It is scary to discover what is lurking in our pillows. The standard pillow is made with synthetic down or poly-fill and is full of chemicals, like fire retardants and off-gas. When buying a pillow, especially for your child consider eco-friendly materials. Pillows can be filled with organic cotton, wool, real down or even kapok (a tree fiber).
Making pillows is a rewarding and fun activity to do with kids. Consider going to a used clothing store and make an adventure out of finding materials. Used natural material especially cotton contain less chemicals and by using them you are keeping items from entering our already full land-fills. You can purchase eco-friendly material for stuffing pillows from lots of places. Call your local fabric store to see what they have in stock or order on-line. Even if your fabric store does not carry an eco-friendly option by asking for it you are encouraging them to do so in the future. Most stores show interest in selling something if they realize there is a demand for it.
Even the most inexperienced of sewers can make a simple pillow. Simply cut two pieces of material (of equal size) to the size you want your pillow to be. Sew (inside out) by hand or by machine all the edges except one, which you sew later after it is stuffed. Turn right-side out and stuff with your eco-friendly material. Sew the opening closed and voilà! Your pillow is finished. Making pillows can become an art. Attaching old buttons or other appendages can be really fun for kids. Learning how to make items that are eco-friendly and within a small budget can be a valuable learning experience for kids as well as bonding time while you make your home warm, colourful and non-toxic.
If you do not want to make your own pillows try to find someone locally who does make them or check in your local stores or on-line for an eco-friendly alternative Sometimes it is greener and more eco-friendly to keep the old synthetic pillow that you have (it has likely already released off-gas) then it is to throw it in the garbage and buy a new one. That said, when it is time to buy a pillow, natural fibers are assuredly the better option. Some people take old pillows in-order to repurpose them into new items. Consider a recycling program or the like when disposing of your old pillows.
In the image: Eco-friendly owl throw pillow hand-made by mom Kate Prandy from EarthLab. Click image to view Kate’s items for sale.