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Green 101

back-to-school-green1.jpgIt’s that time of year again…the most wonderful time of the year, if your kids are heading back to the classroom. This fall marks the first year that both of my children are in school full-time, and I’m trying to make a conscious effort to make it a great green year. Here are some ways that we can all keep the earth in mind as we get our kids settled in to school again and throughout the year.

Use the goods you’ve already got – Take stock of what you’ve got at home and can use again (such as clothing, shoes, knapsacks and school supplies) before you buy everything new.

Reusable lunch containers – Instead of sending sandwiches and snacks in plastic baggies, I picked up a couple of sandwich containers, a compact water bottle and several small reusable containers to pack my kids’ lunches with. I’m not only curbing my household waste output this way, I’m saving money by not having to constantly buy plastic baggies. Read the rest of this entry »

One of the Easiest Ways to Go Green

If you’re trying to be more green, like I am, but you get a little overwhelmed with all the organic this and Acronym-Free that—relax.

I’m about to you tell you the absolute easiest way for you to start being more environmentally friendly.

Ready?

Use greener cleaning products.

Hold on.  Get back here.  I see a few of you running to chain yourself in front of your closet full of pine-fresh scented cleaning products. Read the rest of this entry »

Favorite Things: EOS Smooth Sphere

eos-lipbalmsmoothsphere.JPGMy name is Janet and I’m a lip balm addict aficionado. My current balm of choice is the EOS (Evolution of Smooth) Smooth Sphere. Of course, I love it because it’s 100% natural with 95% organic ingredients but I also love it’s unique shape—inside it’s weirdly wonderful round case, the balm is shaped like an egg. Well, half an egg, actually, and applying it to my lips is oddly pleasant. In fact, I think I need some right now. Stop looking at me like that. I don’t have a problem. I can quit any time I want!

Find It Here: EOS

On Our Blog: One of the Easiest Ways to Go Green

Box Appeal

multiboxes.pngCardboard—it ain’t just for boxes anymore.

Well, okay, so it is but these fun, functional boxes from Green Lullaby are a far cry from their boring brown counterparts. Designed for younger kids, MultiBoxes are made out of 100% corrugated, mostly recycled cardboard and are great for storing, stacking and sitting. They withstand up to 110 lbs. and are outfitted with two built-in handles and a sturdy lid. The tops and sides are brightly illustrated with kid-friendly shapes, letters and numbers, and each box is treated with a non-toxic, flame-retardant coating for longevity and durability. Kid appeal, eco-friendliness and hello? Extra storage—all in ONE box.

Find It Here: Green Lullaby

Bedrock Rocks

10.jpgBedrock Industries. Sounds like something from the Flintstones, doesn’t it? Don’t let the name fool you—you’ll find no ugly gray rocks on their site. No. Bedrock Industries makes very cool things out of glass.

Implementing the three R’s in to their business is a way of life for Bedrock Industries. All of their glassware, from gift and garden items, tumbled glass and a wide variety of backsplash tiles, is made from 100% recycled glass and nuthin’ but–no pigments, oxides or colorants are added. I’ve spent quite a bit of time drooling over their wares–the brilliantly colored sun catchers and wind chimes, love stones, stir sticks and hanging robots (seriously, go check out the robots) and they’re all gorgeous. The fact that they’re creating fabulous, eco-friendly creations out of glass that would otherwise wind up in a landfill ain’t too shabby either, as if we needed any more proof that recycling is beautiful!

Find It Here: Bedrock Industries

Turning Poop into Paper

picture-7.pngIt was the name – The Great Elephant Poo Poo Paper Company Limited – that first caught my attention, but the story behind it kept me lingering on their site. Boasting journals, note boxes and stationary, they make paper products using…wait for it…elephant dung.

The animal’s diet makes the poop ripe for becoming stationary. It’s chock full o’ short and medium grained fibrous materials, the right ingredients for making recycled paper. The company has partnered with conservation parks and mahouts to collect the dung for processing, which is detailed, step-by-step, on their site (quite an interesting read, that). Not surprisingly, a portion of their profits go toward benefiting elephant welfare and conservation programs.

I dare you to browse the Poo-Tique and find something you don’t like – everything is earth-aware and practical and seriously, how fun would it be to give your in-laws paper products made from poop?

Find It Here: The Great Elephant Poo Poo Company Ltd.

Recycled wth Style

picture-2.pngAs the old saying goes, when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade (or, if you’re like me, you scrap the lemonade all together and mix up a lemon drop cocktail instead). With that thought in mind, if my husband handed me my favorite wool sweaters–sweaters he’d accidentally shrunken–I’d probably struggle to look at things from the lemonade-making point of view. When it happened to Sue Burns, however, she didn’t see a pile of ruined sweaters, but an opportunity instead.

Instead of freaking out on her husband like I would have, Sue put her old sweaters to good use by creating funky, original clothing for children. What started in Sue’s basement as a laundry mishap has since blossomed in to baabaaZuzu, where old wool is given a new lease on life in the form of unique  jackets, vests, purses and other nifty things (like posy pins and Christmas stockings) using 100% recycled wool (and cool vintage buttons, too).   BaabaaZuzu’s recycled wares are quite fetching, albeit a bit pricey, but if you’re in the market for something recycled, handmade and just really cool, it may be worth a few extra Benjamins!

Find It Here: Baabaazuzu

Cell Phone Style for a Song

cases.jpgMade by women at a co-operative in New Delhi, these cell phone cases are fashioned out of antique saris that would normally be burned for their gold and silver. Each beautiful case is intricately detailed and completely unique. They’re equipped with a strap that can be hooked on to your purse, backpack or belt for safe keeping and are traded fairly from India. Choose from three colors – green, brown and turquoise.

Buying one of these cell phone cases is something you can feel good about. The women who create them earn the money they desperately need to raise their families and The Rainforest Site will preserve 1145.0 sq. ft. of land for each one purchased. So for just $16, you’re not only getting a one-of-a-kind case for your cell phone, you’re saving the lungs of our planet and putting gorgeous antique saris to good use.

Find It Here: The Rainforest Site Store

Art, Naturally

clementine.jpgHave you ever wondered what your kids’ art supplies are made of? One of my daughter’s favorite pastimes is painting, and there were a few occasions this summer where she wound up with paint in rather precarious places. Like her eyelashes. And I stood there and wondered just what, exactly, is in that paint? As previously noted in this post, many finger paints (and regular paints) contain heavy metals, VOCs and petro-chemicals.

From Clementine Art comes a line of all-natural children’s art products with nothing to hide. The ingredients, all of them, are listed right there on the package. Now that’s a first! The six creative staples–washable paints, soy crayons, water-based markers, flour-based modeling dough, soy crayon ‘rocks’ and washable glue–are made right here in the US of A using natural, non-toxic materials. Kids can dig in and express themselves, and we don’t have to worry about what it is they’re digging in to.

Cool things to note: the modeling dough is colored with turmeric, spinach and carmine, there’s a Clementine Art blog, and an informative ingredients glossary on the web site (look for the ‘nitty gritty’ heading).

Find It Here: Clementine Art

Gifts That Grow

productonly.jpgWhat: Pre-Seeded Gift Wrap

Features: Plant the paper after it’s been used and grow wildflowers

Green Factor: Made from 100% recycled paper, creates zero waste

Cool  Factor: Totally NOT generic (so your gift will stand out!)

Find It Here: Little Kay Gardens

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