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Light Up Your Life

What: HybridLight Journey Flashlight

Features: SOLAR RECHARGEABLE  Charge using the built in solar panel outdoors OR indoors under incandescent lighting, OR by connecting via the included USB cable for rapid charge

CHARGE MOBILE DEVICES – Connect using the included USB cable to charge cell phones and other mobile devices while away from home or during power outages

EXTREMELY DURABLE AND WATERPROOF – Tested to 3 meters and it floats so you won’t lose it

DUAL MODE –  High or Low Beam. Super bright LED shines for up to 25 hours on low beam and 7 hours on high producing 160 lumens of bright white light

HOLDS A CHARGE FOR YEARS –  Always ready when you need it. Perfect for any emergency

Green Factor: You can avoid contributing to the hundreds of thousands batteries discarded into landfills by solar recharging instead of relying on the lithium ion battery that comes with the HybridLight Journey Flashlight

Bonus: The HL160 can be stored without sun for 7 years and still retain 90% of the original power. Also, guaranteed to work every time you turn it on!

Find It Here: HybridLight

Favorite Things: Traditional Safety Razors

I’ve always been kind of bothered by disposable razors. I mean, you use it a few times and then you just THROW IT AWAY. It’s absurd. What really pushed me over the edge, though, is when my husband tried the free Gillete Fusion we got in the mail and decided he really liked it. Yes, it worked nicely but the replacement cartridge heads? Cost a freaking fortune (around $25 for 8 heads). Shaving had suddenly become not only bad for the environment but ridiculously expensive, as well.

After succumbing to his pleas to buy the overpriced, ungreen foolishness a few times I decided there had to be a better alternative and I started looking at real razors like my dad used to use, also known as double edge safety razors. Usually made of stainless steel, chrome or nickel-plated brass, you use stainless steel blades that are generally inexpensive (and recyclable) and you DON’T need to replace the head or handle at all.

After much research, I settled on one and ordered it for my husband for $35 and change and guess what? HE LOVES IT. Even better? I love it! No more dull blades, no more throwing the whole thing away and no more buying new razor heads at an average price of $3 per head. And as an added bonus…my legs have never been smoother.

Find It Here: MERKUR Classic Double Edge Safety Razor 

Non-Toxic and PVC-Free Air Beds (Updated)

41rt0nikjlThese days, when you need an extra bed, you’re more likely to pull out an air mattress than a sofa sleeper and for camping, the inflatable air mattress will be found on most packing lists.

The problem, however, is that these days they are almost universally made with PVC, which outgasses harmful chemical fumes long after that telltale “new mattress smell” has dissipated and can contain lead.

A few years ago, those of us who objected to breathing in toxic fumes may have had little recourse other than to forgo the luxury of an air mattress and lump it—but we now have many more options:

KingCamp 2-Person PVC-Free Ultra Light Airbed with Pump: (Recently added!) Made of 100% polyester with TPU coating, this 2-Person PVC-Free airbed is only 6 lbs, damp-proof, comfortable, durable and very firm with 192 stabilizers between the top and bottom. The Boston valve air tap and battery operated pump provide rapid inflation and deflation. It is convenient to adjust the comfort level of this airbed. Includes compression straps, an oversized oxford carrying bag and repair kit. FREE SHIPPING on Amazon.com.

ALPS Mountaineering Velocity Air Bed: Made with durable PVC-free fabric, this air bed is incredibly lightweight which makes for easy transport. It utilizes a coil system for a more solid and comfortable sleeping area and comes with a state-of-the-art rechargeable pump inflates and deflates quickly and easily.

Lightspeed Outdoors XL Super Plush Self-Inflating Sleep/Camp Pad: Maximum R-Value of 9.66 keeps you exceptionally warm with supportive insulation. Non-PVC materials eliminates toxic plastic odors and crinkle noises for a more peaceful night sleep and dual oversize air valves for quick self inflating and deflating without the need for a pump. Includes compression straps and oversized carry bag + FREE SHIPPING on Amazon.com.

Lightspeed Outdoors Airbed: Made from eco-friendlier TPU, this PVC-free and phthalate-free two person air mattress comes with a battery operated pump + FREE SHIPPING on Amazon.

The Aerobed Pakmat: It’s PVC and phthalate-free and made of 100% eco-friendly materials. Uses a hand pump instead of batteries or electricity to inflate and only takes about 60 seconds plus it weighs only 5 lbs and stores right inside it’s pump case. FREE SHIPPING on Amazon.com.

The Aerobed Ecolite: Made from eco-friendlier TPU instead of PVC, the Ecolite is phthalate-free and comes with a rechargeable pump. Unlike the Pakmat, it comes in twin and queen sizes and is 40% lighter than PVC air mattresses. Personally, I’d still go for the Pakmat over the Ecolite because I’ve had several air mattress pumps die on me over the years.

