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Green Purse Alerts!

Why My Purse is Green

Because I believe…

  • the fastest, most effective way to stop polluters is by pressuring them in the marketplace
  • women can be the world’s most powerful economic and environmental force if we intentionally shift our spending to the best green products and services
  • women have the power right now to solve many of our most serious environmental problems by using our green purses to make a difference
  • women must act – intentionally, collectively, and with the full force of our purse power behind us – if we hope to leave our children and grandchildren a better world.
  • « July 2012 | Main | September 2012 »

    August 29, 2012

    "Baby" Box Helps New Moms Find Safer, Greener Lotions, Jammies & Food

    Mom-and-baby  Whether you're a new mom or your kids are a little older, you're probably always on the look-out for non-toxic and healthy products that will help keep your child happy and safe. EcoCentric Mom makes your job a lot easier every month by sending out sample boxes of new products you should at least know about when you go shopping.

    I have the enviable job of reviewing EcoCentric Mom's samples each month. My August "baby box" arrived recently, full of products I wish had been around when my own two children were younger. Thanks to EcoCentric Mom, I now know about some terrific options that are worth switching to if you use more conventional brands:

    Ecover Natural Dishwashing Liquid - I've used Ecover clothes washing detergent and dish washer powder for a while now, but I hadn't given their dishwashing liquid a try until now. It foams nicely, does a great
    Ecoverjob cutting grease, and given my sensitivity to synthetic fragrances, I appreciate that the scent is naturally derived from grapefruit and green tea. This month's box came with a nice sized sample, plus a coupon for $1.00 off any Ecover dishwashing products.

    Lunch Skins - Just in time for day care, pre-school, or full-day school lunch boxes, these reusable sandwich bags can be used a thousand times. They're BPA, lead, and phthalate free, and handsewn in the USA by a local family business. If they get dirty, just toss them in the dishwasher.

    Molly's Suds - This laundry powder does the job minus fragrances, dyes, formaldehyde, 1,4-dioxane and phosphate. It has not been tested on animals, and is ultra concentrated so a little goes a long way. Though formulated for kids, you can wash your laundry in it, too.  

    Continue reading ""Baby" Box Helps New Moms Find Safer, Greener Lotions, Jammies & Food" »

    August 22, 2012

    Simple, Non-Toxic Ways to Protect Yourself from West Nile Virus

    Mosquito biteWest Nile Virus is on the rise in the United States, a consequence of the climate change that is bringing more extreme weather conditions to many parts of the country. The Centers for Disease Control report that, "since 1999, 30,000 people have been reported as getting sick with West Nile Virus. Occasionally, an infected person may develop more severe disease such as “West Nile encephalitis,” “West Nile meningitis” or “West Nile meningoencephalitis. refers to an inflammation of the brain, meningitis is an inflammation of the membrane around the brain and the spinal cord, and meningoencephalitis refers to inflammation of the brain and the membrane surrounding it. Almost 13,000 of the individuals who have been reported as having West Nile virus since 1999 have been seriously ill, and more than 1,200 have died."

    There are two ways to protect yourself from mosquitoes: reduce the number of mosquitoes in your area, and reduce your chances of being bitten.

    REDUCE BREEDING

    Mosquitoes breed anywhere there is standing water. The key to reducing mosquito populations is to limit the places where they can reproduce.

    * Empty standing pools of water. Especially after it rains, keep an eye out for standing pools of water that provide perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Those include baby pools, watering cans, old tires, gutters and drains, buckets, and pretty much anything else that can trap water long enough for a mosquito to lay its eggs.

    * Keep water moving in ponds and fountains. Use a small pump to keep water circulating, or put some fish or frogs in the pond to eat up mosquito larvae.

    Continue reading "Simple, Non-Toxic Ways to Protect Yourself from West Nile Virus" »

    August 18, 2012

    How Can Reusing One Cup Save 24 Trees?

    Here's the clearest explanation I've seen of why it's so important to use a reusable mug, cup or water bottle, courtesy of Shane at Environmental Booty and her client, Factory Direct.

    Why-reuse-a-cup

    August 16, 2012

    Safe, Eco-Friendly Lunch Boxes Save Money and Reduce Waste, Too

    Research commissioned by the Center for Environmental Health in Oakland, California showed that the lining in some kids' lunch boxes contained high levels of lead. Lead can harm children even in minute amounts because it hinders brain development and can cause a variety of behavior and other developmental disorders. Children may be exposed to the lead in lunch boxes if they eat food that's touched the box directly or if they handle the boxes and then put their hands in their mouths.

    Other lunch boxes may be made from PVC plastic. Says the National Institutes of Health, "Because of PVC’s heavy chlorine content, dioxins are released during the manufacturing, burning, or landfilling of PVC. Exposure to dioxins can cause reproductive, developmental, and other health problems, and at least one dioxin is classified as a carcinogen. Dioxins, phthalates, and BPA are suspected to be endocrine disruptors, which are chemicals that may interfere with the production or activity of hormones in the human endocrine system. Exposure to PVC dust may cause asthma and affect the lungs." In other words, avoid PVC!

