February 29, 2008

February 28, 2008

Is Bamboo Really Green?

bamboo-forest.jpg There's no doubt that bamboo grows like a weed, but what about the processes used to turn bamboo into fabric and flooring?
  •  LA Times: Green clothes: How green is my bamboo T-shirt?- This article states that farming is what makes bamboo clothing green, but that "strong chemical solvents such as sodium hydroxide (NaOH - also known as caustic soda or lye) and carbon disulfide in a process also known as hydrolysis alkalization combined with multi-phase bleaching" is used to break down the woody shoots and leaves.  These chemicals are especially harmful to workers.
"growing it is really green, but manufacturing it into useful plywood boards, for anything that the tubular stalks won't do on their own...well, not so much. It's a pretty messy, intensive process; as such, it's important to look for bamboo made with water-based, formaldehyde-free adhesives with low/no-VOC finishes, if you're looking for some grass-based interiors."
"the manufacturing processes where bamboo the plant is transformed into bamboo the fabric are where the sustainability and eco-friendly luster of bamboo is tarnished because of the heavy chemicals, some of which are toxic, that are often required. Very, very little bamboo clothing would qualify as sustainable or organic clothes."
Bamboo can be processed naturally, similar to how linen is processed from flax, but "very little bamboo linen is manufactured for clothing because it is more labor intensive and costly."
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

February 27, 2008

Dr. Hauschka Toned Day Cream

218Xg6TP-tL._AA250_.jpg Dr. Hauschka's Toned Day Cream is made for normal, dry, or sensitive skin. This day cream gives skin a healthy glow and lightly evens out skin tones with its slight beige coloring. Dr. Hauschka believes that cream should only be applied to the face in the morning, in order that the skin may be clean of any products over night. For many people used to nighttime moisturizing, this takes some getting used to, but the results are fabulous. All ingredients are GMO-free and biodynamically grown.

Don't forget to cleanse your skin with Dr. Hauschka's Cleansing Milk!

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

February 26, 2008

Avoid Hot Beverages in Plastic Bottles

2008-01-30_120200-TreeHugger-babybottles.jpg The harmful effects of Bisphenol-A (BPA) have been known for some time now. A study released last month by the University of Cincinnati released states that BPA leaching from plastic containers increases greatly with hot liquids. According to Globe and Mail,
The finding suggests that parents sterilizing polycarbonate baby bottles by heating them in water or in a microwave may be inadvertently increasing the amount of the estrogen-mimicking chemical leaching from the containers. It also indicates hikers who use the bottles as a thermos to store hot tea or liquids may be doing the same. The addition of boiling water increased BPA migration rates by up to 55-fold compared with water at room temperature...
If you are a coffee or tea drinker, try using a stainless steel travel mug. This is a great option to use instead of wasteful, paper/styrofoam cups and is a safer alternative to reusable plastic mugs and bottles. This mug is made with fair labor practices, including paying fair wages.

For children and babies, try the Klean Kanteen Sippy Cup and the Born Free Baby Bottles.

More:
Treehugger- "Hot Water + Polycarbonate Bottles = More Gender-Benders"
Z Recommends- "Breaking News: Boiling Water Increases BPA Leaching by Factor of 55"
Z Recommends- "The Z Report on BPA in Children's Feeding Products, Third Edition"

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

February 25, 2008

Eco-Friendly Dock Speakers for Your iPod

41pQXcFgqpL-1._SS400_.jpg I love my iPod and could not live without it. I feel that downloading new music to my iPod is a green practice, as I no longer purchase excess packaging, cds, shipping costs, etc. Now, I have found an eco-friendly wood iPod or iPhone speaker dock made by Vers. This 15 watt stereo is made from sustainable wood grown on a plantation and is packaged in recycled materials. The whole tree is used to minimize waste. This "Green" stereo requires 50% less electricity than standard switching power supplies, and of course, the sound is great!
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

February 22, 2008

Eco Food Friday: The Absolute Best Organic Chocolate in the World

organic_green_blacks_almond.jpg Green and Black's Organic Milk Chocolate Bar with Whole Almonds is absolutely the best chocolate I have ever tasted, and I consider myself a connoisseur of organic chocolate (aka a chocolate junkie).
Ingredients: Soy Lecithin, Organic Vanilla. Organic Raw Cane Sugar, Organic Almonds (25%) Organic Whole Milk Powder (20.2%), Organic Cocoa Liquor, Organic Cocoa Butter, Emulsifier
Green and Black's motto is "As Chocolate as Humanly Possible", which means of course, they use fair trade ingredients. In fact, the company was the first to earn the UK's Fairtrade mark.
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

