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September 8th, 2016

3 Safer Laundry Detergents

 

 

3-safer-laundry-detergentsEvery summer all three of my boys go to sleepaway camp. When they come home their duffle bags are a disaster. Clothing is jammed inside mixed together with sand, dirt and other surprises. Laundry is one of my least favorite activities, but when my kids come from home from camp it’s a must.

When it comes to laundry detergents, some really are safer than others. Making your own is always the best option but isn’t for everyone (like me!). Instead, I’ve opted for investing the time to find safer brands that actually work.

Here are a few of my favorites.

Better Life Laundry Detergent, Lavender Grapefruit

I’ve been using Better Life products for many years. Better Life Laundry Detergent contains no harsh chemicals and has a lovely scent that’s not overpowering like so many conventional detergents. It works great on colors and fairly well on whites and received an “A” in EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning.

 Molly’s Suds Laundry Powder

Molly’s Suds Laundry Powder is amazing. I was introduced to this brand last year at ShiftCon. After meeting the founder and hearing her story, I was hooked.  This detergent doesn’t contain harsh chemicals, dyes and synthetic fragrance, toxins, preservatives, and GMOs. It’s also safe for septic systems and High Efficiency (HE) washers. I really want to try their Molly’s Suds All Sport Liquid Laundry WashIt received an “A” in EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning.

Green Shield Organic Laundry Detergent, Free & Clear

GreenShield Organic USDA Organic Free & Clear Laundry Detergent is a staple in my home. It was created by a dad on a mission to protect families from the harmful chemicals found in most cleaning products. Their products are certified organic, which means that their products must contain 95% or higher organic ingredients. It received an “A” in EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning.

What’s your favorite laundry detergent? I would love to hear!


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 Disclaimer: Please know that if you make a purchase using a link on this page, I may earn a commission (at no extra cost to you), which in turn helps support this site. None of the companies I promote on this page have paid me, I just really like their products. Thank you! 
April 13th, 2016

Better Life Loves Target and Here’s Why

Better Life Loves Target Groovy Green Livin

Thank you to Better Life for sponsoring this post

Last week I had a few hours to kill while my son was at soccer practice. There was a Target nearby so I decided to run a few errands. While walking up and down the aisles at Target I was amazed by the number of organic and natural products displayed throughout the store. I was thrilled to see a brand that I’ve been using for many years prominently displayed on their shelves: Better Life!

Better Life Groovy Green Livin

For a limited time Better Life Natural Cleaning Products are being featured in the seasonal section of over 800 Target stores.

Why I Use Better Life

Some of my favorite non-toxic cleaning products are from Better Life. A few years ago I worked closely with the company as an official blogger. Do you remember when Better Life was on Shark Tank? They’ve really taken off with a new look and a new motto: “Safe for the Mess Makers (Not the Mess)”. Their products are plant-derived and are free of dyes, synthetic fragrances, sulfates, and petroleum solvents. They’re also biodegradable, packaged in recyclable containers, and never tested on animals.

Created by two dads, Better Life has come up with a line of non-toxic cleaning products that keep kids, pets and the planet safe. And their ingredients are actually all listed on the label. Something you don’t always see on cleaning products since manufacturers are NOT required to list all ingredients. Not only are their products safe, but they don’t cost a fortune.

Enter the SweepstakesBetter Life Loves Target Groovy Green Livin

Better Life Natural Cleaning Products are now available in more Target stores than ever from March 27 through May 13.

They’re celebrating this partnership with a massive 6- week sweepstakes through May 13th.

To enter choose any of the options HERE, but keep in mind: sharing a photo of the Target display on the Better Life Facebook page, on Twitter, or on Instagram with the #BetterLifeLovesTarget hashtag will give you more entries. The more you share between March 27 and May 13, 2016 the more chances you have to win the Grand Prize!

Grand Prize: Better Life’s No Dirt Left Behind Kit valued at $139.49, a $500 Target gift card, and a gift basket of some of their favorite natural brands.

Head to the site to ENTER !

