Archive for the ‘Sustainability’ Category
The following is a guest post from Juliet of Twisting Vines…
I first came across reusable menstrual products somewhere around 2000, as a very broke post-grad student. Financially and environmentally it seemed like a good option, and I bought myself a Keeper (then the only menstrual cup I could find online, and as I recall, I had to get one shipped to the UK from Canada!).
I was an immediate convert. It was more comfortable than tampons, knocked a fiver off my monthly budget (a big deal for me at the time), and meant no more guilt about shoals of white cotton and blue string bobbing around merrily in the ocean.
The Keeper went missing some five years later and was replaced by a Mooncup. By this time they were becoming slightly better known – I was seeing Mooncup stickers on toilet doors at the Glastonbury Festival every year, but still had to buy online, from the UK this time.
Five more years passed and the dog ate my Mooncup (yes, really…), by which time I was able to buy a replacement one in a bricks-and-mortar shop, as they have become standard stock at the high street chemist Boots. The times, they are a’changing.
Then I fell pregnant, and didn’t need to use any sanitary protection at all for nine months, plus the six months of exclusive breastfeeding before my period came back (I was very annoyed; the return of my period when my baby was still feeding every 60-90 minutes day and night felt a little harsh). Out came my trusty Mooncup — only to find that, surprisingly enough, childbirth can do things to your nether regions. Read the rest of this entry »
Happy Earth Day!
I hope you’ve been enjoying the awesome guest posts of the past few days (one more coming up tomorrow!) – personally I love seeing all these real life stories of women who have made the switch to reusable products for ‘that time of the month’ – it’s inspiring and encouraging to know how many have happily made this choice.
And today on Earth Day, I extend the challenge to you.
It was just about 3 years ago today that I closed my eyes and jumped in – it’s hard for me to fathom it now, but it really was a difficult decision to give up those pads and tampons. I wasn’t confident that reusable products would really work for my heavy periods. I thought it might be a little too gross. It seemed like a lot of money to pay up front.
But the more I realized how bad those toss away products are for the earth – and for my body – the more I leaned toward taking that plunge. And once I finally did…well, ever since then I’ve wanted nothing but to share how amazing these products are!
It’s hard to say why, exactly…I don’t make or manufacture or sell reusable products – there’s no monetary gain for me. I certainly don’t judge anyone who chooses not to. Read the rest of this entry »
The following is a guest post from Lyndsay of ourfeministplayschool…
I’m so happy to be sharing information about the resources I use during my period! Much like the realities of childbirth and parenting, menstruation is often left for us to figure out as we wade through a media-inspired version of what our bodies should be doing and how we should be handling it.
I was 10 years old when I got my first period, starting out with the pile of maxi-pads my mother offered me, and by 13 I was using the run-of-the mill bleached cotton tampons.
I don’t regret this, or even dwell on it. I know now that it wasn’t the best thing for my body, especially for my vagina and other reproductive parts, but we need to be gentle with our journey towards embracing a natural lifestyle. I, like so many other women, did what I knew.
When I was 24, while completing my graduate studies, I made a lifestyle switch from vegetarian to vegan. This change to my diet inspired me to take stock of my whole being, and the ways that choices I was making were impacting the environment. Of course, I had known for some time that my use of tampons on a monthly basis was leaving an eco-footprint that I wasn’t entirely proud of. It was obvious, by making different choices around my period, I could add to the environmental contributions that I hoped I was making with my vegan diet.
It was then that I switched to Natracare tampons – these were both better for me and better for the environment. Given that this was 11 years ago, it was a little more difficult to get my hands on these and they were double the price of what I had been paying. Despite these obstacles, I knew that my body and the environment were worth the sacrifice I needed to make to ‘green’ my period.
Only two years into my eco approach to my menstruation, I experienced an extended period of amenorrhea. I checked in with my doctor and he wasn’t worried about the absence of my period, reassuring me that it was just a side effect of training for long distance running. I was 29 before my period returned, and it was at the point that I decided to try a menstrual cup. Read the rest of this entry »
The following is a guest post from Kymberlee of Our Crazy Corner of the World.
