To a Southern woman, taking away our “beauty products” is similar to taking away firearms to a Southern man. We realize that “Even an old barn looks better with a fresh coat of paint. We consider putting on a full face of makeup is actually part of putting on the “full armor of God…after all, the higher the hair, the closer to God.
But even Southern women are becoming more and more concerned about the fact that many ingredients in our beauty and personal care products expose the wearer to a range of health concerns and may be linked to illnesses such as cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
Even if most of us are not tree huggers…(after all, we love our bacon and fried chicken way too much to ever be vegetarians…the only reason we buy fabric shopping bags is so that our groceries won’t fall out of the bottom of the bag when we carry them into the house because the bagged at Walmart refused to double-bag them)…we do respect the idea that using certain products “harms the environment,” and we like river rafting and fishing way too much to simply stand by and let that happen.
Here are ten good reasons that even Southern women should consider switching to organic cosmetics instead of simply using the Cover Girl foundation and Bonne Belle bright blue eyeshadow that we all grew up with.
cosmetics will not harm the environment……
…and that’s one less thing to worry about while we’re getting dressed to go deer hunting or bass fishing….or watch some Bulldogs fight some Razorbacks.Conventional beauty products often contain aluminum and petroleum. Retrieving the aluminum and petroleum needed to make cosmetics requires a great deal of mining to be done in some of the world’s most beautiful and sensitive areas, such as the Amazon rainforest. Every year miles of land are destroyed and stripped of vital wildlife.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be so hesitant to all ask ourselves about every single product that we use while getting dressed…
- Is the packaging recyclable?
- Were the ingredients in the product grown with synthetic chemicals and fertilizers?
- What happens when those chemicals go down the drain?
- What will this do to our water supply and the local ecosystems?
2. Organic cosmetics contain no harsh chemicals...
Conventional makeup often contains chemicals that can not only cause skin irritation or allergic reactions, but many of these chemicals are downright poisonous to the endocrine system.
For example, Johnson & Johnson was ordered to pay $72M of damages to the family of a woman whose death from ovarian cancer was linked to her use of the company’s talc-based Baby Powder and Shower to Shower for several decades.
To make matters worse, The FDA has not formally regulated beauty ingredients since 1938.
A few of the main toxic chemicals found in beauty and skincare products include….
- Formaldehyde, often found in baby ‘no tear’ shampoos and haircare products, liquid soaps, nail polish, may be a contributing factor in cancer development if inhaled or absorbed through the skin for a prolonged period of time.
- Lead, often found in lipsticks and toothpaste, can cause brain damage, seizures, gastrointestinal issues, reproductive dysfunction, and kidney dysfunction.
- Nitrosamine, found in almost everything, can form when certain chemical ingredients are mixed together and are usually not listed as an actual ingredient….yet many studies link nitrosamine to cancer. In 1996, the FDA “suggested” that cosmetic manufacturers remove any ingredients that create nitrosamine when combined with other chemicals, but this suggestion has been pretty much ignored. In fact, ten percent of cosmetics still contain combinations of ingredients that create nitrosamines.
- Parabens…such as propylparaben, methylparaben, ethylparaben and butylparaben….are found in almost any beauty product that has water added to it. Parabens have been shown to disrupt hormones and have the potential to cause cancer. A 2004 study found parabens in 18 out of 20 samples of human breast tissue. Parabens are in almost 100% of drugstore skincare products and cosmetics.
- Phthalates…found in nail polish, air fresheners, perfumes, body sprays, detergents, and soaps…are not commonly listed as an ingredient, but a study by SafeCosmetics.org, found phthalates in at least 72 products they tested. Phthalates have been shown to disrupt hormones and decrease sperm count.
3. Organic makeup is better for your skin...
Products that are 100% vegan contain no artificial ingredients and are free of preservatives, parabens, additives and sulfates. USDA-certified organic beauty products only include organic ingredients that meet the same growing standards as organic food. Organic makeup is also free of mineral oils which can clog pores and cause skin irritation and breakouts.
4. Organic makeup does not contain harmful, mysterious “fragrances.”…
Nearly all scented makeup products and perfumes list the word “fragrance,” but companies are not required by the FDA to list the actual ingredients that make up the “fragrance” in their products because that combination of ingredients is classified as a trade secret.
