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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.
  • March 27, 2013

    Fragrance, Fitness and Fig Bars? Only in this Month's EcoCentric Mom Box

    Ecocentric mom logo  If you like surprises, an EcoCentric Mom Box is just the thing for you. Every month, this box full of eco-goodies shows up at my door and I have no idea what's going to be inside. I hate to admit it, but I always hope there will be some new food try, and generally there is. But I'm also likely to find new cosmetics, some new kind of soap, coupons that offer significant discounts for e-stores I didn't know existed and lately, perfume. This month's box contained all that and more. The biggest surprise was a $50 gift card to itrain.com, an online source for downloadable workout programs, music, and HD videos.

    I decided to use the gift card when I would need it most: after I snarfed down the food.

    Nature's Bakery Fig Bars - These are not your normal gummy Fig Newtons! The actual cookie (see photo)  is made from stone ground whole wheat flour; yes, it tastes "healthy" - but it's delicious, too. The filling is thick, 20130327_114710hearty and flavorful. Fig filling is what you expect for a fig bar, of course. But the raspberry-filled bar was just as tasty. Other benefits: these bars are dairy free, contain zero transfats, are kosher, and are made in the USA. Definitely something I'd put in my or my kids' lunch or take to the gym with me instead of a power bar.

    Go Raw Spirulina Energy Bar - I was expecting this crunchy snack to taste, well, icky. But it's light, flavorful, and the faint banana taste might make it very popular with kids. PLUS: it's free - as in gluten, wheat, nut and GMO free. Organic, too.

    EBoost - Here's an alternative to the powdered sugary energy drinks you might be mixing up. EBoost is sugar-free, contains no artificial flavors, and has only 5 calories per serving. Add it to still or sparkling water for a refreshing drink.

    Continue reading "Fragrance, Fitness and Fig Bars? Only in this Month's EcoCentric Mom Box" »

    January 29, 2013

    Looking for New, Non-toxic Lotions, Cremes & Cleansers? Try the January EcoCentric Mom Box.

    IMG_2365 This month's EcoCentric Mom box is chock full of exactly what I need in dry winter months: soothing organic skin lotions and cremes to moisturize my hands and face, gentle soaps, and cleansers and laundry "berry drops" that put the "clean" back in cleaning.

    But first, the food.

    I've said before that, as much as I enjoy the new non-toxic products from EcoCentric Mom that I get to try every month, I particularly like sampling the different taste treats that come in each box. This month, those treats included:

    Simply 7 Snacks Lentil Chips - These flavorful snacks are made with gluten-free, non-GMO ingredients, have no preservatives, and contain nothing artificial.

    Pure Matters Pea Protein Powder, in Chocolate and Vanilla - The vegan, non-GMO, plant based protein powder can be mixed with water or milk for a shake, or added to yogurt or fruit to make a smoothie.

    PROBAR Meal Bar - A lot of energy bars disappoint - they seem too sweet, too airy, and way too full of processed ingredients. The PROBAR Meal Bar was surprisingly the opposite: very dense and chewy, tasty without being cloying, and so "natural" you could see some of the raw ingredients with every bite. I've got to say, I really liked it.

    For my dry skin...

    Continue reading "Looking for New, Non-toxic Lotions, Cremes & Cleansers? Try the January EcoCentric Mom Box." »

    January 03, 2013

    My Green Goals for 2013: Less Bathroom Plastic, More Home-Made Yogurt, Better Compost

    I learned a long time ago not to make New Year's resolutions per se. They could be so general and vague, they could also be frustratingly easy to abandon. Without accountability to anyone but myself, it didn't really seem to matter if what I resolved to do oozed away after a month or two (if I even made it that long!). And the "pay back" or reward for keeping my resolutions seemed hard to measure. Sure, I might have resolved to save more energy or use less water, but without actually measuring what I used or what I saved, there wasn't much incentive to use less or save more.

    This year is going to be different. I'm not making resolutions, I'm setting goals - specific goals that will have real environmental benefits and that I can measure with real "before" and "after" statistics.

    Though I hope I'll reduce my environmental footprint in all sorts of ways this year, I'm only setting three specific goals in the hopes that a narrower focus will lead to broader achievements.

