Redefining Clean


*Photo Credit: Vierdrie

I just read an article on the great debate on phosphate free dish detergent on the Mother Nature Network. Phosphate detergents which leave sparkling clean dishes have been banned in a few states and it’s catching speed. While the article was fairly unbiased the comments were furious to down right spiteful.

Phosphates get into our water supplies, lakes, and rivers. Unfortunately they contribute to algae blooms with suffocate fish, basically chocking eco systems.

The reason people are so angry is that these products are apparently not working as they should. The main anger coming from people with dishwashers. White films, rings, unacceptable residue. Although many people said they experienced no problems when hand washing or soaking before washing. One person took the chance to snap at the commentor who preferred hand washing:

“Yeah, well maybe you should get rid of the clothes washer too since you have so much free time at home.”

I’ve never seen such spite in the organic and environmentally friendly community. Anyone who has done any research knows that it’s the hot water that’s the main ingredient for clean. There are also many DIY options for dish detergent that are safe and even cheaper.

It’s kind of depressing that we’ve been tricked into thinking only chemicals will do. Tricked into thinking that only if something is brilliantly bright or sparkling it is clean. We’ve become spoiled.

And while having the perfect dishes from the dishwasher would be nice, I’d rather protect my health and the environment until companies can do better.

-Heather

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Eco Friendly Shower


*Picture by Alex France

With summer almost upon us we will be sweating more and will be spending more time showering. But it’s no secret that showers can be a huge water waster. Here are some tips on making your shower a little more eco friendly.

The 5 Minute Shower
You can start by cutting down the time you spend in the shower. Preferably down to 5 minutes. That should be enough time to get what you want done, done.

I personally know the joys of long showers, the time to think, pampering yourself, but it’s definitely not worth all that wasted water! Use the extra time out of the shower meditating or pampering yourself in other ways.

Shower with a Bucket
When you take a shower consider taking a bucket in with you.
With the water that falls into the bucket able to do double duty!
This water can be used to flush the toilet or even water your garden.
Make sure you aren’t using chemical laden soap products which is a good idea even if you aren’t using the bucket.

Shower Less
Okay I know this one may seem a little gross but you can still stay fresh without jumping in the shower. Consider using dry shampoo or baking soda (surprise) to prevent your hair from getting too oily. If you are sweating too much consider using baby wipes, and then a spritz of essential oil to keep you smelling and feeling great.

Public Transportation: The Unexpected Benefit


*Image Credit: Honraeglor

It’s no secret that cars are ruining the environment. Carbon emissions, oil run off, even the lengths we go to for oil are all making a mess of the environment as we know it. Although we are encouraged to bike or use public transportation like buses and subways, we end up using cars anyways due to efficiency.

For me, without a car of my own I am forced to rely on buses, subways, and trains to get me everywhere. I don’t have to pay for gas or insurance, or the fees to fix a car, just transit tokens and tickets.

Despite the constant improvement to public transportation, the biggest drawback is still time. The amount of time waiting for the next bus or train. Even the time transferring between buses or just plain getting from point a to point b.

Living in the suburbs of Toronto getting to school or my internship will take approximately 2 hours one way. There and back being 4 hours a day. Going to work nearby is still 1 hour.

And while most people can read and write on the bus, I get motion sickness and it leads to an unproductive hour or two. But is it really so bad?

It’s the only two hours in the day I have to myself. I can listen to music and sit and do nothing. Completely unplugged from everything I find time to sort my thoughts, come up with ideas, and in a way, relax.

Sometimes when I don’t have to take public transportation for a while, I definitely miss my private time. I become more agitated then usual.

In a world where I’m constantly moving maybe 4 hours of rest and reflection isn’t such a bad idea?

-Heather

Kids Parties: Loot Bags


*Photo Credit: Ayla87

If you’re a parent no doubt at some point or another you’ve received or given a loot bag for a kids party. Loot bags can easily become the biggest form of after party waste along with some concerning toxins in cheap toys.

A typical loot bag will contain tons of little candies as well as small plastic toys. When it comes to small candies you are often left with a pile of wrappers. Sometimes unwanted candies end up in the garbage as well.

On top of the garbage left behind by candy, the toys that come in the loot bags often become clutter and the garbage. Usually they are so cheap they break within an hour. If they don’t break, the toys are so simple your child may abandon it after two hours. Even worse still, cheap toys made of plastic often run the risk of being filled with chemicals from dye and plastic.

So what are you to do when your kids next birthday roles around? It’s so customary to give a loot bag it’s not only disappointing for the kids, some parents even fear judgment from other parents. While you want to make it as waste free you probably also want to keep the cost down.

Working at a party store I have heard many suggestions for loot bags and have seen many choices.
Some parents are opting to give small gift cards of $5 to Malls or even local toy shops like Mastermind.
You could even consider giving one good quality toy.

