In the Blog

Helping and hindering

October 1st, 2007     by Catherine Hayday     Comments

As I filled up the kitchen sink to wash my dishes, I thought of a question I would like to ask the Shameless peoples — which eco-friendly products have you tried that work and you would recommend to others? And on the flip side, which eco-friendly products would you like to debunk as good ideas in theory which in practice, well, suck?

The reason I think of this as I go to wash my dishes is that I am not washing these dishes for the first time. These are my post-dishwasher dishes (PDDs). All of the finest in automation and technology and I’m left emptying the contents of my dishwasher into two piles: clean, and wtf. And what has turned my dishwasher from a helpful timesaver into a useless block of horse pucky? Ecofriendly dishwasher detergent.

I’m not speaking from a ‘one attempt and bail’ pespective. I’ve been trying to use ecofriendly detergent for years. All different brands, all different formulations. And I do all the right optimizing-your-dishwasher rituals, like running the tap until it is piping hot before pressing start, making sure my dishes don’t lie around fermenting, saying encouraging, supportive things as the cycle starts… And still. I look at my stack of wtf glasses, plates, and cutlery, and sigh.

But I want to believe that there are effective eco-friendly alternatives to most of what we consume. And while I am starting to despair that is true for dishwasher detergent, I do have plenty of evidence it is true for other products — which match, or surpass the “conventional” option. So I want to take a moment to itemize those eco-friendly products I couldn’t do without. An exercise in restoring my faith in the eco-friendly (and smiting the products which give eco-friendly a bad name).

Adria Vasil’s Ecoholic is a great resource for this (reviewed in the brand new issue of Shameless magazine I believe), as is her weekly column in NOW magazine.

(Unfortunately I don’t actually own a copy of Ecoholic at the moment: it came out, I thought it was great, we bought it for Christmas for family, then forgot to get one for ourselves. Duh.)

But outside of expert advice and back in the field, which day-to-day eco-solutions work for you, and which don’t? And for this question, I’m putting granularity to the side. Big or small, frivolous or essential as you like.

I’ll start:

The Good * glass tupperware

* reusable, rollupable, shopping bags
* coffee/tea travel mugs
* bikes

The Bad * every brand of dishwasher detergent I have tried

* most brands of bio/natural deodorant

How about you?

Tags: eco speak

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