June 30, 2009
If you dry clean your clothes, and almost every wardrobe has a few items that require special care, then you have experienced the waste of plastic that occurs at the dry cleaners. Sure, you go to a "green" dry cleaner, but what about the rows and rows of clothes bagged in plastic? Natural News
Are these plastic bags really necessary and at what point do people decide that sheer convenience is not worth the environmental impact? Many have begun to carry cloth bags with them when they go grocery shopping, but not enough people have looked to their dry cleaner. Not only are those giant strips of plastic a suffocation risk for children and animals, but most people only use their bags to take the clothes home and then toss them out.
One drycleaner estimated that his one dry cleaning store used between 50,000 to 100,000 plastic bags a year. This concerned business owner decided to make a difference. One Earth Day he passed out cloth garment bags to his customers free of charge. Not only would he get free advertising when customers carried the bag, but he was doing something good for the environment. About 300 million pounds of dry cleaning bags are thrown out annually. To his amazement 60% of his customers have been returning with their bags.
If your drycleaner is not offering you reusable garment bags, you can buy your own. It's important to not buy one made of vinyl (some vinyls contain lead); a canvas garment bag offers a more natural alternative. At about $10.00, switching from disposable plastic bags to a reusable garment bag for your dry cleaning needs is affordable.
June 29, 2009
Natural oils can do wonders for the body and soul, unlike perfumes that contain alcohol and come with a heavy price tag. Nantucket Natural Oils
custom creates many products from after shave balm to shampoos that will delight your senses.
Nantucket Natural Oils, The Fragrance Bar, was established in 1983 when John Harding discovered he has the one-in-a-million olfactory equivalent of perfect pitch. He's been sniffing his way to sweet success in the perfume industry ever since. Frustrated by the high alcohol content and short shelf life of most designer scents, the effusive Harding set out to create his own fragrance formula.
We recently tried out a few affordable Nantucket Natural Oils products:
Chill Out Sport Rub
Cool and refreshing, this rub has anti-inflammatory properties to work deeply and relax over-used muscles while increasing blood flow and boosting energy. Contains menthol, camphor, rosemary oil, eucalyptus oil, sage oil and fir needle. Spots only, do not apply to full body. Nantucket Natural Oil's fine natural-perfumed massage products, appropriate for professional practitioners and personal use, are specially formulated to relieve muscle soreness and tension, while nourishing and softening the skin with vitamins and botanicals.
Organic Spa Shea Butter & White Tea Massage Lotion
70% Certified Organic Ingredients. One of the only Organic Massage Lotions on the market, this luxurious lotion provides optimal manipulation of skin and muscles with a smooth glide and lasting workability to both the spa professional and at home user. It is light and silky, yet penetrates slowly to allow for a long lasting,pampering massage experience. Ultra rich emollients - sunflower seed oil and shea butter, plus nourishing Certified Organic aloe, calendula, comfrey and anti-oxidants white tea and vitamin E, replenish and soften skin while protecting it from free radical damage. Unscented, this lotion can easily be customized with a few drops of any Nantucket Natural Oil of your choice for aromatherapeutic benefits.
Nantucket Blend- Rain
Nantucket Rain is a nice mix with the notes of HONEYSUCKLE AND DAFFODIL. Nantucket rain - spring flora of the island.
The One by Dolce & Gabbana for Men
Introduced by Dolce & Gabbana in 2006.
The One is a warm, oriental floral with modern sensuality. Created for the ultimate diva, The One is at once tempting, modern and glamorous, embracing a touch of classicism.
The top notes radiate a vibrant luminosity, with a sun-touched citrus blend of bergamot and mandarin. Warm fruity notes of luscious lychee and succulent peach add to the delight.
The passionate heart evokes an exploding femininity, with an opulent floral soul comprised of madonna lily, muguet and jasmine, creating a distinct, audacious signature.
An unexpected hint of plum glows as the base finally blooms with the luscious allure of precious vetyver, accentuated with the lasting warmth of vanilla and sweetened ambery-musk tones.
