Cruelty Free & Environmental Dental Care

Many of us have grown up using Colgate toothpaste and plastic toothbrushes. We used these without thinking, never considering that toothpaste can be tested on animals and the environmental impact of plastic toothbrushes.

Colgate is not cruelty free. It is currently listed as “working toward regulatory changes to reduce the number of animals used for testing”, but this does not mean that it will become cruelty free in the near future. The other well-known dental care brands Macleans, Oral-B, Listerine & Sensodyne are also not cruelty free.

I will provide some examples of toothpastes & toothbrushes that are kinder to animals and the environment.

 

Toothpaste

Grants

  • Natural toothpaste and oral care products. The mild mint toothpaste is available at Coles & Woolworths supermarkets. It is affordable at around $3-4 dollars and has a pleasant taste.

 

Red Seal

  • Cruelty free and vegan except for the propolis toothpaste. Available at supermarkets

 

White Glo

  • Vegan and cruelty free. Available at supermarkets

 

Zero Waste Beauty Australia (ZWBA)

  • One of their products is an activated charcoal & peppermint toothpaste. Activated charcoal is a natural whitening agent. This is more expensive at $16 for 65mL. It is in a glass jar with a biodegradable label and is available online.

 

Toothbrushes

Plastic toothbrushes contain no animal products, but plastic is polluting the environment. It is recommended to change your toothbrush every 3 months. In Australia, more than 30 million plastic toothbrushes are disposed of in a single year. And unfortunately most toothbrushes are made of plastic. Some prolong the lives of toothbrushes for cleaning which is good, but it is still plastic which is likely to end up in landfill or in the ocean…

 

Bamboo toothbrushes are a better option.

MOSO (or Mao) bamboo is sustainably sourced. It is fast growing, abundant and does not require pesticides. It can grow up to 1 metre a day!

At the end of its life, the handle can be thrown into the compost as it is biodegradable. The bristles which are made of polymer or nylon don’t degrade as well and can be removed and disposed of separately.

Usually there is a choice between a soft bristle or a medium bristle toothbrush, and there are toothbrushes with charcoal enhanced polymer bristles.

 

Thank you for reading this post.

 

 

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Down production: An unnecessary cruelty

Puffer jackets are popular during winter. It is not surprising as they keep you warm and are comfortable to wear. However, did you know that your puffer jacket might contain down? And are you aware of the cruelty involved in down production? Unfortunately, many people are not.

 

Down comes from the fluffy bit of a duck’s or goose’s chest. They are the feathers that are the closest to a bird’s body, which helps keep them warm.

 

The majority of down comes from China, where there are few laws to protect animals. Down is often harvested using a process known as “live plucking”. Birds are held upside down and their feathers are ripped out by hand. Plucking often tears the skin, leaving deep bleeding gashes which are sewn up with a needle and thread, and no pain relief is provided. A bird may be live plucked several times (up to 6 times a year) before slaughter.

 

Some feathers may come from geese raised for foie gras (fatty liver) production. These geese are force fed much more than they would voluntarily eat so that their livers become unnaturally large.

 

Some companies claim that they source their down after birds naturally moult, but this is only a very small portion of the down produced.

 

There is a Responsible Down Standard (RDS) sets welfare standards for ducks and geese used to provide down for products and provides certification. It prohibits live-plucking and force-feeding.

 

However, it is still down which is a duck’s or geese’s protection from the cold. Therefore, the most ethical thing to do would be to avoid down.

 

You can find kinder alternatives to down that are light and warm, these include:

-Polyester

-Cotton

-Primaloft (synthetic microfiber thermal insulation material)

-Thinsulate (synthetic fibre thermal insulation that is thin, light and warm)

Common Animal Derived Ingredients to Avoid (in ‘cosmetics’ & food)

Hidden animal products are in many cosmetic products and foods, and most people are unaware of this. Below are several animal derived ingredients, as well as suggested plant alternatives. Note that the source of some of them may surprise or disgust you.