February 21, 2008

GM to Release 2009 Hybrid Full Size Pickup

sierrahybrid.jpg I don't know if it is enough to save the US automaker's falling sales, but GM announced earlier this month at the Chicago Auto Show that the GMC Sierra will be available in hybrid model in late 2008. With 25% improved fuel economy, the hybrid Sierra will use a two-mode hybrid system. CNN Money explains,
Like single-mode hybrid systems now used by Toyota Motor Corp. (TM), Ford Motor Co. (F, Fortune 500) and others, the two-mode runs without the gas engine at low speeds. But at higher speeds, the electric motor in the two-mode hybrid contributes more power. The two-mode system also is better for towing.
At speeds under 30 mph, the Sierra will run solely on its electric motor. Essentially, the hybrid system helps the 6-liter, V-8 engine run longer in its four-cylinder mode. Even with all these changes, the hybrid Sierra will only get 20mpg.

More:

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

February 20, 2008

Blue Canoe Organic Yoga Bra

A132.jpg If you are going to practice yoga, you might as well be wearing an organic yoga bra from Blue Canoe for optimum health.  Of course, you don't have to wear it just for yoga. This bra is comfortable, supportive, made in the USA, and 90% organic. Princess seams create a beautiful shape, and the wide band won't ride up, pinch or bind while you are flowing through your vinyasas (or grocery shopping).
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

February 19, 2008

Environmentally Aware and Socially Responsible Shopping and Web Browsing

Snapshot 2008-02-18 11-39-06.jpg Do you wish there was a way to know a company's environmental and social responsibility rating easily and independently of the company's profile? Now there is a way with Scryve.
Scryve is a collaborative web resource and browser tool combination that provides a resource for environmentally and socially aware Internet browsing. Look up company ratings using the search box below, or Download our browser tool to see the rating of any company whose website you are on in the top right corner of your browser. If you like the rating, keep browsing, if you don't like it, click on it and we'll show you why the company is rated that way and give you alternative companies to use.
Although this database is still under development and does not contain a lot of the smaller companies, there is a lot of information about the big guys. I decided to look up Clorox, given their recent jump into the green cleaning market. Scryve gave Clorox a rating of 5 out of 10 because:
They dispose of materials in an unsatisfactory way. More effort should be applied to improving their disposal processes as they are worse than should be expected of any company (unfortunately, many companies fail to deal with this issue). This company's neglect for the environment that sustains it is shocking... They have inadequate oversight of their supply chain, which enables the abuse of their subcontracted labor force. We've found that this company has a positive impact on its employees and on the communities where it operates. They make a real effort to ensure that their impact on the global community is positive.
Thankfully, Seventh Generation, with a rating of 8, is offered as an alternative choice to Clorox on Scryve. Scryve is a wiki, and you can sign up to be one of the contributing researchers! This site and its toolbar make shopping responsibly a little easier.
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

February 18, 2008

Book Review: Whole World

world 1.jpg Whole World by Christopher Corr and Fred Penner is a new children's book based upon the gospel spiritual originally sung by African American pianist and composer Margaret Bonds (1913-1972). You probably sang this song in childhood, chanting aloud, "She's got the sun and the moon in her hands...She's got the whole world in her hands!" Carr and Penner's version of this classic song, that embraces the world as a whole, ends with an environmental message. Readers are given brief descriptions of the geography of the different areas featured in the verses of the song, followed by some "Ways to Reduce Global Warming":
Eat less meat. Forests of trees that reduce carbon dioxide in the air are cut down to make way for cows that will be used for food.
The artwork is delightful in Whole World, and it comes with an audio cd. One track on the cd includes vocals of "Whole World", and another is a dub version for your sing along enjoyment. Personally, I have heard better versions of the song than on the cd; however, I do enjoy children's books based on songs, especially if there is a green message! Oh yea, Whole World is printed on "ancient-forest friendly" paper, and 10 percent of net sales go to conservation organizations!
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

February 15, 2008

Eco Food Friday: Dr. Weil for Nature's Path Pure Fruit & Nut Bars

41PDsGAVmjL._AA280_PIbundle-16,TopRight,0,0_AA280_SH20_.jpg Dr. Weil is most famous for his revolutionary book Spontaneous Healing. Now, Dr. Weil has teamed up with Nature's Path to create Fruit & Nut Bars. These bars are 100% organic and vegan, as well as delicious. My favorite flavors are Chocolada Walnut and Chia Razz. These bars are perfect for a midday snack or after school treat. All of the after-tax profits from the sale of Weil Fruit & Nut Bars goes directly to the Weil Foundation.
The mission of this not-for-profit organization is to support integrative medicine by funding the training of physicians and other practitioners, public education, research, innovations in patient care, and policy reform.
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

February 14, 2008

Looking for a Green Job?

