Thursday, September 22, 2011

Bad News about The Body Shop

The biggest change I've noticed since we began this project is our shopping trolley. The brands filling it are eco-friendly and ethical which gives me alot of satisfaction as I unload it at the check-out.

With myself, I've also noticed a reluctance to impulse buy either at the supermarket and in general. Before I buy anything I want to research the brand. I'm not entirely sure the rest of the family quite "get" this. I've noticed new Bonds underwear appearing in the house. Oh well.

I ordered the Ethical Consumer Guide and was reading it, only to learn something that greatly disappointed me in terms of branding and ownership. One of the "no-no" companies is L'Oreal because of nanoparticles and animal testing. Naturewatch has called for a boycott of their products, obviously feeling they're not worth it. I don't use L'Oreal anyway but what disappointed me was the fact the The Body Shop is actually owned by L'Oreal and has been for the past five years. Grrr. The principles of The Body Shop haven't changed. It still supports Fair Trade and doesn't test on animals. However, profits made from The Body Shop would, ultimately, go to L'Oreal, I suspect. Consequently, I won't be buying from The Body Shop anymore :(

Monday, September 12, 2011

Can the Royal Show be done in an ethical and eco-friendly way?

On Friday we braved the rain and the crowds and hit the Royal Show. I decided to use it as an opportunity to research the following question: can the Show be done in an ethical and eco-friendly way?

The answer is that it can be approached in ethical and eco-friendly ways, at least.

Here are some of the ways:
  • take public transport
  • bring packed food in reusable containers
  • avoid the sideshows, rides and showbags
  • spend time at the exhibitions and tastings

Of course, that makes for a very boring Show! I went with my husband and 13 year old son. We struck a balance. We brought our own food and went to the exhibitions and tastings. Although we walked through the sideshows and rides my son opted to use his money for showbags instead. He bought about three showbags. My husband and I also bought some things but our stuff mostly came in reusable or recyclable containers.

All three of us enjoyed walking around and looking at various things. My muso son loved that we happened to be in the Goyder Pavillion when the Police Band was performing so we watched them for awhile. I loved seeing Fair Coffee - a stall selling organic Fair Trade coffee. There are alot of big companies that promote at the Show. However, I really like it that small local companies can, too. I sampled some Australian made skin products that I hadn't heard of before.

In the general scheme of things, I'd prefer to do something else with the money than go to the Show but I didn't feel like I spent all that time making a mockery of the Footprints Project.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Shopping Day

Shopping day again and new habits have replaced old ones.

I now go to the locally owned supermarket instead of to one of the duopolies. It still saddens me to forego all those frequent flyer points but "it's a far far better thing I do ... " You get the idea! For the most part I buy humanely and/or eco-friendly products. Sometimes, it's not possible and when that happens I break into a cold sweat and hope noone is watching me.

Today I wasn't able to get a couple of things I needed at the locally owned supermarket and had to go to the duopoly. I made sure I was wearing a scarf and dark glasses so people wouldn't recognize me as I went in ...

The pleasant surprise has been that there has been no noticable increase in my shopping bills :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Non-packaged Treats

We're very lucky that our children aren't particularly picky eaters. However, both of them are vegetarian and it's very important for me to make sure all their iron and protein needs are being met. I have never been a fan of buying packaged lunch box foods for them but all that unnecessary packaging does not fit in to The Footprints Project at all so they're banned now.

I nearly succumbed to buying individual yogurts last week when I shopped and mentioned this to my son. He informed me that it would be more convenient for him to bring a Tupperware container anyway and to please buy one large tub of yogurt instead of six small ones. Yay. We decided that, as the weather heats up, we can freeze the yogurt the night before and it will be a cold, half-frozen treat by recess or lunch.

We had some split peas in the pantry which my husband fried up and added spices to. They're also in a container at home and the amount is rapidly depleting. Whilst frying isn't healthy, the peas are packed with goodness and we haven't used any extra packaging.

My daughter works in a Chinese restaurant and they always give her a container of food to bring home after work. She rarely finishes it and brings the left-overs to school the next day in the same container. She brings the container home and we wash it up to use to bring food to my father-in-law. We now have a small collection of take-away containers and they've come in very handy.

Finally, both the children like fruit so there is always plenty in the house. It can be sent to school with no packaging involved and then cores and peels thrown away to decompose.

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Lull in Enthusiasm

Footprints  was essentially my idea and my family very kindly agreed to come along for the journey. Our values are all similar so they were keen to join in. I remain the driving force behind it and being the driving force can sometimes be a lonely position to be in.

This is our seventh week into it and I can feel old habits beginning to creep back or is it that the new ones just haven't had time to fully replace the old ones. There seem to be many reasons why the old ways seems better. They are NOT better, however. They're based on the wrong belief that the Earth's resources are unlimited and that if we don't see or know how the labourers who make our clothes and other things are treated then it's not our problem. It's my problem because I've chosen to make it so.

So, I will continue to try my best to do what I can and make changes rather than excuses. Furthermore, I'll be on the watch for those insidious bad habits which seem to be determined to creep back into my life.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The definitive ethical shopping guide

I've found it!!! The definitive ethical shopping guide - almost. The Ethical Consumers Guide gives a listing of products, brands and companies, and ranks the companies in order in relation to their environmental and human rights record. It's very eye opening. There are many companies out there that the guide is calling for a boycott on. My only problem is that it doesn't go far enough. It primarily deals with groceries; I want a guide to ALL brands so I know what to buy. Maybe I should write one ...

In other news, the present buying dilemma has been temporarily solved. I've predominantly bought from The Body Shop, a huge supporter of Fair Trade, human rights and the environment.