* Prices may differ from that shown
I didn't even know you could get fair trade rubber gloves until they appeared on the shelf at ASDA last time I was looking for them. And the thing about seeing a fair trade version of something is that it gets you thinking about all those other versions of it lined up on the shelves. A direct quote from the press release announcing these fair trade rubber gloves, the first ones available in the UK: "As part of the Firstlight Project, set-up by Sri Lankan rubber manufacturer, the farmers receive a fair price for their rubber latex, as well as technical support and help with purchasing equipment." The statement explains how buying these gloves will make positive change in the lives of rubber farmers in Sri Lanka.
This affected me for two reasons. Firstly, Sri Lanka is quite special to me; I actually got married there earlier this year. I was pleased to have a chance to improve the living conditions of people who live there, and to aid the Sri Lankan economy after the difficulties they have faced through years of civil war. Secondly, I looked at the cheaper rubber gloves next to the fair trade ones, and wondered where that rubber came from. I wondered whether the farmers selling it got a fair price, and whether they worked reasonable hours under safe conditions.
The gloves themselves aren't terribly expensive: in ASDA they were £1 for a pair. But there were quite a few cheaper options, the cheapest being Smartprice gloves which were around 50p for 2 pairs.
We bought the fair trade gloves because we are making efforts to make more responsible choices in our purchasing. They are a nice light turquoise colour, which is a pleasant change from the usual bright yellow. The packaging features more information about the project that the fair trade gloves support and a case study of one of the rubber farmers. The rubber is very good quality, and the gloves are really comfortable to wear. The grip is good, so you don't need to worry about dropping things while you're getting your washing-up groove one. I'm constantly tearing or puncturing rubber gloves, but so far this pair has stood the test of time - I've been using them for about two months now and they're still in great condition. The only fault I would point out is that the fluffy material on the inside of the gloves tends to get stuck to your hand the first few times you use them, but it's not a big problem as you can brush it off easily and it's only for the first couple of times. They keep your hands dry and comfortable, and never affect my partner's sensitive skin.
Buying fair trade isn't always easy. It's hard to find, it's more expensive, it isn't always to your taste. But in this case it is easy! Next time you're buying new rubber gloves, just consider picking up these ones, if you can afford it. Yes, they're a little bit more expensive, but it's only £1. Plus, they're really excellent quality and every time you use them you'll get warm and fuzzy feelings inside.