I hope you had an amazing Earth Month. Mine was filled with lots of EVERYDAY people doing lots of EVERYDAY things to protect our earth! I am grateful for their efforts and optimistic for our earth!
Friends reached out to let me know how their Pledges were going:
one installed a rain barrel;
others started sweeping their driveways instead of hosing them down;
some committed to eating one Meat-LESS meal a day;
one explained how she now grocery shops only for the meals she plans to cook, greatly reducing her food waste (and grocery bills!);
many abstained from buying any new clothes for a month (and I made it one more month in my Pledge to go a full year without buying one “stitch” of new clothes – pun intended :);
while others stopped buying “fast-fashion”
and several more are scheduling clothes swaps with friends.
I celebrated Grades of Green’s 10-year anniversary with my Co-Founders, our brilliant staff, dedicated Board members, and the awesome community that helped us grow into a 600,000+ student green school movement. Some of the Grades of Green students I helped mentor spoke about how they are taking their passion for environmental protection with them to college to pursue environmental careers – beyond rewarding.
I was honored to present to LAcarGUY and the Manhattan Beach Rotary Club on how their staff and members could adopt Everyday Eco-Habits.
I assisted a Creation Cares team reduce the waste from their Lenton dinners, as well as hold a screening of “A Plastic Ocean” and “The Lorax”. If you know anyone who needs motivation to “Break Free From Plastic”, encourage them to see “A Plastic Ocean” - it will do the trick!
As a guest at Earth Friendly Product’s Earth Day Celebration, I heard representatives in Congress speak about what actions they are striving for our government to take to protect our planet.
A friend taught an Earth Day beach yoga class and then led us in a beach clean-up.
I was inspired by a presentation at UCLA School of Law’s Emmett Institute on Climate and the Environment by the environmental attorney leading a landmark environmental case on behalf of 21 kids.
Last, but certainly not least, I marched with kids demanding action on our climate crisis and was awestruck by their passion and determination.
Earth Month may be over, but the cliché is true: Everyday is Earth Day! Let’s continue to celebrate and protect our Earth by adopting “Everyday Eco-Habits.” May makes me think of flowers, longer days, and . . . Spring cleaning. I want to show you how to Spring clean without using toxic cleaners so that you get a clean home, a clean earth, and a clean bill of health all at the same time. That's why this month, we're adopting the Eco-Habit of Going Toxin-LESS. I will be sharing wisdom from several experts on why toxins are a problem for our health and earth, as well as their tips on simple cleaning tweaks that will make your home, your planet, and your body healthier and LESS toxic.
Going Toxin-LESS is near and dear to my heart. When my daughter was born, I worried about the effect cleaners with toxins would have on my brand-new, beautiful, baby girl. I decided right then and there to Go Toxin-LESS in my home. I learned about an organization called Healthy Child Healthy World, and their book became my "go to" resource on ridding my home of toxins (I still give that book as a baby gift to this day. :) When that same daughter started kindergarten, I volunteered to help green her school and one of the first things I focused on was getting toxins out of the classrooms. I met with the school administrator and it turned out the school’s cleaning supply company offered a non-toxic line. It also turned out the administrator was the purchaser for the whole district. So, in one simple phone call, the entire school district switched over to 100% non-toxic cleaning supplies! I promise you will find Going Toxin-LESS in your home just as easy . . . .
There are myriad of simple, refreshing ways to Go Toxin-LESS in your home. Make your Pledge to adopt one or more of the following Toxin-LESS Eco-Habits and you can be entered into a raffle to win a whole basket of non-toxic cleaning supplies from My Green Friend, Earth Friendly Products (ECOS)!
TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES BEFORE ENTERING YOUR HOME: It turns out the most impactful thing you can do to reduce toxins in your home starts right at your front door. Did you know that toxins like herbicides and pesticides, along with bacteria like E.coli and meningitis, can cling to your shoes and the dust and bacteria can settle into your home? Not to fear as there’s a super easy fix: simply take off your shoes before entering your home. Simple, right?
USE NON-TOXIC CLEANERS IN YOUR HOME: Once your shoes are off and your cleaning gloves come on, be sure to switch from harsh, toxin-laden cleaners, to non-toxic cleaners often made from natural ingredients. Why switch? It turns out many household cleaners, including sanitizing wipes, have toxins in them that can cause serious health problems. On top of that, some cleaners do not list all of their ingredients, so you might not even know what exactly is in that toilet bowl cleaner or carpet powder. Scary! This article from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) highlights specific toxins and their negative effects. Want to know more? Check out this article that decodes all of the indoor air pollutants and their impact on your health. A few major health concerns from toxins in the home include: cancers, reproductive problems, developmental problems, asthma, allergies, and poisonings. Um, no thanks! What to do? Simply switch out your cleaners for non-toxic brands - we are so fortunate as there are SO many these days and they are widely available at everyday grocery and retail stores! Some of my favorites include ECOS, Method, 7thGeneration, Mrs. Meyers, and Ecover, and My Green Friend Lauren loves Dr. Bronner’s. You can also check out one of these third party stamps of approval: EPA’s Safer Choice, Made Safe, & EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning and app. These organizations rate cleaning products for their environmental and health effects. Another great resource is the book Just Green It! Check out these resources and let me know whatcha think.