The Chill Out Sport Rub was just what I needed after a hard day of physical labor building a rock wall. It was a relaxing blessing! My Spa Shop is a great place to shop for Nantucket Natural Oils!
June 26, 2009
fuji apples are used to make Yogachips
. These baked snacks are full of crunchy apple flavor. They are made in a two part process where first the apples are baked and then popped. Yogachips are certified USDA Organic and Ecocert
Ecocert is an international third party certifying body that verifies organic claims and grants organic certifications on behalf of the USDA.
Yogachips uses Ecocert certification because the apples it uses are grown in China. This certainly adds to the carbon footprint of this product if it is consumed in the US.
In the course of producing a wonderful apple chip, we also look for ways to ensure we benefit our suppliers and the environment. Our Fuji apples come from China's northern Shanxi Province and grow on the southern slopes of a mountain range facing the Yellow River. As terroir makes a good wine, so are the natural factors at our orchards critical to nature providing a sweet, juicy apple. Grown at 2,300ft, our USDA (NOP - National Organic Program) certified orchards are cool enough to deter most pests, allowing apples to grow and ripen robustly from the first April blossom through till October harvest.
Yogachips are also Kosher, gluten-free, Halal, and certified vegan. My children love them and can easily eat a couple servings in one sitting.
June 25, 2009
, it seems that almost anything can be made from bamboo. A Chinese company is making bamboo computer keyboards! According to Sustainablog
Jiangqiao, which began manufacturing the green keyboards last October, has already received orders for 40,000 finished units, and is China's sole producer of bamboo keyboards. The company says the product is as strong as its plastic equivalent...Jiangqiao faced the same difficulties typical for adapting bamboo for industrial use, including keeping the bamboo keyboard frame from cracking, preventing the bamboo bottom plate from distorting and firmly fashioning the buttons with the main board.
On one of my many posts about how much I hate plastic
because of its negative effects on our environment and health, a commenter pointed out that I was typing on a plastic keyboard. Thanks to the Chinese, I now have a greener option; however, there is no reason to replace my perfectly good keyboard with a new one. That would not follow the adage "reduce, reuse, recycle."
June 24, 2009
We've been fortunate enough to review beautiful natural fiber clothing by Hessnatur
before, now we have discovered their organic baby apparel line! Super sweet, soft, and adorable, Hessnatur's organic baby line
means everyone in the family can dress in eco-fashion. Hessnatur is always fair trade, organic, and sustainable, which is exactly what baby deserves against their fresh, delicate skin.
What our clothes are made of and with
- Pure, natural
fibers- organic whenever possible. Made from renewable resources:
Vegetable (cotton, linen, hemp, ramie); Animal (wool, specialty wools
such as angora, cashmere, alpaca, mohair, yak; silk).
- No PVC or Teflon, anywhere.
- Natural materials for buttons, like ivory nut, wood, horn, or mother-of-pearl
- Trims and linings are made from natural fibers, usually 100% organic cotton or 100% natural silk
metals used for zippers, buckles and buttons are nickel- and
chrome-free. Other materials are only used for these accessories in
the rare cases when natural materials or metals are not functional
- Our only exceptions: we sometimes use up to 8%
of elastane/spandex for the stretch in some lingerie and socks. All the
spandex we use is covered in cotton so no synthetic touches your skin.
What our clothes aren't made of or with
- Synthetic fibers: made from chemical substances derived from petroleum, like nylon, polyester or acrylic
fibers: chemically treated and re-processed fibers made from natural
materials that cannot be used for textiles in their original form, like
viscose, modal and acetate. Their manufacturing causes significant
water and power usage.
- Azo dyes which can give off dangerous, carcinogenic and mutagenic amines
- Dyes and dye procedures that include toxic heavy metals, which are known carcinogens
- Optical brighteners, which are probable allergens
- Chemical finishes, such as moth-proofing, anti-microbial, easy-care, wrinkle-free finishes, made with synthetic resins
- Chlorine bleach, which harms the environment
Hessnatur also offers maternity clothes from moms to be! I wish I would have had these organic maternity clothes during my pregnancies! Unborn babies deserve the best against mommy's skin too!
