Many people will
argue that the greatest barrier to living a greener lifestyle — one
that involves more organic or environmentally friendly food or home
and personal care products — is the prohibitive cost.
acknowledge that manufacturers and consumers do pay more for natural
products, but they hope, as the market shifts toward more nontoxic
alternatives, prices will become more affordable. While the upfront
cost of natural living can surely pay off down the road in the form of
better health, anyone seeking instant-savings gratification still has
Earth Month, I asked a few experts how we can live a healthier
lifestyle on a budget: Christopher Gavigan, who with actress Jessica
Alba, co-founded the Honest Co. — makers of safe, nontoxic and
effective personal care and cleaning products — and green living
expert Indie Lee of indielee.com.
Lee began her
journey as a green expert in 2009 after surviving a brain tumor that
may have been caused by environmental toxins. Gavigan has long been a
champion of children’s health and development. That led him to
partner with Alba, who describes in her book "The Honest Life:
Living Naturally and True to You" (Rodale, $23) how motherhood
made her question "greenwashing" in many products considered
safe for children and pregnant women.
people think living greener is about safeguarding the Earth, but my
approach is about living for your health, which ultimately has
positive impacts for the planet," Gavigan says. Gavigan and Lee
agree it is possible to live green without spending too much green.
Here they each
offer a few baby steps to help you get started:
glass nail files that you can wash and reuse. It may cost an extra $2,
but it will never wear down, Lee says.
—Use a crystal
goblet or cute mason jar to sip water at your desk rather than
continually purchasing water bottles.
clothing brands that offer affordable, sustainable products without
sacrificing style. Lee suggests H&M Conscious, which offers
stylish designs at a moderate price.
buying a huge pack of pens that will end up in a landfill, purchase a
chic fountain pen and buy inexpensive refills, she says.
windows to improve indoor air quality, which often has higher VOC
(volatile organic compound) levels than outdoors, Gavigan says.
—Take off your
shoes at the door so you don’t track pollutants such as lead dust,
animal feces and other chemicals into the house.
often. Many of the products inside your home, and the materials used
to make the building itself, are slowly degrading and breaking down
into small, microscopic particles. The dust can be contaminated with
toxic flame retardants, heavy metals, pesticides and countless other
chemicals, Gavigan says.
nontoxic cleaning and personal care products like those from
Honest.com. Read labels and learn to avoid products with questionable
ingredients: chlorine, ammonia, phosphates, SLS, parabens, BPA,
synthetic fragrances/dyes, and petrochemicals.