Green Home Experiment: Week 8

Kim Conte
15

green productsScience_Spot recently made the decision to go green in her household and blog about her green living experiment along the way.

For those of you following along the last two months, you've probably gotten an idea of how rewarding yet challenging this process has been. This week, Science_Spot pauses to thoughtfully look back at her journey thus far.

 

It's amazing that I have been working through my transition to natural for two months now! I have learned a lot about ingredients, chemicals, and natural alternatives. But I still have a lot to learn.

I may not have written about them all, but I have recognized my natural transition operates in seven areas of my life. That's right, SEVEN! This transition isn't just about getting rid of those hives. It's about making my home the safest I can for my whole family.

Food. This is the part of my life I have written about the least, but there have been a lot of changes in this area of my life. The three biggest changes so far are bread-baking, removal of Teflon coated pans, and religious label reading before purchase. I have not bought packaged bread in three weeks, and we don't miss it at all. Making our own bread 3-4 times a week is not really that much work (with a bread machine).  It was more work getting used to using cast-iron pans for cooking, but I made the best mac ‘n'cheese in it last weekend! Reading labels while shopping has made me realize that getting chemicals out of my food is not as hard as I thought. Sometimes just switching brands is all it takes to get a more natural product, and the prices are comparable! No one in my family has complained about the food, indicating my transition is slow enough so as not to shock anyone.

Water. I rely on tap water from our local Water Authority for all our water needs. I have researched water filtration options and have decided to switch to the Pur brand. This post will tell you why.

Air. No one smokes in my house, but we still have pretty dusty air. I suffer from indoor- and outdoor-related allergies, but the attacks are infrequent and quite bearable. A local air pollution problem in recent months has increased my air quality concerns, which prompted me to start a mission of filling my house with plants that will clean the air.  This post will tell you how to do it!

Cleaners. This switch was really abrupt, but if I didn't make a swift move, my old cleaning habits would have lingered far too long. I cleaned the whole tub with a scrubby sponge and some 50 percent vinegar, and it is sparkling! I don't miss any of my old products. I still need to switch out my dish detergent and laundry detergent, both of which should still last me into the spring. Right now I have Palmolive Green Apple Antibacterial and Tide Total Care; the bright green and neon orange colors are a constant reminder of what I hate about chemical-laden products.

Toys. I added this to the list because of the giant lead paint recall that is still bringing affected products out of the woodwork. I certainly don't think I could replace all the toys we have, but I am more mindful of what I purchase and what goes into the mouth of the babe.

Disposable Packaging. For many years, I have relied on packaged meals such as Lean Cuisine for my lunch. I no longer purchase these products or anything that needs to be heated in a plastic container. Now I rely on leftovers for lunch, in my Tupperware containers. Over the long term, I plan to phase out most disposable paper and soft plastic products, such as paper towels and baggies. I look forward to buying fabric napkins, snack holders and the like slowly, as my budget allows. I am sure I will love using them as much as I do my cloth grocery bags, which continues to fuel my hatred of disposable plastic.

Personal Care Products. This section is what I have been most vocal about, mostly because I believe these products to be the worst because we apply them directly to our bodies. I also assumed cleaning up this area of my life would give the fastest relief from the itchy hives. It may have, considering the only place I get new hives is my scalp, where I am still using traditional hair care products (but not for long). I have done a great job at reducing the number of products in use at my house, as well as the chemical complexity of them. Among the changes I have made: I choose natural soaps over detergents (here's why), make due without bubble bath, minimize use of baby wipes and use a clay-based baby powder instead of diaper cream. Right now I am looking for hair products because I am just about out of everything I normally use!

Previously:

Going Green: One CafeMom's Natural Transition

Green Home Experiment: Week 2

Green Home Experiment: Week 3

Green Home Experiment: Week 4 

Green Home Experiment: Week 5

Green Home Experiment: Week 6

Green Home Experiment: Week 7

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