Conscious Buying Now

Although I like keeping the idea of running a reading blog, some days I’ve thought of blogging about more eco-friendly things. Then I Google the idea and nope, nope, nope. Plenty of save-the-Earth posts out there, so this is just going to be a personal one, partly for my own record-keeping (I actually look back at my past posts sometimes), and partly because I really really really like the products I buy. No affilitations, no money earned, just pure enthusiasm.

Anyway, I get to make the main purchasing decisions in my household for pretty much all household goods and groceries, and it’s in these things that, since moving back to Canada, I’ve been trying to shift over to more eco-friendly choices, bit by bit. It takes up quite a bit of time, reading through company policies and reviews, but the topic and the hunt is something I really enjoy. And that’s anothe reason for my sharing… I get that it takes a lot of work to think about new choices, but if you’re reading this it’s probably because you know me personally so you can ask if things have really worked out or not!

This post will be a series of three: things we’ve changed recently, things we’ve done in the past (and whether or not we’re still doing them), and things that I want to try in the future. With each product / company I’ll quickly discuss why I like them and what we had to adjust to in our own habits (where applicable), but also a few further thoughts in the product area.

The Soap Works

Why I like ’em: Canadian family-owned business of three generations with low cost and almost-zero packaging (there’s a sticker bar code, and that’s it!). Bulk Barn carries soap, shampoo, and laundry bars. I have yet to try the laundry bars but the oatmeal soap bar and shampoo/conditioner bar I’m using now both leave me feeling very clean (almost squeaky clean for the soap bar). My hair used to need a wash every other day — it’s great for three to four days now!

Personal adjustments: Jack says what I deemed squeaky-clean, he deemed a bit sticky. If you’ve cleaned a bathtub, I’m sure you know the feeling of how squeaky-clean can alsofeel like something’s sticking. My hair took a few weeks to adjust and sometimes I feel that I have to rinse a bit more carefully (ten seconds more in the shower?), but there hasn’t been any noticeable build-up on my comb, so things seem good.

Further thoughts: Honestly, I don’t see how this can get much easier or better. We live right beside a Bulk Barn and the soap is not designer-8-bucks-a-bar soap, but it’s still Canadian and natural, etc. In this area I think we’re done, but switching soaps has definitely got me thinking about what else I can switch out in our bathroom.

Who Gives A Crap

Why I like ’em: 100% recycled office paper becomes 3-ply toilet paper, individually wrapped in colourful, reusable recyclable paper (absolutely your next Christmas gifts are going to look super fancy), delivered in bulk. Their website also claims 50% of their profits are donated to sanitation for less developed countries and that they purchase carbon offsets for their transportation. The skeptic in me paused at that last sentence but I suppose either you believe what a company posts on its page (or at least the certification companies) or not at all.

Personal adjustment: The idea of having toilet paper delivered to me was novel and then it turned into a bit of a headache when I tried to use a different delivery address assigned by Canada Post. However, customer service was great! They sent over another shipment right away and the buttload of toilet paper (excuse me) came before our last virgin-tree-roll was used up. Yes, we had to buy in bulk… but y’know, that happens with Costco, too. We’ve already been using a bidet (more on that next post) so our toilet paper use is already reduced, but we still need toilet paper to pat dry.

Further thoughts: There are certainly more consumption-reductive methods out there, like using a bidet only and/or using family cloth. I don’t really want to make the jump to family cloth, although I’ve already done cloth diapers, so clearly this is just a head-thing. And I’ve only just found out that there is a Canadian company already doing bamboo-based toilet paper, so maybe I’ll try that next (although honestly, good customer service is a surefast loyalty-winner).


Why I like ’em: This non-profit organization redirects funds to train up locals who might otherwise not be employable, all the while channeling gently-used goods away from the landfills and back into people’s homes. When reducing isn’t an option, then reusing should be right up there. We’ve been stepping into Goodwill more and more this past year (even though I’ve got at least a few good friends who frequent thrift shops and are way better at thrifting than I am!). The more I’ve been in Goodwill, the more I’m staggered at just how robust our secondhand market is and I’m very proud to be a part of it. The cherry on top is the treasure-hunt feel of it all, especially when I know I’ve found something of great value for a low price.

Personal adjustment: We’ve always washed pretty much everything we’ve bought that wasn’t sealed in packaging (cookware, dishware, clothes, etc.) so that’s nothing new, but buying from Goodwill does mean telling myself sometimes that a scratch does not garbage make. It takes more time to look through things, too, but we’re blessed to be living in such plenty that there are rarely things we need to buy immediately.

Further thoughts: Even though thrifting often brings clothing to mind, I surprisingly have not yet purchased clothing at all. Bakeware and dishes, yes, and even a few children’s toys, but no clothing. (I’ve been getting secondhand clothing through a local auction site instead). I’m hoping to make even more use of Goodwill in the future, if we move to a bigger place, and furnish slowly and thoughtfully through Goodwill and other secondhand / refurbishment places like Restore.

And that’s it! A neat three-part article for a neat three-part series… good things come in three, right? What eco-friendly changes have you been trying lately?

Featured photo: Both the toddler and I were so excited when our shipment came. She kept on exclaiming “好靚!呢啲好靚!” (It’s beautiful! These are beautiful!”) and then she insisted on handing each roll to me as we put it away in our storage room.


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