Seventh Generation

I spent a dizzying four hours today, locked in Target, hunting down all the miscellaneous items I need to keep this body going.  I dont think I ever realized before just how many ‘products’ and supplies encompass modern life.  And I’m not even talking about computers, cell phones, tv’s, coffee machines, and such.

No, think a little closer to the kitchen and to the overall cleanliness and health of your home.

One of the most interesting things coming out of the current Greening of society is this move towards eco-friendly and organic products – and not just organic food – in the form of soaps, cleansers, paper products, heavily recycled plastic products, and even some textiles. 

Case study in point: Target.  You can find organic cotton bed sheets and linens, kitchen towels, bar towels, pillows, and bath towels throughout the store.  And there’s a happy presence of eco-friendly cleaners, which is what I stocked up on today.  That’s in addition to the much beloved Burts Bee’s personal products that they’ve carried for over a decade.   

Among the chaos and screaming colors of the cleanser and soap aisles are the simply packaged line of products from Seventh Generation, a relatively new company that you could only find at Wild Oats and specialty health food stores up until recently (or so far as I know).  Sure, the price is a little less than double what the normal non-friendly competition runs, but in my eye, its so worth it.  If I’m going to swagger around all day with my big “let’s save the planet” talk I better be doing my part, don’t you think? 

Interesting items Target carries from Seventh Generation: all purpose cleaner, trash bags, dishwasher gel liquid soap, glass cleaner, hand washing dish soap, and even laundry liquid and dryer sheets.  Quite the wide selection.  That’s not all the SG makes though

I was really impressed, as well, with a line of cleaners called Method.  It also include laundry soaps and random cleaners for granite, leather, and stoneware, but I came home with hand soap that smells like a delicious ginger beer and vanilla rum concoction. Plus, no Triclosan!  They actually have a very impressive line of products out at Target.  Pricey, but heck I’m willing to use less of it and buy a few less Starbucks Frappucinos in order to fund a cleaner existence overall.  Besides, coffee is a devil in disguise. 

“So why the fuss?” you might ask. 

One of the basic principles I hammer home everyday is the idea that the ocean and other natural ecosystems are downstream.  If a kind of pollution can be moved by water, it will eventually work its way through our waterways and into the homes of fish, dolphins, manatees, stingrays, and sharks.  Of course it also hides out in the habitats of land critters like spoonbills, osprey, hawks, tortoises, adorable bunnies, crafty raccoons, and sleek bobcat in the process.

The unfortunate thing is that not all of this pollution is the noticeable discards of society.  Some seemingly innocuous stuff that we pump into our environment with the push of a cleanser pump include ticking time bombs like excess phosphates, nitrates, antibacterial agents like Triclosan, dyes, perfumes, chlorine, bleaches, dioxins, and a plethora of petroleum derived products that refuse to biodegrade over time.  If you opt to use products that forego these little beasts, you bypass all of this potentially ecosystem altering pollution. 

That’s just the sort of start most people need to get on the road to doing something better for the globe.  And if you’ve already hopped on the bandwagon its an awesome compliment to what you already do.

Now, of course, not all these products are perfect.  Most still contain sudsing agents like sodium laureth sulfate (SLS) and preservatives that could have an impact on your own human health.  But many don’t.  If you’re curious about how products you use stack up in terms of known irritants, toxic chemicals, carcinogens (yeah.. meaning they can cause mutations in your cells and DNA), and other not-so-fun stuff visit the immensely fantastic database at Skin Deep, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics official portal. 

The founder of the Campaign, Stacy Malkan, is set to release a book on the subject soon: Not Just A Pretty Face.  I ordered mine!