The House and the environment - Eco-tips on cleaning products
Ecological cleaning products are available in great quantity and many of them are environmentally certified. It is often possible to get by entirely without the purchase of specific cleaning products if natural materials like vinegar and salt are available. Overuse of soaps and cleaning agents is harmful and expensive for the environment. Chemicals do not disappear when they go down the sink. They continue through the sewage system and end up in the ocean. There they continue to be active and can damage marine life. Even though chemicals may eventually biodegrade in nature, we do not always know how fast it happens and sometimes the decomposed products are more harmful than the original substance itself. Avoid the use of unnecessary and strong chemicals. Using only the minimum amount of detergents, is safest. In general, water in Iceland is softer than in most parts of Europe, so less soap and detergents can be used here.
Shampoo and soaps
Shampoos and soaps can contain both synthetic and natural chemicals. Sometimes the natural ingredients are derived directly from plants, but often they have been chemically isolated in the laboratory to obtain exactly the correct desirable effect. Examine the ingredients carefully, especially if you are allergic. The rule of thumb is to use as little soap as possible, as the overuse of soap can only lead to dry skin, eczema or other skin problems. Some shampoos contain waxes which can be difficult to clean from the hair and scalp. Cheap shampoos are often not desirable products, and they are often less efficient per unit volume. Good shampoos are very effective per unit volume, and the price therefore does not always give the consumer the right picture.
Avoid buying sanitary napkins as each one is packed in plastic packaging. Cleanliness can be achieved without such packaging. It is environmentally friendlier to choose sanitary napkins and tampons that do not contain plastics, are made from organic cotton, have not been bleached and are free from perfumes. The use of sanitary napkins or tampons can be avoided completely by using the ingenious multi-use rubber beaker (The Elfen beaker - Álfabikarinn) made from 100% natural rubber.
The baby’s diapers
Every single child uses around 5000 diapers during the first few years. Disposable diapers have a very negative impact on the environment, but of course they diminish washing and make life easier for the parents. The baby’s bottom also feels less discomfort if disposable diapers are used instead of diapers made from cloth. Therefore it is difficult to insist that parents do a lot of extra work every day, just to become more environmentally friendly. Each parent has to decide for themselves whether they consider it worthwhile.
It is possible to buy cloth diapers made from organic cotton and satisfactory baby trousers from organic wool. It is also possible to buy organic silk inlays for diapers. All this has to be washed carefully and dried. This increases the workload of the parents and increases the use of detergents and water.
If disposable diapers are used it is better that they are environmentally friendly and that they carry an environmental label. Avoid diapers that contain PVC (vinyl). The disadvantage with disposable diapers is that a huge quantity of diapers accumulates in nature containing emulsions and gels which are filled with chemicals that do not decompose. There are environmentally friendly diapers which are made from decomposable chemicals. If consumers only buy environmentally friendly diapers it sends a message to the other producers to improve their products. In this way we can have a direct impact on the product variety.
We, here on planet Earth use enormous quantities of toilet paper which has to break down and decompose in nature. To choose environmentally labelled toilet paper is in every single case better for the Earth’s ecosystem.
If you click on any object on the bathroom picture, you get information about how that item affects the environment and your health.
Náttúran „Húsið og umhverfið - Góð ráð um hreinlætisvörur“, Náttúran.is: Sept. 20, 2011 URL: http://www.nature.is/d/2008/11/10/husio-og-umhverfio-goo-rao-um-hreinlaetisvorur/ [Skoðað:Dec. 2, 2020]Efni má nota eða vitna í samkvæmt almennum venjum sé heimilda getið með slóð eða fullri tilvitnun hér að ofan.
skrifað: Nov. 10, 2008
breytt: Sept. 20, 2011