I was a tree-hugger during my teenage years. Birkenstocks were in, recycling was all the rage, and I gave up meat after reading my first issue of PETA. In college, I picked up a burger and eschewed my grungy look in favor of something more sorority-like, but never gave up on recycling. To this day I still dive into the trash after my husband’s Diet Coke cans. I also buy mostly organic, free-range, and local when possible. I turn off the lights, take short showers, and plan to drive my car into the ground.
But I’m no saint. An Inconvenient Truth definitely got to me. How could it not – I am a consumer. I prefer cashmere to hemp and Chanel to patchouli oil. I love my air conditioner. So it was with some skepticism that I attended the Living Green Expo this past weekend. (The Got Milkweed? bumper stickers in the parking lot didn’t help.) What I found, however, surprised me.
Sure there were smelly soaps, braless women, and chalky snacks. On the other hand, there was the creamiest chocolate soymilk ever, from Organic Valley; gorgeous outdoor furniture made from recycled milk jugs, by Duluth’s loll designs; funky “non-leather” bags from Fast & Furless (my friend Caitlin has her eye on a cherry-red messenger); the most fashionable organic cotton tank and softest bamboo hoodie from Birch Clothing; modern hand wash from Method, and my new favorite thing: household cleaning products from Shaklee. I read about this line in the NY Times, after the socialite-turned-owner Sloan Barrett introduced it to her closest friends. My curiosity became genuine interest when I learned that not only is the Get Clean line non-toxic, but shockingly smart. These products are so concentrated (two teaspoons of dishwasher detergent per load!) that you’ll never want to buy Windex again. Turns out my grandmother has been using the stuff for years. Which makes me wonder when we’ll see Birkenstocks on the runway. . .