Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Unnecessary Things

Welcome to Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW)!

Wondering how to live greener? You've come to the right place. Each week we challenge ourselves to try a new task ... or "amp up" something we're already doing. We raise our awareness, learn from each other and develop Eco-friendly skills which will improve our lives and protect our planet. Doing so together gives us power ... the power to Change The World!

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.

This post contains great information and I encourage you to read through it at your leisure ... however, if you are short on time, you might find the following quick links helpful:

Last week we did a group review of laundry detergents. I was impressed with the research and thought that went into your choices. For my part, I am still using some of the products which I was sent for review. You can read my thoughts on them by clicking HERE.

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.

Lois left this comment: "Thank you, you provided me with a reason to blog about my diy detergent. I also wanted to congratulate Mrs. Green on getting out of her comfort zone. That was quite an accomplishment. I tried leaving a comment several times before giving up." She also wrote Change the World Wednesday, November Gratitude where she discusses her laundry detergent of choice. She's experimented with some big name "green" brands but finally chose a Do-It-Yourself recipe.

Argentum Vulgaris alternates between two brands. His problem is that, in Brazil, many of the ingredients are listed under generic names making it difficult to know exactly what they are. In Change the World Wednesday – 5th Nov he shows a photo of the ingredients list. By the way, Argentum's part of the world has been suffering a severe drought ... as of his post, Brazil had no appreciable rain for 110 days. I'm doing a rain dance for you, AV!

Lady JC accepted the task and, in addition to telling us about her soap of choice, offers some great advice about washing items which typically require dry cleaning. Here are her comments: "This is a great one! In the past, I've made my own powdered laundry soap with baking soda, castile soap, borax and essential oils, but for the last two years I've been using and loving Charlie's soap. It's biodegradable, has a lovely light scent and each jar provides enough for 100 loads. The cost is about $15. You cannot beat that. Charlie's soap is also compatible with HE washer/dryers because it doesn't oversud. I've used it for my delicates, colors and whites with excellent results. I can also attest to their wonderful customer service. I recently learned how to wash my coats at home because even eco friendly dry cleaning can be very pricey. So before I started I called them to make sure Charlie's soap would be ok for that. They were extremely helpful and told me to use a smaller amount. I'm happy to report that my two coats survived and thrived. :) They also smell delicious. FYI only wash your coats on a front loading dryer on the delicate cycle. Dryer balls helped to plump them up and dry quickly at very low heat. Zap me a message if you have more questions about this!"

Andie, The Green Queen of Moderation, offered this comment: "I've been thinking about laundry detergent a lot. I use natural cleaners around the house, but still buy commercial laundry detergent—Woolite, both the regular and dark. I forego bleach and use borax instead — primarily when I wash the pet bedding and dog towels to make sure I kill fleas and any fecal bacteria that may have come off the dog's paws. Thanks to this inspiring post, I'll check out Woolite's ingredients. Hope to see some options for washing dark clothing without too much fading." She came back and shared this: "I was so inspired by this that I bought my first box of Borax—after having known about it as the sponsor of Death Valley Days (yes, I'm THAT old). Hard to believe a conservative president-to-be was hawking what is now an eco-friendly. I can't wait to try out some of those great laundry detergents out there. As always, Small Footprints has inspire me to take another eco-step on the path to a better world."

Aimee's favorite product not only works well, but is produced in the Pacific Northwest (her part of the world). She shared this: "oooh I love sharing product favorites!!! We always had bought our natural detergent in the bulk aisle at New Seasons Market (our local chain competitor to Whole Foods) and then they stopped selling detergent in bulk so we moved to Country Save Natural Detergent ( in the biggest cardboard box available. One thing we'll never do is buy detergent, no matter how eco the ingredients are, in plastic since plastic is only downcycled. Fortunately I found out that NSM brought back bulk laundry detergent and so we'll be all over that once this box is done! Buying all the ingredients to make our own isn't very cost-effective so since this is made in the Northwest, we feel this is pretty close!!!"

Long before Eco-friendly soap hit mainstream consumerism, Laurel was using safe, non-toxic laundry products. In Change the World Wednesday: Detergent she talks about why she made that choice and shares information about options available in western Canada.

Amanda is a Celadon Road Consultant. For those who don't know, Celadon Road sells all kinds of Eco-friendly products, including laundry soap. In Laundry Detergent Challenge she gives us all the facts including the price, packaging, ingredients, etc. I happen to know that Amanda is very knowledgeable about Celadon Road products and is more than happy to talk about them. So, if you have a question, just ask her!

In Eco friendly laundry products, Mrs. Green not only offers several options, she talks about why it's important that we make the effort to choose safe detergent. That post elaborates on the comment she left: Great challenge as this is one we can so easily do something about. When you consider we have our laundry products against our skin 24 hours a day and that 60% of what goes ON our skin can go into our bloodstream, it makes sense to choose a safer, kinder product. Thanks for the inspiration SF!"

Thanks to for re-posting our challenge HERE. By the way, check out all the great information on Their mission is to provide the number one collaboration portal for environmental professionals from around the world. They offer a ton of interesting, pertinent information.

Suzanne uses Norwex and says this: "I love my Norwex Ultra Power Plus Laundry Detergent! It doesn't contain fillers and has even removed set in stains. No complaints!" Suzanne is a Norwex consultant and her site contains a LOT of information about products, including laundry detergent.

