April 30, 2007

sigg eco design contest


Sorry I missed posting yesterday. I really am human! Computer needed a tune up, babysitting plans cancelled, typical day of mom goes offline. I am continuing to research some interesting topics and hope to share them over the next few days.

Meanwhile, I received a notice from SIGG that is very exciting. You may know that I am a fan of the SIGG bottles. I have several small ones for my kids (because we are always "misplacing" them in the car) and looked for a long time to find one with a sport top that I liked for myself. Well, here is my chance, and your chance, to design your own SIGG!

Here is the info they sent:

-----------
SIGG is running a contest which aims to find the next great Eco-Friendly design for their one-of-a-kind reusable and recyclable customized bottles. A percentage of sales from the winning bottle will go to a non-profit organization called Surf Riders, which fights to keep our oceans and beaches clean. The contest asks you to design a concept based on your personal “Eco-Style,” to design a SIGG bottle that represents your eco-outlook on life.

The winner’s bottle will be produced by SIGG in time for this year’s holiday season and sold exclusively at Patagonia and on http://www.MySIGG.com. The winner will also receive 100 bottles with his or her design to share with friends and colleagues.

Why is the theme Eco-Style?
Aside from being the only bottle designed with an inner coating resistant to fruit acids and isotonic drinks, SIGG bottles are also environmentally friendly - reusable and 100% recyclable.

How do you Enter?
You can enter the contest by visiting the site and downloading our eps bottle template. Then, just email us your completed design for voting at siggart@sigg.com. Design must be in jpeg format.

All visitors to the site can view submitted designs and vote on their favorite entries. (You can too!) The top ten vote-getters will be finalists and judged by our judging panel. Finalists will be judged on eco-sensibility, overall aesthetics and style.

When can I start and what’s the Deadline?
The contest is running NOW through June 1, 2007.

Free SIGG bottles for the Winner!
The winner’s bottle will be produced by SIGG in time for this year’s holiday season and sold exclusively at Patagonia and on http://www.MySIGG.com. The winner will also receive 100 bottles with his or her design to share with friends and colleagues.

A percentage of sales from the winning bottle will be donated to The Surfrider Foundation, a not-for-profit organization committed to protecting our oceans and beaches. Full rules are available at http://www.MySIGG.com/SIGGART.

April 26, 2007

mayors go green


The Kyoto protocol is an agreement by countries to reduce their carbon emissions and five other greenhouse gases to help stop global warming. The protocol took effect on February 16, 2005 by the 141 countries that ratified it. As you likely know, the US did not.

Many people find this embarrassing and outrageous. Luckily some people have found ways to work the system. Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels started the Climate Protection Act and has encouraged mayors to hold their cities to the standards of the Kyoto Protocol. As of April 26, 2007 494 mayors from 50 states, representing over 64 million Americans have signed the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement.

Under the Mayor's Climate Agreement "participating cities commit to take following three actions:

• Strive to meet or beat the Kyoto Protocol targets in their own communities, through actions ranging from anti-sprawl land-use policies to urban forest restoration projects to public information campaigns;

• Urge their state governments, and the federal government, to enact policies and programs to meet or beat the greenhouse gas emission reduction target suggested for the United States in the Kyoto Protocol -- 7% reduction from 1990 levels by 2012; and

• Urge the U.S. Congress to pass the bipartisan greenhouse gas reduction legislation, which would establish a national emission trading system"


Has your mayor signed the agreement?

A great example of everyone doing their part, adding up to significant impact.
Mayors go green!

April 25, 2007

my lightbulb moment


So the other day my little guy was helping himself to sippy cup in the kitchen drawer. Suddenly, ooops! he had broken one of the fluorescent tube (under counter) light bulbs I had stashed away for recycling. At first I was just worried about the broken glass bits and then it occurred to me, the reason those bulbs go to the recycling center is because they contain mercury. (Sign me up for mom of the year, I know).