You may never know what harmful chemical components comprise those man-made scents that are actually behind that wonderful scent you so enjoy inhaling. You may actually be breathing in hormone-disrupting chemicals that could lead to infertility, cancer, nervous system disorders, allergies, and birth defects.
If a product is labeled as USDA-certified organic, each ingredient that makes up the “fragrance” will actually be listed individually on the packaging…and the product will include only 100% natural ingredients.
5. Organic makeup can help your skin have a smoother, more youthful appearance…
Organic products often contains cocoa butter and various other nutrient-rich oils…such as extracts of white tea, grapes, apricots, and pomegranate seeds. Organic skincare products often contain oils…such as extra virgin coconut oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, and olive oil.
These oils provide the essential fatty acids needed for healthy, youthful skin, act as an antioxidant protective barrier, and may inhibit the production of collagen and elastase, two enzymes that break down the integrity and elasticity of the skin.
6. Organic makeup provides a certain level of sun protection…
The skin on the face is thinner and more susceptible to UV-related skin aging. Ingredients commonly found in organic cosmetics that can help protect your skin from the sun include…
- Coconut oil
- Iron oxide
- Titanium oxide
- Vitamin C
- Zinc oxide
7. Organic makeup is better for sensitive skin...
Chemical-based cosmetics are more likely to cause skin reactions such as dry rough patches, rashes, rosacia and breakouts.
8. Organic makeup often performs better than traditional products…
Certified-organic beauty products are made with superior ingredients…ingredients that are pure, fresh and simple. Just as the best meals are usually not made ingredients that are pure, fresh and simple, neither are the best beauty products. Better ingredients mean better results.
We just covered how to make your own healthy deodorant with healthy natural ingredients…
…specifically the baking soda that we actually just bought as we get ready to learn how to deep-fry and make such unhealthy foods as French fries and fried onion rings.
But before we continue on our detour off the Raw Foods Pyramid into the forbidden world of deep-frying, I thought that this might be a good time to talk about a few of the worst and most commonly used unhealthy ingredients that the health and beauty and home products that most of us have simply been buying because “that’s what our mom always used to use” actually contain…
1. Artificial Colors…
- What is it…The letters “F” (food) and “D”(drugs) and “C” (cosmetics) followed by a color and number, such as D&C Red 27 or FD&C Blue 1, represent artificial or synthetic colors that are derived from petroleum or coal tar sources.
- Why to avoid…suspected to be a human carcinogen, a skin irritant, and contributing factor to ADHD in children
2. Artificial Fragrances…
- What is it…”fragrance” is a catchall term for the thousands of hidden chemicals used to make fragrances smell good. Federal law doesn’t require companies to list the actual ingredients in a product’s “secret formula,” meaning you as the consumer could actually be putting tons of chemicals that are hazardous to your health without realizing it
- Where it’s found…found in many cosmetics and skin care products including perfume, cologne, conditioner, face creams, shampoo, lotion, deodorant, body wash and moisturizers
- Why to avoid…allergic reactions, headache, aggravated asthma, dizziness, dermatitis, respiratory distress, and potential effects on the reproductive system
- What is it…preservative commonly used to keep cosmetics and nail polishes from breaking down when they are exposed to ultraviolet light
- Where it’s found…lip balms and nail enamels
- Why to avoid…carcinogen
4. Diethyl Phthalate (DEP)…
- What is it…a masking agent
- Where it’s found..in many cosmetics
- Why to avoid…believed to alter the function of hormones
- What is it…a potent preservative considered a known human carcinogen by the International Agency on Research on Carcinogens (IARC)
- Where it’s found…nail products, body washes, conditioners, cleansers, eye shadows, hair dye, fake eyelash adhesives, shampoos
- Why to avoid…has been linked to nasal and nasopharyngeal cancer, known to cause allergic skin reactions, may also be harmful to the immune system
6. Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives (FRP) …
- What is it…preservatives used to help prevent bacteria growth-including sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, methenamine, Bronopol, DMDM hydantoin, Diazolidinyl urea, Imidzaolidinyl urea and Quaternium-15
- Where it’s found…widely used in US products
- Why to avoid..known human carcinogen, can trigger allergic skin reactions
- Where it’s found…sunscreens, liquid and powder foundations with SPF
- Why to avoid…may negatively impact the function of hormones, makes it simpler for your body to absorb pesticides
- What is it…a skin bleaching chemical
- Where it’s found…found in a lot of cosmetics, such as foundations, that have skin lightening properties
- Why to avoid… can cause a skin disease called ochronosis, with blue-black lesions that in the worst cases become permanent black caviar-size bumps…may also trigger the development of cancer or irritation of the respiratory tract, as well as the toxicity of organ systems.
