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Why My Purse is Green

Because I believe…

  • the fastest, most effective way to stop polluters is by pressuring them in the marketplace
  • women can be the world’s most powerful economic and environmental force if we intentionally shift our spending to the best green products and services
  • women have the power right now to solve many of our most serious environmental problems by using our green purses to make a difference
  • women must act – intentionally, collectively, and with the full force of our purse power behind us – if we hope to leave our children and grandchildren a better world.
  • Make Your Spring Cleaning Green With Plant-Based Cleansers

    Don’t you think it’s ironic that many cleaning products actually contain ingredients that, while maybe not dirty, can still make you sick? No wonder millions of people have decided to make their spring cleaning ‘green’ by choosing plant-based cleansers free of synthetic ingredients and harsh chemicals. This post, sponsored by Source Supply Company, highlights the value of using plant-based cleansers for counters, walls, tile, mirrors and more.

    What’s Wrong With Synthetic Chemicals?

    A better question is, what’s right? And the answer?  Not much!!

    Some of the synthetic chemicals you’re likely to find in conventional cleaning products include:

    ·       Phthalates – linked to birth defects in children exposed in utero; can cause headaches, nausea and other discomfort when inhaled via the artificial fragrances they’re usually found in

    ·       Phosphorous – overloads fresh water systems; when washed down a drain, it ends up in streams, rivers, and lakes, where it can rob the waters of precious oxygen and make it difficult for fish and other aquatic wildlife to survive

    ·       Bleach – releases powerful fumes that can cause headaches, nausea and general feelings of illness; when mixed with ammonia, can create a poisonous gas that can burn your lungs if you inhale it.

    What’s a Healthier Alternative?

    Responsible cleaning companies are manufacturing products that rely on plant-derived cleaning agents that use natural sources and contain essential oils, corn-based alcohol, earth-based minerals and filtered water. Though lemon oil is probably the most common essential oil used, many other citrus oils, plus essence of peppermint, spearmint and lavender, among others, may be included as well. Though there’s always a chance you might be allergic to one of these ingredients, they’re far less likely to pose serious threats that the more conventional cleansers you might currently be buying.

    If you’ve never tried a green cleaner before, in honor of Earth Day our sponsor is offering at a 10% discount green cleaners that can be used on bathroom and kitchen surfaces, including chrome, stainless steel, and glass; dishwashing detergents, laundry detergents, and more.

    You can find the full list of products available for purchase here.   Use promo code Earth10 for your discount!

    NOTE: Sponsors allow us to provide expert content at no cost to you. Our editorial opinion remains our own. Thanks!

    About Source Supply Company 

    SourceSupply Company is a janitorial supply company with over 20 years of experience in the industry, specializing in janitorial, facility, and maintenance products. With more than 14,000 products and access to more than 300 manufacturers, Source Supply Company makes it easy for you to find the products that best meet your need while benefitting from our competitive pricing and superior service.  For more information, visit




    Money-Saving Green Tips for Earth Day and Every Day

    Are you one of those people who say, “I’d love to go green, but it costs too much money!”?

    On Earth Day, all of us here are sharing our stories so you know that just the opposite is true! My own experience is that going green actually saves me several thousand dollars a year while increasing my quality of life. That’s because I’ve figured out how to reduce what I buy, reuse what I have, and save energy and water, two items (especially energy) that could otherwise cost me hundreds of dollars a year.

    Happily, I’m not alone. Here’s how a lot of people I know and respect are also saving money by being green:

    Betsy at Eco-Novice offers very concrete ways to save money on products that otherwise increase your exposure to toxic chemicals. Her helpful post includes 6 switches she’s made that you can, too, including a switch from disposable plastic baggies to reusable food bags in food-safe fabrics in a variety of sizes, from snack to gallon. 

    Kristina of The Greening of Westford recommends using local libraries to borrow books and movies for kids and adults alike rather than go out and buy them brand new. Also, she says, if you do want to buy, drop in to your library’s book sales, where they generally sell used books at greatly reduced prices. Kristina notes that she brings the process full circle by donating the books she buys back to the library at some point so they can be re-sold again. 

    Brittney Gordon-Williams, Communications Manager for EPA’s ENERGY STAR products, ticks off some specific ways consumers can save money by saving energy. For example, did you know that ENERGY STAR certified LED light bulbs use 70-90% less energy and last 25x longer than your old incandescent bulbs?  Or that enabling your computer and monitor’s power management fatures can save you up to $90 a year?  Brittney invites you to check out My ENERGY STAR for more tips and energy-saving suggestions. 

