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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.
  • « November 2007 | Main | January 2008 »

    December 29, 2007

    Tennessee Joins the One-in-a-Million Campaign

    Do you live in Tennessee?

    The Tennessean, which bills itself as “Middle Tennessee’s No. 1 Online News Source,” has invited its readers to join the Big Green Purse One-in-a-Million campaign. The campaign is urging women to One_in_a_million_module shift $1,000 of their regular household spending to environmentally friendly products. If you’re interested in being part of the national "Green Purse" movement and you live in Tennessee, contact reporter Bonna Johnson at 726-5990 or bjohnson@tennessean.com.

    December 27, 2007

    BigGreenPurse.com Receives Award for "Best Green Website"

    Marketing_to_women_awards_1 Futurenow

    FutureNow’s First Annual Marketing to Women Awards has give BigGreenPurse.com the award for “Best Green Website.”

    Said Holly Buchanan, the Marketing to Women guru at Future Now,  “I love this site because they make it easy to take simple, concrete actions to make a difference. With such a huge global problem, it's hard to feel like "little old you" can have any sort of an impact. Big Green Purse gives you specifics on small things you can do that can make a real difference. (Hint: You can start with your own purse.)”

    Thanks, Holly! We’re honored as can be!!

    December 17, 2007

    Big Green Purse Principles Can Help You Make the Right Eco-Choices

    When should you spend your money to protect the planet – and when should you keep it in your purse?

    Given the thousands of green products being introduced these days, and the vague marketing claims being used to sell them, you don’t want to blow your budget just to keep up with the newest “eco,” “herbal,” or “biodegradable” fad – especially if the claim turns out to be more greenwashing than green.

    On the other hand, genuinely earth-friendly products do help minimize your environmental impact. Every organic cotton T-shirt you buy, for instance, helps reduce the use of toxic agricultural chemicals, protecting the air and water. Moreover, the same tee waves like a bright green flag in front of conventional cotton producers, reminding them that your money is filling their organic competitors’ coffers -- and giving them an incentive to switch to organic practices if they haven't already done so.

    The challenge is in knowing how to avoid the “greenwash” so you can promote more green. A few clear principles, excerpted from the upcoming Big Green Purse: Use Your Spending Power to Create a Cleaner, Greener World, will help you identify an ecobargain from a rip-off, while getting manufacturers to transition as quickly as possible to the most earth-friendly practices available.

    THE BIG GREEN PURSE SHOPPING PRINCIPLES

    1) Buy less.
    2) Read the label.
    3) Support sustainable standards.
    4) Look for third-party verification.
    5) Choose fewer ingredients.
    6) Pick less packaging.
    7) Buy local.

    1.  Buy less. This should be a “no brainer.” Consumerism – buying what we don’t need, over and over again – drives unnecessary manufacturing that fuels climate change, pollutes the air and water, and destroys the places in Nature we love. Remember “reduce, reuse, recycle”? It still makes sense. Plus, when you’re not buying, you’re not getting fooled by dubious marketing claims. If you don’t trust the source, don’t buy it.

    Chlorine_3   2.  Read the label. We read food labels to avoid trans fats, sugar, salt and carbohydrates. We can read product labels to avoid greenwashing words like “natural” and “planet friendly” that aren’t backed up by standards or third-party verification (see below). When it comes to cleansers and other household  goods, avoid products labeled “caution,” “warning,”, “danger,” and “poison,” all of which indicate the item is hazardous to you and the environment.

    3.  Support sustainable standards. An increasing number of companies are proving they’re green byBuy SMART Certified manufacturing according to sustainable standards that govern the product’s “life cycle,” beginning with the raw materials and ending with its disposal or re-use. The SMART standard, for example, covers flooring, lighting, building materials, and other consumer products.

    Fsc_logo_2  4.  Look for third-party verification. In the absence of universal sustainable standards, if a company says its product is good for the earth, your first question should be, “Who else says so?” Reliable eco claims are backed up by an independent institution or nonprofit organization that has investigated the manufacturer’s claim so you don’t have to. Look for labels from groups like Forest Stewardship Council, Energy Star and the U.S. Department of Agriculture/Organic.

