Sustainable Haven Blog

Start Fresh in 2012 - Chemical-Free Resolution

The New Year is the perfect time to take stock and make sure you're surrounded by things that enrich your life. As you're making your resolutions for this year, consider going chemical-free in 2012. A lifestyle free of harmful toxins will have positive, long-term effects. You'll improve your health and well-being, save money and reduce your environmental footprint, which are all great ways to start the year.

Going chemical-free is easier than you think! Here are tips to help you get started.
Don't wait to use up those toxic products. 
Work together with friends and neighbors to gather and properly dispose of a larger quantity of unwanted chemicals. Lead the bandwagon to go chemical-free and help those close to you easily dispose of their toxic products. 

Go to and search for a center that safely processes hazardous waste near your town and organize a product drop-off. Remember to call the center to collect important details about your drop-off before you drive there (how much can you bring, are there any products they can't process, etc.) Then, encourage people to look at their product labels and remove items that read POISON, WARNING, DANGER, CAUTION and TOXIC.

Learn more about product ingredients. 
Labeling regulations for natural products are very loose and even most eco-cleaners use low-toxic chemicals with technical names, making it difficult to know just how natural a product is. Luckily, there are great resources to help you decipher those ingredients!

The Environmental Working Group's website Skin Deep Cosmetics Database has a wealth of information about the safety of ingredients commonly placed directly on skin. The US Department of Health & Human Services also has a site dedicated to posting the Material Safety Data Sheets for hundreds of household products -- just plug in the product name and explore potential hazards. Shopping for real natural alternatives becomes much easier when you're informed and can spot problem ingredients.
Don't forget about the chemicals in your food. 
From pesticides to processed ingredients, synthetics are peppered into so many things we ingest. Eating thoughtfully is a way you can reduce your chemical intake immediately. 

Processed food is one of the worst things for your waistline and overall health. These foods are high in fat, sodium, sugar and chemical preservatives but are the cheapest foods available. This means that America's preventable disease rates are growing rapidly as a result of what we're eating and many of these chemicals have incredibly harmful effects on our bodies. 

Adopting a diet that leans heavily on whole fruits, vegetables and grains keeps chemicals out of the equation and helps you keep your other resolution to slim down. Buy organic produce whenever you can and always use a produce wash to rinse lingering pesticides off before preparing. If you eat meat, start treating it as a special occasion dish and buy products that are raised humanely and are free of hormones and antibiotics that can be passed along to you. Buying whole foods in larger quantities also helps you reduce the dramatic waste associated with pre-packaged items, which leads me to...
Reduce your consumption. 
Stemming the flow of waste from your home into landfills and cutting your reliance on petroleum-based plastics is one of the best gifts we can give future generations and goes hand-in-hand with adopting a chemical-free lifestyle.

In addition to basics like recycling, buying bulk product refills, reusing sturdy containers around your home and cutting your use of disposable items like paper towels are a few ways you can stem the flow of trash out of your household. Our Sustainable Haven blog is dedicated to sharing the many ways you can turn your home into a natural space with limited household waste.
Get involved! 
Research environmental legislative priorities for your state in 2012 and start talking to your representatives. Whether big or small, voting in all of your local elections is such an important part of getting politicians in office who've demonstrated a commitment to protecting our Planet. Show up for Town Hall meetings and debates and communicate with candidates about their positions so you can make informed voting decisions. If a politician isn’t making you happy, let them know! Big change won't happen if our elected officials aren't adequately representing our beliefs and values. Exercise your rights and actively stand up for the environmental causes you believe in!

We want to hear from you! If you've made some changes (big or small) to rid your home of chemicals or reduce your consumption, we'd love to feature your ideas on our blog. Outline in the comments section below or email pictures of finished projects to!

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