Pregnancy and sustainable living:
I’m approaching this week’s Sustainable Saturday on a more personal note - some of the sustainable living lessons I’ve learned over the past 8 months have been a convenient result of needing to use more natural products during pregnancy. This week I’m reviewing some of the lifestyle changes I’ve made:
- Hair Dye - I’ve been dying my hair since my mid-20’s when I first started to see the signs of pre-mature grayness. Over the last decade, I’ve switched from going to a stylist to doing it myself with professional grade products. During pregnancy, I knew the need to switch to natural products without the harsh toxic chemicals, like ammonia, PPDs and peroxide. Aside from affecting yourself and possibly your growing baby, these toxic chemicals are washed down the drain, and go into our water supply, affecting marine life, as well as our drinking water. The good news is that you don’t have to go gray. You can just choose from the many more natural and less toxic hair dyes currently on the market.
- Clothing & dishwashing detergent and cleaning products - These household products can contain formaldehyde, chlorine, ammonia and other ingredients that can be carcinogenic, as well as cause many different ailments in people. These compounds can also have detrimental effects to the water supply, causing a shift in the eco-system that has a domino effect. In addition, they contain surfactants, which are the the elements that remove dirt. Unfortunately they are also highly toxic to marine life, removing the protective mucus layers that coat fish. But we can choose more eco-friendly, less toxic versions that are available. One eco-friendly and affordable product that I like is Ecos Laundry detergent - no phosphates, parabens or fragrances, and its ingredients are plant derived. And a big bonus is that their manufacturing process is completely carbon neutral. @ecoscleans
- Diapers - Here is where I can use advice. As we all may know, disposable diapers are one of the worst offenders of landfill waste. If we calculate the numbers, they are beyond comprehension - for babies under 1 year old, Americans dispose of about 1 Trillion diapers per year - and that only includes the first year of life! In addition - diapers have many chemicals that cause problems in the environment - which means we definitely don’t want them touching our babies. My plan was to try cloth diapering, but that was assuming I could find a reliable local laundry pickup/dropoff. Which I haven’t. While there seem to be several companies trying to sell their cute over layer - they don’t offer information about getting them laundered. Perhaps I’ll try it in the future, but for now I decided to start with @get.dyper, a compostable and biodegradable diaper that contains no chlorine, phthalates, alcohol or scents. They are made from bamboo, and the company even offers a composting service called Redyper.
- Baby clothing, crib linens, swaddles, burp cloths from organic cotton - As we’ve talked about before, choosing organic cotton over the traditional chemical version has many benefits. A baby’s skin is very porous and absorbs everything it comes in contact with. It’s important to have fabrics that are made with the least amount of chemicals and dyes. Non-organic cotton is one of the highest sources of pesticide and insecticide use globally. These toxic chemicals are not only present in the garment, but also seep into the ground wreaking havoc on our ecosystem. Organic cotton, on the other hand, while not perfect for the environment, is free from pesticides and other chemicals.