The winner will be drawn and announced at 5pm CST on Friday, May 13th

If you’re planning to head out to buy some of your favorite Better Life products don’t forget to print out a $1 off coupon.

Have you tried Better Life? What’s your favorite product? I’m loving the Floor Cleaner for my hardwood floors.


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Disclaimer: I’m working in partnership with Better Life for this post and I am compensated for my work. I also received several Better Life products to test out. The opinions and thoughts contained in this post are 100% mine. I only work with companies I support and think you, my readers, will like. 

 

 

 

March 8th, 2016

It Can Be Done! Bringing Safe Deodorant to Students

It Can Be Done! Bringing Safe Deodorant to Students

This is a story about deodorant.

If you’ve been following along for a while, you know that one of my favorite sayings is “Together we can change the world“.

I’ve seen it happen over and over.

Here’s yet another example of how a small change can have a big impact-and the starring community in this story is none other than my very own.

Bringing Safe Deodorant Into the Schools

Here’s the back story.

In 5th grade all students in our community have the opportunity to watch a “puberty movie”. It’s a right of passage throughout our country for many kids about to reach puberty. The film talks about what to expect as they approach puberty. I’ve never had a problem with the content shared with the kids. It’s age appropriate and reinforces the information that they’re (hopefully) receiving at home.

Throughout the video there is mention that kids this age should start wearing deodorant. There was also mention of using an antiperspirant, which is not safe for any age.

Each of my sons walked away from that 18 minute video with one piece of information. They needed to start wearing deodorant immediately. They even came home with a sample to test out.

The sample was a conventional deodorant filled with all sorts of ingredients that I really didn’t want under their arms.

I wrote about my concerns. Twice. Which prompted discussions with the principal, community members and the PTA.

For many years the state was supplying samples of deodorant for the kids. And then there were budget cuts. After a tremendous effort was made by the PTA it turned out that the cost of supplying a safe, non-toxic, deodorant sample to the entire student population was cost prohibitive. As most of us know, the safer deodorants tend to be more pricey than the conventional deodorants and antiperspirants and many don’t come in sample size.

But the PTA didn’t give up. One of the board members graciously reached out to a contact at one of my favorites-Tom’s of Maine– and they agreed to help out and share their new Tom’s of Maine Wicked Cool! Boys and Girls Deodorants with our 5th graders!

This deodorant doesn’t contain aluminum, parabens, artificial fragrances, colors or preservatives. I couldn’t think of a better product to introduce young children to their first dose of deodorant.

As many of you know, I’ve been working with Tom’s of Maine as a brand ambassador and part of their Goodness Circle for the past two years. I love this company for so many reasons and the list just got longer.

Big shout-out to all the parent volunteers who made this happen and for Tom’s of Maine who was willing to invest in a group of kids. Many times that first sample is what they’ll end up using for many years to come. It’s nice to know that their first exposure to deodorant will be safe.

If you’re looking to find this deodorant, specifically made for teens, you can find it online or at your local Target.

Check out my list of safe deodorants for teens and tweens HERE.

Does your 5th graders watch the “puberty movie”? Do they come home with samples? I would love to hear about it.


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photo credit: Here they come!!!! via photopin (license)

January 27th, 2016

My Search for a Safe Mattress: Sleep on Latex Review

My Search for a Safe Mattress: Sleep on Latex Review Groovy Green Livin

Over the years I never gave much thought to mattresses. It was a place to rest our heads at night, with comfort being the prevailing factor. They were purchased on an as-needed basis.

And then I had a revelation. There’s so much more than comfort that needs to be taken into consideration when buying a new mattress for your bed. And it’s very confusing!

Here I was spending countless hours researching the safety of personal care products, cleaning products and food and I had never given a second thought to our mattress. Let’s face it, most of us spend a lot of time in bed. When it comes to infants and toddlers, they spend close to half of their early life in contact with a mattress. Americans age 15 and over spend on average about 8.8 hours sleeping.