    Because you can't tell by appearance whether a vinyl lunch box may contain lead, CEH advises parents to avoid buying vinyl lunch boxes altogether. You can test any vinyl lunch boxes you already own using a hand-held lead testing kit. If your hardware store doesn't carry one, you can find one from LeadCheck. There is no independent way you can determine whether the plastic lunch box you buy also contains PVC. My recommendation is that if you have a vinyl lunch box - one that seems to be made from soft, flexible plastic - you should probably throw it away. 

    SAFER LUNCH BOX OPTIONS

    Pack your kids' lunch in a stainless steel box, cloth bag, or bag that has been independently tested to prove that it is lead- and PVC-free.  Many hardware stores now carry cloth and stainless steel options. Here's what we've found (and that we sell for your convenience in our Amazon store):

    Kids konserve lunch bagKids Konserve Insulated Lunch Sack - This reusable lunch sack (left) is made with no BPA, lead-free insulation. An inside pocket holds an ice pack. When kids are finished with it, they can roll it down and tuck it away in their backpack.

    Blue Avocado Insulated Lunch Tote - This tote features a PVC insulated liner, an exterior holster for housing a water bottle, and an over-the-shoulder messenger style adjustable strap. The bag can be folded into an attached pouch when kids are done with it. The exterior fabric is constructed from 50% recycled polyester made from plastic bottles and recycled yarn.

    Mimi the Sardine Organic Cotton Lunch Bag -This organic cotton bag is coated on both sides with a PVC-free, water-based acrylic that is water- and stain-resistant. It can be wiped clean, or throw it in the machine (wash in cool or warm water, not hot), and tumble dry on low or air dry.  

    Continue reading "Safe, Eco-Friendly Lunch Boxes Save Money and Reduce Waste, Too" »

    Swap School Supplies for Green, Eco-Friendly Back-to-School "Shopping" That Doesn't Break the Bank

    Back-to-school shopping can put a real dent in a family’s budget and create a carbon footprint a mile Investing 2wide. Why not set up a school supplies swap with your neighbors before you go shopping? You'll green the shopping beast and save money, too. Another bonus? you'll reduce clutter and teach the kids to share.

    * Check the kids' supplies list. Most kids will bring home a list from school, or you'll be able to download one from the school's web site. Ask your child to cross off what you already have or don't want to buy, then circle what's left. When you go swapping (or shopping), work from the list.

    • Make an inventory of what you already have. Most families have enough pencils, crayons, glue, tape and markers left over from the previous year to start the new year just fine. In fact, many of us have way too much of this stuff. Figure out what your kids need now, and put aside a few extras for later in the year when your own supplies run up. Then box up your extras so they're easy to exchange.

    * Set up a swap in your front yard or garage. Invite neighbors who have their own items to swap.Designate different tables for pens and pencils, crayons and markers, paper and folders, lunch boxes, backpacks, and sporting gear. Ask that everything that's brought be clean and usable. When it comes to lunch boxes, ask that they be metal, plastic free of phthalates and PVC, or cloth. People should bring their own reusable bags to cart their swapped items home in.

    * Donate leftovers to a day-care center, or to a charity that provides school supplies to kids in need. 

     If you still need to go shopping when the swap is over...

    Continue reading "Swap School Supplies for Green, Eco-Friendly Back-to-School "Shopping" That Doesn't Break the Bank" »

    August 15, 2012

    Sign Up Now to Get Tomorrow's Free Newsletter Featuring Eco & Safe Lunch Boxes & Other Green Back-to-School Tips

    Lunch boxDon't miss tomorrow's free e-newsletter, featuring easy links to eco-friendly, non-toxic lunch boxes that will save you $15-$20 a week on throwaway school lunch wrappings. 

    Plus:

    * Other money-saving, back-to-school tips and links

    * Energy-saving back-up lights so you won't be in the dark when the next power outtage strikes

    * An introduction to my new refrigerator

     

    Wait, there's more!


    How do your kids save energy? If they tell their story - in words, pictures, drawings, video - they could win a new phone, computer monitor, or television. Get the scoop in Big Green Purse Alerts tomorrow!

    Mom boxAND...

    Learn more about EcoCentric Mom, a monthly subscription to Mom, Mom-to-Be and Baby boxes that help you find non-toxic and eco-friendly cleaning and beauty products.

     

    Sign up here. It's free.

     

     

     

     

     

    August 14, 2012

    Essay Contest Gives Kids a Chance to Show What They Really Know About Saving Energy – and Win Some Prizes, Too.

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    What do your kids really know about saving energy? Here’s your chance to find out. Team ENERGY STAR, the Environmental Protection Agency’s program to teach kids about energy efficiency, is holding an essay contest for kids. The purpose of the contest is two-fold.  First and foremost, Team ENERGY STAR wants to recognize kids for the wonderful steps they’re taking to use energy more efficiently, and they’ve got all kinds of great prizes to award to show their appreciation. But here’s another important reason: They want to inspire other kids to use energy more efficiently, too.

