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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.
  • December 09, 2013

    Butter for Your Hands, Not Your Bread, Plus Much More from EcoCentric Mom

    EcoCentric Mom Box November It's that time of year when my hands are starting to feel so dry, you'd think I lived in the desert. Nope, it's just winter setting in, along with its prescription for cracking skin and painfully tight dryness. Happily, this month's EcoCentric Mom subscription box included butter - hand butter that is, made by The Seaweed Bath Co. from shea butter, neem oil and bladderwrack seaweed extract. I'm not sure what a bladderwrack is, but this balm feels great, and smells yummy, too, with a hint of citrus (or maybe that's what bladderwrack smells like...).

    Not to leave lips at the mercy of winter, either, the subscription box also included both the 3 Little Girls Holistic Oange Pop Lip Gloss, and lip scrub and lip colour from Lauren Brooke cosmetiques. The organic sugar in the lip scrub helps smooth chapped lips, then moisturizes with organic lecithin and shea butter. The lip colour is infused with organic pomegranate and non-GMO vitamin E. And of course, the lip gloss is organic, too. Winter or summer, I actually put lip gloss on top of lip colour for extra moisturizing, so am glad to try out both these products.

    Continue reading "Butter for Your Hands, Not Your Bread, Plus Much More from EcoCentric Mom" »

    December 07, 2012

    Holiday Gift Bags Make Wrapping a Snap - and Reduce Use of Plastic Bags, Too.

    Why do I love reusable holiday gift bags? Let me count the ways:

    EnvirosaxOne, they save me a lot of time. It could take five minutes to wrap a gift the "normal" way: cutting paper to fit, folding and taping it, then swirling some ribbon around it to make it look extra pretty. With a gift bag, I just open the bag, put a little tisue paper in, plop in the present, and put a little more tissue paper on top. Ta-da!! It's wrapped.

    Two, they save me money. How? Because I re-use bags I've gotten in the past. I have always been one of those annoying people who tries to save and re-use wrapping paper. But let's be honest - reused wrapping paper tends to be wrinkled and a bit torn. While it CAN be re-used, it's not the prettiest way to wrap. On the other hand, most gift bags are pretty durable, whether they're made of cloth, thicker paper or cardboard, or recycled plastic. I never throw away a good bag. Plus, most places where I shop credit me a nickel for every reusable bag I use in place of one of the store's plastic bags. It's not a lot of money, but still, it makes me feel good!

    Three, reusable bags save trees, in the form of paper. Sandra Ann Harris of EcoLunchBox reports that, "When it comes to paper waste over the holidays, keep in mind that a whopping half of the paper consumed in the U.S. annually is used to wrap and decorate consumer products." Whew! When you think of all the natural resources that went in to growing the trees, turning them into pulp, printing the paper, and shipping it all over the country, doesn't it seem a little ridiculous to waste all that on wrapping that will be ripped up and thrown away?

    Fourth, because they can be used over and over again, reusable bags can take the place of lots of plastic bags. I have a tendency to wrap gifts in bags that can actually be used for shopping regardless of the season. And that's a great gift in and of itself. Take a look at this graphic, produced by reusable bag manufacturer Factory Direct.  It shows just how many states have banned plastic bags. Even if you live in a community that hasn't yet banned plastic bags, it's probably only a matter of time before they do. Here's more info on why plastic bags are a big environmental non-no.


    Continue reading "Holiday Gift Bags Make Wrapping a Snap - and Reduce Use of Plastic Bags, Too." »

    February 02, 2010

    Six Ways to Green Your Valentine's Day

    Valentine's Day heart Here at Big Green Purse, we love love. So naturally, Valentine's Day is one of our favorite days of the year.

    As it turns out, it also presents one of the best opportunities to shift your spending to greener goods. Of the billions of dollars spent on Valentine's Day gifts every year, more than a third are spent on flowers.  As beautiful as they may be, conventionally-grown cut flowers are usually doused with toxic pesticides that are damaging to people as well as the environment.


