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Understanding Organic
Q. What is the definition of organic?
A: Something that has been grown or raised without the routine use of pesticides, insecticides and herbicides. This is monitored by organic certification bodies that inspect production methods, and audit the supply chain to ensure that products that claim to be organic genuinely are. This is regulated by European Law, but current legal standards only apply to food and farming. For non food products suppliers may choose to opt in to organic certification but this is not a legal requirement. We have opted in - and are a Soil Association licensed Organic Retailer
Q: What is an "Organic Lifestyle"?
A: In describing an "Organic Lifestyle" we mean one that is simple, healthful, close to nature and takes care of the environment. By choosing to live an Organic lifestyle you will be seeking to use natural and organic products throughout all aspects of your life; eating organic food, choosing natural and organic cosmetic products, eco friendly cleaning products and textiles made from organic fibres. You may also wish to take care of the environment in other ways such as recycling, using less energy and thinking about your carbon footprint. Our aim is to stock the products that help you do those things.
Q: What is "Organic Certification"?
A: Organic food products are regulated by European Law and must be certified to be called organic. This certification involves regular audit and inspection of the entire supply chain to ensure that products that claim to be organic really are. But current legal standards only apply to food and farming. There is no legislation around the use of the word organic in relation to non-food products. For non food products, suppliers may choose to opt in to organic certification but this is not a legal requirement. A number of countries have developed separate standards against which to certify organic non food products. In the UK, the Soil Association, the most well known UK organic certification body has established its own standards to cover health and beauty products and textiles. The Soil Association is the most well known organic certification body in the UK, but there are a large number of other well respected bodies throughout the UK, EU and Rest of the World. In the UK the other main ones are Organic Food Federation and Organic Farmers & Growers, in Europe EcoCert certifies organic cosmetics and BDIH operates a standard of "Controlled Natural Cosmetics" which is not the same as an organic standard but still exerts very strict control over the ingredients allowed into cosmetic products to make sure that they deserve to be called natural. For textiles IMO and SKAL are widely respected.
Q: What do the standards mean?
A: Because all of these organic certification standard have developed at different times and in different countries the exact detail of what is and is not allowed in products tends to vary. But in general they all seek to ensure that the agricultural ingredients in the products are produced organically and place controls over the non organic functional ingredients that are permitted. The textile standards cover the processing and manufacture of all natural fibres and assess the production methods for effects on human health, wildlife and biodegradability. (source: Soil Association) It is difficult to make completely (100%) organic beauty products because of the job we expect them to do. If you kept yoghurt out of the fridge, opened and closed its container several times a day and dipped into it with unwashed hands, sometimes not even properly closing the pot again afterwards, you wouldn't expect it to keep for very long. But, this is exactly what we expect to be able to do with cosmetic products and we also want them to keep for months or even years! Therefore the organic beauty standards do allow a very limited range of additives and preservatives for efficacy, safety and hygiene reasons. They ensure that products contain a maximum proportion of organic ingredients, minimum processing and clear labelling. According to the Soil Association products containing at least 95% organic ingredients can be labelled "organic" and products with no less than 70% organic ingredients may be labelled "made with XX% organic ingredients".
Q: What does your Soil Association certificate mean?
A:  We are inspected by Soil Association Officers to ensure that we understand the difference between certified and non certified products, that we only describe products as certified organic when they genuinely are and that we store our organic products separately. We have to give the inspectors full access to all aspects of our business so that they follow the full audit trail of a product through our business. We expect our suppliers to provide detailed information about the ingredients of their products, and list exactly which are and are not organic. Where products are certified organic we ask our suppliers to provide us with a copy of the relevant certificate. The Soil Association logo is a mark of trust, with stringent standards to ensure products that are called organic are genuinely so.
Q: Are any of the products you sell Fairtrade?
A: some of the products we sell use Fairtrade ingredients but we are always looking for more brands as we really believe this is vital to a sustainable and fair future.

A note about Organic certification

Unlike food, there is no legal protection of the word organic in relation to non food products such as cosmetics, textiles and cleaning products. This means that it is perfectly legal for a company to market products as organic when they contain very little in the way of organic ingredients. One of the ways you can be sure that the products you buy are genuinely organic is by looking for products that have been independently certified as organic. There are now a wide number of different organic certification bodies and confusing array of different symbols. Because these organic certification standards have developed at different times and in different countries, the exact detail of what is and isn't allowed into products under the standard tends to vary. However, in general they all seek to ensure that the agricultural ingredients in products are produced organically and place strict controls over the non organic functional ingredients that are permitted (such as foaming agents and preservatives). Organic textile standards cover the processing and manufacture of natural fibres and they assess production methods for their impact on human health, wildlife and their biodegradability.

Organic symbols

Soil Association Certified Organic

The Soil Association is the most well known and widely respected organic certification in the UK. Soil Association organic standards are considered to be the highest in the world.

Ecocert Certified Organic

Ecocert is one of the most widely recognised organic symbols. They have both an "organic" and a "natural" section under their certification programme. Evolve Beauty, Madara Cosmetics and Green People Make Up are all certified under the Ecocert organic standard

USDA Certified Organic

USDA is an organic certification from North America which is widely recognised and used on products all over the world.

Natrue Certified

Natrue is a relatively new European certification standard which encompasses products in 3 categories: Organic Cosmetics, Natural Cosmetics with Organic Ingredients and Natural Cosmetics. Lavera and Weleda both make products under the Natrue certified organic category.

AIAB certified organic

An Italian organic certification. The organic cotton used to make natracare feminine wipes, and natracare baby wipes is certified by AIAB.

CUC Certified Organic

Control Union Certified, a Dutch certification for organic textiles.

Demeter Certified

The Demeter mark shows that a product is not only organic but biodynamic too. Biodynamic farmers use organic methods and additionally use specially produced composts as well as taking into account the lunar calendar when planting and harvesting as they believe that this produces plants with the strongest life force. Brands such as Weleda, Dr Hauschka and Primavera use biodynamic ingredients in their products.

Organic Food Chain (OFC certified organic) - An Australian organic certification...

Organic Food Federation (OFF certified organic)

Non Food Products bearing this symbol are certified by The Non Food Certification Company (NFCC) a wholly owned subsidiary of the Organic Food Federation (one of the oldest established organic certification bodies in the UK). Organic Baby Wipes and many Green People products are OFF certified organic.

BDIH

This product is certified by the respected German Association BDIH as a "certified natural cosmetic". Strict criteria must be adhered to in the production of a certified natural cosmetic including no animal testing, plant based ingredients should be organic or wild where possible, no synthetic fragrance or petroleum based oils. Weleda, Dr Hauschka and Lavera all make products under the BDIH standard for natural cosmetics.

Vegan

A product is suitable for vegans if It does not contain ingredients of animal origin such as milk, beeswax, propolis, honey, carmine.

Eco Garantie

Ecogarantie is a certification mark for environmentally friendly products. Originally developed in Belgium it is now a respected standard in Europe when it comes to assessing the ecological impact of cosmetics, personal care and cleaning products. Alma Win cleaning products are certified by Eco Garantie

Nordic Swan Eco Label

The Nordic Swan Ecolabel is a voluntary, positive ecolabelling of products and services to give consumers a clear and concise environmental product information, as well as promoting the development of products that are environmentally-sound. Bambo Nature Nappies bear the Nordic Swan label.

Fair-trade

A product is made from ingredients that have been purchased in accordance with Fair trade principles.

Recycled

This product is made from recycled materials.

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