Shake up your shopping habits

One of the biggest obstacles to a thorough greening of everyday life is habit. It’s just so easy to get everything from the supermarket. Thinking about new ways to source organic toothpaste, shampoo and body lotion just doesn’t seem that important in the global scheme of things.

I , for one, must confess to making no effort this year to choose green supplies for the back to school list. Afterwards I noticed that there were lots of better options than the ones I chose for convenience and speed. Hopefully, once we start reprogramming one area of our lives, the rest will follow.

Start exploring some of these online stores which sell everything from DIY stuff to baby supplies. Many of them are offering discounts to first-time shoppers:
Tout Allant Vert
IDcook (for solar ovens and cookers)
Terralanna (baby supplies)

Sometimes the reconfiguration of the brain circuitry happens when a new retail concept arrives. Such was the case with last weekend’s opening of Naturalia Beauté Bio on at 126 Boulevard Raspail. (Mº Notre Dame des Champs) Part of the Naturalia chain of organic food markets, the new store hopes to encourage purchases of organic cosmetics by separating them from the food market space, traditionally associated with hair-shirt items like fair-trade quinoa and organic lentils. More appealing than the Whole Foods counter of green cosmetics and bath products, the new space is more like a cross between a traditional French pharmacy and a Sephora. It’s a great opportunity to get better acquainted with all the Greenpeace-approved (see earlier post “Why Buy Natural Beauty Products”) brands like Logona, Melvita, Cattier, Weleda, Phyt’s, Lavera, Sanoflore – and most of the products on display are certified by Ecocert, Cosmebio or the German certification BDIH. Naturalia Beaute Bio plans to offer facials and massage and there are two other outlets due to open on the Right Bank in the coming weeks, one in the Marais at 52 rue Saint-Antoine and the other in the ninth arrondissement at 54 rue Lamartine.

Many of the products that are marketed as “green” cosmetics in more traditional outlets don’t make the certification grades because they contain one or more of the following:
Paraben – traces of this preservative have been found in breast cancers
PEG and PPG – emulsifiers made from carcinogenic substances
BHT, BHA – stop oils from going rancid. Can have carcinogenic effects on the stomach in high doses
Formaldehyde – carcinogenic substance
Paraffin – mineral oil obtained from petroleum. Prevents pores from breathing

So be warned and read carefully before you buy!


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