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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.
  • December 11, 2013

    Is It Time to Give Your Office a Green Make-Over?

    Greencleaning  People spend almost a third of their lives at work, yet many offices and industries haven’t taken important steps to “green” their facilities. That’s a mistake, for two key reasons:

    ·         1) Research shows that productivity increases when people work in a healthier environment.

    ·         2) Cleaning green can actually save companies money by reducing waste and materials use as well as the number of sick days employees claim.

    Plus, conventional cleaning products can have a negative impact on the environment. Aerosol sprays emit fine particles, contributing to air pollution that can irritate the eyes, skin or lungs. Wastewater flushed down a drain can enter the water system and harm aquatic life. Throwaway cleaning materials, like paper towels and single-use plastic bottles, can create a lot of trash.

    But how do you make the transition to green cleaning? GreenFacilities, an environmentally certified cleaning consultancy based in the UK and the underwriters of this article,  recommend a process that can work for many kinds of businesses, from retailers to gyms to hospitals and everything in between.

    Start with an Audit

    Take stock of how your business is currently being cleaned. For example,

    ·         * What chemicals are in the cleaning products that are being used? They may be “standard” to the cleaning industry, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are safe when people are exposed to them repeatedly over time. 

    ·         * What machinery is being used? Is it effective at actually pulling dirt and dust out of your indoor environment, rather than simply displacing them? Does it operate as efficiently as possible, using energy and water wisely?

    ·         *How much waste does the cleaning process generate? Do cleaners use throwaway paper towels and one-use plastic bottles, rather than reusable containers and washable cloth?

    ·        * How much time and money are being spent on cleaning currently? Where can you shift spending to greener products and services that will protect the workplace as well as the environment?

     Develop a Green Cleaning Plan

     Once you have the complete picture, take steps to green every part of the process.

    ·         * Ensure that any chemicals used in your workplace minimize human exposure to toxins and have no negative environmental impacts. Look for certifications from non-profit organizations like Green Seal, which have issued environmental standards for green cleaning products used in offices and industrial settings.

    ·         * Replace old and outdated equipment with newer models that save energy and water and are effective at eliminating dust and dirt.

    ·         * Switch to cleaning cloths, refillable bottles, and any other cleaning accessories that can be reused, rather than thrown away. Determine what can be recycled, and ensure that it is.

    Create a Schedule

     With new green processes in place, optimize your current cleaning schedule to increase effectiveness while reducing costs. In most cases, the transition from “dirty” to green cleaning should be straightforward and easy to implement in relatively short order. Your employees – and the planet – will thank you!

     

    NOTE: Underwriters enable us to bring you expert content at no cost to you. Our editorial opinions are our own. Thanks.

    Image: http://www.northwestern.edu/sustainability/news/2013/articles/keeping-it-clean-and-green.html

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    December 10, 2013

    Organic Milk is Healthier for You, Study Shows

    Milk_img1  Organic milk is healthier and more nutritious than milk produced the old fashioned way.

    Scientists at Washington State University compared the milk that came from two groups of cows. The "old fashioned" cows had been fed a diet of mostly corn, probably living in what are called "confined animal feedlots" where they are also treated with hormones and antibiotics. The organic cows were raised in pastures, where they ate grassy plants. Both groups produce milk, but it turns out that the milk from organic cows has much higher levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids, the "healthy fats" that are good for the heart.

    Dr. Charles Benbrook, who led the research team, said, "We were surprised by the magnitude of the nutritional quality differences."

    Both organic and old fashioned milk contain two kinds of fatty acids. Omega-3 helps improve heart health. Omega-6 poses risks for cardiovascular disease, cancer, inflammation and auto-immune disease.

    Continue reading "Organic Milk is Healthier for You, Study Shows" »

    December 09, 2013

    Butter for Your Hands, Not Your Bread, Plus Much More from EcoCentric Mom

    EcoCentric Mom Box November It's that time of year when my hands are starting to feel so dry, you'd think I lived in the desert. Nope, it's just winter setting in, along with its prescription for cracking skin and painfully tight dryness. Happily, this month's EcoCentric Mom subscription box included butter - hand butter that is, made by The Seaweed Bath Co. from shea butter, neem oil and bladderwrack seaweed extract. I'm not sure what a bladderwrack is, but this balm feels great, and smells yummy, too, with a hint of citrus (or maybe that's what bladderwrack smells like...).

    Not to leave lips at the mercy of winter, either, the subscription box also included both the 3 Little Girls Holistic Oange Pop Lip Gloss, and lip scrub and lip colour from Lauren Brooke cosmetiques. The organic sugar in the lip scrub helps smooth chapped lips, then moisturizes with organic lecithin and shea butter. The lip colour is infused with organic pomegranate and non-GMO vitamin E. And of course, the lip gloss is organic, too. Winter or summer, I actually put lip gloss on top of lip colour for extra moisturizing, so am glad to try out both these products.