If you are at the party store and can’t be bothered with shopping around and don’t like the 1 gift idea here are some other tips:
-Skip the candy. With chocolate there are peanut scares, and what kid needs even more candy?
-Consider the usefulness of the toys. Pencils, pencil crayons, notebooks, and pencil sharpeners are all things for school.
-Instead of filling plastic bags, consider using sand pails or lunch boxes which make great gifts on their own.

Free Your Mane Review


*Image from Glymm.com

It’s not often I fall in love with a product, but I’d love to take the time to review the shampoo and conditioner I received in my Glymm box from Free Your Mane.

Their website boasts no:
-Parabens
-Sulfate
-Mineral Oil
-Phthalates

Now it isn’t perfect as it still contains the omnious “Fragrance”. Otherwise compared to my regular shampoo this product is amazing.

I have thin hair and was surprised how light and fluffy my hair was without the frizz. It felt so silky and I couldn’t help running my hands through it.

My absolute favourite part about this product though has to be the scent. It’s musky like a wood. I’m not very good at explaining scents but it smells amazing. I was literally sitting with my hair in my face as I was studying, completely enamoured with the scent. And the smell lasts. The next day when I let my hair out of a bun the scent was still there. Very nice!

I guess the main downside to this product is the price. The shampoo and the conditioner cost $16 each. A little much but I personally feel it is worth it. The scent has me hooked, which rarely happens.

Free Your Mane also has a hair masque, hair oil, reviving spray, and conditioning pomade. All without the above chemicals present in most hair products.

Extra Plus! If you visit their blog here: http://www.freeyourmane.com/blog/ the creator gives great tips and warnings on products and services that may be ruining your hair/health with chemicals. (Brazilian Blowout anyone?)

Interested in buying a bottle? Head to their website here: http://www.freeyourmane.com/

Beauty Boxes taking a Chemical Free Stance

As I’ve been becoming more and more chemically aware it’s been a battle on using what I know and love or switching to something more chemical free. The bottom line is when I have a product, I just want it to do what it’s supposed to. Demanding I know, but how am I going to keep my hair in place without the chemicals? There’s a common misconception that eco products don’t work as well as their chemical laden counter parts.

Another concern with buying all new products is the price. The good stuff tends to be pricier and what if it doesn’t work the way you expected. These are all really easy reasons to resist the change.

I’m currently signed up to the beauty box “Glymm” that is available in Canada. I pay 10$ a month (11 something with tax) and receive a gorgeous box filled with all sorts of beauty samples, some being full sized.

I’ve received two boxes so far and have definitely gotten my moneys worth… another unexpected bonus was a strong presence of eco friendly and chemical free products to try!

First month I received the eco-friendly nail polish by “Ocean” (Full Size)
My second month was better then the first with:
-Sulfate/paraben free shampoo & conditioner from “Free Your Mane” (Large Sample)
-Organic Goat Milk & Linseed Soap from “Lucia” (Full Size)

Although getting organic products is not guaranteed, it’s still awesome to try out these rather expensive products. I’d definitely recommend Glymm to any beauty conscious woman. Who knows? Maybe there will be a Organic Themed Beauty Box around the corner!

Also: Another great part about the beauty boxes? The boxes they come in are adorable and are a great reusable item for storage.

Check out Glymm here: http://www.glymm.com/

Also if you’re interested in making your own home made products consider purchasing our Toxin Free Cookbook from our shop: http://takeactionfilms.com/buychemericalcookbook.html

-Heather

Your Trusty Water Bottle



Image: Keerati / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

One of the simplest ways to reduce your waste is simply by replacing bottled water with water bottles.

Luckily water bottles come in many shapes, sizes, and designs to suit your every need.

Glass
Glass water bottles tend to look cool and leave no threat of BPA or other chemicals that some times lurk in plastic water bottles. The only down side is if they break someone can get hurt, and they tend to be a little on the heavier side.

When purchasing a glass water bottle make sure it has some sort of silicon sleeve on the outside to prevent the glass from shattering if you drop it.

Plastic
Plastic reusable bottles are the most common type of bottles. Plastic bottles tend to be light weight and come in many sizes, designs, and colours. The problem with plastic bottles is that many contain chemicals that seep into your water when heated or left for a long time.

One way to avoid chemicals in your water is to look for BPA free water bottles. Many bottles come with a label boasting just that! Even if there is no BPA in your bottle, try and avoid leaving it in warm areas just for good measure.

Stainless Steel
Although not as light weight as plastic bottles stainless steel bottles still have their appeal. Stainless steel bottles are lighter then glass and like plastic bottles have many different designs. For the fashion conscious, stainless steel may be the best bet with the most types of designs available. They also tend to be more inexpensive then the other two.

When going for metal containers try and avoid aluminum bottles as they are lined with epoxy sometimes containing BPA in older or cheaper versions. Also sometimes stainless steel can leave a metallic taste.

Whichever you choose make sure to find the right water bottle for you!