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Tuesday, 3 April 2012

5 Realistic Ways To Go "Greener": #1 - Clothes

We all know. We know that many items common in most of our houses are bad. Toxic, carcinogenic, brain-frying, bad for us, bad for you, bad for polar bears...

They're everywhere! Phthalates in our toys, food containers and personal care items. Bisphenol-A in baby bottles and canned-food liners. Parabens in our lotions and soaps. The list goes on...

The problem is, for my part, I often find I'm a bit overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the task of identifying and removing these nasties. Plus, I've already confessed to my sometimes-paralyzing "all or nothing" mentality.

So what's a Realistic Mummy to do? For starters, I've had to accept that doing something is okay, and far better than nothing. So here's #1 on my list of not-too-difficult, "green" choices:

#1. Give clothes with experience a second chance
By and large, the garment industry is hard on the environment. The production and transportation of clothes involve a lot of chemicals and petroleum products. And then there's all the off-gassing and what-not once the clothes reach your home. So, go for second-hand, and help cut down on the demand for new clothes and get ones that are already rid of their chemical emissions.

My "to-grow-into" stash...
Second-hand is generally not a problem for younger kids. A friend's daughter is outfitted entirely by thrift stores and she's a real five-year old fashionista!

Our family has a wonderful --and no charge!-- pipeline for clothing for our boys that supplies copious quantities. I sort items that come our way by size/age and store them in labelled totes. (Currently my stash is stored at my in-laws, the long-suffering dears...)

Older children will have a great time seeing how far a clothing allowance will go in second-hand land. (And, hey, a few carefully-chosen brand-new items will ensure a "new to you" wardrobe is right on trend.)

Check out neighbours' yard sales. Spread the word among your friends that you're open to pre-loved togs, and ask them to canvass their friends and relatives. Get to know your local thrift store. Join a Freecycle group in your area.

Yep, clothes with experience --good for your health and for your pocket-book!

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