Wednesday, June 3, 2009

New Parents Eco Tips

New parents want what’s best for their baby; parenting is a full time job without sick days or paid vacation, which leaves little room for your other concerns - like being mindful of the environment. Life is overwhelming enough, so while you’re managing your home and budget and raising your family, keep it simple when it comes to living eco friendly. By taking small steps everyday and making green a part of your every day, you are creating a profound positive impact on the planet: a gift for your child’s future. 

Each of these simple suggestions below will bring you and your family one step closer to living an eco-friendly life, and it’s well worth the effort. 

The most important eco-friendly thing a new parent can do is to accept that they are one person and they can only do so much. It’s o.k. to take easy small steps towards living a greener life because in the long run, the small steps really add up to big benefits. By keeping the Three R’s (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) in mind every day, parents can ensure that they are maintaining a green household. 

When you recycle or repurpose household items such as paper, you give back to the planet in a big way. Then, by using earth-friendly recycled tissue paper products, such as Marcal Small Steps, you save countless trees because companies like Marcal use only 100% recycled paper for their products not trees. ( Marcal has been using paper instead of trees to make their products for over 50 years, showing a long-term commitment and integrity to the planet-to save 1 million trees. Marcal’s personal pledge is the perfect for new parents to consider when going green,, now at this milestone in their lives. 

One of the most exciting things for new parents to do is to prepare the nursery for their baby. The main thing to keep in mind is that you want your baby’s room to be healthy and clean. A great way to start is by using non-toxic paint for the beautifully painted nursery walls. Indoor air can be three times more polluted than outdoor air, and according to the EPA, is considered one of the top 5 hazards to human health. Paints and finishes are among the leading causes. Mythic non-toxic paint is a clean, low odor paint alternative that provides the durability and coverage you expect from a premium paint without the off-gassing VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) and toxins that emit years after drying with most paints.  

Once you’ve gotten the room painted, install a high quality air filter to clean and purify the air from airborne cleaning products, and product off-gassing to dust. Because there is such a wide range of options available, a great resource for parents is Consumer Reports online (, where they rate and explain about the variety of filters on the market. 

The room is decorated and ready to fill with lots of goodies, including some eco-friendly toys made from natural, safe materials, preserving the environment. Keeping in mind that babies put everything in their mouth, you want to be aware of VOC’s and other harmful chemicals that may come in contact with your baby. Plant Happy Toys, whose mission is to connect people and planet through play, offers a wide variety of “playful” options. 

Your baby will be crawling, toddling and grabbing on to many surfaces in the nursery and beyond before you know it, so take some time to think about the cleaning products you use in your home and on your baby. Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (study: just one of several commonly used toiletry chemicals associated with a variety of diseases. Water is adequate for washing babies, and if lather is irresistible, use eco-friendly, organic toiletries occasionally and sparingly. If eco-friendly cleaning products are too expensive, use distilled white vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, Epsom salts, or lemon juice. Unless your favorite cleaner is eco-friendly, you're sending VOCs, petrochemicals, pesticides, and chlorides into the air, and that isn't good. These airborne pollutants used in a number of conventional cleaning agents to, among other things, help speed the drying process. They can irritate mucus membranes and cause other short- and long-term physical damage. 

* Use gentle Castile soap and water - these have been shown to keep surfaces as free of bacteria as antibacterial soaps do.

* Look for safer ingredients - products labeled nontoxic, bio-based, chlorine free, organic, phosphate-free, natural fragrance, and/or biodegradable.

* Avoid using products that say POISON, DANGER, WARNING, or CAUTION.

* Reduce the need for anti-bacterial soaps by frequently requiring hand washing.