“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.

A green birthday party favor that leaves the plastic behind!

DSC01077Both of my kids just celebrated another birthday and we’re on the cusp of yet another big birthday party.

Along with the pressure of creating the greatest birthday celebration (EVER!) comes the pressure of letting your little party-goers walking away with a little something special of their own.

Now I (truly) don’t intent to guilt anyone if they’ve ever fallen into the trap of the treat bag tradition (because I HAVE!), but all too often the treat bags we create include what I deem “trinkets ‘n trash”…  a loot bag filled with candy and plastic “stuff” that’s eventually destine for a landfill (and to live on, endlessly!).

In years past I have given the kids canvas tote bags and nylon sport bags so they can be used again and again.  This year I figured I’d better switch it up, if I don’t want to hear “ANOTHER bag?!?” from our guests.

This year I found these fantastic stainless steel water bottles.  They’re BPA Free and (would you believe) made in the USA! Cost each: $3! All it took was a trip to a local discount store and there they were!  I’ve easily spent $3 on those other treat bags, filling them with plastic toys, so the cost didn’t sway me.

My kids love them and can’t wait to give one to each of their friends. Their friends also seem excited to get a party favor that is a “big” gift too!

Whether it’s a tote, a sport bag or a water bottle, shop around and you’ll likely find a party favor that the kids and parents will appreciate, and the environment will thank you too!

Black Friday or “Buy Nothing Day”? (= free giveaway!)

(This giveaway is now closed for entries.)

Black Friday… I NEVER shop Black Friday! Instead, I celebrateBuy Nothing Day.  Every year.  Period.

Yesssss, I know… the bargains, the excitement, the tradition… I simply choose to spend the day NOT spending.  It’s a great reminder that we don’t need to spend obscene amounts of money, rise in the wee hours of the morning and push and shove our way to luxury items that aren’t even needed, if we really think about it.

So, if you would like to get a step up on a great green gift, I will help you… no purchase necessary… I’ll sponsor some giveaways in the coming weeks and I’m starting today with a 33 oz. EcoUsable stainless steel water bottle and “Green 4 Life” water wrap that will make a fabulous gift for someone on your list… or simply for yourself, for that matter!ecousa wht

You want it, don’t you?  Well, it’s a great one too!:  Stainless steel, no BPA, reusable and free.  You won’t even need to get your toes stomped either…

So leave a comment here saying you’d like to win and tell me who you’d like to “gift” it to (there is no penalty for saying you want it for yourself!), send a Twitter message that includes a reply to @momgoesgreen and a link to this blog, or leave a comment on Facebook to be entered. The winner will be selected two weeks from today’s post. (US entries only… sorry!)

grn 4 lifeSkip Black Friday… celebrate “Buy Nothing Day”… and take a chance to win something absolutely FREE instead!

The 411 on recycling bottle caps…

beach trshDid you know that bottle caps are the second most littered items behind cigarette butts?  Did you also know that bottle caps are one of the top ten most common items found littered on beaches? Sad, isn’t it?

Most people might not give much thought to these little caps but they are becoming a big problem.  Overall, ALL types of caps are creating a problem because most of us don’t know whether or not they are recyclable.  Even if you’re like me and don’t buy bottled water or beverages in plastic bottles we all have mountains of caps that pass though our hands every day… everything from shampoo bottles to food product lids to soap and detergent containers.

So what do you do? Well, there are a few choices, so give these some thought:

  • Recycle with Aveda – these salons and stores will accept a variety of caps for recycling, including #5 twist caps, flips caps, jar lids and detergent lids and turn them into new lids for their products.  Find a location near you!
  • Recycle with Preserve – they also accept any #5 plastics (including yogurt containers) via mail or at any Whole Foods location and turn them into new Preserve products like toothbrush and razor handles, tableware and kitchenware.PVC cap
  • Give your local recycling a try – it’s sometimes difficult to figure out if your curbside recycling can actually recycle these caps but, if nothing else, include them in your recycling.  They cannot be processed with a batch of #1 and #2 commonly recycled plastics because there is a 100 degree difference in their melting points.  But if they can’t recycle them, they will be removed and at least properly disposed of, which is certainly better than letting them become litter!  Just make sure you detached the lids and caps from the container so they can be easily sorted out at the recycling facility.

So, what can’t be accepted? Well, that would be medication bottle caps, metals lids, pumps and sprayers.  These are unfortunately destined for the garbage can so, whenever possible, make wise choices when you make purchases.  Remember that buying larger containers means fewer lids too!

That’s it… the real deal on caps and lids.  Let’s just do our part to make sure we help remove them from any “most littered lists!”

Simple gift-giving tip: One gift for one whole year…

Wouldn’t that be nice… purchase ONE gift and you’re done for the whole year??? Well, that’s not exactly what I meant but we can all dream, can’t we?!?!

gift fab bagSincerely, I feel like I’m constantly purchasing gifts for some sort of occasion.  The problem is that we often feel pressured to fulfill someone’s wish list, but there is nothing wrong with fulfilling some of our own wishes too, so how about using gift-giving occasions as an opportunity for spreading a little green cheer.

Here’s is what I have in mind… right now, choose one green, environmental and/or eco-friendly item… and choose to buy it EVERY time you have a gift giving occasion. Sound impossible? Well, it’s really not. I’ll give you a couple of ideas to get you started:

  • Reusable water bottles – it’s impossible to shop and NOT run into reusable water bottles, in every color and style possible, for everyone, of every age.watr bttles
  • Reusable bags/ totes – anything from shopping bags to fabric totes,  to sport packs and kids’ carry-alls (extra points for organic cottons, upcycled and reclaimed fabrics!).
  • Books – every bookstore has a diverse supply of eco-themed books, regardless of interest or age.
  • Movies – a quick search will turn up everything from Wall-e, to Planet Earth, to An Inconvenient Truth… there is something for everyone.
  • Clothing – who doesn’t love a comfy tee?  Buy organic cotton with an earth-friendly message and the message will be spread even further than the recipient!

If your recipient has the technology to accommodate, you can also go another step greener and buy e-books or iTune gifts!

So, do you think you could do it? I bet’cha you could. Will I? You bet’cha, I will!