THE WHOLESOME TRUTH – WELCOME TO MY BLOG

Proprietor Sally Hayes

Hello, I'm Sally Hayes and I run Tod Almighty.  I've started this blog because I want to offer some back-story on why we sell what we do, why we think some of our suppliers are brilliant, and ideas for living more sustainably.  I hope you enjoy reading it.  You can reply to any of the posts below (but replies are moderated to avoid spam) – I look forward to hearing from you!

Sally


Posts tagged 'Plastic waste'...


Some of Tod Almighty's refills for household detergents, etc.
Some of Tod Almighty's refills for household detergents, etc.

Microplastics and Minimi

This month’s (July and August 2021) ‘Ethical Consumer Magazine’ was looking at refills of household detergents, etc., which of course we sell a lot of in the shop. We stock mostly ‘Miniml’ household detergents as they are environmentally friendly, vegan and kind to skin, and they are a local company with a ‘closed loop’ system whereby they collect the empty barrels and take them back to wash and refill, rather than recycle. 

I love ECM and always read it from cover to cover, as do a lot of our customers. However, this month I was horrified to read that not only was Miniml rated lower in ECM’s charts than expected, but that they said Miniml’s washing up liquid contained microplastics!! You can imagine I was straight on to Miniml to ask them if this was true. Scott from the company assured me that on this occasion ECM had made a mistake, their products DO NOT contain microplastics and ECM had changed their report on their online magazine, to which unfortunately you do need to subscribe to read in full. See https://www.ethicalconsumer.org/home-garden/shopping-guide/ethical-laundry-detergents




I’ve checked and they are right, ECM has changed the part about microplastics to… "As well as potential microplastics, there may be liquid polymers in your cleaners. Liquid polymers are not plastics, but they are also poorly biodegradable and remain for years in our ecosystem with unknown consequences…. Companies that got a best rating for [not using] microplastics and liquid polymers were: Bide, Bio-D, ecoleaf, Friendly Soap, Faith in Nature, Greenscents, Miniml, Planet Detox, SESI, Sodasan and Sonett.”

They also increased Miniml’s rating from 13 to 15, making them joint third best in the market, and above others like Ecoleaf. So, considering they are quite a bit cheaper than a lot of their competitors, and they refill rather than recycle their containers, I think that is much more acceptable. Phew! As we have been asked a few times about it by customers, I thought I would post to the blog to reassure people that Miniml is indeed pretty ethical and environmentally friendly.

 



Some of the <span class= plastic free items in the shop" title="Some of the plastic free items in the shop" class="responsive"/>
Some of the plastic free items in the shop

Plastic Free July

Imagine! The world has been entirely plastic- free since whale-saviour Tim Minchin gave us all a musical aide memoire to sing before departing for the shops, and we now take the month of July to celebrate that fact and pay tribute to the dolphins who helped us to make it to our enlightened and entirely renewable times. Wouldn’t that be nice? But no, not yet, the world’s arteries remain clogged with the cellophane lids off meal deal pasta salads, and our arteries are becoming increasingly clogged with tiny particles of the same.

Plastic is one of those problems which seem so huge and unsurmountable it’s very difficult to look at them directly as it is just too depressing! But there are lots of new initiatives popping up that combined together can help us as consumers to really have an impact. You probably have heard of things like reusable coffee cups, bamboo toothbrushes, refills of washing up liquid and laundry liquid, wooden washing up brushes, jute shopping bags etc etc. We’ve been selling stuff like this for a while and we have never found so much passion and determination among our customers to use them to reduce their plastic waste. And running the shop I have been repeatedly delighted to find that suppliers are addressing the packaging issue as well, with stock items like little glass bottles of essential oil now arriving in shredded paper packaging rather than bubblewrap, and Optibac probiotics FINALLY arriving in little glass jars rather than plastic tubs (thank you thank you Optibac!). So although there are lots of feelings of despair and helplessness around the state of plastic pollution, especially in our oceans, there are also reasons for hope. And Plastic Free July exists to turn that hope into action – to be, as they put it “part of the solution” and join the many millions of others reducing their plastic waste.