 

*Some ingredients can be derived from plants or animals. If a source is from plants, there may be a bracketed origin statement in the ingredients list, e.g. glycerin (vegetable-derived)

 

Glycerin/Glycerol

Source: Animal fat (commonly by-products of soap manufacture)

Use: Moisturiser

Products: Soaps, moisturisers

Alternatives: Vegetable glycerin (can be derived from soy or coconut oil)

 

Stearic acid

Source: Often fatty substance from pig stomachs

Use: Variety of uses (hardens soap, binds and thickens moisturisers)

Products: Deodorants, moisturisers (lotions, creams), cosmetics, shampoos

Alternatives: Vegetable fats, coconut, cocoa butter

 

Squalene/squalene oil

Source: Extract from shark livers

Use: Moisturiser

Products: Creams, lotions

Alternatives: Olive oil-squalene can be made from olives, wheat germ oil, rice bran oil, amaranth seeds

 

Hyaluronic acid

Source: Protein commonly extracted from rooster combs (on the head)

Use: Anti-aging, hydrating

Products: Creams, serums, masks, lip products

Alternatives: Hyadisine, plant oils, can made by producing enzymes from a bacteria-based biofermentation process

 

Carmine/cochineal/carminic acid

Source: Red pigment from the crushed cochineal beetles. It takes 70,000 beetles to make just 1 pound

Use: Red dye

Products: Lipstick, blush, eyeshadow, even food

Alternatives: Beet juice, alkanet root, annatto extract

 

Lanolin

Source: Product of the oil glands of sheep, extracted from wool

Use: Moisturiser

Products: Lip products, creams

Alternatives: Plant oils (coconut, olive) & butters (shea, coconut)

 

Keratin

Source: Protein from ground horns, hooves, and hair of animals

Use: Fills in gaps in damaged hair shaft, treat weak & brittle hair (Keratin is found in your hair & skin)

Products: Hair & nail care products

Alternatives: Almond oil, soy protein, keratin protein can be synthesized in a lab

 

Gelatin/gelatine

Source: Protein derived from boiling skin, tendons, ligaments and/or bones of animals in water

Use: Sticky adhesive

Products: Shampoo, face masks, candy, marshmallows, yoghurts, capsule coating of vitamins

Alternatives: Carrageenan, agar agar, fruit pectin, dextrins, locust bean gum

 

Guanine

Source: Crushed fish scales

Use: Sparkly, shimmering properties

Products: Nail polish, eye shadow, skin lightening creams

Alternatives: Leguminous plants, synthetic pearl, aluminium & bronze particles

 

Ethical clothing certifications, standards & definitions

It is common for those who try to live a more animal cruelty free lifestyle to discover information about products and manufacturing processes that cause harm to humans and the environment. This in turn may lead them to make ethical choices in other aspects in addition to reducing harm to animals.

 

Definitions:

Slow fashion

*Prioritises quality and buying clothing that lasts. It slows down the production process, encourages fair wages and is better for the environment. Often involves versatile and classic styles.

[Bon Label offers a range of tees for women in black, grey, white and black and white striped. Their profile states that the tees are the opposite to fast fashion]

(Compare to) Fast fashion

*Prioritises getting new trends to the market as quickly and cheaply as possible, often compromising quality and causing harm to the environment. Fast fashion retailers may introduce new clothing as often as a few times in a week.

-Slow fashion is more expensive, but fast fashion is more expensive in the long run if it is only worn a few times and then discarded

 

Carbon footprint

*Measure in units of carbon dioxide (CO2) of the total amount of greenhouse gases humans emit directly and indirectly through our daily activities   

Carbon neutral

*No carbon footprint (zero carbon dioxide emissions)

 

Certifications & standards:

Fairtrade

*Movement that advocates for good working conditions and improved terms of trade for farmers and workers in developing countries

-Must meet international social, economic and environmental standards

 

Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)

*Ecological and social standard for the entire textile supply chain based on the use of certified organic fibres

 

Carbon Trust Product Footprint Certification

*Measures a product’s carbon footprint (you can see the symbol of a footprint on the label in the photo above)

 

These are just a few terms, certifications and standards. There are many more out there. If you are interested you can download The Good Fashion guide created by australianethical and Good on you. You can also download the Good on you app (which rates brands on how they treat animals, workers and the environment) to discover more ethical brands.

