These 10 baby wipes ingredients are not okay!

baby wipes ingredients to avoid

Do you know what’s in your baby wipes? If not, it’s definitely worth pulling out a packet and scrutinising the ingredients list as many of the chemicals used to maintain wetness, prevent the growth of funky stuff and make pooey places smell pretty can have long-term health effects on our children.

How can there be toxic ingredients in baby wipes, you ask? It all boils down to the loopy regulatory systems in place for personal care products, which first of all say there are safe limits for damaging chemicals, and secondly do not test the vast majority of chemicals used in shampoos, soaps, bubble bath and so on unless they are shown to be toxic. Can you see the flaws in this great plan? Another little factoid that will set your teeth on edge is that those dangerous chemicals with “safe” limits (I’m looking at you, formaldehyde) have not been subjected to tests showing what happens with long-term exposure to very small amounts of the chemical, or a combination of chemicals. We humans are the test!

Gorgeous eco-friendly bags and a giveaway!

lassig vintage backpack

Last year, in a fit of decluttering, I sold my beloved nappy bag to a vegan with bright pink hair. I figured I was beyond the need for a nappy bag; my kids are three and five, after all! But it turns out I was wrong. I’m still carting bottles around, plus a change of clothes, swimmers, baby wipes, hand sanitizer, snacks and all that other crap children may or may not need during a half-hour outing. The only thing missing from today’s nappy bag is the nappies.

I’m not one to collect bags; I tend to use them to death, but  I like to have one casual and one dressy handbag, plus one everyday bag that will get me from playgroup to swim class to dinner by the beach. Hopefully with the children in tow. As my kids have gotten older, our needs have changed. I, for one, am less of a tote person and more of a backpack wearer as I spend much more time on my bike. The kids like their water cold, and they drink so much!. I’m like a freakin camel these days! I also like to be able to ask one of the kids to carry the bag, cos I’m a bit of a slave-driver. I’ve tried a regular backpack and a beach bag, but they’re just not that great. And I can never, ever find my keys or phone.

Upcycling activities for kids by Tiffany Threadgould

upcycling activities

I had the pleasure of speaking with Tiffany Threadgould recently, the creative juice behind TerraCycle. As Chief Design Junkie, Tiffany is responsible for producing the products made from waste collected by TerraCycle brigades, and was in Australia running upcycling DIY sessions for media and some lucky Victorian primary schools. I wasn’t able to make the media event so no-one got to see just how cack-handed I am with scissors and glue, but Tiffany – who has been described as “the Martha Stewart of trash” — has kindly shared some of her most kid-friendly upcycling craft ideas, which you’ll find below.

Tips for Clean Up Australia Day — with kids!

clean up Australia day with kids

It’s Clean Up Australia Day next Sunday (March 1), and I wanted to share my ideas for making it a safe, fun and productive experience for kids. This is the 25th year for the event, which sees hundreds of thousands of Aussies get out there and remove tonnes of rubbish from parks, waterways, beaches and those lonely windswept places where plastic bags go to hang out on fences.  There’s still time to register a clean up site or join the crew at a registered site in your neighbourhood — got to the Clean Up Australia Day website to get started.

Safety first

I have no qualms about letting my children pick up rubbish and encouraged them to do so from toddler-age (once they’d passed the “suck it and see” phase). We do have an understanding, however: they have to check with me before they pick anything up. This rule can keep them safe when we’re out and about, but when you’re cleaning up a whole area, it’s best to stay close and do the work together.

Eco friendly school fundraising ideas

eco friendly school fundraising ideas

Hands up who hates chocolate drives? Me too. There is no way I am letting a big box of individually-wrapped, poor quality chocolate into my home. Why? Because I’m the mum who sends $50 into the school then eats the whole damned box. I eat it to stop the kids badgering me but mostly I just eat is cos it’s there. And Caramelo Koalas are addictive.

Fundraising doesn’t have to mean peddling junk food or cheesy mementos to your friends and family (although I do loves me mug with my kid’s face on it…). Your school can raise money and contribute to a cleaner, greener planet, with a bit of learning thrown in for good measure.

Here are some eco friendly school fundraising ideas that actually help the earth and won’t make you fat!

Charity of the month: Lock The Gate Alliance

lock the gate fence

 

This month DTEM is supporting the Lock The Gate Alliance, a coalition of more than 230 groups, representing farmers, conservationists, traditional custodians and people just like you and me. It’s The People versus Big Oil & Gas but in a peaceful, productive and very effective way. Perhaps you’ve seen the yellow triangles on a fencepost near you? Read on to find out more about this fantastic organisation and the many ways you can support its mission.

A quick guide to fracking in Australia

No fracking way

If you’re wondering what the frack fracking is, here’s a quick primer to bring you up to speed. Fracking in Australia doesn’t get a heap of press but it’s an issue of great contention in many forgotten corners of our country, and I predict it will be a hot topic in years to come.

The term fracking refers to a method of extracting coal seam gas (CSG) or shale gas from the rock bed 300 or more metres underground. Both are natural gases, mostly methane, that occur within coal seams and shale respectively, and are held in place by water. These “unconventional” gases are used to make electricity on or near the site of the mine, and can also be converted to LNG (liquefied natural gas) to be distributed elsewhere in Australia or even overseas.

Choosing the best eco laundry detergent or powder

best eco laundry detergent

I don’t know about you but I get seriously bamboozled by choice. Before I gave up supermarkets, there were two departments that completely paralysed me: the milk fridge and the laundry aisle. The latter more so because a) it stinks and b) it is awash (ha!) with greenwash (ha ha!). Below are my tips on choosing the best eco laundry detergent or powder. I’m not going to tell you which one to buy so you’ll still have to chew your nails a bit and weigh up your personal priorities but you’ll be able to make a more informed choice.

Is liquid or powder laundry detergent better?

Sheesh, I don’t believe there is a straight answer to this question. As is often the case you’ll need to decide for yourself based on what you think is a bigger issue. And ultimately, if you prefer using one form, then you’re probably going to keep using it.

Curious? Win one of four JuJu menstrual cups!

 WINNERS have been drawn for this competition, please check your email!

win a menstrual cupIf you’re curious to try a menstrual cup then this is the perfect opportunity to take the leap into reusable menstrual products: we have four Australian-made JuJu cups to give away!

Reading this amazing article about how menstrual cups are changing lives for women in east Africa reminded me a) how privileged I am to have choices and b) how happy I am using a menstrual cup after making the switch to a JuJu a year ago. It also made me wonder why more women aren’t embracing reusable menstrual cups. After hitting up friends and family, I learned that most people love the idea in principle but haven’t tried them because they’ve never heard of them, haven’t found them in the “feminine hygiene” aisle, are worried they won’t work or simply can’t get their head around the concept of catching their menstrual blood and then tipping it down the toilet.

Charity of the month: Take 3 (and save the sea)

Take 3 eco charity

Kicking off a new series on Down To Earth Mother, January’s charity of the month is Take 3. This wonderful organisation is all about cleaning up our oceans by preventing rubbish getting there in the first place.

Take 3 has a beautifully simple message: pick up three bits of rubbish and put them in a bin. Do this at the beach, while walking the dog, outside your house, at the park, waiting for a bus… you get the idea. Just think to yourself, “take 3 for the sea”.

If everyone did this frequently we’d see a massive decrease in injury and death to marine creatures and have healthier oceans. It’s that simple.

The ocean is everyone’s responsibility because, as founder of Take 3 Tim Silverwood likes to say, it’s downhill from everywhere. In other words, all things lead to the ocean. And the ocean is in trouble.

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