I got everything safely cleaned up, but it got me thinking about mercury in fluorescents. If there is mercury in them, why are the compact fluorescents all the rage for energy savings? As the EPA says, mercury is "A toxic metal known to cause brain, spinal cord, kidney and liver damage in humans—does not break down easily and, once airborne, often finds its way into groundwater, rivers and the sea, where it can cause a host of contamination issues for wildlife and people alike."

I did some reading about it and it seems that the CFLs are still better than incandescents. In the US at least, energy is most commonly produced by burning coal. Burning coal is one of the highest sources of mercury being released into the air. The EPA says that if you look at the total mercury in the bulb and the mercury produced while generating electricity to light the bulb, the CFL is a better choice. CFLs use so much less energy and last much longer than a traditional incandescent bulb, so it will draw much less electricity in the long run from the coal plant.

The EPA has a pdf document outlining the specifics. They also offer some good tips on how to dispose of the CFL bulbs.

Which brings us back to the original dilemma. What happens when you break one? Where are you supposed to dispose of all your new CFLs once they finally stop working? They advise that the bulbs are not legally considered hazardous waste. However, try to recycle them locally if you can. I know my local light bulb supply store accepts them. If you cannot recycle them, "place them in a sealed plastic bag and dispose the same way you would batteries, oil-based paint and motor oil at your local Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Collection Site. If your local HHW Collection Site cannot accept CFLs (check Earth911.org to find out), seal the CFL in a plastic bag and place with your regular trash."

I would imagine as CFL usage catches on (and I bet it will with the way other countries are already banning incandescents) disposal options should get simpler.

Personally, I had not yet switched to CFLs throughout our home because almost all our wall switches are dimmers. However, in the course of my research today I found that there are now actually dimmable CFLs available!

Nothing is as convincing to make the switch than these facts from the federal Energy Star program:

"If every household in the U.S. replaced one (standard incandescent) light bulb with an Energy Star-qualified compact fluorescent light bulb, it would prevent enough pollution to equal removing one million cars from the road."

and

"If every American home exchanged the five most frequently used bulbs with Energy Star-qualified bulbs, one trillion pounds of greenhouse gases would be kept out of the air over the course of the bulbs' lives (a lifetime range of five to as many as eight years or so). That's equivalent to the annual emissions of 8 million cars, the annual output of more than 20 power plants, and $6 billion in energy savings."

April 24, 2007

help bring the hybrid minivan!


I read an article on treehugger that I was so excited about. You know the car issue has been on my mind for awhile (see 'let's talk cars' post). I have been searching for a hybrid that could carry lots of people for school carpooling.

I had no idea that Toyota already makes a hybrid minivan! Apparently it is sold only in Japan right now. However, there is a petition to sign which will be presented to Toyota executives by hybridcenter.org. The idea is to show Toyota that the demand for other hybrid options is even stronger here in the US. They hope to collect 8,000 signatures before May 28th.

April 23, 2007

lead for lunch


When I first heard about the possibility of lead in lunchboxes and bags I didn't imagine it would be in OURS. But it was! I had heard about the Center for Environmental Health's report stating that many lunchboxes and bags contain lead, which can them leach into foods. I was curious about it, since at the time I was frequently using our soft, insulated lunch bags to carry around food for my kids. These kinds of lunch bags come in a variety of styles.

After reading the report, I picked up a lead test kit from the local hardware store. It is an incredibly easy test - just swab a special little marker on the bag according to the test directions. Sure enough, one of the bags contained lead!! The CEH will accept by mail any bags found to have lead in them, so they can add the style to their database and warn other parents.

Many manufacturers are now developing bags without lead (there is no need for it to be there in the first place.) The only way to be sure if the bag is safe is to test it yourself. Also, stay clear of bags containing PVC. I'll be posting on that soon!

Reusablebags.com has lots of great vinyl-free lunch bag options, including some that are insulated. I love the look of the Basura Bag. It is made by a wonam's co-op out of recycled juice boxes. Each one is original (and lead free). There are lots of other fantastic options as well.