Started in Australia in 2011, the Plastic Free Foundation wants people to commit to new plastic- reduction techniques throughout the month of July. No straws, bringing your own mug to the cafe, refillable porridge oat dispensers – that sort of thing. The movement survived the Coronavirus pandemic and is back this year with the message that even “when things were out of our control, we could have control on something, and it was our own behaviour.” And if nobody asks for or buys the alternative, there will be no alternative. Of course there is a long way to go, but as the Plastic Free July website says: “We don't need one person doing it perfectly, we need millions doing it imperfectly.” For more inspiring stories look on their website, www.plasticfreejuly.org

It’s tempting to not want to open our eyes and look at the state of the world, it’s tempting to feel overburdened and keep the blinkers on. But if seeing what is really happening and feeling the pain and holding the problem in our brains for a moment longer than is comfortable leads to a tiny improvement in our own personal relationship with plastic waste, then we’ve done our bit for the day.

I know how depressing it can be at times, but there is a lot we can do as individuals, while we wait for the powers that be to get their fingers out. Tod Almighty is a “reduce plastic waste” shop (please note, NOT a “zero waste shop, as I don’t think that’s really possible) where we offer a wide range of refills both of wholefoods and detergents that you can fill your own containers with, thereby bypassing packaging altogether. You can refill that washing up liquid bottle dozens of times before it falls apart,and think of the reduction of plastic in the environment just from that one little thing. And it’s cheaper. Drop in and see what else we can offer.

(Thanks to Georges for his input in this)




Everyone loves a washing up brush!
Everyone loves a washing up brush!

 



Oato photo
Oato photo

Oato Floato

Another blog post from our young Georges:

It is suspicious, isn’t it, the recycling logo on a Tetra Pak carton. How does this bizarre assemblage of densely layered paper, plastic and aluminium, once smeared with some beverage, get cleaned and reassembled into a new version of itself? Well, it doesn’t. Tetra Paks are usually disassembled into pulp and additives for roofing tiles in a highly resource and water-intensive process. Better than nothing, but still not great given the quantities of milk substitute required by the tea-drinking public.

The alternative? Disregarding the highly muslin- and drudgery-intensive process of -waste- recipes/zero -waste- oat-milk" target="_blank">making your own, it seems that the solution has been staring us in the face the whole time: the humble milk float. Not only a pioneer of electric four-wheeled locomotion, milkmen also provided a sustainable system of collection and recycling of the glass bottles containing the milk. Fresh milk to your door, no need for UHT, not a mote of plastic in sight, and fully recyclable; it couldn’t last, it was too perfect for this new world of supermarkets and cars. And yet here are doorstep milk deliveries making a resurgence. Intermittent house arrest, coupled with an anxiety about the ever-expanding market power of supermarkets, seems to have people yearning for a familiar face bearing goods to the door once more.




And vegans aren’t excluded from the fun. Oato is a Lancashire company who take sustainable British grown oats and make into a really good creamy barrista milk that’s great in tea and coffee and is also enhanced with calcium and vitamins. Then they improve upon the inherent planetary benefits of plant-based milk alternatives by having them delivered to your door in a recyclable glass bottle. That they have signed a deal with a variety of regional dairies to have their oat milk delivered alongside cow’s milk by established, local family businesses is an impressively win-win situation. Milk delivery companies gain by future-proofing themselves against the potential shocks of a booming plant-based sector, and Oato gain by, as well as expanding delivery options, normalising their product by offering it alongside more traditional options, thereby enticing potentially reticent customers. Doorstep milk delivery carries with it a degree of cultural romanticism – familiarity for the old and retro-value for the young. For a bit of that normalising magic to rub off on oat milk can only be a good thing for vegan consumers seeking fresher, cheaper, greener, more convenient milk, as well as for cows hoping to give their teats a rest.

Oato-on-a-floato also represents an interesting development for the intergenerational environmental mudslinging which goes on in newspapers and local Facebook groups (potentially face-to-face conversations as well – I wouldn’t know as it’s been quite a while). You know how it goes, millennial blames older generation for the climate crisis, eliciting the rejoinder:

 “Well in my day we didn’t have all this plastic – we gave our glass bottles back to the milkman or took our pop bottles back to the shop for a penny but you can’t do that any more.”

How does the conversation change now that you can do that again? Hopefully it ends in people making a mental note (or phone note, for younger people who have outsourced their notetaking faculties) to get some revolutionary ethical fresh creamy goodness delivered by a harbinger of the old ways.

Who knows, maybe one day we’ll get the shops’ pop bottle recycling infrastructure back, too. It works pretty well in Germany. By the way, we sell Oato in the glass bottles from the chillers in the shop (for £1.25 per pint) – just bring us back your empties for reuse. Or you can get it straight from your own milkman.

 



The future of cleaning
The future of cleaning

Welcome to the Future!

