Storefront: Buy Local, Buy Eco

How much green can you afford to drop for planet Earth?

Eco-products are a billion dollar industry, they’re all over the place, ranging from the affordable (green) to the expensive (au vert). Save your carbon credits by checking out the city’s markets, stores and groceries which stock goods made by local companies and that are in-step with the environmental movement. Below I have listed just a few.

Reusable products
They’re the ultimate investment. Over time you’re spending less than you would to re-purchase disposable items. Ecowise is a popular St. John’s manufactured hempware label that started 12 years ago with just one product: the Reusable Hemp Coffee Filter.

“It’s made from 100% hemp fabric,” explains company veteran Karen Power. “They’re easy to use and can be used again and again.”

Filters come in different sizes, ranging $5-$6 a pack and are found at Food For Thought and Auntie Crae’s. Other cool items include the Ecowise Hemp Water Bottle Carrier ($7.50) and customizable Hemp Conference Bags that are great for carrying school books and groceries for $20 and up.

Got earwigs?
Bug Juice, an earwig killing product containing no poison or pesticide, is manufactured here by ex-exterminator Neville Button.

“As an applicator I’d be harassed by people in the neighbourhood who didn’t want to be exposed to chemicals. So I started doing the research and came up with an attractant for the bugs, a liquid recipe that I made myself.” The concoction is placed in a vat, and when the earwigs take a whiff, they crawl in and drown.

The treatments cost $39 a month and this pays for new batches of Bug Juice attractant and the emptying and refilling of the vat. For inquiries and orders contact 690-7385.

Blanket solution
The Whitakers in St. Philip’s use the wool from their Rushmere turkey and sheep farm to produce wool queen-sized blankets in all sorts of colours that’ll last a lifetime. For the farm owners, these blankets are a way to make use of the sheep by-product that’s almost valueless in the province, explains Jill Whitaker. “I think it’s just that people have gotten used to using synthetics and they’re less expensive.” Blankets are $135.00, plus tax and can be custom ordered through the Rushmere Farm at 895-3393.

Toiletries galore
The Metro area is awash with all-natural and organic toiletries. Tvål soap-makers produce a line of soaps, lip balms, creams and a deodorant made of certified organic ingredients, each for under $20. The idea came from a fresh-faced Tvål intern named Elizabeth, who worked with staff members last fall to perfect the line’s products.

Viola and Aubrey Goulding have been charming honey bees for over 20 years and sell beeswax products and edible honey through their ‘bzzz’ness, Bee Natural Paradise Farms. Customer favourites include the Beeswax Foot and Hand Creams, Furniture Wax and Bee Balm for Baby that the Gouldings created especially for their grandchild. Viola recommends a facial product called Honey Ointment that purifies skin with a special ingredient.

“I use bee propolis. It’s antioxidant, antibacterial, it’s fabulous.” (In case you’re wondering, propolis is the resin bees use to seal the hive.) Products range from $1.25-$18 and can be purchased online or at participating vendor locations found on their website at

Olivia Canela is an all-natural line of lip balms and massage oils free of artificial scents and dyes. Creator Paula Mendonça posts new products and event information on the Facebook group, Olivia Canela and vends products each Saturday at the St John’s Farmer’s Market. E-mail contact is

Real Soap! is headed by sisters Marina Cole and Susan Hansen of Torbay, who make all-natural products to counter the harsh ingredients found in brand name ‘soap’.

“Ivory brand soap is technically not even a soap,” explains Marina, the suds specialist. “It’s called a synthetic detergent bar. It’s a bar of chemicals.”

Marina produces eight types of all-natural soaps by hand at $3 a piece. Other big sellers include their Multi-Purpose All-Natural Cleaner ($5 for 500ml bottle, $3 for refills) and Bag of Suds Laundry Shavings ($5 a bag per 500g), a collection of leftover soap pieces that make for excellent suds for your duds, especially for those with sensitive skin. Real Soap! also frequents the Farmer’s Market and can be purchased at Food For Thought, the Tickle Trunk and Devon House. Custom orders may be made by telephone at 437-6928.

If you’re looking for more Earth-friendly resources, a great eco-business directory created by local activist Judie Squires is available at So keep shopping around, Planeteers! Even on a small budget, you can afford to live green in the city.

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Daily events Dec 23

2nd Annual Christmas Turkey Dinner (Youth Community Network) Free dinner for anyone of any age, 6pm, George Street United Church 754-3047 Carol Memorial Service: Tree of Memories, refreshments and carols w/ Salvation Army Newfoundland East Divisional Youth Band, 4pm, St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital – LeMarchant Road (out front) Choral BCP Eversong: Featuring music from English […]

19 December 2007

  1. Colin · December 19, 2007

    FYI – Farmers’ Market Site => or

  2. Elling Lien · December 19, 2007

    The photo of Real Soap! in the print edition lists Marina Cole as Sarah Hansen (her sister and business partner).

    Apologies to Hansen and Cole for the name mix-up!

  3. Olivia Canela · December 19, 2007

    Olivia Canela is more than just lip balms and massage oils. We also create body and facial moisturizers, body butters and baby & belly balms. Check out our Facebook Fan Page for more info.