April 22, 2007

unlocking the grocery codes


Ever wonder about the numerical codes on the stickers placed on each piece of produce at the grocery? No, neither did I. I figured it was just a code for pricing purposes. However, it is actually an interesting and informative system once you know what to look for. Here is a great tip I found on Darryl Hannah's website:

"if the sticker # starts with a number "4" it is conventionally grown - which means it is grown using pesticides, herbacides and in some cases even sewage sludge...

if the sticker# begins with the number "9" it is organically grown - that means it has all the vitamins and minerals nature intended and it is grown without toxic chemicals...

if the sticker # starts with the number "8" it is a GMO - beware!!! eating such experimental foods is gambling with your health! the consequences of ingesting GMO's have not yet been determined every packaged item you buy that has corn or soy in the ingredients that is NOT marked organic is from GMO crops!!!"

I had never paid too much mind to the code numbers but am glad to know what to look for now. It also hadn't really occurred to me to be watching for GMO produce, but I'm glad to be reminded to do so because I don't think I would have wanted to buy it unknowingly.

Dole is taking the number on the sticker one step further. If you enter the code from Dole organic produce on their website, it will show you the country of origin, the farm, and the people who grew your food.

April 20, 2007

earth day media


Just one more quick post because it seems timely. Apple has lots of "green" podcasts in honor of earthday. Launch itunes, click on podcasts and find the section called "Earth Day." I am excited to check them out and see if there are some new ideas or inspiration.

Also saw on treehugger that they will be on Oprah today for an Earth Day episode. Treehugger says they "will be chatting with Oprah about how easy it is to be green, including tips on recycling, cleaning green, having a real lightbulb moment, and more." Sounds like a great way to get lots of moms to go green!

April 19, 2007

differing opinions

If it isn't just enough to digest all the green information that is everywhere these days, it seems you need a full-time-smarty-pants research assistant at your disposal to help discern fact from fiction! I am trying to learn as much as I can about the all the issues but sometimes I don't know which way to go. Here are some debates I would have them look into:

hybrids:
These are the "good" cars, right? Great mileage, low CO2 output, etc. But I was reading about how the making of the hybrid batteries is really taxing on the environment also. Surely this isn't true? Seems pretty suspect.

bring your own mug:
There was a debate recently on the Make blog about bringing reusable mugs to coffee shops. Some say that it is actually more energy efficient to use the paper cup. There are so many factors to consider it is mind boggling. There are good points on both sides and it forces you to consider the complete life cycle of a product (read the comments following the post in this link - good points!)

parabens:
While researching ingredients to avoid in body products, I came across some sites that say to avoid parabens, while other sites say they are actually safe.

In the end maybe it just comes down to finding out as much as you can, and doing what you think is right. In the meantime I'm going to keep digging for answers. Hopefully I can find a compelling source or more conclusive evidence. ( I just found a list from Consumer Reports about personal care product ingredients, and they say parabens should be avoided). I think I'll try to stay away from them until I know more.

Overall, some of these perspectives just seem so contrary to what you would think would be the right answer (seriously, disposable cups are better?) But in 10 years we might look back in amazement at how misinformed we were. For now I'm going to just do the best I can.

Happy Earth Day everyone! I am going to try to keep updating with new posts on the weekdays and use the weekends for research and sleep. See you Monday.

April 18, 2007

sign for safety

I've been doing a bit of reading about ingredients in body care products. I am hoping to get all the details together to write about toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, makeup, etc. I can tell you that what I have learned so far is disturbing and a little overwhelming. I am determined to find the best alternatives though before I share the full scoop.

In the meantime take a look at this petition to the FDA, asking that they "set safety standards when it comes to the products we all use every day. . . to keep families safe from potentially toxic and harmful ingredients." I don't know the politics of why the FDA doesn't cover body care, but this seems a good place to start for some consumer advocacy.

April 17, 2007

green is cool!


Green is everywhere! Well, green talk is anyway. And green talk will hopefully lead to green actions. The key for me is to find ways to make changes that are easy and not too painful.

