Posts Tagged ‘eco canada’

Just put your kids in a bubble.

After reading a recent article at Inhabitots then looking around my house, I have decided the only way to keep my kids safe is to place them in either

a) an individual bubble

or

b) a group bubble so they can play together

It seems that every day there is a new study out or another recall warning of the dangers of pretty much every item my kids come into contact with.

The Inhabitots article I came across for example, warns of the toxins contained in some types of flooring and wallpaper. Our kids are surrounded. If not at home, at school, at the babysitters or at Grandma’s.  The study found, among other things, toxic substances in flooring that negatively impact the immune system and brain development. Ahh, there goes my baby crawling on the floor, and I was worried about the dust bunnies he eats, turns out the kitchen floor is the problem.  They go on to site a Swedish study that “found that children exposed to the vinyl flooring that emits phthalates, may be as much as twice as likely to develop autism.” Another reason to be weary of vinyl flooring and wallpaper? High levels of lead, you pregnant ladies are not in the clear either. Click here to read the full Inhabitots article.

So that is that, I don’t have the $$ to rip up my vinyl flooring, I guess I’ll just try to contain Mr. Baby Man  in less toxic areas of my house for now. Maybe am incentive for more outside time?

While we are on the subject of toxic substances, lemme say a few quick things about BPA.

Upon reading various articles in The Globe and Mail, I have learned that

  • Teenagers  carry about 30 per cent more BPA than the rest of the population
  • Men who are exposed to high levels of BPA are more likely to experience sexual-performance difficulties. Does that make you enjoy your daily can of Pepsi more? Realistically the amount of BPA in a can of pop is probably harmless, but when you add it to the masses of other places BPA is suspected to be reaching us from…
  • Higher exposure to BPA =  A significantly increased risk of cardiovascular disease. 45% increased risk to be exact.
  • Levels of BPA are so high in some waters, that people are banned from swimming .  Too bad we can’t ban birds, fish or dolphins from swimming in certain parts of the ocean.  The same study found that BPA levels  were even higher in sand since BPA’s claim to fame is sticking to things and sand particles are the perfect candidate.

Great news for Canadians!

After a 4 year study we can all  do the non-toxic dance because Canada has FINALLY declared BPA a toxic substance! The researched showed that 91% of us have BPA in our bodies. It is about time! When will everyone else follow suit?

( Shout out! Happy Wedding Day to Kim & Tommy!!)

Eco-Easy Date Night Ideas

In an effort to create some memories that last forever with minimal waste or carbon output try these Friday night (or anytime) date ideas! Feel free to mix and match!

Although you should definitely use reusable table wear, I thought this ad was way too funny!

Some of these day time date ideas would be considered work for all but the most committed greenie, get out and give them a try!

  •  sign up for habitat for humanity
  •  apple picking in fall
  •  visit a farmers market
  • go for a bike ride picnic
  • clean up a park
  • if you can get your hands on one, go for a canoe or kayak ride (just don’t use a motor, ok?)

  My babysitters are usually  available during the evening  so here are some night-time date ideas that I’ve given some extra thought to

  • Scope out  a pretty well-lit park and settle in for a night-time picnic, if your date wants to volunteer to make up the basket even better!
  • Head to a restaurant that serves organic or local food. This is usually better suited for someone who lives in a city so public transport or even your feet can be taken advantage of. Luckily for me (who lives in the country) there are many little bed and breakfast spots/little restaurants nearby that have  great local organic selections. Another note, if you tend to leave lotsa food on your plate consider bringing  your own take out container in place of those waste full styrofoam thingies or foil.
  • Take a walk around and browse used book stores. Consider this little equation: great deal + exercise + loads to talk about + a new book = great date. If you don’t love to read,consider looking for  pretty books for decorating.
  • Go together to the liquor store and choose some organic wine or beer, stop in for some organic snacks on the way home and enjoy together
  • This idea is probably better suited to a couple that lives in the counrty or has a fireplace, but spiked hot chocolate and a campfire is another great option.
  • If you live in the city, go spontaneous and do a random  mass transit date. Choose a stop randomly and this is where your date will take place!
  • Do it up old school. Like real old school. Soda shop and stroll, or coffee and stroll, or beer and stroll, or milkshake and stroll. You get the idea.
  • I am a board game addict. Try a 2 player board game by candle light for a pretend it’s a black out kinda night.
  • For a stay at home movie date, to save money and be eco friendly borrow movies from  the library or sign up for Netflix.

No time for a date but still want to do something eco-friendly together? Conserve water and hop in a shower for two. If you have kids, turn the monitor on and remember to lock the door, as not to scar them for life… 

If you have a great eco date idea I would love to hear it!!

Worth it? Why Tide is not cool

What’s so bad about laundry detergents anyway? Why bother buying a green detergent?

