end up?” Ask yourself before using a product, “will this compromise my well-being and the well-being of the planet?”

For example, if a company supplies you with a product that arrives absolutely laden in plastic packaging don’t be afraid to flick them a quick email asking, “have you considered a more sustainable alternative?" Or when you arrive at a marina or port that doesn’t have recycling facilities available don’t hesitate to ask them the question, “why not?”

I believe if we’re able to start these conversations and get ourselves and other people thinking about things they may never have considered, this can be extremely powerful in shifting old paradigms and creating positive change.

My favourite Eco-tip and one of the easiest ways to become eco-minded is to QUESTION EVERYTHING! 

We are loving the increase in sustainable brands and products on the yachting scene, could you tell us a bit more about your partnership with Ecostore and tell us a bit about their ethos and products? 

Yes, it’s so great to see so many eco friendly/yacht-worthy alternatives available to us these days. Which makes it so much easier for crew to make the switch to environmentally friendly products on-board.

Ecostore is a New Zealand Eco product company who have been a kiwi household favourite for over 30 years (My family and I have used them for years!) Lance from Ecostore reached out to me last year when I was back home in NZ saying that they were now supplying cleaning and toiletry products for superyachts worldwide and whether I’d be interested in teaming up with them to help tackle the chemical & plastic waste problem within the industry.

This was very exciting to hear because since my eco yachting journey began I had been searching tirelessly for a product supplier that ticked all the boxes.

These tick boxes included:

  • Having products that were safe for the environment and safe for crew using them but also that preformed well and met the high standards for effective and efficient cleaning on-board a superyacht.

  • Being able to meet the specific requirements & demands of a Yacht when it comes to high-volume orders and worldwide accessibility.

  • Another vital box I wanted to tick was finding a product range that offered large 5 – 20L refill options for their products. I’ve always found it so uneconomical having to provision copious amounts of small bottles of cleaning products & toiletries that we go through so quickly onboard. The amount of plastic waste this produces is crazy not to mention the amount of time and resources it takes to provision for them every few weeks, bringing them on-board and storing them. So to have the option of ordering in a large amount of bulk sized refill bottles that can refill the same spray bottle over and over again is a no-brainer really! Saving so much time/energy/money and of course plastic!

  • A one-stop-shop supplier where we can source our entire range of products needed on-board for every department. Including Laundry, Housekeeping, Service, Galley, Deck, as well as Crew & Guest toiletries. I believe sometimes the only thing holding crew back from making the switch to eco products onboard is time and energy. If they can't trust that a product will work just as well (or if not even better) than their old toxin-ridden faithful’s then they don’t want to waste their precious time and energy searching, sourcing & testing alternatives. Not only this but having to source 17 odd products from 4 or 5 different suppliers can be a nightmare. So to be able to cover all bases and streamline provisioning in one purchase is great!

Ecostore tick all of these boxes! Ocean friendly, Crew friendly and Yacht-friendly.

All of their products are cruelty-free and their bottles are made from sugar cane plastic (which means it comes from a renewable source and reduces carbon from the atmosphere when it grows) Some of their packaging is even made from ocean waste plastic which is pretty cool!

I believe companies like these are crucial in supporting Yacht’s in making the transition to a more eco-friendlier and sustainable way of life.

If anyone’s interested in learning more about Ecostore’s products or getting them onboard they can reach out to me at and I’d be happy to send some info through (Unfortunately they haven’t yet launched the Ecostore Marine website but it's coming soon!)

We know ourselves that sometimes sustainable yachting can be seen as an oxymoron, what would your advice be to crew that think their sustainable efforts don’t make a difference?

Oh yes I’ve heard the old “Oxymoron” comment more than once! Haha!

Crew will often come to me seeking advice after having faced resistance onboard in many different forms when they have tried to implement positive change.

One of my favourite quotes from the Dalai Lama is – “If you think you’re too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito in the room”

My advice would be to not lose faith! None of us are too small to make a difference. In-fact, as crew members, as the “little people” we are in such a powerful position to create waves of positive change. We are the driving force behind this large industry and it’s in the small actions we take everyday that create waves of positive change right the way through the industry. 

From “below deck” right up to the high-powered influential people that own and charter these yachts and beyond! Every small change makes a difference, every voice that speaks up doesn’t go unheard and every step in the right direction is a step towards a better future. So never give up.

When it comes to the mindset of Sustainable-Yachting being an “Oxymoron”, I believe it’s important that we realise a luxury service should never come at the cost of the planet. In order to provide a high-end service onboard should not mean that we are destroying the very environment that we live and sail upon. 

It’s becoming apparent more now than ever that Luxury and Sustainability can come hand and hand and it doesn’t have to be one or the other. Thankfully there are now many eco-minded crew, companies and initiatives out there that are making this a reality within the industry.

My advice would be to not lose faith! None of us are too small to make a difference. In-fact, as crew members, as the “little people” we are in such a powerful position to create waves of positive change.

What do you think the future of the industry could look like in terms of sustainability?

I think it’s looking very promising! I have witnessed the industry come leaps and bounds in it’s eco endeavors even in such a short space of time. I believe now more than ever the well-being of the ocean and the planet is at the forefront of most people’s minds and if we continue to move forward in the direction we are heading then the future will be looking very promising indeed!

With the powerful combination of eco-conscious people, education and new technology there really is no end to the possibilities of where the industry could end up!

We must just have faith that it is possible and each and every one of us have a vital part to play in that future!

Thanks to Lauren from The Green Stew, check out her page & Instagram today!

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