“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” – Jane Goodall, primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist, and UN Messenger of Peace
We shape where we live just as much as it shapes us. Our home is a reflection of who we are, what we aspire to be, and what we value in our lives.
Think about your living space. Perhaps you have photos strung on the wall capturing precious moments or line shelves with mementos from your hobbies and passions. Even the colors of your walls can say a lot about your personality and life experience.Consider your furnishings, bedding, decor, body care routine and products you clean with. What story are you telling through your belongings? And how does your personal space impact your well being and that of the planet?
Here are a few things to think about:
Your bed: We spend a lot of time sleeping, almost one-third of our lives! Sleep is essential to a happy, healthy existence. But have you ever thought about what you are sleeping on? Many mattresses, pillows and bedding contain toxic chemicals that can negatively impact your health, including flame retardants, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and Isocyanates. According to a study from MadeSafe, these chemicals are linked to chronic illness including respiratory diseases and cancer.
Your furnishings: Furniture may be functional and decorative, but coverings, paint and even air fresheners contain VOCs, while foam and carpet padding contain toxic flame retardants. Exposure to these harmful chemicals is linked to cancer, thyroid problems, reproductive and nervous system diseases.
Your cleaning products: Cleaning is not always fun, but it’s even worse when product ingredients leave harmful chemical residue in place of dirt and grime. According to Women’s Voices for the Earth, chemicals have been linked to hormone and fertility problems, as well as an increased risk of cancer and respiratory disorders.
How can companies get away with this, you ask? Unfortunately, chemicals are barely regulated at all in the US. In 1976, a bill was passed called the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)to protect people and planet from harmful chemical exposures. Yet 62,000 toxins escaped testing and most can still be found on the market today. Since 1976, over 22,000 chemicals have been introduced without any testing for public or environmental safety. Only 11 toxic chemicals are currently banned in the US. There is no federal law requiring companies to list all ingredients on products, so you may purchase products that contain dangerous chemicals without even knowing.
Chemicals in products also have a large environmental cost. When you use chemical-laden products to clean your home, they wash down the drain and end up in water supplies. Both wildlife and humans then drink this dangerously contaminated water. VOCs also contribute to ozone production, which can harm sensitive vegetation and destroy ecosystems.
But as always, there is good news. You can begin to make your home a more sustainable, non-toxic place starting today! When shopping for new products, be a conscious consumer who considers organic, eco-friendly alternatives to decorate and clean. Making simple DIY cleaning products ensures you know all ingredients and saves money too!
Today, we challenge you to make your home a safe, non-toxic place good for people and planet.
You may not be aware of the daily dose of chemicals around you, but they are everywhere and all too often in cleaning products. This challenge will start you down the path to choosing safe, products void of toxic chemicals with negative health and environmental consequences.
Upload a PDF Document with your responses. Please include your name (or team name), username, email address, and school.
Whether sleeping, studying, reading or hanging out, we spend about 25 years of our lives in our bedrooms. Harmful toxins in conventional mattresses and bedding release dangerous chemicals into your body and the air, not to mention that sleeping on bedding with conventionally grown cotton or synthetics like polyester further increases chemical exposure. Though conventional cotton only accounts for 2.4% of the world’s cropland, it is responsible for a disproportionate 24% of global pesticide use. Conversely, organic cotton is grown without pesticides or herbicides and is not genetically modified: better for you and the earth. Here’s your chance to create a space where you can express yourself and commitment to the planet!
Start by reading MadeSafe’s Detox Your Sleep. With more information about how to detoxify a living space, it’s time to get creative and design your ideal living space.
Consider your bed, furnishings, decor, cleaning supplies, and other essential items. Choose products that are free from harmful chemicals and made from sustainable sources like organic cotton. For inspiration, check out Turning Green’s Back to School Checklist.
Upload a PDF Document with a link to your Pinterest board or your photo collage. Please include your name (or team name), username, email address and school.
Making your own cleaning products from common household items like baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, castile soap and essential oils can be very simple and inexpensive. DIY eliminates the risk for undisclosed toxins that are harmful to people and planet. Time to roll up your sleeves, make a simple cleaning product, and find out just how fun and easy green cleaning can be!
Find a recipe for an eco-friendly cleaning product. Check out Lisa Bronner’s Green Cleaning Starter Kit to get started, as well as ideas from Women’s Voices for the Earth. Use what you have or borrow ingredients you need. Consider reusing a spray bottle or upcycling another container.
Now it’s time to make and test your DIY cleaning product! Use it! How does it compare to other products you have used in the past?
Upload a PDF Document with your responses. Include a link to your social media post. Please include your name (or team name), username, email address and school.
5 submissions will be randomly selected to receive:
Each time you submit a challenge, you get an entry. Complete Green, Greener, and Greenest to triple your chances!
Extended deadlines and extra credits do not apply.