Give Dad the gift of green cleaners

What dad doesn’t look forward to Father’s Day?

It is, after all, a day dedicated to barbeques, brews and buddies. But cleaning? Not so much.

Yet, giving eco-friendly cleaning supplies to Dad on his special day is a great way to help him keep his belongings in top shape in an environmentally sensitive way. It’s also likely to spark a conversation between fathers and their kids about environmental stewardship.

“Kids get it,” said Ann LaGoy, owner of Sound Earth, a Fishkill-based company that makes and sells non-toxic, cruelty-free household cleaning and care products. “They just so quickly understand: this is good for me or this is not good for me.”

While LaGoy said women typically are associated with household cleaning, men usually care for their barbeque grills and accessories, sports gear, workshop tools, yard equipment and other belongings.

What’s more, men, like women and children, are vulnerable to adverse effects from contact with toxic chemicals, making alternative cleaning products a smart option.

“Formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, is found is so many cleaning products,” LaGoy said. “We’re constantly under threat. Who … wants formaldehyde in their cleaning products and homes?”

LaGoy’s cleaning and care products are readily biodegradable, meaning they break down in less than 28 days without causing any kind of threat. The products are scented with essential oils and come in recyclable plastic containers.

“If you’re using toxic chemicals and then washing them down the sink, they’d make their way into the waterways,” LaGoy said, eventually contaminating living beings.

One product, Sound Earth’s GreasEraser, was formulated to clean hands and clothes of grime and grease associated with mechanical work, but is gentle and safe enough to use on children’s hands dirtied by arts and crafts projects.

“Some of those cleaners will burn your hands,” LaGoy said of conventional products. “They’re really strong. When your hand cleaner is starting to make your hands tingle, that’s not good.”

The idea is for men not to automatically reach for heavy chemical-laden cleaning products for big — or small — jobs, but to opt for eco-friendly cleaning products.

“I think the thing that I would like to see happen is where men are getting on board,” she said. “You don’t need noxious chemicals to clean chrome for example.”

As a father of two sons, Seth Leitman of “The Green Living Guy” website and a green living author, speaker and expert who is working with Solarize Hudson Valley, appreciates a little relaxation on Father’s Day, along with eco-friendly gifts, such as cork-based products, organic clothing and barbeque aprons, and environmentally benign grill accessories. He also thinks an outdoor family venture is a great way to spend the day, especially for hard-working dads.

“It helps calm the mind, the more you’re in a forest atmosphere,” he said. “It’s a great destressor.”

But even a relaxing day is bound to result in dirty belongings that need to be cleaned — a greasy grill and utensils, muddy hiking boots, grubby clothing.

“The big thing to recognize when it comes to cleaning products is if they’re not eco-friendly, it’s basically like toxifying your house,” Leitman said.

Leitman’s family uses Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day and Green Works products, which are both effective and eco-friendly. Sustainable Earth bio-degradable surface wipes and solutions by Staples also are both eco-friendly and effective, Leitman said, including multiuse products to clean grills, tools, and sports equipment plus hand soaps and glass, carpet, bathroom and floor cleaners. Leitman also likes Fresh Wave non-toxic carpet cleaners and Seventh Generation laundry wash, and is testing JAWS (Just Add Water System) products that use concentrated solutions of environmentally benign mixes to clean glass, hardwoods, and kitchen and bathroom surfaces.

“You want something that’s going to clean, but also to be conscious of the air outside or inside your home,” Leitman said.

In all, he said, best for indoor air is houseplants, especially bamboo.

“Bamboo is a grass by nature so it produces more oxygen in the air than a given plant,” he said.

Leitman hasn’t talked with his kids about the dangers of toxic cleaning products but, he said, they understand what sound living is about.

“They get what I do,” he said. “When it comes to cleaning products, they walk into a house and it smells clean and they get it.”

Eli Schloss, tideline program director with Hudson River Sloop Clearwater in Beacon, is the father of two school-aged kids and said his family has a set of rags for cleaning that get washed for reuse.

“We always try to air our clothes and not use the dryer,” he said via email.

The family also runs full loads of clothes in the washer, as well as for dishes, and Schloss said non-toxic cleaners can be purchased or home-made.

Kerry Zeff, owner of Waddle n Swaddle in Rhinebeck, said nowadays, with two-parent working households, fathers are doing more in terms of household care and cleaning.

“Dads are a part of the household, just like working moms are,” she said.

