Naturally back to school time, is here. Summer is just a third of the way through and already we start thinking of Autumn and buying school supplies. It’s a time for sales and marketing gimmicks to get you to buy school clothing, school supplies and electronics. It sometimes causes us to over buy. Instead of falling prey to the marketing ads, take time to think about how important school supplies can be to your child’s health. Here is how to go Naturally back to school. It can be eco friendly and non- toxic.
Buy paper and pencils made from tree-free or recycled content
Buy recycled rubber erasers
Buy bamboo and other sustainable wood, or recycled plastic calculators, flash drives, rulers etc.
Look for eco- friendly on the labels of commonly used electronics for contents that are green or recycled.
Recycle plastics and boxes that electronics come in
Buy re-usable snack bags, lunch bags and drink containers. BPA free plastic, glass or stainless steel
Carpool to school with neighbors or friends
Recycle old school papers and unwanted paper scraps
Buy non-toxic markers and paint supplies
Buy organic clothing or eco friendly clothing, used or hand me downs
Re-purpose old items at home and make them new
Buy used books online or at local used book store.
Sell old text books to make extra cash and recycle
Back to school can be a very toxic and wasteful time of the year. Numerous school supplies have toxic gasses and chemicals that your child will inhale or absorb through their skin. Thinking ahead doing a little research, looking at labels makes your carbon footprint lighter and you feel better knowing your child is using safe school supplies.
It’s an exciting time of your child’s life when they go off to college for the first time. It can be a hectic and emotional time too. Lots of planning and a long list of supplies to buy before school even begins. This time of the year can be expensive, overwhelming and also crazy. In the midst of all of this chaos being green might be the least of your worries. Besides your soon to be college student wants to have a hip room and hip clothes to wear to school.
Green doesn’t necessarily have to be dull and boring and over spending sure isn’t fun. Cutting down on spending helps your budget and also helps the environment when you don’t over do on buying products.
You can send your college student to school with the hip and “in style” and still watch your carbon footprint and here is how.
Buy clothing that is sustainable and or used. Start shopping early so that you don’t binge buy. There are some really cool “in” clothing that is eco friendly. The great thing about ‘vintage” is that it is Hip already. Shopping at thrift stores can save you lots of money. If buying used isn’t your thing, try buying Bamboo Fashion clothing. It not only wrinkles less, it is light weight so it packs up easy and is very easy to care for, and it’s super soft! It usually doesn’t need ironing and dries quickly, which is great for the student on the go. It makes a great year around fabric and layers easily.
Organizational supplies are a must with dorm living. Believe it or not organization is very eco friendly. The more organized you are, the less likely you are to buy more than you need. When you have less space, organization is paramount. College students need to keep track of their studies, supplies and everyday items, so it will save them time. You can buy natural fiber and sustainable file cabinets, drawers and school supplies. Everything you need can be eco friendly for your student’s dorm room. Natural fiber baskets, bins and desks make your student hip and going green.
Room decor, what college student doesn’t want to have a hip dorm room and bathroom. Mainstream products can be tempting, but you might find that natural products are just as appealing. Bamboo sheets and comforters, natural fiber pillows and even blinds can be made from a more sustainable and earth friendly source. How about Bamboo Towels? We have them along with bathroom rugs, and even robes and slippers.
What an exciting time this is for your family. It can also be a very light footprint for the environment and an opportunity to educate your family on the importance of Going Green! Just a little planning can make your college student’s dorm healthier and hip! Check out our full line of eco friendly products for students at www.mypumpkindoodle.com
Bedrooms often get overlooked when thinking about Green. People tend to forget about sleeping hours and focus on the waking hours for being green. In fact the bedroom can be one of the most toxic rooms in the house. Most especially when your talking about mattresses. So much goes into making a bedroom feel comfortable and relaxing that we don’t realize all that decor can be toxic. . It’s nice to have a beautiful bedroom, but it is also important to have a healthy bedroom. During our sleeping hours it is very important to have a non-toxic, environmentally friendly sleep environment. An investment in a Green bedroom can improve your sleep, energy level and overall health. Children are especially susceptible to toxic chemical in bedrooms. Their developing lungs need a toxic free environment. Some studies have linked SIDS, allergies and asthma to chemicals in infant mattresses.
