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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.
  • February 10, 2014

    EcoCentric Mom Box: Soap, Serum and Chocolate

    EcoCentric Mom pulled together a fun and helpful collection of new green products to try this time around. They included:

    Ecocentric Mom Jan 2014 Soap - Not just any soap, but a full-sized bar of Wildly Natural Seaweed Detoxi Cellulite Soap featuring coffee and cinnamon to help cleanse and nourish the skin. Like most Ecocentric Mom products, it's also paraben, sulfate, gluten and dye-free.

    Lip Balm - This may be the last lip balm you ever try, because it's so soothing, nothing else will ever feel as good. LIPS by Healthy Houseful uses coconut oil, shea better and quality essential oils to moisturize and protect against chapped lips. Plus, as they say, "Nasty chemicals not included!"

    Facial and Hydrating Serum - Two sample bottles of Pure + Remedy serum included Vitamin C Facial serum, formulated with pure vegan hyaluronic acide to moisturize and plump skin cells; and Precious Drops, a super hydrating serum to firm and tone the skin.

    Continue reading "EcoCentric Mom Box: Soap, Serum and Chocolate" »

    November 20, 2012

    These “Green” Shoes Will Fight Sweat Shops with Fashion – If You Give Them a Kick Start

     There’s more to shoes than style, if the shoes are made by the new brand for women, I Know Jane.
      Shoes on model Here’s why I love them, and why I hope you’ll support their new KickStarter campaign to raise $35,000 so they can bring you a line of eco, vegan, and woman-friendly shoes you’ll want to add to your wardrobe.

      First, “Jane’s” shoes are fashionable and fun. They’ve been designed by hipsters who took a couple of years to create a collection that’s both practical and trend-setting. Janes come in neutral shades for maximum wardrobe appeal – but the bright, bold insoles (with arch support) will make their own snazzy statement when you slip them off the next time you go through airport security. They can fold up flat into a sleek carrying case if you travel a lot, or want to keep a spare set in your purse so you have something stylish to slide into when you can’t stand to wear your heels another second. They’ll work as well with leggings or jeans as with skirts or capris. I can imagine wearing them shopping, to work, to the movies, or out to dinner with family and friends.

    Shoe designs But you know me. Style without substance just ain’t enough for those of us who care about people and the planet as well as products. What sets I Know Jane apart from other shoes is that they are both eco-friendly and empower the women who make them. How? They’re animal-free: no leather or wool here. The upper is made from 70% recycled cotton and 30% PET that comes from recycled plastic bottles. The outsoles are biodegradable. Water-based glues are used in assembly to reduce use of conventional adhesives that contain more toxic chemicals.

     But there’s more. Most shoes are made in sweatshops by women who could be as young as 15 years old. These women often lack a voice to stop abuse from shop owners, Woman making shoes abuse that may even include torture and death. Through its socially responsible business model, I Know Jane seeks to raise awareness about these women and does not use exploitive labor to assemble their shoes. In fact, I Know Jane’s shoes are made in a small, woman-owned, unionized factory in Brazil   

     I Know Jane is taking pre-orders on their new flats for spring 2013 delivery. You can place your order over at Kickstarter, where I Know Jane’s founders, Jared (pictured right) and Simon, are selling their shoes and raising $35,000 in investment capital to ramp up production. (In case you don’t know about it, Kickstarter is a grassroots online tool that lets   Jared_Presspeople like you and me pre-buy products like Jane’s shoes as a way of investing in companies we believe in and products we want to support.) You can get a gift certificate if you want to order a pair of Janes as a holiday gift.

     Even if you don’t want to order shoes today, I hope you’ll consider giving I Know Jane a start with a small contribution. Say Jared and Simon “…whether it’s $10 or $90, any bit helps!”

      Logo One last point: Big Green Purse advocates shifting spending to greener products and services as a way to protect our health and the health of our world. Investing in new products like I Know Jane shoes is a perfect example of how we can make our money matter.

    November 08, 2011

    Use Black Friday Sales to Try New Green Products

    PurseIf the high price of some green goods has prevented you from buying them in the past, Black Friday - and Cyber Monday, the online shopping spree that happens four days after Thanksgiving - may offer the opportunity to finally give them a try. Retailers usually slash prices 30-50%, which helps make eco-friendly products more affordable. As we get closer to the big day - November 25 - I'll let you know about bargains I think are worthwhile, not because it's Black Friday particularly, but just because I think it's a smart way to use the power of your big green purse to send a message to manufacturers that green is the best "black" there is. For now, here are categories to consider if you want to make a shopping list.


