Keeping veggies fresh can be a tricky business. Leave them out on the bench, and who knows what creepy crawlies may have a field day chomping on your greens. Store them in the fridge, and you might just end up with inexplicably soft carrots – a situation that’s both confusing and deflating when it comes time to chop them up and dip them into hummus. It’s about time someone much smarter than us solved this little predicament, right?
Enter Peita Pini and her new life-hack-turned-small-business, The Swag – a 100% natural, sustainable, reusable veggie storage bag.
“The Swag was born out of pure frustration,” Pini, who grew up on acreage on the outskirts of Sydney, tells SBS. “Being a mum and working full time, I was simply sick and tired of throwing out rotten fruit and veggies (and my hard-earned money with them). My girlfriends were all complaining about this problem too, and for some crazy reason I became acutely aware and attentive to the issue.”
“Being a mum and working full time, I was simply sick and tired of throwing out rotten fruit and veggies (and my hard-earned money with them)."
A moment of clarity soon followed: veggies, like humans, are in fact alive, and require ventilation and hydration. “It dawned on me,” she says. “I wouldn’t last long sealed in a plastic bag or container without air or water – veggies don’t either.”
For Pini and her family, The Swag has been a completely life-altering venture – in more ways than one. After too many sleepless nights developing the prototype and testing the product, the product launched in 2016 to resounding success.
“Almost every room in our home was filled to the roof with boxes. I rolled The Swags, generated the invoices, packed and hand wrote on every envelope,” Pini says. “There were nights when I simply didn’t sleep and the kids would come downstairs at 7am and there I was, completely surrounded by a sea of brown paper envelopes. I’d shower, dress the kids, make the lunches and head off to my full-time role in media sales.”
In case you’re wondering who’s the boss, it’s Peita Pini.
The Swag business has since “gone viral” through word-of-mouth, and is now stocked Australia-wide in places like Howards Storage World and Nourished Life. It’s even been given the nod by Shark Tank, a Channel 10 entrepreneurial-focused reality television show that turns big small business dreams into reality. Pini and The Swag received $150,000 in investment money after she pitched her product on the show.
“It was clear consumers really needed a product like The Swag, and there was nothing like it in the market,” she says. “Receiving several offers and subsequently a deal on Shark Tank has given us renewed belief that Swag Australia is absolutely heading in the right direction, and we’re excited about making The Swag a household name.”
The lives of Pini’s vegetables (and those of anyone else who’s now using The Swag) have infinitely improved, too. Instead of rotting away in Tupperware containers or asphyxiating in pesky cling wrap, vegetables are wrapped in natural fibres that actually work to keep them fresh for two weeks on average. The Swag reduces fridge waste, saves space and renders very little impact on the environment, as it’s completely biodegradable.
“Fruits and veggies are very happy in their natural Swag sleeping bags,” says Pini. “They look like the day you purchased them two weeks later – no waste, no plastic. There’s no need to wrap half-cut cucumbers or capsicums in cling wrap. You simply place them back into The Swag nude, and the next day there are no slimy edges. Carrots will last months, and they can actually start growing new green shoots out their top ends.”
The pointy end of Plastic Free July might be the perfect time to pick up a Swag – especially as the chorus against single-use plastic continues to swell. Pini’s win on Shark Tank, the plastic bag ban in supermarket chains and similar grassroots movements like The Last Straw are all indicative of a shift in public opinion towards a greener, less impactful approach to living.
“We’re really excited about all the wonderful companies who’re moving into the eco/sustainable space by providing incredibly effective alternatives to single-use plastics,” Pini says. “Collectively, we are powerful, and somehow the sustainable, waste-free, plastic-free adventure becomes really easy, and then you find yourself looking for even better ways to make a difference.”
Looking for something to make with your fresh veggies? Peruse our vegetarian recipe collection today.
Lead image via Instagram @theswag.original