    The Essay Contest: It couldn’t be simpler. Kids who submit an essay to the Share Your Story page and then click on the DoSomething Team ENERGY STAR Challenge immediately become eligible for a number of prizes, including:

    • The new Lorax DVD, which will go to the first 100 kids to submit essays
    • 25 winners will receive ENERGY STAR certified electronics products donated by LG Electronics, including televisions, computer monitors, smart phones, and mouse scanners
    • Top winners will also be featured in Times Square on the LG billboard.
    • Plus, some of the winners may have a chance to participate in ENERGY STAR day in October with EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson.

    Essays will be judged based on the following:

    • Creativity/Ingenuity: How did you use Team ENERGY STAR resources to develop a home energy-saving idea that both worked for your family and saved energy? Make sure you explain the energy-saving approach and its relationship to ENERGY STAR as well as how it fits with your family. For example, where your home energy-saving opportunities are and how your family functions day to day.
    • Energy Savings: How effective was your idea in engaging the family to save energy? How much energy was saved? Explain how you and your family implemented your idea. For example, what worked, what didn't, and why you think it was successful. What did you learn from the process and how do you plan to use your ideas and lessons learned to keep saving energy?

    The “essay” can be a written story; a photo essay; a video; a slide show; a drawing; or any other way kids want to show what they have learned about energy efficiency, just so long as it can be uploaded to the ENERGY STAR story page here. Kids can submit stories any time between now and September 17.   Prizewinners will be announced by October 10.

    Continue reading "Essay Contest Gives Kids a Chance to Show What They Really Know About Saving Energy – and Win Some Prizes, Too." »

    August 06, 2012

    7 Reasons Why You Should Get a Tree Survey

    A much-loved part of our natural scenery, trees bring harmony, tranquility, health and environmental well-being to a community. They add beauty to our yards and streets. They provide welcome shade on hot days. Tree2They act as a natural windbreak, muffle street sounds and other noise, and provide important habitat for wildlife. They help filter the air, keeping it cleaner and safer to breathe. Trees are also a great investment. A home with trees is consistently worth more than a home with no trees at all. 

    In Nature, trees thrive "on their own," adapting to the climate where they grow and the elements that shape them. But in our communities, trees can become an awkward obstacle instead of a valuable asset if they're not taken care of. Weather conditions or disease can make them dangerously unstable. Branches and roots may cause extensive damage to homes and buildings. Overgrown foliage can block light. 

    You might occasionally "eyeball" your tree to see if it's healthy. But especially if you have mature trees on your property, it's worth investing in a professional tree survey to make sure your trees are in good shape. Arbtech, the UK's leading provider of tree surveys and the sponsor of this post, says there are five specific reasons why it's a good idea to have an arborist survey your trees. 

    1) Keep trees healthy. Most of the plants in our landscape need to be fed, watered, and pruned to stay healthy and beautiful. But we have a tendency to ignore trees because they're so big! An arborist can examine your tree and recommend simple steps you can take to protect the investment you've already made in planting and maintaining the tree. This survey can become a valuable management tool for your property. 

    Continue reading "7 Reasons Why You Should Get a Tree Survey" »

    Want to Try Eco-Friendly Shampoo, Lip Gloss and Laundry Detergent? Get a “Mom” Box

    It can be terribly confusing to figure out what products are “green” and which ones are being “greenwashed” just so companies can make a buck on consumers’ desires to be more eco-friendly. IMG_1844 EcoCentric Mom has come to the rescue! Every month, EcoCentric Mom sends its members boxes of products that have passed its environmental standards as a way to help people like you and me find items that fit with our cleaner, safer lifestyle. EcoCentric Mom has hired me to provide expertise on their website and to provide impartial reviews of the products they’re finding for you.  Here is my review of my first Mom box (there are also Mom-to-Be and Baby boxes), which included several products that were new to me, and some I’d heard about. 

    Tree Hugger Bubble Gum – I usually don’t chew a lot of gum, primarily because some of it contains plastic, and a lot of it is made with artificial flavors and colors. Not so Tree Hugger Gum. The 20 or so gumballs in every bag are bursting with flavors naturally derived from fruits and spices like orange mandarin berry, peppermint, lemon e. lemonade, cinnamon spice, and tangerine dream. Yum!

    Orgain – This certified organic power drink contains 16 grams of organic protein, 24 vitamins and minerals, heart healthy fiber, and a mix of organic fruits and vegetables like pomegranate, green tea extract, kale, beets, spinach, carrots, tomatoes, blueberries and more. All that without the caffeine, preservatives, gluten, corn syrup, saturated fat, hormones or antibiotics found in other popular energy drinks. My son, who is a body builder, downed the chocolate Orgain that came in this month’s Mom Box and pronounced it “delicious!”

    Continue reading "Want to Try Eco-Friendly Shampoo, Lip Gloss and Laundry Detergent? Get a “Mom” Box" »

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