- What is it…a neurotoxin
- Where it’s found…hair dye and lipstick
- Why to avoid…known carcinogen
- What is it…known allergen
- Where it’s found…mascara and some eyedrops
- Why to avoid…impairs brain development
11. Mineral Oil…
- What is it…by-product of petroleum
- Where it’s found…baby oil, moisturizers, styling gels
- Why to avoid…creates a film that impairs the skin’s ability to release toxins.
- What is it…active ingredient found in chemical sunscreens
- Where it’s found…sunscreens
- Why to avoid…: linked to irritation, sensitization, allergies, hormone disruption, cellular damage, low birth weight
- What is it…estrogen-mimicking preservative used widely in cosmetics used to prevent the growth of bacteria, mold and yeast in cosmetic products
- Where it’s found…makeup, moisturizer, shaving gel, shampoo, personal lubricant, body washes, deodorants,cperfumes and other scented products, facial cleansers, and spray tan products
- Why to avoid…linked to breast cancer, skin cancer and decreased sperm count…may disrupt the endocrine system and cause reproductive and developmental disorder
- What is it…polyethylene glycol, synthetic petroleum-based chemicals
- Where it’s found…often used as a creamy base in moisturing cosmetics such as scrubs, body wash, makeup, toothpaste …recognizable as the tiny plastic beads seen in face scrubs, lip scrubs, and exfoliating washes
- Why to avoid…skin-irritating carcinogen
- What is it…ingredients like mineral oil, paraffin, or petrolatum jelly that are produced in oil refineries at the same time as automobile fuel, heating oil and chemical feedstocks
- Where it’s found…mascara
- Why to avoid…may cause contact dermatitis and are often contaminated with cancer-causing impurities
- What is it…a group of chemicals used to improve the performance of some skincare and cosmetic products
- Where it’s found…used in hundreds of products, including nail polish, perfumes, lotions, moisturizers, fragrances, deodorants, and hair spray
- Why to avoid…have been linked to increased risk of cancer–including breast, liver, kidney, and lung,—early breast development in girls, reproductive birth defects , endocrine disruption, damage, cancer
17. Propylene Glycol…
- What is it…a small organic alcohol
- Where it’s found…commonly used as a skin-conditioning agent in moisturizers, sunscreen, makeup products, conditioners, shampoo and hair sprays.
- Why to avoid…has been associated with causing both dermatitis and hives
- What is it…Vitamin A compounds
- Where it’s found…widely used in sunscreens, skin lotions, lip products, and makeup
- Why to avoid…when applied to sun-exposed skin these compounds can increase risk skin sensitivity, skin lesions, and tumors
- What is it…non-biodegradeable silicone-derived compounds
- Where it’s found…common emollient used in makeup products to make the skin feel softer and smoother and to add moisture to the skin
- Why to avoid…linked to tumour growth and skin irritation…also believed to disrupt the function of the endocrine system, interfere in hormone activity, and negatively impact fertility
20. Sodium Lauryl Sulfate…
- What is it…an industrial-strength degreaser that can be found in more than 90 percent of personal care and cleaning products, especially foamy soaps
- Where it’s found…shampoo, body wash, foundation, face wash, mascara, acne treatment products, mouthwash, and toothpaste
- Why to avoid…known skin, lung, and eye irritant…also has the potential to interact and combine with other chemicals to form nitrosamines, a carcinogen that can also lead to a host of other issues like kidney and respiratory damage…has also been shown to cause or contribute to canker sores, disruptions of skin’s natural oil balance and eye damage,and cystic acne around the mouth and chin
- What is it…petrochemical solvent, paint thinner, and neurotoxicant that is able to dissolve paint and paint thinner…often listed as benzene, toluol, phenylmethane, methylbenzene
- Where it’s found…found in nail and hair products
- Why to avoid…affects the immune, endocrine, and respiratory systems…may also impair fetal development, linked to malignant lymphoma
- What is it…widely-used antimicrobial chemical…(found in liquid soaps as triclosan…and bar soaps as triclocarban)that are very toxic to the aquatic environment
- Where it’s found…often added to cosmetics and other personal care items cease of its germ-resisting properties…especially in toothpaste, deodorant, antibacterial soap, and hand sanitizers
- Why to avoid…known thyroid and reproductive hormonal disruptor…could possibly impair both muscle function and the immune system…considered to be potentially irritating to the lungs, eyes, and skin
One of my original goals when I began this blog was to discover ways to create and enjoy more of a “natural” lifestyle…
But after I started this blog, my husband was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes…
So my focus changed from creating a more natural lifestyle to helping him learn how to cope with having developed the “Southern man’s rite of passage.”
