Are there still people out there who think the green consumer is odd? Actually, we are no longer standing on the edges of society, nor are we regarded as the new-age fringe. Today, demanding green and ethical products is the strongest driver in consumerism.
To establish the impact of your shopping on your body, the earth and her creatures, a couple of questions beg answering, such as:
What’s inside this product?
Read the labels and avoid chemicals, codes, numbers and abbreviations like MSG as well as preservatives and colourants. Also avoid petrochemical byproducts – see the complete list of unwanted ingredients elsewhere on this page.
How was it produced?
Is it organic or were pesticides involved in the growing process?
How were staff treated in the production process? Now we’re looking at the fair trade principle, as well as organic, as staff are protected from working with harmful substances.
How were staff treated in the production process?
Now we’re looking at the fair trade principle, as well as organic, as staff are protected from working with harmful substances.
Where was it made?
Local has much less embedded energy and therefore a lower carbon footprint, plus important job creation.
Was it handmade or machine produced?
We like to support labour-intensive systems rather than mechanisation.
Is it recyclable, and do you in fact recycle that specific packaging material?
If you’re not part of a recycling service or don’t deliver your recyclables to a depot, then the fact that the packaging is recyclable is immaterial.
How many layers of packaging are on the product?
Any wastage should be rejected. One layer should be supported. In Germany the point was driven home when shoppers simply took products in packets from the boxes and left the empty cartons behind in the shops.
Many years of green consuming has taught me that the green consumer should still be discerning. As with all industries, some products are great and some are awful. So to share my experience with our readers, we are starting a GREEN CONSUMER WATCH. All products will already be green/organic and therefore free of all the baddies mentioned above. But I will rate them according to how well they work, for me. If you have products you would like me to rate, please contact us.
This little chart is only my personal experience and not the Gospel. Feel free to experiment yourself. The reason why I’m doing this is to show new green shoppers that if one green product doesn’t work for you, it doesn’t mean you should ditch green shopping altogether. This is a relatively new industry and manufacturing products without solvents, foamers and other chemicals is not easy.
Sometimes you need to adapt to green products. For example, since using natural toothpaste I no longer wet my toothbrush before or after applying the toothpaste. The product is less concentrated and works better when used undiluted. When using natural shampoo you may need to shampoo twice, whereas with normal shampoo once may have been enough. Natural products don’t foam as much, as they don’t contain foaming agents, but that doesn’t mean they don’t work.
- Bloublommetjieskloof dishwasher paste ****
- Earth Sap laundry powder ****
- Woolworths natural laundry gel ****
- Enchantrix window cleaner ****
- Bloublommetjieskloof all-purpose cleaner ****
- Woolworths natural dishwashing liquid ****
- Woolworths natural antibacterial kitchen cleaner ****
- Enchantrix dishwashing liquid **
- Bloublommetjieskloof dishwashing liquid *
- Biowash ball ****
- Victorian Garden Queen Anne’s Rosemary and Francincense Rejuvenating Night Cream
- Wild Basil & Rooibos Shampoo *****
- Victorian Garden conditioners ****
- Bloublommetjieskloof shampoo *
- Hemp Seed Oil Sulfate-free shampoo *
- Earth Sap lavender & sugar beet conditioner **
- Casa Castile liquid wash ***
- Earth Sap shampoo
- Woolworths natural facial moisturiser ****
- Earth Sap facial day cream *
- Woolworths natural cleansing face gel ****
- Enchantrix peppermint or cinnamon **
- Meswak (not to be confused with Miswak – this contains SLS) *****
the 10 most unwanted ingredients in personal care and beauty products
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Mineral oil/petrolatum/baby oil/liquid vaseline
- Polyethynol glycol (PEG) strips natural moisture, taxing immune system, potentially carginogenic
- Propylene Glycol (PG) active component in antifreeze, breaks down protein and cellular structure
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS)
- Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES)
- Chlorine in tap water, showers, pool
- Diethanolamine (DEA)
- Monoethanolamine (MEA)
- Triethanolamine (TEA)
- FD & C colour pigments often made of coal tar
- Imidazolidinyl urea and DMDM Hydantoin – preservatives that release formaldehyde
- Aluminium has been linked to Alzheimer’s and other central nervous system diseases.