The bad news is that a conventional mattress can contain a toxic combination of chemicals – from petrochemicals, to dyes and additives and chemical flame retardants. If we’re spending around 8 hours in bed each night that’s a lot of time spent breathing in whatever toxins your mattress is off-gassing.

The good news: there are safer options out there. Just as I began my search to replace an old mattress I was asked to review Pure Green by Sleep on Latex. Perfect timing. I was intrigued.

What is latex?

100% Natural latex is made with a milky white liquid that is extracted from a Hevea-Brasilienis tree, better known as a rubber tree. Rubber trees are native to South America and were spread around the world in the 19th century because of their great value. They are tapped in a very similar way to the way that maple trees are tapped for their maple syrup!

This is a very environmentally friendly way to create a material, because the trees must be grown for several years before they will yield latex, and then each tree can be used for up to twenty years. The process of harvesting natural latex is highly sustainable because it promotes the long-term growth of large numbers of trees. After the latex is collected from the rubber trees, it is thickened and then baked at very high temperatures. It then turns into the latex used to make my new Sleep on Latex mattress.

Sleep on Latex Mattress Review

The mattress came rolled up in a box. It was hard to imagine how a Pure Green 9 inch firm mattress fit into this box. But it did.My Search for a Safe Mattress Sleep on Latex Review Groovy Green Livin

Once unwrapped it very quickly sprang to life and was placed on our bed frame. I was grateful that there were no strong odors associated with this new addition to our bedroom. We couldn’t wait to try it out.

My Search for a Safe Mattress Sleep on Latex Review Groovy Green Livin

We crawled into bed that night after a great day skiing with the kids. The mattress was firm (there’s a choice of soft, medium and firm when ordering) and incredibly comfortable. Pure Green latex foam contains absolutely no synthetic latex or fillers. The covering is made from 100% cotton knit fabric made with GOTS certified organic yarn.

No toxic flame retardants

Sleep on Latex uses 100% New Zealand wool, which adds a thin layer of softness and comfort to the surface of the mattress.  The wool has inherent fire resistant properties and provides an effective fire barrier.  This allows the Pure Green™ Natural Latex Mattress to naturally comply with federal flammability regulations without the use of any fire retardant chemicals or barriers.

If you’re looking to dump your old mattress the Sleep on Latex site has great info on how to recycle your old mattress.

The cost

New mattresses are not inexpensive, but a safe, non-toxic selection is a good investment. The pricing is dependent upon the size and thickness and can range from $649.00 – $1,700.00 with free shipping.

Bottom Line: I really love this mattress. The materials used are pure, without any synthetic latex or fillers. It’s incredibly comfortable and there are no awful smells from off gassing. I was impressed by their use of organic cotton and 100% New Zealand wool as a fire barrier. The cost is a bit steep, with a queen, 9 inch mattress in the $1,200 range.

*If you have a latex allergy this clearly isn’t a good option for you! 

Are you looking for a new, safer mattress? What have you found?


P.S. If you liked this post you might enjoy our Groovy Green Livin NewsletterReceive new posts and special opportunities delivered right to your inbox! Sign up HERE.


Disclosure: Thank you to the kind folks at Sleep on Latex for sending me a mattress for review.  All opinions are my own. Always.

December 14th, 2015

How to Find Non-Toxic Flooring

How to Find Non-Toxic Flooring Groovy Green Livin

This was originally published at Moms Clean Air Force

Choosing non-toxic flooring for your home might sound like a simple task, but unfortunately, many of the flooring options available contain harmful chemicals. Toxic chemicals in flooring can be a significant source of indoor air pollution. Air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk according toestimates. In 2012, around 7 million people died, one in eight of total global deaths, as a result of air pollution. 4.3 million of those deaths were attributable to indoor air pollution.

If you are in the process of choosing new or replacement flooring, it’s important to understand how each option could impact the indoor air quality of your home.

Carpeting

While carpeting has been a popular choice, we now know new carpet installation is a large contributor to indoor air pollution. Carpeting can fill household air with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including probable carcinogens like formaldehyde, benzene and stain repellents. There are a few safer carpet options available, but there are also alternatives to carpet including tile, hardwood, linoleum and vinyl.