I’ve been in the ranks of menstruating females for about 14 years, but I’ve only been aware of the world of reusable menstrual products for about four years, and using them for about three. It took awhile to get on board, for several reasons.
I was already using cloth diapers for my son, but for some reason the poop and pee of my own offspring didn’t seem as bad as dealing with my *own* blood. I don’t like blood. It makes me nauseated. But, ultimately the desire to be frugal won out so I dived in head first with a few cloth panty-liners and a Diva Cup. And anxiously awaited for my cycle to start. Then I was hooked. As you can see from the picture, I’ve got quite the little stash. My favorite, FAVORITE pads are handmade by a wonderful lady in San Antonio, Texas. Her company is Domino Pads.
When I share that I’m a fan of reusable menstrual products like cloth pads or cups, I’m immediately met with lots of questions. I love the questions! I appreciate that people feel comfortable enough to ask me about these things, and I love sharing what I’ve learned.
So when Kelly asked me to guest post, I immediately decided to do a question and answer type session. So I asked a few girlfriends who were considering making the switch to ask me whatever they could think of! We had a pretty fun Facebook chat about the whole thing one afternoon. Hopefully the questions and answers will help you make the decision about what’s right for you!
A few things to know about mama cloth and menstrual cups: Read the rest of this entry »
For about a year and a half now I’ve been working at a job I really enjoy as an executive assistant in a family-owned business. It keeps me very busy (mainly too busy to blog if you haven’t noticed lol) but all in all it’s pretty great.
Kinda funny too, because in spite of the business casual environment most of my coworkers know me as the resident hippie (something I’m totally OK with).
During my time there I’ve come across several ways I can easily and not too annoyingly ‘green’ our office. I’m guessing a lot of these would apply to various workplaces so thought I would share…
1. Recycle. This one is so easy and yet it is surprising how few people will do it. The recycle bin under the desk for paper is a no brainer, but I’ve been able to figure out easy ways to recycle used printer cartridges (our office supply delivery guy will just pick them up – no shipping back to the company entailed) and gently encourage people to actually use the recycle bin in the cafe by pointing out that it is in fact, there. Right next to the garbage can.
No recycling at your workplace? Talk to your boss or building manager about getting it – you might be surprised at how easy it could be.
2. Greener Supplies. Talk to the person in charge of ordering office and other supplies. Are there greener options they could be choosing? There are actually quite a few options available through companies like Staples or Grand & Toy that don’t even cost more than their regular counterparts. Your supplier may have more than you realized as well. If not, suggest it to them through an e-mail or contact form. Read the rest of this entry »
This is a joint giveaway with Becoming Crunchy and Natural Parents Network. You may enter at one site only. Please find the section marked “Win it!” for the mandatory entry and optional bonus entries.
Thirsties is offering our readers a giveaway of one Thirsties Duo All in One Cloth Diaper, in a print of the winner’s choice, and a set of Hemp Inserts, a value of $25.75.
The Thirsties Duo All in One offers absorbency, waterproof protection, and adjustability in a stylish, affordable, and effective cloth diaper.
Thirsties® is a small (but growing!) cloth diaper company committed to greener parenting and Eco Friendly solutions, not to mention 100% USA Made quality! Erin, founder of Thirsties, started this business with an old sewing machine and $100 5 years ago. Through her hard work and diligence, the company is now one of the leaders in the cloth diaper industry. Our diapers are now made by work at home mothers, and very close to our warehouse, reducing our carbon output. Our customer service reps are experienced cloth diapering moms, and offer our knowledge to our retailers and customers alike.
Are you sold yet? If not, you soon will be — but I have to say first that I’m pretty excited about a company with such awesome principles, especially the whole work-at-home mom concept!
Beyond that, getting a pretty new cloth diaper in the mail is always an event (owls! yay!), and I was very happily satisfied with this one.
