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.

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