Everyday choices can affect your family's health as well as the environment.
There's a growing trend among consumers to make choices reflecting the goals and values that matter to them most. So here are a few ideas for easy changes:
Starting with the products you use most frequently can be a simple way to shift your choices to a healthier place. Many hygiene products, such as soap, shampoo and toothpaste use unnecessary chemicals and animal ingredients that are harmful to our human body and, of course, cruel for the animal it was made from. Natural, cruelty-free (and not tested on animals) ingredients work just as well or better than the artificial/cruel variety, so look for options that don't rely on dyes, formaldehyde, parabens and animal ingredients. Ingredients with chemicals directly impact waterways once they go down the drain. More cruelty-free options can be kinder to your body, to animals and to the environment.
Cleaning products like floor polish, glass cleaners, and bathroom disinfectants can be harsh and tested on animals. Consider gentler, cruelty-free alternatives.
Even if your foods are vegan/cruelty-free, certain food products can contain artificial sweeteners or use pesticides. Try switching to less processed foods and buying organic when possible. Look for locally sourced foods for added freshness and to reduce overall carbon footprint in transit.
Companies with smart environmental policies do exist. Do your research and support brands that work to lessen their environmental impact, and take pride in the quality of their ingredients, which should be listed in full on the packaging.
Brands like Tom's of Maine, which makes personal care products like soap, deodorant and toothpaste, as well as others, share their progress in helping the planet by publishing goals and results to the public. They recently released their second edition of the Tom's of Maine Goodness Report that details the company's approach to ingredients, packaging, waste, water, energy, the community, and its employees. For example, the company has opted to use steam capturing technology, ultimately reducing water usage. Cartons used for packaging toothpaste are made of 100 percent recycled paperboard and can be recycled again after use. The company is even looking into future "smart packaging" alternatives, such as biodegradable packaging made of potato starch.
Seek out a list of simple and understandable renewable and naturally-sourced ingredients. Also, inspect the material on which it's printed. Minimal packaging made of recyclable materials is ideal.
If your town doesn't take in a wide range of waste for recycling, TerraCycle is an innovative USA based up-cycling leader that enlists volunteers to recycle waste to make products such as benches, picnic tables or deck materials, ultimately sending less to landfills.
The impact of a few simple changes can have a lasting ripple effect that goes well beyond your home and life.