    5.  Choose fewer ingredients. A long list of ingredients often indicates the presence of questionable chemicals that may be harmful to you or the environment. This is especially true for personal care products, food, and cleansers. Simplify what you buy.

    Earthtotetan 6.  Pick less packaging. Regardless of the marketing claims a product makes, you can make an immediate impact by buying goods that come wrapped as simply as possible. For starters, buy in bulk, choose concentrates, and pick products in containers you can easily recycle (hint: glass and cans are more easily recycled than plastic). Carting home your packages in your own bags helps reduce packaging, too.

    7.  Buy local.  Avoid the higher energy costs involved in transporting goods long distances. Supporting local farmers and businesses also increases the likelihood that U.S. environmental and health laws and regulations will be followed.

    Bottom Line: Ignore boasts that a product is eco-chic, earth-safe, or planet-neutral. Stick to the principles above to ensure that your Big Green Purse has the kind of big green impact that will make a difference both in the marketplace and on the environment.

    December 07, 2007

    Forbo Floors Puts the "Green" Back in Linoleum

    If redoing your floor is at the top of your home remodel list in 2008, make sure you check out Forbo.

    Restile The company specializes in environmentally-friendly, fashionably designed linoleum. Its Marmoleum brand, made from linseed oil, wood flour, rosin, jute and limestone, has earned rave reviews not only because it comes in enough colors to satisfy Picasso.  Marmoleum is made with natural raw materials and solvent-free adhesives that emit no harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds), so it won’t give you a headache or otherwise pollute the air after it’s been laid down. In fact, Marmoleum has no adverse health effects whatsoever, either during production, its useful life, or disposal.  Even if your biggest concern is dust, Marmoleum is a winner, since the product’s anti-static properties mean that dust and dirt don’t easily stick to it.

    Marmoleum_home What makes Marmoelum so “eco” is Forbo’s attention to the product’s “life cycle”: the raw materials it is made with, how they’re manufactured, and ultimately, how they’re reused or disposed at the end of their useful life. The company meets the Big Green Purse "who else says so?" principle for production (and marketing) by undergoing 3rd party verification of all its “good and green” claims. In this case, Marmoleum has achieved the SMART © Sustainable Product Platinum rating, meaning it creates almost no environmental impact: Raw materials and energy are used efficiently, waste is recycled wherever possible, and emissions are kept to an absolute minimum (in other words, the floor you buy can help reduce climate change).

    What about price?

    As Mary Hunt points out over at www.InWomenWeTrust.com, “It's less expensive than granite, but like granite can be used in counter tops as well as flooring. (While granite may be "natural" it isn't necessarily sustainable. You've seen what open mines look like, right?)”

    With so much talk going on these days about what’s “green” and what’s being “greenwashed,” Forbo and its Marmoleum floors are the real deal, and they’re backed up by standards to prove it.

    Thumb_green Thumbs up, Forbo.

    December 05, 2007

    The Story of Stuff

    Ever wonder where all your “stuff” comes from? Or what impact it has when you finally throw it out? You can get the whole story now, at www.storyofstuff.com, the launching space for a fast-paced 20-minute film that offers a black-and-white tour of what our consumer-driven culture really costs us.

    Intheader_2  The brainchild of Annie Leonard, an “activist who has spent the past 10 years traveling the globe fighting environmental threats,” the story tackles “all our stuff—where it comes from and where it goes when we throw it away.”

    Listen closely, because Annie barely catches her breath as she reviews the life cycle costs of the products we use. From the extraction of natural resources to their production into iPods, shoes, dishwashers and cars, to their distribution, consumption and disposal, Annie examines how economic policies of the post-World War II era ushered in notions of “planned obsolescence” and “perceived obsolescence” —and how these notions are still driving much of the U.S. and global economies today. 

    Her three-fold message resonates completely with what you find time after time on Big Green Purse: you don’t need as much stuff as you may think you do; don’t buy stuff you don’t need; and make the stuff you buy matter.

    EcoCentric Mom
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