What I loved:
The diaper is very soft and adjustable. We got a size 2 for 22-month-old Bean; it’s meant to fit 18-40 lbs or 9-36 months. The sizing is adjustable through snaps and closes with hook-and-loop tape (though it is also available in a snap closure). It came with 2 hemp/cotton inserts that can be fit through the middle pocket.
I had purchased these same inserts for other diapers before so I knew they were good — a very thin layer of lots of extra absorbency.
The diaper can be used on its own (very nice for around the house) or stuffed with 1-2 inserts for extra absorbency. I liked how easy it was to fit the inserts in — there are openings on both sides to make a kind of tunnel instead of just one pocket, so it’s easy to pull inserts through and flatten them out without too much maneuvering.
All around, both absorbency and “containment” are great. The diaper is really nicely and comfortably made with gentle elastics around the legs to keep any leaks from getting through. We generally use a two-piece diaper system that can get out of place pretty easily with an active toddler, allowing leaks to get through the cover. With the Thirsties AIO Duo we didn’t experience one leak in multiple uses (and we mostly used it without inserts).
The ease of use was fantastic — pretty much as easy as a disposable. For me it was very nice not to have the risk of a very wiggly toddler getting the diaper all out of alignment before I could get it on her!
What I didn’t love:
There wasn’t much — I was overall very impressed with this diaper. The main small issue I had was the thickness when both inserts are in; the fitting at that point got a little snug. I doubt we could get up to 40 lbs and still get it on with both inserts in. But that’s also a very subjective thing as it goes beyond weight and into body shape, etc., so it’s certainly not something I would call disappointing.
Also (this may be a bit TMI — sorry) — I do need to remember to not wash the diaper together with my underwear, as the velcro seems to be a magnet for the elastic bands therein. Just something to be careful of.
What surprised me (in a good way!):
I really liked the all-in-one aspect. It was honestly a little hard for me to get used to a one-time use diaper, but the ease of it ultimately sold me — and the fact that it doesn’t get all out of place.
I think it has potential for an overnight diaper. We haven’t really found anything (disposable or cloth) that works overnight; we usually end up doing one change in the middle of the night. I put her in the Duo AIO double stuffed and she went a good 5 hours before needing a change (and it didn’t leak; it was just full) — that was also a night with quite a few wake-ups for milk so that bladder was pretty active! I could definitely see adopting it as a night-time diaper though I’m not sure it would go through the entire night.
The velcro closures weren’t a disaster. Bean is frequently in disposables (her caregivers won’t use anything else) and is pretty well a pro at removing them. I figured the velcro would be an issue there, but it wasn’t at all — she didn’t even try to get it off. I’m guessing it was comfortable enough that it didn’t occur to her to try it. (For those whose little ones are a little more persistent in this area, the diaper does come in snap closures.)
Washing and drying were the same as any other diaper. I’d heard AIO’s can be difficult to dry, and I did find a need to give the inserts a few extra minutes, but really there was no big deal. As recommended, I washed and dried three times before using and we were good to go from there.
The pricing is really decent. I’ve bought $15 AIO diapers and found them to be utter crap; for a $16/17 diaper this is an excellent value. The quality is obvious from just looking at the stitching, and in every way it’s proven to be well made, comfortable, and absorbent. I could never justify an AIO stock at the usual $25 a pop, which is why we’ve mostly used a two-piece system, but I could totally see the value in stocking up on these diapers.
Ultimately, I’m very happy with the Thirsties Duo All In One Diaper and hope you get the chance to check it out. (I’m thinking I’m going to have to stock up on a few more myself — I don’t want to miss out on those adorable colours/patterns, and our child caregivers may even be willing to give these a try!) Want to learn more?
You can purchase your own Duo All In One Diaper at Thirsties.com and other retailers, $15.95 for solids and $16.95 for prints plus shipping.
Thirsties also sells several other options in cloth diapers and accessories — you can request a catalog by visiting this link.