    Continue reading "Butter for Your Hands, Not Your Bread, Plus Much More from EcoCentric Mom" »

    December 08, 2013

    Planning a Renovation? Don't Forget to Get the Lead Out!

    Woman house paint Are you planning a home renovation for 2014? Have fun coming up with new interior designs and imaginative ways to use your space! But while you’re plotting for the new, make sure to take proper precautions as you get rid of the old. Why? Because the furnishings and construction materials found in many older homes actually contain dangerous chemicals and compounds that can cause serious health problems if they’re underestimated or ignored. This post, sponsored by Newcastle Permanent, highlights several problems home renovations could create.

    LEAD

     Renovation and remodeling have been proven to result in lead poisoning in children, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The lead primarily comes from old paint.  Power sanding and demolishing walls and ceilings can release toxic dust, which can poison kids and pregnant women in particular. Your contractor can do a test to detect the presence of lead in wall, ceiling, door and window trim paint.

    To be safe, if your house was built before 1978, assume the worst so you’ll take the best precautions. Work with a contractor who is certified in safe lead removal practices. Seal off the area that is being renovated with plastic sheeting and make sure the paint is being removed using a wet sand or wet scrape process, which reduces the presence of dust and fumes. Clean up thoroughly every day. And keep pregnant women, babies and children, and even pets far away from harmful dust and debris.

    Continue reading "Planning a Renovation? Don't Forget to Get the Lead Out!" »

    October 22, 2013

    Does Your Mascara Contain Mercury? Probably.

    Mercury's not safe enough for light bulbs, batteries, thermometers and various medical devices.

    Eye makeup But your eyes? That's another story, at least according to the United Nations Minamata Convention, so named because thousands of people in Minamata, Japan suffered mercury poisoning from contaminated industrial wastewater.

    The UN convention last week decided that companies can use mercury in mascara and other make-up until safer alternatives can be found. B why use mercury in the first place? Evidently it's an effective preservative and germ-killer. However, it's also a powerful neurotoxicant that can cause kidney damage and serious neurological effects. If you're pregnant and exposed to mercury, your baby's brain could be affected.

    Continue reading "Does Your Mascara Contain Mercury? Probably." »

    September 19, 2013

    What's so bad about fracking? Here's what you need to know.

    Don't Frack NY rally If you've been wondering what fracking is and whether it's good or bad, you're not alone. It's a complicated, high tech process whose advocates say it produces abundant clean energy. As an environmentalist as well as a consumer, though, I've been concerned about the impacts fracking is having on drinking water, clean air, and farmland. To try to chip away at my confusion, I electronically interviewed expert Maya van Rossum (pictured left). Maya is the Delaware Riverkeeper, the spokesperson for and leader of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network (DRN), a nonprofit environmental organization working to preserve, protect and restore the Delaware River Watershed, an area that extends into four states: New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Here's what she had to say.

     

    Maya, in a nutshell, can you explain what fracking is and why it worries you?

     

    Fracking is the process of discharging massive volumes of water under high pressure into a drilled well in order to fracture the shale found under ground. The fracking process requires 5 to 9 million gallons of water for each well frack. Often this water comes from aquifers, streams and rivers. To that fresh water has been added toxic chemicals. Water that stays underground after the fracking has occurred is highly toxic, but the water that comes back to the surface is even more toxic.

     

    The toxified fluid trapped underground can make its way to our freshwater aquifers, threatening drinking water supplies. Toxified water that gets back to the surface of the earth is often stored in open pits or transported to other sites by truck or piping. In all of these activities, failures happen, contaminating streams, farmlands, our air and our communities.

    Continue reading "What's so bad about fracking? Here's what you need to know." »

    May 09, 2013

    Mother's Day: Shopping Spree or Shopping Shift?

    Mother's Day has become a gigantic shopping event. Next to Christmas and Valentine's Day, consumers spend more money for Mother's Day than they do for any other holiday in the year. This year, according to the National Retail Federation's annual Mother's Day survey, Americans will spend $20.7 billion! That amounts to an average of almost $170 per mom, an 11% increase over last year.

    Mom dana dan As a mom myself, I love the attention I get on Mother's Day. Who wouldn't want to be surrounded by family, showered with love, and coddled with breakfast in bed, a luxurious morning just reading the paper, and no rushing around to do chores?

    But as the founder of Big Green Purse, where I advocate using consumer clout to change the world, I consider Mother's Day a tremendous opportunity - not to buy a lot of stuff, but to take a stand against excessive consumerism and in favor of the products and services that offer the greatest environmental benefit.

    DOES YOUR MOM REALLY NEED MORE STUFF?

    One of the most powerful and eco ways to use your money is to keep it in your purse or pocket! Most people have enough "stuff" - in fact, many of us are so overwhelmed by clutter that it adds to the stress of managing our households when we get more things we have to find a place for.

