Sunday, January 20, 2008

Plastic World

Sometime in the last 3 years, in between changing diapers and learning about herbal remedies, I started learning about the toxins that are in our environment and in nearly everything we purchase. The first site that piqued my interest is called Skin Deep by the Environmental Working Group.

This is a site where you can search skin and hair products by name or company to see how the ingredients rate. The first thing I realized was a well known baby lotion I was using was one of the worst offenders. Here is a list of the ingredients and how it scores according to their scale.

That afternoon, I got out all of my skin care and hair care products to see how bad they were. I ended up getting rid of most of them. I searched until I found products I felt were safe for babies and for us and we still use them today, 2-1/2 years later. The skin is our body's biggest organ and though it does a phenomenal job of being waterproof, it soaks in everything that is put on it. It makes me think twice about all those skin care products that say "do not ingest" when it all seeps into our bodies anyway.

For me, becoming a mom made it hard not to see the world differently. Things bothered me where I was never bothered before. I worried way more...about danger and about the kind of world the kids would be raised in. The first things we changed were personal: what we eat (organic 'real' foods) and how we take care of ourselves when we are sick (herbs). Then we started looking more at our environment and the impact we have on it. We made little changes like using reusable bags and stainless steel water bottles and that in turn has led to the way we think as consumers.

Nearly every 'thing' we buy comes in packaging which has to be discarded somewhere. We think that by recycling we are doing the earth a favor but it's not that simple. Only 3% to 5% of the plastic we recycle is actually recycled. The rest is dumped in landfills or wherever there seems to be a spot that no one is looking.

I stumbled on two things recently. Both are equally fascinating and horrifying at at the same time. This first one is the Story of Stuff. A 20 minute video well worth the time spent to watch it. Ian watched the whole thing with me so it moves pretty fast.

The second is an article I found this morning. It's called Plastic Ocean by Best Life Magazine. There is a spot off the Pacific Coast twice the size of Texas that is a stew of plastic and other trash byproducts. The pictures of the animals throughout the article are heartbreaking. They are the ones most obviously affected by our waste. But we are affected too. Slowly studies are coming out about how harmful plastic is to our own bodies and the environment. The article above does a great job of explaining how and why.

"Except for the small amount that's been incinerated-and it's a very small amount-every bit of plastic ever made still exists."*

Even small changes add up. I'm amazed that by taking the time to buy something healthier, for us or the environment, I appreciate it more. Our hope is to teach the boys to live simple and healthy and to be mindful of the things around them. We really do live in a beautiful world and I hate the thought of plastics destroying it one bag or bottle at a time.

*Plastic Ocean by Susan Casey and Best Life Magazine



Jeremy & Andrea said...

Awesome post, Bug. What's cool is that it really doesn't take being a eco-Super Hero to make a difference... it can be one thing that you do different that day that can add up.

I love you, sweetie. -JC

Karli said...

You did a great job with this blog posting, Andrea. If you don't mind, I'm going to link it on my blog for today's posting. Important topic and well written, Andrea!

Adam and Raechell said...

Amen, preach it sista! :D Excellent!

Katie Jervis Photography said...

Thanks for sharing this information, Andrea!!!!

Ann V.@HolyExperience said...

Hi Andrea...
This was absolutely riveting... Tonia has shared a bit about this, and I am deeply appreciative. Spent some time here tonight, enjoying your story, your laughter, your beautiful boys. A warm wave from Canada... God bless you folks...

All's grace,

Andrea said...

Thank you for all for stopping by! I'm glad you enjoyed looking around here Ann.

The truth about plastics is unbelievable. I hope it comes to light even more so we can all make a difference.