This recent study, conducted in Sweden focused on analyzing the air in children’s bedrooms. The researchers were looking for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – gases that are emitted from liquids or solids and which can damage the environment and human health. They tested the air for 8 different VOCs in the bedrooms of 400 children. Nearly half of the children suffered from allergies or asthma, and the other half were healthy.
What they found was a link between the presence of PGEs – propylene glycol and glycol ethers – and asthma, allergies and eczema. In fact, children with PGEs in their bedroom air were between 50 and 180 times more at risk of developing asthma, rhinitis (cold symptoms) and eczema than children whose bedroom air was free of these chemicals.
The study also linked bedroom air containing PGEs to a higher incidence of kids developing antibodies to cats, dogs and pollen. In other words, they are sensitive to pollen and cat or dog dander (usually), and may develop allergic symptoms in the future or already have them.
Although mattresses are a huge issue with off gassing chemicals, lets not forget about carpeting, paint, blinds, curtains, and bedding as another major source of chemicals.
People have reported a significant improvement in their overall health after taking the steps to create a Green Bedroom.
Here are some ways to avoid toxic bedrooms:
Use Non-Voc paint ( or low VOC)
Buy natural fiber blinds or fabric blinds or curtains
Tomorrow is the biggest shopping day for online retailers. It is like Black Friday for brick and mortar stores. It is what keeps most stores in business as the majority of their sales come during this season. So many people into the Green movement stray away from this shopping frenzy. However you can make Cyber Monday a Green one! Buy Green! Use Ethical Green Small business to buy your holiday shopping gifts. You can get really great deals on Green, Eco friendly products during the Cyber Monday sales. Here are really great deals we are offering.
Organic Cotton Robes these are truly the Rolls Royce of Bath Robes… Amazingly soft and well made. GOTS certified Organic Cotton. We have matching slippers also. Perfect for Him or Her. On Sale! Was $154.00 now $144.00 Buy Now
Mom’s and daughter’s love to polish their nails and with the toxic chemicals in nail polish and remover, many mom’s don’t. We have nail polish and remover that is Earth Friendly and Non-toxic. Made from earth’s materials… They make great stocking suffers and friend gifts too! Mom might want some for herself. Set includes 3 colors. Polish remover can by purchased in gift sets or separately. Check out our full line of Natural Nail polish and accessories Buy Now $23.50
Every home needs candles. Main stream candles have toxic chemicals. Most are made from Petroleum. Some are made from GMO soybeans. Our candles are made from Organically grown soybeans. They are as Eco friendly as candles can be. Amazing aroma and longer lasting. Fill your home with the sweet smell of Organic grown soy candles in amazing scents. One for every room in the house. They make great gifts! Buy Now!
The holiday season is a time for Toys and lots of them. Little girls and boys love to receive toys under the tree! We have a wide selection of Wood, Organic and Natural toys , games and playdough. Let their imagination soar with our Eco toys. Children learn from playtime and what a great way to make sure they are safe from harsh chemicals. Check out our advanced wooden block set on Sale from $94.00 to $78.95 amazing savings! Buy Now
Being Green doesn’t have to be expensive. Buy Green this holiday season and feel good knowing your helping the massive mass market of toxic products that are produced every year. Many of which end up in the landfill. Give your family the best in quality and Eco products. Check out our full line of products at www.mypumpkindoodle.com Happy Shopping! Happy Holidays!
This time of year is magical in some ways with the season’s changing, the leaves turning beautiful colors and the crispness in the air. Soon the day light savings time will change, the weather will get colder and we all start to prepare for winter by changing out screens, storing our summer items and winterizing the house and yard. Most of us will be raking leaves ( which is always a fun chore to have, jumping in piles of leaves playing), mulching trees and flower gardens, and preparing the garden for winter planting. Autumn is a time for change in so many ways.
This time of year being Green is very important as we prepare for cold weather. There are so many ways you can be Eco Friendly during your winterization process.
