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Archive for Eco-Friendly Companies
April 8th, 2016
As many of you know, last year I was invited to work with Tom’s of Maine as a brand ambassador in their Goodness Circle. It was a great partnership and an incredible experience. Throughout the year I had an opportunity to get to know the company and many of their products ranging from toothpaste to lip balm and share my experiences with you.
I have some exciting news to share for this year~ Once again, I’ll be partnering with Tom’s of Maine as a member of their Goodness Circle!
My family’s been using Tom’s of Maine for many years so this partnership feels very natural. When my kids were little we had a tough time finding a toothpaste that they liked. We went through tube after tube of toothpaste, looking for a winner. Most flavors made them scrunch up their little faces and say “ewww”. Tom’s of Maine Silly Strawberry saved the day and they still use it many years later.
What is the Tom’s of Maine Goodness Circle?
The Goodness Circle is a group of passionate and enthusiastic bloggers who share a passion for writing about healthy living. Last year I had an opportunity to head to Maine for a Tom’s of Maine luncheon with many of the bloggers involved in the Goodness Circle and the Tom’s of Maine team. It was so nice to finally put names with many of the faces I’d been in touch with over the year.
Why I Love Tom’s of Maine
Tom’s of Maine is headquartered in one of my favorite states- Maine! Their offices are only about an hour from my office so hopefully I’ll have an opportunity to hop in the car to visit their new offices.
My philosophy has always been to support companies doing good things. While this company is not perfect (what company is?!), they have amazing initiatives in place and they’re taking so many steps in the right direction.
This sounds like my kind of company. Their site says:
“We are a company of kayakers and campers, hikers and mountain bikers and parents who poke around in tidal pools and take walks in the forest with our kids.
That’s why caring for the environment is something we’ve focused on since 1970. This value comes to life in the way we select ingredients, our manufacturing practices at our Sanford, Maine plant, and the packaging we use.”
If you’re interested in hearing more about some of the ways they’re making a difference our world check out their Goodness Report.
My Favorite Tom’s of Maine Products
My personal favorite Tom’s of Maine product is the Tom’s of Maine Long Lasting Deodorant. Finally a safer deodorant that actually works. I love the natural powder scent. I’ve been using this brand for years and there are no artificial colors, or fragrances or preservatives. Tom’s of Maine products are simple to find at many retailers and come in a variety of mild fragrances.
More Good for the Planet News From Tom’s of Maine
This month Tom’s of Maine has teamed up with recycling leader, TerraCycle, to decrease the amount of trash ending up in landfills by launching the #LessWasteChallenge. For 45 years, Tom’s of Maine has been taking its own #LessWasteChallenge by developing natural personal care products with a focus on natural, responsible and sustainable practices and materials. Tom’s of Maine has a goal of zero waste to landfills by 2020 at its manufacturing facility in Maine. Pretty impressive!
I’m planning to take the pledge and I hope you’ll join me. For one week work I’m going to work to reduce my household waste and track my progress. Stay tuned for more on this!
Take the pledge yourself right HERE! Its free and only takes 30 seconds!
Have you tried Tom’s of Maine products? Which is your favorite?
P.S. If you liked this post you might enjoy our Groovy Green Livin Newsletter. Receive new posts and special opportunities delivered right to your inbox! Sign up HERE.
Disclaimer: I’m working in partnership with Tom’s of Maine and I am compensated for my work. All opinions are my own. I only work with companies I support and think you, my readers, will like. Some links are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may get a small commission if you make a purchase.
January 11th, 2016
A wide assortment of beauty products fill an entire drawer in my bathroom. I’m always on the lookout for new, safe, non-toxic beauty products. I was first introduced to Beautycounter at Shiftcon two years ago. After trying out a few of their products I was intrigued. The Every Day AM Hydrating Cream was my first addiction. Over the past two years I’ve spent some time getting to know this company and the deeper I dig the more I like what I’m uncovering. I have a sneaking suspicion that we’ll be hearing a lot more about Beautycounter in the near future.
