Easy ways to be an eco-mum
It doesn’t take much effort to help ease the burden on Mother Earth while improving life for your children.
When you become a mum, making the world a better place for your kids becomes a priority. Here are some simple ways to help prevent nasty chemicals from polluting the nation’s surroundings and waterways in the future – and the air our children breathe.
Go green… Laundry
Detergents tend to contain complex chemical cocktails made up of nasties including surfactants, bleaches, colourants, fragrances and solvent ingredients. Many of these are made from crude oil and can release toxins into the atmosphere and the rivers, lakes and seas, causing damage to human health as well as poisoning animal and plant life.
Once washed down the drain, chemicals that cannot easily be removed will be pumped into the waterways along with the sewage. Those which do not quickly degrade can enter marine eco-systems where they are passed through the food chain, eventually ending up back inside you via the fish and seafood that you eat.
Why is it better?
Eco-friendly laundry washing products have to pass demanding environmental and cleaning tests laid down by the EU if they are to be entitled to carry the Ecolabel. Testing is undertaken in a number of categories. If your product has this label you know it has a reduced amount of total chemicals, less packaging, increased biodegradability, and limited substances harmful to the aquatic environment.
Give it a go? Visit www.simplywashing.com for more information.
Go green… Clothes
Cotton is routinely sprayed with toxic pesticides derived from petrochemicals and, because it is not a food, eight times more pesticide is used on one hectare of conventional cotton than on other crops. The effect of this on the environment is significant as it disrupts eco-systems and contaminates water supplies meaning many of the chemicals used in cotton farming are acutely poisonous.
Organic cotton, on the other hand, uses agricultural methods to help sustain the land it grows on, it provides a better income for farmers and is sustainable in the long term. Organic cotton farming keeps the soil healthy, fertile and productive by replacing synthetic fertilisers with natural pesticides and compost and frequent crop rotations.
Why is it better?
When you buy organic cotton baby or children’s clothes, you know the fabric that’s in contact with your child’s skin is natural and free from harmful chemicals. It is also softer, because the fibres have not been damaged by the chemicals used in the farming and processing of conventional cotton. Being free from harmful chemicals will also make it less likely to trigger allergies.
Give it a go? Visit www.mama-earth.co.uk for a gorgeous selection of organic cotton baby clothes.
Go green… Bath and skincare
Chemicals that are used for industrial cleaning products are frequently used in our bathroom and beauty products, from shampoos to bubble baths and from baby wipes to toothpaste. These include sodium laurel sulphate (SLS), propylene glycol (GC), Diethanolamine (DEA); Triethanolamine (TEA) and Monoethanolamine (MEA).
In 1989, a study by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in the US showed that of 2,983 chemicals used in personal and household products, 884 were known to be toxic. So why do they use these chemicals when there is so much evidence documenting their harm? One reason is that they are cheap. Reactions to these chemicals can include rashes, irritation or damage to the eyes, hair loss and even cancers. Not only that, but some 100,000 tonnes of man-made chemicals are used in so-called ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ cosmetic products each year. A frightening fact is that up to 60% of a substance can be absorbed through the skin. Synthetic chemicals accumulate in the body and are stored in organic and fatty tissues causing a cocktail effect that can lead to eczema, allergies and immune disorders.
Why is it better?
Choosing products that are truly natural and chemical- free takes away the build up of poisonous chemicals in the body for both adults and children. Synthetic fragrances are replaced with natural scents and active natural and organic ingredients help to protect, nourish, renew and, most importantly, they help to balance the skin. And most importantly, you will know that what you are putting on your baby or child will nurture his skin, not cause potential future health problems.
Give it a go? Visit www.greenpeople.co.uk
Go green… Nappies
Around 10 million nappies get dumped in the UK every single day and one disposable nappy will take an average of 500 years to decompose in ideal conditions. But landfill is problematic as there is no oxygen and the waste is incredibly compacted which means, in reality, that decomposition happens very slowly and will potentially take far longer. The first disposable nappy was introduced in the 1950s, which means that it still exists somewhere under the earth.
Disposable nappies also use 90 times the amount of renewable resources (wood pulp) and eight times the amount of non-regenerable resources (one cup of crude oil is needed to make one disposable nappy). And at least four-and-a-half trees are needed to produce the disposable nappies for just one baby.
The alternative is reusable nappies which do not contain any potentially harmful super absorbent gels, chemicals or deodorants and they are made from the same fabrics as everyday clothes, giving parents great control over what they put next to their baby’s sensitive and absorbent skin.
Why are they better?
Not only are they better for the environment and for your baby’s skin, but reuseable nappies are also considerably cheaper. Disposable nappies for one baby for two-and-a-half years will cost between £703 and £1,104. Reusable nappies cost from as little as £350 for modern-shaped ones, including the costs of the nappies, accessories, washing agents, energy and then allowing for £150 wear and tear on your washing machine.
Give it a go? Visit www.babykind.co.uk for information and different brands.
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