    GOAL #1 - MAKE MY OWN YOGURT

    Organic_yogurts I eat two cups of yogurt every single day - plain, non-fat, usually Greek-style yogurt that serves as the delicious base for whatever fresh fruit happens to be in season. It's a healthy and mostly eco-friendly breakfast - marred only by the fact that I buy the yogurt in big plastic throwaway tubs. When I was in college, I had an electric yogurt maker and made my own yogurt every week. I also made yogurt by mixing milk and yogurt starter in a bowl, then keeping it in a warm oven for several hours until the whole mixture became yogurt-like. Over the years as I was busy raising kids, running a business and writing books, I've gotten away from making my own yogurt. But I'm appalled at how many plastic yogurt tubs I throw away every week. If I made my own yogurt using milk I can buy in glass bottles from my local food coop, I would go from three or four plastic tubs a week to zero. So one goal for 2013 is to start making my own yogurt.

    Do you make your own yogurt? If you have a recipe you love, please share it!

    GOAL #2 - USE NO MORE THAN THREE PRODUCTS BOTTLED IN PLASTIC IN MY BATHROOM

    Continue reading "My Green Goals for 2013: Less Bathroom Plastic, More Home-Made Yogurt, Better Compost" »

    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" »

    November 08, 2011

    Use Black Friday Sales to Try New Green Products

    PurseIf the high price of some green goods has prevented you from buying them in the past, Black Friday - and Cyber Monday, the online shopping spree that happens four days after Thanksgiving - may offer the opportunity to finally give them a try. Retailers usually slash prices 30-50%, which helps make eco-friendly products more affordable. As we get closer to the big day - November 25 - I'll let you know about bargains I think are worthwhile, not because it's Black Friday particularly, but just because I think it's a smart way to use the power of your big green purse to send a message to manufacturers that green is the best "black" there is. For now, here are categories to consider if you want to make a shopping list.

    FOOD

    Organic food can cost as much as 30% more than food that's been conventionally grown using pesticides or under inhumane conditions for animals and people. Unfortunately, it's unlikely that staples like organic milk, meat, poultry and fresh vegetables will be on sale just because it's Black Friday. But specialty foods - like chocolate, tea and coffee, nuts, and dried fruits - are likely to have their prices slashed, particularly at more conventional grocery stores where they're seen as a premium item. I expect online retailers to offer bargains on gift packs of these items - but there's no reason why you can't buy them for yourself.

    ELECTRONICS and APPLIANCES

    I hate to encourage anyone to buy more electronics, given how much e-waste is piling up. However, if you're truly in need of a new phone, tablet, computer, or printer, Black Friday is the day to buy it. Do your research now so you can aim for the most energy-efficient, eco-friendly equipment; check this Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics to pick the most environmentally responsible company for the item you want. Plan now to recycle your old equipment when you replace it; stores like Best Buy, Staples, and Office Depot accept almost any electronic device, regardless of the manufacturer. If you still don't have an energy-saving power strip, get one of those while you're at it. Appliances will include the federal government Energy Guide sticker to help you choose the refrigerator, freezer, washer or dryer that uses the least amount of energy.

    CLOTHING

    VestWhile you'll find fashion bargains galore on November 25, not many of them are likely to be green, especially at the mall. Sadly, stores like Macy's, Target, Ann Taylor, Chico's, Express, Coldwater Creek, and the Limited are embarrassingly limited when it comes to dresses, shirts, pants, and other couture made from organic or eco-friendly fibers. You might have some luck at H&M; the last time I was in there, I found skirts and blouses made from organic cotton, and some sweaters made from recycled polyester. If you're not looking for dressy work clothes, head over to Lands End, Northface, Patagonia, and REI. Patagonia has done a particularly good job of using recycled fibers to make its vests and jackets; plus, you can recycle old t-shirts and other clothes at Patagonia when you shop.

    JEWELRY

    More and more fine jewelry stores are offering bracelets, rings, necklaces and earrings made from recycled gold, reclaimed stones, and diamonds sourced from humane and fair trade mines. Before you buy, ask to see certification that shows where the jewels originally came from.

