These last few days, I’ve been on a mission. I’m greenifying my life.
My original forays into research on plastics and phthalates have made me realise just how many toxic chemicals I use every day. They’re in my shampoos and conditioner, cleaning products, deodorant and cosmetics. They’re in everything plastic that I own and some of the foods. That makes me pissed.
I’m pissed off at myself; I feel like I’ve been caught off guard and I should have been paying more attention. But I’m also pissed at the companies that think it’s OK to put noxious crap into cosmetics, cleaning products, toys and more. And I’m pissed off at the New Zealand government, for its incredibly lazy attitude towards regulating these chemicals. All of these factors have combined to put my family at risk. But while I can’t change the past, I can make better choices for the future. It’s a thought that doesn’t quite squash down the guilt, but it helps.
So, changes I’ve made so far:
1. Replacing most of our plastic toys with wooden (I have kept a couple of Tolo brand toys which are good quality, phthalate-free and BpA free).
2. Ditching most of our cleaning products. I’ve recycled what I can, but I haven’t finished every bottle. I toyed with this one. Is it better to not waste products you have already bought or better not to use products you think are harmful? In the end I felt it was silly continuing to use products which I felt were endangering to our health, purely to save a few bucks.
3. Switching back to cloth nappies. Mila was a cloth bum until she was 7 months old, when we started to have problems with leaks. We then drifted slowly but surely into using exclusively disposable nappies. Now she’s back in cloth during the day. We still have leaks, but I think the issue is with the elastic and I’m looking into having it replaced.
4. Using cloth wipes. They’re super easy, and if you’re already using cloth nappies you might as well use cloth wipes too. In fact, even if you’re using disposable nappies, given the recent stink about IPBC (iodopropynyl butylcarbamate, a preservative acutely toxic by inhalation) being used in Woolworths Homebrand wipes, Select scented wipes and Precious flushable wipes – you might want to use cloth wipes too. Here’s my recipe.
5. Going organic. We can’t afford to eat all organic food – if we did that we’d also have to live in a tent and weave clothes out of leaves. But I’m making a start by switching to organic fruit and veg, courtesy of Organic Connection. They say their Standard Box of fruit and vegetables, for $61, lasts 4+ people one week. We have two adults and one child, but as my fiance works long hours and often eats away from home, we’re about the equivalent of two. By my reckoning, I can stretch one Standard Box out to last two weeks. Will it be enough? We’ll see how it pans out.
Changes in the works:
1. Recycling and binning our plastic food containers and BpA-containing cups and bottles. I’m half there, but I need to stock up on glass storage containers before I can chuck anything else out
2. Replacing our plastic chopping boards with wooden and our plastic electric jug with a stainless steel one.
3. Making my own shampoo, conditioner, toilet cleaner, dish-washing liquid, dishwasher powder, shower gel, laundry powder, toothpaste and anything else I need from scratch. I have a feeling that baking powder will be figuring prominently in my life from now on.
4. Switching to cloth nappy liners (we currently use paper). I just need to figure out how that works with poo, and whether I can handle washing poo – I like being able to just bin it! But with cloth nappies and cloth wipes already on the go, it could be easier to just bung the whole lot in the wash, instead of separating out the paper liner.
5. Investigating, researching, becoming informed. Ne’er again will I feel caught out. I’m determined that our home will be free of nasty chemicals, a true-to-the-blog-title non-toxic nest. And a haven to hyphens, apparently.