Putting the Truth Back in Beauty
Beautycounter stands out from other beauty product companies. They are on a mission to get safe beauty products into the hands of everyone. They have taken the initiative to ban more than 1,500 ingredients from their own personal care products. Beautycounter is all about transparency (ingredients are fully disclosed in all products). Not only is this company selling personal care products, but they are also a social-mission company, providing safe products and working to change the broken system that allows harmful ingredients in the products we use every single day.
An interview with Linsday Dahl, Director of Policy and Partnerships at Beautycounter.
I’ve worked closely with Lindsay Dahl for many years. I first met Lindsay when she was the Deputy Director for Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families. Now she works with Beautycounter as their Director of Policy and Partnerships. She also the founder of the widely read blog, LindsayDahl.com. Recently I had a chance to catch up with Lindsay to ask her about Beautycounter.
What makes Beautycounter stand out from other beauty companies?
A lot. Beautycounter is a skin care and cosmetic brand that is dedicated to brining safe, high-performing products to market. We also bring radical transparency to an industry that was built on secrets. We tell you everything about our formulations, ingredient screening and sourcing even when the answers aren’t perfect. We have an industry-changing Ingredient Selection Process, which starts with a list of 1,500 ingredients we will never use and goes on to screen each ingredient for safety before it’s used in a product. And we are proud to lead the industry by screening every batch of color cosmetics for heavy metals like lead and cadmium before they come to market.
How is Beautycounter hoping to impact the beauty industry (through regulation or any other means of advocacy)?
When we talk about “getting safe products into the hands of everyone”, we don’t just mean Beautycounter products; we want to transform an industry and make products safer for everyone. Our company is dedicated to moving a market away from harmful ingredients and we’re leading by example with our formulations. But what really stands us apart is our outspoken advocacy for stronger state and federal laws on cosmetics. We are unafraid to ask Congress to regulate our own industry.
We recently worked with team at the Oregon Environmental Council and played a small role in passing one of the strongest consumer safety laws in the country, the Toxic Free Kids Act. The bill requires manufacturers of children’s products to disclose and eventually eliminate 66 of the most toxic chemicals. In November of last year Beautycounter headed back to Washington D.C. to ask Congress to prioritize safe cosmetics legislation.
What are the top three things consumers should look for when buying safer beauty products?
- Look for companies who are dedicated to telling you everything about what’s in their product. With unregulated marketing terms like “natural” “preservative-free” and “botanical”, sometimes you need to look up ingredients on your own and you can only do that homework if a company tells you what’s in their products. (I recommend the Skin Deep database to learn how ingredients rank).
- Avoid products with generic ingredients like “fragrance” “musk” or “parfum”. This can be code for known allergens and ingredients that disrupt the hormone system.
- Buy color cosmetics like lipstick, blush and bronzers from a company you trust. Most aren’t screening these products for dangerous heavy metals like lead, cadmium and arsenic. At Beautycoutner, we do the homework for you.
Share with us your favorite Beautycounter products
Where do I start? I love our Countertime Restorative Night Cream, it helps even my skin tone from years of sun damage. Our Eye Perfector is great at reducing dark circles and fine lines under my eyes. I wear our Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 20 everyday to give a little coverage and I’m in love with our newer Cream Blush in Caramel, which gives a natural pink cheek and can double as a lipstick or eye shadow. And I love massaging our best-selling Lustro Face Oil #3 into my face after a shower or before bedtime.
Thanks to Lindsay for this eyeopening interview!
In case you were wondering, here are a few of my favorite Beautycounter products:
Have you tried Beautycounter? What’s your favorite product?
P.S. If you liked this post you might enjoy our Groovy Green Livin Newsletter. Receive new posts and special opportunities delivered right to your inbox! Sign up HERE.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something using an affiliate link they’ll kick me a couple of bucks to offset the cost of the coffee I drank while writing this post. So thanks.
