News : Green Mom Interview: Elise Weeks and Megan Keogh

Nov 18, 2013

Published in the Portsmouth, Hampton-North Hampton, Exeter, Andover, and North Andover Patches on November 18th, 2013.

BY MEGHAN CURTIS
Green Alliance Writer

A green lifestyle is, was, and will continue to be, a part of Elise Weeks’ and Megan Keogh’s daily activities. As new moms, both women are finding ways to incorporate their interest in sustainability into raising a child. A shifting list of priorities, however, has not taken away their interest and devotion to a green world.

As co-founders and owners of Pixels & Pulp, a sustainable design business dedicated to creating design that is effective, enticing, and eco-friendly, Weeks and Keogh consider sustainability the main driver behind everything they do. The business operates through personal connection with clients, promising that their needs are being met at all times. Creating such personal relationships with customers that go beyond the job allows for needs and desires to be consistently heard and accomplished.

However, personal connections are not the only outstanding operation worth mentioning. Through a detailed goal of incorporating eco-friendly practices into nearly every aspect of design, the final products are the greenest products possible. Whether Pixels & Pulp is sourcing the best Forest Stewardship Council certified paper, to using vegetable-based inks and chemical-free finishing processes, clients are promised a desirable, less wasteful product. All the while, the two women keep within the budget limits set by each client. Out of the box ideas and creative thinking are at the forefront of every project, and thus, as a result, both the client and the environment benefit.

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Furthermore, the business is run through at-home offices. Both Weeks and Keogh working from home means every sustainable activity done at home is also done at the office. The reduction in travel costs, alone, creates a business as green as it comes.
“We have tried to stop going out for coffee, and instead find other ways to meet,” remarked Keogh. Skype has been the best and easiest way to discuss business issues. The video app also gives the women a chance to watch each other’s daughters grow, a sight worth seeing, of course.

In terms of at home, and in the office, Weeks and Keogh utilize several energy- and money-saving activities to give their workplace a more green status. Weeks heats her home with a pellet stove, reducing the burning of fossil fuels. Alongside that, both women recycle, compost, and limit wasteful activities. At home, or in the office, sustainability is being incorporated.

With the eco-friendly business initiatives Pixels & Pulp is known for, it would be accurate to assume that family operations are treated in the same manner. As most new moms can agree, raising children can be a consumptive operation. Waste is inevitable, and thus, how to dispose of this waste can be an end-all, or an eco-conscientious process. This is where Weeks and Keogh exceed.

With a 4-month-old daughter, Weeks has just recently begun her journey toward cloth diapers. After realizing just how wasteful non-reusable diapers are on the wallet and the environment, it was a no-brainer to turn to the alternative, that being cloth diapers. “Every time I do a load of laundry, I can’t help but be so happy that we aren’t throwing away old diapers, especially since they are so expensive,” said Weeks.

Beyond cloth diapers, the two utilize local consignment shops for most baby clothes, supplies and toys. Goodwill and Lots for Tots have hand-me-down clothes and supplies that are cheaper than surrounding stores. Since babies are constantly growing out of different sizes, shopping at consignment stores lowers the highly consumptive act of purchasing everything new.

These two green moms appear to have simple, homemade remedies for just about any baby-related good or service. For example, we all have seen and used baby wipes. Just look in the back of your car, or in the passenger seat pocket, and you are bound to find one, if not two containers of these wet naps. In the Keogh household, however, that same container does not exist. Instead, homemade baby wipes are a must. Using a recipe from the Internet, Keogh uses already purchased paper towels, baby shampoo or wash, and oils to make her own baby wipes. With much fewer toxins, these wipes promise a healthy, happy baby at less expense. Weeks has plans to start making use of this same recipe and will begin in no time.

Not to mention, both mothers regularly incorporate fun, eco-friendly activities into their days. The Portland farmers market is at the top of the list for Keogh, who noted that “entertainment at the market is limitless, and sometimes, there are even guys juggling fire around. Aleta loves seeing all of the dogs and kids running around the market.”
Alongside taking her daughter to the market, Keogh has just recently discovered the local library and all it offers in terms of used books, music, and children’s activities. This resource has provided her and her daughter with entertainment that would have otherwise been overlooked.

Weeks takes walks with her daughter, giving both that much-needed time outdoors. Eventually she plans to teach Amelia how to grow food, using the garden at home. This will give her daughter a great opportunity to learn where food comes from, what it takes to produce the food, and give real value to each bite. Weeks has more ambitious plans of establishing a chicken coop, and harvesting her own eggs as well, all of which will require help from Amelia.

Weeks and Keogh also have some green tips they would like to share. For example, both advise to always store breast milk in glass jars to ensure no toxins leach into the milk. Also, do not underestimate the effectiveness of cloth diapers; they will save on money and waste. Lastly, shopping at consignment shops such as Goodwill and Lots for Tots, where baby clothing, toys, and supplies are constantly available, saves you money, and saves the environment from wasting resources.

With a network of friends and other mothers sharing information, Weeks and Keogh have learned that raising a child is just another way to incorporate green practices in their lives. A green life, a green business, and now two very green daughters, are just some of the things that make Weeks and Keogh great business owners and mothers.

Pixels & Pulp is a Business Partner of the Green Alliance, a union of local sustainable businesses promoting environmentally sound business practices and a green co-op offering discounted green products and services to its members.

For more information about Pixels & Pulp, visit http://www.pixelsandpulp.com/.

For more information about the Green Alliance, visit www.greenalliance.biz.