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Green Purse Alerts!

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.
  • « July 2007 | Main | September 2007 »

    August 26, 2007

    Make the Shift: Phosphate-Free Dish Detergent

    Phosphates were once widely used in laundry detergents. Due to their deteriorating impact on water quality (too much phosphorus creates suffocating algae blooms), the Federal government limited phosphorus content to 5% by weight in the 1970s. But guess what? There’s no restriction on the phosphorus content of diswashing detergents, which may contain as much as 30 or 40% phosphorus.

    Some manufacturers claim phosphates help get dishes cleaner. In tests conducted by Consumer Reports, it appears that enzymes actually pack the cleaning punch in the most effective dishwashing detergents.

    These four phosphate-free, enzyme-containing brands were tested by Consumer Reports; all performed well.

    You can find Seventh Generation, Ecover and Method in most Whole Foods stores; Method products are also available in Target. Trader Joe's products are sold exclusively at Trader Joe's stores. If you don't see any of these brands where your regularly shop, you have a few other options:

    * order online

    *ask your store manager to order the brand into the store for you

    *read labels of two or three brands you're inclined to buy from what's on the shelf; choose the option with the lowest phosphorus content.

    169auto_dish_powder Seventh Generation

    Trader Joe’s



    August 20, 2007

    The A List: Keith Urban

    Keith We could solve all our energy problems if we could figure out how to capture the heat Keith Urban generates in his live concerts. I caught the Washington, D.C. leg of his World Tour, Love, Pain and the Whole Crazy World a couple of nights ago. Talk about VOLTAGE! I’ve been a fan of his music for a while now, but I didn’t know much about the man. He’s got to be one of the most electrifying performers in music today  – country, rock, pop notwithstanding. He plays from two stages, the main stage in front of the arena, plus a special platform in the middle of the audience so he can dive right into the “heart” of the crowd -- by the way, that’s the symbol of his tour, a big beating heart throbbing with the energy of the sun. A lot of his music pulses with that same cosmic energy; it’s what kept tens of thousands of people rockin’ for two and a half hours. Keith Urban’s got to be the best guitar player on the music scene right now, either that or he’s channeling Jimi Hendrix nonstop.

    What does any of this have to do with Big Green Purse? The guy not only played at the Live Earth concert in New York. He powers all his buses and trucks with bio diesel, and in his media interviews he talks about how important it is to cut emissions. He’s definitely an A-Lister!

    August 17, 2007

    Links to Safe Toys

    Thanks to Cooper Munroe at The Motherhood ( and everyone else who has sent Big Green Purse their links to safe, lead-free toys. Here’s the list I’ve compiled so far.

    The World Women, our sister site, links to several toy sites and offers general background on what to look for in toys that are safe for your kids as well as the environment.

    Safe_trains Other links:
    Whittle Shorline Railroad -

    Maple Landmark Toys -
    Natural Pod –

    Imagiplay --

    Hugg-a-planet --

    Green Toys --

    Baby Bunz --

    Honeysuckle Dreams --

    Progressive Kid --

    Our Green House --

    Sage Baby --

    Eco Fabulous --

    Great Green Baby --

    Got any more great links? Please send them along!

    And don't miss these safe toy suggestions from

    August 14, 2007

    Third Toy Recall Makes for a Grim "Hat Trick"

    This isn't the kind of "hat trick" anyone would want to boast about.

    Batman_2In yet another recall, Mattel today has asked parents to return almost 19 million toys made in China due to safety threats they pose from tiny magnets or lead paint. This action follows the millions of toys Mattel has already recalled in two earlier actions this summer (see July 8 blog, below) due to the  hazards the toys create for children.

    One Chinese toy company manufacturer has supposedly committed suicide over the scandal. Mattel is taking out full-page newspaper ads claiming it has "one of the most trusted names with parents" and is "working extremely hard” to address parents’ concerns and “continue creating safe, entertaining toys for you and your children." Meanwhile, parents worry whether any toy made in China can be trusted.

    What can you do?

    * Call Mattel at 888-597-6597 for information about the recalled toys with magnets, or 800-916-4997 for information about other recalled items.

    * Contact your member of Congress. Urge the federal government to do a better job inspecting toys that are imported from China and other countries.

    * Tell your local toy store (Toys R Us, Wal-Mart, KayBee) you no longer intend to buy any toy imported from China.

    * Find local toy manufacturers whose businesses you can support.

    If you send me the name of local toy manufacturers who can show they use non-toxic materials in crafting their products, I’ll list the safe companies here so other parents can find them.

    Leo DiCaprio's "11th Hour" is a "Must See"

    The11thhourposterweb_2 Leonardo DiCaprio's "The 11th Hour", opening this week in Los Angeles and New York, does not paint a pretty picture. The feature length documentary doesn’t want you to be able to hide from the environmental crises caused by human actions, so it splashes them across the screen with dramatic footage you won’t easily forget. Hurricanes. Melting polar ice caps. Pipes discharging sewage and toxic waste into waterways with sickening speed. Thousands of environmental refugees packed into decrepit shanty towns that look like garbage dumps. DiCaprio’s film tries hard to drive home its point that we – and the planet – face our “11th hour,” our last chance to fix the problems we’ve caused – or humanity is doomed. By and large, it succeeds.

