Another’s trash is your treasure!

Opportunity shops, fondly known as ‘op shops’ are a wondrous thing.

Here are the five top reasons I love to op shop!

1) You can buy up big without blowing your budget. I walked out of a local op shop recently with 3 bags stuffed full of clothes & shoes while only parting with a few gold coins.

2) Your outfits are always unique- no more walking into a room to find another woman wearing the same dress as you. Awkward!

3) Buying second-hand has a positive impact on the environment. Buying items at an op shop saves them from going into landfill and becoming environmental waste.

4) Through buying second-hand you are not contributing to the profits of sweat shops and clothing chain stores as any unethical supply chain has been broken.

5) Your purchase will often benefit a much deserved charity as most op shops are owned by organisation such as the Salvation Army, Brotherhood of St Laurence or the like.

What is someone else’s trash is your treasure at an op shop. You can find anything from a hand knitted jumper to a pair of Italian leather shoes. Or maybe you fancy a set of china plates or a retro vintage couch.

So if you are in need of a wardrobe or lounge-room make-over and want to do it ethically- head down to your local op shop and you will be surprised at what you might find!

Home-grown goodness!

Lately I have been discovering the wonders of cooking using primarily home grown ingredients. I have been particularly inspired by the UK television program ‘River Cottage Forever,’ which is based on the principles of less dependence on the outside world, food integrity, and the consumption of local, seasonal produce. So often, we put no thought into where our food has come from, and the effort, sacrifice and love behind each mouthful of food we take. Have you ever paid a thought to the farmer that grew your tomatoes, or the cow that gave its life so that you could enjoy a steak? On the other hand, we also put little thought into the additives, pesticides and other nasties that have been used in the production of our food. Furthermore, we have lost touch with the seasons, as produce is flown in from all around the world to satisfy our every craving, letting much pollution into the atmosphere during transportation, and losing much of its nutritional value during cold transport.

I have been surprised at all of the meals I have been able to put together using home grown ingredients, while only adding some staples such as rice, cous -cous & flour from the supermarket.

Using home grown produce such as pumpkins, apples, chillies, tomatoes, chives, silver beat, parsley, mint & lemons I have made two large batches of pumpkin soup, a number of quiches, a delicious apple crumble, a fantastic pumkin seed and mint cous-cous meal and many a healthy salad. The only added ingredients were rice, cous- cous, flour and milk. In the summer months fruit trees provided me with more plums, peaches and apricots that I knew what to do with! Sauces, pies and crumbles were created from the fruit that couldn’t be eaten fresh.

And finally, the creation I am most proud of, using yabbies caught in my dam, in addition to home grown lemon rind, parsley, chillies and tomatoes, I have made a yabbies risotto that could rival the risotto of a 5 star restaurant (if I do say so myself).

As an added bonus, as of today, I haven’t had to shop in over 10 days! I estimate that I have saved over $150 in grocery bills! I will only have to go out and buy some more rice and cous- cous this week. It doesn’t take much, and you don’t have to spend hours in the garden each day, just 30mins or so every few weeks. And it is much easier to run out to the veggie patch or lemon tree when you have forgotten something, rather than running out to the shops.

So, when it comes to ethical and sustainable consumerism, nothing beats growing it yourself! So go on, get out there and start growing your own produce. Even if you have a small courtyard in the city, it is easy to grow a few herbs in a pot. There is no excuse!

Make a start at www.diggers.com.au to start growing a years supply of veggies in 40m square.

Egg Ethics at Easter

This weeks post comes from the pen of my husband Levi McGrath. He has said everything I want to say…

‘When I was growing up, Easter was time for reflection… and chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate. Mmmmmmmmmmmm.

You know it’s inevitable: this Easter you will most likely buy chocolate. It might be a chocolate bunny, a chocolate hot cross bun or simply an Easter egg…

But as Easter comes around this year, I’m reflecting on all this chocolate we buy. Where is it all coming from? Where is it made? Are the workers who produce it treated fairly?

