What is Organic September?
Technically Organic September is a UK thing. It was created by an organization called The Soil Association as a campaign to encourage people to eat organic foods and choose organic products. As an eco-friendly pet company, we love this concept and thought it would be fun to throw it out into the blogosphere as a challenge for our country, too! In this post we will talk about what organic actually means, why it is beneficial to go organic, and ways to adopt an organic lifestyle.
What Does Organic Actually Mean?
According to the USDA, “Organic products must be produced using agricultural production practices that foster resource cycling, promote ecological balance, maintain and improve soil and water quality, minimize the use of synthetic materials, and conserve biodiversity.” Their production must also be overseen by a qualifying agency, and there are strict rules about methods and substances that can and cannot be used.
Why Go Organic?
There are many reasons to choose organic products. Choosing organic produce can reduce the number of pesticides that you consume. It also means that you are supporting farmers who use practices that are better for the environment, including healthier soil, cleaner water, and fewer algae blooms.
Purchasing organic meat also means consuming fewer chemicals, both indirectly from the feed given to the livestock and directly because they are not given antibiotics or growth hormones. Additionally, most livestock from organic farms are treated more humanely than those raised on conventional farms. This is not necessarily healthier for your body but for your animal loving soul.
Of course, you can go one step further and transition to an entirely plant-based, vegan diet which will have an even greater impact both environmentally and humanely. According to Science magazine, “Researchers at the University of Oxford found that cutting meat and dairy products from your diet could reduce an individual's carbon footprint from food by up to 73 per cent."
How Can You Adopt an Organic Lifestyle?
You can go organic in a variety of ways that improve your life and your pet’s life. In fact, choosing organic products is rewarding because you start to reap the benefits of them immediately by reducing your exposure to chemicals and toxins.
Grocery shopping is one area in which you can make changes immediately. Because most of us go grocery shopping at least once a week, you can start to make better choices during your next trip to the store. If you are confused about where to seek organic options, The Balance Small Business lists “whole fresh produce, alcohol, coffee, tea, edible flowers, wild crops, grains, meat” as some of the specific food items that can be certified organic.
When it comes to produce, some fruits and vegetables are more important than others to purchase organic. The Environmental Working Group releases an annual list of The Dirty Dozen, which are 12 produce items that consumers should consider buying organic.
Organic Pet Products
Fortunately, organic pet product offerings grow more robust each year. Most of us who choose to eat clean also want our pets to eat a clean diet, free of toxins and pesticides. I mean, that is why we started Pure Earth Pets, after all, to ensure that Dover had access to safe, non-toxic treats and toys. In addition to choosing treats and foods made with organic ingredients, you can find toys and bedding made with all-natural textiles, like our Himalayan Loom Dino or Felty Ring.
There are not specific rules about the use of the world organic regarding pet products right now. However, the USDA’s National Organic Program has stated that pet products with the term organic must meet the same requirements as human foods that use the word organic on packaging. When shopping for pet products, you can also research the company and its practices to determine if you trust that their claims are truthful.
Organic Cleaning Products
Greenwashing is a deceptive practice in which manufacturers claim that a product is more eco-friendly than it really is in order to get customers to make a purchase. Ironically – because the word wash is involved – it happens very often when it comes to cleaning products. Because of this, it is important to read labels and do careful research when choosing cleaning products. You can also make some basic cleaning products at home with ingredients like vinegar and baking soda. Just don’t mix the two of those together, or you will have flashbacks to those volcano science experiments from middle school. Choosing organic cleaning products has an immediate impact on you and your pets as you will not be breathing in toxic fumes.
Organic Lawn Care
Lawn care chemicals have been linked to health problems in dogs and humans, including bladder cancer and lymphoma. Fortunately, there is considerable information available about DIY organic lawn care practices. More and more companies are offering organic lawn care services for anyone who wants to hire someone to care for their lawn.
One such practice is as simple as mowing the lawn higher to allow the grass to block the sun from the weeds. Another is to mulch the grass and leave it on the lawn instead of bagging it, which is win-win for homeowners living in parts of the country that use paper bags for curbside pickup. There are also products available that use ingredients like soybeans and molasses to improve the nutrients in the lawn so that the grass grows instead of the weeds.
Organic Clothing & Textiles
When you think about the fact that our skin is our largest organ, purchasing organic clothing and textiles like sheets, towels, and blankets makes a lot of sense. Mass produced fabric often contains toxic chemicals like chlorine bleach, formaldehyde, ammonia, heavy metals, and many, many more things that we do not want to rub against our skin. Organic clothing is made without raw materials grown with genetically modified seeds or pesticides, and without chemicals added during any point in the process.
Check Back in with us At the End of the Month
We love to hear from you and how you have implemented any of the information found in our blogs. If this post inspired you to go organic in any area of your life, even if it was something as simple as choosing organic apples on your next shopping trip, we want to hear from you. Stop by our Facebook page and let us know if you participated in Organic September.