Green Job Round up
55296815_7fbe8def2d.jpg So you've made the switch to natural products, drive a hybrid vehicle, purchase carbon offsets, and eat organically...what about your job?  Is it a green job?  Hillary Clinton promises 5,000,000 new green collar jobs, and Barack Obama has said green collar jobs are central to his energy plan.
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

February 13, 2008

Hip, Eco-Friendly, Recycled Shoes Made by Terra Plana

41MTHVT9S4L._AA280_.jpg Eco-friendly footwear just got hip with Terra Plana's Worn Again brand (and they are on sale right now)! Worn Again creates new shoes from recycled materials that would otherwise end up in landfills. Not only is Terra Plana concerned about the materials they use, but they also aim to improve social, economic, and environmental conditions in regions where they operate. What is better than a profitable business with the coolest recycled shoes around?
While our first collection kept old men's suits and prison blankets from ending up in landfill (good), the transport of materials sourced in the UK to our factory in China was by no means 'environmentally economical' (bad).

Progress has been made. Now into our fifth season, we are sourcing nearly all materials regionally in China and Hong Kong for production in our Chinese factory. Now that we have also started production a bit closer to home in Portugal, we are using the most fashionable disused seatbelts, bicycle tires and military tents from the European region.


Although these shoes aren't entirely vegan, the small amounts of leather used by Worn Again comes from recycled leather car seats.  Recycled leather may be a more sustainable option than petroleum-based vegan shoes, anyways. 
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

February 12, 2008

How to Practice Product Stewardship

ny169.jpg One aspect that should be considered when shopping responsibly for really natural products is product stewardship. Product stewardship involves looking at the lifecycle of a product, from manufacturing to disposal. The Environmental News Network offers eight tips for practicing product stewardship:
  1. Stay Informed-find out what companies are doing to reduce their carbon footprints and reduce their use of harmful chemicals. 
  2. Spend Some Dough-sustainably produced products cost more money.
  3. Locate Your Products-shop locally, such as at a farmers' market, to avoid buying goods that have been transported thousands of miles. 
  4. Check the ingredients-read the labels!  Remember, natural and organic are marketing terms without clear definitions on the US, especially for beauty products.
  5. Reduce Your Packaging-Look for products with less packaging and use canvas shopping bags at every store you shop, not just the grocery store.
  6. Recycle
  7. Take Advantage of Take Backs-Many companies offer to dispose of old products for you, especially electronics.
  8. Close the Loop-purchase product with high percentages of post-consumer recycled content.
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

February 11, 2008

Recycle Your Toothbrush

white_toothbrush.jpg We've featured the Preserve Jr. Recycled Toothbrush on Really Natural before, specifically the parent company Recycline's efforts to support the National Wildlife Federation. Recently, while reading Z Recommends, I discovered that not only are Preserve toothbrushes made from recycled Stoneyfield yogurt containers, but you can return your old toothbrush to the company for further recycling.
The American Dental Association estimates that the average American replaces their toothbrush two times a year (RN note:  even though dentists recommend every three months). At these replacement rates, used toothbrushes account for approximately 50 million pounds of waste annually.
When you are ready to replace your Preserve toothbrush, simply print a postage-paid return label from the Recycline website, mail you old toothbrush in, and it will be ground up to make plastic lumber.
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

February 8, 2008

Eco Food Friday: Shady Maple Farms Organic Stroopwafel Cookies

51ovriJB+xL._SS500_.jpg I have a sweet tooth, which mostly desires organic chocolate; however, Shady Maple Farms Organic Stroopwafel Cookies come in a close second. These vegan cookies delight anyone that loves honey and maple syrup.
Ingredients: Organic wheat flour, organic palm oil, organic rice syrup, organic cane sugar, organic whole wheat flour, organic soy flour, organic molasses, sea salt, organic soy lecithin, organic spices, organic maple sugar, sodium bicarbonate, natural vegan flavor

Just like other companies we recommend on Really Natural, Shady Maple Farms is committed to bringing consumers quality, natural products.

Our love and respect for the maple tree have led us to become one of the largest international suppliers of pure maple syrup products - and the world's largest supplier of certified organic maple products.
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

February 7, 2008

Create Zero Waste and Get Sued by the City

small_C4620B8E-08EB-FC3D-FC0920B50BF47F34.jpg
A 53-year-old man in San Carlos, California has done what all of wish we could do:  create zero waste, so that he no longer needs municipal trash service.  Eddie House explains,
"It's just me and my dog, so I don't have a whole lot of garbage to begin with and I recycle everything."  When Eddie canceled his trash service,  the city of San Carlos served him with a lawsuit. 
According to the Examiner,
The lawsuit claims House broke the city's municipal code requiring all residential, commercial and industrial properties to contract with Allied Waste for pickup at least once a week -- a standard requirement in most cities, San Carlos Deputy City Manager Brian Moura said.
Thank you Sheri for sharing this story with us.
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

