Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)

Welcome to Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)! If this is your first visit, please click HERE for information and a complete list of all the challenges we've taken on so far.

There's a lot of great information in this post and I encourage you to read through it ... however, if you don't have the time right now, you might find the following quick links helpful:

Last week's challenge asked us to review our body soaps. It was a lot of fun to find out what people were using ... or not using (winking at you, Mrs. Green). After completing my review, I spent some time investigating ingredients at Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep database. It was fascinating. They rank ingredients using a number of factors including health concerns, ecotoxicology, occupational hazards and even data gaps & availability (which speaks to the quality and amount of scientific data available on a given substance). I found some surprises ... companies which I thought were doing great but actually have a few concerns attached to their products ... and others who get a better rating than I would have guessed. I'll be using the database regularly, checking all body care products to ensure that they are safe.

The Honor Society are those people who help us spread the "green" word by writing an article about our challenges and/or leaving pertinent comments. Here's what they had to say:

Mrs. Green is a well-respected, knowledgeable "greenie". When she reviews a product, she considers everything and comes up with an in-depth post about the pros and cons of it's use. She's honest ... and people, including myself, trust her opinions. So that's the kind of post that I expected to see this week. But when it came to this challenge, she had a CONFESSION to make ... and it just might surprise you.

Argentum Vulgaris is using a well-known brand of soap. In this POST he lists the ingredients and shares his research on their safety. Check it out and tell me if you're surprised.

Scarlet is using ecoSTORE Body Wash and shares that it is free of Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, artificial dyes, perfumes or preservatives (all ingredients to steer clear of). In this ARTICLE she reviews the body wash as well as other skin care products.

Small Footprints is using Old Man Murray's Soap ... and loves it!

Charlie reviewed Sweet Knee Blue Bird Castile Soap. I had never heard of this soap and, upon checking them out, found that they are exactly what they claim to be ... Eco-friendly. And wow ... Charlie lists a bunch of "other" uses for this soap ... impressive!

Katie nourishes her skin with handmade soap. She's found a company who cares about sustainability, fair-trade ingredients and Eco-friendly packaging. Curious? Read her review HERE.

Kris uses Ivory with Aloe. She took a look at the ingredients and guess what she found? Oh you know that I won't tell ... but you can find out in this ARTICLE.

Valerie's soap of choice is Kirk’s Original Coco Castile soap. You might be surprised to learn where she first found this soap ... I was! You can read all about it HERE.

I knew that Alicia would have no problem with this challenge. Why? Because she and her husband have a whole line of Eco-friendly body care products. And they are fabulous (you can read my review by clicking on the review tab at the top of this blog). Here's what Alicia shared, " This one is super easy for me! We make our own soaps so I know exactly what I am putting on my skin. Our bath bars have Flaxseed,Jojoba, Shea butter, coconut oil and wonderful pure organic essential oils. You should read the ingredients on your soap labels well. Tallow is a main ingredient in a lot of soaps and it is animal fat. A lot of times animals that are to sick for food are made into soaps and shampoos. There are many great shampoo bars available now also. I have been using ours for over a year now and love how my hair looks and feels. Our bar has cammellia seed,neem,almond oil,apricot kernel oil,sunflower and sesame oils,horsetail grass,mango,basil,and so much more! It also has lavender,rosemary.and pink grapefruit essential oils. The retail locations that sell our products are finding that shampoo bars are really catching on.Checking out a good shampoo bar is two fold. You get an awesome shampoo that has ingredients that are good for your hair and no plastic bottle to dispose of!! It is so important to remember that it really does matter what products we use on our skin. That sure includes the soap we use because it is coming in contact our whole body!"

By the way ... from our previous challenge on 6 ingredients, Alicia is upping the ante and challenging her readers (and us) to do even better. Head over to I Have A Challenge For You and check it out? Can you do it?

CelloMom accepted the challenge and says, " Simple: Dr. Bronners, any scent. Currently it's the citrus; summers it tends to be the refreshing mint. It's just castile soap, very clean (in every way). And mild enough that those of us with sensitive skin can take it even in dry wintertime. Bonus: I can get the peppermint soap in bulk at our local store, so we don't even have to deal with the plastic bottles!"