To help dads and moms keep their families, belongings and homes clean, Zeff carries eco-friendly cleaning and care supplies, including Rockin’ Green laundry products.

“Rockin’ Green is good for dads because they really market it as a rock ’n’ roll style,” she said.

The products stand up to eco-friendly standards since they’re made from bio-degradable ingredients and are easy on septic systems. They also do a great job of cleaning dirty, smelly clothes, including the line’s athletic wear detergent, hard concentrate for hard water and funk rock for strong odors.“The funk rock is an ammonia bouncer and really good as a boost for anything you can’t get out the stains or smells,” Zeff said.

Zeff also carries Charlie’s Soap products that are made with environmentally benign ingredients.

“Whether it is geared toward men or women, Charlie’s Soap is 100 percent non-toxic and they claim to — and do — get out grease, blood, clay, wine, the list goes on,” she said.

Aside from eco-friendly cleaning products, Zeff also offers non-toxic, locally made bug and tick repellent, which is useful for backyard and camping ventures, along with a non-toxic line of active-wear sunscreens for all-day, outdoor fun.

Karen Maserjian Shan is a freelance writer: mkshan@optonline.net

Green cleaning

When purchasing cleaning products, consider product performance, price, availability, regulatory requirements and environmental impact, including:

•Minimal presence of or exposure to potentially harmful chemicals

•Use of renewable resources, such as bio-based solvents from citrus, seed, vegetable and pine oils

•Low VOC content

•Biodegradable by standard methods and definitions

•Low toxicity in aquatic species

•Low flammability

•Designed for use in cold water to conserve energy

•Watch for vague claims such as ‘environmentally friendly,’ and eco safe.’ Green cleaning products should be clearly defined.

•When possible, consider life cycle studies on manufacturers’ products

•Limit use of disinfectants to areas where people are likely to come into contact with contaminated surfaces

•Conduct training on proper use of products

Source: http://www.epa.gov/epp/pubs/cleaning.htm

 

http://www.poughkeepsiejournal.com/story/tech/science/environment/2015/06/20/environment-green-cleaners-fathers-day-eco-friendly-cleaning-products/28919007/

Older moms face more risks

Kerry Lee Zeff spent her 20s enjoying the freedom of moving around and not having to abide by much structure. By the time she married Todd Zeff, she was in her early 30s. The Kingston residents had their first daughter, Mira, when Kerry Zeff was 36. Now 38, she is expecting her second child in January.

http://archive.poughkeepsiejournal.com/article/20110102/NEWS07/101020320/Older-moms-face-more-risks

Maternity Made Easier in the Poughkeepsie Journal

Friday, March 21, 2008

Maternity made easier

Young entrepreneur's store has goods, services for moms, moms-to-be

By Carolyn Torella

For the Poughkeepsie Journal

Maternity clothes have come a long way since the stuffy, oversized big-shirts from last century. There's a trend toward fashion, fit, comfort and style in maternity apparel being led by young entrepreneurs, moms who know what they want and aren't afraid to go out and find it, create it or sell it.

When Jenn Sullivan of Poughkeepsie had her baby, Sophie, she knew exactly what she wanted - natural child-birth, stylish maternity clothing, breastfeeding and baby products that were made in the United States. She just didn't know it would eventually become her business.

Sullivan, a 1993 Lourdes graduate, is owner of Waddle n Swaddle maternity boutique in Poughkeepsie, and only one of 6.2 million women-owned firms employing 9.2 million people and generating sales of $1.15 trillion in the U.S., according to the Small Business Administration.

"I had gone back to work part time, then eventually quit because I wanted to be home. I researched natural parenting, childbirth, made in the USA products, parenting issues and that's how it started," Sullivan said. "I was the first one to have a baby in my group of friends. When my friends started having babies, they'd ask me for advice. It really built around that."

Sullivan is also a certified lactation counselor through the Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice. Counselors are required to take a 45-hour course and pass the comprehensive exam before they are certified. Once certified, they may provide breastfeeding counseling in hospitals and birthing centers, outpatient clinics, visiting nurse programs and community-based programs. Sullivan teaches breastfeeding education classes at her store.

"I had great support for breastfeeding. My mom breastfed four children, and my sister and sister-in-law both breastfed. It was second nature to me. My friends didn't have that, so I became that for them," she said.