    Beth from My Plastic Free Life has found many ways to save money by going plastic free. Of course, she saves a lot of money by using a refillable water bottle rather than buying bottled water, and she’s reused all kinds of glass jars for food storage, rather than by new plastic ones. She skips new plastic shampoo bottles and deodorant applicators by mixing up those products herself from baking soda and other ingredients, and then storing them in the same containers over and over.  And she’s learned how to fix many things when they break rather than replace them – the ultimate money-saving strategy. 

    Anna at Green-Talk offers lots of useful ways to go green in the kitchen and save money, too. For example, “don’t forget to install an inexpensive aerator for your faucet to reduce your water usage as well as your bill,” she suggstions. Plus, “Don’t stop there. Plants need water? Water them with leftover cooking water or half drunken glasses of water.” Good idea! 

    At Groovy Green Livin’, Lori has a great list of “15 Ways to Be Green Without Spending a Dime.” One that has saved me a bundle over the years is her #14: “use Freecycle, Craigs List or other sites that have free stuff.” It’s all about reusing and keeping good stuff out of landfills,” she says. Amen to that! 

    Paige of Spit That Out the Book recommends using coupons from green companies to offset their costs. She provides a long list of green couponers, green coupon aggregators and flash sale sites, which was totally new to me. 

    Leigh Ann at Green4U offers this unique suggestion to save money and go green, too: Invite friends over for dinner, rather than go to a bar or the movies. Make it potluck so everyone participates, and rotate houses so the same person isn’t hosting all the time. Great idea!

     Sommer at Green & Clean Mom reminds people that “Less Meat Means Less Money.” Generally, she reminds us, “veggies, rice and beans cost much less than meat products. In this economy, as fuel prices and food prices rise, we can expect meat to become an expensive habit. Reduce your meat consumption and save a little.”

    Karen at EcoKaren offers a terrific list of "11 Things You Should Never Buy to Be Safe and Save Money." For example, skip the pre-cut drumsticks and chicken breasts - a whole chicken is half the price. Chicken stock in a box? Not when you can make it yourself much more cheaply from the bones of that chicken you just cut up. As for canned tomatoes, many cans are lined with BPA, a toxic chemical linked to birth defects. Maybe it's time to learn how to can or freeze tomatoes yourself?

    Jen of Jen and Joey Go Green doesn't shy away from the fact that sometimes, "eating healthy is going to cost you more than pre-packaged food. That is just the way the kale crumbles!" However, "pre-planning will help you spend less on healthy food than you would buying processed foods that are full of chemicals." That sounds like a good trade to me!

    Trina at O’Boy! Organic also focused on food, offering real food money saving tips that help her on a weekly basis.  She says she’s able to keep her food bill down to $150 a week by planning her menus, using foods she already has, having at least one leftover night in the week, buying meat in bulk, and buying staple items online. Her links to the various shopping sites she uses are very helpful, too. 

    For a few more ways to save money buying food, here’s my list of Top Ten Organic Food Price Busters.

    As Stacy of Move The Market says, "If money is energy, I want to invest mine in creating the world I want to live in...As I've happily discovered, what's best for my body and the planet is often best for my budget, too." That is so true!

    How do you save money going green? Please share you suggestions!

     Want More Money-Saving Tips? 

    Top Ten Ways to Beat the High Price of Gas

    Top Ten Ways to Save Energy and Money at Home





    Put a Little Yuzen in Your Life

    Treat yourself or someone you love to a little zen - not through meditation, though you may certainly do that on your own, but with the help of a beautiful Yuzen box and the thoughtful, organic and plant-based balms, fragrances, moisturizers and creams it contains.

    Yuzen boxWhat's In a Yuzen Box?

    There are actually three types of boxes to choose from. I recently received two of the boxes at no charge to review, and was delighted with them both.

    The seasonal box arrives four times a year - in Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter.

    My spring box included Acure Organics Facial Treatment, Balanced Guru skin balm, Sranrom's Urban Wellness Calm Down Hand Cream, Lotuswei Infinite Love Mist, an Essio Aromatherapy shower Kit, and Sumbody Bath Fizzers, plus a Chocolove Cherries and Almonds Chocolate Bar. 

    I also received a gift box containing Jurlique Rose Hand Cream, Kerstin Florian foot balm, a travel candle from Level Naturals, a PINO facial mask, some Sanitas Moisture Mist, nail lacquers from Sparitual, Tara Spa Therapy Stress Relief Roll-On Remedy,  and some Sun cups Dark Chocolate Mint Cups. The gift box can be sent at any time of the year.

    Plus, there's a box specifically designed for men, which includes items like PHYT's Men's Cleanser to help reduce ingrown hairs, Honey Stinger Energy Chews, Level Naturals Active charcoal Soap, and Eco Armour Shaving Foam.

    You can get a complete description of the contents of each box here. All of the products are full-size, rather than small samples, so you will get the benefit of each item included.


