As few as five years ago, using environmentally friendly products in the home was something of a pipe dream…unless you wanted to make your own. Leading a green life was filled with compromises that had to be made in the name of personal hygiene, home cleanliness and convenience. Those days are all but behind us now. Now you can find an organic/green version of pretty much every type of product out there.
Shampoo is famous for being terrible for the environment but now, thanks to companies like PureFormulas, you can wash your hair without worrying that choosing to be clean was going to pollute the water supply.
Eco-friendly soap is another good example of this.
If you wanted environmentally friendly soap, you had to buy it from crafters or vendors who specialized in handmade soaps. It was the only way to ensure that you wouldn’t accidentally be spreading chemicals all over your body and then washing them down the drain. Now there are Dr. Bronner’s magic soaps: good at getting you clean and eco-friendly to boot!
Face wash is notorious for being filled with artificial ingredients meant to polish, scrub, enhance, rejuvenate and restore your skin’s youth. Sure there are recipes all over the internet for skin care products you can make with ingredients in yourkitchen cabinets, but if you don’t want to go that route, you can buy Madam Helene’s products. They’re affordable (the face wash is typically less than $5) and feel good on your skin.
Seventh Generation is famous for its line of household cleansers. You can buy everything from countertop cleaner to dish soap to laundry soap. These products are free of sulfides and are safe to have around little kids and pets.
Of course, you can make your own with vinegar and water (and other stuff you’ve got on hand) and that will clean your counters just as well, but that has a funky smell and who wants that?
Even name brands like Tide, Windex, Soft Scrub, etc. are making their products better for the environment. They’ve taken out sulfides and other dangerous elements and have color and odor-less variations of their products available.
When you want to ship a package and you want to pad the contents a little bit what do you use? Most people opt for bubble wrap because packing peanuts are so irritating. Now, though, some of those packing peanuts are biodegradable. You can dissolve them in water or toss them in the compost bin. Several companies have started using vegetable oil to make the foam for the peanuts, which is how that’s possible.
Ziploc bags and other kitchen “saver” type bags can now be recycled–you simply drop them off in the same bin that you’d drop used plastic grocery bags in at the grocery store.
There are even a few companies out there now exploring the use of corn starch in plastic containers to make those containers compostable.
While not usable within the home, it’s worth noting that more cities are converting the vehicles they use for public transit (train cars, busses, shuttle vans) to biodiesel/hybrid engines to help make taking public transit even more environmentally friendly. Now you can take the bus without having to worry that you’re still contributing to a drop your city’s air quality index.
These are just some of the things that you encounter on a regular basis that have gotten better for the environment. The eco-friendly industry is realizing (slowly but surely) that the answer is not trying to change the consumers but changing the products they use. This way, even without realizing it, people are causing less harm to the planet—without having to change a single habit of their own.
Whether or not this is actually beneficial is another article for another time. Isn’t it nice to know in the meantime that you can continue using products you love without having to worry about the Green Police giving you a hard time?