    Organic food can cost as much as 30% more than food that's been conventionally grown using pesticides or under inhumane conditions for animals and people. Unfortunately, it's unlikely that staples like organic milk, meat, poultry and fresh vegetables will be on sale just because it's Black Friday. But specialty foods - like chocolate, tea and coffee, nuts, and dried fruits - are likely to have their prices slashed, particularly at more conventional grocery stores where they're seen as a premium item. I expect online retailers to offer bargains on gift packs of these items - but there's no reason why you can't buy them for yourself.


    I hate to encourage anyone to buy more electronics, given how much e-waste is piling up. However, if you're truly in need of a new phone, tablet, computer, or printer, Black Friday is the day to buy it. Do your research now so you can aim for the most energy-efficient, eco-friendly equipment; check this Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics to pick the most environmentally responsible company for the item you want. Plan now to recycle your old equipment when you replace it; stores like Best Buy, Staples, and Office Depot accept almost any electronic device, regardless of the manufacturer. If you still don't have an energy-saving power strip, get one of those while you're at it. Appliances will include the federal government Energy Guide sticker to help you choose the refrigerator, freezer, washer or dryer that uses the least amount of energy.


    VestWhile you'll find fashion bargains galore on November 25, not many of them are likely to be green, especially at the mall. Sadly, stores like Macy's, Target, Ann Taylor, Chico's, Express, Coldwater Creek, and the Limited are embarrassingly limited when it comes to dresses, shirts, pants, and other couture made from organic or eco-friendly fibers. You might have some luck at H&M; the last time I was in there, I found skirts and blouses made from organic cotton, and some sweaters made from recycled polyester. If you're not looking for dressy work clothes, head over to Lands End, Northface, Patagonia, and REI. Patagonia has done a particularly good job of using recycled fibers to make its vests and jackets; plus, you can recycle old t-shirts and other clothes at Patagonia when you shop.


    More and more fine jewelry stores are offering bracelets, rings, necklaces and earrings made from recycled gold, reclaimed stones, and diamonds sourced from humane and fair trade mines. Before you buy, ask to see certification that shows where the jewels originally came from.


    Organic towels and sheets are a real luxury, and their usual high price shows it. But even their cost might come down on Black Friday; if it does, go for it! JC Penneys, Target, and Wal-Mart stock organic linens regularly; hopefully, they'll put them on sale November 25 along with the conventionally produced items. Check online or in the newspaper for "money off on anything" coupons.


    Most liquor stores sell organically produced wine, beer, vodka, gin, and possibly other spirits. Whether you're stocking up for the holidays or want to refill your fridge or wine cellar, take advantage of storewide discounts or sales on individual brands.


    Stores like Bath & Body Works, the Body Shop, and Origins increasingly sell soaps, shampoos, lotions, and cremes free of parabens, phthalates, and synthetic fragrances. Read labels carefully, and look for products packaged in paper, cardboard and glass rather than plastic.


    If you buy a lot of yogurt and bread, chances are you're throwing away a lot of plastic yogurt containers and paper bread wrappers. Pretty much every department store will have these two items on sale on Black Friday.


    The "greenest" option is to use paper you saved from last year and to send e-cards. You can also wrap presents in fabrics, towels, or table cloths and napkins or bundle them into reusable shopping bags. But if it's paper you must have, look for 100% recycled paper or tree-free paper options in both wrapping and cards from Hallmark and Papyrus, among other shops.

    Don't forget your own shopping bag... your reusable one, of course!

    Related Posts:

    Recycling Your Computer Just Got Easier

    What if You Buy Nothing?

    How to Shop for Eco-friendly Clothing (Parts 1, 2, 3)

    Top Ten "Green" Thanksgiving Tips

    Give to Your Favorite Charity Whenever You Shop - At No Extra Cost to You

    For more ideas on how to be a green consumer this holiday season, check out the Green Moms Carnival this month, hosted by Betsy over at Eco-Novice.


