What does it take to be an eco-conscience parent? Environmentally-friendly practices come in many different forms, but I have compiled a list of my favorite green products or practices.

Green Cleaning Products

This is a big one for me! Household cleaning products are consistently in the top five causes of pediatric poisonings with about 12,000 children treated in emergency departments each year. A report by the Consumer Product Safety Commission found that an average of 33 children each year die due to unintentional poisoning.

In addition to the possibility of poisoning, Asthma, allergies, cancer and a range of maladies from skin irritations to fatigue and behavior problems can be directly linked to chemicals in households. (Dr. Phillip Landrigan, Director of Mt. Sinai’s Center for Children’s Health and the Environment) The EPA has also reported that nearly 30 cancer-causing toxins were found in most human fatty tissue samples.

So what can we do to limit our chemical exposure? Use green cleaning products. Green cleaning products are designed to not only kill bacteria, but also leave your home smelling fresh and looking sparkling. There are many different natural anti-bacterial agents out there. Look for a cleaning product that has been certified by a third-party. Parties such as Green Seal, Design For the Environment, and Natural Products Association. Don’t fall for label gimmicks! Just because it says it is “natural” doesn’t mean it is good. There are lots of toxic “natural” substances in the world. This is where third-party certification can come in very handy.

Reusable items

Going Green doesn’t have to be a chore. Purchase reusable items instead of your typical disposable ones. This will not only reduce your waste, but also help out your wallet. If you want to be a eco-conscience momma skip the “disposable” aisle at the grocery store. You know the one I am talking about. It contains paper towels, Ziploc baggies, paper napkins, paper plates, disposable utensils. Skip it all together. Purchase a few high quality reusable items and you will be surprised at the instant decrease in your garbage.

Clothesline

Yes a clothesline. Try to avoid the dryer at all costs. The sun’s UV rays are natural anti-bacterial and can do wonders for those dreaded “pit stains”. You whites will be brighter, and you can’t beat the smell of clothes fresh from the line. Not only will your clothes last longer from their hiatus from the dryer, but Mother Earth will thank you as well. Why waste the electricity when you can get a free dry from Mother Nature herself? If you aren’t able to have a clothesline, or if you aren’t willing to give up your dryer, try wool dryer balls. Dryer balls can speed up the drying time of you clothing so you don’t have to dry as long, in turn using less energy.

Organic Food

When possible choose organic food over its conventional counterparts. This is better for the environment, and better for your health. It can be hard to go entirely organic, but there are some basic rules to follow. First, avoid the dirty dozen. The dirty dozen is a list of foods with a high concentration of pesticide residue or chemicals left on the items. Second, limit the preservatives. Try to find foods that have the least amount of preservatives and fillers. Pick food items that give you a big nutritional bang for your buck. Fillers are empty calories and who wants that? Lastly, buy foods that are in season locally. The environmental cost of purchasing out-of-season fruits and veggies is much greater than it appears on the surface. here are extra transport miles, the food is modified for extended transport, and the nutrient content decreases significantly.

This doesn’t even begin to even cut through the surface of what all you can do to be a more environmentally-conscience consumer and parent, but it is a good start. What green practices have you adopted?