It’s not easy being Green (a Confessional)

If you don’t know us, you may have guessed it anyway…we are broke. We are living off a student loan which would be hard for a single person to get by on. We are doing OK, but we have been finding it difficult to afford some of the  “green products’ that we previously purchased regularly, and we are constantly looking at our buying habits to see what can go. One of the items we used to regularly by was Organic Essentials Cotton Swabs. They cost more than other “regular” brands, but I always insisted they were worth it. The packaging always bugged me a bit because the box is wrapped in plastic, so I pay twice as much for something that is biodegradable but it comes in packaging that is not. Anyhow, we couldn’t find them here in Kingston and ordering them online was looking to be too expensive, so I broke down and bought LIFE Brand cotton swabs with paper sticks. I wondered why they were not biodegradable. I mean if they were, wouldn’t they want to advertise that on the package? I have done some research and I can’t find an answer. It seems that because the sticks are paper, they should be biodegradable unless some chemical treatment makes them not so. I will have to call the company and then post an update.  If you can afford it, I  would still argue that Organic Essential are better because they are organic, and the farmers are treated and paid well. But for the time being, unless I discover some pernicious property about them, we will be using LIFE brand cotton swabs.
The other big problem we have come across is our apartment. We had to find somewhere cheap and fast at the busiest time of the year for apartment hunting, so we are in an apartment with no yard or balcony (for growing food or hanging laundry) and no ventilation. That means we have to keep the windows open even in the winter (please don’t tell the energy efficiency police) and we can’t hang laundry to dry because our apartment is so humid that any added humidity causes major mold problems.
Also, we are not always buying organic or even local-we still try, but when things are really tight, we close our eyes and go to the supermarket.



Filed under household goods, personal care

5 responses to “It’s not easy being Green (a Confessional)

  1. Sarah O'Toole

    Just think about all the things you’re NOT buying since you’re broke!!

    As for cotton swabs . . . we haven’t bought any in years since we read that “nothing smaller than your elbow” should be inserted in the ear canal. I found this neat little wooden ear cleaner stick in Japan that I’ve been using (carefully!) and for the boys I just use a clean, hot cloth at bath time to get into all the ear crevices. It’s got to be done nightly but it saves us from having to buy swabs.

    There’s also a device (reusable) that I think is much like a miniature water-hose for ears. I can’t remember the name right now but I’ll try to find out.

    This year my theme is PERSPECTIVE so in light of your situation regarding lack of growing space, perhaps it’s a good opportunity to start a community garden initiative!

    Don’t be down my green green friend!

  2. the community garden post is coming soon!

  3. Jennifer in Toronto

    Hi there,

    The LB swabs may very well be biodegradable – but municipalities usually say “no swabs in the green bin” because so many other brands contain plastic or wooden handles. There was a concern in Toronto at least that citizens may start tossing whatever swab they used into the grn bin with no regard to if it was a paper vs plastic kind.

  4. True, but you can compost them in the backyard composter of yourself or a friend. I think they take quite a long time to break down because we always had a little pile in the bottom of the rich black soil. Perhaps I should just give in a give up the cotton swabs.

  5. “so I pay twice as much for something that is biodegradable but it comes in packaging that is not.”

    Absolutely my pet peeve. Not just that biodegradable products are packaged in plastic, but that organic foods and organic personal care products are packaged in plastic. And it’s not even just that the plastic won’t biodegrade, which it won’t. But that if these products are so healthy for us, why are they packaged in something that could be leaching chemicals right back into them???


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