Lately we have been talking about different cooking methods so that we can get back to the Raw Foods Pyramid and learn how to eat better—now only better for your health, but also better than what you’re been eating for the last how many years.
The cooking method that we are learning about now is “deep frying”…
Now we will look at five different batter types…first of all, a baking soda batter…
But before we start looking at baking soda as batter, I thought that I would cover some more of the uses of baking soda…for “beauty,” health and home.
Starting with using baking soda as a deodorant…
Okay, enough of a road map…to try to convince you that I haven’t veered totally off course with my priorities…
Let’s move on…
Becoming a Smarter Consumer
Many of us have started paying way more attention to the ingredients in the products that we buy…making sure that these products do not contain parabens, formaldehyde, aluminum, synthetics, and other harmful additives that might be harmful to both our bodies and our community.
Many of the current skincare and makeup products not only contain these ingredients, but are more likely to irritate the skin, clog the pores, cause even more skin problems.
But on many of these more “politically correct” products, you may find natural cosmetics are much less effective,,,so many of us are starting to make our own alternative products….
In this post, we will look at using baking soda as an alternative to store-bought deodorant…
After all we all have to use it…it’s cheap…and we’ll have to have it on hand when we actually start deep frying our French fries and onion rings…
Why Baking Soda?
Baking soda is one of the best natural ingredients to use when making your own deodorant…if not the best…for many reasons, including…
- contains no harsh chemicals, artificial fragrance, or alcohol
- having antibacterial properties that help control the bacteria that grows in our underarms, which cause odor when they break down sweat.
- helps balance and regulate pH levels in the body
- neutralizes strong and obtrusive odors effectively—as already proven in its use to deodorize drains, trashcans, dishwashers, and refrigerators
- offers long-term protection
- relatively inexpensive
- removes harmful substances from your body
There are several different options as far as using baking soda for deodorant, including…
- Adding Baking Soda to the Natural Deodorant You Already Have
- Baking Soda and Arrowroot Powder
- Making a Spray Deodorant
- Plain Baking Soda
There are also ingredients to add that will make your deodorant more effective. These include…
- Aloe Vera
- Cocoa Butter
- Dried Flowers…such as lavender
- Essential Oils
- Shea Butter
- Vitamin E Oil Gel Caps
- Witch Hazel
1.Adding Baking Soda to the Natural Deodorant You Already Have…If you find yourself with an arsenal of half-used natural deodorants that you quit using because they were ineffective…as so many are…then “fix” them by adding baking soda. To do this, roll out all of the remaining deodorant in the container. Mash the deodorant in a bowl with an old fork or spoon. Now add at least 3Tbsp baking soda and mix well. Once you have the right consistency – not too hard or too soft – pack your improved deodorant back into the original container and refrigerate for a few hours so it hardens.
2. Baking Soda and Arrowroot Powder…Combine 2Tbsp baking soda and 1/3C arrowroot powder to a mixing bowl. Stir to combine them thoroughly…(more on arrowroot powder later).
3. Making a Spray Deodorant…Combine ½tsp baking soda, ½C witch hazel, and ¼C aloe vera in a spray bottle….(More on witch hazel and aloe vera later)…Shake the bottle to combine the ingredients.
