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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.
  • « October 2010 | Main | December 2010 »

    November 30, 2010

    Ten "Buy/Don't Buy" Rules for Greener Shopping

    Ornament2 Make "green" shopping easier this holiday season by following the ten straightforward rules below.

    1) Don't buy anything that requires a throwaway battery. Batteries leak cadmium, lead and other heavy metals when they're thrown away. They usually come wrapped in plastic and cardboard, creating more trash as soon as you buy them. Plus, you have to keep replacing them; in some cases, the cost of batteries over the life of a product ends up amounting to more than the product itself. Solution? Avoid toys, gadgets and appliances that require short-lived, throwaway batteries. If you must give a battery-powered gift, Usbcell include rechargeable batteries and the recharger to go with it. One of my favorites is a reuseable AAA battery you can recharge in the USB port of your computer.

    2) Buy solar- or hand-powered. Among your options: hand-cranked flashlights, coffee grinders, blenders and juicers. Vintage-style razors with replaceable razor blades. A French-press coffee pot. More interested in solar? Try solar-powered chargers for cell phones, flash drives, and radios.

    3) Don't buy synthetic fragrances and air fresheners. Ironically, even though these products are supposed to make things smell better, they actually make it more difficult for many people to breathe, especially those who suffer from asthma or other respiratory problems. Want your home to waft Christmas? Simmer a small pot of water, cloves and cinnamon sticks over the stove. Need to smell better yourself? Dab a drop of essential oil from your favorite flower (mine is lavender) behind each ear and on the inside of each wrist.

    4) Buy phthalate-free. Phthalates are often the building blocks for synthetic fragrances. They're also found in nail polish and many other personal care products. The downside? They're nasty chemicals considered a reproductive hazard in Europe and the state of California. Luckily, you can find a wonderful variety of phthalate-free nail polishes, perfumes, make-up and other personal care products in stores like Whole Foods and the Body Shop or online here.

    Continue reading "Ten "Buy/Don't Buy" Rules for Greener Shopping" »

    November 21, 2010

    Buy This Book Before Black Friday

    Generation earn Black Friday - the big shopping day right after Thanksgiving - is building up a big head of steam. But before you give in to advertisers' entreaties to spend, spend, spend, STOP - and read Generation Earn: The Young Professional's Guide to Spending, Investing, and Giving Back, by Kimberly Palmer.

    Palmer, the personal finance columnist for US News & World Report, is an expert when it comes to personal money management. Her magazine column and daily blog, Alpha Consumer, offer short, smart tips to help consumers live on a reasonable budget and avoid wasteful consumption that not only takes a toll on the environment, but racks up big credit card debt.

    Palmer's book encourages saving rather than spending, investing sooner rather than later, and building up enough cash reserves so you can support the causes you believe in as well as buy necessities and enjoy an occasional splurge.

    Thumb_green The book is geared towards 20-somethings, but it will benefit anyone who wants to manage money smartly and with an eye towards the future and retirement. I particularly like the chapter on "Green Spending " (full disclosure: the author interviewed me for this chapter), which encourages readers to forgo shopping sprees even if they are "environmentally friendly" and to avoid "greenwashing" by buying products that are certified sustainable. Thumbs up, Generation Earn!

    For more money-saving strategies, don't miss:

    Top Ten Ways to Afford Going Green

    Top Ten Ways to Beat the High Price of Gas

    Top Ten Organic Food $$$ Busters

    Top Ten Ways to Save Energy and Money at Home

    November 15, 2010

    Turn 'America Recycles Day' into Zero Waste Day and Re-Use It Week

    Recyclecc Recycling is great, but it's not enough. We need to reduce the amount of stuff we buy even if it is recycled. And we need to stop feeling like throwing all that stuff away is ok, just because it can be recycled. (Lloyd Alter makes the argument more clearly than I over at )

    So today, in honor of America Recycles Day, yes, please recycle what you can. But don't use recycling as an excuse to buy stuff that shouldn't even be manufactured any more, like throwaway water bottles, disposable though recyclable corn-based "paper" plates, napkins and cutlery from fast-food restaurants, and recycled paper towels. Use the day to take stock of what you're recycling, and figure out what re-usable item you can replace it with. will link you to durable products you can use in place of your throwaways.

    Recycle Holiday Lights and Replace with Discounted Energy-Saving LEDs

    LED light Holiday lights brighten up everything except your electricity bill. They're so twinkly and tiny, you probably string them up without giving much if any thought to how much energy they use.