August 6th, 2014
Over the past few years I’ve been fighting hard to get toxic chemicals out of lunch boxes. Unfortunately there’s more work to do.
Lunch boxes and toxic chemicals don’t belong together. Seems like common sense, doesn’t it?
Yet a study from the Center for Health, Environment & Justice found that all the children’s lunch boxes tested contained up to 30 times the amount of toxic chemicals (chemicals known as phthalates) deemed safe by the federal government.
Those toxic lunch boxes are releasing toxic dust into our children’s food and then the food is being eaten. Not OK.
Back- to- School With Safe Lunch Boxes
Thankfully not all lunch boxes are toxic. Here are a few safe lunch box choices for everyone in the family.
Some links below are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may get a small commission if you make a purchase.
Pre-school and Elementary School
Beatrix New York Lunch Box
If you want to stick with a cute lunch box for a few more years then this is your bag! The lunch boxes are designed for ages 5 to 10 and are PVC, lead, phthalate & BPA free. Some of my favorite patterns are Alexander, Dolce & Panna, Juju and Dieter Monkey.
Kids Konserve Butterfly Go Wild Waste- Free Lunch Kit
I’ve been using the Kids Konserve Sweat-Free Ice Packs for many years and love it. This lunch kit from Kids Konserve has it all for the first day of school. Everything is BPA, Lead and Phthalate free.
Crocodile Creek Lunch Boxes
Crocodile Creek lunch boxes are child safe with lead-free linings and are PVC-free and phthalate-free. They come in a variety of designs including the the Pirate Lunchbox, Ballerina Vertical Lunchbox, and the Flower Garden Pocket Lunchbox.
Middle School, High School and Adult Lunch Boxes
PackIt Freezable Lunch Bag with Zip Closure
PackIt is a freezable lunch cooler designed to keep contents cooler, longer: up to 10 hours (depending on external temperatures). Made from food-safe, nontoxic poly canvas; PVC, BPA, phthalate, and lead free.
Laptop Lunches Bento-Ware Insulated Dual Compartment Bento Tote
I like the duel compartments in this lunch box. The bag doesn’t contain phthalates, BPA (bisphenol A), lead, or PVC.
For more safe back-to-school products take a look at my Non-toxic Preschool Backpack Guide and my list of Non-Toxic Backpacks for Elementary School Kids.
Do you have a favorite non-toxic lunch box?
photo credit: Randy Heinitz via photopin cc
Disclosure: Some links are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may get a small commission if you make a purchase. Thanks for your support!
March 26th, 2014
Today, 1 in 88 children under 8 years old is diagnosed with autism. It occurs in all racial, ethnic, and social groups and is four times more likely to strike boys than girls. Raising a child with autism can provide much joy, but also comes with its own set of challenges. Going out to eat at a restaurant can be difficult for any family, but can be especially problematic for families dealing with autism.
A young Boston family confronted with autism created Autism Eats as a way to “bring the fun back to eating out”. I had a chance to catch up with Delphine Zohn, who co-founded the organization with her husband Leonard, to ask her about Autism Eats.
Mark your calendars- the next Autism Eats event will be held on April 10th in recognition Autism Awareness month. See below for details.
What is Autism Eats?
Delphine: Autism Eats is an organization that provides autism-friendly non-judgmental environments for family dining, socializing and connecting with others who share similar joys and challenges
Why did you create Autism Eats?
Delphine: Going out to a family dinner when you have a child with autism can be very stressful. Behaviors can be unpredictable, other diners may be disturbed and the well intentioned restaurant staff typically does not know the best way to assist. To some families it can feel like all eyes are on them. Because of this many families decide it is not worth the effort and dont go out to eat. This is unfortunate and can lead to feelings of isolation. We created Autism Eats to give families an opportunity for a real night out at a restaurant and to be with families who are experiencing similar challenges. There is no need to explain your child’s behaviors or make excuses which can be a tremendous relief. In addition we set up the room for success….food is served buffet style and is available immediately, music and lighting are adjusted for those with sensory sensitivity, volunteers are there to expeditiously welcome and check families in and there is an activity table for those that want to color or do a craft.