A few things that are  not cool about conventional detergents:

  • Companies are not legally required to disclose all ingredients, and most choose not to.
  • Synthetic Surfactants. These suds-makers biodegrade  slowly, and will stay in our water ways for a very long time. Did I mention they are made from petroleum? They  also have a very high biological toxicity, according to an English study they have been shown to increase growth of breast cancer cells and also make boy fish more like girl fish. So weird and wrong.
  • Artificial fragrances, these are bad always, again made from petroleum, toxic effects on animals are not clear yet…
  • Optical brightners,  maybe let’s work on getting our clothes brighter without being toxic to fish.

Good news:

  • Most detergents come in concentrated versions now, because really why would we want to pay money for a bottle that is 3/4 water anyway, try to buy the detergent with the least amount of packaging.
  • Plant based surfactants ( biodegradable and safe)  are being used by greener laundry options like Method.
  • Can’t beat local and cheap! Try Down East Liquid Laundry

To skip detergent every now and then try these tips

  • Soak whites in hot water with lemons for a few hours instead of bleach (discard lemons before putting them in the washing machine)
  • Use baking soda. While I use detergent with my cloth diapers, I always through in some baking soda for a little extra kick, my sister uses only baking soda.
  • Try a recipe to make home-made laundry detergent

Funny story, In the 1960s, when surfactants began to gain in popularity detergent manufacturers  battled over who had the longest lasting suds. This led to suds  appearing in streams, rivers, lakes, and 8 feet of  strangely  colored bubbles at the foot of Niagara Falls. Was this a hint that what we use in our homes goes directly back into the environment?

Check out the other Worth it? Apples to Apples and I can’t get these diapers out of my head

Oh and by the way Green Laundry detergents are WORTH IT! I like Method free and clear detergent, my favorite part is no measuring, you just squirt it in!!

Dollarstore Eco?

I was at the Dollarstore the other day and as always my eyes were scanning and searching for green items.  I have never hip checked a kid before, but  that tween stood between me and my eco-friendly future! She was blocking the  Envirosticks! I want it!Luckily she moved on before there was a confrontation….

Envirosticks, they must be green!! Ohhh, something I will use, is super cheap and it looks eco friendly!  This a perfectly guilt free purchase! Sigh, what every shopaholic/ecoholic dreams about. Why get so worked up about pencils? That’s just who I am.

Anyway upon closer inspection on their website I decided to grade them and see if they are really a good eco buy or not.

PRO

  • made from sustainably grown forests
  • uses non toxic ink to put print on pencils
  • when it gets down to the nubby bit, you can recycle the little metal piece and compost the eraser
  • They are also great to write with, and with my son in grade 1 now we use pencils ALOT
  • CON
  • While they use sustainable forests, why cut down any trees at all when you can make pencils out of recycled materials, like O’BON.
  • They are also pretty boring to look at, next time I’m looking to but some eco pencils, I think I’ll spice it up a little with these super cute designs, also from O’BON.
  • The package is mainly plastic,  why would you bother to make a recyclable pencil with a package that ends up in the trash?

So Envirosticks turned out to be a decent eco buy for the dollarstore, but if I was paying full price I would choose a recycled alternative.

While I was at the dollarstore, I also found some bamboo elastics. While I really did know better, that bamboo production for textile like things is not that eco friendly, I was on a roll and bought them anyway. I always need elastics for my little girls’ hair and at least the package was made from recycled material! I have not come across any other eco friendly hair elastics, so if you know of someone who sells them let me know!

Worth it? I can’t get these diapers out of my head…

As you may be aware I switched to cloth diapers a few months ago, click here to find out more about that switch. Be that as it may, my baby’s butt is often still covered in  disposable diapers by others when I can’t be around.  As an aspiring ecoholic I need to make sure  we use  the healthiest and greenest option available. The disposable diapers I had on hand were not that…

WORTH IT? – PC GREEN DIAPERS

Material & Manufacturing:

  • One thing that I like about these diapers is how open they are on their label.   These diapers are made from wood pulp that was acquired from sustainable forests.
  • They do not use chlorine bleach (good news for baby’s butt as well as the environment)
  • Although there is still a small amount of plastic in these diapers, they are working to source plant based polymers instead

Performance:

Wow! Totally surprised and impressed with these!! They are stretchy and super- absorbent. To put them to the test I changed my baby man before bed at 7pm and left it on until 9am the next morning. All was good, he was dry and so was his bed! He is also teething and having some ahh messy situations down there, these diapers are even holding their own against blow outs!

Disposal:

My waste collection service is investigating these diapers to see if they can be collected curbside as compost, for the time being they do still have to go into the waste can. I will update if anything changes.