June 23, 2009
Summer vacation is often a time for travel; however, the economic recession has caused many families to look for cheaper alternatives to Disneyland
and urban locations. The solution, which is lighter on the wallet and better for the environment, is camping
With the economy in a slump, camping seems to be grabbing a new foothold in the travel industry. Once considered by many to be an activity for nerdy families, nature geeks and Boy Scouts, sleeping outside in a tent has become chic -- likely because it is so much cheaper than paying for a hotel room.
The activity also strikes a new chord with Americans who want to get back to basics after an era of excess and overspending.
I still revere my early camping experiences as my fondest childhood memories. These trips into the woods helped build my appreciation for the environment and understand the need for conservation. I can't wait to take my kids camping this summer!
Image: University of Massachusetts Lowell
June 22, 2009
It's exciting to see more and more alternatives to disposable plates and cutlery appear on the market. Bamboo Studio has introduced a line of biodegradeable dinnerware:
Bamboo Studio is a revolutionary all-occasion dinnerware that is both disposable and reusable. Handcrafted from the sheath of the emerging bamboo plant, these dynamic new serving pieces are elegant, strong, and environmentally friendly.
- Strong and leak resistant
- Handcrafted from Bamboo sheath
- No harsh chemicals or bleaches are used
- Requires little energy to make and Bamboo is 100% biodegradable
Bamboo Studio's organic certification
is pending. What makes these bamboo plates unique is that they are made from the sheath of the plant, so the living bamboo is not harmed. The sheath also has a beautiful texture. This dinnerware is longer lasting and sturdier than typical paper plates, besides it is far more aesthetically pleasing.
June 19, 2009
Greensender, known to me for the adventures of Mini G
, is now creating customized Sigg water bottles
Greensender creates custom SIGG bottles by using a precision laser engraving process. Your design is created by etching away the top layer of color which exposes the vibrant metallic bottle underneath. The result is an exquisite and extremely durable mark that will make your SIGG bottle a prized possession, the envy of all your friends and an arrow in the quiver of environmental justice!
We all know the importance of using reusable water bottles over plastic ones
, but it can be difficult to tell your reusable bottle apart from your friends' bottles. Sure, Klean Kanteens and Siggs come in different colors
or designs, but even so, this does not make each one unique. For example at my daughter's school, several kids and teachers have the same Klean Kanteen
. We have tried to distinguish our bottles with stickers, but they always wash off. Dents in the bottle become the identifying mark, but Greensender's bottle shop
offers a better solution.
A customized Sigg water bottle makes a wonderful gift (maybe it can be a late Father's Day present?). It is also a great idea for camp or back to school, as your child's water bottle will be truly unique. My daugther LOVES her customized bottle from Greensender. They do an excellent job with the engraving, and the Sigg bottle is very durable. Sigg bottles are made in Switzerland, not China, which is another bonus for consumers.
June 18, 2009
is a favorite amongst gardeners for its fuchsia fruit, but this native plant to the Southeast US is also a powerful insect repellent. According to Mother Earth News
In 2006, researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Products Utilization Research Unit in Oxford, Miss., found that extracts from beautyberry leaves could match DEET for repelling mosquitoes. The next year, experiments showed that the active ingredients from the leaves (callicarpenal and intermedeol) provided 100-percent repellency of black-legged ticks for three hours. In 2008, the four-person research team, headed by chemist Charles Cantrell in Mississippi and entomologist Jerome Klun in Maryland, published research that added fire ants to the list of pests repelled by essential oil distilled from beautyberry leaves.
I have not been able to find any beautyberry insect repellent, so instead I will have to find a plant for my garden.
June 17, 2009
Children deserve to be read to and sharing literature is a great way to learn appreciation for our Earth. The Barefoot Book of Earth Tales (One World, One Planet)
is a collection of stories and activities to inspire your family to become a "thoughtful caretaker of our planet":
In this beautiful anthology of folktales, young readers learn how different cultures around the world live in harmony with the rhythms and patterns of nature. Discover how to tread lightly on our precious Earth by following the easy eco-tips and trying out some of the fun and creative activities that accompany each story. The perfect gift for any eco-conscious child!