For your own chance to win a Duo All In One Diaper from Thirsties, plus a set of Hemp Inserts, enter by leaving a comment and using our Rafflecopter system below.
The winner will receive 1 Thirsties Duo All In One Diaper in the pattern of their choice, and 1 set of Hemp Inserts. Contest is open to the US and Canada only.
MANDATORY ENTRY: Visit Thirsties and tell us one thing you have learned about the company! You must enter your name and email address in the Rafflecopter entry system for your entry to count, after leaving a comment on this blog post.
Leave a valid email address so we can contact you if you win. Email addresses in Rafflecopter are not made publicly visible. Please leave the same valid email address in your mandatory comment so we can verify entries.
This is a joint giveaway with Becoming Crunchy and Natural Parents Network. You may enter at one site only, and we’ll be recording IP addresses to ensure that there are no duplicate entries. That said, please do visit and enjoy both sites!
See the Rafflecopter entry system for bonus entries to increase your chance of winning after completing the mandatory entry. All bonus entries are entered directly into Rafflecopter. Give it a try, and email or leave a comment if you have any questions!
2 disclaimers to begin this post…
#1 – It’s late! I meant to have this as a wrap up to the posts of the week before last and just didn’t get to it in time. My apologies!
#2 – I plan to share in this post (among other things) some great reasons for ‘greening your period’ – or switching to reusable menstrual products. On the flip side of that I will be sharing some of the not-so-great things about disposable products. While I believe what I’m sharing has merit and sincerely hope that it may help provide a few answers for anyone on the fence or new to the whole idea, I am absolutely not judging you if you disagree with what’s expressed here. If this post comes as the right one at the right time for you, great! If it’s totally not your bag, feel free to ignore it!
OK – now we can get started!
I want to re-post something I shared last year:
- Over 20 BILLION disposable pads, tampons, and applicators will
be added to landfills every year in North America alone. The disposal of
these products releases dioxins and other toxic chemicals into our
rivers, lakes and oceans and pollutes our soil.
- A woman will use on average 13,000 disposable menstrual products
in her lifetime. ONE cloth pad has the potential to replace 140
disposable pad/tampon products.
- ONE cloth pad can last up to 5 years.
- Disposable pads and tampons used in an average woman’s
menstruating life will cost her $4500 compared to $200-$750 for reusable
pads and tampons.
- Many pads and tampons are chemically treated to whiten, perfume,
and make them more absorbent. They are also made of synthetic fibers.
Given the sensitivity of the vaginal area to chemical absorption and the
number of disposable menstrual products a woman uses in her life, this
is a really big issue.
This list is why I titled this post as I did.
First off, the contribution I was making to landfills with all those tampons and pads was something I never even considered. For far too long I was of the mindset that when you throw garbage ‘away’, it just goes into that nebulous ‘away’ that most of us never have to think about or deal with.
But when you do think of it…what a terrible burden to place on our earth! Don’t get me wrong – I still use things that are disposable. But I have come to see that we do WAY more disposable than we need to in so many things, where it takes surprisingly little effort to use something that will last for years.
Ultimately, whether it’s pads and tampons or paper plates or diapers or plastic spoons or whatever, we need to start counting the cost with these things. We need to start seeing the numbers – envisioning the disaster we are creating – and acting accordingly.
Moving on to actual financial cost. Read the rest of this entry »
Last year, in the spirit of Earth Day, I made a resolution.
I must admit - it wasn’t something I was terribly excited about doing at first – I looked at it as taking a pretty big risk and did not have a lot of faith that it would work out well.
But as I look back over the past year, I can say with full confidence that I’m a total convert and wouldn’t go back for anything.
What I did ranges from being no big deal for some (and indeed, seems like nothing out of the ordinary to me now) to being a huge, potentially weird and disturbing deal for others.