    Whose Idea Was This?

    Ted NingYuzen was founded by my friend Ted Ning and his wife Jen. I first met Ted through his role as Executive Director of LOHAS (Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability), where he works closely with companies that are focused on providing products and services that promote health, well-being and the environment. Ted and Jen closely curate the items they include to make sure they contain no ingredients harmful either to people or the planet.

    I thought the name "yuzen" was a combination of "you" and "zen," which made sense, given that the products in their boxes seem the perfect complement for a lifestyle focused on living in harmony with nature and the world around us.

    But that's not exactly right. Ted and Jen picked the name "yuzen" because it is a type of exquisite Japanese paper, also known as chiyogami, that's made by Japanese artisans who layer patterns and color to make gorgeous designs. I have to admit, when I opened my first Yuzen box, it was so lovely, I hated to disturb it (see the gift box, below). I'm combining the paper strips from two boxes together to make a lovely bookmark.


    YUzen gift new_boxWhat Does a Yuzen Box Cost?

    Each box costs $33. You can buy the men's box or gift box individually, or subscribe to the four seasons' worth of boxes at once (though you will be charged only when the box is shipped). You can cancel your subscription at any time.

    Yuzen would make a special gift, but it's also ideal if you want a seasonal infusion of zen body products. If you give it a try, please come back and share your experience.


    Ecocentric Mom Box Review

    Ecocentric mom (1) My Ecocentric Mom Box is always full of an interesting and surprising array of product options I never knew existed. Here's what I discovered in the March/April box:

    For your body:

    Bach Original Flower Remedies - Bach has distilled 38 flower and plant essences into concentrated clear liquids, each of which is reputed to help deal with some kind of stress. My box contained a bottle of the essence of elm. It smells good enough to use as a perfume, though the recommended application is on the tongue.

    Treefort Naturals Comfrey Salve - My hands always seem to be on the dry side. This salve soothes and softens and leaves no greasy residue.

    MarieNatie All-Natural Lip Gloss - It's free of parabens, sulfates, synthetic fragrances and dyes, petro-chemicals and phthalates. I also like how moist it is on the lips. The company also makes eyeliner, eye shadow, blush, lip balm and mascara.

    Oatmeal Grapefruit Face Wash Powder by Homespun Northwest - This powder consists of freshly ground organic oats, Kaolin clay and grapefruit essential oil. Put a little in your hand, add a few drops of water until it makes a paste, and scrub. Easy peasy, and safe as can be.

    House Blend Organics Coconut Body Wash - I already use coconut butter as a body lotion because it is so moisturizing. This body wash both cleans and moisturizes, too.

    Essio $10 Gift Card - Essio is an aromatherapy diffuser for the shower and uses 100% USDA-certified organic essential oils. Wouldn't a lovely essential oil be so much better to smell than chlorine when you take a shower?

    To help you relax:

    Organic Caffeine-Free Roman Provence Rooibos Tea - This tea is full of rooibos, elderberries, blueberries, rosehip pieces, lavender blossoms, and even rose petals. It is just as soothing to smell as to sip.

    Powernap 2-CD Set - The lovely ambient music on these CDs will help revive you in the middle of the day with a powernap that works with your schedule. Choose from three longer naps to two five-inute programs. Each nap ends with chimes and a gentle voice to away you from a refreshing sleep.

    2 Degrees Food Bar - Unlike many power bars or energy bars, this snack actually tasted like real food. It includes heritage grains like quinoa, cia and millet. Plus, they're gluten-free, vegan, GO-free and kosher. An added bonus: For every 2 Degrees bar sold, the company donates a meal to a hungry child in the US and abroad.


    Bluapple for Produce Preservation - I've been wanting to try one of these for a while, so I'm glad to have a chance. It is a small plastic ball that resembles an apple. Inside, you add small pellets that absorb the ethylene gas that fruits and vegetables emit as they age. By absorbing the gas rather than leaving it in the fridge, the Bluapple aims to preserve food freshness and extend the life of the produce. I've just put it in my veggie drawer. I'll let you know how it works.

    Sport Suds Laundry Detergent - This detergent is specially formulated to remove stubborn stains and odors. I'm not sure exactly what is in it, but happily it doesn't contain phosphates, dyes, or synthetic fragrances. It could be very effective on t-shirts, socks, shorts and sweatpants that take a beating when you or your kids are playing sports, out biking or hiking, or otherwise working up a sweat.

    Acai Seed Bead Hair Barrett - All of the jewelry made by Terri Jean's adornments, including this barrett, are vegan, with a particular emphasis on organic nuts and seed beads.

    Get Your Own EcoCentric Mom Box - It's easy to sign up to get your own box. You'll find all the details here.

