Thursday, 16 April 2009

Recycle now....

Phase 1 of my recycling drive has finally kicked off with the arrival of a home composting bin and kitchen waste caddy. The most thrilling, yes thrilling, part of this arrival is that they together cost me £8, inlcuding delivery! When I decided I wanted to start composting in our small garden I looked into purchasing a composting bin and kitchen caddy from Ethical Superstore. The bin was going to cost around £45 and the caddy around £5. Before I actually ordered it though I, luckily, came across the Recycle Now website. After entering my postcode into the Composting section of the site I found that I could purchase a composting bin for £8 including delivery, plus a free kitchen caddy. I think it is great that councils are encouraging home composting, I just think they should spread the word a bit more. The difference between spending £50 and £8 is huge for most people and if we were all more aware of schemes like this we might take advantage of them.

Not only does composting reduce waste that eventually goes to landfills but home composting for a year can also save global warming gas emissions equivalent to the CO2 produced by a kettle used for an entire year or a washing machine for three months.

This 'It's easy to make your own compost' booklet is quite a useful source of information with a handy, simplified list of what you should and should not put in the composting bin.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Harsh but fair....

I know it's mean to laugh at the misfortunes of others but as I see it, if they didn't want to be laughed at they would share on a website appropriately called FMyLife. Check it out for a daily dose of schadenfreude.....

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Shopping fail...

I recently needed to buy a new crockery set. I just wanted a basic, dinnerware set with some dinner plates, side plates, bowls and possibly mugs or glasses. As is always my first instinct, I thought I'd try and find a, in some way, green and/or ethical product.....fairtrade, recycled, etc....I just think, if I am buying something it may as well not have been involved in any penguin deaths; mistreatment of children/workers; pumping of noxious black cancer-causing fumes into the environment (delete as applicable).

However, my search was less than satisfactory. I'm sorry (not sure to whom but I am sorry) but I am not prepared, or able, at the moment to spend double the amount of money on something because it is recycled. I am also not prepared to use bamboo/ill-shapen clay pots as a dinner service. One of the problems with us humans, myself very much included, is our inherent laziness. If it is easy to make a green and ethical choice, we probably will. But after a fair amount of research, I honestly couldn't find something I was happy with that wasn't going to cost me more than double (sometimes a lot more than double) the price.

Below are a few of the options I could find.....bearing in mind the cost of the set I found at John Lewis which is exactly what I am looking for:

Basic John Lewis stoneware dinner set: £25
(Consists of 4 of each mugs, dinner plates, side plates and bowls)

Ecotopia: No suitable tableware
(although they did have some disposable plate alternatives made out of palm leaf)

Ethical Superstore: No suitable tableware

EcoCentric: £104
Really modern, stylish range of recycled glass plates and bowls. However, to purchase a complete set of 4 of each of the items available in a 'normal' dinner set (included some recycled tumblers in my costing as they didn't have mugs in the range) is well above my price range I'm afraid.

Biome Lifestyle: £152(!)
Biome have a range of Aster recycled glass tableware but even if I did want to spend the £152 I would need to make up a set of 4, I am not overly fond of the lurid colours available.

The Recycled Warehouse: £69
The most promising option I could find. Recycled Warehouse also have a range of Aster recycled glass. It is very different, and a lot cheaper, than the biome range though. The plates, bowls and tumblers available are clear glass and rather pretty. However, the price difference when compared to other, mainstream tableware is still significant at almost triple the cost.

So I am afraid that I have taken the easy, and thrifty! option and gone for the John Lewis set. Which I am disappointed with but to be honest, I didn't really have time to go through any more websites trying to find something better. Which is a pity really and it seems to me that there is an increasing need for green and/or ethically sourced goods that can compare in price (or at the very least not be more than 10/15% more expensive) than mainstream ones.

Friday, 3 April 2009

One soap fits all....

I will confess something and that is...I have not actually used Dr Bronner's organic liquid soaps because, alas, I do not as yet own any. However, in my 'research' (ie blatant internet surfing/time wasting to avoid doing actual work/chores/constructive activities etc.) lately I keep coming across this miraculous sounding soap. According to its many fans it can be used as: facial wash; dishwashing liquid; shampoo; bathroom cleaner; pet wash; baby wash; and the list goes on....and on. It also boasts an impressive array of green and ethical credentials such as:
  • Completely biodegradable and vegetable-based
  • Made with certified Fair Trade and organic oils
  • No synthetic foaming agents, thickeners or preservatives
  • 100% Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR) cylinder bottles and paper labels

So even though I haven't tried them yet, I am already super impressed. Other retailers and manufacturers are often so full of excuses about why they can't produce products with even one of the above criteria and Dr Bronner's manage all of these.

Dr Bronner's website gives a full product list, online store and other info but for UK residents some places to purchase online are:;; and