I've noticed several magazines with green issues recently. Maybe because Earth Day is April 22nd. Maybe because going green is the hot topic (no pun intended). Regardless, the issues are full of great information, resources, tips, and ideas. These are just some I happened to see:

7x7 (April)
Common Ground (March)
Domino (March)
Elle (May)
Fortune
Inc.
Newsweek
Outside (April)
Parents (March)
San Francisco
Time
Vanity Fair (May)
Wired

And yes, even Martha has posted her Going Green 101. I found some great ideas on her list, like "Swap paperbacks with paperbackswap.com."

I also have seen an educational web game that Starbucks has created with Global Green USA. I don't know if making this interactive tool makes Starbucks green, but getting the info out to people in different ways is good, no? The site says, "Starbucks and Global Green USA collaborated on the Planet Green Game to educate the public about climate change through engaging and informative game play while encouraging individuals to become part of the solution in their own lives. The game also assists individuals - through simple tools and links - in advocating action by elected officials, business and community leaders."

April 16, 2007

find your local organics

This is one of my favorite new things. Several months ago I joined a local CSA (community supported agriculture). In our house though, we just call it "the farm box." It is a subscription to receive a weekly or monthly basket of locally grown and usually organic produce, fruits, eggs, or other farm products.

It is a great way to support local farmers since they can be guaranteed customers. You can read a full description of the benefits of such programs on the Local Harvest website.

You can even type in your zipcode on the Local Harvest site and find local CSA options near you.

I am finding the "farm box' gives us a chance to try vegetables that we might not normally select (what a great example for kids!) It also is an easy way to ensure you are truly buying local, fresh produce. It naturally helps you select things that are seasonal and regional, which is becoming tricky at big supermarkets where so much produce is produced in other hemispheres.

why organic?


I know I'm not alone in this. I'm at the market, and see both conventional and organic strawberries (or squash!) Which do I pick?

I know that organic is good. Organics are produced to certain production standards. Organic produce is grown without the use of toxic pesticides and fertilizers and without ionizing radiation or food additives.

Yet sometimes when you're on a budget, it is hard to know when it is important to pay more for organic. And some regions may have more variety and cheaper organic prices than other regions.

Organic food production is based on a system of farming that maintains and replenishes soil fertility without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers. Organic foods are minimally processed without artificial ingredients, preservatives, or irradiation to maintain the integrity of the food.

Many pesticides were approved before extensive research had linked them to cancer and other diseases. By not using the chemicals in the process we can prevent the toxins from entering the soil, air and water systems. In addition to no toxic chemicals, some organics have better nutrients and better flavor. Organic farming methods are more water conserving, build healthier soils, and work in harmony with nature. In addition, buying organic supports smaller farms and their communities.

Organics are especially a good choice for children. EPA guidelines were determined using a 154 pound male as an average, not a small, 20 pound toddler!

Pediatrician Dr. Green (at Stanford University) gives the following lists as a guideline when selecting organics to kids. Of course, if you can do all organic, even better!

12 most contaminated foods (choose these organic!)
12 least contaminated

The Organic Consumers Association gives a list of why organic milk is a wise choice for children. However, The Cornucopia Institute has examined and rated the quality of various organic dairies. Some are indeed better than others in terms of farming practices and ethics. Take a look at their scorecard and see how your favorite brand compares.

Many find the new abundance of store-brand organics a mixed blessing. It is nice to see more affordable options in organic foods, but some people are concerned about the specific origins of their ingredients and they want to be sure that high standards are maintained. The magazine VegNews has an article this month on private label organics.

As the magazine says, buying organic is not just deciding what to have for dinner. It's a political choice, an environmental choice, and a health-based choice."

No wonder all these decisions at the grocery feel so overwhelming!

April 13, 2007

skin deep


I came across a great resource online called Skin Deep.

The website is self described as "...a personal care product safety guide with in-depth information on 14,835 products - 1,051 brands of lotion, lip balm, deodorant, sunscreen and other popular products - and the 7,093 ingredients that form them. With its core of 37 toxicity and regulatory databases, Skin Deep provides safety ratings and brand-by-brand comparisons that can help consumers choose safer products."