    Years ago, when our two children were still toddlers, we established a "no gifts on Mother's Day" rule (we do the same thing on Father's Day). I truly appreciate my kids' desire to treat me special on Mother's Day, but for me that means that we have brunch or dinner together, maybe go for a hike or have some other family outing, and tell funny stories about my most memorable/ridiculous "mom moments." When my son and daughter were in elementary and middle school, Mother's Day was also a "no bickering" day. There was no better gift than the 24 conflict-free hours they gave me that one day of the year!

    Continue reading "Mother's Day: Shopping Spree or Shopping Shift?" »

    May 07, 2013

    Is Glade Air Freshener Bad for Babies?

    "Cleaning product companies aren’t required to disclose the ingredients they use in their products, and what they’re keeping secret from you could be hazardous to your health," reports Women's Voices for the Earth (WVE), the respected non-profit research group that investigates toxic chemicals in the common household cleansers we use.

      Dirty-Secrets-240x300 In their "Dirty Secrets" study, WVE commissioned an independent laboratory to test twenty popular cleaning products for hidden toxic chemicals from five top companies: Clorox, Procter & Gamble, Reckitt Benckiser, SC Johnson and Son, and Sunshine Makers (Simple Green). WVE found reproductive toxins, carcinogens, hormone disruptors, and allergens -- none of which were listed on the product label. 

    "Consumers deserve to know what chemicals they are being exposed to, so that they can easily avoid products that may cause allergic reactions or serious long-term health impacts like cancer, birth defects, or pregnancy complications," WVE declares - and I agree. That's why I support WVE's effort to get Congress to pass new federal legislation that requires cleaning product manufacturers to disclose all the ingredients they use in their products directly on the product label.

    I also support WVE's effort to persuade companies like Glade to list ALL ingredients in their product on their label. You may think Glade helps clear the air. According to WVE's research, here's actually what Glade is putting into the air:

    Toxic Chemicals Found in Glade (according to WVE research)

    Continue reading "Is Glade Air Freshener Bad for Babies?" »

    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" »

    March 26, 2013

    US-China Greener Consumption Forum Lays Groundwork for Future Projects Together

    How can the world's two consumer "superpowers"- the U.S. and China - work together to reduce the impact that consumption has on us and our world?

    Group  That was the topic a capacity crowd addressed on March 22 at the U.S. - China Greener Consumption Forum. The event, held at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. and co-sponsored by Big Green Purse and the International Fund for China's Environment, pulled together scientists, consumer advocates, public policy advocates, and green entrepreneurs to share ideas about strategies to inspire manufacturers to create greener goods -- and get consumers to buy them.

    HIGHLIGHTS:

    The Forum focused primarily on women because women spend 85 cents of every dollar in the  marketplace – and we’re not just buying cheese doodles and diapers. As I say here on CCTV, the national television network of China, we buy more clothes.  More food.  More cosmetics and personal care products than men. We also buy more electronics, more home furnishings, almost as many tools, just as many cars. Women are spending billions of dollars, day in and day out, year in and year out.

    But even with all that clout, we won’t be able to use this power of the purse effectively until we achieve true gender equity worldwide, points that both Ban Li, Deputy Counsel of the Shaanxi Women's Federation, and Liane Shalatek, Associate Director of the Heinrich Boll Foundation North America, made very powerfully.

     Christine Robertson of Earth Day Network facilitated a provocative panel on the impacts consumption has on our health and the health of the planet. Sarah Vogel of Environmental Defense Fund (pictured  8589602452_4cbfc26167 right) was peppered with questions after her presentation on the way the toxic chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA) affects the reproductive systems of men and women alike.

    Ping He of the International Fund for China's Environment, the co-sponsor with Big Green Purse of the Forum, moderated the session on barriers to sustainable consumption and solutions that help surmount them. Meaningful eco-labels and standards can make a big difference, pointed out Arthur Weissman, President and CEO of Green Seal, especially when those standards are set by an indendent third party (like Green Seal is) whose primary interest is not in selling products, but in helping manufacturers become more sustainable over time.

    LISA JACKSON, Former EPA Administrator

    Lisa J podium Lisa Jackson's luncheon keynote address was the highlight of the day for many people. As a mom, scientist, and long-time public servant, Lisa has a unique appreciation for the impact consumption has on us as individuals and on society as a whole. She spoke movingly about being the first African-American to serve as head of the EPA and how important it is to bring women as well as people of color and low-income populations into the conversations we're having about pollution and climate change.

    Lisa noted that her favorite law is the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act because it empowers people to protect themselves wherever they live. She is also proud of technology EPA has shared with the city of Shanghai to help monitor air pollution there.

    Lisa agreed that the way we use both the purse and the pocketbook can inspire manufacturers to reduce pollution and energy consumption.

    Continue reading "US-China Greener Consumption Forum Lays Groundwork for Future Projects Together" »

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