Eco-friendly products: taking small steps with your family

By Sonia Walker, ecostore

Major life events such as having a baby can make us stop and re-evaluate things that had previously barely rated a second thought. At times like these we may consciously make a decision to choose eco-friendly products and cut the “nasty chemicals” out of our lives.

At face value, it sounds simple. Then you start researching and finding conflicting information and it’s not long before you begin to get that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. You’re panicking about what you’re surrounded by, what you’ve brought into your home and what you’ve exposed your children to. What was initially a virtuous, exciting venture can become completely overwhelming. The enormity of it all can make it impossible to know where to begin. For many of us, this is the part where defeatism sets in. It’s too hard. And in the scheme of things, what’s the point? What difference could I really make anyway… sound familiar?

Here are some simple steps to guide you through what can be a confusing and overwhelming time:

1. Relax, take a step back and just begin

Continue in a way that is sustainable for you in the long-term. For us, thinking in terms of “small steps” helped overcome that horrible feeling of helplessness we felt when first looking into reducing the toxins in our lives.

2. Recognise what you can control and what you can’t

You can’t control the outside world, but you can control what comes in your front door into your home. This is where your kids are going to spend most of their time in those important early years as their bodies are developing. It’s where you eat, sleep, shower and relax with family and friends. So, if you can minimise your exposure to potentially harmful chemicals in your own home by choosing eco-friendly products, that will have a huge impact over the course of a lifetime.

3. Don’t try to do everything at once. Take small steps

Start with just one area of your home or life at a time. It could be hand soap, shampoo, floor cleaner, cooking oil or lipstick. Take the time to learn about the ingredients you want to avoid and to research and try alternatives. When you find eco-friendly products that work for you, make the switch a permanent one. Then start thinking about which area you’ll tackle next.

4. Keep it real. Avoid traps that can make change unsustainable

For example, making too much of a compromise – if the product doesn’t work then you’re not going to stick with it. So keep looking, ask around and try samples until you find the one that does work for you.

Cost can be another niggling factor. Ditching all your current household products and replacing them in one go would put a serious dent in the wallet. And we’re not advocating waste. Instead, wait for that hand wash containing sodium laureth sulphate to run out and then don’t buy it again. Next time, try a healthier alternative like ecostore. If the alternative happens to be more expensive, then use less of it each time. (Often, they’re designed in such a way that we’re meant to use less. We just need to change our habits).

5. Never underestimate the difference you can make

Each and every single small step will over time combine. Over the course of a year, that first small step will turn into one giant leap for the health of your family and the small piece of the planet that you’re borrowing.

Note: The views and advice expressed on this blog post are those of the author and are not representative of the Pregnancy Babies & Children's Expo.

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