Sunday, 6 December 2009

Praise be to Archie Browns!

We have an almost unspoken deal in our household that one person cooks and the other washes up. We don’t have a dishwasher, so we wash our dishes the old fashioned way: fairy liquid and a green scourer. Although it’s not actually that old fashioned when I come to think of it: the scourers come from the shop in plastic wrapping, the fairy liquid in a plastic bottle. And giving up doing the washing up isn’t exactly an option at the end of the day, no matter how much I wish it was.

Thank goodness for Archie Brown’s, then. This wonderful little health store and vegetarian café opened up in Truro about a year ago. Before I decided to give up plastic I’d never been there, but in my search for plastic alternatives it was an obvious place to visit. The main ethic behind the store is to be eco and ethically friendly, so they sell a range of products from ethical make-up and beauty products to gluten free pasta, health supplements, and local veg.

Most of what they stock comes in plastic packaging, but the most beautiful thing I’ve discovered they do is Refills. Yes, Refills with a capital R. This is such a simple idea and I wish, wish, wish that there were more shops out there that do it and with a greater variety of products. As for Archie Brown’s, they do refills for cleaning products – laundry detergent, toilet cleaner, washing up liquid.

A few weeks back, when I first discovered them, I bought two plastic litre-sized bottles of their ‘Bio D’ washing up liquid. Yes, plastic, I know, but I’ve no intention of putting these bottles in the bin or the recycling because I’ll be taking back each bottle once it’s emptied and having it refilled from the tank in store. Wonderful! Not only does this save on packaging, but it’s cheaper too, and they only use ecological products such as Bio D, Ecoleaf, and Ecover.

And as for the green scourers? Lakeland saved me there: I bought a pack of four Lancashire cloths which came wrapped in a simple cardboard band. No plastic packaging and every time they start to get manky, instead of throwing them in the bin and opening a new packet, I simply stick them in the washing machine and start again.

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