Cleaning Up House
After over a year of dealing with a global pandemic- and not knowing if or when there will be a vaccine to help keep the spread at bay, many people have taken this time to review their mental and immune health to reduce chances of illness.
But what about earth's immune system?
With large corporations using chemical solvents, the increase of inorganic ingredients contaminating our air, water, and soil has elevated. And these toxins are being consumed daily into our cellular structure and affecting our genes and inflicting inflammation.
Xenoestrogens, which are estrogen hormone mimickers found in plastic and many cleaning agents, are specific compounds that can disrupt the natural estrogen balance in our body. Eventually, they can be catalysts for chronic illnesses such as PCOS and breast cancer in women and testosterone reduction in men. Those types of estrogens need to be processed in the liver for elimination through the intestinal tract. The process must be prompt since slower bowel movements will allow for the opportunity for xenoestrogens to absorb through the intestinal lining and back into circulation. And this is just one task the liver performs regularly; wow!
Environmentally speaking, eliminating the use of unnecessary plastics (example: instead of grabbing laundry detergent in a plastic container, opt for laundry strips such as Good Juju, Tru Earth, Nature Clean, etc.) and, when it's possible, choosing more natural cleaning products to keep surfaces clean (diluted hydrogen peroxide instead of bleach, Castille soap instead of conventional bathroom cleaners). As well, once items are of no use for you, thrifting, upcycling, or recycling can be an option other than simply wasting it. You would be amazed after a quick google search on what you can do with your unwanted items!
Let's break it down:
According to EWG, Tide laundry detergent have a rating as mainly F in toxic ingredients. Better would be Tru Earth Laundry strips, rated a C; the best would be Nature Clean, rated an A/B in toxicity (depending on if you use the strips or powder). These stats mean fewer chemicals absorbing into the skin that lead to a chemical imbalance in our bodies.
Now, cost-wise, Tide is cheaper at an average are $8.99 for a 32 load container. Tru Earth and Nature Clean also at 32 loads each are average 8.49-16.99, depending on where you shop.
The weight of the Tide container you would have to lug home from the grocery store is super heavy! Compared to the laundry strips, they are a small package, a little bit bigger than a birthday card, as thick as 20 sheets of paper, and barely a pound of weight. You can even tuck it into your purse!
And no plastic. Easy to take with you to the laundry room- for you city folk, and easy on our planet - since paper/cardboard takes less than a month to decompose vs. thousands of years for plastic.
Have a hands-on labor job that gets you down and dirty? Worried about the laundry strips won't get your clothes sparkly clean? If you have a newer washer, adjust the setting for a heavier soil load, add borax (in a box!), or presoak the clothes overnight with other natural cleaning agents such as biodegradable soap or baking soda. I have put a load of dirty gardening jeans and smokey camping clothes, which have come out of the wash fresh!
Although it seems like Tide is getting better and creating their version of sustainability-meaning having cardboard boxed powder detergent or boxed liquid detergent with a plastic spout. But, it is full of chemicals that weaken our immune system, which leads to allergies, irritation of the skin, and becoming more susceptible to colds and flu. So, maybe it might be more preventable for us to spend a few extra bucks on something we use weekly for our clothes. Other than spending hundreds of dollars on medications that contribute to this toxic burden.
Image: Available laundry strips available at local health foods stores in BC
Switching your laundry detergent is just one example of a change that you can make for your health and the world's health.
And don't get me wrong, it's not only the companies that create conventional products, but the natural product market also needs some improvements in their plastic usage. Over the years of working at a health foods store, I have noticed many companies making the change for sustainable packaging which isn't plastic. It amazes me to see their ethical revolutions, and I support these companies wholeheartedly!
Of course, we are the little guys here, and we may be feeling defeated with large corporations creating the mass of our toxic waste output, but there are opportunities for change. After all, the business to produce and supply everyday products for people, to use you must cater to the ever-changing clientele. We must follow the like of the Women's March and Me Too movement in this Earth-saving fight to create the change. Support those businesses that are making changes to more sustainable approaches, and voice your opinion to those large corporations to change their practices. Demand the change and expect no less.
Image: Some earth-friendly household alternatives from Earthsider
One supportive change that large corporations can use to help the planet if they insist on using plastics in their products is to invest in smaller companies that create bioplastics. These are biodegradable plastic substitutes often made from mushrooms or algae. Not only will they be able to use their resources to support these environmentally friendly companies grow the awareness of plastic alternatives, but the large corporations will also gain a better appreciation from environmentally conscious consumers!
So why won't you want to boost the earth's immune system too? It certainly cannot function at its best with all these plastics and toxins clogging it up! Please consider the environment when making purchases or taking action. And we humans have the most impact on it, in a very negative way.
Whether you are already a savvy recycler looking for ways to enhance your ethical lifestyle or a recycling beginner, there is always room for improvement! We only have one planet. Let's keep it habitable for all of us.