    • If you're planning to give a bouquet of classic red roses, order organically grown flowers to avoid those harmful chemicals.  Plenty of businesses offer organic roses as well as other flowers
    • Choose flowers and greens grown locally. 
    • Your gift will leave a smaller carbon footprint than a bouquet that was flown in from South America or another tropical clime.  Visit Local Harvest to locate the flower grower nearest to you.
    • Forage your own blooms.  Spend your money on a reusable vase rather than throwaway flowers, then fill it with holly branches, red twig dogwood, pine boughs, dried hydrangea blooms, cattails, or whatever else you can find in your yard. Garnish with a re-usable red ribbon.
    • Give a potted plant instead of cut flowers.  The live plant acts as a mini carbon sink, and will last longer longer than any cut bouquet. Focus on plants that are particularly good at purifying indoor air, like chinese evergreens, spider plants, and peace lilies. 
    • Make a basket.  Stock a garden basket with an assortment of flower seeds, a trowel, some gardening gloves, and maybe a new pair of clippers. In the spring, help your beloved sow the seeds, then enjoy the blooms all summer long.
    • Dish up some bulbs. Fill a shallow bowl with small pebbles; place five or six narcissus bulbs on top. The bulbs will begin to grow as soon as they're watered; in six weeks, they'll have sprouted beautiful foliage and fragrant blooms that keep Valentine's Day alive long past Feb. 14.

    Where's the chocolate, you ask?  Right here!

    (Image credit)

    December 17, 2008

    Replace Bubbly Water from the Store with Water You Bubble at Home

    I love the fizzing freshness of seltzer. But I hate buying water, especially if it's in a plastic bottle but even if it's bottled in glass.

      Soda stream   Hence my delight at using the Soda Stream, a counter-top sized carbonator made by Soda-Club whose handy CO2 cartridge infuses my water with all the fizziness I want - but none of the throwaway mess.

    The fizzer I have comes with a CO2 cartridge and two refillable liter-sized plastic water bottles (other models come with glass carafes). It couldn't be easier to use, and it takes up very little room in my kitchen.

    I'm also impressed with the statistics the company offers on the environmental benefits of the product:

    Says Soda Club, Americans drink more than 55 billion liters of soda and seltzer each year. That's almost 200 liters — about 600 cans! — for every adult and child in the United States. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, that adds 10 1/2 cubic feet of packaging per American — over 3 billion cubic feet! — to our landfills and recycling facilities every year.

    A family of four could slash their home soft-drink-related packaging usage by over 90% by using a Soda-Club soda maker.  Soda-Club's plastic carbonating bottles are reusable for up to three years, and their Penguin glass carbonating carafes will last even longer than that with proper care. A typical American will toss away over 1500 aluminum cans (and/or hundreds of plastic 2-liter bottles) over three years — while a Soda Stream owner will use just one or two reusable carbonating bottles or carafes that come with the home soda maker.

    The Soda Stream offers concentrated sodamix syrups that also reduce waste. The company claims a single bottle of sodamix will make 12 liters of soda, the equivalent of 34 cans or six 2-liter bottles. Personally, my family found the sodamixes way too sweet in some cases and medicine-y tasting in others. We prefer to carbonate the water, then add a squeeze of fresh lemon, lime or orange juice.

    In the interest of full disclosure, I was put off by the Soda Stream's $99 price tag and probably would not have bought it had the company not sent me a model to try. I'm a complete convert now. Many different  Soda Stream combos are on sale through the holidays, with prices for the simplest option (the one I have) starting at $79.99. If you don't need to buy this nifty product for anyone else, get it for yourself.

    May 11, 2007

    Organic Bouquets

    If you've been bombarded (like I have) by ads from FTD urging you to send flowers to your mother for Mother's Day, you might be happy to note that an organic alternative exists.

    Gerbersautumn Organic Bouquet delivers beautiful arrangements of flowers "grown and harvested using practices that aim to improve working conditions, minimize damage to ecosystems, conserve biodiversity, and enhance environmental quality for future generations."

    In addition to cut flowers, options include maple bonsai trees and even mini lemon trees.

    Of course, if your mom lives right around the block, another alternative is to drop by the farmers market, pick up a few flower bundles from a local grower, and pull together an arrangement yourself. You'll save the energy costs associated with out-of-town delivery and nothing beats watching a smile light up your mother's face when you present her with your own organic bouquet.

    EcoCentric Mom
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