Saturday, December 10, 2005

Running Out

My "environmental awakening," as I like to call it, took place about midway through this year, so there are vestiges of my former life lingering around my home. Specifically, products remain that I would not now purchase, but which I feel compelled to use because, well, here they are. As my partner said about our plethora of paper towels, they're garbage either way. Unless we can find some way to use them for ... food? Fuel? Home insulation? Right now we're using them for coffee filters, as the two packs of filters we had have run out and we don't want to buy more. The paper towels work just as well, as I'm sure many coffee drinkers know. One half of a towel, folded in half again, does the trick. After coffee brewing we put them in the compost with the grounds. The only thing I'm not sure about is whether the decorative flowers on the towels are made of toxic inks that actually shouldn't be put into the compost. Now that I just put that down in writing, I'm more worried and I should contact the company and find out what those dyes are made of. I'm not sure what we'll do for coffee filters when the paper towels run out. Can I re-use a piece of cloth?

The other day I had a painful case of running out. For the last few years I've been using a specific facial cleanser, which I had been feeling guilt-free about because it's "all-natural." I've developed quite an attachment to this product and its positive effect on my skin. I thought I had one more container of it on hand (it comes from Canada so I tended to buy several at a time) ... but the other day when I went looking for it, I learned that I have indeed used the last beloved drop. I can't justify ordering a product to be shipped all the way from Canada, and I certainly can't at this point stomach a purchase based purely on vanity. Can I get my face clean without this stuff? Yes. Do I miss the stuff? Yes. I still have some cheap cocoa butter facial scrub, which I'm now using in tiny amounts so I feel like I'm at least doing something for my face. I don't know what I will do when I run out of moisturizer ... that's a whole other issue. My partner is baffled by all of this as he doesn't use soap or lotion on his skin ... and of course it's lovely and soft. Enough said.

I'm also well-stocked on feminine hygiene products but preparing for post-Tampax life. I don't want any more bleached rayon inside my body, or any more of these products flushed into our sewer system or rotting in the landfills. Umbra of had some good suggestions, and is a personal fan of The Keeper, which I'm researching as a possible solution for myself. I was also intrigued by Lunapads, and I did encounter some sea-sponge tampons at the natural foods store recently ... but I couldn't quite take that leap yet. Dr. Joseph Mercola (a holistic doc with some popular opinions on healthier living) had some good information on feminine hygiene products here.

Sustainable living requires a revisiting of values, and a willingness to make personal sacrifices. Luckily it doesn't all happen at once. I'm thankful that for most of my adult life I've rejected (in theory, at least) the idea that beauty necessitated a bunch of products and upkeep ... but I'm still a woman in this appearance-based culture and my earthy inner self sometimes feels challenged by the standards. In the long run, the Earth and her inhabitants are more important than how I feel, and certainly more important than how I look.


At 5:50 AM, Blogger lauren said...

There are reusable coffee filters that you can purchase once your stash of paper towels runs out. I think that there are a variety of kinds. If you google it, you should find a selection. It might be worth the purchase.

Sometimes I feel bogged down in all of the "little" choices that we make and how they add up. You have to remind yourself that you are doing a great job by being aware of all of these issues!

At 6:05 PM, Blogger spiral said...

Yes, I'm not sure I can make the sea sponge leap myself. A friend of mine did for awhile, but I don't know if she has kept it up.

Go you for being so into these issues, though. I find that I'm much better for periods than for others.

At 8:08 PM, Blogger Kate said...

I found your blog via Carfree Family, and thought I'd leave a comment about the sea sponges. I was skeptical too, but decided to try them after learning about the dioxin issue. To my surprise they are quite easy to use and no more hassle than regular tampons. The only problem I've had is not being comfortable rinsing them out in public restrooms, but that's easily solved by having an extra in your purse or pocket. Other than that, they're more comfortable and leak less than regular tampons (at least for me). Anyway, good luck with that and all your other green choices!


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