I love the story from Kazakhstan called "The Magic Garden". When finding a magic pot of gold buried in the land, two friend decide to buy seeds with the money and plant a garden after consulting a wise man and his students. Instead, when he reaches the market to buy the seeds, he uses the gold to pay for the release of caged birds meant for the Khan. Upset that there will be no garden and feeling like a fool, Arman notices the birds are planting a magic garden because he saved their lives. "Such is the story of the magic garden, which grew from the generosity of two old friends and the dream of a young boy."
When reading Earth Tales families explore Australia, Nigeria, USA, Bali, Kazakhstan, India, and Wales. Before each story, a little background on the part of that part of the world is given. Each story's moral teaches children to respect the Earth and the cultures of the world.
June 16, 2009
June 15, 2009
This little alternative energy radio is only about 3 x 2.2 x 3.2 inches! Powered by either a solar panel or hand cranking a dynamo, you don't have to go without tunes when the power goes out or you are off in the woods camping with the Kikkerland Dynamo Solar and Crank Emergency Radio
. When cranking the dynamo when solar energy is not available, this radio is quite efficient with one minute of human power producing half an hour of tunes. Also, it also won't break the bank at a price of about $30.
June 12, 2009
We have a winner of the Sustainable Youth Total Immune Performance Regimen! Congratulations Erma Hurtt! Erma's answers to the Sustainable Youth scavenger hunt:
1. Alasta™ is and anti-aging compund that helps to improve the skin's elasticity and firmness through its ability to boost machrophage activation, the immune system's first line of defense.
2. inner cheek enhancement, crows feet reduction, arm lift
3. They believe that Beauty can and should be achieved from the Inside Out
5. All the case studies and proven effects of using their unique products.
June 11, 2009
The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM)
Physicians to educate their patients, the medical community, and the public to avoid GM (genetically modified) foods when possible and provide educational materials concerning GM foods and health risks.
AAEM was founded in 1965 and is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to expand "the knowledge of interactions between human individuals and their environment." Specifically, AAEM is calling for:
- A moratorium on GM food, implementation of immediate long term safety testing and labeling of GM food.
- Physicians to educate their patients, the medical community and the public to avoid GM foods.
- Physicians to consider the role of GM foods in their patients' disease processes.
- More independent long term scientific studies to begin gathering data to investigate the role of GM foods on human health.
AAEM has found that there is a causation between GM foods and serious health risks, such as "infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system." Over 70 companies have responded to the dangers of GM foods by pledging to avoid sugar from GM sugar beets
in their products.
Via: Seeds of Deception
June 10, 2009
We've long been a fan of the original Robert's American Gourmet Pirate's Booty
in our home, but I have to admit we took a long break from the products following the Veggie Booty recall in 2007
. Enough time has passed, and I hope Robert's Gourmet has learned their lesson, so Pirate's Booty is back in our kitchen cabinets. It's a great snack made from puffed rice and corn that is baked (not fried). We've tried six varieties of Pirate Booty, including two new flavors!
- Pirate's Booty: This is still my favorite. I love the white aged cheddar.
- Pirate's Booty with Golden Caramel: This was my youngest scallywag's favorite flavor. He does have a sweet tooth!
- Bermuda Onion Pirate's Booty: This is a new flavor and my oldest scallywag's favorite. It is really good!
- Robert's American Gourmet Sea Salt & Vinegar Pirate's Booty: Unlike many sea salt & vinegar chips that are too strong, this new flavor has just the right blend.
- Veggie Pirate's Booty: A blend of spinach, kale, cabbage, carrots, and broccoli makes this snack easy to get hooked on.
- Barbeque Pirate's Booty: This would be the captain of our ship's favorite variety. I hope he watches out for the pirates!
My only wish is that these products were made from organically grown ingredients.