    Unlike Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” “The 11th Hour” does not use slick powerpoint presentations, charts, and graphs to make its case. DiCaprio lets the footage of an earth under siege tell its own story, punctuated by commentary from fifty prominent eco thinkers and activists, including Nobel Prize winner Wangari Maathai. Says DiCaprio, “We face a convergence of crises…” and he wants to ensure his audience knows what those crises are.

    ISplash_leo_2t’s a dark, disturbing message, and would make for an unbearable film, if DiCaprio didn’t also extend some rays of hope to his audience. The film concludes with insights into new technologies that can help communities build a sustainable future, from “smart” cars to “green” roofs. “The time is now. The hope is you,” encourages DiCaprio through the film’s website,  “Let's begin.”

    To preview the film and find out when it will be shown in your area, visit

    August 07, 2007

    Lead in Kids' Toys a Crisis

    Affected_34658_2 I think it’s fair to call the “kid’s toys” situation a crisis. As yesterday’s New York Times reports, “Despite a two-year effort to eliminate the threat of poisonous lead in inexpensive children’s jewelry, hundreds of thousands of tainted items are still being sold across the United States.”

    Because of this negligence, thousands of children are getting sick. One 4-year-old boy who swallowed a charm coated with lead died a horrible death after suffering seizures, vomiting and respiratory failure.

    Scott Wolfson of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, says "We want to get to a point of not having to do recall after recall and simply make the marketplace safe." Good idea.  As my blog yesterday (see below) reports, legislation is in the works, but it will no doubt take months before any law is passed to protect our kids.

    We don’t have to wait that long. First, stop buying toys made in China right now. There are plenty of safe toys being made in the U.S. and elsewhere. Second, let toy stores know they’ll lose your business unless they demand safe products from their manufacturers. Let store managers know in person, where you shop, or call corporate headquarters of the major toy retailers (names and phone numbers in my blog below).

    Here’s the link to the most recent NY Times story.

    Check out these safe toy tips from

    August 05, 2007

    Toxic Toys from China #2

    Dora The announcement on August 2 that Mattel was recalling almost a million toys because they were covered in lead paint has parents seeing red.  Just a month ago, I was urging a boycott of Chinese toys based on the lead found in Thomas the Tank Engines. Now we have to scoop up Dora the Explorer and Elmo before our children can put them in their mouths or otherwise suffer harm. These are toys, for goodness sake. And still, they’re not safe.

    The problem seems to be three-fold. First and foremost, the toys are being manufactured in China, where safety laws are lax to say the least. We know Chinese factories have also exported poisonous pet food and dangerous car tires. It makes you wonder if you can even buy chopsticks from China and not worry about getting sick.

    Kid_toy_2 Second, the U.S. government does not do enough to regulate the safety of toys coming into our country from abroad. Essentially, the toy industry is allowed to be its own watchdog -- which means the dog isn’t doing a lot of watching. Legislation introduced by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin and Florida Senator Bill Nelson would require third-party testing of imported and domestic toys and goods aimed at children 5 years old or younger, but it’s only just beginning to make its way through the policy processes on Capitol Hill.

    Third, toy stores themselves are not holding manufacturers accountable enough for the products they sell. Safety needs to be verified before a toy leaves China, not after it gets into a child’s play room. In the case of the current recall, Mattel says more than 300,000 tainted toys have been bought by consumers in the United States. Were those toys being sold at stores and online even after Mattel notified retailers of the danger they posed to their customers?

    While answers to these questions sort themselves out, you can take action. If you haven’t already done so, visit for information on how to return any contaminated toys you’ve bought.

    Mom’s Rising is organizing a Congressional petition for children's safety at:

    Contact the toy company where you shop to encourage more responsible monitoring and sourcing from countries other than China:


    Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer
    Thomas A. Debrowski, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Operations
    Mattel, Inc.
    333 Continental Boulevard
    El Segundo, CA 90245-5012 (310) 252-2000 tel

    Lee Scott, CEO
    Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
    Bentonville, Arkansas 72716-8611 (800) 925-6278

    Toys R Us
    Joan Donovan. Sr. VP General Merchandise Manager
    Toys"R"Us, Inc. International Division
    1 Geoffrey Way Wayne, NJ USA 07470 (973) 617-3500

    K-B Toys100 West Street
    Pittsfield, MA 01201(413) 496-3000

    Robert J. Ulrich, CEO
    1000 Nicollet Mall
    Minneapolis, MN 55403 (Map)
    Phone: 612-304-6073
    Fax: 612-696-5400

    To find earth-friendly toys that are not decorated with lead paint, visit.

    For tips on how to keep your baby's toys safe, see these suggestions from

    EcoCentric Mom
    Everbuying led light
    Green by