    Note: Big Green Purse earns a small commission on any boxes ordered through our site. Those fees help make it possible for us to provide you with expert content at no charge. Our editorial opinion of the products remains our own. Thanks.


    The Nest Thermostat Can Help Build Your Nest Egg by Saving You Energy & Money

    We've long been advocates of programmable thermostats to save you energy and money. But have you heard about the Nest Thermostat? It's called the "learning thermostat" because it actually learns from your own behavior in your home to help you spend less and use less energy. I asked my colleague, general contractor David Glenn, to explain.

    NestWhat is the Nest Thermostat?

    Thermostats are devices that turn the heat up or down, or the air conditioning up or down, depending on the indoor temperature you want for your home. Usually, you can just turn your thermostat on and adjust the temperature to whatever feels comfortable. What makes the Nest thermostat different is that it is fully capable of programming itself. Here's how:

    As you adjust the temperature in your home throughout the day, Nest takes notice. In fact, it keeps a record of the times that you prefer more heat and the times you prefer less, eventually building a schedule for you. Within a few days, you won’t have to interact with Nest in order for it to change the temperature to your personal preferences throughout the day. So it becomes a very automatic way for your home to be heated or cooled to your exact preferences without you having to continually set and re-set the thermostat yourself.

    Once the schedule is set, you can still make quick, one-time alterations without disrupting the overall program. However, should you continue to make regular changes, the thermostat will adapt and create a new schedule to fit your new needs.

    Nest’s Auto-Away Setting

    Nest is just as useful when you're not home as when you are, maybe better, because you won’t have to worry about paying for unnecessary climate control while you’re away. The “Auto-Away” feature can do the following:

    ·       Uses sensors and algorithms to sense if you’re away from home

    ·       Reduces heat or AC use when it senses occupants aren’t home

    ·       Tracks and memorizes any times you may consistently be away from home

    How the Nest Thermostat Saves Money and Energy

    The end result of all of this innovation isn’t just increased thermostat autonomy. Nest designed its learning thermostat so that homeowners could waste less energy when they heat and cool their homes.

    The end result is that users can save as much as 20% on their monthly heating and cooling bills according to Nest. And, as they say, what’s good for the goose (your wallet) is good for the gander (the environment). Considering that 44% of the energy in the United States comes from coal-burning power plants - the single largest air polluters in the country - anything we can do to  reduce energy consumption can only help keep the planet healthy.

    The Nest Leaf

    Nest takes it one step further by including a feature called “Nest Leaf.” This feature does the following:

    ·       * Acts as a guide to help you save energy

    ·      *  When you decrease energy use, a small icon appears to let you know you’re saving more energy

    ·       * Encourages you to make any changes that might save extra energy

            Installing the Nest    

           There are videos available on YouTube that make installing the Nest yourself look easy. If you're pretty handy, go ahead and do it yourself. I'm not that comfortable when it comes to wiring, so I'd probably get the help of one of my DIY friends or neighbors who is. Otherwise, you can buy the Nest at most hardware stores, big box stores, and online.

           Here's more information on the Nest.

    NOTE: While the learning thermostat has certainly been making waves, Nest’s other attempt at innovative home automation recently hit a snag. The Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector was pulled from the market due a design flaw that could possibly allow users to accidentally deactivate the alarm function, which in turn could lead to property damage, personal injury, or even death. Still, despite this apparent hiccup, Nest remains committed towards revolutionizing environmentally friendly home automation.


      David Glenn Profile David Glenn taps his 30 years of experience owning his own home-building business to review promising new technologies that offer consumers the opportunity to save energy and money and live greener lives. Connect with him on Twitter @davidglenn97.

    Follow the LEED: Breaking Down the Pros and Cons of a LEED Certified Home

    LEED 2You've probably heard about something called a LEED Certified Home, but do you actually know what it is? LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a program sponsored by the U.S. Green Building Council. It encourages construction of buildings and, increasingly homes, that use energy as efficiently as possible and meet other environmental standards as well.

    Why should you as a homeowner care? I asked my colleague and general contractor David Glenn to explain in this guest post.

    "As a general contractor, I’ve spent years in the construction of commercial and residential buildings. You name it, and I’ve built it (or at least something like it), and I can tell you this: most structures—from the materials, to the overall design, to the location itself—just aren’t all that “green.”

    Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this way. And with the help of LEED, increasingly, it's not.

    What is LEED?

    LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It's actually a rating system created by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) that offers a standard against which green design can be measured. It does this by assigning a rating to any building reviewed.

    The LEED rating is based upon factors such as:

    * the sustainability of the construction site

    * the renewability of construction materials

    * water efficiency

    * waste production, and

    * indoor environmental concerns, like air quality and the availability of natural light.