Kelty Sleep Eazy: Made of 70D nylon with a TPU laminate, and includes a standard coil for support. The PVC-free Sleep Eazy is also a breeze to inflate thanks to the 6-volt rechargeable pump, which includes both a car and wall charger for versatile use. And to ensure compact storage, the airbed comes with a Kelty Binto storage bin.

Lake Timber Top Rubberized Fabric Air Mattress:  Back before PVC was so ubiquitous, air mattresses were made of rubberized fabric and were reputedly super durable, in addition to being far more eco-friendly than their PVC counterparts. This rubberized fabric air mattress is the equivalent of a twin or single air mattress at 30″ X 72″ and can also be used in the water. Comes with a repair kit and is eligible for FREE SHIPPING on Amazon.com

I also found companies in the UK and Australia that carry rubberized cotton air mattresses. I will link to them for our non-American readers and anyone who might be interested in placing an international order:

Amazon UK: They carry a couple different options in rubberized cotton air mattresses by a company called Highlander.

Discount Camping: This Australian store carries three different sizes of rubberized cotton air mattresses.

Happy PVC-free sleeping!

Green Steel Reusable Straws

What: Green Steel Stainless Steel Straws

Features:  Billions of plastic straws are used and discarded every single day around the world and end up in landfills and in our oceans. These straws by Green Steel can be used over and over again — all you have to do is to clean them and they’re ready to use again. BPA-free, phthalate-free, lead & toxin-free, these straws are made from high quality 18/8 stainless steel. Available in medium and long sizes. (Editors Note: I use these in the medium size and love them)

Green Factor: Made from non-toxic, food-grade stainless steel and can be washed (with the free brush that comes with them) and used repeatedly with no plastic waste. Comes in eco-friendly packaging.

Bonus: Comes with 4 straws, a cleaning brush and a lifetime money-back guarantee if you are not satisfied.

Find It Here:  Amazon

Organic Toddler Pillow

What: My Little Toddler Pillow

Features: Perfectly sized for smaller heads (ages 2-5) and made of 100% super-soft certified organic cotton shell, it is breathable, soft, and supportive, as well as machine washable and dryable. Filled with high quality soft, chemical-free, polyester cluster fiber that is 100% hypoallergenic.

Green Factor: Chemical-free with no mold and mildew resistance chemicals, flame retardants, or dust-mite and a certified organic cotton shell.

Bonus: Made in America with materials from U.S. based suppliers

Find It Here:  Amazon

It’s a Wrap!

What: Lilywrap Reusable Gift Wrap

Features: Beautiful wraps mimic the tailored look of paper gift wrap with reusable stretchy fabric in a variety of stylish designs. It’s super easy to wrap a gift in just 30-seconds with simple set, cinch, tie method using drawstring ribbons — great on the go and reasonably priced! Perfect for TSA travel & shipping, too!

Green Factor: Reusable and durable with no need for scissors, tape or waste!

Find It Here:  Amazon

Green Nurseries on a Budget

If you follow celebrity news and gossip, there’s no doubt you’ve noticed the rash (ha!) of stories about green celebri-baby nurseries. The price tags on some of those eco-friendly digs, however, might lead you to believe that a safer, greener nursery is out of reach on anything but celebrity’s budget.

It’s absolutely true that a green nursery could easily cost a pretty penny but fortunately, with a little creativity, perseverance and time, you can give your bundle of joy some green digs to rival any celeb’s eco-nursery!

1. Don’t be afraid to buy some things used.
I know with my firstborn, the idea of putting my baby in or on anything that wasn’t brand new was completely unacceptable to me. What I didn’t know then that I know now is that new stuff off-gasses all kinds of chemicals into the air and hello? Your baby is breathing them in. Getting something used (from friends, consignment stores or even Craigslist) means it’s probably already off-gassed those chemicals and also, buying used means you’re helping to conserve resources. You can’t get much greener than that! Ideal items to buy used are cribs (check models for recalls and other safety issues), dressers, gliders/rockers and changing tables. As these are also big ticket items, you’ll be saving tons o’ green right out of the gate. Just make sure to clean everything really well with a NON-TOXIC cleaner!

2. Your baby’s bedding is one thing you should NOT skimp on.
Shop around online for good deals on organic cotton sheets, crib bumpers and swaddling blankets and most importantly, an organic crib mattress. There are several varieties — the key is to find one that contains no chemical flame retardants (wool is good natural choice of flame retardant) and contains no chemicals or non-organic materials. This is important because your baby will breathe in anything that is outgassing from the mattress. There has also been some speculation that the chemical cocktails used in conventional mattresses are a possible cause of SIDS because when babies lay on their bellies, they’re breathing them in with very little fresh air.

