Thursday, March 13, 2008
In search of a sustainable barbie
My wife recently went into Barbeques Galore looking for what she says is a "sustainable barbeque". Don't laugh. Ten minutes later she leaves almost in tears after the manager berates her for accusing his company of using slave labour. Maybe it was the way in which she brought up the thorny issue of the fact that just about all of its BBQs are made in China. Who knows in what conditions they are made, the manager certainly didn't. Neither was he able to say where the wood came from, or whether any recycled materials had been used in the manufacture. In frustration she asked about the labour record of the companies that make the BBQs for Barbeques Galore, and that's when things got a little bit heated, so to speak. He turned to her and said: "What are you saying? 'That we support slave labour. Is that what you're driving at?'" She was made to feel she was in the wrong to put the questions to the company and she left upset at the experience. I am happy to report that she is over it but our quest for a sustainable barbie continues. We are not alone it seems. A friend of mine who lives on the North Coast of NSW also put the same questions to his local hardware store. He was interested in a brand-spanking new BBQ with beautiful hardwood trolley and surround. He asks the bloke if he was able to supply any accreditation for the wood used in the BBQ set. The bloke looked perplexed and said that the wood came from Asia. My friend asked again and the bloke said he would go away and ask. Two minutes later he's back. "Mate, we don't have any accreditation but don't worry it's all good. It won't fall apart." Something tells me we are going to have wait a while for a sustainable barbie.