    LEED 1 When all of the pertinent data have been compiled and considered, LEED assigns the building in question points in the different categories. Buildings receive a rating based on their overall score.  Those that rate spectacularly well in every category and earn a total of 80 points or more receive a platinum certificate. 60–79 points earn a gold certificate, 50–59 a silver certificate, and 40–49 total points a basic certification. Anything below 40 gets no certification at all.

    Benefits of LEED

    Most LEED homes come with built-in home automation technology that allows homeowners to save energy, water, and money by learning a homeowner’s habits and adjusting to those. Companies like Nest and others have led the way with groundbreaking home automation technology like programmable "learning" thermostats that can save us consumers money on our energy bills.

    Builders and designers who adhere to sustainable practices and receive a high level of LEED certification benefit, too. Not only do they improve their own public image by demonstrating their commitment to the environment, but they're also able to reap certain monetary rewards. Especially for those building large buildings or office or residential complexes, LEED certification can increase property values and decrease energy, water, and waste costs. Additionally, certain government programs offer rewards for buildings that are LEED certified. Overall, LEED is creating a climate in which eco-friendly design and green materials are gaining an advantage. 

    Additional Value if You Own a Leed Certified Home

    Given enough time, LEED should be terrific both for the world you live in and your pocketbook. In addition to saving energy, LEED certification of privately owned homes has been known to increase residential property values. Of course, the effect that it has on the value will vary from area to area, but even in locations where the demand for green housing isn’t particularly high, potential buyers will still be impressed by reduced utility costs associated with LEED construction practices.

    Finding and Financing a LEED Certified Home

    If you're in the market, how can you find a LEED certified home? Your real estate agent or certain online sites such as might help you locate potential properties. Still, because they're relatively new, existing LEED certified homes may be a bit hard to come by.

    The good news is that building your own LEED certified home isn’t nearly as expensive as you might assume. For an additional 1 to 7% of construction costs, you’ll be able to create a platinum certified house from the ground up. Of course, you also have the option of renovating your existing home to make it more LEED compliant. This may be a bit more difficult for certain homeowners, given that some factors may not be alterable (location comes to mind), but there are nonetheless many ways you can upgrade your home if you're willing to undertake a renovation. 

    As a general contractor I’ve seen all sorts of buildings go up, but it’s only been during the last few years that people have really begun to take notice of the environmental and economic benefits these structures offer. The LEED certification program is a good way to judge just how “green” a building is. If you’re willing to invest a bit of extra time and money in the short term, you can get that same reassurance for your own property, and reap the benefits for many years to come."

    David Glenn Profile David Glenn taps his 30 years of experience owning his own home-building business to review promising new technologies that offer consumers the opportunity to save energy and money and live greener lives. Connect with him on Twitter @davidglenn97.
    Get more information on LEED from the U.S. Green Building Council.






    Don't Replace Trans Fats with Conflict Palm Oil. Neither are Healthy For Your Family.

    When you read the label on the processed foods you buy at the supermarket, what do you look for? I've mostly been on the hunt for information about calories, sugar and fat content, transfats, and synthetic chemicals like food dyes and preservatives.

    Rainforest Action Network (RAN), along with Dr. Andrew Weil, an expert in integrative medicine, says we should look at what they call "Conflict Palm Oil" as well. RAN's Ashley Schaeffer Yidliz tells us why in this guest post sponsored by RAN.

    Palm oilConflict Palm Oil is often used to replace artery-clogging trans fats. It makes a convenient substitute because palm oil, like partially hydrogenated oil, is solid at room temperature. But is it actually healthy?

    According to Dr. Weil, "Fresh palm fruit oil, sometimes called ‘red palm oil,’ is a nutritious and beneficial oil. However, it’s important not to confuse this raw oil with palm kernel oil, or the highly processed versions of crude palm oil that are commonly used as ingredients in the industrially produced packaged foods found in most Americans’ diets. These types of palm oil are unhealthy for the human body. And their irresponsible cultivation in tropical areas is unhealthy for the planet.”

     Dr. Weil joins a chorus of voices expressing concern that, when it comes to replacing trans fats, we may be jumping out of the frying pan and into the deep fryer. The World Health Organization, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, and the USDA's Agricultural Research Service all recommend against consuming palm oil and other tropical oils because their saturated fat content is so high.

    Beyond the health issue, environmentalists and human rights activists are concerned that the FDA ban on trans fats will lead to a repeat of the mistakes companies made ten years ago when the FDA mandated trans fat labeling. That mandate led to a 500% increase in demand for Conflict Palm Oil, which is produced in ways that cause large scale rainforest destruction and human rights abuses.