Here are some great eco friendly winterization tips:
Gather seeds and seed pods from plants to plant next spring – its fun educational and saves money
Use non VOC paint
Use Eco-friendly or bio based foam sealant
Use cotton, wool or recycled content insulation
Buy Organic cotton, Wool, Bamboo or other Natural fiber blankets or Duvets
Buy used blankets to help save the environment from the carbon footprint of buying new
Seal windows and doors to prevent air leakage to save on energy
Install LED or CFL lighting that uses less energy
Use less light bulbs (we use 1/3 the lighting that is suggested in our lamps & fixtures etc)
Use biomass heating if possible in place of Oil, buy energy efficient heating appliances, solar or geothermal systems to save energy and off-put less C02
Turn off lights when not in use
Turn down heat when not at home
Open you oven door after baking to allow the extra heat to heat your home
Close doors to trap heat in each room
Use Storm doors or windows / insulated windows to keep exterior doors & windows air tight
Buy low e glass in windows and doors to help with energy conservation
Use biodegradable bags if you need to bag leaves for pick-up or compost leaves in the yard or garden
Allow for city pick-up or natural decomposition for lawn clippings or limbs/ brush instead of burning
Use electric lawn equipment when possible
Storing patio furniture and umbrellas, covering grills will make them last longer.
Use Green lawn care products when treating lawn and gardens
Store ash from fireplaces/ wood burning stoves or corn burning stoves to use in the garden for spring
Pressure washers and other outdoor cleaning can be done eco-friendly without the use of toxic chemicals
Dispose of construction waste consciously by donating unused or used lumber, windows and doors to Habitat for Humanity for re-sale. Recycle unusable materials to recycling center near by. You sometimes can get a small amount of cash, but if not, it is worth the effort just to keep it out of the landfills.
Autumn is a wonderful time of the year enjoy it the healthy, eco friendly way!
Summer just arrived it seems like and you have to start planning for back to school. It can be a costly expense and so many parents have a tight budget these days. However, the cheapest might not be the best option for your child or the environment. School supplies have chemicals in them. Have you ever used a marker or glue and gotten a headache? Ever opened up a pack of paper and smelled a chemical smell from the ink on the paper? These things may seem harmless but when you look at the overall usage it adds up. School projects are usually a requirement in each grade and the products your children use for these special assignments, as well as everyday school work, will be inhaled and absorbed into the lungs/ skin of whomever uses them.
PVC is found in so many products such as lunch boxes, rain coats/boots, notebooks and backpacks. It can also be found in modeling clay, colored paperclips, notebook binder rings, and markers. Sometimes it is easy to spot, other times not. If it has a 3 in the recycle symbol it is PVC. It may also have a “V” in it or just say PVC or Vinyl. You may have to call the manufacturer to find out.
PVC is toxic because it contains chemicals such as phthalates, cadmium, lead, organotins which leach out into the air and are breathed in by your children when they use these products. Phthalates are used to soften or plasticize the plastics. If you have ever purchased a vinyl shower curtain and opened it, had a strong odor, you’ve experienced the toxic off gassing of PVC. PVC is not only toxic in it’s use, but also the production and disposal. If burned/melted it can be extremely toxic because dioxins are released and these dioxins have been linked to cancer, immune dysfunction and fertility issues. We don’t know the extent of all the harm it does our bodies yet, and children are still developing and are more susceptible at low levels. It is very important to avoid these when possible.
In 2008 the government passed a law on the ban of Phthlates in toys, but they did not cover the PVC in school supplies
Here are some suggestions on how to avoid PVC:
Look for labels that says PVC free
Avoid vinyl products
Look for the 3 inside the recycle symbol
Avoid other plastics such as (PS) polystyrene, (ABS) acrylonitrile butadiene styrene
Look for products that are not plastic such as bamboo, wood, nylon, paper or fabric etc.
Avoid buying polymer clays that are made of PVC such as Fimo or Sculpey
Avoid one use disposable bags and other plastic items- buy re-usable
Buy stainless steel, glass drinking and eating containers or buy biodegradable plastics such as corn plastic
Bamboo is another great, hot item in the school supply market now: Ipad holders, laptop cases or portable flash drives
Look for recycled content in notebooks such as recycled cardboard
Look for natural rubber or Silicone substitutes for plastic
Buy used items
As parent’s we want the best for our children and yet, we can’t always buy the purest of products for them. Every step we take in the purchase of non-toxic products sends a strong message to the manufactures of these toxic products. Every step you take towards giving your child a more healthy environment makes a difference. So, don’t give up because you cannot buy all non-toxic school supplies. You may also find, with a little advance planning, a supplier that offers affordable eco friendly school supplies that is comparable to mainstream toxic counterparts. Keep in mind when shopping the main toxic ingredients and the most toxic names for those so that you can avoid the worst of the chemicals found in school supplies.