    TOWELS AND SHEETS

    Organic towels and sheets are a real luxury, and their usual high price shows it. But even their cost might come down on Black Friday; if it does, go for it! JC Penneys, Target, and Wal-Mart stock organic linens regularly; hopefully, they'll put them on sale November 25 along with the conventionally produced items. Check online or in the newspaper for "money off on anything" coupons.

    WINE, BEER, SPIRITS

    Most liquor stores sell organically produced wine, beer, vodka, gin, and possibly other spirits. Whether you're stocking up for the holidays or want to refill your fridge or wine cellar, take advantage of storewide discounts or sales on individual brands.

    SOAP, SHAMPOO, PERFUME, PERSONAL CARE PRODUCTS

    Stores like Bath & Body Works, the Body Shop, and Origins increasingly sell soaps, shampoos, lotions, and cremes free of parabens, phthalates, and synthetic fragrances. Read labels carefully, and look for products packaged in paper, cardboard and glass rather than plastic.

    YOGURT AND BREAD MAKERS

    If you buy a lot of yogurt and bread, chances are you're throwing away a lot of plastic yogurt containers and paper bread wrappers. Pretty much every department store will have these two items on sale on Black Friday.

    WRAPPING PAPER AND HOLIDAY CARDS

    The "greenest" option is to use paper you saved from last year and to send e-cards. You can also wrap presents in fabrics, towels, or table cloths and napkins or bundle them into reusable shopping bags. But if it's paper you must have, look for 100% recycled paper or tree-free paper options in both wrapping and cards from Hallmark and Papyrus, among other shops.

    Don't forget your own shopping bag... your reusable one, of course!

    Related Posts:

    Recycling Your Computer Just Got Easier

    What if You Buy Nothing?

    How to Shop for Eco-friendly Clothing (Parts 1, 2, 3)

    Top Ten "Green" Thanksgiving Tips

    Give to Your Favorite Charity Whenever You Shop - At No Extra Cost to You

    For more ideas on how to be a green consumer this holiday season, check out the Green Moms Carnival this month, hosted by Betsy over at Eco-Novice.

     

    November 07, 2011

    Your Big Green Muscle is Getting J&J to Make Its Baby Shampoo Safer

    Baby shampooMoms, consumer groups, nurses, and other health professionals have succeeded in getting Johnson & Johnson to begin to remove toxic chemicals from its baby shampoo.

    Two years ago, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics reported that J&J's baby shampoo contained quarternium-15, which releases formaldhyde, as well as the chemical product 1,4-dioxane. Both formaldehye and dioxane are known carcinogens - which is why so many citizens rose up to pressure the company to produce a healthier, safer shampoo. This was a product for babies, after all!

    In a coordinated effort, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, the American Nurses Association, Physicians for Social Responsibility, the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, and 40 other groups, sent a letter to J&J outlining their concerns. Groups like our own Green Moms Carnival also raised awareness through blogs that reached hundreds of thousands of people.

    Earlier this month, Johnson & Johnson announced that they are no longer introducing baby products that contain formaldehyde. They also announced that they have reformulated "approximately 70%" of their products with new formulas that keep trace levels of 1,4-dioxane below detectable levels.

    “Clearly there is no need for Johnson & Johnson to expose babies to a known carcinogen when the company is already making safer alternatives. All babies deserve safer products,” said Lisa Archer, director of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics at the Breast Cancer Fund.

    Archer commented, “We’re glad to see that the Johnson & Johnson is taking this seriously. This commitment is a big step in the right direction. We look forward to the day when we can tell consumers the company’s entire product line is free of carcinogens and other chemicals of concern.”

    RELATED POSTS

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    June 29, 2011

    Putting on Lipstick Shouldn't be so Risky. It Won't Be - if You Support the Safe Cosmetics Act

    Lips If you're anything like me, when you buy lipstick or eye make-up, it's because you want to look better, not feel worse. But many cosmetics contain questionnable ingredients that have been linked to cancer, reproductive problems, and asthma and respiratory disease. I've switched to more eco-friendly, non-toxic personal care products, but shouldn't EVERY cosmetic be eco-friendly and non-toxic?