My Ideal (animal free) Pantry

Of course it is necessary to shop regularly for fresh fruit and vegetables and bread, but there is something nice about having a well stocked pantry. This would mean not having to rush to the supermarket to buy one or two essential ingredients for a recipe. This list covers a lot of the foods that are included in animal-product free recipes, as well as foods that are ethical and nutritious alternatives to meat and dairy products.

So here is the list which is divided into various sections:

Grains

  • Jasmine rice
  • Brown rice
  • Wild rice
  • Quinoa
  • Pearled barley
  • Buckwheat
  • Oats (quick/rolled)

Noodles

  • Normal egg-free noodles
  • Soba noodles
  • Flat rice noodles
  • Vermicelli
  • Pasta: Penne, fusilli, spaghetti, linguine

Flours

  • (Wholemeal) plain flour
  • (Wholemeal) Self-raising flour
  • Chickpea flour
  • Coconut flour
  • Almond meal
  • Polenta

Legumes

  • Lentils (dried & canned)
  • Chickpeas (dried & canned)
  • Soy beans (dried)
  • Kidney beans
  • Black beans
  • White beans

Nuts

  • Almonds (& almond butter)
  • Cashews
  • Peanuts (& peanut butter)
  • Walnuts
  • Pecans
  • Pistachios
  • Pine nuts

Seeds

  • Sunflower
  • Pumpkin
  • Ground flax
  • Chia
  • Sesame

Dried fruits

  • Raisins/sultanas
  • Cranberries
  • Dates
  • Apricots
  • Coconut flakes
  • Banana chips

Dried sea vegetables

  • Wakame
  • Nori
  • Kelp
  • Kombu
  • Hijiki
  • Spirulina
  • Chlorella

Sauces

  • Tamari, soy sauce or organic coconut amino sauce
  • Satay sauce
  • Tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • Egg-free mayonnaise
  • Tomato sauce
  • Green curry paste
  • Massaman curry paste
  • Pesto
  • Applesauce

Vinegars

  • Balsamic
  • Rice
  • Apple cider

Oil

  • Canola
  • Olive
  • Coconut
  • Sesame

Sweeteners

  • Maple syrup
  • Coconut sugar
  • Raw sugar

Other

  • Canned coconut milk (both full fat & light)
  • Unsweetened almond/soy/coconut milk
  • Jackfruit
  • Nutritional yeast
  • Falafel mix
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Curry powder
  • Fruit jams

Snacks

  • Dairy-free dark chocolate
  • Plain rice crackers

Drinks

  • Various types of tea
  • Coconut water
  • Kombucha

…I also included fridge, freezer & fruits and vegetables

Fridge

  • Almond/soy/coconut/oat/rice milk
  • My life biocheese (made of coconut oil)-Block, slices, shredded
  • My life biobuttery (made of coconut oil)
  • Coconut yoghurt
  • Tofu (both silken & firm)
  • Tempeh
  • Seitan
  • Hummus
  • Miso paste (both light & dark)

 

Freezer

  • Edamame
  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Frozen fruits (berries, cherries, coconut chunks, banana (for blending to make ice-cream))

 

Fruits & vegetables

  • Avocados
  • Eggplant
  • Tomatoes
  • Lemons, limes (for their juice)
  • Mushrooms (fresh &/ dried): Portobello, oyster, enoki, shiitake
  • Carrot
  • Celery
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Sweet potato
  • Zucchini
  • Beanshoots
  • Greens: Kale, bok choy, spinach, rocket

 

I hope this list is helpful to some extent. My pantry does not include all of these products, and this is by no means an exhaustive list. Feel free to provide any suggestions of other foods to include via the comments.

 

 

Honey is not just a runny & sticky sweetener

It’s Easter. During this time there is a lot of chocolate an baked goods being sold in supermarkets. You may prefer to buy ingredients to make your own cakes and breads, as well as other recipes. However, some sweeteners such as honey come at a cost to other living creatures, in this case bees.