February 6, 2008

100% Recycled Valentine's Day Cards

vday_group.jpgValentine's Day is around the corner, and although I am not a big fan of greeting cards in general since they usually just get tossed out, the childhood tradition of giving Valentines to your friends is very sweet. Stubby Pencil Studio offers do-it-yourself, 100% recycled, chlorine-free, made with renewable energy Valentine's Day cards.
Eco-friendly cards for kids to color, trace the letters, and create their own greetings. Printed on heavy, 100% post consumer waste stock, our recycled cards feature crisp, black and white illustrations to encourage do-it-yourself card making for young children. Interactive, educational, and green!
Stubby Pencil Studio also offers earth-friendly art supplies, such as soybean crayons and eco-friendly colored pencils. Did you know that some crayons contain asbestos? Most companies have voluntarily phased out the use of asbestos containing talc from their crayon production, but there are no government regulations requiring crayons to be asbestos-free.

Don't forget to give your sweeties some organic chocolate for Valentine's Day!

For more ideas on having a green Valentine's Day, visit Crafting a Green World.
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

February 5, 2008

Bioplastics Made from Plants

Snapshot 2008-02-04 18-05-29.jpg Since 2001, Cereplast (cereal + plastic) has been making plant-based resins used to make compostable and biodegradable plates, cups, and utensils, which break down after 180 days. With many California cities and countries in Europe and Asia banning polystyrene, the demand for eco-friendly plastics is on the rise. Made from U.S.-farmed corn, wheat, and potato with tapioca grown in Africa and Asia, Cereplast does not use any genetically modified plants. Cereplast bioplastic prices are competitive, especially as petroleum prices rise.

Cereplast produces 45 million pounds of raw bioplastic each year! Based in California, Cereplast is the world's largest manufacturer of bioplastic resin. Unfortunately, 1/3 of the bioplastic resin is shipped to China for manufacturing, thus leaving a larger carbon footprint than if used by US manufacturers. You can view the process for making bioplastic on CNET and the Sundance Channel's Big Ideas for a Small Planet:  Paper or Plastic? episode.
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

February 4, 2008

Fire and Light Handmade Recycled Glass Bowl

218G8T7RGEL._AA250_.jpg The Fire and Light Recycled Glass Bowl is made from 91% recycled glass in the USA, specifically Humboldt County, California. This hand-poured, colored glass bowl is beautiful and available in nine colors: celery, cobalt, grape, olive, citrus, lavender, plum, aqua, and copper. Fire and Light began making recycled glass dinnerware in 1995 through a partnership with the Arcata Community Recycling Center. According to the company:
The enlightened practices that gave rise to the company continue to inform everything we do. Fire & Light still strives to find new ways to incorporate recycling into our production process, like using recycled beer kegs from local microbreweries as vats to cool our ladles.Fire & Light colored glassware is a product whose history is a kind of future, where age-old craftsmanship meets innovative manufacturing, utilizing post consumer glass as a resource.
The Fire and Light Recycled Glass Bowl is incredibly durable, beautiful, and unique. It makes a wonderful wedding present or gift!
Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

February 1, 2008

Envirocyle Composter - Great for Backyards

31K17689YFL._AA250_.jpg

This compact, durable and user-friendly composter is sure to please. Aeration occurs through small openings in the drum, and the lockable lid prevents access to the compost by small animals. The drum is indented for easy gripping and rolling, and the base is able to collect up to 5 gallons of liquid fertilizer or compost tea.

At Envirocycle Composter

Blogpire Productions Permalink social bookmarking

Eco Food Friday: Fruit to the People From Fruitabu

fruitabugrape.jpg
When I wrote about Crispy Green's freeze dried fruit snacks, I criticized them for not being organic. Stretch Island's Fruitabu is organic and delicious! Made from organic fruit puree and concentrated juice, Fruitabu offers the perfect snack for children and adults. It comes in smooshed fruit flats and twirls. Stretch Island products are kosher, vegan, and offer diabetic diet exchange information on the label (1/2 fruit for Fruitabu flats). Fruitabu is even safe for gluten intolerant Celiacs.

The Stretch Island Fruit Company, makers of Fruitabu , "was founded in a humble laundry room on Stretch Island, Washington" in 1976. The company's values are:

We are optimistic: We believe in the goodness of people, real fruit and community. We envision a world of tasty fruit experiences that inspire people to celebrate nature's goodness.
We are socially conscious: We believe that the business of real fruit can help make positive change in our world. That's why we run our business and lead our lives in ways that best benefit the health of people, communities and our planet.
We are simple: We believe in the power of nature to help nourish and sustain us, and that sometimes, less truly is more.
We are healthy: We believe in the vitality of whole foods. So we make only all-natural and certified organic fruit foods that help people lead their best lives.

That's the thing I love about eating naturally: natural food companies have values!

Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking
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