I have been wondering about ingredients in body products after hearing about some dangerous things being used (see dirty bubbles post). I am in the midst of researching more about various natural body products, but in the meantime was glad to be able to type in some brand name items on this website and see how they ranked.

April 12, 2007

step it up 2007


I'll do 2 posts today since they're a little smaller and I have lots of things to share.

You've probably already heard about Step it Up, since it is getting lots of press and is coming up quickly - this Saturday, April 14th! Step it Up is the largest day of citizen action focusing on global warming in our nation’s history. It is a truly a viral grassroots movement, organized online through word of mouth, email outreach and the online community.
There are many actions being held all across the country. You can go to the website to find one near you. Participants are sending a message to congress to put the country on course to cut carbon emissions.

If you don't see an action that appeals to you, initiate your own!

free "fuel" episode


itunes is posting a free episode of the show, "Big Ideas for a Small Planet", from the Sundance Channel.

The free episode is about biodiesel. It is very interesting. I see and hear things about biodiesel, but still had lots of questions about how people do it, where they get the fuel, etc.

Check it out!

April 11, 2007

nalgene not clean


It isn't just in the baby bottles, it's in the grown ups' too. Nalgene bottles also contain bisphenol A. I think this surprises most people because these bottles are used by many who are trying to be environmentally aware by using a reusable bottle. Ecopledge has lots of information about the problems with the Nalgene bottle as well as a campaign to ask the company to switch to a safer material.

I called Nalgene to confirm the presence of bisphenol A. They must get a lot of calls about it because they have a whole page of their website dedicated to it. They admit all their polycarbonate plastic bottles contain bisphenol A. The polycarbonate bottles are clear (and colored clear) bottles. The company said the initials, "PC" would me molded on the bottom and it would have a recycling code #7 on the bottle. They also make bottles using HPPE, which does not have the bisphenol A. These bottles are not clear.

Interestingly, Nalgene posts many links to sites indicating that bisphenol A is nothing to worry about and perfectly safe. Look closely and you can see these sites are sponsored by groups which represent the plastic and chemical companies.

I'm not a scientist, so until they work out their differences I think I'll stick with my stainless steel bottle. Kleen Kanteen and Sigg both have handy, lightweight options.

April 10, 2007

paper in the kitchen


I have to admit I didn't arrive at this decision because I thought about how it would save the trees and the planet. It was because I was feeling frugal. I have always bought paper towels in bulk, in an effort to be economical. Lately it seemed like we had been going through them like crazy, and I started fantasizing about not buying them anymore. As I thought about it further, I realized they might be handy on occasion, but perhaps I could start to buy some that were more environmentally friendly. And if you check the price of the 100% recycled, non-bleached options, you'd be motivated to use less, too! So that is what I'm trying for now. We have lots of dishtowels that we use in the kitchen, and a big collection of cotton rags we can use for messier jobs or actual cleaning.

I read a great post on No Impact Man the other day about his efforts to not use paper products. He even includes a nice list of more sustainably produced paper products.

I figured that while I'm at it we can try to use cloth napkins at the table, too. I hadn't made the effort before because my kids were soooo messy that it would have driven me insane. But now that they are able to eat at the table with plates and utensils and we don't have to hose them down after each meal, we'll give it a whirl.

April 9, 2007

dirty bubbles


This is news to me: I just read an alarming report about a carcinogenic ingredient being used in children's and women's bath products.

An article from Health News Digest reports that "A hidden cancer-causing petrochemical has been found in dozens of children's bath products and adults' personal care products, in some cases at levels that are more than twice the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's lenient recommended maximum.

Laboratory tests revealed the presence of 1,4-Dioxane in products such as Hello Kitty Bubble Bath, Huggies Baby Wash, Johnson's Baby Wash, Scooby-Doo Bubble Bath and Sesame Street Bubble Bath. The tests also found the carcinogen in Clairol Herbal Essences shampoo, Olay Complete Body Wash and many other personal care products.