    September 27, 2010

    Clothing: What's Eco, and What's Not

    Greenmoms1 What does it take to manufacture, sell, and dispose of clothing? You might be surprised. The clothing industry is one of the most environmentally intensive in the world. If it's made from cotton, it's been doused with as much as 22.5% of the pesticides applied to agricultural crops worldwide. If it's made from a synthetic fiber, its source is actually coal or oil. As much as we might prefer to wear fig leaves, when we have to wear fabrics, what should we choose? 

    The Green Moms Carnival tackles the clothing conundrum this month. Most of us bemoan how difficult it is to figure out how to buy environmentally-friendly fashions in the first place.

    Mary of In Women We Trust regrets how few organic fabrics are designed for the boardroom instead of the beach, and points out the valuable role that the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) play in ensuring that textiles are produced organically.

    Amber at compares polyester and acrylic, two synthetics made from fossil fuels, and comes down on the side of buying less clothing over all, and natural fibers over synthetics. "Reducing consumption pretty much always comes out ahead," she notes.

    Anna at Green Talk provides a comprehensive analysis of the use of recycled plastic bottles in clothing, as well as other textiles. A big concern is that textiles made from recycled plastic emit the chemical antimony, which has been linked to a wide variety of health problems in laboratory animals. Anna also reports that demand for plastic bottles that can be recycled into textiles has risen so much that some manufacturers are using brand new plastic bottles, rather than recycled ones. Talk about the law of unintended consequences

    Linda at Citizen Green points out several benefits to using recycled plastic, like the fact that "30% less energy is needed to down cycle the bottles into shirts than is needed to make them out of virgin plastic." So what's the worry? Plastic is still plastic, and will take hundreds of years to biodegrade.

    Leopard purse Sarah of Practically Green provides a great set of tips if you're shopping vintage. "Don't keep it if you will NEVER be that size again," she suggests -- good advice whether you're buying old or new. You'll also love her pictures of the vintage clothes she's snagged over the years, from a snazzy leopard clutch she lined with red leather (see photo, right) to her dad's v-necked, cashmere sweater.

    Keep reading. There's more!

    Continue reading "Clothing: What's Eco, and What's Not" »

    June 29, 2010

    A Glimpse Inside Mother Nature's Jewelry Box

    White pendant I'm a big fan of "natural" jewelry - necklaces, bracelets and rings made from seeds and stones, or sea glass found on the beach. But jewelry doesn't have to be this rustic to meet my "green" criteria. Generally, for reasons I list here, I look for accessories that are

    * fashioned from recycled or reclaimed materials (like gold, silver, and gemstones)

    * made either by artisans in the U.S. or Fair Trade jewelers abroad.

    The socially responsible jewelers listed below have mastered the art and design of environmentally friendly creations for your personal adornment.

    Brilliant Earth. Crafts high quality jewelry using recycled precious metals (gold and platinum), conflict-free Canadian diamonds, and fair trade colored gemstones. Brilliant Earth offers loose diamonds, engagement and wedding rings, earrings, and pendants. (18K White Gold Open Leaf Pendant with Diamond Accents pictured left).

    KYLER by Joy O. Made 100% in the US, KYLER by Joy O creates elegant, intricately designed jewelry. The pieces are primarily made from steel, the most recycled material on the planet, and accented with partially recycled glass. All other chains are made from heirloom-quality, hypoallergenic nickel-free 14k gold fill and sterling silver. All artisans work in fair trade conditions AND even their packaging products are made from reusable and recyclable recycled paper!

    Ruff & Cut. Manufactures beautiful bracelet, earrings, necklaces, pendants, rings, engagement rings, and men's jewelry. All jewelry is made from recycled metals such as certified recycled gold and sterling silver, and conflict-free diamonds. Ruff & Cut purchases all raw materials from socially responsible sources, and actively re-invests 10 percent of each sale as well as portions of company profits into non-profit organizations working to improve the conditions for those working and living in mining communities around the world.

    Continue reading "A Glimpse Inside Mother Nature's Jewelry Box" »

    May 28, 2010

    'Green' is the New Black: Eco-Friendly Fashion Finds for Summer

    Eco-clothing Whether we look good in green or not, more and more of us are wearing it.