3. Use No-VOC Paints.
Painting is almost always part of setting up a new baby’s room and the new, green No-VOC paints are the paints you want to use. No-VOC means “no volatile organic compounds” which really just means none of the toxic stuff that contributes to indoor air pollution and that you don’t want your baby (or you!) inhaling. No-VOC paint is more expensive than regular latex interior paint but for a bedroom, one gallon may be enough and trust me, it’s money well spent. No-VOC paint is available at most stores such as Home Depot. Just make sure it’s NO-VOC or Zero-VOC instead of Low-VOC.

4. If you have hardwood or tile floors, leave them.
Do NOT carpet the room. Carpet is the source of much indoor pollution and outgassing. You can pick up organic or natural area rugs for far less than re-carpeting a whole room — or consider FLOR. FLOR is eco-friendly, recyclable carpet that comes in self-stick squares so you can mix, match and make your own patterns while staying green. If you already have carpet and it’s not completely gross, leave it and use a green carpet cleaning system to clean it really well rather than install new carpeting.

5. Be picky with clothing.
Since clothing touches your baby nearly 24 hours a days, organic cotton or bamboo is the best choice. Regular cotton is grown with insane amounts of pesticides and if you can avoid it, you don’t want that touching your baby’s sensitive skin. Scour eBay for deals on organic clothing. Try to approximate what season it will be when your baby is a certain size and get off-season stuff for far less. Also, there are oodles of stores on the web that sell incredibly cute organic clothing. Check their sale and clearance pages to score bargains. If you choose to cloth diaper, obviously organic cotton diapers are ideal. If you want to use disposable diapers that aren’t made with chlorine bleach and other chemicals, try G-Diapers. They’re totally biodegradable, flushable or compostable.

Best of luck to you and your green nursery!

Great Gifts: Electric Snow Thrower

greenworks-snow-throwerWhat: Greenworks Electric Snow Thrower

Features: Is it time to clear snow in your neck of the woods? The Greenworks 13 amp electric snow thrower clears a 20-inch path at a depth of 10 inches and has a cord lock that holds an extension cord securely in place. Adjustable 180 degree directional chute makes snow throwing manageable.

Green Factor: Zero carbon emissions and zero pollution because it doesn’t use gas. No smelly engine emissions, no trips to fill the gas can and no tune-ups!

Bonus: On sale for $171.30 with a fabulous 4 year warranty (twice the industry standard) plus FREE SHIPPING!

Find It Here:  Amazon

Is Plastic Killing Your Sex Drive?

imagesWarnings about the danger of phthalates in plastics are once again in the news by way of a study recently presented by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

This time researchers have found a link between soft plastics such as those found in raincoats, rubber duckies, shower curtains and air mattresses* (PVC) and a reduced sex drive in women.

The primary reason for this is due to phthalates, which are already known to be endocrine disruptors that reduce testosterone levels in men, women and children and are associated with overall reproductive toxicity. However, the findings that women’s libidos can also be affected was revealed in a study by University of Rochester School of Medicine.

The findings noted each of the 360 women who participated in the study showed traces of phthalates in their urine. Those with the highest levels of phthalates were found to be two and a half times as likely to have lower libidos compared to those with the least. “They are throughout our environment and every single person studied showed measurable levels of these chemicals. So even at the levels found in the environment every day we are seeing an association with interest in sex,” said lead author, Dr. Emily Barrett, about the study’s findings.

If testosterone levels, declining sperm quality and feminization of males, early puberty in girls and an increased risk of diabetes weren’t enough to make all of us rethink what kind of plastics we use and bring into our homes, this new information will hopefully sway people to start rejecting these dangerous products by avoiding PVC and plastics marked with recycling label #3.

*Read our article about PVC-free air mattresses

 

Rockin’ Green

rockingreenWhat: Rockin’ Green Laundry Detergent

Features: Rockin’ Green is a line of eco-friendly laundry detergents and cleaning products, particularly for those with sensitive skin. The laundry detergents are free of harsh chemicals and extra gentle on the skin, but they’re still super effective and get the job done well. However, there are other factors besides detergents that affect how well your laundry gets clean. Water type is a huge consideration and Rockin’ Green has a formula for your water type.

Green Factor:   Biodegradable and made from recycled materials, recyclable packaging, phosphate-free, SLS and parabens-free, free of optical brighteners, gluten and vegan friendly, not tested on animals

Bonus:   Rockin’ Green also has detergents for hard water, soft water and dishwashers, as well as formulas for babies, cloth diapers, bedding, athletic wear and more.

Find It Here:  Rockin’ Green

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