So I've been on a bit of a green kick lately. Part of it is because I've been reading Daniel Imhoff's book, Paper or Plastic and the other part is that I've had a bit of a shake up in my life over what it means to be green and live well (and while I could dive into this and get all poetic about epiphanies and personal beliefs, who really wants to go there?). Anyway, I've been out shopping today and reading labels on just about everything I purchased. Just for the hell of it I've come up with a list of products that are great at what they do and also great for the environment. I thought I'd put this out here because I know that most of you who read this blog are genuinely concerned about what you buy and what it may or may not do to the planet and your body.
Some cosmetics, lotions and soaps contain what are referred to as parabens, chemicals that are used as preservatives. While the FDA hasn't definitely concluded that parabens are toxic, they have stated that products cannot use any more than 25% percent parabens. In the meantime cosmetics companies have started to eliminate parabens from their products and using alternatives. Burt's Bees, Avalon Organics and Aveda, just to name a few, make great products that are paraben free and use post-consumer materials in their packaging, which are 100% recyclable. Their soaps are also biodegradable and use real essential oils as opposed to synthetic. The Avalon Organics lavender body lotion has been my top find in new cosmetics so far. It's got a great scent that is strong at first but then quickly fades so it won't overpower whatever other perfume you might be wearing. For more info on parabens, check out the FDA website at http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/cos-para.html
For green news (and sometimes just a quick laugh) I click over to www.grist.org. They are a Pacific Northwest NPO internet-based magazine that reports on the environment. They also have political news, product info and links to buy items that are eco-friendly and fun. I love that they have a funky, cool, non-dirty hippie look and tone. To be green does not mean you have to be a socks with sandals wearing extremist, thank you very much.
Don't get me started... Basically, household cleaning products should not make you sick, harm the environment or leave behind more crap than they take away. They're suppose to clean, right? That being said, Seventh Generation is my pick for great cleaning products. Their site, www.seventhgeneration.com has a ton of great information. The only bummer with them is that the prices on some of their products are a bit high. When I went looking for a laundry detergent I was really taken aback that it would cost me over $12.00 for a bottle that would cover only 36 loads. I found that All detergent had a biodegradable soap in a 25% post consumer materials 100% recyclable bottle and it was only $4.00 for 36 loads. So as much as I would love to buy the yummy lavender smelling Seventh Generation brand, I ended up going with the cheaper more conventional alternative.
Ah, how I love shoes. They can tell you so much about a person. I work in a shoe store so I get to see and hear about all the things that certain companies are doing to try to be more green. Simple makes a great little shoe that uses old tires for the soles, liners made from recycled water bottles, and 100% post-consumer paper in their boxes. Keen, Smartwool, Teko and a whole bunch of other shoe and sock companies are also on the recycled materials bandwagon so finding a product that is at the every least attempting to be greener isn't that hard. Visit their websites, or just look on the packaging for more info.
I know I have barely scratched the surface here, but I thought I would mention the little tidbits that I have learned in the past month or so. And I do know that the best product for the planet is always going to be no product at all, but it's not like we can run around naked...though I'm sure some people like that sort of thing. If you have to buy something (and I do believe that soap and shoes DO qualify) you might as well buy what is good for you, the planet and your wallet.