Her 1,200-square-foot boutique carries maternity, breastfeeding and transition apparel, nursing products and pumps, baby slings, blankets, cloth diapers and organic body care products.  "Waddle n Swaddle was more of a focus on maternity clothing, baby products and carriers, but breastfeeding has always been a part of it. I just didn't think that it would be as big a piece as it's becoming," she said.

In addition to breastfeeding classes and mom support groups, Sullivan hosts childbirth education classes taught by Mavis Gewant, a childbirth educator. Sullivan hopes to eventually offer infant massage classes.  Sullivan says the reason people take education classes at her store is the intimacy of the programs.  "It's really one-on-one education. They can share their feelings, concerns, excitement, and it's a great way to meet people. It can be a whole family event for spouses, partners, siblings, grandparents; anyone in their network can attend," she said.

"A lot of people find me through researching products online. I'm listed on the manufacturers' Web sites," Sullivan said.  Her customers have come from as far as New Jersey, Connecticut and Vermont to shop at her store. She recently went live with her expanded online store, trying to capture customer sales beyond the Hudson Valley.

With competition from mall chain stores, finding a solid client base can be challenging for a small independent businesses.  For more than 10 years, Mary Ann Zimmerman ran the successful Bosom Buddies store in Port Ewen, selling breastfeeding supplies and providing lactation consultation to Ulster County-area residents. She recently closed the shop to become a lactation consultant with Kingston Hospital.  "You start something because nothing's out there. I was a nursing mother myself, and I knew there were products I couldn't get a hold of. So I started with mail order out of my house. I wanted to be more visible, so I moved to the Port Ewen store. I did lactation counseling for my customers and I didn't charge," Zimmerman said.

When the opportunity came to focus solely on the lactation consulting for a hospital, she took it. "It was hard to compete against the big box stores. It was tough. But for me it wasn't all about the retail. It was about meeting women and helping them breastfeed their babies."

Specializing in hard-to-find products and offering unique personal services can provide customers with that something extra mall stores can't provide.  "It's very important to me that I offer that kind of store. It's not easy to find the products I offer. I have people who are specifically searching out made in the USA products. For my maternity lines, 99 percent are made in the USA in fair-trade factory conditions from small designer lines, not mass-produced. I research my 'made in the USA' products. I think it makes a big difference to our global economy," Sullivan said.

"In my experience, getting new customers has been the best through word of mouth. The level of customer care people receive is a catalyst to let other people know that they'll have a great customer experience here. Advertising is a re-enforcer," she said.

As for "location, location, location," Sullivan loves working in the Arlington Business District. "I love that they're continuing the landscaping and roundabouts. It will hopefully bring in new business. There are young people here. It's a great central point for the Hudson Valley."

Counsel was wise

She praises the advice of her business mentor, another Arlington business owner, Michael Gordon of Zimmer Brothers Jewelers.  "When I was starting the store, he was a great resource," Sullivan said. "If someone wanted to open a business, I would suggest getting a well-established, local, small-business owner as a mentor. Having that insight and information was priceless. They encouraged me to join the chamber of commerce, Arlington Business District, do advertising. I probably would've wasted a lot of money.

"You really can't start a business without $30,000-$50,000 within the first year to get going, if you want a good, solid product base. Beyond that, the initial investment was in the space of time, paint and elbow grease."  The investment was worth it for Sullivan to do what she loves and be with the child she loves.  Her daughter spends a day with her work-at-home dad, one day with her grandmother and two days at the store. "This way, she can be with our family," Sullivan said. "We keep her busy at the store and she's a fixture now. If she's not there, people ask, 'Where is she?' "

Sometimes it's a huge thing to make that leap to small-business owner, but not for us. My mother is a small-business owner and my in-laws are, too," Sullivan said. "It's just part of our family."

Carolyn Torella is a freelance writer in LaGrangeville. Contact her at carolyntorella@gmail.com.

 

WnS and Topricin Team Up for Photo Contest

Have you entered our contest? 

Topical BioMedics Sponsors First Annual “Eat. Play. Love.” Photo Contest in Partnership with Waddle n Swaddle and CozyWoggle

Topical BioMedics, Inc., the makers of Topricin® natural pain relief healing products, has partnered with Waddle n Swaddle and CozyWoggle to sponsor the first annual “Eat. Play. Love.” contest, and invites the public to submit photos of their family eating, playing, or loving (or all three at once!), along with a creative caption. The entry with the most creative photo will be awarded the Grand Prize, a gift-basket worth over $250.00 in healthy-living children’s products from Topricin, Waddle n Swaddle, and CozyWoggle.

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