Ceramic Tile 

Ceramic tile is generally a safe, non-toxic option that is easy to maintain. It’s important to ask the distributor and installer specific questions about the safety of the grout, the ventilation process used during installation and any other materials used that could cause toxic fumes.

Hardwood 

For anyone with allergies, hardwood is typically a good option. The wood surface allows for dust and other allergens to be removed easily. True hardwood is made from solid wood harvested from trees. It’s important to choose a non-toxic finish when installing new flooring. Hardwood is not to be confused with laminate, which was called out in a 60 Minutes story back in March 2015. Laminate flooring is a synthetic product made to look like real wood. The flooring giant, Lumber Liquidators, was accused of selling illegally sourced laminate wood with high levels of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.

Vinyl and Linoleum 

Many consumers are opting for vinyl or linoleum because they are durable, versatile and economical options. Vinyl and linoleum are sometimes used interchangeably, but they are very different types of flooring.

Linoleum flooring is made from all-natural and biodegradable materials including linseed oil, cork dust, pine resin and wood flour. It is very resilient and can last up to 30-40 years. Vinyl on the other hand is a petroleum-based synthetic product, made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin along with additives, such as plasticizers, stabilizers, pigments, and fillers. Vinyl flooring can last anywhere from 10 to 20 years.

Why is vinyl flooring hazardous?

A recent study found that most vinyl flooring, made from reprocessed plastic, contained toxic phthalates, lead, cadmium, brominated flame retardants, and other toxic chemicals. These chemicals can contribute to indoor air pollution by drifting out of the vinyl and into the air and dust inside homes. There’s some good news for consumers: major retailers including Lumber Liquidators, Home Depot, Menards and Lowe’s are all taking steps to remove toxic phthalates from their vinyl flooring.

What to look for when purchasing flooring

    • Instead of carpet, chose hard-surfaced flooring and rugs that can be removed and cleaned outside.
    • Look for non-toxic and eco-friendly options. Ask questions of manufacturers and installers regarding materials used, safety and environmental claims.
    • Decline any stain-resistance treatments.
    • Look for products made without vinyl such as hardwood, linoleum and ceramic tile.

For the health of our families, please continue to support meaningful legislation that prevents these chemicals from ending up in our homes.

What type of flooring do you have in your apartment or home?

FOR MORE INFO: PLEASE CHECK OUT CLIMATE CHANGE AT HOME.

TELL YOUR SENATORS: GET THE JOB DONE ON TOXIC CHEMICAL REFORM


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photo credit: aa2 res via photopin (license)

December 4th, 2015

A Stainless Steel Baking Sheet That Actually Works

A Stainless Steel Baking Sheet That Actually Works Groovy Green Livin

I’ve been gradually replacing my non-stick bakeware with safer options. It’s still a work in progress. Despite the ease and convenience of non-stick baking sheets, I’m committed to dumping the Teflon and replacing my non-stick with healthier options.

Non-stick cookware and bakeware are metal pans (such as aluminum pans) coated with a synthetic polymer called polytetrafluoroetheylene (PTFE), also known as Teflon. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), toxic fumes from the Teflon chemical released from pots and pans at high temperatures may kill pet birds and cause people to develop flu-like symptoms.

Stainless steel and cast iron are at the top of my list for safe baking alternatives to Teflon and other non-stick options.

Introducing 360 Cookware Stainless Steel Large Baking Sheet 

When 360 Cookware asked me to test out their large stainless steel large baking sheet I was thrilled.  I’ve worked with 360 Cookware before when I reviewed their one quart saucepan last year. We use their saucepan all the time.  I’ve been searching for a safe cookie sheet for years and haven’t had much luck. I was curious to see if my baked goods would stick to a baking sheet that wasn’t non-stick.