    Soft organic cotton T-shirts. Bamboo-based business attire. Versatile vests spun from recycled soda bottles. Raw silk scarves. Linen shirts, slacks, and dresses. Shoes carved out of cork and padded with refurbished rubber. From top to toe, our wardrobes are getting earth friendlier; they're becoming snazzier, too. I wouldn't be surprised if Mother Nature herself was inspired to accessorize her fig leaf with a charming little handbag hewn from hemp.

    She's probably also starting to breathe a sigh of relief. The apparel industry has never been a friend of the earth, given its often toxic impact on our natural resources. Every dollar we spend on clothing and accessories to 'green' our wardrobe helps protect our air, water, wildlife, and wilderness. Of that, Mother Nature would approve.

    Bummer-br-swatch Shopping for 'green' a la mode, does not require the sacrifice of personal style or personal finances. I never travel without my trendy sienna-colored hemp sweater because it fits me perfectly, doesn't wrinkle, and is easy to launder in a sink; I just wash it in a little hand soap and water, wring it out, and let it line dry. And guess what? It only cost $40. My organic t-shirts wear just as well as ones made from industrial cotton but are a lot softer. Plus, I get a kick out of the tongue-in-cheek messages on the shirts, like this one from Green Label Organics that takes Hummers to task.

    The industry of sustainable clothing is expanding, providing you with a variety of trendy and affordable options. So choose 'green' this summer and dress your part.

    Continue reading "'Green' is the New Black: Eco-Friendly Fashion Finds for Summer" »

    January 25, 2010

    Want to save energy? Cuddle up under eco-friendly bedding & blankets.

    DreamsacksOutside, the temperatures are dropping. Inside, what do you do? Turn up the heat -- or  stock up on cozy blankets and bedding, especially if they're made from natural fibers like organic cotton, wool, and hemp? 

    What makes these materials more environmentally friendly?

    Natural fibers breathe more easily than synthetic fabrics, wicking away moisture if you sweat, and creating a layer of insulation when you generate your own body heat. Plus, organic and natural comforters and quilts do not contain 'finishing' chemicals like formaldehyde, a toxin that can irritate the skin, nose, eyes, and respiratory system (babies are especially sensitive). Plus, more environmentally-friendly covers will usually be colored with plant-based or low-impact dyes.

    Some options:

    Coyuchi environmental bedding is Fair Trade and made from 100 percent organic cotton, minus any solvents or resins.

    Loop Organic provides a variety of hypoallergenic blankets and bedding that are also made with high quality organic cotton fibers free of toxic chemicals.

    Sleep & Beyond makes classic organic comforters hand-filled with a USDA and WOOLMARK certified organic merino wool fiber called WoolGanique. The natural fiber allows the comforter to regulate and maintain stable body temperatures while keeping moisture away from your skin.

    Dreamsacks/Bamboo Dreams blankets and bedding woven from organic bamboo fibers also adjust to your body temperature so they can be used year-round.

    I've also found organic cotton and bamboo sheets at various J.C. Penney's and Target stores. If you don't see them while you're shopping, ask the store manager to stock up.

    Note: Bedding made from organic fibers is more expensive. You can afford it by saving money on energy when you turn down your thermostat.  According to the Midwest Alliance, for every degree you lower your heat in the 60-degree to 70-degree range, you'll save up to 5 percent on heating costs!

    Check out more home energy-saving tips and resources here.

    September 28, 2009

    Coffee Mugs Matter

    Disposable cup

    In 2005, Americans used and discarded 14.4 billion disposable paper cups for hot beverages, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters of Vermont calculated. That’s so many cups that if put end to end they would circle the earth fifty-five times! Based on anticipated growth of specialty coffees, reports Green Mountain, that number will grow to 23 billion by 2010-enough to circle the globe eighty-eight times.

    It’s one thing to pay two or three or even four dollars for a cup of coffee. It’s another to throw cup after cup away. If we do it every day, it amounts to almost twenty-five pounds of waste every year. The petrochemicals consumed in making the cups just one coffee drinker tosses could heat 8,300 homes for one year. Carting them to a landfill burns additional energy, never mind the fact that each one takes about five hundred years to decompose.

    What good does it do if you buy the “right” coffee (i.e., organic, shade-grown, Fair Trade Certified) if you drink it out of a paper or Styrofoam cup you just toss in the garbage?

    Beat the disposable rap by using your own mug. Every coffee shop sells them. Some places even give you a little discount if you use your own cup instead of theirs- if they don’t, ask for one. They’ll get the message after a while.

