Simple green tip: Ditch your disposable pen habit!

Fpen grnACT: Each year, in the United States alone, we discard and send 1.6 BILLION plastic disposable pens to landfills.  Take a look at what that number actually looks like:  1,600,000,000

Mind-boggling, isn’t it?  And it is believed that most components of those pens will never biodegrade either… (and the image just got uglier, didn’t it?)

The better solution?  Invest in a refillable pen. The refills are no more expensive than disposable pens and the waste they produce is substantially less.

The pen may be “mightier than the sword,” but the refillable pen is “mighty green”.

How to keep your birthday parties green!

bday ckeI hardly blinked and my kids’ birthdays were staring me in the face again! Besides the celebration of the two amazing days that they arrived, I knew it also meant lots of planning… for parties, presents, treats, favors and everything that goes with their big days.

I also knew that I didn’t want to get sucked into the vortex of waste… something that seems to go hand-in-hand with any celebration!  So, was I able to keep it green? You bet I was, and here’s how:

  • Gifts – only one gift each:  a new bike.  The outgrown versions will be donated to a charity so some deserving kids can ‘get their pedal on’ too!
  • Party – hosted at home, I pulled out all the dishes, the cups and glasses, utensils, serveware… every last thing.  Use of disposables: NONE!
  • Wrap – all wrapping paper was recycled, gift bags were flattened and saved, along with ribbons and bows.
  • Decorations – yes… I tried to talk my kids out of balloons, but they insisted… so I insisted on the biodegradable versions and they will be properly disposed of.
  • Waste – there was none.  At the end of the night, I asked my husband if he had taken out the trash… he said he hadn’t, but there wasn’t one piece of trash that was added to the can during the course of the entire party.  Even the cake box… recycled!nyln bag
  • Party favorsjust like last year, no plastic junk here!  I instead opted for drawstring tote bags (picked up at the local craft store for $1.99 each!).  They’ll get used by the kids again and again!
  • Treat bags – everyone at my kids’ schools traditionally brings a treat bag for their friends on the day of their birthday.  Instead, we gave their friends a recycled paper mini-notebook and pen.

Each year I seem to get a little better at this!  For every choice you make, there IS a greener, more environmental option… don’t let yourself go down the usual road just because it’s what you’ve always done.  That’s a route you don’t need to take.

Remember, “green parties” are NOT just for St. Patrick’s Day or politics!

“thinkbaby” New Year with a FREE giveaway!

bby nw year(This giveaway is now closed for entries.  See “comments” for winner…)

It’s been a couple years since I had to think about “buying something for baby”.  But if I had it to do all over again, I would certainly make a slew of different decisions.  It’s not just about keeping them clean and well-fed, safely secured in carseats, happy and content, but it’s also about making safe product choices so you can rest assured that certain hidden dangers are kept at bay.  (Yea, it’s those hidden danger that can be tricky!)

Whether they’re infants, toddlers or young children, any parent knows that they eat… constantly.  And whether you’re at home or away, you need to be prepared when those “hungries” set in!  Despite all the thought and attention we may give to nutritional choices, we can’t forget that a second choice looms… how we “contain” what we serve.  You can make the healthiest food choices on the planet but if the containers that hold those foods leach chemicals and toxins, then we’ve defeated our purpose, haven’t we?!?

Well, let me tell you about thinkbaby!  They sent me this terrific feeding set that is completely FREE of BPA, phthalates, thinkbbylead, PVC and melamine… those scary contents we’re all trying to avoid!  The set contains two sizes of bowls with lids, a bentos box, a cup and a spoon & fork set.  The interiors are food-grade stainless steel so you don’t have to worry a single second about hormone disrupting chemicals leaching into the food (just the sound of that makes me shudder!)  Add to that the cuteness-factor, because they come with a fabulously-screamin’ bright orange exterior.

Okay, now I hear you… “I want one! I want one!” you say?  Well, thinkbaby is helping with that.  They’re letting me give away a complete set, so all you have to do is leave a comment saying you’d like to win and tell me who you’d like to “gift” it to, or send a Twitter message that includes a reply to @momgoesgreen and a link to this blog. This giveaway has a $40 value(!) and the winner will be selected one week from today’s post. (US entries only… sorry!)

And even if you don’t have babies, kids or someone you’d like to gift this to, (with the exception of the spoon & fork set), it can absolutely be used by us “big kids too!”