OK now, story time.

Australians on average consume six kilograms of chocolate a year. You heard me right — that’s about sixty Mars bars! A whopping 43% of the cocoa (chocolate’s major ingredient) is produced in one small West African country — the Ivory Coast. They produce approximately 1.3 million tons of cocoa per year, mostly by hand.

Maddeningly, throughout the Ivory Coast and across West Africa there are more than one million children working on cocoa plantations. Hundreds of thousands of children are trafficked from West African countries each year and are forced to work as slaves on these farms to harvest the beans that go into the chocolate — chocolate we use, in a dark dose of irony, for our children’s Easter egg hunts.

Take Aly for example, an eleven-year-old boy from Mali who was lured to the Ivory Coast by a slave trader to work on a cocoa plantation. He was told he would receive a bicycle and money to support his struggling family. Aly was forced to work from 6 in the morning to 6:30 at night carrying bags of cocoa that stood taller than him. The bags of beans were so heavy that he would often fall down under their weight, only to be beaten severely.

For one and a half years Aly was locked in a small room each night with eighteen other slave workers, where he slept on hard wooden floor. Eventually Aly was rescued by local authorities and returned to his family, but he still has nightmares about his time working on the cocoa plantation.

So I am reflecting on all this chocolate we buy. I’ve come to the conclusion that going without it is NOT an option! So what can I do this Easter?

I know! I’ll buy fair trade! Choosing to buy fair trade chocolate helps children like Aly. Fair trade prohibits child labour and supports community education and healthcare programs. Choosing to buy fair trade chocolate gives small cocoa farmers a fair go and allows them to pay their workers fairly.

Come and join me — how hard can it be to eat the best chocolate and know you are doing a whole heap of good at the same time!

Fair Trade Chocolate Brands

It’s up to you. This Easter can be sweet both for you and cocoa farmers alike, including children like Aly.

Happy Easter.’

Farmers Markets Here I Come!

When was the last time you felt genuinely good about doing your grocery shopping? Usually my experience goes something like this… drive into a crowed car park and stalk a shopper until they move their car. squeeze my car into a tiny car space. Enter the supermarket and become overwhelmed by the bright fluorescent lights, crowded aisles and piles of produce. It is a cold experience. You feel no connection with what you are buying. You know nothing about who grew your apples, or who milked the cow your milk came from. You merely have an interaction with the middle man, which in the case of Australia is usually Coles or Woolworths supermarket groups.

This morning I was inspired instead to take a short drive through the mountains to shop at a local farmers market. This was one shopping experience I actually enjoyed.

Not only could I enjoy shopping in an open air market, I could interact with the farmers who grew the produce directly. I could talk with them about whether their produce was organic, whether they had experienced a good season and if they were having a nice day. And I could ensure they were getting a fair price for their produce as there was no middle man to take a cut of the profit. All profits went directly to the farmer.

You see, the market in Australia (where I am from) is dominated by two supermarkets; Cole & Woolworths. There is the occasional independent grocer but the market is dominated by these two chains. And with this level of domination, comes a level of control.

In fact, Coles and Woolworths account for about 80 per cent of the Australian market, with independent grocery chain IGA Supermarkets accounting for another 16 per cent. By comparison, in the UK, four or five large supermarket chains control only 65 per cent of the market. This allows Coles and Woolworths to have a stranglehold on grocery prices due to a lack of competition in the marketplace, meaning that we the shopper are paying more than we should. Furthermore, this dominance means farmers suffer.

Recently, this duopoly has seen Coles & Woolworths competing by dropping the price of milk to unsustainable levels, leaving Australian farmers vulnerable to profit loss as they are forced to sell their produce at a lower rate (ABC News, 2011).

Large supermarkets not only harm consumers and farmers, they also push small business out of business. Small businesses cannot compete with supermarket prices as due to their size they can afford to buy produce in bulk, as opposed to a small local business.

