Greengirlinc's Blog

Greening the world one blog at a time.

Eco School Supples and More August 12, 2010

It’s that time of year, back-to-school.  I know, we have mixed feelings about this time of year.  Most kids are groaning, and parents are secretly cheering (one can only take the sibling bickering or hear “I’m bored” so many times).  So how do you plan on greening your children’s school year?  There are things you can do to reduce their carbon footprint.  How about starting with how your kids get to school.  Many people drive their kids to school every day.  Now, sometimes this is necessary, when there are circumstances like a ridiculously early bus, no public transportation where you live, or heavy instruments that need hauling.  In those instances it’s best if you can at least car-pool.

What else can you do?  If your kids take their own lunch, then a waste-free lunch is the way to go.  Numerous companies both online and in physical retail sites have water bottles, lunch bags, lunch boxes, cloth napkins, sporks, GoToobs, reusable lunch containers and reusable non-plastic lunch pouches.  A great place to look in your town is at your local natural foods store or co-op.  If you can’t find what you need in town then I have a list of online stores where you can find what you need.

So, transportation and lunch are covered, what else?  How about the all important school supplies?  Try to replace the typical non-recycled or petroleum-based supplies with recycled content and non-petro based products.  Here is a list of products: recycled content notebooks, upcycled wrapper folders and notebooks, upcycled wrapper pencil pouches, recycled plastic pencil boxes,  recycled denim or newspaper pencils, stapleless staplers, recycled plastic scissors, solar calculators, soy or bees-wax based crayons, solar backpacks or messenger bags, recycled PET backpacks, well, you are starting to get the idea.  Maybe you can’t afford to buy all these items, but maybe you can get a few.

If nothing else, stop wasting your money and poisoning your home with cheap, disposable PVC backpacks.   A few years ago I made the switch to good quality backpacks for my kids.  PVC or polyvinyl chloride off-gasses for years and contributes to poor indoor air quality.  Think about your child having this toxic substance strapped to their back.  Plus, most of those cheap backpacks fall apart halfway through the school year and then sit in landfulls (yes, I meant landfulls) for a millennium.

The following is a list of websites and resources to help you green back-to-school.

The Ultimate Green Store


Posh Pouches

Kids Konserve


Life Without Plastic

eBags-Recycled Backpacks

Green Peace-How to Find and Avoid Toxin Vinyl (PVC) in Your Home

The Nature Conservancy-Enviro Tips


Eco Outdoor Furniture June 18, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tiffany C @ 11:34 AM
Tags: , , , , , ,

Summer is the time for many of us to really enjoy the outdoors.  I realize some parts of the country, and around the world, folks have nice weather most or all the year.  Where I live, the Upper Midwest, we have a short season to sit in the sun and relax in the outdoors, about 3 to 5 months, depending on if the weather cooperates.  We just got done with about two weeks of solid rain, so that took a big chunk out of our summer enjoyment.  I’m not saying there aren’t activities to enjoy in the winter, but those activities don’t typically involve sitting, unless it’s ice fishing.

Whether you have a few months or a whole year to enjoy on a deck or patio, what do you sit on?  Finding eco outdoor furniture is getting easier, but it is still challenging.  One of the most eco-friendly ways to furnish your outdoors is with second-hand furniture.  Garage, yard, or thrift sales are a great place to find pieces like that.  Sometimes the furniture needs some TLC and a fresh coat of paint, but sometimes it’s in perfect condition.  FreeCycle is another source for used items.  Look for a local Free Cycle in your area.  Don’t forget about Goodwill, Salvation Army and other second-hand stores.  If you’ve exhausted all your second-hand options and still haven’t found the right thing, there is new furniture available that is eco-friendly.

Polywood is a nice choice because it uses recycled plastic in its production, which keeps the plastic out of landfulls (yes, I wrote landfulls on purpose).  There are many colors and furniture styles to choose from.  Polywood lasts a long time and doesn’t need maintenance.  There are many, many sites to find polywood, just type it into a search engine.  Natural wood is a good choice, but you need to make sure the wood comes from a FSC certified or Rainforest Alliance certified site.  Teak, cedar, and eucalyptus are good for outdoor use and will last a long time.  The other plus with wood is that while it’s growing it is giving oxygen to the environment and providing habitat.  Aluminum and steel can also be eco choices as well.  They are both recyclable and often times contain recycled content.  If aluminum and steel are well made and cared for they can last for many years, steel and last a lifetime.  Recycled and upcycled materials are wonderful choices for outdoor furniture.  Remember, a coat of exterior paint can make many items suitable for outdoor use.