A Stainless Steel Baking Sheet That Actually Works Groovy Green Livin

360 Cookware is stainless steel (my favorite) and comes with a lifetime warranty. Here are a few other favorite features:

  • This baking sheet is strong. And I mean strong. No bending and warping like other stainless baking sheets that I’ve tried.
  • Conducts heat evenly and efficiently.
  • It’s large. The 14” x 17.5” area will accommodate lots of small cookies or just a few monster cookies!
  • The pots and pans are oven safe up to 400 degrees.
  • There are no harsh chemicals used in the finish of this pan and food rarely sticks.

If you’ve ever invested in quality pots, pans and bakeware you know that true quality comes at a price. This stainless steel large baking sheet
is not cheap ($99), but it is durable and will probably last you a lifetime.

Why 360 Cookware?

I have no choice but to love this company since 360 Cookware is manufactured in Wisconsin.  If you’ve been following me for a while you know that I spent most of my childhood in Madison, Wisconsin. I guess that’s not enough reason to love a brand, but it’s a good start! Here are a few interesting facts about the company with corporate headquarters in central Florida.

  • The entire factory is operated using power from wind turbines.
  • The factory has floor to ceiling windows which allow natural lighting and cut down on the need for and use of indoor electrical lighting.
  • The factory doesn’t have or use any smokestacks and there are no harsh chemicals used in the facility or in any of 360’s products.

There’s no denying that $99 is a bit pricey for a stainless steel large baking sheet, but the quality is there. If you’re buying top of the line cookware this is a great brand to check out.

Do you have a favorite baking or cookie sheet that works well?


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Disclosure: 360 Cookware sent me a stainless steel large baking sheet for review. Some links are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may get a small commission if you make a purchase. All opinions are my own. Thanks for your support in this way!

 

 

October 13th, 2015

My Search for a Safe Waffle Maker

My Search for a Safe Waffle Maker Groovy Green Livin

My kids love pancakes and waffles. We’ve decided that almost everything tastes better with maple syrup. Most weekends we’ll have some variation of pancakes to start off the day. We add fruit, flax seeds, chia seeds and occasionally chocolate chips for a special treat.

For the past few years my kids have been begging for a waffle maker. Just for the sheer ease of making breakfast, I would love one too. I’ve been looking, but have had no luck finding a safe, non-toxic waffle maker.

Most waffle makers contain a Teflon (PTFE and PFOA), non-stick coating. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), toxic fumes from the Teflon chemical released from pots and pans at high temperatures may kill pet birds and cause people to develop flu-like symptoms. Not something I want on my waffles!

So what’s a waffle lover to do?

After searching for many, many months (maybe years?), I’ve come up with a list of safer waffle makers (affiliate links*)

Rome’s Old Fashioned Waffle Iron ($19.99)

We’re going old school here. This waffle maker sits on top of your stove top and makes traditional waffles. There’s nothing fancy about it, but it works. This waffle iron is cast iron so remember it needs to be seasoned to work properly.

If you’re not interested in cast iron for your waffles the next step up would be a waffle maker with a ceramic (PTFE and PFOA free) coating.

KitchenAid Waffle Baker with CeramaShield Nonstick Coating  ($399)

This waffle maker has a CeramaShield coating. I contacted the company to find out what exactly that meant. I was told that the coating was PTFE and PFOA free. Unfortunately this model comes with a hefty price tag.

Oster DuraCeramic Belgian Waffle Maker ($19)

This Oster Belgian Waffle maker is designed with a DuraCeramic non-stick coating. After speaking with the company they assured me that the coating is free of aluminum, nickel, cadmium, and Teflon (PFOA and PTFE free). The price is right on this model.

Pancakes too!

If you’re looking for a safe pancake griddle this one is the best! I use my Lodge cast iron griddle all the time.

Do you have a safe waffle maker that you love?

 


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*Disclaimer: Please know that if you make a purchase using a link on this page, I may earn a commission (at no extra cost to you), which in turn helps support this site. None of the companies I promote on this page have paid me, I just really like their products. Thank you in advance.

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About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney, mom of three and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. Come along with me as I work hard to make the world a little safer for each of us.

Click HERE to contact Lori

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