So what’s the answer? Shop at local farmers markets and support small local businesses such as your local butcher, baker and grocer!

If you live in Australia, you can find your closest farmers market here:

http://www.farmersmarkets.org.au/markets

You will enjoy this sense of community spirit and feel great about giving back to the community of which you are a part.

Of course, it is not always possible to avoid the large supermarket chains. However in my next blog I will show you how you can continue to shop ethically even within the large supermarkets so stay tuned!

References:

ABC News. (2011). Farmers demand wider supermarket probe. Retrieved 8 April 2011 from  http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2011/03/07/3156685.htm

Go Nuts!

At a small organic food retailer, located in a three story complex dedicated to health and wellbeing in downtown Singapore, I made a marvellous discovery… organic, fairly traded ‘Soap Nuts’!

Soap nuts grabbed my attention, as during my pursuit to purchase and use only natural cosmetics and beauty products, the realisation that house-hold cleaning products also contained harmful chemicals hit me. Not only do house-hold cleaning products such as kitchen and bathroom sprays, window cleaners and laundry detergent harm the environment, but they also harm our bodies.

Just think- we wash our clothes with laundry detergents that promise to ‘eliminate stains’ with their powerful formula. We then wear these clothes day and day out with no thought to the fact that the powerful chemicals that removed those stains from our clothes still remain on the fabric in small quantities and slowly sink into our skin. Or we wash the dishes using a product that promises to be ‘tough on grease,’ let the dishes dry and then use them to eat and drink. Small remnants of the chemical that was tough on the grease remains on the cup or spoon you use and will end up in your stomach in small quantities. Such products often contain chemicals associated with eye, skin, or respiratory irritation, or other human health issues, but such allergic reactions are often not associated with the chemicals used in the house on a daily basis.

Once we are done cleaning, these chemicals run down the drain, and are released into the ocean having an adverse affect on the environment. For example, alkylphenol ethoxylates, a common surfactant ingredient in cleaners, has been shown in laboratory studies to cause adverse reproductive effects on wildlife exposed to polluted waters (National Research Council, 1999).

Of course there are many green, biodegradable and environmentally friendly cleaning products available on the market today. However, what drew me to Soup Nuts were that they are just that: nuts that naturally produce a soap like substance.

            ‘Soapnuts are an environmentally friendly sustainably produced, bio-degradable and compostable way of cleaning your laundry. Grown wild in India, for centuries these nuts (sapindus mukorossi) have been used for many purposes including removing tarnish from jewellery and treating all sorts of ailments from contaminated soil to migraines to epilepsy. They are most widely recognised as being an effective and environmentally friendly natural detergent however can be used for a whole host of other uses.

             The nuts contain the active natural washing ingredient saponin. Similar to soap, when the shells of the soapnut come in contact with water the saponin is released and suds are produced – these are excellent for cleaning laundry and leaving it beautifully soft. Because your laundry water will only contain pure natural ingredients compared to traditional detergents, it can much more usefully be reused as grey water to reduce water consumption (your garden and plants will thank you as well!’ (Soap in a Nutshell, 2011)

 

As mentioned, other uses of the soap nut include:

  • Multi-purpose cleaner
  • Dishwashing detergent
  • Jewellery cleaner… the list goes on

And not only are soap nuts good for you and the environment, their production benefits communities in India through the provision of a sustainable income. The nuts, although not certified fair trade as yet, are sourced sustainably, ensuring the community in India that grows and harvests the soap nuts are paid a fair price for their product;

            ‘By purchasing soapnuts you are helping maintain the natural habitat and environment which has existed for centuries and are providing a living direct to some of the more impoverished areas of India.’ (Soap in a Nutshell, 2011)

If you are not yet convinced, I have used the soup nuts to wash four loads of washing and four sink loads of dishes thus far and have found them to be most effective. My clothes have come out fresh, clean and stainless and the dishes have been degreased very well indeed. I have to say I am quite impressed and surprised as to how effective they really are.

