Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Brrr! Time to Bundle Up!


Check out this great guide from the thegreenguide.com on what to look for and how to save some extra money when purchasing blankets and comforters.

"Throwing an extra heavy blanket or comforter on your bed in winter can save the planet, sort of. For every degree you turn down the thermostat, you keep up to 320 pounds of greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere over the course of the season. Here's what to look for in a blanket that's as easy on the planet as you are.

Eco-Fibers: As a rule, softer, breathable natural fibers such as cotton and wool—even if they are not ecologically produced—are always preferable to petrochemical fabrics like polyester.

When possible, choose organic cotton, which is grown without synthetic pesticides or genetically engineered seeds. You can also find Fair Trade Certified cotton, although it's use in sheets is rare.

For blankets and comforter batting, choose wool over polyester, and look for organic or "Pure-Grow" wool, which come from ranches that don't dip their sheep in pesticide baths. Ask the manufacturer or retailer whether their wool is treated with mothproofing insecticides, which should also be avoided.

Chemical-Free Dyes: People who prefer colored sheets to brighten up their d├ęcor should look for either heavy-metal-free or vegetable-based dyes. A product that uses "SKAL-certified" dyes means that they are free of heavy metals. Also, check out FoxFiber™ "color-grown" cotton, which is bred (not genetically-modified) to grow in different colors, though usually only browns, beiges and greens. Color-grown cotton is also less likely to fade in the wash than dyed cotton.

Chlorine-Free Bleaching: Opt for unbleached or chlorine-free bleached products. Conventional cotton, and some organic cotton, is bleached with chlorine after harvesting in a process that releases cancer-causing dioxin into the atmosphere.

Shopping Tips:

  • Avoid textiles labeled permanent press, no-iron, crease-resistant, shrink-proof, stretch-proof, water repellent or water-proofed. Some finishes, such as those to prevent stains and wrinkles, can release formaldehyde into the air.

  • Look for products that are machine-washable to keep dust and allergen levels at a minimum (wool is naturally inhospitable to dust mites).

  • Allergy sufferers and asthmatics should also avoid bedding and comforters stuffed with down feathers, which may cause allergies to flare up."

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