Whether it’s baby, kids or YOU, the next time you serve up a nice little helping of food in a regular plastic container, just remember to “thinkbaby” first!

Wrappin’ reminder: keepin’ it green!

fabric wrapBy now, the gifts should be purchased and the wrapping is underway!  So, while you’ve certainly paid special attention to what you’ve selected, how you “present the present” also needs special attention too.

The average household output of trash actually increases by 25% between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, due in part to wrapping paper, packaging, boxes and all of the waste that results from the holidays. Gasp! I fully intend NOT to be one of those households and will recycle everything in sight, but while you can manage what happens with the waste from the gifts you receive, you can’t guarantee what the recipients of your gifts will do…

So before you unroll yards and yards of wrapping paper, ribbons and massive bows… halt!… and consider these better ways!:

  • Buy recycled wrapping paper if you absolutely MUST wrap with paper (yea, I understand that kids love to unwrap!)gift fab bag
  • Use, save, reuse, reuse and reuse gift bags.  They can have an amazingly long life.  Try to choose uncoated paper though… it simply recycles better when it finally comes to the end of its use.
  • Put the gift in a reusable bag.  You can often score a reusable bag for less than the cost of a gift bag, and then it becomes a gift in and of itself!
  • Use part of the gift as the wrap.  Scarf? Towel? Basket? Bowl? Wrap it around or put it inside.
  • Wrap with fabric scraps and biodegradable raffia.  Simple as that!
  • Skip bows and opt for berries, pinecones, evergreen clipping, twigs or a real flower instead. These natural embellishments can even make brown craft paper look festive!
  • Before you toss out this year’s wall calendar, use the images for wrapping smaller packages.
  • Use old holiday card photos or images to create your gift tag.  You have ‘em, so use ‘em!
  • Reuse, reduce, recycle.  Save the materials you receive to be reused (gift bags, bows, ribbon). Reduce the amount of materials you use for your gift giving.  Recycle all of the paper and packaging from your gifts angift w conesd make sure they go in the bin, not the trash can.
  • (You can also choose not to wrap anything it all! My mom told me “in her day” her Christmas gifts from Santa weren’t wrapped!  They appeared under the tree “au naturale!” Hmmm… makes you wonder how and when Santa changed his policies!)

This will all be over before you know it!  Take a deep breath, grab your green supplies and see if you can join me in avoiding that 25%!

Easy holiday gift idea: Win a FREE Citizenpip Lunch Kit!

(This giveaway is now closed for entries.  See “comments” for winner.)

Well, I am officially in Stress-Out Land thinking about the holidays and all that needs to be done.  Shopping  (NOT “checked”).  Christmas cards (NOT “checked”!).  Tree up and house decorated (NOT “checked”!)   Outdoor decorations and lights (NOT “checked”!).  Yea, I’m way behind… and I’m starting to sweat!

prsntsSo today, instead of a mind boggling post, I’m just going to help a reader get one item out of the way so I can get to some holiday “business”!

Let me first tell you about Citizenpip.  They sent me this fabulous lunch kit that will put at least one recipient on my gift list in the “checked” column.  It’s their Soup to Nuts Kit that includes an insulated lunch bag, stainless steel water bottle, insulated food jar, four food containers, a stainless steel fork and spoon set and five cotton napkins.  Everything is BPA-free, safe, reusable, eco-friendly galore and super cute! Perfect for avoiding all of that needless lunchtime trash, so yes… one little recipient on my list is going to be happy and really GREEN this Christmas.

Do you have someone on your list that would love a lunch kit too?  Well, I know you would certainly love giving one(!) and today, you can win a FREE Square Meal Kit right here! It includes an insulated lunch bag, stainless steel water bottle, four citiznpp kitfood containers and five cotton napkins.

All you have to do is leave a comment saying you’d like to win and tell me who you’d like to “gift” it to, or send a Twitter message that includes a reply to @momgoesgreen and a link to this blog. The winner will be selected one week from today’s post. (US entries only… sorry!)

If you don’t win, don’t worry!  The fine people at Citizenpip are offering an extra something for Mom Goes Green readers.  You can get a free fork & spoon set for every order over $50 (use coupon code: MOMGOESGREENgives at checkout), and for every $10 you spend, Citizenpip will plant one tree in partnership with Trees for the Future.  That, alone, should give you the warm, green, fuzzies!

So, while I try to de-stress and get something accomplished, take a chance at winning a gift that will make you feel a lot better too!