    With your participation and some determined work on Capitol Hill, it will be. Several members of Congress recently introduced the Safe Cosmetics Act, legislation that would phase out toxic ingredients in our make-up and other personal care products that have been linked to cancer, birth defects and developmental harm. The act would also create a health-based safety standard to protect not only us adults, but kids, the elderly, and people who work in salons and the cosmetics industries.

    Plus, the legislation would require companies to fully disclose all the ingredients their products contain so we consumers can read the labels and decide what we want to be exposed to. Finally, the new law would boost funding for the Food and Drug Administration's Office of Cosmetics and Colors so it can effectively oversee the cosmetics industry and better protect consumers.

    Continue reading "Putting on Lipstick Shouldn't be so Risky. It Won't Be - if You Support the Safe Cosmetics Act" »

    April 13, 2011

    Earth Day Health & Beauty Countdown: Switch Your Liquid Shampoo to a Bar

    Earth Day is Friday, April 22. Why not use it to set some new goals that will help you green your health and beauty routine?

    Woman shampoo Let's start with shampoo. Conventional shampoo contains ingredients that may cause asthma or other human health problems and wreak havoc on water systems when they wash down the drain. Plus, they usually come packaged in plastic bottles that many communities can't recycle.

    SHAMPOO BARS

    Shampoo that comes as a bar rather than in a bottle treads more lightly on the planet - and reduces the amount of trash you throw away. Why?

    * It uses less packaging.

    * The packaging is probably paper or cardboard, thus easier to recycle than plastic.(If you do buy shampoo in a plastic bottle, rinse it out and recycle it.)

    * Since it's not liquid, it's lighter than bottled shampoos and therefore uses less energy to be shipped from the manufacturing plant to the store where you buy it.

    Most shampoos contain various chemicals to ensure they suds up a lot. In fact, you might not feel like your hair is getting clean unless it's had a good lather. These shampoo bars don't lather like liquid shampoo, but they do a great job cleaning your hair. None of them contain parabens, phthalates, or the antibacterial triclosan; they haven't been tested on animals, either.

    Burt's Bees Rosemary Mint Shampoo Bar

    Seed soap Seed Grape seed enriched conditioning hair shampoo bar - unscented

    Chagrin Valley All Natural Solid Shampoo Bars

    Herbaria Herbal Soaps

    For more online options, check the Skin Deep Cosmetic Data base. Aim for products that have a hazard rating of between zero and three, which means they contain the fewest questionnable ingredients. 

    Do you have a favorite shampoo bar? Please share!

    Related Posts

    Antibacterial Soap...Could Harm Fetus and Infants

    Green Shampoos and Lotions for Guys

    Should Soap Bubbles Make Your Baby Sick? Tell J&J No! 

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    July 13, 2009

    Environmental In-Box: Barely Native Soap

    “Invigorate the way nature intended.”  That’s the motto of Barely Native soaps and after trying the soap myself, I have to say, I feel pretty fresh. 

    Barely native soap What is it? Barely Native Organic Soaps are entirely plant-based bar soaps.  They contain no artificial fragrances, dyes, or preservatives.  The line of 12 soaps is made with ingredients like coconut, palm, sunflower, and safflower oils.  Berries, fruits, or herbs provide natural colors and gentle skin cleansers. 


    What I like:  The soaps are certified USDA Organic products, cruelty-free, and contain no parabens. 

    Barely native soap wrappedThey're wrapped with recycled wallpaper scraps salvaged from material that would otherwise go to a landfill and marked with a very small label.  The pure essential oils make the soaps very fragrant and the natural glycerin retained in the handmade process keeps your skin soft after use.  I used a bar of the Thyme soap and was left smelling great and feeling moisturized.   For ultra-sensitive consumers, Barely Native produces a version sans fragrance and coloring.  If you join the company’s Soap of the Month Club, you can receive a bar of each flavor of soap on your doorstep every month.

    What could be improved? Because Barely Native is a small company, it appears you can only order the soap online.  Plus, it is a bit pricey. One barcosts $5.95. Unless you buy six or more bars of the product, you must pay a five dollar shipping cost, bringing the total for one bar of soap to $10.95. Ouch!

    Continue reading "Environmental In-Box: Barely Native Soap" »

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