What do you hope to achieve through the organization?
Delphine: Our goal is to give families an opportunity to go out and enjoy themselves. We also want to help build community and relationships with others. Siblings of children with autism are likely dealing with issues that their peers are not dealing with or wouldn’t understand. Autism Eats lets them meet others who have similar feelings, concerns and emotions. It can help them understand that they aren’t the only ones. This is also true for the dads who may not seek out or have as much access to other dads of children with autism. My husband, Leonard, had a dad come to him with tears in his eyes thanking him for starting the organization and telling him he has not been out to a restaurant with his family (other than McDonalds) in over four years and how wonderful it was.
When/where are the events?
Delphine: Our last event was at Andolini’s Restaurant in Andover, Massachusetts. We had over 100 guests! Since then we have received inquiries from all over the country from individuals and organizations that want us to hold dinners in their communities.
Our next event is going to be on April 10 at the Recreational Education Center (REC) in Peabody, Massachusetts. In recognition of Autism Awareness Month, The REC is a sponsor of the dinner and hosting it at their creative play and learning space. A buffet dinner will be served and kids can eat and play for no charge. It is going to be a very fun night!
Who can join and where would they get more information?
Delphine: Information and tickets can be found on our website www.AutismEats.org.
Chances are you know at least one family raising an autistic child. Please pass this along to anyone who is looking for a safe and supportive environment when dining out with autism.
Let me know if you’re able to join on April 10th!
photo credit: woodleywonderworks via photopin cc
August 8th, 2013
I’ve been working with the folks over at MightyNest for quite some time because they walk the walk and talk the talk. They stand behind their pledge “to keep your family safe“. I’ve written about their products and shared their valuable information on my Facebook page and in my Twitter feed. You’ll even find a MightyNest banner off to the far right on this site. They’ve been longtime sponsors of Groovy Green Livin.
This year MightNest was one of my sponsors for my trip to BlogHer in Chicago. I had a chance to meet the lovely Annie from MightyNest in real life, which always makes such a difference.
Reusable Lunch Products for Tweens and Teens
As back to school approaches I’m finding that it’s harder and harder to find reusable gear that my three boys (ages 9, 11 and 12) will actually use. Many of the products out there are fantastic, but they’re not going to cut it for teens and tweens. Dragons, princesses and rocket ships are no longer cool to carry to school.
MightyNest to the rescue!
Their online store has a whole slew of products that any tween or teen would love. Check out these reusable products that will be making their way into my boys lunch boxes this school year.
Double Decker Lunch Bag by Wildkin
If you’ve been following along here you know that vinyl lunchboxes aren’t safe and should be avoided. Check out this double decker lunch bag that is PVC, BPA and Phthalate-free. This clever design has two compartments, the top for easy access and the bottom for bigger items. The lunch bag does come with a BPA free plastic container meant for food storage. I’m choosing not to use the plastic container – I do my best to make sure plastic doesn’t come in contact with food (even BPA free plastic). We have the orange lunch bag and it rocks! Since there’s only one bag and three boys, they’re going to have to arm wrestle for the right to use it.
12oz Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle by Hydro Flask
This water bottle is the perfect size for any lunch box. This water bottle not only keeps things cold, but keeps them hot too. It’s stainless steel and comes in a variety of great colors.
I’ve been using these ice packs for years and absolutely love them. They are BPA, lead and phthalate free. Each pack comes with a cover made from 100% RECYCLED BPA-Free Plastic Bottles. These ice packs don’t sweat so your lunch won’t get wet and soggy.
