Guest Contributor, Rachel Fried, is a joint degree graduate student at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and the Yale School of Management. She is interning this summer on the Stonyfield Sustainability Innovation team and excited to contribute to this dialogue to show it’s possible for businesses to be both profitable and sensitive to global environmental concerns.
I recently began interning at Stonyfield and it’s refreshing to see a company whose mission and values are so ingrained in everyday activities around the office and plant. It’s clear from conversations in the lunch room and after work musings with my Stonyfield carpool buddies that employees care deeply about environmental sustainability, and about working at a company aligned with their personal beliefs about living a healthy, green, and purposeful life.
Last week, Jen, a scientist on our Research & Development team (and a green Mama extraordinaire), led a “Munch n’ Learn” presentation on DIY (Do It Yourself) home cleaning and personal care products. Being eco-friendly and finding ways to minimize her own environmental footprint have always been important to Jen, but when her son was born, she became particularly conscientious about protecting her family from toxic chemicals. This required getting a little experimental with simple, natural ingredients and having a sense of humor about creating the perfect safe and effective home-made products.
The accumulation of toxic chemicals we inhale, ingest and absorb through our skin every day is called “body burden” and over time, this can lead to some pretty serious medical conditions. But don’t get paralyzed by frustration, guilt, or powerlessness when you hear these alarming facts. Instead, check out these quick recipes to start reducing your family’s exposure, save some money, and have fun, too, in the process!
Better Bug Spray
- Essential oils: choose from Citronella, Clove, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Cajeput, Eucalyptus, Cedar, Catnip, Lavender or Mint
- Natural Witch Hazel (available online)
- Distilled or boiled water
- Vegetable Glycerin (optional)
- Fill spray bottle (8 ounce or so) 1/2 full with distilled or boiled water.
- Add witch hazel to fill almost to the top.
- Add 1/2 tsp vegetable glycerin, if using.
- Add 30-50 drops of essential oils to desired scent. The more oils you use, the stronger the spray will be. My personal favorite mix is: Rosemary, Clove, Cajeput, Lavender, Cinnamon and Eucalyptus… it works great and smells good too!
- 1/2 cup almond or olive oil (can infuse with herbs first if desired)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil (natural SPF 4)
- 1/4 cup beeswax
- 2 Tablespoons Zinc Oxide (This is a non-nano version that won’t be absorbed into the skin. Be careful not to inhale the powder). This makes a natural SPF of 20+ or more can be added.)
- Optional: Red Raspberry Seed Oil, Carrot Seed Oil, Vitamin E oil, Shea Butter (natural SPF 4-5), or Essential Oils
- Combine ingredients except zinc oxide in a pint sized or larger glass jar.
- Fill a medium saucepan with a couple inches of water and place over medium heat.
- Put a lid on the jar loosely and place in the pan with the water. As the water heats, the ingredients in the jar will start to melt. Shake or stir occasionally to incorporate.
- When all ingredients are completely melted, add the zinc oxide, stir in well and pour into whatever jar or tin you will use for storage. Small mason jars (pint size) are great for this. It will not pump well in a lotion pump!
- Stir a few times as it cools to make sure zinc oxide is incorporated.
Use as you would regular sunscreen. Best if used within six months. This sunscreen not completely waterproof, so be sure to reapply after sweating or swimming. Make sure not to inhale the Zinc Oxide! This recipe has an SPF of about 20, though adding more Zinc Oxide will increase the SPF. Add more beeswax to make thicker sunscreen, less to make smooth sunscreen. Store in a cool, dry place or in the fridge.
The Best Bath Scrub
- 30 egg shells, cleaned and dried
- ½ cup of baking soda
- Essential oil (optional-for fragrance)
- Grind the eggshells in a spice grinder or coffee grinder. (Note: These are very abrasive and will scratch whatever you grind them in, so it’s best to have a dedicated grinder for your egg shells. Be careful not to inhale the dust/particles after grinding the egg shells.
- Mix ground egg shells with baking soda and a few drops of essential oil.
- Sprinkle cleanser directly on your wet tub or a wet a sponge and scrub away! Rinse bathtub thoroughly once you’re done scrubbing.
- 2 parts Washing soda**
- 2 parts Borax
- 1 part bar of soap, grated (ex. Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap)
- Finely grate soap, using a kitchen grater.
- Mix all ingredients in bowl.
- Store in sealed container.
- Depending on soil level of laundry use 1/8 – ¼ cup per load.
*Washing soda can be purchased or homemade by heating Baking Soda in a 400˚ oven for at least 30 minutes.