Green Living Series Part 2: small changes to your morning routine

In part 1 of our Green Living series we looked at healthier choices at the grocery store. This time we’re focusing on small steps you can take during your morning routine for better health for you and our planet.

Between hair products, skin care, and cosmetics, we’re using adding more than ten items to our skin before breakfast. While the FDA may deem many of the chemical ingredients safe in small quantities, when we’re using them in multiple products the effects may be questionable.

Sure, you could make your own cleanser and deodorant, but that’s just not realistic for most of our lifestyles. There are, however, simple swaps that won’t disrupt your routine but can reduce your exposure to questionable chemicals.

http://www.earth911.com/home-garden/how-much-your-green-habits-really-save/Just beginning? Start with water…as in shut it off. Help reduce unnecessary water consumption by turning off the faucet while brushing your teeth (save approx. 4-5 gallons of water).

Using a long shower to wake up? Most showerheads flow 2.5-5 gallons per minute. Even cutting your shower time by two minutes can dramatically shave off water usage- especially if everyone in the house reduces time too!

http://5gyres.org/how_to_get_involved/campaigns-microbead/Ready for the next step? Skip the microbeads. Many of our scrubs, cleansers, and toothpastes contain tiny microbeads to exfoliate skin and whiten teeth. What’s the big deal about something so tiny? Microbeads are small enough to pass through water treatment systems, so they’re ending up in our lakes and rivers…in huge quantities. So much so, in fact, that they’re wreaking havoc on our ecosystems.

Many states have introduced a ban on products containing these synthetic microbeads. Unless it’s indicated in the product name- how do you know if your skin care contains microbeads? Check the ingredients for polyethylene or polypropylene. Instead, look for scrubs and cleansers using safer biodegradable ingredients like bamboo powder, apricot seeds, or cane sugar.

Up for one more challenge? Eliminate synthetic fragrance. This one is tough, but important.

We’ve talked about artificial fragrance concerns before. Despite the health hazards, big companies don’t seem eager to make any changes. So it’s up to us to read labels in search of fragrance or parfum. And you’ll find it everywhere…shampoo, conditioner, soap, cleanser, lipstick/balm, lotion, deodorant, tampons/pads, even toothpaste.

Told you this one isn’t easy. You may find, however, that by eliminating synthetic frangrance from your skin care products dry skin, acne, and/or rashes are reduced.  If you don’t care for unscented products, look for ones where the aroma is derived from pure essential oils instead of laboratory concoctions.

toothbrush photo credit
microbeads photo credit

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