Today, when I arrived home at about lunchtime, there was a large letter on the doormat. It was from the Green Building Store (www.greenbuildingstore.co.uk). It was information which I had requested and completely forgotten about. However, it immediately made me think about my purchases at another DIY store I had just visited which cannot claim to have quite the same green credentials.
I had actually only popped in to get some dust masks but whilst my daughter and I were looking at the chandeliers and deciding which we liked best (dream on, our house is far too small for one of those, apart from any other considerations), I remembered I wanted some tile paint. Oh, and browsing along the aisles I spied the exact blind for my kitchen that I had been looking for since we moved into our house in November 2009. I also happened to be in a clearance sale. So, how could I resist?
I was so relieved when I got home to discovered that it fit the window (generally, when I get home I discover with dismay that the blind or curtains I’ve just purchased are going to have to be returned due to being too short, too narrow, just not right). I was also extremely pleased when I had put the blind up, as not only did it look just as I’d hoped but I had done my first spot of drilling (having borrowed a neighbour’s drill).
But the blind is not made from entirely renewable resources and may well not have been made in the most ecologically sound way either. There was also the packaging, which consisted largely of non-recyclable plastic. So, does buying it because it was in a clearance sale make it more okay to buy?
Well, at the end of the day, I do need a blind. Apart from affording us greater privacy, it will keep draughts out in winter and thus reduce the amount of gas needed for heating. I think that this will only be a marginal benefit overall, but a reasonable looking environment to live in is good for one’s wellbeing, so gaining this with benefits is a win-win situation. Besides, what would have happened to the blind if no one had bought it. Landfill?
On the other hand, am I not supporting unsustainable sourcing and manufacturing by buying such an item? And why is it that a new item is much more tempting that a second hand one via freecycle or a charity shop? How could I make it easier for myself to rely less on the stores in a retail park and seek out alternative, more sustainable sources?
These questions are even more pertinent for the paint, I think. While it could be argued that it can be difficult to find the right blind, one white paint is much like another white paint, isn’t it? It doesn’t take the same degree of effort to order a can of paint online as it does to hunt down that elusive piece of material to decorate a kitchen window to your liking!