Nicole B. joined the discussion ... here are her comments, "I am using Yardley's bar soap because it was on clearance at the store - I knew nothing about it, but when I read the ingredients in the store they said they were all natural and included essential oils for fragrance. I have since learned the company does not do animal testing and has been around since 1770 (!!??) according to the website. I usually prefer to buy all natural homemade soap, but have not made it over to visit my neighbor to buy some from her in awhile. Yardley's smells really good and performs well as a soap and does not contain any harmful ingredients to my knowledge. I like that it doesn't melt away really fast when you use it - one bar has lasted quite awhile in my shower. I think it is easy soap to find and inexpensive - I have since seen this brand at the Dollar store and other drugstores."

One of the things that I love about our challenges is finding out what's available in other countries. Cat lives in Sweden and reviews her soap in this POST.

Clare lives in New Zealand and makes her own soaps (click on her name to see some of her lovely creations). She says, "Home-made since 2009 - saponified oils of Olive, Coconut, Cocobutter, Castor, and occasionally Tallow (animal fats make brilliant soap!) .. Frangranced with either top quality fragrance oils, essential oils (some are skin irritants so a combination works best for me), and with other skin loving goodies such as goats milk, clays, oats etc .." If you haven't already discovered Clare's other blog, check it out ... it's so worth reading: Inside The Rainglow Grotto.

Lady JC accepted this challenge. Here's what she shared, " My absolute favorite soap is Dr. Bronner's liquid castile soaps. I use them for a few things. I used the lavender scented one to make myself a special face wash with essential oils, vegetable glycerin and chamomile tea. I also blended my own shampoo and body soap with it. As for bar soaps I used to love Tom's of Maine Lemongrass, but they discontinued it. Now I use their sage soap during the Summer. It's a natural deodorant soap. I'm looking forward to trying some of the handcrafted/homemade soaps mentioned though and perhaps one of these days I'll my own too!"

Our Twitter friend, @gwened02, joined the conversation ... here's what she had to say: "I use neal's yard organic. I looked into parabens last year & haven't bought anything containing them since."

The #CTWW Gang are those folks who share our challenges on twitter using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're a Twitter member, I highly recommend following them ... they have a lot of great things to say. Let's meet them:

@eddiegear @wrenmeyers @biculturalmama
@mombloggerplr @greenearthbazar @intricateknot1
@esideecodesign @pbardowell @crazykids6
@jamericanspice @crazy4grnlivn @allnaturalkatie
@anktangle @peopletowels @givetreegifts
@rozdb @bestrawesome @kiboomu
@momgamerwriter @biggreenpen @89linz
@insignifblog @wencdj @theriverwanders
@treesgroup @laalicia @clubcontent
@gwened02 @earthyurban @beatepdx
@nolamixn @timsimms @markcoruk
@familyfocusblog @ladyjcmuses @cleansediva
@rulesofgreen @beckymcneer @jaemacjustsayin
@vickyhardycena @lorcadamon @skipbang
@smallbits @whopaysthepiper @nolafusion
@ggirlggreen @whywelovegreen @a_kiasi
@amotherlife @truenatureed @ginavalley
@marshallbooks @spilldmilkshake @amecosolar

My Final Thoughts:

None of us would ever consider drinking a bottle of toxic chemicals. In fact, we'd scoff the idea as outrageous and ridiculous. And yet, many people don't hesitate to use body care products which contain those same chemicals ... all of which are being absorbed into our bodies with every use. The sad truth is that we aren't protected from unsafe ingredients by either manufacturers or law. It's up to us to do the work ... to research ingredients. Ethical companies never hesitate to share information about their products or their environmental commitment. In my opinion, we owe it to our health and to the environment to educate ourselves. Then, we can make informed purchases. That extra bit of work will have huge benefits ... to us and to the earth!

Thanks, everyone! If you wrote an article, I have Stumbled, Tweeted, Facebooked and posted it on Google +. You can help spread the "green" word by using the share feature at the bottom of this post.

