Friday, April 24, 2009
My first blog entry is inspired by Earth Day.
The environment was not something I thought about until I had J and started using cloth diapers because I couldn’t afford the disposable ones. Twice a week I would see all of the diaper supplies I’d used hanging up to dry and be amazed that everyone else I knew was throwing that much away. I wondered how we could still have landfill room left. Then, because I was thinking about it, and I still had very little money, I started seeing the connection between thrift, health and the environment. The cloth diapers were cheaper, better for the environment, and surprisingly much better for J’s bum. No more diaper rash. This connection existed for almost everything I did to save money. Cooking from scratch was so much cheaper, so much better for us (usually tasted better too), and got rid of the waste of extra processing, packaging etc. The clothes and toys I bought at yard sales were so cheap, and by buying used, I kept those items out of the landfill and eliminated the resources needed to make new one for me.
Here’s a great short movie - only 20 minutes - that should be part of your earth day this year.
Although a little longer, you should also watch this Frontine show on our drinking water.
There are over 100,000 chemicals that manufacturers use in our products. Everything from Draino to hairspray to ends up down the drain. Not only that but our pharmaceuticals. The antidepressants and antibiotics we use, go through our bodies and then into our water supply. Here’s the kicker: They aren’t filtered out in our water treatment plants. Of the 100,000 chemicals that make their way into our water system, we’re only able to test our water for about 83 of them and of those 83 we can test, 2/3 are still in the water after going through the water treatment plants. Also, of those 100,000 chemicals, only a few dozen are regulated and have been tested to know their affects on us and the environment.
The only way to get this stuff out of the water, is to not put it in. The way to do that is through activism and regulation. Europe has already done this, so should we. I’ve decided to start with myself and reduce and eliminate the chemicals I use everyday. It turns out that this has a great affect on my budget too! An easy way to start is with your detergents. California has banned phosphates in their detergents because they are so harmful, but if you live in another state, your probably using phosphate detergents. Here’s how to make your own. All of these ingredients can be found on the detergent aisle:
Mix equal parts Borax and Baking Soda or Washing Soda.
Add 2 Tablespoons for each load. If you use a rinsing aid or have hard water, replace it with Vinegar.
1 Cup grated Fels Naptha Soap, Zote, or Ivory
1/2 Cup Washing Soda
1/2 Cup Borax
I used my food processor to grate the soap and mix and chop everything up nicely.
Use 1 Tablespoon for a light or little load and 2 Tablespoons for a big or heavy load.
Happy Earth Day!