By now there are many of us that are really trying our best to reduce our destructive impact on the Earth, through making conscious choices as to what we buy and how we buy it. It is heartwarming to witness so many new companies and businesses with great new ideas for creating products that are aimed at serving our planet instead of taking from it.

Two of these new environmentally orientated companies on the scene are Tru Earth and Spruce, bringing a wonderfully new green and simple solution to household cleaning products...




Here comes the Liquid-less cleaning revolution... we love this, it makes so much sense!

Nearly all household cleaning products, including laundry liquid, are made up of over 90% water... This water is heavy and uses a lot of fuel to transport and distribute around the globe, not to mention it also takes up a lot of space. This is a major and unnecessary environmental problem both for transport pollution and carbon emissions.

Then there is the issue is the harsh chemicals that are used in the majority of cleaning products. Research has shown that breathing in the fumes can contribute towards many major health problems, and of course all the toxins eventually end up going down the drain and out into the environment.

Problem number three is the huge amount of plastic waste that is generated by the industry. You may say; 'but I recycle them so all is well...' No it isn't really, over 90% of all 'recycled' plastic just ends up in landfill or the great oceans of our planet. Nevertheless, please continue to recycle, that 10% is important!

So these are the problems, but the good news is that some new companies are thinking outside the box and coming up with some pretty ingenious solutions!

First we have Spruce, who make reusable aluminium bottles which you fill with water from your own tap and add a little sachet of environmentally friendly cleaner. Mix it up and give it a good shake before you get to spraying your surfaces down, works a treat. For every starter kit purchased, ocean bound plastic waste, equal to twenty-five plastic bottles, is collected by Spruce and removed from our oceans. Over 300 million single-use plastic bottles can be prevented from polluting the planet – if every UK household switched to refillable cleaning. For more details see: https://www.wearespruce.co/pages/how-it-works.

Another of these revolutionary companies is Tru Earth, which provides a clean, green and simple solution to our everyday laundry chores. Tru Earth Laundry Strips are eco friendly and hypoallergenic, making them as gentle on the skin as they are on the environment. The tiny strips contain non toxic, yet super concentrated cleaning detergent that you just pop into your washing machine along with your laundry. The strips dissolve in the water leaving no trace. They come in small slim cardboard packets, taking up hardly any room in the cupboard and in the vehicles that transport them. This means they reduce their carbon footprint by 94% compared with other leading-brand laundry detergents. Yes, 94%! See more at https://www.truearth.uk/

We CAN all make a difference. These are just two ways of many. More to come in future blogs.

We sell both these products in the shop: 

Spruce aluminium bottles £11.99, cleaning sachets £9.99 for pack of 12, so that’s 12 litres worth

Tru Earth Laundry strips £12.99, enough strips for 32 loads of washing

We also sell Miniml laundry liquid refill for £3.30/litre

We CAN all make a difference. These are just two ways of many. More to come in future blogs.

 



Fair Trade and rainbows

We try to get in as much Fair Trade stock as we can in the shop, so we have quite a lot of the teas, coffees and chocolate that are fairly traded. Plus a few other things like pineapple chunks, rubber gloves and peanut butter. What is Fair Trade? Well, as the Fair Trade Foundation says... "Fairtrade means fairer pay and more power in the hands of farmers, so that they can create change for us all, from investing in climate friendly farming techniques and clean water for their community, to nurturing women leaders and making sure children get an education. When you choose Fairtrade, you’re choosing the world you want to see."

It’s the classic thing of the pound in your pocket having the potential to profoundly affect people’s lives, as well as the environment. It’s also 'fair' in that you are paying the price you should for a sustainable product, rather than paying less than it is worth and kicking the cost of the environmental implications down the road for future generations. So, we think it is a JOLLY GOOD THING and there should be more of it all the time there is a need for it. Which there certainly is at the moment, unfortunately.




Which is why I was tempted to try some rather nice 'non food' items of stock for a change. Shared Earth is a company that is dedicated to fair trade and with a mission to 'To improve the livelihoods of disadvantaged people in developing countries, benefiting local community projects and keeping alive traditional skills that would otherwise be lost.' (read more about them here: https://www.sharedearth.co.uk/). And they do a lot of rainbow stuff, and I have been obsessed with rainbows for years and finally everybody else seems to be joining me in my little multi-coloured arching happy space!

So I’ve taken the plunge and now you can buy all sorts of stuff, from rainbow teapots to jute shopping bags to rag rugs, plus loads of other new stock like incense sticks, essential oil defusers, glass suncatchers, hand carved wooden trivets and coasters, colourful mosaic mirrors, and loads more (see elsewhere on this website) – all made from sustainable or recycled materials and all ideal for a useful and cheering present either to yourself or for some other lucky person.