You can order 1kg of soap nut here for a great price of AUD $35, which amounts to approximately 400 washes, or 12c a wash!

http://www.soapinanutshell.com.au/main/page_order_soapnut_products_online_soapnut_shells.html

References:

Hormonally Active Agents in the Environment, National Research Council, National Academy Press, 1999

Soap in a Nutshell, Retrieved 27 February 2011 from http://www.soapinanutshell.com.au/main/page_soap_in_a_nutshell_home.html

Look out! Its Palm Oil!

Last week I had the most incredible breakfast meeting. It wasn’t with a CEO, or a celebrity, but rather I had breakfast with an endangered species!

That’s right; I shared my toast with one of the great apes, specifically a family of Orang-utans.

I was able to enjoy this experience at the famed program ‘Breakfast with the Orang-utans’ at Singapore Zoo. Most were unfortunately rescued as pets from people’s homes but this meant they were very used to humans. One young male even touched me lightly on the shoulder. I felt so honoured to be in such close proximity so such a beautiful, intelligent yet highly endanger creature.

I did have to wondered if my children would ever have the chance to meet an Orang-utan…

Orang-utans are native to Indonesia and Malaysia and are the only members of the great ape family that reside in Asia.  They share 97% of their DNA with humans and have the intelligence of a three year old child! Looking into their eyes was truly like looking into the eyes of a fellow human being. They seemed to have certain wisdom about them.

Well after my wonderful breakfast I was horrified to find a KFC restaurant located just outside the zoo gates. How could this zoo that promotes Orang-utan conservation be so hypocritical as to have a KFC within its property?

You see, as mentioned Orang-utans are an endangered species with an estimated 60,000 left in the wild (WWF,2010).

According to WWF;

Habitat destruction and fragmentation is by far the greatest threat to this species. This problem is caused by commercial logging, and forest clearance for oil palm plantations and agriculture.’

And to my knowledge, KFC was one of the biggest consumers of this product called palm oil. However, in doing research for this blog I discovered that due to consumer action, they have stopped using palm oil to produce their food- so I take back all of my bad thoughts about Singapore zoo being hypocritical!!!

However, in saying that, palm oil, the leading cause of rainforest destruction in Malaysia and Indonesia, and the number one threat to the existence of Orang-utan’s, is found in over 50% of all packed food on our shelves! If your shopping list includes packaged products like bread, biscuits, chocolate, chips, sandwich spreads, ice cream, shower cream and shampoo, then it’s likely you are buying palm oil (WWF, 2010).

Palm oil production is not only responsible for threatening the existence of Orang-utans, it is also responsible for threatening the environment in other ways and violating human rights;

            ‘If cultivated in an unsustainable way palm oil can have negative impacts on people and the environment. These include indiscriminate forest clearing, habitat loss of threatened and endangered species, poor air quality from burning forests and peatlands, and disregard for the rights and interests of local communities. A report published in 2007 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) acknowledges that palm oil plantations are now the leading cause of rainforest destruction in Malaysia and Indonesia. Of even more concern is the fact that demand for palm oil is predicted to increase, and most of the remaining suitable areas for plantations are forest.’ WWF

So, if palm oil is present in 50% of the products on our shelves, what can we do. Something that I have been doing week by week as I do my grocery shopping is quite simple- read the ingredients on the packet. You should probably be doing this anyway for health reasons. If palm oil that is not certified from a sustainable source is listed, simply do not buy the product and look for an alternative on the selves. If you feel so inclined write to the company that you chose not to buy from and inform them of your decision. This is the only way companies will change their ways- consumer demand!

Reference:

What is palm oil? (2010).World Wildlife Fund. Retrieved 15 February 2011 from http://wwf.org.au/ourwork/land/land-clearing-and-palm-oil/?gclid=CPWTpPL4iacCFU80pAodCnGyeQ

Tempted by a Bargain?