    In fact, palm oil can now be found in roughly half the packaged food products sold in grocery stores. It is added to teething biscuits, baby formula, granola bars, peanut butter, crackers, and more. When we feed our kids food that comes out of a bag, a box, or a package of any kind, chances are they're eating palm oil.

    Orangutan As a mom, I'm pleased to see the FDA taking steps to eliminate an ingredient from our food supply that is unhealthy for my family. But as a Palm Oil Campaigner for Rainforest Action Network, I know that replacing trans fats with Conflict Palm Oil won't do much for people's health and will cause dire consequences for the planet. In fact, not one of the nation's top 20 snack food manufacturers can verifiably ensure that their products do not contain Conflict Palm Oil. I know that my baby boy would never forgive me if I told him that the hidden ingredient in his teething biscuits was the reason he'd never be able to see an orangutan in the wild.

    That's why I'm so passionate about our Conflict Palm Oil campaign to pressure the Snack Food 20* group of companies to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil from their products. And I'm pleased to report that it is working. A few months ago, palm oil mega-giant Wilmar International - which controls 45% of the global trade in palm oil - adopted a conflict-free palm oil policy. On Valentine's Day, Kellogg released a strengthened palm oil purchasing commitment, joining industry peers Nestle, Unilever and Ferrero. But we're still waiting for several other kids' snack makers to step up to the plate, including Kraft, PepsiCo, Heinz, Campbell Soup, ConAgra Food and Cargill.

    What can moms do to make a difference?

    1) Keep reading labels. Palm Oil goes by many names, including Palm Kernel Oil, Palmitate and Glyceryl Stearate. You'll be amazed how ubiquitous it is, once you learn to recognize its many names.

    2) Read RAN's Conflict Palm Oil report, which outlines the health, human and environmental impacts of this destructive product and lays out exactly what we are asking shoppers and companies to do to eliminate it.

    3) Take action online to tell the Snack Food 20: Don't replace trans fats with Conflict Palm Oil.

    Thanks to the support of RAN activists and allies, we are making progress and gaining traction. But we'll need to keep pushing to reach the tipping point. I am convinced that moms have the power to provide the added momentum we'll need to remove Conflict Palm Oil from our food supply.


    *  "Snack Food 20" group of companies are Campbell Soup Company; ConAgra Foods, Inc.; Dunkin' Brands Group, Inc.; General Mills, Inc.; Grupo Bimbo; Hillshire Brands Company; H.J. Heinz Company; Hormel Foods Corporation; Kellogg Company; Kraft Food Group, Inc.; Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Corp.; Mars Inc.; Mondelez International, Inc.; Nestle. S.A.; Nissin Foods Holdings Co., Ltd.; PepsiCo, Inc.; The Hershey Company; The J.M. Smucker Company; Toyo Suisan Kaisha, Ltd.; and Unilever.

    NOTE: Thanks to RAN for sponsoring this post. Sponsors allow us to provide expert content at no cost to you. Our editorial opinions remain our own.

    What Can We Learn from UK Businesses, which Waste £7 MILLION Each Day on Energy?

    With energy costs continuing to rise, wherever you are in the world, individuals and businesses alike are struggling to save money.  Our disposable income is having to stretch much further; most of us have to make the most of what we have.  Many of us at home have been hit particularly hard, the victims of pay freezes and job losses as businesses and organizations attempt to reduce their overheads and keep their companies afloat. 

    Greenpurse Nevertheless, businesses are still wasting enormous sums of capital on energy.  In the U.S., it is estimated that just 14% of the energy we pay for gets used efficiently.  According to researchers working for the UK Government, businesses there are collectively wasting up to £7 million/$12 million USD each day on energy! [1] If we’re going to make progress in reducing carbon emissions and engineer a shift to cleaner, greener ways of sourcing power, it is clear that we need to look to energy efficiency first, with businesses leading the way.  Here’s how, courtesy of Secured Energy Bonds plc, the sponsors of this post.

    Employees are Key to Saving Energy

      In the United Kingdom, the Carbon Trust - a leading global non-profit organisation dedicated to helping governments, businesses and the public sector speed up the transition towards a sustainable, low carbon economy - is calling for business managers to take control of bottom line waste.  How?  Tap their employees.  Research indicates that less than 25% of workers in the UK have been tasked with helping to save energy in the workplace and fewer than half are concerned about their employer’s energy spending.

