Not that long ago, I used to think people who were ‘green‘ were a bit odd. I just thought it wasn’t a big deal and wondered why people went to such trouble over little things. I used to think natural body products were inferior and that if I used them I’d have b.o. and end up with hairy legs and no make up and frizzy hair and maybe even braless…eeek perish the thought! If someone had told me they used cloth sanitary products I’d have thought they’d really gone too far. Home birth was rather earthy too, and home schooling for weird religious fanatics.
EeekkkK! Something has happened to me and I’m becoming one of them! And it’s happening rather quickly. In the last 3 years I have…
- Stopped using disposable nappies and wipes. Now I use cloth nappies (exclusively) as well as cloth wipes. I can’t remember the last time I bought them. Our rubbish has reduced considerably it has saved us money, and it feels much better knowing I’m not using an item once and throwing it away. Our rubbish bin used to fill up so quickly. And it stank. Yes, you have to wash them but it’s not hard to use a washing machine. My poor ol’ Nanna had 6 children and for at least the first 4 would have washed everything by hand. I started making my children’s cloth nappies a couple of years ago and also started selling them in a little business.
- Stopped buying cleaning products such as window cleaner, floor cleaner, surface cleaner, shower and bathroom products. I now use Enjo cleaning cloths…microfibre fibres that clean really easily and thoroughly just using water. I’d never have believed this was hygienic enough but now I am convinced. I’m not a clean freak, but I think even a clean freak would be impressed with these. It’s not cheap initially although is offset by not having to purchase consumable chemicals ongoingly and there are cheaper brands (haven’t tried them) but it has made me realise once again that just because there are products available, it doesn’t mean you have to use them. The cleaning isle at the supermarket has every specific product available and so we think we need them. I like to ask myself what our grandmothers would have done and many so called old fashioned methods work just fine, and are cheap or free, healthier in our homes and better for the environment.
- Stopped buying disposable sanitary products. Initially I started using cloth pads. These are so much better than they sound….thinner than you’d expect, way more comfortable than disposable ones and not at all hard to clean or care for. They’re not ugly raggy things….they come in colours and prints or you can make your own. There are many designs available i.e. with or without wings, with an attached waterproof layer or a snap in one etc etc. Additionally, in the last 5 months I’ve started using a Mooncup. This is a reusable menstrual cup. To save me getting all personal on the internet, go and have a read about it at the Mooncup website. They take a bit of getting used to but is a one off cost of around $55-60. They should last for several years. You’ll have saved it’s cost in disposable products within 4-5 months depending on what you normally buy. They are healthier than tampons, having never been associated with Toxic Shock Syndrome. Again, no landfill and I love walking past that aisle in the supermarket.
- Stopped buying disposable breast pads when breastfeeding. I used one packet that were given to me as a gift when I had my last child. Reusable Cloth pads work just as well, can be washed in the shower or chucked in the washing machine with anything else. Again…saves money and land fill and none of that gel stuff near our bodies. My boy is weaned now :-( so I gave them away to a friend.
- Stopped using commercial shampoo and soap. I have started using natural shampoo bars. These are made from all vegetable oils with added essential oils. They clean the hair just as well as shampoo, are cheaper and have no chemicals going down the drain or affecting our skin. My hair is very thick and curly, and I’ve been quite happy with how the shampoo bar is leaving it. It’s slightly less manageable when wet without conditioner, but once dry , there is very little difference. There are plenty of home made conditioner recipes on the internet which I will probably try sometime once I get used to the idea of putting egg or mayonnaise or beer on my head. Ha ha ha ha. I’ve been enjoying the shampoo bars and naturals soaps so much I decided to retail them as part of the fund raising for my Zimbabwe project. You can see them and other products as well as read about the project over here at my Make a Plan blog.
- Become a recycler. I used to be rather lazy about this but the new HUGE 240L recycling bins provided by the city council are great. I love that you can chuck every thing in together. I now recycle all tins, paper, glass, and most plastics.
- Started a compost bin. We were given two bins. I don’t actually use the compost because I’m a terrible gardener, but at least our scraps are breaking down nicely on our own property. With the compost and recycling if we forget to put the rubbish bin out it’s not the end of the world, as we can easily last 2 weeks on our little 120L wheelie bin.
So there you have it. I’m a bit green myself, and when i consider that I’ve also had a home birth and am home schooling, I realise I’m becoming stranger by the second!! I still use regular washing powder, dishwasher powder and dishwashing detergent. And I’m just a tad reluctant to do away with commercial deodorants. Can anyone convince me the natural deodorant stones actually work? and do any of them keep you dry like the commercial ones do?
Do you any natural products? What are your favourites?