MORE unregulated terms you should know about!

pest freeSo, I’m at it again… looking at labels and learning… a lot!

I’ve talked about the non-toxic labeling, fragrance-free vs. unscented, PLU produce labels and certified-organic vs. organic ingredients.

Now I have two more that you do need to know about:  “Pesticide-Free” and “Chlorine-Free”.

Maybe you’ll be surprised and maybe you won’t, but the reality is… NEITHER of these labels or terms mean a thing either.  They are undefined and, once again, completely unregulated.chlor free2

Like some of the other terms I mentioned, any manufacturer can place these words on their label to give you peace of mind about what you’re purchasing.  And ONCE AGAIN they can do it, just because the terms aren’t regulated.  That doesn’t mean that ALL products that use these terms aren’t legitimate, but the problems is it’s sometimes difficult to really know.

I can add a good note though… it just so happens that the term “Dolphin Safe” IS strictly defined, so when you see this terdolph safem, you can rest assured about your purchase!  As a life-long dolphin lover, I’m happy that this actually means something positive.

We have quite a list going, don’t we??? Maybe it’s time to break out a notepad, just to keep it straight since, sadly, we can’t always believe what the labels are attempting to tell us.

Do you know what the “non-toxic” label means?

toxc nonI’ve been on a “label kick” lately, trying to discover some of the lesser known facts about what it all means.

I’ve talked about fragrance-free vs. unscented, PLU produce labels and certified-organic vs. organic ingredients.

Well now, how about “non-toxic”?  Do you know what the label means? Let me tell you…

… it means NOTHING. The reality is that the non-toxic labeling is NOT regulated by the FDA, so it literally means nothing.

From commercial cleaners to cosmetics, when it says it’s non-toxic it doesn’t say anything beneficial about the product.  Any manufacturer can place this on their label to give you peace of mind about what you’re purchasing.  And sadly they can do it, just because the term isn’t regulated.toxc

I, myself, have been misled when I thought that I was buying something safe.  In fact, I even bought a tube of non-toxic face paint for my son’s Halloween costume (so I could draw on a scraggly pirate beard!) but when it came down to it, I sacrificed my expensive eyeliner instead, simply because I knew it was safe.

Sure, there are quality products that will have this term on the label, but the next time you see “non-toxic”, don’t make assumptions about what’s NOT in the product because you could be getting more than you bargained for (and more than these words are telling you).

“Certified Organic” vs. “Organic Ingredients”: the difference

organic slProduct labels can be tricky… in fact, they can be a bit deceptive.

My recent post about knowing the difference between “Unscented and Fragrance-Free” got some surprised comments.  I hadn’t even known the difference until I uncovered that tidbit and got a little schooling of my own!

Another label that can often cause confusion is the organic label.  It’s easy to be misled about what’s contained in the product and tricky labeling doesn’t help.

Here is one thing you should know… the difference between Certified Organic and Organic Ingredients.  These are the facts:

  • “Certified Organic” – this means that all ingredients contained are 100% organic.  Simple as that. This is the label you WANT to see.org unsure
  • “Organic Ingredients” – this actually means that only 70% of the ingredients are actually organic.  The other 30% is not.  Even a label saying “100% Organic Ingredients” is misleading. While that 70% is 100% organic, you still have that 30% that is not organic at all.
  • (By the way, if it says “Contains Organic Ingredients” that means less than 70% is organic, and you have no idea what that organic percentage might be!)

Tricky, tricky labels.  But if you know what the labels mean, you’ll never be misled.

The Post-Holiday Green Guide…

christmas storageNow that we’ve stopping scurrying around in preparation for the holidays, we’re all liking looking around and seeing plenty yet to be done in the wake of a hectic season.

The tree, the lights, the presents, the boxes, the bags and bows, the piles of Christmas cards!… WHAT to do now? Well, let me help…

Here is a very simple list of things you can do to curb the waste, make the most of the season and keep it green!:

  • The Christmas tree – if you had a live-cut Christmas tree, check out Earth911 to find a drop-off so it can be turned into mulch or composted (if your community doesn’t offer the service).  If you have a wooded area near your house, give it back to nature for a wonderful winter habitat for animals.  If your tree is artificial and you’ve considered a replacement, donate your old tree.  Many organizations and needy families would love them for next year.christmas tree artificial 3
  • Packaging and boxes – everything from gift packaging to the shipping boxes the gifts arrived in… either recycle them (if they aren’t usable again) or save them (along with the reusable packing materials) for when you need to ship something.  If you have more than you can handle, list and sell them through Box Cycle.
  • Gift bags, ribbons, bows and tissue – simply fold, flatten and/or store.  They can all likely be used again (and again!).
  • Lights – if you have strands that have permanently gone out, take advantage of clearance sales and stock up on new LEDs for next year’s energy-efficient decorating.  You can also check out HolidayLEDs.com… they’ll accept old incandescents and give you a 25% discount on a new LED purchase.
  • Clear it out! – make way for new gifts by cleaning out what is no longer needed and donate them to charity.  Clothes, toys, books, household items… everything is useful for someone, or an entire family, in need!
  • Christmas cards – ever heard of St. Jude’s Ranch for Children?  Well, they’d love to receive your Christmas cards!  This non-profit organization cares for abused, abandoned and/or neglected children.  They accept used greeting cards (including Christmas, birthday and even “Thank You” cards), the children remove the fronts and attacchristmas cardsh them to a recycled paper backing.  They turn them into new greeting cards… and then sell them!  Bundle them up and mail them to:

St. Jude’s Ranch for Children
Card Recycling Program
100 St. Jude’s Street
Boulder City, NV 89005

As you get your post-holiday life back in order there is some work to be done but, rest assured, there are plenty of wise, green choices that can be made as we bid the year farewell…

(Tree photo: Christmas Lights Etc.)

Post #381… a 2010 Holiday Review!

christmas partyAnother Christmas come and gone in a whirlwind here at the Mom Goes Green household! I hope your holiday was wonderful and filled with every blessing imaginable!  (Now I’m getting back into the groove with post #381 and gearing up for the New Year!)

As always, we had amazing and magical fun!  Santa delivered exactly what was requested so the kids are thrilled (and nothing will be sitting, unwanted, under the tree!).

As every box and package was UNpacked, they were broken down and flattened and made their way into the recycling can… even the wrapping paper.  The recycling can is FULL… and the garbage can?… hardly a thing added!xmas wrp pile

Tissue and bows were set aside and have made their way into storage for reuse next year too!  All other family gifts were also given in bags recycled from last year so I didn’t need to purchase a single supply!  Some family members even gave back the gift bags with a smile and a “Here… for next year!”  Ahh, they know me well!xmas gft bg

I’m also happy to report that at every gathering, our families used the REAL silverware, plates, bowls, glasses, cups and serveware… not a disposable in sight! Bravo, family… and thank you!

We’ll soon be weeding out old (but usable) clothing, toys, books and other household items to donate to charities that serve the less fortunate.  I know we all tend to give before the holidays but xmas place setremember, the need exists 365 days a year so it’s never too late, or too soon!  Let the giving continue!

In the coming days I’ll give you more tips and tricks to wrap up the holidays and get you sent off into the New Year…

… But for now, I simply wish to say I hope your Christmas or holiday was as wonderful and magical as ours!