     As a result, workplaces are missing out on annual savings of more than £300 million (almost $500 million USD) – savings which could be achieved simply by encouraging workers to adopt the type of behaviors that will lead to less energy consumption and greater efficiency.  Here are some typical savings:

    ·       Reduce business air travel by 5%: £128m/$213m & 1.5m tonnes CO2

    ·       Reduce lighting by 10%: £55m/$92m & 164,000 tonnes CO2

    ·       Reduce waste sent to landfill by 5%: £49m/$82m & 115,000 tonnes CO2

    ·       Reduce small power use (e.g. kettles, photocopiers, monitors) by 10%: £39m/$65m & 190,000 tonnes CO2

    ·       Reduce temperature by 1°C: £35m/$58m & 194,000 tonnes CO2

     A survey of employees by the Carbon Trust has revealed that 60% of workers would be more likely to save energy at work if they were financially rewarded, and 58% would be more likely to do so if their actions were recognised. [2]

    Skeptical woman Surprisingly, only 22% of employees know what measures they could take to save energy, and a mere 16% are confident that they have the authority to do so.  Clearly, businesses need to embark on an employee engagement programme that explains what employees need to do, encourages them to look for opportunities to save energy, and rewards them for doing so.

     Any company that undertakes such a program will be richly rewarded in cost savings and increased employee engagement.  Furthermore, employees will feel good knowing they’re doing their part to help meet important goals in reducing the emission of carbon dioxide, a primary cause of climate change and global warming.  Britain is trying to reach its target of a 26% - 32% reduction in carbon emissions by 2020.  Greater efficiency through employee engagement is key to achieving this goal.

     Transition to Renewable Energy like Solar and Wind

     So, too, is transitioning to renewable energy sources.  The UK's Climate Change Act calls for 15% of the nation's energy to be derived from solar, wind power and other renewables by 2020.  Business and industry have a vital role to play in bringing about these reductions.  For example, Secured Energy Bonds plc recently announced a nationwide programme of rooftop solar projects in 22 English schools; the multi-site development will help reduce carbon emissions by around 560 metrics tonnes and will save the schools £1.4m/$1.7m in electricity bills.

     In most countries, meeting domestic needs accounts for less than half of all energy consumed.  That’s true in the UK too, where domestic energy consumption accounts for only 34% of energy used.  Business and industry consume the lion’s share at 43% while commercial and public premises account for another 18%.  Clearly, however much we adopt clean, green energy in our homes, targets to reduce carbon emissions and use energy more wisely are unlikely to be met unless the commercial and industrial sector joins in.



     NOTE: This post was sponsored by, a subsidiary of CBD Energy Limited.  Sponsorships enable us to provide expert content at no cost to you.  Our opinions remain our own.  Thank you.




    LED Lights Brighten Rooms, Save Time & Money

    If you have a computer, cell phone, printer, even a television set, you are already using LEDs, even if you didn’t know it. Now you can take advantage of this great money-saving green technology for the light bulbs you use around your home.Here’s how, courtesy of the Sunlite lighting company.

    What is an LED?

    Sunlite LED LED stands for “light emitting diodes,” semiconductor devices that produce visible light when an electrical current is passed through them. This technology makes them far superior to incandescent bulbs, which waste a huge amount of energy generating light by using electricity to heat a metal filament untit il becomes “white” hot.  Until LEDs started moving into the market, compact fluorescents were the most energy-efficient option for consumers. CFLs are still a good choice, because they’re 75% more efficient than incandescents. But LEDs are better yet, because they’re even more efficient than CFLs, durable, versatile and so longlasting. Read on to learn more about these benefits.

    LED Benefits

    I have many LEDs in my home. Here’s what I like about them.

    Durability: LEDs last a really long time. One LED can last anywhere from 5 to 10 years, with some bulbs lasting as long as 100,000 hours – 11 years of continuous operation, or 22 years of 50% operation.  That means I don’t have to spend a lot of time changing bulbs. This is especially useful for hard-to-reach locations, like ceiling fixtures, wall sconces, and porch lights. Even if an incandescent lasts 1,000 hours, the LED lasts 100 times longer!

    Save money: LEDs help reduce my electricity bill. Though an LED is more expensive to purchase, in the long run, it is much cheaper to operate. A quick review of prices at my local hardware store showed LEDs on sale for as little as $5.97 a bulb. The cheapest incandescents cost around a dollar a bulb. Let’s do the math: For an extra $5, you get a bulb that lasts 100 times as long! That’s almost $100 saved in light bulb costs, let alone the money you’ll save on your electricity bill. Imagine if you replace 10 incandescents in your home with 10 LEDs. You’ll save $1,000 just in light bulb purchases. That’s pretty hard to beat.

     Bonus: Many utility companies now offer their customers discounts when they purchase LEDs. Sunlite, the sponsors of the post, is giving away $1,000 of free LED products to one consumer who enters their Facebook contest here.  Anyone can enter!

     LEDs are cool. Yes, they’re “cool,” if you mean hip. But more importantly, they’re cool to operate. Unlike incandescent or halogen light bulbs, LEDs don’t radiate heat. This is especially important in the summer, when air conditioning sends electricity costs through the roof.

