Friday, March 18, 2011

Hankies Why Did You Ever Leave Us?

What did you just put on your face?

Remember how Grandma and Grandpa used to carry around hankies in their pockets all the time? My grandmother had beautiful hankies with flowers and embroidery designs. Why did we ever let go of this practice? Somewhere along the way we decided that it was icky and switched to paper tissues. Recently I noticed hankies making their way back to our pop culture and I began to make cute retro designs in my shop. A few days later my mother told me that her friend had a horrible allergic reaction to the chemicals in a paper tissue she used to wipe her face. It never occurred to me how many chemicals we put in our eyes, mouth and nose by reaching for a paper tissue because years ago I switched to recycled, chlorine free brands from Whole Foods or Trader Joes. Then I realized that those chemicals on the tissue were also going in our toilet paper. Am I the only one bothered by this?

This is what I found in a simple Google search on
“Other materials used in manufacture include water, chemicals for breaking down the trees into usable fiber, and bleaches. Companies that make paper from recycled products use oxygen, ozone, sodium hydroxide, or peroxide to whiten the paper. Virgin-paper manufacturers, however, often use chlorine-based bleaches (chlorine dioxide), which have been identified as a threat to the environment.”
Read more: How toilet paper is made - manufacture, making, history, used, processing, steps, product, industry, History, Raw Materials, The Manufacturing Process of toilet paper, Quality Control

What is Green Guru to do?
At home - switch to brands that are recycled and have “Chlorine free” on the packages. Just because it says recycled doesn’t mean it will feel like bark right off the tree. Most brand have soft options.
On the go - bring your cute retro hankies for your face, bring burp cloths and rags for baby messes and if you want to go even further you can carry eco-friendly flushable wipes (like Seventh Generation) for public restroom visits and diaper changes.

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