With the 4th of July coming up soon in our country many people celebrate with Independence Day cookouts, outdoor parties and picnics. It is also time for social activities during warm months. Fireworks, street festivals and outdoor live music it is a very exciting time of the year, summer! Everyone wants to spend as much time outdoors as possible!
Anywhere there is a party, there is lots of waste. You can smell the charcoal and lighter fluid as people gear up to grill out! Soda cans, alcohol containers, plastic bottles, cups and plates fill the trash cans. No one wants to be burdened with lots of clean up time and so disposable everything comes into play.
Plastic is such a huge issue and one that is an everyday occurrence for some people. Let’s look at the impact that plastic has on the environment. 86% of all ocean debris is plastic. Over 1 million seabirds or mammals die each year from plastic ingestion or entanglement. Bottle caps and plastic objects can be found inside decomposed carcass because they think the plastic is food. (source: www.mindfully.org/plastic/ocean/Trashed )
Every year Americans use enough paper and plastic cups, forks and spoons to circle the equator 300 times. That is a lot of waste! From just American’s alone. Over 7 billion pounds of PVC are thrown away in the U.S. each year. Only 18 million pounds of that, or one quarter of 1 percent, is recycled.Chlorine production for PVC plastic uses almost as much energy as the annual output of eight medium-sized nuclear power plants each year. ( source: http://www.cleanair.org/Waste/wasteFacts.html).
It is important to see that our convenience plays a harsh effect on nature and ultimately ourselves.
How can you Green parties? Here are some of my suggestions:
Buy biodegradable plastic or bamboo utensils, tableware and beverage containers. Use re-usable utensils tableware and drinking containers from home.
Use recycled aluminum foil
Use eco friendly lighter fluid and charcoal or gas grills
Use glass containers for leftovers or biodegradable re-usable plastic containers
Use cloth table cloths and napkins or recycled content products
Recycle / Re-use any paper or cardboard boxes
Buy local / Organic veggies and sustainable meats
Buy Green parties supplies or make your own
Send e-vites for invitations
Use digital camera
Make your own homemade ice-cream – everyone loves homemade ice-cream it can be fun!
Make your own punch from glass bottle juices and beverages. Buy a keg instead of six pack
If you buy soda’s, buy litter bottles and re-use the plastic when done. Don’t forget to recycle when done
Use Soy Candles
Use natural bug repellents ( bug zappers kill even beneficial insects)
Use rechargeable batteries
Local entertainment is a great way to support our economy at home and less impact on the environment
Clean up when you leave the outdoor area! Leave no trace.
Re-use everything you can
Use solar lighting for decks, pools and outdoor picnic areas.
Decorate with natural plants and flowers. Some are also good for insect control!
Don’t dump toxic liquids in the ground. Dispose of everything properly
BE aware of fire hazards. Take special care when you are using fire. Be prepared to put out a fire.
Use steel ice and beverage buckets instead of plastic
It may not seem like much, but with the amount of plastic produced each year, if everyone takes these steps it can cut the amount of plastic used down and the amount of energy used to produce the plastic down by an amazing amount! Have an Green Party and a Eco fun Summer!
Wow it is hard to believe that Spring is almost over, soon June will be here and kids will be out of school. This is a time of family vacations , camps and outdoor activities such as picnics and barbeques. Then the not so fun part of summer is bugs…
During the summer fun, chemicals are used and tons of waste disposed of. It is a very important time of the year to be Eco aware.
What can a Mom do to cut down on the carbon footprint of Summer fun? That’s a great question and one that is not as hard as you might think. Though going 100% neutral is difficult there certainly are lots of options for Eco alternatives to the common non eco mainstream products.
