5 tips to “go green” for “back to school”!

back 2 schoolThe summer is dwindling… it’s the countdown to the “end”… sounds dramatic, doesn’t it?  But this is truly my least favorite time of year.  Sure the weather is wonderful and there is still so much fun to be had, but I get this feeling in the pit of my stomach when I have to send my kids back to school.  I actually happen to be a mom who loooves to have my kids at home!

But school time is looming and it’s time to prepare. So, while you’re prepping your list (the long list!) of everything they need, keep these tidbits in mind to help keep it on the green side:

  • Check your “stock” – you may already have supplies at home; some may even be leftover from last year, so check carefully before you buy.
  • Look for recycled content – notebooks, pens, pencils, folders, binders and even backpacks… there are lots of options out there made from recycled content, so be wise when you choose. Also, choose paper, paperboard or canvas over plastics.
  • Waste-free lunches – plan to pack your kids’ lunches with reusable lunch kits like those from Kidcitiznpp kits Konserve or Citizen Pip.  Also, opt for reusable containers, bottles, real silverware and cloth napkins over anything single-use or disposable, and make sure everything is BPA-free.
  • Backpacks and totes – as exciting as it seems to purchase new every year, convince your kids that if it’s still functional, it’s still usable.  If you can, also steer them away from something “character” based, so when they outgrow the character you don’t feel forced into a replacement. And when you do need to replace one, consider donating the outgrown version and make sure the new one is PVC-free.
  • Clothes – we all know how quickly kids grow, but the bigger they get the slower they grow.  Take a little time for a “try-on” session.  If it’s not outgrown, no need to replace it just yet.  When it no longer fits, be sure to donate everything to organizations that provide clothing to those in need.  Even consignment shops and sales or swaps are great resources for giving or getting items that still have usefulness.

schoolbusWhether you get teary-eyed at the idea of sending your kids back to school, or the first day couldn’t come soon enough (I’ll be a teary-eyed one!) be sure to earn a “green star” for your efforts before they go!

Oh… by the way…

vac summr… Mom Goes Green is going to be absent for a little while longer…

I’m on summer vacation, summer break, summer holiday, summer hiatus… call it what you will… but I’M ON IT! 🙂

(Be back soon with more green goodies!)

xoxo – Mom Goes Green

Grab your gear & campout… June 25 is the day!

Gr Am Bkyrd Campout 11Have you heard about this weekend’s greatest camping spot on the planet?  Well, it just so happens that you won’t need to go far… it’s your own backyard!

This Saturday, June 25, is the Great American Backyard Campout!

The National Wildlife Federation created this day to encourage families to reconnect with nature and the outdoors, and remind us that we can manage life “with a little less”.  You can set up tents, cookout over a fire pit, explore your surroundings, play flashlight tag, star gaze and our kids’ ever-favorite… gorge on S’mores!  Shut down all the lights, computers and TVs in your house and even save a little electricity while you’re at it. (Indoor latrine, via flashlight, permitted of course!)camp at home

If you want to find out who’s camping nearby, or register your own outing, check out NWFs site for more information.

I think this is a great opportunity to join families all over the country in embracing everything the great outdoors has to offer… it’s free, it’s fun… it’s the perfect way to reconnect with our families and nature.  Now grab your sleeping bag and let’s campout!…

Safe, effective, chemical-free sunscreen: 2011 UPDATE!

sunscrnWell, it isn’t often that I have to make an update so soon… I just sent everyone to Environmental Working Group’s list and rating of sunscreen products… and it’s JUST been updated again for 2011!

We know the concern with sunscreen is the presence of some nasty chemicals (that part certainly doesn’t change) but, like our ever changing lives, products get changed too and I would be remiss if I didn’t share the latest findings with you…

So here… without further ado is THE latest listing: EWG’s 2011 List of Suncreens!  Maybe you want to head right over to their Best Suncreens list… and hope that what you’ve been using didn’t make their Hall of Shame!

Now, back to our regularly scheduled program… get your BEST suncreen and GO PLAY!

How to choose safe, effective, chemical-free sunscreen!

sunshn(Okay, Mom Goes Green is BACK from my little Mother’s Day hiatus, so…) I’m now thinking summer! The kids have started the countdown to the final days of school and we’re ALL thinking summer fun, the pool, beach vacations and lots of outdoor time!

But every parent knows that fun-in-the-sun also means extra precautions to make sure our precious ones (ourselves included!) don’t get fried during “the fun part”, so sunscreen is sure to be a purchase in the very near future.

The concern with sunscreen is the presence of some nasty chemicals that we really don’t want to apply to our bodies daily, or even “frequently” for that matter (since they absorb into our skin and accumulate). Many are believed to cause hormone disruption, cell damage and allergies, amongst other things. They include vitamin A (retinyl palmitate), Oxybenzone, Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, Mexoryl, Avobenzone… augh!… just a bunch of things that we could really do without!

So instead of laboring over labels and trying (sometimes in vane) to decipher the ingredients… (drumroll, please….)  Environmental Working Group has a list and rating of over 500 sunscreen products.  Believe me, it is much easier to find one on the “best” list and just know you have a good product to keep you safe from the sun AND the nasty chemicals.sunscrn

You can also look-up the products you have been using to see how they rate.

Last year (via this list!) I discovered a great product:  Blue Lizard.  It was fantastic and we didn’t have a burn in the bunch (or exposure to nasty chemicals!).  Fortunately, EWG has done most of the work for us, so the answers are just a few clicks away.

(Boy, I sure have come a long way from those teen-days when my friends and I applied baby oil(!) in HOPE of sizzling and frying!… WHAT were we thinking?!?)

Now check it out, buy some, slather on the good stuff and GO PLAY… summer is almost here!