In short – I made the switch from using disposable menstrual products (pads and tampons) to using reusable menstrual products – cloth pads (or as it is sometimes known – ‘mama cloth’), a menstrual cup, and sea sponge tampons.
I wrote all about my initial experiences in various posts you can find HERE – they include reviews of Moms Crafts 4 U (along with Earth Mama Angel Baby Monthly Comfort Tea), Lunapads, GladRags, the Diva Cup, Sea Sponge Tampons, and Party in My Pants.
Now that I’ve been using these products for an entire year, I wanted to share a bit more about my experiences. I’m not gonna lie – I’d love to help convert you too (I’m even sweetening the deal with a cloth pad giveaway at the end of this post)! Read the rest of this entry »
Welcome to the Earth Day Blog Carnival!
This post is part of the 2012 Earth Day Blog Carnival hosted by Child of the Nature Isle and Monkey Butt Junction. Each participant has shared their practices and insights of earth friendly, environmentally conscious, eco-living. This carnival is our way to share positive information and inspiration that can create healing for our planet. Please read to the end of this post to find a list of links to the other carnival participants. Happy Earth Day!
This Earth Day seems more like a ‘New Year’s Day’ to me than anything else. It marks a real anniversary of the time I’ve spent getting serious how my actions affect this world.
I made a LOT of changes when Bean was born, but looking back, many of them seem relatively easy - or so obviously worthwhile that there’s been no question of going back to the way things were.
By the time she was 8 months old Earth Day rolled around, and I was ready to make a more serious commitment. I picked a challenge I really wasn’t at all sure I wanted to take – I made the transition to reusable menstrual products. I wrote about my experiences at the time and plan to share more throughout the coming week (I hope you’ll stop by to hear more!) – but all that to say, that decision marked a transition for me.
It was moving into a deeper awareness – a willingness to learn more – a greater understanding of the effects I, as an individual, have on my world.
It led to more of such decisions – ones that required greater time, effort, sacrifice – growing our own food, boycotting Nestle (and purchasing Fair Trade when it comes to things like coffee and chocolate), buying organic. After watching a documentary on bottled water, I’ve finally stopped buying it – period. After reading more and more articles on the dangers of both BPA and aspartame, I’ve finally given up my beloved diet coke.
But before you get to the point of thinking I’m being insufferably obnoxious and pious with my environmental love, I admit here before anyone that there is still SO much I am willing to close my eyes to in denial.
I saw a cartoon recently that was captioned: “My desire to be well-informed is currently at odds with my desire to remain sane.” I find it very apt – though I hate to say it, ignorance sometimes really does seem like bliss. Life was easier before I knew all this stuff of consequences and effects and dangers and what have you.
But once you do know it, it becomes very difficult to go back.
Ultimately, I know in my heart that I don’t want to go back – but I’ll tell you I hate it sometimes. It causes difficulty. It makes simple decisions harder. It makes me feel like a hypocrite – every time of the many times I don’t live up to those ideals. It makes me feel like I’m giving a ‘holier than thou’ impression, which I don’t want to do or be. It causes strife with the husband and other family members. It makes me depressed to think about how much there is to think about.
As I look back over this year, I know that there are many things which I still consciously or unconsciously am able to not see. And over time, I think the list will only get longer. Over a year of both triumph and failure in an area that’s become very important to me, I know that I do want those scales to keep falling from my eyes – I owe that to myself, and to my daughter.
But I don’t want it to happen too quickly…
Thank you for stopping by the 2012 Earth Day Blog Carnival! Please relax and take time to read these other great eco-living posts:
- You are a Child of the Earth – Using the Earth as their classroom, Patti from Canadian Unschool teaches her 4 children their spiritual connection to the Earth and she accepts that loving the Earth can get really, really messy.
- Cutting Out Paper – Jorje of Momma Jorje shares how she went from curiosity and concern to actually cutting out the use of paper towels in her household. She is proud to be “greener” as each Earth Day passes.