Let’s start with clothing. Some may think that organic cotton is the only option for eco clothing. I hear that comment frequently. Actually, organic cotton is certainly the most pure if it is undyed and fair trade. Cotton is typically the fabric of choice since it is light weight and cool, but there are many other fabrics that fit the summer eco fashion scene. Bamboo Viscose is light weight and cool and has a
natural stretch to it. It doesn’t wrinkle like cotton and dries easily. I compare it to silk as it has the silky feeling of silk and the durability polyester ( old school) but seems to work well in the summer as you hardly know you have it on. Our bamboo fabrics are grown in ethical manner and many are certified organic bamboo. If your looking for an alternative to organic cotton, I suggest bamboo viscose fabrics. Kids love bamboo clothing! Mom’s love the durability of bamboo , wrinkle free , fast drying aspect of it. For vacations, it is wonderful as it doesn’t need ironing and it can be rolled up in the suitcase and ready to go when you arrive. I love bamboo for many reasons, but the most important part is that it doesn’t stain like cotton. Bamboo clothing is great for any activity and great for active kids… Mom’s can do yoga in Bamboo clothing and still look great to head out for shopping and dinner afterwards… very versatile fabric. Combine bamboo with cotton and you have the best of both worlds. Our GGO Yoga Clothing , Yala collection and our Bamboosa Collection both offer the best quality in Eco fashion wear for infants, children and adults. Mom’s & Dad’s like it too!
Shoes are another way you can Green your summer footprint (pardon the pun). So many more options these days, and a Green Mom might find it hard to go Eco in the shoe department. If you look further you can find that Eco shoes are getting not only more fashionable, but more available in the mainstream at affordable prices. A little bit of Eco goes a long way and a lot of Eco makes a huge difference. Our purchasing choices play a role in what manufacturers design in the future. Several shoe companies have used partial sustainable materials and some like our Colorful Grass Shoes and our VOS Flips are as Eco friendly as you get. Colorful Grass Shoes are vegan shoes and are made from Hemp, Organic Cotton, Recycled Rubber, PU and Coconut buttons and made with ethical labor practices. VOS Flips are made from natural rubber and are recyclable both companies have a strong commitment to the environment, fair trade and have created shoes that are both comfortable and fashionable without compromising the environment.
Quality doesn’t have to be compromised just to be eco friendly.. Our line of Eco Friendly shoes and Vegan Shoes we are sure you will find top of the line. Our children’s line of shoes are non-toxic washable leather. They are handmade and have been tested to meet the American Standart ASTM as well as the European Safety Standard EN71. Our soft soled leather shoes are chromium (VI) free (chrome-free leather) and pass all known specifications for Formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, and glutaraldehyde, including those for baby clothes. The strictest of standards. Soft soled shoes are so much better for developing feet and washable leather makes it a great plus for mom’s.
Aside from Summer eco Fashion how can you make Summer a more eco season. Instead of using insecticide in your cabinets and drawers use our Eco tube. It works great for counters, cabinets, dresser drawers, under dressers and sinks, behind toilets and even in picnic baskets to keep those pesty insects away. Our Eco tubeis 100% natural and biodegradable. Specially selected
herbs are used to create this great natural pest control tube and it smells great too! Insecticides are a huge burden on the environment as well as our health. Natural methods to prevent and destroy insects and spiders keep those beneficial insects that we need from dying out. Bug zappers in particular are killing all insects that are attracted to light. Beneficial insects and birds can prey on the insects that we are killing with bug spray and zappers. Buying bat houses, swallow houses and setting out praying mantis eggs in the spring can keep most of your pesty insects to a minimum. Also, beneficial flowers such as marigolds not only add to the beauty of your yard and deck, they also keep insects away.
