Have you ever wondered... what is really in the wipes, sprays, pumps and jars of disinfectants that are flying off of the shelves right now?!
If not, no worries. It wasn't until recently that I paused to think about it myself.
Along my journey to sustainable living, I am working to be mindful and aware of what I am putting both into and onto my body. Nothing beats soap and water. But hand sanitizer is around and ever so tempting... And the more I use it, the more I notice my hands peeling and cracking.
I'm going to be completely honest with you right now. As a business owner I have been totally conflicted on how to handle the situation.
Side 1: Common disinfectants.
If you're unaware of what those are the include: Sodium Hypochlorite, Quaternary Ammonium and Ethanol.
I am by no means an expert please know that. But the research I have done shows that these ingredients kill off all layers and life of micro-organisms. They are a biocide.
I'll let you do your own research on that word and we can discuss another time.
Now I probably have you thinking... we want to get rid of the bad stuff so that's a good thing Megan!!!
BUT we also want to keep the good bacteria as well. As I strive to keep heathy micro-organisms in my compost (you know the good ones that help our plants and guts grow strong and healthy).
**Fresh bread from one of my compost Ambassadors, Emily**
**Wedding gift from my best friend Marissa**
Side 2: Healthy holistic habits.
Respecting the EPA, CDC, and really everyone I've landed on the following four principles:
- My customers and I need to remain safe above anything else.
- As a business owner I need to do everything I can to prevent the spread of covid-19.
- I need to ensure my actions align with my values - treat others as I would want to be treated (shout out to my Momma for that one). Which leads me to my final thought...
- Transparency to my customers is KEY.
The original disinfectant I landed on using for my bins is a mixture of vinegar, purification oil*, water and lavender oil.
**After doing some intense research for this post, I have also elected to add in 70% alcohol (ethanol) to the mixture**
8 drops purification oil
8 drops lavender oil
4 drops lemon oil
4 drops peppermint oil
I chose to add in alcohol after researching on the CDC's site on approved disinfectants. This gets back to my number four values described above. I want you to feel safe and assured that I am doing everything I can do keep covid-19 away from my customers.
A couple of other notes, you may or may not be thinking about. In the nature of true transparency...
Plastic: recent studies at the NIH (National Institute of Health) show that covid-19 can remain on plastic for 2-3 days
Our bins are plastic... We are keeping them out in the sun (UV is a natural disinfectant) and will not be recycling bins that have been at another location within 2-3 days. We will still be disinfecting the bin at the drop-off location!
Compost: "the family of viruses including COVID-19 is made up primarily of protein and it is an enveloped virus, with a fragile outer membrane. Generally, enveloped viruses are less stable in the environment and are more susceptible to oxidants, such as chlorine. Other studies concur, noting that the human coronaviruses transmissable (gastroenteritis coronavirus)....demonstrated a 99.9% die-off in from 2 days (9) at 23° C to 2 weeks (10) at 25° C. Heat, high or low pH, sunlight and common disinfectants (such as chlorine) all facilitate die off.", an email from the US Composting Council
This means if the compost pile is greater than 74 degrees the coronavirus will die-off. Our piles currently run around 85-90 degrees on average.
All of this to be said, I'm not sure we have a right answer right now. I am doing the best I can with what I know but also know there is always more to know.
You and your opinion matter to me. So...
What do you think?!
****Background on what is in Purification Oil****
- Citronella oil <Cymbopogon nardus>
- Mostly used as an aromatic. External uses are primarily for insect (mosquito) repellant. This is commonly found in citronella candles.
- Rosemary leaf oil <Rosmarinus officinalis>
- "High in antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory compounds", 6 Benefits and Uses of Rosemary Tea, Healthline
- Lemongrass oil <Cymbopogon flexuosus>
- "The compounds that make up lemongrass essential oil are known to have antifungal, insecticidal, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.", 16 Lemongrass Essential Oil Uses & Benefits, for Skin, Hair & Even House!, Dr. Axe
- Tea tree leaf oil <Melaleuca alternifolia>
- "A wealth of in vitro data now supports the long-held beliefs that TTO [Tea Tree Oil] has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.", Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil: a Review of Antimicrobial and Other Medicinal Properties, C. F. Carson, K. A. Hammer, and T. V. Riley
- Lavandin oil <Lavandula hybrida> - a hybrid of two lavender plants
- "In this review we detail the current state of knowledge about the effect of lavender oils on psychological and physiological parameters and its use as an antimicrobial agent. Although the data are still inconclusive and often controversial, there does seem to be both scientific and clinical data that support the traditional uses of lavender.", Biological activities of lavender essential oil., Cavanagh HM, Wilkinson JM.
- **Note: This article also references that it is extremely important it is ACTUALLY true lavender extract - some oils misuse this and are not transparent. Trust your brand.
- Myrtle oil <Myrtus communis>
- "Research shows that Myrtle essential oil can prevent the growth and development of 5 different types of bacteria. These include; Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, Salmonella species, and Listeria species. It can help to inhibit infections and also functions as an antiseptic making it an excellent herb for wound cleaning and healing.", Myrtle Benefits, Indigo Herbs