It's no secret we love all things non-toxic and organic, so being a member of this community and for this month's blog we decided to take a close look into the world of the Chemical Free Community and chat to the lovely founder, Jillian Exton! Read on to find out more about how to start a less toxic way of living.
What is the Chem Free Community Directory?
The Chemical Free Community is about education, awareness and making it easy for folks to find non toxic and less toxic alternatives (food, products and services- including services such as hairdresser, pest control, vet services, dental, dry cleaning etc.) via our online global directory ChemFreeCom.com. We are focused on transparency, B2C and B2B. We also want to help the chemical free industry grow.
For example: We were exhibiting in Dubai, United Arab Emirates a few years a go. A fellow dropped in for a chat and said his product was baby wipes, we asked if they were chemical free. He responded, “No, but I would like them to be”. We had Shirley Conlon Organics with us on the exhibit, who happened to be a formulator, so he left our booth with all the contacts and the next steps for him to transition his product to a non toxic option. It was so exciting!
We’d like to think we are ‘sustainability on steroids’, taking the starting point from saving the planet to saving ourselves first. If we do that, then inherently we save the planet.
What made you start the Chem Free Community?
There are 2 reasons that prompted ChemFreeCom.
The first, like 1 in 8 women, I’ve had a cancer experience. I’m a breasty graduate! My adventure with cancer provided me with many lessons. In choosing not to devalue my experience, these learning’s have prompted me to contribute to the education of prevention of illness and disease. Many people post cancer become active in fund raising for a cure, I seem to be more comfortable focusing my energies on prevention rather then cure.
While I was evaluating how I would reduce my risk of cancer reoccurrence I made the connection between toxic chemicals and cancer, particularly EDC’s (Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals). That led me into looking for safer alternatives across all aspects of life. Initially food, but the list got longer, dry cleaning, paints and carpets, mattresses, clothing, accommodation…
I know we can never be Chemical Free, as everything is a chemical and there are good chemicals we need for good health. It’s about living in a ‘Chemical Free state of mind’ where every purchase of a product or service the one that is the least toxic option.
The second, is that as expected, while on the cancer adventure you tend to re-evaluate life and your purpose. I would like to leave a legacy that contributes to the health and wellness of our community, our global community…
What types of business and services can you find on the Chem Free Community?
We have all types of businesses, those who are 100% certified organic and toxic chemical free and those that are less toxic than the conventional. Just as an individual will have a tendency to progress from a toxic life to a less toxic life, so can a business and we want to support them through the transition.
There may be a fruit shop that is testing the water and 25% of their produce is certified. A café that buys 40% of their produce from the local farmer that is not certified but follows an organic farming practices or a dry cleaner that offers both conventional and wet cleaning which is a less toxic option. Some businesses produce a product that although include a percentage of certified organic ingredients they choose not to have the end product certified.
We created the ‘Chemical Free Status’ on a business listing for businesses to estimate their % of their entire product range, ingredient list or service offering that is...certified organic, biodynamic, pesticide spray free, toxic chemical free and even certified at point of origin. So as a user you can better understand what they have to offer.
We cover the entire supply chain, manufactures, distributors, wholesalers, retailers, as well as educational resources, what courses, speakers, advocacy groups are out there to access. We added an events calendar for our supplier members to promote their chemically free oriented events.
We have products and services that you would probably not know to look for. Formaldehyde free funeral caskets and funeral services, and products, like SwimSpray that remove chlorine from your skin after swimming in a chlorinated pool. There are some amazing non toxic products hitting the market.
Who would use this site and how do they connect with it?
Typically there are 3 groups:
- Those who are already converted, who live and breath organic and chemical free.
- There are those that have had a health trigger and start to join the dots between chemicals and illness/disease and,
- There is also growing awareness amongst ‘parents to be’ or new parents who are starting to question what they are putting in, on and around their children. They are using our library of information (videos, books and apps) to become more informed.
Connect with us on social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+.
What do you see as the future of the Chem Free Community?
I see ChemFreeCom as the ‘Google’ for non toxic and less toxic everything. Where businesses can connect to collaborate. Where you can access learning opportunities and events. We know we are new and have so much to do. We have not even scratched the surface of what is now available.
As for the year ahead:
Continue to gather more exciting no/low toxic businesses on the global directory Increase the access to our educational material and workshops to reach more families and increase awareness of the need to manage our toxic load.
Continue to attend expos/in-store event to increase awareness and invite our members to join us to promote their business under the Chemical Free Community banner and share the costs. Most of these expos are expensive and are cost prohibitive for many of our members so sharing the cost makes a lot of sense.
Expand our print media presence. We are currently connected with a number of locally based and national magazines in Australia who we have secured a regular spot in their monthly magazines.
Consolidate our promotional channels and grow our members.
To be honest, ChemFreeCom keeps morphing and responding to member and user needs. We’ve added membership logos, Member Meet Up events and in-store workshops, all driven by member requests.
So who knows where we will end up!
Images via unsplash (excludes main image)