Have you ever heard the word “ethical”? “Ethical” is the English word meaning “rinriteki” in Japanese, but these days it’s a word that implies environmental conservation and social contribution. Selecting and consuming products that are environmentally and socially friendly is also called ethical consumption. You can support efforts to solve environmental and social issues through ethical consumption, for example, you can help prevent water pollution from harmful chemicals by switching from the usual laundry detergents and dishwashing detergents to ones with natural ingredients, and you can contribute to the movement to abolish plastic bags by using reusable shopping bags. Then there is “fair trade,” where purchasing products made in developing countries at reasonable prices helps raise the standard of living for workers working at low wages and helps them improve their status, which also links in with ethical consumption. People in Australia are turning their attention to ethical consumption a little earlier than in Japan, every year more and more new ethical goods are being produced, and consumption is increasing. In this blog I’m going to tell you about a shop called "biome," which sells products that are ethical, environmentally friendly, kind on your body, take into consideration society and the community, and look stylish too. It’s located in a corner of a shopping center called Ferry Road Market, known as a slightly higher-end supermarket. The store only stocks ethical goods and it’s packed with them. When you go into the shop, there’s a nice scent in the air and rows of fashionable, tasteful products. More than half of the products are made in Australia or New Zealand. This store also offers a free garbage collection service for recycling. What they collect for recycling includes unwanted packaging from products bought at the store, shampoo bottles, cosmetic containers except spray cans, pens, pencils, markers, toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes, and so on, clean, and empty. They sell all sorts of things like skin care products and detergents that don’t contain any additives that are harmful to the body or the environment, reusable straws and coffee cups, reusable shopping bags, cloth vegetable storage bags and eco wraps (cloths coated with beeswax to wrap foods) that you can clean and reuse, skincare products and cloth diapers for babies, and clothes made of hemp and organic cotton. They also sell picture books to tell children about things like environmental issues and animal protection. Plus, they sell empty reusable bottles and containers for putting your own handmade creams and detergents in. There are plenty of shops selling this kind of stuff on the Gold Coast, but this shop has such a big variety, I enjoy just looking at it all.
(left): The "biome" shop featured in this blog
(right): There’s a long passageway leading to the back of the shop cram-full of ethical goods.
(left): Stainless steel lunch boxes and ones that don’t contain BPA, a harmful plastic. Here they call “bento bako” “lunch boxes”, and nowadays you often see ones called “Bento-Box.”
(right): Stainless steel straws and water bottles, bags for your lunch boxes, and more. They even sell drawstring pouches made of cloth, so you can carry your straw around with you.
(left): Crayons made of beeswax. They contain only safe ingredients so it’s no problem if kids happen to put one in their mouth.
(right): This is a toy made of natural rubber, which is safe for teething babies to put in their mouths.
(left): The things like water taps contain hemp oil and witch hazel (an astringent plant extract) and other products, so you can bring your own containers, buy only as much as you like, and avoid wasting containers.
(right): Cute egg-shaped soaps in egg cartons. These too are chemical-free soaps made with only natural ingredients. They might make a nice present.
(left): You can teach children about environmental and garbage problems in an easy-to-understand way with picture books. It would be nice if these picture books were available all over the world.
(right): The eco-wraps coated with beeswax that I mentioned. You can wrap fruits and vegetables as they are, or you can use them instead of plastic wrap on crockery. You can clean and reuse them.
What I bought on this visit was a wheat bag, which is like a large, long, and narrow beanbag with natural wheat inside. The ones that people usually buy are plain, not especially stylish looking, but I found this one with a stylish pattern. There are all sorts of ways of using it, like heating it up in the microwave oven and putting it on your shoulders or cooling it down in the fridge before you use it. I mainly heat it up and use it for shoulder stiffness or eye fatigue, which feels really nice as the heat seeps out like a steamed towel. It also contains natural lavender, so it has a nice, faint scent.
Gradually switching to ethical goods for your everyday necessities will help make a difference to environmental and social problems. It would be good if there were more and more products like this and shops that sell them, don’t you think?