Sunday, November 30, 2008
Shop Name: ecogeneration
A little about you: I have always been conscientious about how wasteful we are as a society but I wouldn’t classify myself as an environmentalist in the traditional sense of the word. I recognize that we live in a disposable and “we want it yesterday” era that quick and convenience take priority over worrying about landfills or the environment, even including me, at times. But I am changing and I owe it to both my mom and my mother-in-law. They have been the ecological savvy matrons for years without knowing that they were saving the environment. In fact, they were being just frugal! They don’t buy any new plastic containers. They always reuse ice cream tubs, yogurt containers, Chinese Take Out tubs, and alike… (Now, the studies have shown that they may leak chemicals into foods. Yikes!). They also reuse glass jars before recycling became mandatory. Now, I, the one who always complained that we had too many empty glass jars and plastic containers in the pantry, am filling my own pantry with glass jars and non-recyclable plastic containers. I am also looking at ways to reduce buying the “want’ items and just buying the “need” items. I also started converting some non-recyclable items into functional housewares (see bottle caps) instead of throwing them out with the trash. I am also buying organic, including my knitting yarns. I have organic and natural rubber mattresses. I have organic sheets. I use phosphate free laundry detergents (safer for the local waterways) that are plant based (Eco brand). I don’t use commercial cleaning agents anymore; instead, use vinegar and baking soda (another one of my mother in law’s secret for years). I started making my own dishcloths, inspired by my mom, and haven’t bought a commercial sponge in years.
So, after considering many of my friends suggestions to sell my ever growing selection of handmade ecological goodies, I decided to sell them on Etsy….not just to make money (trust me, I’m not retiring any time soon) but also to educate and send out a message that we should all reduce, renew, and recycle. And we can do it in style.
A little about your products: My Organic Washcloth is long lasting and is so soft (and gets softer with each washing) that it can be used even on babies’ soft and sensitive skin. The washcloth gently exfoliates tired cells and you’ll feel so much cleaner. I use 100 percent certified organic cotton and dyed to meet the organic guidelines. I also made reusable makeup remover pads with organic cotton yarn. These pads will eliminate the need for disposable cotton balls or make up remover pads. Teenagers can use them for their acne prone skin. They’ll love using them. The organic pads can be used over and over, saving you money but also the environment. I started out making dishcloth before I started selling on Etsy. I’d give them away to my friends and family. I love them because they clean better and last longer so they don’t end up in landfills as quickly. (I don’t use organic cotton yarn for the dishcloths or scrubbies because, frankly, rougher acrylic yarn cleans the stains better than the soft organic ones.) I have other products on Etsy but they are not made with organic materials. They are made with reclaimed or repurposed materials so they are still contributing to saving the environment.
What about the organic mission inspires you?: My mom developed an allergy to formaldehyde from years of working in the garment industry. Formaldehyde is used in almost everything we come in contact with, including fabric, lotion, soap, furniture, and more. She also loves gardening and prolonged exposure to pesticide and insecticide in the past has made her become very sensitive to any chemicals. I started buying organic more conscientiously after she started feeling all that. But I won’t buy organic products from another country. It defeats the purpose of being environmentally conscious if we have to have them shipped or flown from a foreign country, wasting energy. We have so many fine products produced right here at home. Of course, I’d prefer to go to a local farmer’s market and buy “Local Organic”. That’s the best.
What's your current project: It’s a secret. No, seriously, I am currently working on making some toys using plastic bottle caps. I already sold a set of birds’ nest magnets (my avatar) that I made from plastic bottle caps so I am really happy that I am putting these non-recyclable caps to use. I am also knitting a preemie’s set: a hat, bootie, and glove with organic yarn. I’m hoping to finish them for Christmas season.
Where your products can be found: ecogeneration.etsy.com