Costs Comparison:

Cost per diaper for size 6,

  • Pampers  $0.38
  • Seventh Generation $0.45
  • PC green diaper (look for a comparable store brand) on sale for $0.21 regular $0.42

If you are looking for the cheapest option you can’t beat cloth. It pays for itself in the first few months. If your lifestyle is just not  ready for cloth I say Green diapers are WORTH IT!

Any switch we can make that helps us get off of non-renewable resources, holds up performance wise to the competition, is using less chemicals and is actively trying to improve is so WORTH IT.

Although  I can’t stop thinking about these diapers,  I do know that every baby is different so if you try a green diaper and don’t like it  keep trying until you find one that is a perfect fit for your baby. Check out Diapers.com for purchasing (they only ship to the U.S.)and to read  reviews as well.  Look out for sales when buying diapers, when the time comes stock up!

*PC Green is a local brand, if you can’t find it try Seventh Generation for a comparable product (higher price). In fact Seventh Generation is even more transparent about their diaper production.

If you use another green diaper and love it, please comment!

If you write a blog, check this out.

Greener Birthday Party (Take 1)

Paisley Handmade on Etsy!

Like I ‘ve explained before, going green for me is a trial and error process. I try something new, make mistakes and learn every day. This weekend my little princess B turned 3. This marked the first birthday party I would have to throw since making the switch to a greener life. Greener Birthday party, take 1:

I like to keep my kids parties pretty small if  I can, this cuts down on costs, waste and clean up!

I invited everyone via Facebook or phone so no trees were harmed. 🙂

Decorations:

I have a huge supply of balloons at my house, as you know I do have a tainted past as a shopaholic, so I  have a lot of  “random stuff ” as my husband calls it, around my house . Also I don’t care what anybody says, helium balloons are fun. Although I was quite discouraged about the non-eco friendly-ness of balloons, I came across a blog post that told me I can compost latex balloons! Fantastic! Mylar balloons however  are NOT compost able. Since I had pre-purchased these balloons months ago, it seemed crazy not to use them. I had my balloons  blown up at a dollarstore where the ribbon used was not eco-friendly.I suppose all I can do at this point is re-use what is already in my possession and try to prolong the life-cycle of the ribbon. For future reference, these eco friendly ribbons would have been a pretty cool choice! Throw in a few streamers that I already had, I suppose it’s eco-friendly if I’m not buying anything new…. Also for future reference (slap to head,WHY wasn’t I thinking!!) I should have invested a reusable banner, like this one that I found on Etsy . I like to try to keep most of the decorations in one area of the house for easier clean up at the end of the

Fairy tea paty corner

day… Other than that I pretty much just decorated with a few pillows and created a little tea party area. One eco friendly creation I made were fairy wings. I could have gone out and bought new wings for like $3 each, but I decided to recycle craft some instead. I followed the directions on this website and they turned out ok! (Keep in mind that my idea of a successful craft is one that doesn’t immediately fall apart or burst into flames…)

Food:

I could have done better here: Pizza, chips,  pop, cheesies. All a little questionable… Should have gone for organic chips or even Sun Chips with their compost-able bags. I did ok here: I did choose to make her birthday cake this year with an organic cake mix. The feedback on it was pretty good, although next time I’ll attempt to do an organic/ fair trade cake from scratch. .. Also I didn’t purchase any disposable plates or cups (I have a large supply of napkins, and since the cake was cupcakes no plates were really required). If you were interested in biodegradable party wear Go Green in Stages has all kinds of options.

Treat Bags:

For treat bags I bought a cheap purse and wallet as well as some fair trade chocolate, organic fruit snacks, bear paw cookies and a Tinkerbell comic book. I figured that these things have pretty good play value for little girls (gotta have our purses!) so at least it wasn’t a cheap toy that would just be disregarded or broken. I have given out toys like this in the past….I could have stepped it up by purchasing perhaps a bag made from organic cotton instead. I was thinking about giving out little potted flowers, but at the age of 3 this is maybe an idea for a later birthday. For a spring birthday seeds to plant might be a cool idea…

Gift:

This is one area that I think I did great at. I purchased an eco-friendly tea set, made from recycled plastic, dishwasher safe, and the only packaging left over was a recyclable box, no plastic. Instead of wrapping the gift I used a Dora gift box that I received years ago and keep reusing almost every birthday. A friend of mine hosted a birthday party last year where instead of gifts guests bought items to donate to the Humane Society. the birthday girl got to go deliver the items and see all the animals she was helping. I think that this is a fantastic idea!

This was not by any means a perfectly eco party, but it is a step in the right direction and that is my goal!

Finally going green

After much consideration, all it took was one page from the book “Big Green Purse” by Diane MacEachern to inspire me to strive for a greener lifestyle. After checking out her website http://www.biggreenpurse.com/ I signed up for the one in a million challenge where consumers switch $1000 from their normal spending each year to greener products. So week by week, I’m slowly getting greener. Now to figure out how attainable it is to go green (on a budget!).

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