1,4-Dioxane is a petroleum-derived contaminant considered a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a clear-cut animal carcinogen by the National Toxicology Program. It is also on California's Proposition 65 list of chemicals known or suspected by the state to cause cancer or birth defects. Because it is a contaminant produced during manufacturing, the FDA does not require it to be listed as an ingredient on product labels."

I encourage you to read the full article. Did you know that the FDA "does not review or regulate cosmetics products or ingredients for safety before they are sold to the public and has no legal authority to require safety assessments of cosmetics?"

The article goes on to list the brand names of products tested.

I'll be posting more soon about choices in body products and what to look for. More research needed, as always.

April 7, 2007

natural egg dyeing



I know this post may be a little late for you to try, but hey - I'm a mom and I'm running late! I had seen lots of mention of natural egg dyes and thought I'd give it a try this year. It was pretty fun! Below are the instructions from the Whole Foods website. Many sites had similar recipes. We tried using beets, red cabbage, tumeric and spinach. All worked well except for the spinach, which I think I just didn't use enough of. So I ended up cheating on the green and adding food dye.

------------------------------------
Making Natural Dyes
For 4 cups of dye, you'll need:
1 tablespoon of a spice or 4 cups of a chopped fruit or vegetable (see list below; adding more of these ingredients will give the dye a darker hue)
4 cups of water
2 tablespoons of white vinegar (to help the dye adhere to the eggs)
Combine the ingredients in a pot, and bring them to a boil, then reduce heat and let the mixture simmer for 15 to 30 minutes. The longer you allow the ingredients to simmer, the darker the color will become. If you choose to dye the eggs using the hot method, you can add raw eggs to the mixture while it's being prepared. If using the cold method, remove the dye from the heat, allow it to cool, then run it through a strainer. Dip your hardboiled eggs in the dye for at least 15 minutes—longer if you want a darker color. When finished, you can rub the eggs with vegetable oil to give them a soft sheen.

For a little variation, you can have kids decorate the eggs with crayons or wax pencils before boiling and dyeing them. Or, wrap a rubber band around the egg to create contrast, either on a white egg, to prevent coloring, or on a dry, dyed egg, where it will give you a stripe of the original color if it's redipped in another.

April 6, 2007

measuring my carbon footprint


We all know carbon is bad for the environment, causing global warming, right? I saw the movie.

I've been hearing a lot lately about reducing our "carbon footprint." I've also seen companies mentioning how they are "offsetting" their carbon footprint (even at Safeway and Whole Foods they say this). I wasn't really sure how big my carbon foot print was or how to go about offsetting it. After lots of searching I have found a bunch of resources. I'm sure there are even more, but this seems a good place to start.

Many of these sites will have calculators to help you determine your carbon footprint (either for yourself or for your home/family). The key factors seem to be driving, utility usage at home, and air travel. Some sites are more detailed than others in their calculations. For instance, some calculators will ask you how much you spend on your utility bill each month and average it across your region. Others will ask you to enter the specific kilowatt usage, which could be more accurate. Some calculators will ask you if your car is large or small, while others will let you select your specific make, model and year.

Once you calculate your carbon footprint you can determine how many offsets you need to purchase. Once you purchase your offsets, alternative energy projects will deliver clean, renewable energy to the grid on your behalf, displacing power that otherwise has to come from burning fossil fuels. The result is that for every kWh generated by a renewable generator, one kWh less is generated by fossil fuel plants. The alternative energy used may be wind, solar, hyro or even methane. The Native Energy website has a nice video explaining how offsets work. You can buy offsets per month, per year, or per flight depending on which website you use.

www.fightglobalwarming.com
www.terrapass.com (little bit more of a hard sell, but nicely designed site)
www.3phases.com
http://carbonfund.org
www.nativeenergy.com (nice video of how offsets work)
http://stopglobalwarming.org (a great organization to join, for free)
www.zerofootprintoffsets.com
www.begreennow.com (you have to "join" and log in to do anything. kind of a bummer)

I have to say, buying offsets doesn't seem cheap, but it sure increases the motivation to conserve. I read that buying certificates from third parties, such as these, may be cheaper than buying offsets from your utility company. See for yourself.