4. Plain Baking Soda…Simply put ⅛tsp…(no, I really don’t expect you to measure it, but you get the point)…in your palm. Now add ¼tsp water to your palm to dissolve the baking soda. The mixture should feel slippery, so add more water or more baking soda as needed. Apply the mixture to your underarms. Allow the mixture to dry before getting dressed.
5. Store Bought Options…Good choices as far as non-DIY OTC natural deodorants include the following…
- Burt’s Bees
- Kiss My Face
- Trader Joe’s
6. Add-Ins…Finally there are more ingredients that you can add to any of the above recipes, including…
- Cocoa Butter…2Tbsp cocoa butter
- Cornstarch…2Tbsp cornstarch
- Essential oil…10-15 drops of essential oil—such as patchouli, myrrh, tea tree, lavender or orange.
- Shea Butter…3Tbsp shea butter
- Vitamin Oil…2 vitamin E oil gel caps
Regardless which baking soda deodorant you are making, once you finish making it you have two options as far as storing it….either transferring the mixture to a small lidded container or putting it into an empty deodorant stick that you already have.
When you’re not using the deodorant, store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
Regardless which baking soda deodorant you are making, rub a small amount of the mixture on your underarms. Wait up to five minutes before getting dressed to avoid smearing the paste onto your clothing.
I have heard so many women advise new brides that If you haven’t started dinner before your husband comes home from work, start cooking some onions…and they will think that you have been cooking for hours.
I know that times have changed…
But onions haven’t changed…
And neither have odors throughout your home…unless you do something about them.
So I thought this would be a good time to talk about eliminating and enhancing the odors throughout your home, mainly your kitchen.
Here are a few of the areas around your kitchen that you might want to consider if you want your kitchen to not smell like rotten eggs…
1.Windows…If you have a window in your kitchen, one of the easiest ways to start making your house less stinky is to open the windows so that smells don’t linger.
2. Kitchen Surfaces…If you are going to keep your kitchen smelling great, it should be kinda obvious that your kitchen should be clean, including your cutting boards and other areas where you prepare your food. This will not only get rid of any smells left behind, but also kill bacteria.
3. Garbage Disposal…There are many things that you could run through your garbage disposal on a weekly basis to eliminate any smells. Not only will this keep it from smelling, but it will also kill bacteria.
These “things” include…
- Baking Soda
- Essential oil, such as peppermint, lavender or rosemary
- Ice Cubes
- Lemon Juice
- Lemon or orange peels
- Lemon-scented dish soap
Fridge…One of the main things that can start making your fridge stink is the residue on your fridge shelves that are left from bottles and containers. Fridge mats, such as these, are a great way to catch these drips. Once they easily clean them, instead of having to waste time scrubbing those shelves.
Freezer…Set fresh coffee grounds to get rid of the smell of rotten food in your freezer.
Garbage...Sprinkle baking soda in the bottom of your trash can every time that you take out the trash to help neutralize the smell of kitchen scraps and keep nasty garbage odors at bay,
Microwave…Pour some vanilla extract into a bowl and microwave on high for one minute.
Another choice that would be more “correct” in what has become our global effort at saving our environment, creating “greener” homes, and doing our role as a responsible member of current society than using ordinary Brawny would be microfiber cloths.
Microfiber cloths are more commonly used in Europe than here in the United States because this is where the original first two leading brands of microcloths—e-Cloth and Norwex—were created and marketed.
Microfiber cloths have micro fibers that usually consist of an equal combination of two different plastics—polyester and nylon. These materials are forced through a tiny pipe and then heated. Once the two materials fuse together, they are then split apart into tinier fibers, known as “microfibers,” that are as much as twenty times smaller than the fibers originally were.
Because these new microfiber cloths have far fewer and much smaller fibers than the fibers found in ordinary cleaning cloths—such as those that are made from cotton or a synthetic such as nylon that has not been used to create a microfiber cloth—they can more easily grab even the smallest, most microscopic dirt, dust, and other stuff that ordinary cleaning cloths leave behind.
- Microfiber cloths are hastier …Microfiber cloths get things looking far cleaner in a lot less time and are better at clean up spills faster than paper towels because their tiny fibers are more absorbent.
- Microfiber cloths are healthier for the environment…Microfiber cloths eliminate the need to buy expensive and harmful detergents.