June 9, 2009
The following skin recipes comes from the author of Clean Body: The Humble Art of Zen-Cleansing Yourself
author Michael Dejong. We reviewed this great little book last month that has all the information you need using only five common ingredients to take care of all your body needs.
by Michael DeJong,
Author of Clean Body:The Humble Art of Zen-Cleansing Yourself
Mix together equal parts of extra virgin olive oil and salt to create a wonderful skin softener. Mix the two, so that the salt soaks up the olive oil, and then scrub your entire body, head to toe. Expect to be energized as well as exfoliated. Massage the mixture into your body and wash off thoroughly. You'd pay good money for this treatment if you were at a spa!
Cut two lemons into super-skinny slivers. Dribble half a dozen drops of olive oil onto the citrus slices. Give it a toss, and finish with three cups of sea salt. Then, it's hands off while the concoction cures for at least five minutes. Add your citrus dermadip to a hot and steamy bath. Lock the door, put on some soothing music, and submerge yourself into the citrus mix by loosening up and settling down for a long, luxurious, lazy soak. Reappear recharged and revived. You owe yourself this one!
Liberate yourself of dead skin cells with this awesome all-over exfoliator. Blend three quarters of a cup of sea salt or coarse kosher salt, three tablespoons of baking soda, and one-quarter cup of olive oil in a bowl. Jump into a warm-to-hot shower, douse yourself down, dip a washcloth into the mixture, and scrub everything you can reach with the all-over exfoliator. Rinse well. Find your newly revealed, stunningly soft skin sparkling fresh and re-energized.
June 8, 2009
I love clothes, especially fair trade
, organic pieces. Recently, I discovered Indigenous Designs
. Since 1994, Indigenous Designs has been making fair trade clothing, and you have a chance to win apparel from this eco-friendly line!
Together, Scotty and Matt have helped form a scalable artisan network through the Indigenous clothing line that reflects a commitment to sustainability and socially responsible actions. This global collaboration weaves together the employees of Indigenous, the artisans from around the world, and most importantly you, our customers.
We are committed to:
- Supporting and preserving fair trade wages and artisan cooperatives
- Investing in natural and organic fibers and environmentally-friendly dyes
- Spreading the beauty of handmade, eco fashion
One of my favorite pieces in the women's line is the double layer skirt
. This skirt is made from 100% organic cotton jersey material, low impact dyes, and is so comfortable! Of course, it is fair trade (not free trade
) from Peru. I will be living in this skirt this summer, and you could win one too!
Green Fashion Indigenous Designs Giveaway!
Entries must be dated before Monday, June 15 at 11:59 PM. Good luck!
June 5, 2009
Every Man Jack
has created a line of "all natural" grooming products for men. These products contain no parabens, no phthalates, no dyes, no synthetic fragrances, no sodium lauryl sulfates, and no animal testing.
Will this boost my energy and stamina? Get plenty of rest, eat right and exercise, and you'll be on your way. Speaking of energy, this invigorating spiced pepper body wash will nourish and protect your skin, cleaning deeply to remove your body's dirt and grime. So you feel refreshed, but never dry.
Will this clear up my past? That might be asking a lot. As far as your skin goes, our lotion with maximum strength acne fighting medicine will take care of current breakouts and help prevent future ones. Botanical extracts soothe away irritation and dryness.
Will this help me shed pounds? Only if you count stubble. Meanwhile, this rich gel formula comforts and protects your face for a close shave, while the soothing formula hydrates and heals your skin. Leaving skin looking fresh and healthy. Made for sensitive skin.
Will this make me "The Man?" If you're the only guy in your household, then yes. Meanwhile, our invigorating shampoo + weightless conditioner will gently cleanse and moisturize your hair and scalp, while removing excess oil and build-up. Leaves hair stronger, softer, and healthier. Ideal for daily use.
"The Man" in my household is very sensitive to fragrances in grooming products designed for men,
and he approved of the slight scents in the Every Man Jack products. These products are very affordable (between $5-$10) and available at Target.
June 4, 2009
In May, we reviewed Sustainable Youth's Total Immune Performance Regimen
. Now it's your turn to win a complete package of these great anti-aging products!