This Week's Challenge:

Last year we did a waste audit, taking an honest look at the things we throw away. This week let's see if we can reduce the amount of trash we generate. Here you go ...

This week, before tossing anything out, consider alternate uses. For example, could the item be composted or used for another purpose? Could the item be given away and used by someone else? And here's a "biggie": could we avoid the item in the first place thereby eliminating the need to toss it out? The idea is to think before tossing anything and end up with less trash at the end of the week.

So what do you think? Can you do it? I know that you can!

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As always ...



  1. Hola! I'm back from holiday in Oz and happy to comment on this one! Ironically, when I was WWOOF'ing down under, my host asked me, as one of my projects, to separate out the treated vs untreated wood. Her idea was that we'd use the untreated for firewood, and scrap the rest. But I stopped her and said hey, can't we build some stuff out of the good pieces of treated wood? And she jumped at my ideas, one to build a small fence to keep her dogs out of an area of the garden (, and the other to paint pretty signs to welcome new WWOOFers to the garden (

    I love reusing stuff in my own garden at home as well, where I've build all of my wooden raised beds in my side yard out of scrap wood ( - function over form, yeah baby!

  2. CTWW is up and running on:

    I also talk about a blonde bimbo


  3. Great challenge for the coming week! I think I'll go peruse Pinterest for ideas to cans and milk cartons!

  4. This challenge has come at a good time since we have just been doing some "Spring Cleaning". Sometimes cleaning like this can be a real eye opener! We have several lamps that have just been taking up room not being used. Instead of donating them and buying new ones I am going to get some Eco Friendly non toxic paint and freshen them up. It will be like having new lamps with my own custom colors. I found some nice lightweight curtains that I don't plan on using so I am going to make reusable shopping bags out of them. I always like having extra bags so that I can share with other people. I also found some old wool sweaters which I was really excited about. I am going to be able to make lots of wool dryer balls with them. They eliminate the use of fabric softener and decrease drying time by at least 30%. I am embarrassed to say I found a whole lot of those magazines that you get at the health food stores and at Whole Foods. They have so much good information in them. I always have such good intentions of reading them but a lot of times that doesn't happen. I am going to take them to be recycled but have made the decision to see if they are available to look at on line and do that instead. We have quite a few plastic pots from flowers and herbs that we bought this past year to plant in our garden.We try real hard to only buy plants that are in peat pots. That way plant and pot can be planted. They will be taken to be recycled as well but We are going to plant some of our own seeds this year that way we can eliminate those kinds of pots. I took clothes to be donated and what do you know I found two "new" tops for myself while I was there. Win win situation there!! I could go on and on with this challenge as you might can tell. I love cleaning out things that we aren't using and getting organized is such a great feeling. Just put your imagination to work before you throw something away. It can be amazing what you might come up with!!

  5. Love all of the reviews of soaps! Now I know which ones to look for and which ones to avoid. I also use natural soap on my hair - no more issues with dandruff or dry hair.

  6. Thanks for the linkback & the great list of reviews! :)

  7. This challenge came at a funny time. I was brought an empty water bottle, you know the kind that you buy and toss after one use. My grandson asked me what I could do with it. I needed a few days but finally put together an idea. I had just finished it when I checked my email and found your challenge. Every item used to convert the water bottle to a toy robot for him was something salvaged from something else. The bonus: He loves it.

  8. I do remember last year's Zero Waste challenge. Boy, do I remember it: I'm still in it. Not that we're at zero, far from it, but we're down to about 50% from before we started the challenge: about 10 gallons a week. Now I have a new conundrum: our kitchen trash can is too large! So I need to find a good home for it, and find a smaller one that is preferrably not new.

  9. Don't forget "Repair" as an alternative to trash. Last year I broke a holiday ornament and, instead of trashing it, used Gorilla Glue to make it like new: Conserving Happiness

  10. About a month ago I cleaned out my children's craft closet! We couldn't reuse much of what was in there as they have outgrown it, but we did donate for someone else to use.

  11. As always it is food wrapping that gets tossed out most in our home, I just don't get around that it seems. Interestingly though, I have eaten my first dishes from dumpster dived food this week. A student friend made potato bread from potatoes they found.