Motherhood has inspired my eco-friendly choices in so many ways. From household cleaners to organic mattresses free of toxic flame retardants, my choices have been about protecting the health of my family and the health of our planet. The irony is that so many children’s products, that are supposed to be ‘safe’ for them, are made of plastic. There is also the issue of convenience products, like juice boxes and rice milk boxes with plastic straws that come in plastic packaging. This makes it difficult to navigate through the multitude of bottles, high chairs, toys and bath products available, that will work for a family AND be eco-friendly.
Plastic isn’t the only factor in making my choices. For instance, the (very expensive) wood high chair from Stokke has flame retardant in the padding. I suppose I could figure out a pattern and make my own, but I don’t know how to sew. The foam and plastic booster seat we purchased does not have flame retardant. But, it’s plastic. The organic baby wash and shampoo comes in a plastic bottle. I have yet to find any organic baby personal care products in glass, except for an organic bum balm by Baby Bear Shop. Which I happen to love! They also make great lip balms that come in tins, so you won’t be wasting plastic on the tube types. Our child safety gates at the top and bottom of the stairs are plastic. The wood gates don’t have wall mounts and are flimsy. The metal ones risk broken legs because of the spacing of the bars. (My brother broke his leg when he was one year old on something similar, so I don’t think they’re safe). The swing set we purchased is made of redwood and metal, but has a plastic slide and plastic bucket swings. Some things are just safer in plastic or there just isn’t an alternative except to pass altogether on an item. That being said, I viewed some photos of the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” again tonight and read Beth’s list again over at Fake Plastic Fish, which re-ignited my commitment to reducing our plastic consumption even further.
Having a toddler has it’s challenges with making the best choice on behalf of the planet. As a sleep deprived and busy mom, I need some of those conveniences. And, I couldn’t have lived without my Baby Cubes plastic freezer containers for storing my baby’s homemade food. So, I’ve decided to start with eliminating plastic that lives for under 1 day to 1 month in our home. Items like, Ziploc storage bags have been replaced with these great snack sacks I found on Etsy from WasteNotSaks. Lunch Skins by 3 Green Moms also makes a variety of these pouches. I’ve already eliminated plastic wrap and I use silicon covers, aluminum foil and Anchor glass storage containers. My mom is giving me her yogurt maker, which will eliminate a lot of plastic tubs going into the trash. (They don’t recycle them in my county). I am considering giving up paper towels for my son’s spills and using rags. We have a water shortage here and rinsing the rags out all day will also waste water. I need to weigh this one out and get some opinions. I don’t like that paper towels come wrapped in plastic.
My mom pointed out to me last night that the organic chicken I was preparing for dinner was sitting in styrofoam and wrapped in plastic – one meal for 500 years of degradation! My last trip to Whole Foods, I didn’t want to wait in the long line at the deli counter to get my chicken, so I opted for the pre-packaged version. From now on I will wait in line and get my chicken wrapped in paper! I am excited about getting a composter to eliminate all plastic bags in our home! On the theme of composting, I recently changed out my makeup. Maybelline model, Josie Maran is a cool, earth -friendly mom who gave birth in her back yard. She started a line of non-toxic and eco-friendly cosmetics that I love! Her compact, when finished, can be thrown in the composter – once the mirror is removed!
Shampoo, conditioner and body lotions will be the most difficult. Again, plastic isn’t the only issue. I don’t want chemicals on my body or going down the drain either. For instance, Lush makes a shampoo bar that I tried years ago and loved – but it isn’t organic and has some “junk” in there I don’t want on my body. I am going to try Burt’s Bees shampoo bar when I run out of my bottled shampoo. There are some body lotions out there that have simple, natural ingredients housed in glass. I used one from Red Flower Japan in the past and it smelled like plums. I already use a wonderful solid bar made of olive oil and beeswax for my hands and my child’s dry cheeks. My hair is dry, so I need a conditioner. If anyone has any suggestions on this one, I’ll take it!
Is anyone else up for the challenge? Review the products in your home that have a single use or last for under 1 day to 1 month and eliminate them. And then email me to tell me about it!