Bees work hard to find nectar from flowers, and in doing so pollinate the plants. They regurgitate this substance and fan it to the right consistency, which becomes honey. They store it for their use throughout the cold winter.

In ‘factory farms’ for honey production, humans harvest all the honey in Autumn (not just the excess), leaving the bees without the nutrition they have stored to get through the winter. Instead, the bees are fed on cheap and less nutritious sugar supplements (sugar or corn syrup). And during Autumn there are no flowers with nectar, so the bees can’t make more honey.

Bees can also get injured or die when beekeepers handle the honeycomb due to their natural instinct to protect the hive, resulting in them losing their stingers. Furthermore, bees face the potential for a rapid spread of disease through their colony.

With so many more ethical alternative sweeteners available, eating honey is unnecessary.

Alternative sweeteners include:

Liquid

  • Maple syrup
  • Agave nectar
  • Rice malt syrup
  • Molasses

Solid

  • Coconut sugar
  • Ground dates

 

Happy Easter! I hope you enjoy all the food that comes with Easter. And don’t forget to make other ethical choices such as choosing the Lindt GOLD BUNNY dark rather than the Lindt GOLD BUNNY milk.

Companies & Brands that Source Ethically

Today’s post is a bit different from previous posts, as there isn’t a specific focus. Now there are many ethical brands that not only are against animal exploitation, but also against human and environmental exploitation, and put these values into action. By reading this, you may find out about products made using interesting and sustainable materials and may even discover an previously unknown ethical brand that you like.

 

Brands

Nae

Nae, which stands for No Animal Exploitation, is a Portuguese vegan footwear brand which offers all types of shoes from everyday sneakers to work shoes to high heels. They also are against human and environmental exploitation. They use natural materials including cork & pineapple leaf, recycled materials such as plastic bottles, and synthetic materials such as ecological microfibers. The products are manufactured only in certified factories of Portugal.

 

Etiko

Offers sneakers similar in style to Converse but are more ethical. They are fair trade, organic and vegan. The sole is all natural, made from sustainable latex and certified by the FSC. The canvas and laces are made with cotton which has been certified both organic (GOTS) and fairtrade (FLO). The shoebox is made from post-consumer waste. They also have clothing made of organic cotton.

 

Tree Tribe

An outdoor lifestyle brand committed to protecting the environment through using eco friendly materials, as well as planting 10 trees on every sale. They have leaf leather products made from sustainably harvested Teak leaves. They are natural, and every piece is unique. Tree Tribe also sell eco water bottles, and offer clothing made from materials such as organic cotton, sustainable hemp and recycled polyester.

 

Eve Cork

Their mission is to “educate the world about cork fashion, while building an online-first, sustainable luxury handbag brand”. Materials used include cork, organic cotton and all-natural vegetable dyes. Their style is European inspired. The bags are made in Portugal, where workers are paid well and have good working conditions.

 

Companies

Flora & fauna

Offer products that are vegan, ethically sourced and cruelty free. They are committed to protecting the environment and have a recycling program, where customers can return bottles and tubes to be made into other products. They also partner with and support Where Pigs Fly Farm Sanctuary (which cares for abused and abandoned farm animals). They offer a wide range of skincare, haircare, dental products, makeup, clothing, bags and health products.

 

Velvety

Provides sustainable, vegan, cruelty free and ethical, fairtrade certified items that are affordable. These include clothing, handbags, accessories, skincare, makeup and their own handmade eco soy candles. These products respect animals, humans and the planet. They use all recycled packaging for deliveries. (Stock Tree Tribe)

 

Vegan Style

They only stock brands that are high quality, vegan and cruelty free and environmentally friendly. They mainly sell shoes, but also sell a variety of other items including belts, handbags and beauty products. (Stock Etiko, Nae)

 

The Cruelty Free Shop

Provides a wide range of vegan and cruelty free products including food (that which your local supermarket may not have), health, fashion, beauty and household items. They regularly support animal rights organisations by fundraising for them, selling merchandise with the proceed going to charity as well as other methods.

 

With so many brands and companies that source ethically, next time your skincare runs out or your sneakers become worn, you can be sure to find an ethical brand or store where you can find what you need.