Everyone loves a cookout in the Summer! Nothing better than to have friends and family over for fun and food. Plastic bottle and tableware and cups, Paper products such as napkins, plates, and table cloths get thrown in the landfill. Using re-usable and take home and wash (as you would with any dinner party) or use biodegradable products. Biodegradable is less work to clean up and you just toss them in the compost bin and go. Many other products such as aluminum foil can be purchased that are made from recycled content, this saves the environment by not having virgin materials to produce. You can now buy eco friendly lighter fluid and charcoal for those grilling parties, no need to use toxic chemicals to get the job done. Remember to eat left overs! It might seem trivial, but in reality, it saves on your carbon footprint. Meat, and Beef in particular, has a massive C02 burden on the environment, just in raising the cattle, so does pork and chicken. So before you throw away ( remember to not put meat products in your compost) re-think and eat left-overs. It not only keeps it Green – it helps your budget too! And least, but not last, one of the most important parts of being healthy and green, is skin care. Summer time is the time when skin care products are used the most. Sunscreens, moisturizers and sunburn soothing lotions, tanning products etc. are skin care products and along with pesticides are toxic to the environment as well as our health. Remember to buy products that are free from the most common carcinogenics and most especially for your baby and older children, because their system is still developing and is sensitive to chemicals. Please read the labels and do research on the products to avoid. Find sunscreen that contains ingredients that are better for your health and the environment than products that contain chemicals. For more information on the skin care products and toxicity visit Enviromental Working Group.
February is here and everyone is thinking about Valentines Day! This time of year tons of waste end up in the landfills. Cards, boxes, gift wrap and plastic are thrown away. It is in line after the religious holidays for waste. How can you fill your loved ones eyes with amazement and sentiments of love and not damage the environment? We have some really wonderful Green Valentines gifts for those of you that have a Sweetie with a Green Heart!
Glass Straws make a great gift! 52 Million plastic straws are thrown away each day. Do your part to help prevent plastic from going into the landfills. Your sweetie will love our decorative dots drinking straws!
We have a great selection of Eco fabric clothing and accessories for that special someone in your life. Mom deserves a little Eco luxury!
Dad’s need a little Eco Valentines Gift too! Spring is on it’s way and Dad will love these soft and lightweight shorts for the warmer weather!
Have a special someone that likes to garden? We have the perfect Eco Garden Gift! These are recyclable too! Comes in 9 attractive colors!
How about your little angel wearing these adorable non-toxic soft soled shoes on Valentines day!
Give the gift of love to your favorite Valentine and for the environment! It will mean so much more to your Sweetie with a Green Heart! We have a wide selection of Gifts for the entire family and Pets too! Check us out! www.mypumpkindoodle.com
Riding down a sunny road the other day I passed this huge patch of Kudzu and it made me think about all the great products that are coming out of Kudzu nowadays. We can eat it, make baskets from it, make paper from it, use it for medicine and so much more. Bamboo is much like Kudzu in its usefulness and that it is as invasive and grows at the same rapid rate. Weeds also considered invasive, are becoming more popular as people begin to see the beneficial benefits of weeds for eating or for medicinal uses. So, as usual, my mind keeps rolling around ideas and I just couldn’t keep from wondering how things might be different , on this planet, if we had chosen to use the natural resources we have that grows the fastest and most abundantly instead of using the resources that take decades to grow. We spend so much money and effort on developing chemicals that will kill invasive plants, chemicals that turn our soil toxic, it seems like if we could take advantage of the invasive plants we would be saving the environment and our own health as well as contain invasive plants.
One of the most widely used herbicides is Atrazine and it is estimated that 76 million pounds of this chemical is used each year on crops such as corn in the US each year. This chemical has been found in our rivers, streams and drinking water. There is much debate over the its link to cancer, birth defects, and hormonal imbalance. It has been reported that higher than federally allowable levels have been found in drinking water in several US States and the EPA has not warmed the public of this health hazard.
So, next time you reach for the weed killer, remember that there is no such thing as an un-useful plant, weeds are just plants we don’t understand their benefit and usefulness. There is a useful purpose for every living thing on this planet and in our attempts to discard the undesirable, we have caused havoc on our planet and our own environment.
If I need to get rid of a “weed” I use boiling water or pull it. I’ve taken a different perspective on weeds… they’re now just part of my yard and I don’t feel the compulsion to run out and get weed killer anymore. Hopefully one day we will change our perspective on the usefulness of natural resources and begin to work with nature instead of against it, and use the most abundant ones instead of the resources that are the most difficult to replace. As a mother, I not only care about the environment now, but also for the future for my children. I feel that being a Green Mom isn’t just keeping toxins out of your children’s food and environment, it is taking proactive steps towards a more peaceful, clean and thriving planet.
Lisa Hawkins is a Green Entrepreneur dedicated to helping bring awareness to the world about the importance of Being Green.