Do you remember your PLUs?

About a year ago I ran a post about PLUs.  These are the numbers listed on the little stickers of the produce we purchase.  Did you remember that PLUs (“Product {or Price} Look-Up” labels) actually mean something?… they aren’t just random numbers.

I have them in long-term memory but I was reminded about them during my recent grocery store trip when I realized (while standing in line, of course!) that I had forgotten to purchase tomatoes.  I asked my 10-year old to run back to the produce section and bring back three tomatoes.  I did, however, forget to be specific… ugh-oh.  Well, lo and behold, she returned with three lovely tomatoes and said “Don’t worry… they’re 9 Mom!”  Yes, she remembered!

So, it’s a good time for a reminder:  the important number is actually the first digit and they can tell you a whole lot about the produce you purchase.  It tells you exactly how it was grown.

Here are the digits you need to remember (with an update from my past post) :

  • 3 or 4 – indicates conventionally grown produce (grown with pesticides, herbicides & fertilizers)
  • 8 – originally I had indicated that this identifies genetically-modified (GMO) or genetically-engineered (GE) produce but more evidence is showing that this may not be so and there is no true designation for GMO.
  • 9 – indicates that the produce is ORGANIC

The next time you pick up a piece of produce: (1) look at the first digit of the PLU label, (2) remember these numbers, (3) know what you’re buying and then (4) rest assured that they’ll tell you more about the food you’re buying for (and serving to) your family.  And, even when you don’t expect it, your kids may catch on too!

MGG Giveaway Day 3: “Glass Dharma” for ‘green karma’!

glss dhrma logo(This giveaway is now closed for entries… see “comments” for the winner!)

It’s time for another giveaway, friends!… but you may be asking yourself “What is Glass Dharma?” and how will it give me ‘green karma”… well, let me tell you!

Glass Dharma makes the original glass straw.  How many straws do you and your family go through in a year? Plenty, I would imagine.  Whether you do or don’t have kids, there seem to be straws in every shape and size shoved at us everywhere we turn. And let’s face it, straws can be fun!glss dhrma glass

But not only do we toss those plastic things in the trash, many of us also worry about the plastic that leaches into whatever we’re drinking.  Luckily Glass Dharma makes glass straws in all shapes, sizes and designs so you never have to go down that road again.  They’re sustainable, reusable, durable, easy-to-clean, dishwasher safe and suitable for hot or cold drinks.  PLUS they come with a Lifetime Guarantee Against Breakage… if it breaks, they replace it!

Let me tell you about what’s up for grabs!  How about four of them???  Your winnings would include a 9.5mm Green Decorative Dot straw (with a hemp sleeve, to take it on the road with you!), a 9.5mm Beautiful Bends straw, a 7mm Amber Decorative Dot straw, AND a 12mm Simple straw (great for sippin’ a smoothie!).  Oh yea, and let me throw in two sizes of cleaning brushes too!

glss dhrmaIf you want to experience some Glass Dharma karma, just leave a comment here saying you’d like to win, or send a Twitter message that includes a reply to @momgoesgreen and a link to this blog. Facebook friends can also leave a comment to be entered. The winner will be randomly selected on October 28! (U.S. entries only… sorry.)

Check them out, enter to win… and “sip on”!…

It’s the “grill battle”!… propane vs. charcoal

grll prpaneThis coming Memorial Day weekend always seems to be the kickoff of grilling season in my neighborhood.  It’s the aroma that indicates that summer is on its way.  While some of you may be lucky enough to grill all year long, we’re just getting started… and once we get started, it doesn’t end until the snow flies. (It’s also a time for me to share cooking duties with my husband… BONUS!)

We’ve always owned a propane grill and never, ever, go the route of charcoal or (perish the thought!) lighter fluid!  (EEK!)

To me, the propane choice seems like a no-brainer, but is it really?

Take a look at the facts:

  • Overall, propane grilling creates a smaller carbon footprint than charcoal grilling, by about a third.  (win: propane)
  • Charcoal comes from renewable resources, but propane does not.  It comes from non-renewable fossil fuels. (win: charcoal)
  • Carbon monoxide levels from charcoal grilling can be as high as 105 times as much as propane grilling.  (BIG win: propane)
  • The “burn time” for propane is much less than charcoal.  It only needs to be “on” when you need it.  Charcoagrll chrcoall must burn until coals are hot and then you need to wait until it burns out before the cycle is done, and it creates gasses all the while.  (win: propane)
  • Charcoal often travels a far, far distance (and creates extra emissions) before it even reaches your grill, but “not so” with propane… it’s most likely local. Plus, producing charcoal creates even more emissions than actually burning it!  (win: propane)
  • Lighter fluid for charcoal is a petroleum distillate that emits volatile organic compounds (VOCs) when burned.  (win: propane)

So, I’d say we’ve been making the right decision, especially with that last VOC issue!  But just remember that what you toss on the grill matters too – preferably local organic meats and veggies!  And when it’s time for clean-up, baking soda and warm water does wonders too!

Now, fire up that grill and let’s get the cookout underway! (My family will be right over!…)

“Reusable” isn’t JUST for shopping bags anymore…

innob 2My kids are in the midst of their Spring Break and every “break” requires some PLENTY OF fun too, my friends.  We’re off to a little spring vacation and plan to drive just a few hours away and spend a couple days visiting the Columbus Zoo and COSI science center.

While packing for my kids means clothes, socks, undies, shoes, jammies, toiletries, stuffed “buddies”, favorite pillows (yes, that whole huge list) it also means thinking ahead to snack and beverage time.  These “bring alongs” also need some foresight if we don’t want to create a bunch of trash along the way too!

For us… single serving? Never! I have a bunch of reusable containers and water bottles that will accompany us every step of the way.  They’ll be filled, washed and refilled every single day. We won’t need to overspend or throw away a thing. (See that red Sigg over there?  Yep, that’s mine!) sigg bottles

Maybe this seems like a no-brainer, but I can’t begin to tell you the number of times I’ve had another mom notice our snacks and drinks on an excursion and proclaim “What a good idea! Why didn’t I think of that!” (while she simultaneously doles out a fortune for her kids snack time and then throws away the trash).

Make it a habit for every time you’re away from home. And it’s not just for when you plan a trip or special outing either… even school lunches need the same close attention to reduce our waste.  Over the course of the school year, just one child can produce 67 pounds of trash from lunches alone!

innob 1And don’t forget about baby either. (I no longer have one of “those”, but) I just also discovered Innobaby.  They have a great line of on-the-go storage containers, and all are made from the highest quality food grade materials, are BPA-free, and contain no phthalates, PVC or latex… a perfect, and safe, choice.

Every time you’re away from home, think ahead to the needs of the whole family. Fill your drink bottles, pack-up your reusable containers with snacks and munchies and, by using your reusables, you’ll be waste-free and guilt-free too.