- Microfiber cloths are healthier to your wallet…Microfiber cloths are fairly cheap when compared to many other ways of cleaning up spills and doing other such jobs around your home.
- Microfiber cloths are hygienic…Microfiber cloths have been shown to minimize the spread of infections in hospitals and similar environments.
Choosing Microfiber Cloths…When choosing microfiber cloths, look for those that have the smallest microfibers because these are the most hygienic.
These days there are SO many different websites selling microfiber cloths, so it can be hard to know which ones are the best ones, but this list of the most highly-reviewed microfiber cloths found on the internet might come in handy. These microfiber cloths include…
- Absorbency…can absorb up to eight times its own weight
- Best used for…cleaning inside the house, not advised for outdoor use because they can tear easily
- Care…machine washable and can be washed, rinsed, and reused over and over again
- Color…three different towel colors—blue, yellow, and white
- Cost…packs of twenty-four for only fifteen dollars
- Material..,90% Polyester 10% Polyamide
Chemical Guys Miracle Dryer Towel
- Absorbency..absorb up no less than ten times their weight in liquid
- Best used for…best suited for drying a wet surface or applying a polish or wax on a car or kitchen appliances
- Care..best temperature to wash the towel at is 60 degrees celsius, and if it is not washed at that temperature the towel could need to be washed twice to fully clean it out
- Cost…brand is the most “premium” available, so cost more than most other brands out there…
- Material…360,000 strands in every square inch of highly refined loop-woven microfiber, more than the numbers of strands in the competition, which is usually only 100,000-150,000 strands for every square inch of the towel
- Size.. 16″ x 16″
- Absorbency..,eight times its weight in water
- Best used for…cleaning off and dusting surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom—such as sinks, toilets, showers, bathtubs, vanities, mirrors, countertops, appliances, and stainless steel
- Care…wash in the washing machine with cold water and then tumble dry on a low setting
- Color…orange, white, and blue
- Cost…fifteen dollars
- Material…110,000 fibers per square inch of cloth
Okay, I just told you to dry your food that you are going to be sauteeing off with a paper towel…and many of you cringed at the thought that I would even dare to have them in my house…aren’t we all “going green” these days?
Even though you might be much better off using this on the food that you are going to be sauteeing…after all, do you really want to risk making your family sick by drying foods such as raw chicken on something that you might then wash and use to clean your mirrors, windows, and wood furniture?
But right now I am taking a break to look at all the other things that can be used as alternatives to standard paper towels so that we can do one more thing to be “eco-friendly” and do our art in saving the environment.
Basically in the school of “green thinking,” there are three trains of thought—find something similar, use something else instead, or use something that you already have on hand.
So let’s first look at “Something Similar”…
When it comes to ordinary paper towels, the next something similar would have to be other towels and napkins that are made of a fabric that can be washed and re-used. Examples of this include Huck towels, microfiber cloths, and napkins from such materials as chambray, cotton, and linen.
1. Huck Towels
- Color…may be white or dyed different colors…designate a specific color for each specific use
- Commercial Uses…to clean surgical instruments…also used by rofessional window washers, car detailers, and cleaning companies
- Durability…long-lasting, tend to hold up well even after many washings
- Fabric….pure cotton…whenever buying Huck towels, make sure that the towels are 100% cotton because blended fabrics are not as absorbent.
- Household Uses…window cleaning, drying dishes, dusting and polishing furniture, wiping down furniture on the patio and porch
- Source…Rag Lady…looks like an excellent source for all sorts of recyclable, well…rags…
So now that we have totally gutted our kitchen and started slowly adding items to our dream Bed Bath and Beyond idea board, we find ourselves with six things at this stage. These include…
- Saute pan
- Wood cutting board
- Mineral oil to take of wood cutting board
- plastic cutting board mainly to be used for fish
- Knife sharpening tool
But I would much rather cook than shop any day, so can we get on with things—particularly learning the art of sautéing your food so that we can then start back on our trail through the Raw Foods pyramid.
So now armed with your new arsenal of cooking weapons, where do we begin…assuming that you have the vegetables or whatever ingredients that you will be cooking…more on this later…way more…
When you are sauteeing foods, the first thing you will want to do is dry your ingredients off, even if you have been marinading them.
Failure to dry off your ingredients first will mean that you are actually steaming them instead of sautéing…and right now we are only learning to saute.
