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4 Organic New Year’s resolutions 12.12.07

With the present wrapping recycled and the excess Christmas pudding composted, for the perfect eco-friendly end to your festive holiday why not see in the New Year with these top four revitalising and ethical ideas from the Soil Association

1] New Year organic smoothies to detox and revitalise your system

After champagne and chocolates galore why not try an organic smoothie recipe to blast those toxins and make a clean, energised start to the year. Choose organic fruit and veg to avoid pesticide residues and GM. Also studies have shown that organic fruit and veg have higher vitamin and mineral levels, and lower water content meaning you get more carrot for your carrot!

See http://www.soilassociation.org/nutrition

[2] Extend the detox to your bathroom cabinet With the New Year comes the opportunity for a new you, so why not try and introduce some organic health and beauty products into your wake-up regime. Conventional bathroom products can contain hundreds of synthetic ingredients, many of which can potentially cause a host of allergic reactions and be harmful to your health. This is why the Soil Association has set up strict certification standards for organic health and beauty products, ensuring that organic ingredients are used wherever available as well as implementing a ban on a number of irritant cosmetic solvents and foaming agents.

Easy steps to an organic bathroom:

* Check for the Soil Association label when buying organic health and beauty products to avoid harmful ingredients such as parabens, sodium lauryl sulphate, petro-chemicals, nanotech and GM

* Switch to organic essential oils to add your favourite scents to products and avoid synthetic fragrances - cited as the most frequent cause (up to one third) of allergies from cosmetics

* Beauty enthusiasts should try to reduce the number of products they use each day. There is much concern about the ’cocktail’ effects of combining chemicals. Many women use over 20 different products a day, bombarding themselves with 100s of different chemicals

* Visit the Soil Association online Organic Directory for a great range of products to choose from – http://www.whyorganic.org

* Check out the Soil Association website for more information on organic health and beauty – http://www.soilassociation.org/healthandbeauty

[3] Book an organic mini-break

With over 150 Soil Association accredited hotels, B&Bs and farmhouses across the UK, there are organic New Year breaks to suit everyone. You could relax in a quiet self-catering cottage with an organic veg-box delivery or wake up to a full organic breakfast at one of many farmhouse B&Bs and take a tour of the farm. If you fancy getting a little closer to nature you could book a weekend away at one of the many accredited campsites with local organic farm shops. A sure way to relax and refresh before getting back to the office.

Around two thirds of the places listed offer hot meals. Many offer organic certified restaurants, kitchens, vineyards and gardens. All places listed aim to use organic, local produce wherever possible, ranging from 50% to 100% organic.

Visit ‘Organic Places to Stay’ on the Soil Association’s WhyOrganic website for full details - http://www.whyorganic.org/involved_placesToStay.asp

[4] Wrap up warm with ethical textiles

See the winter through in ethical style with the help of our online Organic Directory which offers comprehensive listings for the UK’s top organic clothing suppliers. Organic fashion has never been so popular and available - look gorgeous under the mistletoe in a guilt-free party dress, get your knickers in an eco-twist, wrap up in organic winter woolies, knit a Christmas gift with certified organic wool and purchase a pair of pesticide free jeans for your partner.

People are increasingly becoming interested in the stories behind their clothing, and the many benefits of wearing organic - extending their organic lifestyles beyond the food they eat to the clothes they wear. From sportswear and babywear, to evening dresses and sexy lingerie, whether you want to be smart, funky or casual you can be sure to find something for all occasions.

Visit the Soil Association textiles webpage for more info on organic clothes and where to find them - http://www.soilassociation.org/textiles

Reasons to cotton on to organic clothes for New Year:

* Non-organic cotton farming uses one quarter of the world’s pesticides causing damage to the environment, sinking farmers into debt, causing illness and even death. According to the World Health Organisation, 20,000 deaths occur in developing countries each year from pesticide poisoning, many of these are attributed to cotton production

* Socially acceptable – organic cotton farmers in developing countries report higher incomes plus using viable alternatives to chemicals protects their health

* Avoidance of GM – GM cotton is grown commercially in many countries so choosing organic cotton is the best way to avoid buying GM cotton

* Avoid hazardous chemicals – over 8000 chemicals can be used to turn cotton into a t-shirt or duvet cover. Soil Association organic standards ban the use of any chemicals that are hazardous to the environment or health

* No more excuses! Stylish organic clothing and household textiles are now widely available so there’s no longer a compromise between style and organic integrity.

Another great way to keep up to date with all the latest in organic is of course to join the Soil Association, you don’t need to be a farmer to become a member and support the Association’s work.

Visit the Soil Association ’Join Us’ webpage for more info - http://www.soilassociation.org/joinus

Peter Shield

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