April 5, 2007

recycling in your town

I am very lucky to live in a city that has very progressive recycling (and city-wide curbside composting!!) But there are even more resources out there to help us all reduce our impact on the environment.

This website is a great resource to find what is available wherever you live. www.1800cleanup.org

This site will tell you how and where to recycle various materials in your area. Information on community recycling and conservation efforts. Just enter your zip code and lots of great local info will get you started.

April 4, 2007

plastic cheat sheet


Plastics good, plastics bad: don't you get so confused? 1, 3, 7, 4, hmm...which was which?

Here is a fantastic overview page for reference. I know I have trouble keeping the info straight and I talk about it all the time! But my kids don't sleep through the night. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.

April 3, 2007

buried in catalogs


Yesterday I was buried in so many catalogs in my mailbox that I was compelled to call each one to cancel. Don't you hate the tedium of that? I think I must have purchased something somewhere and ended up on a name rental list.

As I called each company I found it interesting how differently they all handled my requests to remove my name from the mailing list. Some were super-efficient (saw my address linked from the phone# I dialed in on) and some were so pathetic I have no faith the catalogs will stop.

One catalog was especially nice though, because she told me based on my source code the name of the company which has been renting my name out. She aslo told me how to contact them and stop it. Hooray!!

Here's what she said:
Write a letter with your name and address and ask to be removed from all lists for rentals/mailings.
Send the letter to:
MPS DMA
P.O. Box 9008
Farmingdale, NY 11735-9008

Of course the junk mail goes beyond catalogs. I had also signed up to reduce mailings online. I am not sure if it is the same agency as above(mailing address is different). I paid $1 and submitted an online form.

I also learned how you can stop offers for credit cards. Contact 1-888-5OPT-OUT if you wish to reduce solicitations for credit offers. This is the opt-out number operated by the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion); it is not related to DMA's Mail Preference Service.

And here is something I just found, but am eager to try: green dimes. Not only do they stop all your junk mail for you, they plant a tree! Sign me up!

April 2, 2007

Supreme Court EPA decision

I don't usually do 2 posts in a day, just so that I always have something new to share. However, today's news is pretty exciting and I couldn't wait.

You probably already heard the news about the Supreme Court's decision to force the EPA to regulate greenhouse gas emmissions. This is a great victory for the environment. You can read the full story in the SF Chronicle, here.

naughty gelato


We took the kids to have some yummy gelato after dinner. As we were eating our cookies and cream we realized the packaging was plastic. Wait a minute! Why? When you go for a scoop at most ice cream places you get a paper cup, right?

Ciao Bella was serving plastic #5 and a little plastic gelato spoon. As my husband said, "guess we'll see this on the beach in hawaii!" (see my post on the world's largest dump).

I am definitely going to inquire with the company and see what silly reasons they give for this. Not that the other ice cream shops are all doing the very best things (are those recycled paper cups? can they be composted?), but plastic just seems like a bad idea.

Did I say the gelato was really good though?

April 1, 2007

new toothbrush


Today I came across something that I hadn't really given much thought to: an environmentally friendly toothbrush.

While I was shopping at Whole Foods I saw an attractive brush on display. It is called "preserve" by Recycline. It caught my eye because the handle is made from 100% recycled plastics.

Once I got home I tried it and found the design was pretty cool to use, too. The company's website has lots of exciting information (well, exciting to me. I don't get out much).

For instance, the handle is made from polypropylene (#5). Right now Recycline is getting most of this plastic through a partnership with Stonyfield Farm® yogurt cups.

In addition, the complete brush can be recycled (handle and bristles) if you return it to Recycline. They offer postage paid return envelopes at the shops which sell them. The recycled brushes are then used for plastic lumber.

The packaging is also made from recyclable materials, and the reusable brush canister can be used to keep the toothbrush clean while traveling.