Ling was born in China. When she was 19 years old, she was persuaded to go to Europe with the promise of a job and a better life – both for her, and for her family who stayed behind.

She was given a job as a textile worker in a factory. The salary promised was €800 per month which was much more than she could ever hope to earn in Hanuin. She works 16 hours a day, and is not allowed to leave the factory except to return to the small apartment she shares with six other factory employees. She does not receive the salary that she was promised, and is rarely paid anything at all.

You may have purchased a sweater made by Ling.’ (IOM,2008).

I don’t want to buy clothing that imprisons girls like Ling. I want to buy items that empower them.

I am currently working in Singapore for 5 weeks and the temptation to buy cheap clothing manufactured in Asia is all around me.

Usually I would jump at a bargain, but my conscious no longer allows me to do this as when you purchase a product, you are supporting the way that product was produced. If the product is the result of someone’s forced labor, you are encouraging the company which has relied on forced labor to continue relying on forced labor.

I am sure when it comes down to it, none of us want to support forced labor with our retail purchases, but the fact is it is very difficult to distinguish which companies exploit their workers and which don’t, as the global supply chain is so complex.

I have started walking to and from work whilst in Singapore, which is not only great for my health, but also solves my issue purchasing unethical petrol temporarily! However, my laptop was getting a tad heavy and therefore I needed to purchase a backpack. But where could I possibly find an ethical produced backpack?

I managed to do some research and found many resources that can assist you in making a decision about what brands manufacture their items with a social conscious.

Free to Work

On Free2work.org, consumers can easily search specific products, learn more about various labour standards and corporate practices, and further their engagement through their consumption decisions.

http://www.free2work.org

Ethical Clothing Australia

Assisting the local textile, clothing and footwear industry to ensure Australian workers receive fair wages and decent conditions.

http://www.ethicalclothingaustralia.org.au

Business Social Compliance Initiative

The Business Social Compliance Initiative is a leading business-driven initiative for companies committed to improving working conditions in the global supply chain.

http://www.bsci-intl.org/

All of the above list brands based on their compliance with ethical standards and labour laws. From this I picked up some common brand that I encounter every time I enter a shopping centre that abide by such standards:

  • GAP
  • Bardot
  • Cue
  • ESPIRIT
  • Levi’s
  • Billabong

And although I cannot verify that they have signed up to international standards, Target and Cotton On have Ethical Sourcing Codes that all of their suppliers must comply with.

So, long story short I was able to purchase a backpack from an ESPIRIT store. Although it cost me more than a cheap backpack from one of the markets here in Singapore I felt better knowing that the person made it was not working in a sweatshop with their feet chained to a table for 12 hours a day.

To help ease the pain of not being able to shop at the markets, I also went slightly crazy shopping at GAP online (and got into a bit of trouble with my husband)- http://www.gap.com/

I purchased all of my basics, from underwear to long sleave black tops to jeans. All of the products are of such high quality and will last for a long time. I was very impressed.

You can even buy Gap T-Shirts that will go to the Japan Relief Appeal.

For additional information on labor laws and actions you can take towards ethical consumerism go to:

http://www.buyresponsibly.org/

Cosmetics: A Deadly Industry

This week’s post is going to be short & sweet, because I am going to let the below video tell you everything I want to.

The ‘Story of Stuff: Cosmetics’ awoke me to the fact that every time I stepped into the bathroom of a morning, I was in fact going in there to poison my body. The day after I watched this I threw out all of my old cosmetics and started again…

Some may see this as waste, and an expensive one at that, but when you realise the harm that you are doing to your body every time you wash your hair, moisturise your body and put make-up on, even though you are doing these things to be ‘healthy’, you might reassess your bathroom cupboard too.

