I've been spending some time recently thinking about soap pods, which I've been using happily for a couple of years now. The whole issue of them having to travel a long distance has been bothering me lately as well as some bits and pieces I've read on the internet recently about how the increase in popularity of soap pods (also called soap nuts) has led to some exploitation of this resource and those who produce it. With this in mind and considering I've nearly finished what I have I emailed EcoLogic, the organic mini-market in Dundrum where I buy them from. I was delighted to see they have a website up and running and even more delighted when I had an answer to my email first thing the next morning. Here is what John (the owner) had to say:
"In relation to air miles and Soapods yes they do travel a distance - from Nepal and North India. Our supplier advertises the fact that they are derived from sustainable plantations paying proper wages. That said they do not carry a Fair Trade stamp but we know the people bringing them in and we would trust them.
The alternatives are E-cover which is manufactured in Belgium and Lillies which is manufactured down in Cork. The ingredients for both products may travel a distance I don't honestly know but I will endeavour to find out.
Though the soapods travel I would think that their overall environmental impact is less and they also help sustain people in less advantaged areas of our planet. They use no energy in the production or disposal process for the product or the packaging. If not the soapods then our next suggestion would be Lillie's Laundry cleaner made in Cork, and though it is packaged in plastic containers we do offer refils.
Great to see people thinking things through. Looking forward to seeing you at the shop where we source Irish wherever possible and if not Irish as close to Ireland as possible."
Although I have shopped a good few times at Eco Logic I haven't been there since the beginning of summer and a lot of the changes in my thinking around the whole area of local and organic etc. have happened since then. I suspected that their policy would be local first but it's nice to have this confirmed. If you're in the area please do try and support this great shop - they also have stalls at some of the farmers' markets on the weekend see www.ecologic.ie for details.
I've decided to continue using soappods for now.