I believe I have confessed here before that I don't recycle. That I'm really too busy trying to keep my own life going to be worrying about saving the planet and whatnot, and that frankly, we're just lucky if things make it in the trash can around here.
And then a couple of things happened to make me change my mind.
First, I began watching this series on Garbage Island. Basically, ocean currents take all of our crap and send it waaaaaaaay out in the middle of nowhere, where it all collects into a semi-solid mass of sludge, which is pretty horrifying.
A lot of this crap, particularly all those plastics that contain BPA (which is poisoning us, don't even think the FDA gives a crap about your kids), just doesn't ever break down. It may eventually break into a bunch of little pieces, but those little pieces just stick around forever, being eaten by wildlife or adding to the Garbage Island sludge.
These videos were basically the first major guilt trip that worked. They finally just got me thinking about it and more aware. At some point in the series, someone points out the plastic bag insanity our country is in the midst of. The thought that my Subway sandwich needs it's own plastic sleeve just to travel from the cash register to the table really IS pretty absurd.
So I've been trying to do better about plastic bag usage (refusing them whenever possible, reusing them when I must have them, and intending to remember to bring my Ikea reusable bag into the grocery store...but I'm working on that one) and I'm working on getting a recycling system down. I'll admit that some recyclables are still ending up in the trash, but I'm trying.
Luckily for me, I got two cool packages in the mail right around the time of my newfound desire to do good.
One of them was from Method. I LOVE Method cleaning products. I also love the company. Not too long ago, they sent me a really nice tote bag. Way cooler than you're imagining, people ask me where I got it all of the time. This time, they sent me bottles of their new baby shampoo and body wash, along with a book called, "The Method Guide to Detoxing Your Home". (The bag and the book are in photos on their blog, they're really nice, and the baby+kid line smells delish, as does all of their stuff.)
Among the interesting tidbits of information was this fact:
In a recent study, 287 chemicals (including pesticides, garbage waste and flame retardants) were found in the bloodstream of newborn babies. Of those 287 chemicals, 180 are known to cause cancer in people or animals, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects in animals.
WHAT THE HELL? In NEWBORN babies? So we really are polluted with this stuff.
The book also claims that many of the household cleaners we use may contain ingredients that cause breathing difficulty, renal and organ damage in adults, and allergies, asthma, ADHD and other learning disabilities in children, because many of them contain ingredients called "endocrine or hormone disrupters" which can mimic estrogen in the body.
This is not good.
Now remember that Bisphenol A (BPA) I mentioned earlier? The poison in plastic marked with the recycle number 7? Some of the concerns with that include estrogen-mimicking behavior (can we say man boobs?), lowered sperm counts, and premature puberty in girls...and that's just the stuff they know about, the suspected list is longer.
As we all know, I'm a "don't sweat it" sort of parent. I'm not the mom freaking out over every new study. However, I have read quite a bit about this BPA stuff, and it's no longer allowed in my house.
I realized all of our plastic character plates that the boys eat off of have "do not microwave" on the back of them. I just noticed this the other day and have been microwaving on them for years. Crap. I've been poisoning my own kids.
No more. I'm replacing them all with Corelle dinnerware. You can buy it at Wal-mart (I know, evil empire) by the piece and it is very lightweight but almost impossible to break, and it's glass, which isn't poisonous so far. little kid has bounce tested several pieces, and so far, so good.
The second piece of cool mail I got was from a new company called First Juice. Their tag line is "Drink outside the box" and the product is organic fruit+vegetable juice for kids, and the best part?
...the juice comes in a bottle with a twist on top with a valve!! Now you non-parents are going "so?" but you parents are starting to realize that this means NO MORE SQUEEZED JUICE BOXES. NO MORE LOST STRAWS. NO MORE RANDOM PLASTIC STRAW WRAPPER THINGIES FLOATING AROUND YOUR HOME.
It is virtually impossible, for even little kid, e-bullest of all evil, to spill juice all over my house. The bottles and their tops are reusable. We had two flavors, two small bottles and two large bottles and we let the boys have the small bottles and then just refilled them from the large bottles.
AND the juice is really good, completely natural, and you can't even taste the vegetables.
I know, it is hard to get excited about juice, but I am excited about this juice. It checks vegetable guilt, juice spills, recycling responsibilities and sugar/artificial preservative worries right off of my list. AND NO BPAs.
I even went out of my way the other day to stop at Babies R Us and get more. The kids love it. When Big Kid first tried it, I said, "What do you think?" and he said, "Mmmm. Deewicious awishus," with a big smile. I was so kicking myself that I didn't get it on tape, that kid could be a spokesmodel.
They also sell it at Whole Foods and some Targets.
Okay, so my point here is that we need to start taking baby steps, at the very least, with this whole "green living" thing. Also, we need to support companies that at least make an effort to be responsible with the products we trustingly buy and use on our children.
So put it on the list of things to think about. It's kind of important!