MAKE YOUR OWN CLEANERS: Homemade cleaners are easy (and fun!) to make, are so much better for the environment and your health, and are much cheaper! Opt to make a few, inexpensive, and healthy homemade products insteadof your traditional cleaners with potential toxins. Did you know that white vinegar is a great disinfectant and kills many bacteria and viruses!? It’s so much safer for your family as well, and since it’s biodegradable, it is safe for the environment too. A simple solution of white vinegar, water, and lemon essential oil is a great all-purpose cleaner. Need something stronger? Hydrogen peroxide also makes a great, non-toxic cleaner too! I have been intimidated to make my own cleaners, so I am Pledging to give it a try in my effort to Go Toxin-LESS this month!
PURCHASE A PLANT THAT ABSORBS TOXINS. Some plants help reduce the amount of formaldehyde, benzene, carbon monoxide and other toxins, and they add oxygen and beauty into your home.
USE A VACUUM WITH A HEPA FILTER. HEPA filters help trap allergens and other toxins while other vacuums can resend them into the air.
DON’T USE BLEACH. It’s not healthy for you or the environment.
DITCH YOUR PARRAFIN CANDLES AND OPT FOR BEESWAX. Paraffin contains toxic chemicals when burned and many candle wicks release heavy metals. It’s better to opt for beeswax candles, which can actually help purify the air.
REPLACE DRYER SHEETS WITH WOOL DRYER BALLS. Dryer sheets release tons of chemicals which contain carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, and pollutants. A better option is to buy 100% wool dryer balls. While I try not to use dryer sheets, I also have never used dryer balls, so I am Pledging to try dryer balls as I Go Toxin-LESS this month.
DITCH YOUR AIR FRESHENERS. Air fresheners release VOCs and can cause skin irritation and other serious health risks, according to the Poison Control Center. I am a big fan of using essential oils and a diffuser to make my home smell fresh.
OPEN YOUR WINDOWS. Open your windows to let toxins out and fresh air in. According to the EPA, indoor toxins are a HUGE environmental health concern. Indoor air is usually more toxin-laden than outdoor air. Toxins from furniture, air fresheners, paints, stoves, cleaners, and even personal care products can release toxins into your home. By opening the window, even a crack, you can release those toxins and allow more air to circulate through your home.
USE AN AIR PURIFIER. Air purifiers can drastically reduce toxins in the home. The EPA has a great guideline to help.
DISPOSE OF YOUR TOXIN-LADEN CLEANERS PROPERLY. When cleaning out your sinks and closets of cleaners with toxins from your home, be sure to dispose of them properly. Cleaning products cannot just be spilled down the sink or thrown in the trash. If they are, these chemicals can get into our waterways and oceans, negatively impacting our ocean life and travel further up into the food chain, eventually affecting the fish we put on our table. They should be treated as hazardous waste. Here is some guidance on how to dispose of these household chemicals properly.
TAKE IT A STEP FURTHER AND GO TOXIN-LESS IN YOUR SCHOOL! Working to get toxins out of my daughter’s school was one of the actions that inspired me to co-found Grades of Green. Not only did ridding the school of toxins benefit the student’s and teacher’s health, it helped both the school and the district receive the Department of Education’s coveted Green Ribbon Award! Grades of Green offers a Green Cleaning Activity that educates students on why toxins can be harmful and how to advocate for their school making the switch to non-toxic cleaners. It also provides a fun, hands-on lesson with step-by-step instructions for kids to make their own non-toxic cleaners they can use in the classroom!
Which of these simple Eco-Habits will YOU Pledge to adopt to Go Toxin-LESS in your home? Will you join me in using dryer-balls or making homemade cleaners? Or will you Pledge to remove your shoes at the door? Or will you go all in and start using only toxin-free cleaning supplies? Remember, just one simple act can make a positive impact on your health and the health of the environment. You can do this! Plus, nothing beats a fresh, clean, healthy home! And don’t forget to share your tips and your Pledge to Go Toxin-LESS on my Instagram @kim_ecohabits or on Facebook at Kim Lewand Martin.