Find the Keys to Sustainable Youth Treasure Hunt Contest
1. Visit www.sustainableyouthproducts.com
2. Find the answers to the following four questions:
- a. What is Alasta T?
- b. List three areas where Sustainable Youth Products are most helpful (e.g eyelift Fold) (hint, view Case Studies).
- What is Sustainable Youth's Philosophy?
- Fill in the blank to complete the connection: Immune Performance, Anti- Inflammation, and _________
- Bonus: In your opinion, what is most unique about Sustainable Youth Products?
3. Return to Really Natural
and leave a comment to this post with your answers.Contest Rules:
- You must be at least 18 years of age to enter.
- Open to U.S. residents only.
- One entry per person.
- Contest closes Friday, June 12, 2009 at 12:00 am.
June 3, 2009
Are you looking for a unique, eco-friendly rug for your home? A bamboo rug
may be just what you are looking for to add to your home decor. Simple, durable, and beautiful, these moso bamboo
rugs have a non-slip pad on the bottom that works on any floor surface (concrete, wood, tile, carpet, etc.). Bamboo rugs are also easy to clean and an be used outdoors, as well as high traffic areas.
Since these bamboo rugs are 100% organic, you probably don't have to worry about the controversy surrounding the eco-friendliness of bamboo or hardwood forests being clearcut to grow it. Bamboo & Tikis co-founder and lifelong surfer Jamie Kocher explains the benefits of bamboo:
Bamboo is a wonderful plant as it requires little or no chemicals and grows very fast. In fact, it is the fastest growing plant (grass) in the world. The more you cut it the faster it grows as it has a rhizome root system that spreads rapidly. And it regenerates 25 times faster than a conventional hardwood forest. Another upside is that it fights CO2 emissions as it grows by releasing oxygen into the atmosphere. Each and every acre of bamboo "eats up" 9,600 pounds of carbon dioxide.
We love our bamboo rug, and because of its neutral color, it matches any room in our home.
June 2, 2009
According to Human Impact Report: Climate Change - The Anatomy of a Silent Crisis,
a study released by the Global Humanitarian Forum
, we are facing the negative effects of climate change
now, especially in poorer countries. Former UN Secretary-General and president of Global Humanitarian Forum Kofi Annan explains:
Climate change is the greatest emerging humanitarian challenge of our time, causing suffering to hundreds of millions of people worldwide. As this report shows, the first hit and worst affected are the world's poorest groups, and yet they have done least to cause the problem.
The report states that 300,000 people currently die annually from climate change, and that number will rise to 500,000 by 2030. Residents of semi-arid regions are most at risk. Tim Hurst of Red, Green, and Blue
The report also suggests that the world's twenty most vulnerable nations to climate change account for less than one percent of total worldwide emissions. In addition, 98% of those affected by climate change, 99% of all deaths and over 90% of all economic losses are borne by those countries least able to cope with the impacts of climate change and least able to invest the resources in fending them off.
Heavy polluting countries in the first world need to make it a priority to help these countries.
June 1, 2009
Last fall, we reviewed a lovely, natural fiber sweater by Hessnatur
. This summer, we've discovered the "World in Your Hand" organic t-shirt by Hessnatur
. The incredible design was drawn by Miguel Adrover. This organic, fair trade shirt is made by Grameen Knitwear in Bangladesh. Hessnatur pays a 40% bonus over fair purchase price and donates 25% from the sale of each "World in Your Hand" shirt to the rural education project of the Grameen Foundation.
Short sleeved top. With narrow sleeves and generously wide neckline. Figure hugging to emphasize the feminine silhouette. Made in Bangladesh from biologically controlled fabric under socially fair conditions. Makes its mark, not just because of the symbolic logo: "The world in your hand". Exclusively drawn by Miguel Adrover.
Hessnatur was founded 32 years ago by environmentalist Heinz Hess. The company's mission states: "Human beings should live in harmony with each other and with nature. Respect for the planet and its people is fundamental to the way we do business, interact with our customers, our partners and each other. We will not compromise our environmental integrity or our design aesthetics."