When you're pregnant, living a green lifestyle takes on a new importance. Instead of following the trend to ease your eco-guilt, it's about creating a safe and healthy world for your baby to grow and thrive in. But how do you do it? Here are a few hints.
•Replace From purchasing and eating local produce to ridding your home of toxins in all forms, take stock of the environment closest to you and your baby.
•Research What you use on and around your baby affects her health. From shampoo to clothing to crib sheets, read all ingredient labels and make sure the products are made from organic sources.
•Recycle Take a long-term approach to protecting your baby—and the environment. Reuse and repurpose as often as you can. Here is how five real-world moms, inspired by the birth of their children, started with one simple step and ended up going green for good.
1. Recycle, reuse and run a zero-waste home
Lisa Mitchell decided she wanted to do something to make a difference and make a living at the same time, and she wanted to set a good example for her daughters, Lucy and Caroline. So shortly after her divorce, Mitchell went into the recycling business.
She learned all she could about the business and, in 2001, founded Recyclaholics (recyclaholics.com), which sells 100 percent compostable products such as trash bags and food-service ware to schools, government agencies and restaurants. For example, her fully compostable cups are made from recycled sugarcane waste. "They start as waste, get recycled into cups, and then go back to the earth as compost; it's the perfect closed-loop product," Mitchell says.
In the interest of closing the loop, Recyclaholics recently spun off a second company, Recology Solutions (recologysolutions.com). Now Mitchell sells compostable products via one company and helps customers compost and recycle via the other. She's also launching a line of retail products online so that anyone can run a zero-waste home or business.
What you can do
Recycle Everything you can Go to earth 911.org or call 800-CLEANUP (800-253-2687) to find programs in your area.
Buy Green Look for biodegradable tableware, new materials that contain sugarcane and corn, and recycled paper towels.
Start Composting "You can easily compost most of your food waste," says Mitchell. Just remember to keep food and organic matter (such as grass clippings and plant materials) separate from other waste. When the rich soil is ready, you can plant vegetables in it; then, when they're ripe, use them to make baby food. Finally, close the loop: Toss the leftovers back into the composting bin. For complete composting instructions, go to fitpregnancy.com/inthisissue.
2. Buy local, feed your community well
Jennifer Cliff has always been passionate about food and wine, but learning to appreciate locally grown fare took on new meaning when she was expecting. That's when Edible Sacramento was born along with her daughter, Parker, now 3. Cliff publishes and her husband Darren Cliff edits Edible Sacramento (ediblesacramento.com), one of 40 or so community food magazines licensed by Edible Communities, Inc.
People need to know they can help struggling local farmers maintain their family legacy just by eating the foods they produce, Cliff explains. Community farmers can use the money you spend to grow and harvest nutritious, flavorful food. It's also easier on the environment than transporting foods over long distances. And, you can actually go to the farm where your food is grown and ask about any chemicals used on its crops.
Eating local is safer When we eat foods from other countries, we have no way of knowing whether they contain pesticides banned in the U.S. Although the FDA and USDA monitor fruit, grain, meat and dairy products for certain banned pesticides, they only sample a relatively small number of shipments. Even worse, some toxic pesticides used in other countries aren't on the list of federally tested chemicals, and therefore there is no way to detect them.
What you can do:
Shop local To find farmers markets in your area, go to the farmersmarketsusa.org.