     No mercury. Compact fluorescents contain a very small amount of mercury. While usually not dangerous at home, CFLs add this toxic chemical to our landfills when they’re thrown away. LEDs are safe to use, and safe to dispose of.

     ENERGY STAR certified. The best LEDs available are also those that meet the high standards for performance and quality set by the Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program. You know from reading this blog that I’m a big fan of ENERGY STAR products because they are well-made, deliver reliable service, and help me save energy and money. ENERGY STAR LEDs meet more than 20 separate industry standards and procedures and have been tested by independent third-parties to meet their claims.

     Nice light. LEDs come in a variety of brightness and color options. Choose soft white/warm for kitchens, dining and living rooms, bright white for bathrooms, hallways and offices, and daylight for security, garages, and laundry and utility rooms.

     Versatility.  LED bulbs can be used in pretty much any lighting fixture you have. Living room table and floor lamps, kitchen and bathroom ceiling lights, recessed fixtures, porch lights, desk lights. Once you decide to go LED, you shouldn’t have a problem finding the right bulb to fit your need.

    In the average U.S. home, lighting accounts for about 20% of the electric bill. Why not cut that down significantly by installing LEDs? You’ll start saving money immediately. And won’t it be great not to have the hassle of changing bulbs so often?

    NOTE: Thanks to the Sunlite lighting company for sponsoring this post. Sponsors enable us to bring you expert content at no cost to you. Our editorial opinions remain our own.










    UK Green Deal Programs to Help Homeowners Pay for Insulation, Save Money

    Insulating your home is probably the most important step you can take to use less energy and save money on heating and cooling bills.  The United Kingdom has created a series of financing programs to help homeowners pay insulation costs that create a great model other communities and countries could follow. Even though there are still some kinks in the system, they’re worth examining. Here’s how two of them work, courtesy of Well Warm, a company that provides home insulation services.

    Insulation Why Insulate?

     To do its part to stop climate change, the UK has set specific goals to reduce its carbon footprint, which is the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere when fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas are burned. The government is focusing on buildings because so many homes, apartment buildings, offices, and other structures are poorly insulated and have inefficient heating systems.  In fact, in an average home, morethan 40% of the heating energy escapes through the roof and walls. The idea is that helping to finance insulation will make homes and workplaces more comfortable and cheaper to heat, while reducing carbon emissions nationwide.

    What are the programs?

     There are two government initiatives: ECO, and Green Deal. Both are focused on providing financing, ECO as grants and Green Deal as loans, to help homeowners and building managers pay for energy-saving measures like insulation, improvements to heating systems, draft-proofing, double glazing windows, solar panels or heat pumps, or some combination thereof.

     How does Green Deal work?

     A homeowner or building manager uses either an online tool or a certified Green Deal assessor (like Well Warm) to determine what energy-saving improvements would be most beneficial.  (Some assessors charge a fee; others do it for free.)

    After the assessment, the homeowner receives a Green Deal advice report that contains an Energy Performance certificate that rates the home for energy efficiency. It recommends specific improvements and also details the amount of money that could be saved on annual energy bills if the recommended steps are taken. Based on the report, the homeowner can get a quote for the cost of the insulation and other actions.  The Green Deal program then provides financing so the homeowner can borrow the money needed to pay for the insulation.

    The loan plus whatever interest rate is set at the time is repaid through a charge added to the electricity bill. The payment for the insulation is meant to match the savings that will be made from former energy bills, so is intended to upgrade homes at no added cost to the customer. If the homeowner sells the home, the loan transfers with the property so it continues to be repaid through the utility bill.  This  interactive graphic produced by lets you click on different energy efficiency measures to get a sense of what the average savings by month/year could be by installing such measures. 

     How does ECO work

     ECO stands for Energy Company Obligation. This program is specifically designed to help homeowners on public assistance still be able to afford retrofits that will save them money by using less energy. It is not a loan program like Green Deal and does not need to be paid back. Funding is available for a range of energy saving measures, including heating and hot water systems and different types of insulation and glazing.

     Do programs like Green Deal and ECO make a difference?

     Anytime a building is insulated, that’s good! However, the Green Deal program in particular has a few kinks to work out before it reaches its potential. Many householders are reluctant to pay for the initial assessment if they can’t find a free assessor. The interest rate on the loan can be so high that it loses its appeal.  Plus, many people still don’t understand the importance of reducing home energy demand or how they can take advantage of the program.  Hopefully, Green Deal program mangers will figure out a more reasonable financing package and explain the program’s costs and benefits, as energy prices will only increase and the pollution impact of burning fossil fuels is never going to change.

     Note:  Thanks again to Well Warm  for sponsoring this post. Sponsorships allow us to provide valuable information at no cost to you. Our editorial opinions remain our own.



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