Now I hope I haven’t frightened you off too much. Go on, watch it. It might just save you and your children’s lives.

http://storyofstuff.org/cosmetics/

Have you watched it? No wonder rates of cancer in Australia have been on the rise over the last few decades. In 1982, 47,350 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in Australia compared with 108,368 cases in 2007 (Cancer Australia).

Due to the frightening facts mentioned in this short clip, I conclude that buying products with harmful products in them cannot be classified as ethical. If manufacturers are placing these chemicals in the products we buy, knowing full well the risks involved then I do not wish to give my money to such a company.

I challenge you to go to the below website and research the risk rating for ingredients in the products you use. You might be surprised by the result.

http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/

Thank-fully there are now many alternative options available in the Australia market. This week I purchased chemical free natural shampoo, conditioner, moisturiser and sunscreen through Australian company ‘Natural Instinct’ available at Priceline and most major supermarkets. I found the products to be super effective and my hairdresser even said she has never seen my hair so healthy! Natural Instinct have a range of other products so make sure you check them out.

www.naturalinstinct.com.au

I also purchased 100% natural makeup made by another Australian company ‘Nude by Nature.’ The makeup is made from organic clays and minerals and allows you skin to breath while giving me the best coverage I have ever had. My skin looks great all day!

www.nudebynature.com.au

Both Natural Instict and Nude by Nature do not test their products on animals.

I did have one muck-up this week in the area of cosmetics whilst pursuing my ethical shopping ideal. I went to the hairdresser to get my hair coloured, and before going to my appointment did ask that she use a brand that is somewhat organic and does not test on animals. She said that should not be a problem but upon arrival I found that she had purchased Wella’s which is apparently not tested on animals but is owned by Proctor & Gamble USA which has a boycott called against them due to  laboratory experiments on and cruelty to animals. Oops! If anyone can help me in sourcing professional hair colour that actually works (not henna as I am blonde) and is produced by an ethical company I would be most grateful!

I hope I have prompted you into action this week!

MM

PS- If you would like more information about why products tested on animals are unethical, go to.

http://www.choosecrueltyfree.org.au/

Reference:

AIHW, CA (Cancer Australia) & AACR (Australasian Association of Cancer Registries) 2008. Cancer survival and prevalence in Australia: cancers diagnosed from 1982 to 2004. Cancer series no. 42. Cat. No. CAN 38. Canberra: AIHW.

Petroleum- Pick Your Poison

I started week one of my ethical shopping challenge rearing and ready to go! However, on day four I faced a road block, and the ethical shopping challenge started to become much more difficult than I had anticipated, for the simple fact that I need to drive to work. And in order to drive, my car requires the age old evil… petroleum.

Now let me begin by explaining that I am well aware that it is more environmentally to take public transport or ride a bike to work. However, I live 55.5 km away from the office in which I work. It would literally take me a number of days to ride to work, and I doubt I would even make it without passing out!  I have extensively researched the public transport route, which unfortunately would involve two trains and a bus, totalling three hours in travel one way. Maybe it is selfish, but I just can’t afford to spend six hours a day travelling to and from work!

In order to mitigate my impact on the environment, I have been carpooling to work for over three years which is saving at least one other car per day from being on the road, and in addition, I have an arrangement in which I work three days in the office and two days from home.  However, these actions do not entirely solve my problem- I still require petrol in my tank to get to where I need to be at least three days of the week!

We all know the environmental impacts of using petrol in our vehicles, and we have seen the social and environmental impacts of oil spills on television, but further research has lead me to some disturbing facts about the petroleum industry;

  • Shell has been condemned by many organizations, including the Sierra Club, for its support of the military government in Nigeria. In 1995, nine Ogoni activists were killed for protesting against the company’s Nigerian operations (Ives & Boyd, 2007).
  • Exxon Mobil’s pipeline project from Chad in West Africa to the coast of Cameroon cuts through indigenous communities’ rainforest homes. Last January, the project generated new controversy when Chad’s government diverted money generated from petroleum revenue away from poverty-relief and social programs (Ives & Boyd, 2007).
  • BP heads a coalition of oil and gas companies throughout Europe and are building a pipeline across Azerbaijan, the Republic of Georgia, and Turkey. The project has led to widespread dislocation of local residents. Watchdog groups are concerned about complaints of contaminated water supplies and landslides triggered by pipeline construction (Ives & Boyd, 2007).

