27 February 2013

natures organics

Perhaps most Australians are quite familiar with the earth choice line, or anything from the parent company natures organics, but I am new to them.  When I moved to Australia from the US I didn't know anything about the cleaning product brands here.  I went through trial and error trying to find things that worked well but didn't cost a lot of money.  Something about the earth choice packaging didn't grab me, and honestly I wasn't sure if natural products could clean as well.  Of course I should have thought back to my childhood of cleaning with vinegar, but apparently I like to shop with my eyes instead of my brain.

My first natures organics product I bought was actually kid's bubble bath.  How could I say no when it was the cheapest product by far and wasn't going to fill the tub full of funny chemicals?  Then I moved on to the earth choice laundry detergent.  Let me tell you, when I saw how syrupy the stuff was, I was worried.  But I'm very happy with it and have been able to use it for normal laundry, baby laundry, cloth nappies, anything.  My latest addition is the earth choice dish soap, and it seems to do the job although possibly not the best product for greasy things.  I will have to conduct an experiment in that regard, though, since I always wash the oily or greasy things last when the dishwater is rather spent.

Natures organics has a philosophy of trying to lower their impact on the environment and recognises that there are many things to balance in aiming to do so.  That's pretty much how I feel about any environmentally conscious decision I make.  I like that the company uses recycled packaging and bioplastic, has a palm oil policy, and is cruelty free.  In general now that I have tried a few different products and have been pleased with them, I am more likely to seek out the natures organics range when I need to get soap, body wash, shampoo, etc.  I think it might be time for me to seriously consider all the different products I rinse down the drain on a regular basis.  Health and beauty products could be a whole other kettle of fish, though, so stay tuned.

08 February 2013

buying local

The concept of buying local makes sense to me on a couple scales.  Shorter distances for the food in transit means less emissons.  Less shipping time should mean it's fresher, too, right?  You also have the ability to support the local community and smaller farms instead of large companies.

I assumed in buying local that I was going to have to start investigating my labels like crazy, ask shop keepers about origins of items and frequent farmer's markets.  In fact, we made one quick decision to utilise Aussie Farmers Direct and it's been heaps easier.  I don't have to question the origins of anything, they send you magazines where you can "meet" the farmers, and it's even easier for me since it's delivered to my door step.  Cost is slightly higher for some of the items, but many are very competitively priced.  The quality of everything has been overwhelming.  We are able to get fruit and vegetables which taste better and are nicer, and last for ages.  It turns out that one of my friends supplies the stone fruit for their fruit packs and I love that.  He says that he can't emphasise enough how good it is that the boxes are hand-packed.  That wasn't a selling point for me, but he knows the fruit business better than I do!

We get a fruit and vegetable pack delivered fortnightly.  When I tell friends about this service, the fact that I don't choose what's in the box seems to deter quite a few of them.  I admit that it took a bit of getting used to, but I barely even notice it now.  It actually really helped us get out of the rut of buying the same vegetables all the time, got us to try new recipes and forced us to only eat produce that is in season.

This topic of buying local will be continued at some point...the rest is a work in progress as I try to sort out which shops are best to get other items.  The "Made in Australia from local and imported ingredients" label irks me to no end...I would really be happy to see some eco-labelling environmental policy tools in action.  Anyone else feel that way?