Skate Park Reusable Snack/Sandwich Bag by Snack Taxi
Snack Taxi reusable bags have been part of our reusable arsenal for a long time. Their bags are made from quality cotton and lined with nylon. All bags are BPA, PVC, Lead and Phthalate Free. The best feature-you can throw them right in the washing machine. The reusable bag I received from MightyNest actually has soccer balls on it. A perfect fit for my two of my boys. No question, there will be a fight over this reusable bag too!
Another great product from Kids Konserve. I really like this stainless steel container (it does have a plastic lid) for snacks and other lunch foods. Remember-don’t place the plastic lid in the dishwasher. Wash all plastic by hand. Best feature: it doesn’t leak!
Lunchbots have been a staple reusable lunch container in our house for a few years. The bright colored lids and the variety of stainless steel sizes make them a great choice for our lunch box. My only complaint-the lids don’t seal so there’s a risk of leakage. I use these container for dry snacks and other food items that won’t leak. Since these containers have a divider our favorite snack to pack is cheese on one side and crackers on the other.
Now for the MightyNest GIVEAWAY!
The kind folks over at MightyNest have graciously offered to give one Groovy Green Livin reader a set of reusable lunch gear (one of each item listed above valued at $93.00!). The Giveaway will close at 10 am on CST on August 13, 2013. By entering your name and other information you acknowledge that you have read and are agreeing to our Official Rules. Thanks to MightyNest and good luck to all of you!
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My friend Kathy from SafeMama.com is also having a MightyNest Giveaway! Head on over to her site to increase your chance of winning some fantastic lunchbox reusables!
Disclosure: Thank you to MightyNest for sending my kids samples of the lunch gear reviewed in this post. I didn’t receive any compensation for this review. The opinions expressed in this post are my very own.
July 10th, 2013
Non-Toxic Preschool Backpack Guide
Our summer just began a few short weeks ago so I’m really not willing to admit that it’s almost back-to-school time. But I know that it’s a reality for many who kick off the school year in August. So time to address the inevitable.
The emails are already pouring in with back-to-school product pitches and questions from readers.
One question that keeps coming up is ‘how to find a non-toxic backpack for kids?’
I’ve decided to break this question into a few different parts since the age of your child will determine what type of backpack they’ll use. I’m focusing on your toddler and preschool age kids in this post and I’ll be back again with choices for elementary school kids. Stay tuned!
What to avoid in a preschool backpack
No Vinyl, No PVC, No Phthalates, No Lead
If you’ve been following along here for a while you know that a study by the Center for Health, Environment and Justice’s(CHEJ) found children’s vinyl “back‐to‐school” supplies (including backpacks) contained elevated levels of phthalates, hazardous chemicals that have been banned in toys, yet remain widespread in vinyl back‐to‐school supplies.
Phthalates are hazardous at low levels of exposure, disrupt hormones in our bodies, and have been linked to birth defects, infertility, early puberty, asthma, ADHD, obesity, diabetes, and cancer. Not something you want in your child’s backpack!
Vinyl backpacks could also contain high levels of lead, which can wipe off onto children’s hands and ultimately end up in the child’s mouth.
Bottom Line: Don’t buy vinyl backpacks!
Here are a few non-toxic preschool backpack suggestions
Green Sprouts Safari Friends Backpack These adorable backpacks are PVC and BPA free. There are four designs to choose from, a yellow lion, blue hippo, red monkey and green alligator. So cute and perfect for a toddler or someone just entering preschool.
Crocodile Creek Pocket Backpack I really love these backpacks. There are so many great designs to choose from and they’re the perfect size for younger children. Their backpacks are made of high-quality polyester and are BPA-free, PVC-free and phthalate-free.
Beatrix New York Little Kid Backpack Another awesome line of pint-sized backpacks! Each preschool backpack is embroidered with a forest creature. The packs are designed for ages 2 to 5 and are PVC free, lead free, phthalate free & BPA free.
Dabbawalla Backpacks These sweet little backpacks are sized and designed for preschoolers, with adjustable straps and a sturdy handle. They’re made from Eco-sponge neoprene, a durable fabric that is limestone -based. It has been tested in an independent lab and exceeds CPSIA standards for safety and is free of lead, PVC, BPA and Phthalates.