    And if you forget your mug and need a take-out cup, ask the shop if they’re using the new ones made from recycled fibers that save trees. Do they make a difference? Starbucks’ recycled paper cup protects about 78,000 trees a year. Another option? Coffee cups you can compost.

    Wondering what kind of coffee to buy? We've already figured it out!

    And here are some suggestions if you're in the market for an eco-friendlier coffee pot.

    September 15, 2009

    How Eco Is Your Coffee Pot?

    Consumers buy more automatic-drip coffeemakers than any other small kitchen appliance, so it’s no wonder they use about $400 million worth of electricity just brewing coffee every year. To make an energy-efficient but still high-voltage cup of java, start with the pot:

    Bodum French pressBodum Chambord’s elegant but inexpensive model (pictured left) makes delicious coffee; the Columbia design contains the coffee in a thermal carafe to keep the beverage warm without the need for an electric hot plate.

    Chemex manual drip coffeepots. This hourglass-shaped flask can use recycled paper filters. Make as little as one cup of coffee, or as many as ten.

    Chef’s Choice electric French press plus. This environmentally-friendly technology combines the French press and an energy-saving electric kettle in one pot.

    One-cup coffeemakers. These efficient pots can brew coffee in less than a minute, eliminating the need to prepare a whole pot. Check the housewares section of Target, Wal-Mart, or your local department store.   

    When buying a new coffeemaker:

    Consider how much coffee you consume at any given time. If you drink only one cup of coffee in the morning, and maybe one again in the evening, don’t buy a machine that automatically brews eight or ten or twelve cups. You’ll be wasting energy, water, coffee-and ultimately, money.

    Get a carafe. Do you sip coffee sporadically through the morning or afternoon? Rather than keep a pot warm on an electric hot plate, buy a good insulated carafe to keep your "joe" hot through the end of the day.

    Looking for an electric-drip appliance? Choose one that shuts off automatically.

    And if you like to grind your own beans, try:

    HS4073SS Danesco manual coffee grinder. A stainless steel grinder with a clip canister, it lets you grind coffee beans fine or coarse using no kilowatts but your own. 

     Wondering what kind of coffee to buy? We've already figured it out!

    What about your mug? Look here.

    July 16, 2009

    Top Ten Ways to Support Fair Trade

    "Fair Trade" refers to the way products are grown or manufactured. Fair Trade principles ensure that:

    * laborers are paid a decent wage for their work

    * children have not been forced into abusive labor practices

    * farmers use sustainable agricultural practices that minimize pesticide use and promote soil and water conservation, and manufacturers generally reduce use of toxic chemicals and reduce, reuse, and recycle as much as possible

    * producers democratically participate in their own enterprises.

    That makes sense, right? What's sometimes not so obvious is how you can support Fair Trade in your daily life. These ten tips will get you started.

    FTCLogoR 1) Look for the Fair Trade certified label. The label guarantees that the producer has met meaningful, independent standards set by TransFair USA, the only third-party certifier for Fair Trade products in the U.S. market.

    2)  Look for Fair Trade products where you shop. Wegman's, Ben & Jerry's, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Starbuck's, Caribou Coffee, Dunkin' Donuts, Costco, Giant, Sam's Club, Safeway, and Target are among the many retailers that offer a variety of Fair Trade certified products. If you don't see Fair Trade, ask for it. Store managers may not be aware that Fair Trade products exist, or that you want to buy Fair Trade. If you don't see Fair Trade products on store shelves, tell the store manager what you're looking for and why. Ask the store manager to give you a date when you can expect to see the product on the shelves.

    3) Shop online. Equal Exchange sells delicious chocolate and coffee and other foods that are not only fair trade certified, but certified organic as well.  World of Good is an EBay site that offers a wide variety of fair trade certified products.  Ten Thousand Villages works with over 130 artisans to offer fair trade certified jewelry, home decor, clothing and gifts.

    Choose the following Fair Trade products when you shop:

    4) Coffee

    5) Tea

    6) Cocoa and chocolate

    7) Rice

    8) Bananas

    9) Flowers

    10) Sugar


    Here's more information on why certifications are so important.

    Don't miss the Big Green Purse shopping principles.


    By Sophia Bambalis.

    EcoCentric Mom
    Everbuying led light
    Green by