Can I send my reviews to the site?

I very much encourage users to comment on my reviews and to share their own experiences and choices. If you want to write a full review yourself, go ahead. If it fits in with the site, I will publish it in its entirety (crediting you). In this case, it is better to send the review to me through the contact page, rather than as a comment on my blog.

Do you accept products for review?

If you are from a company that produces an eco product that you would like me to review, please contact me and we can discuss it. If it sounds like a good product, I may well be prepared to review it, but you will have to accept my review for better or worse. I do not endorse products just because they were sent to me.

How do you decide what to review?

I have started the website with reviews of products that I use. So the early listings are based on research that I have conducted for myself when I have been choosing products. As time goes on I will fill the gaps, and respond to suggestions for review areas from readers like yourself. If you have thoughts - either about my reviews or about areas I have neglected - please do contact me.

If we want to help the environment, shouldn’t we just stop consuming altogether?

This is a good point and one that is too often not made. Reducing consumption, or returning it to levels that are sustainable, is critical overall.  Fortunately, it has been repeatedly shown that having more stuff does not make us happy, so we should be able to make that step. But it turns out to be very hard given the way our societies function, relentless exhortations to buy and the fact that much of our sense of self is tied up in our possessions. This site aims to help you make good decisions about what you buy. That should save you money and save waste as you might actually use and value the products you buy. Since durability is one of the criteria that I consider when rating products, the hope is also that your purchase will last longer. If you are thinking about the issue of consumption and the responsibility of the individual, I recommend The Story of Change, a great short video on the topic.

Where do you get your information about issues such as toxicity, ecological footprint?

I use a wide variety of public sources. In particular I have referred to third party studies of toxicity, chemicals and the harm they may cause (for example the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetics Safety Database) and have thought about where products are manufactured and what impact their transport has on the environment (so local products are generally favoured over those that are imported). I have not, though, conducted any analysis of different companies’ manufacturing standards or practices.

What criteria do you use to rate products?

I have no scientific weighting scale. Factors that I consider are:
  • does the product effectively perform the function for which it is designed?
  • how much does it cost and how does the cost relate to potential savings down the line (e.g., in energy use, water use)?
  • how far has it gone in addressing the ecological concerns that are associated with its conventional alternative (e.g. toxicity, carbon footprint, waste generation)?
  • how far does it have to travel to reach consumers? (more important for bulky/heavy items as energy use for transport will be greater)
  • is it attractive and well-designed?
  • can it be recycled/repurposed?
In the end, though, the reviews are just my opinions. Let me know if you agree, disagree or have any other comments.

What is the goal of the site?

I have done a lot of research on eco products and I thought it worth sharing that. A second aim of the site is to persuade those of you who are wedded to `conventional’ products that there are alternatives out there which are less bad for us and for the earth, but which do actually work. Many people tell me that they have tried various eco-alternatives and given up because they simply do not work. In some categories, product performance is still an issue. However, in many areas earth-friendly or green products perform as well, if not better, than their conventional alternatives. What I would say to doubters is `please try again'. This site is here to help you and to stop you from wasting your money.

Are your reviews sponsored?

Definitely not. Most reviews are based on my own purchasing choices. If I accept a product for review, I will make this clear in the text.

What are your credentials as a reviewer?

I am a demanding consumer who cares passionately about environmental issues and who has strong opinions! I do not have formal credentials in the ecological area. I have spent most of my working life in the field of overseas development, trying to support rural people to achieve sustainable livelihoods. I have seen, first hand, the devastation that our wilful refusal to change our consumerist habits is wreaking on marginal communities. Such communities are fragile and profoundly vulnerable to even very small changes in temperature or rainfall. My strong belief is that one of the best ways to help developing countries is to get our own ecological houses in order and to show leadership on environmental issues.

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