Clare doesn't have Eco-friendly options in her area. She said, "Mrs. Green is right, eco friendly laundry detergent is an easy change to make, and it has great benefits - to us and the environment and marine life. Where I live there's nothing I like in laundry products, but luckily it's easy to make your own - see for some easy, quick suggestions for natural, safe detergents. Thanks for another great challenge Small - and you're so right about being prepared versus panicking. I haven't had incoming water for over 4 weeks now, I'm reliant on a tanker to come round once a week or so. I'm very water-conscious but boy it's amazing how little you use when you have to! Have a great week everyone!"

And finally, this edition of Shopping Charity shared our challenge and included a mention of at least one of your posts. Check it out to see if your post was included.

Our Twitter friends joined the conversation and shared the following:

From @GreenQueenofMod
- What's in your laundry soap? Eco-brands expensive? Try Wellness Mama's recipe #green

From @laalicia
- Shedding Light on Textile Recycling

From @KrmbalClothing
- (that's also how I make mine) RT @PlanetGreen: Zero-waste blogger launches 3-ingredient laundry detergent

The #CTWW Gang are those folks who tweet our challenges using the hashtag #CTWW. If you're a Twitter member, I recommend following them ... they share great things. Let's meet them:

@2kidsandacoupon @89linz @ahthesimplelife
@allcollegeplan @almosttruth @andreaptak
@artbysandra @ashokau @aussiemoose
@bananagrabber3 @beatepdx @bethcooperart
@biggreenpen @brasher_gaius @cannyhighlander
@cargo_pal @cellomomoncars @charismayoonyh
@cjrthemamiblog @climately @climately_news
@climatelycheryl @collegegogreen @csevenm_uk
@darylsghourl @debsmikdav1 @dieselelephants
@dj_mac_nificent @eco_novice @ecoexpert1
@emmywinnermoses @envirobooty @factorydpromos
@familyfocusblog @fleurdeb @foggybottomgal
@forloveofadog @freshcleanersaz @gail_gauthier
@georgehenry47 @ginavalley @givetreegifts
@goldforestgrain @grandmasdiaries @greenageworld
@greenisuni @greenqueenofmod @groovygreenlivi
@herbgir1972 @homesustainable @indiapaleale35
@itechecom @jameswhalliday1 @janisfineart
@jelita_yjas @jnaquins @justanotherhat
@kaitlingarder @kayhahn1 @koobietrades
@kriswetherbee @krmbalclothing @kumebryant
@laalicia @ladyjcmuses @laurelhounslow
@lbpaints @lioncontainers @lumleysplacebnb
@luthienthye @marbaird @marjoriemcatee
@marylolagouge @miltongferraz @mimbsphotograph
@momgamerwriter @momsmadhousex6 @museumoflitter
@myzerowaste @mzazeela @narrationbygeo
@newsmashwords @nolafusion @paperbeadboutiq
@pedalgadgets @piaktw @pooja_y_jain
@rainbojangles @ramradasukonsar @rckayla
@rckweddings @realityarts @riamacalister
@romerojewelers @ruralmoms @sfcouncil
@shoppingcharity @simekucabowi @sjoecable
@solarkoala16 @solarkoalatweet @spafloating
@sxycowgirl @tamlanding @taylortfulks20
@theecochic @theurbannatura1 @theworld4realz
@tiffanywashko @treesgroup @treevangelist
@turningclockbac @tweetformoolah @uasource
@urban_mining @vuqefowoxebi @wasteeguru
@wastejobs @wellminded @whopaysthepiper
@whywelovegreen @wimpyvegetarian @withuvip

My Final Thoughts:

Since most readers of this blog are already living a "green" life, a group product review becomes an excellent resource. As you may have noticed, participants considered ingredients, packaging, and the locality of stores in addition to how well the product performed. While we should always do our own research, the job is easier when we have recommendations by "greenies".

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

This Week's Challenge:

Change The World Wednesday (#CTWW) - Unnecessary Things
Does a soup need preservatives?
Laurel Hounslow, a frequent CTWW participant, recently talked to me about a situation which she's encountered.

Healthy, Eco-friendly products are made less so with the addition of "extras".

For example, at a recent fundraiser, reusable water bottles were given away. Each bottle had a water flavor packet taped to the side. The flavoring included unhealthy sweeteners, preservatives, etc.

So Laurel has been on a mission to eliminate the unnecessary things in, and attached to, good products.

Here's your challenge ...

This week, opt for products which come with no unnecessary additions. For example, rather than buy processed foods (like canned soup) which contain added salt, preservatives, etc., make your own using whole foods. If a cleaning product has a "freebie" attached to it, be sure it meets your environmental and health standards before adding it to your shopping basket. The idea, this week, is to examine everything we buy to ensure that it comes free of unnecessary "extras". While packaging certainly falls into this category, it is not our focus this week. We're looking for added ingredients or free samples which will make the original product less than desirable.

OR ...

Are you already avoiding ALL unhealthy, unsafe ingredients and products? If so, let's kick this challenge up a bit. As companies sell out and/or change their products, things which we once considered Eco-friendly are no longer safe and healthy. For example, a popular lip balm company (I won't mention the name here) sold out to a big conglomerate. Their lip balm, which had been natural and safe, was modified to include unhealthy ingredients. Unless consumers continued to read the label, they wouldn't know about the change. So this week, re-evaluate everything you believe to be safe and Eco-friendly to determine if it remains so. This part of the challenge is all about diligence and ensuring that our favorite products remain worthy of our shopping baskets.

Are you ready for a little "due diligence"? I know that you are!

Until next time ...