By Claire Moshenberg
Wedding are whirlwinds. Even if you're the world's calmest couple, the amount of pre-wedding to-do's can be staggering. So when you do come out on the other side, when the cake has been cut and the dancing shoes have been discarded, it's time to cut back the stress. And you know what's added stress you don't need? An unwrapped pile of kitchen and home ware that is chock full of toxic chemicals.
This week, we want to make it easy for you, and your guests, to make nontoxic and less toxic choices when it comes to gift giving. Like last week's green baby registry guide, we're not pitching products. Instead, we're helping you create a nontoxic wedding registry strategy that makes sense for your life and your budget.
Choosing a china pattern: There's more to picking out a china pattern than just color and design. Use these tips from EDF and Katy Farber at Non Toxic Kids on what to avoid in china dishes:
- Home-made or handcrafted china, either from the U.S. or abroad, unless you are sure the maker used a lead-free glaze or high-temperature, commercial firing practices.
- Highly decorated, multi-colored inside surfaces (the part that touches the food and drink).
- Decorations on top of the glaze instead of beneath it. Can you feel the decoration when you rub your fingers over it? When you hold the piece at an angle to the light, can you see brush strokes above the transparent glaze surface? Has the decoration begun to wear away?
Kitchen tools: Skip the nonstick coating when it comes to kitchen tools and choose glass, cast iron, or stainless steel for your pots and pans. Use that materials guideline for anything you cook in: pots, pans, cookie sheets, muffin tins, pie plates, etc. If you're heart-set on using plastic in the kitchen, check the number on the bottom and stick to plastics numbered 2,4, and 5. And don't forget about food storage! Select glass, stainless steel, and lead-free ceramic storage containers. Find out if your ceramics are lead free by checking for a lead free certification, and check the bottom for lead warnings. The FDA recommends avoiding highly decorated ceramics, particularly in orange, red, and yellow colors. Check out Alexandra Zissu's blog "When Greening Your Kitchen, Don't Forget to Look beyond food" for more information on choosing nontoxic kitchenware.
Appliances and gadgets: Mindful Momma and Healthy Child, Healthy World have a few of your kitchen appliances covered with this list of BPA, PVC, and Pthalate free blenders and food processors. For tech gadget gifts, check out the Guide to Greener Electronics and find out where the top 18 companies rank when it comes to toxic chemicals. The Green Guide is another excellent resource, with buying guides on TVs, laptops, and major kitchen appliances.
Textiles: Bedding, table cloths, towels: There are plenty of household textiles you can request on your registry. Make sure you're choosing the safest materials for these daily use items. Your best bets are organic cotton, bamboo, and hemp materials. No matter what your bedding or bath towels are made of, make sure to avoid fabrics that have any of these terms on the label:
• Permanent press
• Water repellent or water-proofed
• California TB 117
Alternative registry ideas: The best way to avoid registering for possibly toxic stuff? Don't register for stuff, period. There are online registry services that allow guests to contribute towards anything from a honeymoon to a skydiving adventure, instead of purchasing home items. You can also take a cue from Kate and William's recent nuptials and use your registry as a way to encourage guests to donate to your favorite charity or nonprofit.
Green Honeymoon Resources Guide from the Green Bride Guide: http://www.greenbrideguide.com/plan/green-honeymoon-registry-options
10 Steps to a Green Wedding from the Sierra Club: http://sierraclub.typepad.com/greenlife/2007/03/10_steps_to_a_g.html#more
Do you have tips for setting up a nontoxic wedding registry? Leave them in the comments, or visit our Facebook page and share them with the MomsRising community.