    Turns out, the energy they use is A LOT. That's because standard holiday lights are just mini incandescents, one of the most ineffecient ways we light our homes today.

    These little lights are annoying for a couple of other reasons. They break very easily; and if one bulb burns out, you often have to throw away the whole strand.

    The alternative? LEDs.

    Light emitting diodes, or LEDs, are exceptionally energy efficient; depending on the design, LEDs may use up to 90% less energy than an incandescent bulb to produce the same amount of light.

    For example, the amount of electricity consumed by just one 7-watt incandescent bulb could power 140 LEDs — enough to light two 24-foot (7.3-meter) strings.

    LED Features & Benefits
    • Use 80% - 90% less energy than traditional incandescent holiday lights
    • ENERGY STAR® qualified models help consumers choose efficient lights
    • Can last up to 10 times longer than traditional incandescent lights
    • Cool to the touch, reducing the risk of fire
    • No filaments or glass, so they are much more durable and shock resistant than other lights

    According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, if all decorative light strings sold in America this year were ENERGY STAR qualified, we would save over 700 million kWh of electricity per year and reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to those from about 100,000 cars!

    Like several other appliances, energy-efficient LEDs are somewhat more expensive to buy than their energy-wasting counterparts, a fact you might find hard to over look even though you'll make up the extra costs over time on your energy bill. To help ease the pain, several companies are offering discount coupons that encourage you to recycle your existing, energy-wasting bulbs and replace them with LEDs.

    Continue reading "Recycle Holiday Lights and Replace with Discounted Energy-Saving LEDs" »

    November 06, 2010

    Here's Your Chance to Learn About the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

    There is so much plastic pollution in the oceans it's created "islands" the size of Texas. Small pieces of plastic are killing tiny birds and huge whales. And plastic is polluting people, too. Babies and pregnant women are particularly susceptible.

    You can learn more about the threats plastic pose and what you can do to protect yourself, your community, and wildlife,

    Continue reading "Here's Your Chance to Learn About the Great Pacific Garbage Patch" »

    November 03, 2010

    Politics Shmolitics. You Can Still Make a Difference Based on How You Live and What You Buy.

    Happy sad 3 My apologies to any of you who are elated with the results of yesterday's elections. And my condolences to any of you who think that the world has come to an end.

    I'm in neither camp.

    Though I still canvas, and phone bank, and vote for candidates I support, I've come to terms with the limitations our political system imposes on any candidate who is "lucky" enough to be elected. The reality is, we live in a polarized world run by people who are convinced that creating more polarization is more important than creating civil society or protecting the planet. Yes, it would be grand if our political leaders could collaborate and compromise, not in the name of power, but in the name of the people. But is that going to happen? As we have been reminded, ironically, ever since the last major "candidate for change" was elected two years ago -- and repudiated yesterday -- not any time soon.

    Rosie Nevertheless, we are not helpless. If anything, yesterday's elections have reinforced how important it is for you and me to continue to make meaningful changes that offer direct and measurable benefits. I'm talking about turning off our own lights, or insulating our own homes, or buying products that save energy or contain no toxic chemicals, actions which may seem insignificant, but are not.

    Can we make a difference, even if our elected officials don't?

    Continue reading "Politics Shmolitics. You Can Still Make a Difference Based on How You Live and What You Buy." »

    November 02, 2010

    Energy Tax Credits Expire 12/31 - Act Now to Save $$$ on Efficient Windows, Doors

    Storm_doors_windows Energy-efficient doors and windows save money by keeping cold air out in winter and warm air out in summer. The federal government and many states are encouraging homeowners to replace drafty old windows and doors with new, energy-saving models by offering tax credits that allow you to deduct a percentage of the replacement cost from your taxes.The federal tax credits run out on December 31, 2010; if you want to upgrade, doing so now will save you money.

    How much?

    You can take a 30% tax credit up to a total value of $1,500. In other words, you can spend up to $5,000 on a single or multiple products, for your principal residence that you own and live in, and get 30% or $1,500 (30% of $5,000 = $1,500) back as a tax credit. If you made some of your  purchases in 2009 and some in 2010, you can combine the total, but you can't get more than $1,500 in tax credits on the total purchase. 

    Of course, once you make the investment, the new doors and windows will also reduce your heating and cooling bills. Your local contractor should be able to help you estimate savings depending on what  you buy, the HVAC system you use, and the climate where you live.

    In addition to insulating windows and doors, purchases covered by the 2010 tax credits include:

    Continue reading "Energy Tax Credits Expire 12/31 - Act Now to Save $$$ on Efficient Windows, Doors" »

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