- The World is Brown – Debra Ann Elliot of Words are Timeless believes in keeping the Earth green, but because so many people inhabit the Earth it is turning brown because people aren’t doing their part by reducing, reusing, and recycling.
- 7 Child And Eco Friendly Activities To Honor The Earth (Plus Some Environmental Books For Kids) – Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares her favorite books that help children become more aware of the importance of respecting and caring for Mother Earth. In addition, she hosts a guest post outlining seven child and eco friendly activities to honor the earth.
- 5 Ways We Teach Our Children To Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle – Valarie at Momma In Progress shares a few tips for encouraging young children to care for the earth.
- Little Changes – Big Results – Meegs at A New Day talks about how sometimes it’s the little decisions and changes that can lead us to find big results, and how she’s baby-stepping her way to a more environmentally conscious lifestyle.
- Inspiring the Next Generation – aNonyMous at at Radical Ramblings hopes to inspire her daughter to live a green and sustainable lifestyle, in the same way she was inspired by her high-school science teacher, and talks about the changes her family are making towards this vision.
- Eco-Friendly Cleansers: Safe For the Environment, Healthy For Every Body – Rebekah at Liberated Family writes about safe and natural alternatives to toxic, household cleaning products..
- Lightening My Footprint with Cloth Nappies (Diapers) – Christine at African Babies Don’t Cry shares the biggest eco-choice she has made so far, and why she is so passionate about it.
- Clutter Free for a Cause – At Living Peacefully with Children Mandy’s penchant for decluttering and simple living cuts down on consumerism, taking less of a tole on the Earth.
- Eco-Parenting: Homemade Bug Spray – Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares a homemade bug spray recipe that helps her family to enjoy the natural world while taking precautions against bug bites.
- Let the Scales Fall From My Eyes…Just Not Too Quickly – Kelly at Becoming Crunchy talks about the discomfort of no longer being able to live in denial over how her choices affect the world around her.
- Fostering Love of Earth – Justine at The Lone Home Ranger instills a love of nature in her daughters by embarking on their first backyard vegetable garden together.
- Being in Nature – Carrie at Love Notes Mama knows that just being in nature is more than enough.
- 5 Ways to Pass Down Environmental Values to Your Children – Charise at I Thought I Knew Mama shares how easy it can be to instill environmental values in your children.
- Viva Portlandia – Amy at Anktangle writes about the place she lives and loves in: Portland. She describes the ways this green city makes it easy for her family to take care of our earth, and also the steps she’s taking to further lessen her family’s environmental impact.
- Conspicuous Conservationism – Jenn at Monkey Butt Junction examines the phenomenon of eco-conscious behavior as a status symbol.
- Time for Radical Sustainability – Terri at Child of the Nature Isle ponders how she can model a truly sustainable lifestyle for her children and raise them in a way their environmental consciousness is as natural as breathing!
A big thank you to all of the 2012 Earth Day Blog Carnival participants!
I am pleased to be sharing a review and giveaway today from Andrea of LOOT – a WAHM with one of the coolest products I’ve come across yet!
The moment I saw these necklaces I knew I had to have one (and hopefully will be adding a few more to my stock in the near future!). And really, I’m not a big jewelry buyer – it’s just not normally my thing – but LOOT totally caught my eye and immediately went on my wish list.
The coolest thing about these necklaces – aside from how pretty they are - is that they are upcycled! Andrea makes them out of used t-shirts – isn’t that awesome? I know I am gushing but really I’m so impressed.
I bought the one pictured to the left there. Every time I wear it I get tons of compliments (and of course I have to respond with, “Guess what it’s made of!”) which probably most people don’t really need to know but I’m OK with it.
I also received great customer service from LOOT – my questions were responded to promptly, the pricing seems to me to be more than fair and there were no issues with quality or shipping.
Because I like these necklaces so much I asked Andrea about donating one for a giveaway here at Becoming Crunchy, which she generously agreed to. Read on to find out a little bit more about Andrea and how you can enter to win one of her lovely creations… Read the rest of this entry »