EcoZoo Kid’s Backpack Your preschooler won’t want to put this bag down. Made out of natural cotton this backpack comes in the shape of a puppy, panda, pig and more. It’s made from natural cotton and the company uses toxic free dyes to color the material. They’re BPA and Phthalate-free.
Do you have a favorite non-toxic backpack for a toddler or preschooler?
Photo credit: © BestPhotoStudio #2588431
Disclosure: I received no monetary compensation and all opinions expressed are my own. This post may contain affiliate links for which I will earn compensation if you make a purchase. Thank you for supporting Groovy Green Livin! I’m disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
April 29th, 2013
Reusable bags are taking over our kitchen and that’s a good thing. I’m talking about reusable snack and sandwich bags for packing our school lunch and they’re everywhere, filling drawers and cabinets waiting to be used.
Did you know that children’s lunches create more than 3.5 billion pounds of garbage each year, which amounts to a crazy 18,760 pounds of trash annually from an average sized elementary school. That’s a lot of waste.
My three boys are pretty much on auto pilot in the morning. Once their alarm clock goes off (aka mom) it doesn’t take much nudging to get everyone out of bed.
We all head downstairs and within a matter of minutes our kitchen turns into a tornado. Breakfast preparation and lunch packing begins. Food and reusable bags are everywhere-the floor, counters and other random spots. I just take a deep breath and let it go because it’s well worth it. All three boys make their own lunch and breakfast with minor supervision from mom and dad. It’s pretty amazing to watch them begin to understand what a green and healthy lunch looks like-starting with reusable bags instead of plastic baggies.
Moving away from the use and toss mentality and investing in a few reusable bags for lunch is such a simple way to make a BIG environmental impact.
Our friends over at MightyNest have an extensive collection of reusable sandwich and snack bags to choose from (and lots of other eco-friendly products!).
MightyNest has graciously offered to giveaway a snack/sandwich reusable bag set to FOUR lucky Groovy Green Livin readers. Here’s what will be given away (one set per winner):
I had never heard of this brand before. Eco-Ditty reusable snack bags and reusable sandwich bags are made from 100% organic cotton with a Velcro closure. The outer colorful fabric is printed with low-impact inks and the inside is made from un-dyed organic cotton liners. They are all BPA Free, Lead Free, PVC Free and can be hand or machine washed in cool water.
I’ve reviewed LunchSkins before and have a few of my own! Lunchskins come in all sorts of great designs and are made from cotton fabric coated with a “food-safe” polyurethane liner. These bags are durable and withstand the high heat of the dishwasher. Fabric and inks have been independently tested for safety and are lead-free, phthalate-free and BPA-free.
Semilla Snack Bags
Another reusable bag brand that’s new to me-Semilla. These bags are hand sewn in one of my favorite cities-San Diego. We’ve been using our bag for sandwich wraps and they actually fit! I love that these bags can go right into the washing machine. The fabric is a Hemp and Organic Cotton blend and the liner is 100% nylon. The lining is non-toxic nylon: lead free, phthalate free and BPA free.
SnackTaxi has been a staple in my reusable bag drawer for a long time. The bags are sturdy and durable. They have a new addition to their reusable bag offerings- gluten free snack bags and reusable sandwich bags! These bags will keep your gluten free snacks distinct from other foods. The label on outside of bag reads “Gluten-Free” as opposed to “SnackTaxi” found on the other SnackTaxi bags.
The kind folks over at MightyNest have graciously offered to give FOUR Groovy Green Livin readers one of these snack and sandwich reusable bag sets. The Giveaway will close at 1 pm EST on 5/3/13. By entering your name and other information you acknowledge that you have read and are agreeing to our Official Rules. Good luck!
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Disclosure: I was given four reusable bags to test out from MightyNest. All opinions are my very own.