Did you know that it takes plastic and aluminum cans 500 years to break down but only 6 months for organic materials, cotton, rags and paper? This coming Earth Day (April 22, 2014) is the perfect reason to make some simple changes in your life for a more eco-friendly home. Below you will find 10 tips for a greener home from organic textile brand, Coyuchi. These simple yet effective tips can have a positive influence on the environment as well as your health.
1. Reevaluate your energy consumption Use compact fluorescent lamps. You can lower your lighting bill by converting to energy-efficient low-wattage compact fluorescent lighting and fixtures.
2. Upgrade Your Bedding Inserts Before filling the inserts at Coyuchi, the down is washed twice with a fragrance-free, non-toxic soap. It is then steamed to remove bacteria that are incidental to feathers and down. The process also includes a water-based, non-toxic chemical which is used to reduce the static charge that is associated with natural filing. All Coyuchi down duvets and pillow inserts are made in the U.S.A. with down gathered on a small duck farm in Indiana.
3. Look for Low VOC Paints VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are solvents that get released into the air as the paint dries. VOCs can cause acute symptoms, including headaches and dizziness. Today low VOC paints come in a variety of great colors. Even better, a great alternative to paint is natural plaster (a brand we like is American Clay). Their website is also an excellent resource for application tutorials and finding local classes.
4. Get an Air Purifier HEPA filtration units remove 99% of all particles the size of 3 microns or larger. This is beneficial for asthma and allergy sufferers, because the HEPA filter traps the fine particles (such as pollen and dust mites) which trigger allergy and asthma symptoms.
5. Skip the Vinyl Shower Curtain Conventional shower curtains have volatile organic compounds in them. Breathe easier with sustainable options that don’t require a liner, just toss them in the wash for easy care. We recommend our certified organic cotton shower curtains, made of 100% GOTS certified organic cotton. Another favorite is our versatile Linen Breeze shower curtain, made from Belgium linen grown without toxic pesticides.
6. Save Water While You Brush Save up to 3,000 gallons of water a year by simply turning off the tap while brushing your teeth. Or brush your teeth in the shower!
7. Dry Off With Organic Linens We believe it’s especially important to choose towels of organic materials, which are free of lingering pesticides that can harm your health (not to mention, harm the earth). We currently offer three unique towel collections that we love to mix and match to create a look special to our home spa.
8. Fixture Update Your bathroom is the biggest water hog in your house, accounting for half of all H20 used inside of a home. Protect this precious resource by seeking out faucets, showers, and toilets that carry the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense label. These environmentally friendly fixtures use about 20 percent less water than average to help you save 7,000 gallons of water annually (enough to wash 6 months’ worth of laundry).
9. Get Clean Naturally Most soaps, shampoos, and conditioners on the market contain added chemicals to increase lather known as sulfates. Short for sodium lauryl sulfate (and related chemicals), sulfates can strip natural oils from hair and scalp, leaving you with frizz and an itchy scalp, and they’ve also been linked to allergies. Lather up with sulfate-free products made with organic essential oils. A line we recommend is John Masters Organics, which only carries sulfate-free products (and smell amazing!).
10. Go Organic (and prepare to never go back) We spend 1/3 of our lives in bed – better be sure it’s healthy! Our sheets are made of 100% organic cotton and we use only natural fibers, all of which are produced using a nontoxic production process certified to either the OEKO-TEX standard or the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). This means we use none of the toxic dyes, bleaches or finishes used to make conventional textiles. We believe that fibers are best for us when kept closest to their natural state, and so will you, once you feel the difference!