Friday, April 27, 2007

laundry soap

Cleaning products is the first area I am trying to tackle. As I finish the products I am currently using I plan to replace them with ones that are safe for the environment and healthier for humans. I needed laundry detergent so I checked out the options at my grocery store. I came across Arm & Hammer Essentials Powerful Natural Laundry Detergent. After checking the price (not too much more than my regular detergent) and reading the tag line "Better for my family, better for the environment" I thought I'd give it a try. The label claims that it is made from 100% naturally derived surfactants, is made from biodegradable plant-based soaps, is dye free, contains no phosphates or bleaches, is boosted by baking soda and is safe for septic systems. Sounds good right? But there's also a warning indicating that it contains an irritant. The tiny print on the back states that it may irritate eyes and skin. So what I don't know, because ingredients lists are not required on laundry detergent, is what those irritants are and how dangerous they might be. Nevertheless, this stuff is probably way less harmful than what I was buying before.

I've done several loads of laundry with this stuff and I am impressed. It cleans just as well as my previous brand and the scent is lovely. (Although I don't know how "natural" the scent is.) And the bottle is recyclable.

What I find odd, is that there is no mention of this product on the Arm & Hammer website. You'd think that they would be promoting the product heavily with the environment being such a hot topic.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Earth Day hope

This past Saturday as I was doing some shopping, I had some environmentally positive experiences. I was going over to Elizabeth's for dinner and a sleep-over, so I stopped by the LCBO to pick up some beverages. I came armed with the enviro-bag that the LCBO has been selling for at least a year. This reusable bag has dividers in it, allowing you to carry 4 bottles without them banging against each other. These bags are only $4.95 and they donate 50 cents from each bag to the LCBO Natural Heritage Fund, which supports projects that restore wildlife habitats in Ontario. When I got to the checkout with my booze and my bag, the cashier pulled out this cool, blue, woven bag that they were giving away for Earth Day. Even though I was already the proud owner of a cloth enviro-bag that I was happy to shell out $5 for, I was thrilled to see them giving away these reusable bags. Hopefully, getting the free bag will encourage people to use it!

I then stopped into the Ultramart to pick up some snacks for the evening. When I informed the cashier that I had brought my own cloth bag, she asked if I had an Air Miles card. When I replied yes, she told me that I would receive extra points for bringing in my own bags. Unfortunately, this was only a limited time offer to celebrate Earth Day, but it's certainly a start. Now if we could convince Air Miles and A&P to do this all year round, it might be the incentive that people need to use reusable bags and containers to cart their groceries home.

I was also encouraged to see an overflowing bin where customers could deposit their plastic grocery bags for recycling. Unfortunately, this isn't my usual grocery store. I shopped at this store that day only because it was next door to the liquor store. Hey Fortinos (and your parent company Loblaws) why aren't you doing the same thing?!?

Sunday, April 22, 2007

changing for the better

I guess it is rather fitting that I begin this blog on Earth Day. I can honestly (and shamefully) say that this is the first Earth Day that I actually give a crap. Yes, I have been pretty good with recycling and I carpool to work, but that's pretty much it. In the last six months or so, I have become much more concerned about the environment and the amount of garbage and pollution that we create as individuals in North America. Everything is disposal and packaging is excessive. We have a pretty decent recycling program, but not everyone uses it. We continue to buy products that poison our soil and water. There is so much we can do to stop it but we don't. Why? We're too busy, too lazy, completely uninformed or we simply don't care.

With the environment and climate change being such a hot issue world wide I've really started thinking about what I can do to help. Yes I am just one person on this earth, but I can't be the only person trying to make better choices for our environment. As individuals we have so much power but we completely underestimate that power. As consumers we can choose to buy products that do not harm the environment. The more we do this, the more we send a message to industry that they need to change their ways.

So this is one of my first goals. Over the next few months, I plan to replace environmentally harmful products in my home with environmentally friendly products. Everything from cleaning solutions to cosmetics. I realize that this will be a pretty big change. There are so many items that I buy on a regular basis that adversely affect the environment. Some of my favourite products are ones that I will never buy again.

And it's not just the environment I am concerned with. We eat so much processed crap and use skin care products filled with chemicals. This can't be good for us and we've been fooling ourselves for years thinking that we can use these items and not suffer the consequences. I'm no scientist, but I'm sure that these things contribute to the enormous array of illness and disease that we encounter today. My goal in this area is to eliminate all processed foods from my diet and move towards using natural cosmetic products.

I don't expect to make these changes overnight and I'm not sure I will be 100% successful but I feel that I owe it to myself to try.

So here I go! Wish me luck.

and so it begins...

I've spent a lot of time in the last few months thinking about my personal impact on the environment and my environment's impact on me. I've become much more aware of the power I have to better my life and my world. This blog will detail my personal journey towards a greener, cleaner, healthier life.