In looking at alternative options to oil, biofuels are often marketed as a sustainable option, however according to Oxfam, the impacts of biofuels are often disastrous for people in the developing world. Why? Because Biofuels are made using food crops which in turn pushes up the price of food in developing nations. Oxfam calculates that rich country biofuel policies have dragged more than 30 million people into poverty, according to evidence that biofuels have already contributed up to 30% to the global rise in food prices.

            “Biofuel policies are actually helping to accelerate climate change and deepen poverty and hunger. Rich countries’ demands for more biofuels in their transport fuels are causing spiralling production and food inflation”- Oxfam’s biofuel policy adviser Rob Bailey

(Oxfam International, 2008)

But the fact still remains- I need to drive my car to keep my job and my social life going, so is there any ethical choice when it comes to fuel?

According to a well researched review of oil companies in the USA, called ‘Pick Your Poison : An updated environmentalist’s guide to gasoline’ (Ives & Boyd, 2007), oil companies can be rated in the following order:

Top of the Barrel
Sunoco

Middle of the Barrel
Royal Dutch Shell
Chevron
Valero Energy Corporation
Citgo

Bottom of the Barrel
ExxonMobil (Mobil, Fuel Zone)
ConocoPhillips

Dishonorable Mention
BP

Furthermore, another consumer watchdog source, The Ethical Consumer’s Ethiscore has ranked oil companies in the UK from best (#1) to worst ( #9)

1. Murco
2. Jet
3. Elf
4. Shell
5. Total
6. BP
7. Texaco
8. Esso
9. Mobil

(Petrol & Diesel, Ethical Consumer,2011)

According to the above reviews, in the Australia market, Shell would be classified as the most ethical, followed by Caltex, who are owned by Chevron, then BP and lastly Mobil.

So while I am not going to advocate for Shell by any means, when I need to buy fuel for my car I will purchase from Shell. In the mean time, I will continue to car pool, try to use public transport or walk when possible and when the time comes for me to purchase a new car, I will purchase a more sustainable option such as a car that runs on biodiesel, which is produced using waste cooking oil.

According to Biodiesel Producers, replacing petroleum derived diesel fuel with biodiesel offers these advantages:

  • It can be used in most diesel equipment with no modifications or, in some instances, only minor modifications.
  • It reduces global warming gas emissions.
  • It reduces tailpipe emissions, particularly the toxic components.
  • It is essentially free of sulphur, so the emissions do not contribute to acid rain.
  • It is non-toxic, biodegradable, and suitable for sensitive environments.
  • It has a higher flashpoint, so it is safer to store and transport.

(Biodiesel, 2008)

So in conclusion, in order for me to be 100% ethical in my fuel choice, I will need to purchase a new car that can run off biodiesel, which I currently cannot afford. In the mean time I will ‘pick my poison’ and purchase from Shell.

References:

Ethical Consumer. (2011). Petrol & Diesel. Retrieved 11 January 2011 from http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/FreeBuyersGuides/traveltransport.aspx

Ives, S. & Boyd, R. (2007). Pick Your Poison : An updated environmentalist’s guide to gasoline. Retrieved 8 January 2011 from http://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/pickyourpoison/

Oxfam International. (2008). Another Inconvenient Truth: Biofuels are not the answer to climate or fuel crisis. Retrieved 8 January 2011 from http://www.oxfam.org/pressroom/pressrelease/2008-06-25/another-inconvenient-truth-biofuels-are-not-answer

Biodiesel Producers. (2008). Why Biodiesel. Retrieved 8th January 2011 from http://www.biodieselproducers.com.au/