We all need to keep cheerful!

 



Clare, Graham, Krista and Sally (waving) outside the new shop.
Clare, Graham, Krista and Sally (waving) outside the new shop.

Welcome to the Tod Almighty blog!

Hi there, and welcome to Tod Almighty's new blog! We are delighted to have our own blog at last and many thanks to my brother John Hayes of Webmaker.UK for doing such a fantastic job with setting it up. Here we're hoping to give our customers a bit more background information about our shop, our ethics, the stories behind our suppliers and stock, and about how you can reduce your plastic waste and your impact on the environment. As well as other things, like recipes etc.

Let me introduce ourselves. I'm Sally – the one with grey hair in the photo above, and I've been involved in sustainability and organic food, both as a grower,a producer, a parent and a shopkeeper for rather a long time. I work with some fantastic people in the shop – Clare, Graham, Krista, Rowan, Sayaka, and the other Clair – and in fact we are just recruiting, so if you are looking for work you could get in touch.




Our aim in the shop is to enable our customers to reduce their plastic waste by buying refills, eat a healthy vegan diet with as many organic choices as possible, to support other local businesses, and to behave responsibility and respectfully to the earth, its animals, its people and the environment. We're also keen to do our bit towards tackling climate change, which will probably be the biggest challenge we have ever had to deal with in our history. Phew!

But here on the blog we aim to be interesting – hopefully – and to have some fun!

Lots of refill cannisters for customers to fill their own containers
Lots of refill cannisters for customers to fill their own containers

We also bag-up the bulk wholefoods into compostable cellophane bags
We also bag-up the bulk wholefoods into compostable cellophane bags
 



Organic veg
Organic veg

Organic Food – you know it makes sense

I’ve been growing and then selling organic fruit and veg for a long time, and I’m really pleased it’s getting more popular. I hope you enjoy the following blog post, it’s written by a young man called Georges Almond who has a passion for organic growing.

Apples in Southeast Asia are so coated in pesticides, that if you eat the skin you will become very sick. Sometimes it's good to look at extreme examples to better contextualise moderation. The poison may be in the dose, but how carefully are we moderating our dosage of pesticides? The amount of pesticides used has halved in weight since 1990, but land coverage and toxicity have increased considerably. Modern neonicotinoids, bane of bee and human alike, are ten thousand times more toxic than DDT. If it poisons the bugs, it’s probably poisoning us, too.




But with organic veg, you can dine with peace of mind. To earn the organic label, farmers are restricted to spraying their crops with nothing stronger than the likes of citronella and clove oil. In organic agriculture, a greater emphasis is placed on the introduction of predatory insects (ladybirds to hunt aphids) and the tactical placement and rotation of crops in order to reduce the effects of weeds and pesky critters nibbling at your lettuce, whilst accepting that any attempt to completely eradicate them is foolish and unnecessarily destructive.

As a result of being kinder to the ecosystem, organic produce is also kinder to your body. Soil depletion due to over-intensive chemical agriculture means the average non-organic carrot is much less nutritious nowadays than it would have been just decades ago, with significantly reduced levels of magnesium, zinc and vitamin E. Organic farmers rehabilitate their environment by switching out chemical fertilisers for compost (among other measures). Healthier soil means healthier customers.

Much has been made of claims that organic agriculture would, if scaled up to meet the needs of every household in the UK, produce more CO2 than the current system. The current system of chemical-intensive agriculture can, admittedly, produce more food to a more predictable schedule, increasing energy-efficiency and making us less dependent on overseas imports. But this is only one small part of the whole story. The aforementioned study worked off a prediction of a 100% shift to organic, catering to current demand for vegetables. Cultural trends towards eating seasonally available produce and reducing waste are only just beginning, and as organic market share increases, improvements to efficiency are inevitable. Added to this, a highly efficient agricultural system which depletes the nutrients of the soil is only going to lead to soil degradation and desertification faster than a less efficient one. If we are headed over a cliff-edge, why would we want to go faster?

Finally, the cultural and psychological benefits of a strong organic food industry are immeasurable. Chemical-intensive agriculture is borne of a reductive and mechanistic mindset which reduces the relationship of humanity to nature to one of extraction and domination. Organic agriculture is a positive step towards understanding the complexity of nature and working with its already existing systems to create a more harmonious co-existence and ensure the continued thriving of both parties. I think that’s worth supporting.

 



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