Over the past nine months, I’ve started looking a lot closer at where my purchases come from, particularly the items I buy on a regular basis, such as food. Some items, such as coffee, are clearly not, and never will be grown here – and that’s fine, but other items, such as garlic (China), grapes (United States), oranges (Australia, California), and tomatoes (Spain) are commercially produced here. Apart from the economic issues, I simply can’t justify supporting the thousands of air miles required for me to enjoy grapes in the middle of winter because I’m a bit impatient.
The bathroom is a little trickier.The following is a list of what I use, it’s country of origin, and roughly how much I pay at my local New World supermarket.
- Soap – Knights Castile, Australia – $4 per 4x100g pack
- Toothbrush – Colgate Value Pack, China – $3 per twin pack
- Toothpaste – Colgate Triple Action, Australia- $4 per 220g
- Razor – Schick, China – $8 per eight pack
- Shaving Cream – Primal Earth Aloe Hydrate, New Zealand (hah!) – $9 / 175ml
- Deoderant – Brut roll on, Australia – $4/50ml
- Hair gel – V05 hair putty, Australia – $9/130g
Clearly, there’s some room for improvement here. I’ve been eyeing up the shaving gear at Goodfella’s to take care of my shaving needs, if for no other reason that replacing single-use non-recyclable gear appeals to my environmental and financial sensibilities. I’ll report back once I’ve ordered a set and used it for a bit, and in all fairness, a quick bit of googling shows a variety of deodorants, for which I mainly need to locate a store for somewhere in Wellington.
Toothpaste is a bit of a problem. The evidence suggests quite strongly that fluoride based toothpaste fluoride is effective in both preventing and treating cavities. I credit this fact, along with my regular night and morning brushings as to why I still have no fillings at twenty eight. Until I can get New Zealand made fluoride toothpaste, I’ll stick to my Australian made Colgate.
Which brings me to soap.
The manufacture of soap in this country appears to be mainly the concern of middle aged woman with too much time on their hands. When browsing the various websites of soap manufacturers, phrases like, “hand crafted”, “gift baskets” and “beautifully scented” far too often.
I can’t get behind that. No self respecting straight man is going to lather himself in soap smelling of honey and strawberries. I’m not opposed to the idea, but the few of these that I’ve got up close with are overpowering, and distinctly feminine. Furthermore, this insistence on ‘hand crafted’ means they are all incredibly expensive, which isn’t helped by the high cost of the ingredients. Far too many of the soaps are made with expensive bases like olive oil (imported), palm oil (imported), coconut oil (imported), and sandalwood (imported).
However. There is a solution. Arguably, the best soap is made from tallow. Tallow is rendered beef or mutton fat. The New Zealand dairy industry has such an excess of beef fat, that it sells it in bulk for around 70 cents per kilo. I think there’s a market opportunity here. Fonterra already sells yoghurt, ice cream, and iced coffee under their Mammoth Supply Co brand. I propose that they create a related product line with the following slogan;
Mammoth Man Soap: Made from Cows
I’d buy it. I suspect more than a few other men would also, especially if they knew it was made from cows.
Update: 1-March-2011: In my under-caffeinated and sleep deprived state, I said that the study in Nature magazine proved that fluoride toothpaste did nothing, which was completely the opposite of what I meant to say. I’ve corrected this.
Update: 6-March-2011: I have purchased a Goodfella razor. First attempts did not go well. Using a good shaving cream is a must with these, otherwise, bad things happen.