So first dry your ingredients off with a paper towel.
But I know that the moment I mention the words “paper towel”…we’re all suosed to be learning a greener and more minimalistic ;lifestyle on this website…
So let’s stop and talk about paper products in your home…
Most of us have been using paper towels as a quick and convenient way to clean and dry whatever needs to be cleaned and dried. We absently-minded throw them in the trash like the days back when we were kids, without even thinking about how they affect the environment.
Yet these days more and more of us are starting to think about what we buy and use as consumers…more and more of us are adopting a “green” lifestyle and trying to create an “eco-friendly” home.
Each year three thousand tons each day is throw away simply in paper towels, meaning that about six million pounds of paper towels end up in landfills each year.
- 1.Bleach…Bleach is used to whiten paper products such as paper towels and then flushed into our waterways where it often combines with organic compounds in the environment and forms carcinogenic dioxins which can affect hormones and the immunity system of individuals, increase the risk or birth defects, diabetes, and endometriosis. These dioxins also can contaminate our water supplies.
- 2. Toxic chemicals...Often toxic chemicals—such as methanol, chlorine dioxide, formaldehyde, and toluene—are used to process wood pulp into paper products.
- 3. Wasted trees…Each year about 110 million trees are used to make these.
- Wasted water…Each year about 130 billion gallons of water are used to make these.
Today the “resident four year old” starts pre-k for the fall…a moment that any fifty year old chasing a four year old 24/7 looks forward to all summer long.
I imagine that I will drop him off and then come home and sleep until it’s time to pick him back up…I’ll let you know…
So even though he’s only in pre-K and doesn’t need too many things to take with him to school other than his lunch, a stuffed animal, and a nap-pad…(oh year, teachers…good luck getting him to take a nap)…this made me think about upgrading out school and office supplies to more environmentally friendly options.
Even school and office supplies can be unfriendly to the environment, as well as toxic…
A few of the toxic chemicals that are sometimes included in school and office supplies include…
- asbestos (a known carcinogen) in crayons
- benzene (a probable carcinogen) in dry-erase markers
- lead (a neurotoxin) in children’s water bottles
- phthalates (linked to hormone and developmental problems) in 3-ring binders
Not only that many of the companies that make school and office supplies are not cruelty-free.
So it’s important to think about things like that instead of simpy running to Dollar General and buying the cheapest items so that you can cross them off that dreaded back-to-school school supply shopping list this year…
A few trains of thought as far as shopping for school and supplies include…
1.Backpacks…As far as backpacks are concerned, the main train of thought should be to choose natural materials, such as cotton or hemp. Never choose PVC plastic at all costs.
2. Crayons and Markers…As far as crayons are concerned, the main train of thought should be to choose crayons that are composed from beeswax and soy products. Always avoid cheap crayons which may be laced with asbestos.
3. Lunch Boxes…As far as lunch boxes are concerned, the main train of thought should be to choose reusable and durable, PVC-free lunch bags and lunch boxes that will last more than one season. Another great options, especially for adults, would be stainless steels. But whatever you do, avoid using plastic baggies and plastic wrap. Invest in a stainless steel water bottle….(I will look at a few more great options as well as ideas as to what to put in your lunch boxes in a future post).
4. Markers…As far as markers are concerned, the main train of thought should be to choose water based markers. Many permanent markers contains chemicals such as xylene, toluene, and other VOCs…which stands for Volatile Organic Compounds, my “one new thing learned at school today” for today.
5. Paper…As far as loose-leaf paper, notebooks, and binders are concerned, the main train of thought should be to shop for items made with recycled paper, and binders that either do not have a plastic cover or are clearly labeled PVC-free.
6. Pencils and Pens…As far as pencils and pens are concerned, the main train of thought should be to choose pencils that are made from recycled materials or wood from sustainably managed forest…and pens made from recycled plastic.
Thankfully there are sources for better school and office supplies that you would typically find at the local dollar store…sure, they may be more expensive…and honestly, these options might not be way more expensive…but depending on how committed you are or are not about the above concerns in all areas of your family’s life, you may want to get out your debit card so that you can buy some really cool new gadgets for the new school year.
Finally, some really great places online to shop or at least browse at these other options include…