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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.
  • March 18, 2013

    "Green" Easter

    How do you celebrate Easter? At our house, it's a time to enjoy the rebirth of Nature, the renewal of our spirits, and the  Handpainted eggsarrival of a long-anticipated Spring. We try hard not to get caught up in the commercialization of this holiday and don't go overboard making big flashy Easter baskets or buying lots of junk. This year, I'm getting new ideas for Easter decorations and treats from my green sister bloggers, who offer a wide variety of thoughtful ways to put the eco back into Easter.

    Lisa at Retro Housewife Goes Green suggests several natural alternatives to conventional egg dying - including using red cabbage and onions, and dying ceramic eggs for veganistas.

    Kristina at the Greening of Westford offers a very useful, step-by-step guide for dying eggs using spinach, blueberries, coffee and chili powder. One smart suggestion: make the dyes early in the morning or even the day before. Another, especially for someone like me who is somewhat artistically challenged: wrap rubber bands around the eggs to make stripes and other designs on the eggs when you dye them.

    Washiegg If you don't want to deal with dying eggs at all, how about covering them? Lisa at Condo Blues uses Japanese Washi paper to cover her eggs, something I think I'll try this year after seeing a picture of how Lisa's eggs turned out (photo left)

    Ronnie at Eco Nesting has done something similar with beautiful old silk ties her father-in-law gave her. I never would have thought to use fabric like that, but it makes perfect sense!

    If you prefer to give your kids small gifts rather than baskets filled with candy, Lisa at Retro Housewife Goes Green offers a few suggestions here.

    Speaking of candy alternatives, check out Trina's post at O'BoyOrganic. She and her husband put together Easter baskets full of toys and books that their boys can play with over and over.

    Amanda of The EcoFriendly Family also suggests looking outside the candy aisle for items to tuck into an Easter basket, like natural bubble bath and beeswax crayons.

    Continue reading ""Green" Easter" »

    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 15, 2012

    Today is America Recycles Day. What Are You Recycling?

       Americarecyclesday (1)  Today is America Recycles Day. Recycling is important, because it saves energy, reduces trash, and helps stop climate change. Here's what I recycle, and how I've changed what I buy so I can buy less in the first place, reuse more and throwaway less. And keep reading for information on how you can recycle and reduce the number of catalogs you receive.

    Can recycle * Food and soda cans - I recycle glass, metal and plastic containers in my community's curbside recycling program. But I also use a Soda Stream water spritzer so I almost never buy bottled drinks anymore. I spritz water myself, then add various flavorings and sweeteners depending on what I want to drink. I'm saving a lot of money doing this, too.

    * Beer and wine bottles - I generally buy glass rather than cans or plastic bottles. If I'm having a party, I buy larger bottles of wine, which use less material per serving than regular-sized bottles.

    * Plastic milk jugs - I can buy milk in glass bottles at my local food coop (though they cost about $2 a gallon more than milk in plastic jugs).

    * Plastic laundry jugs (when I use liquid detergent) - I generally prefer to use powdered detergent in cardboard boxes, which are better to recycle than plastic jugs. I also use concentrated detergent, so I use less per load of laundry, and extend the life of the package.

    * Clothes - I recycle old socks and t-shirts into cleaning rags. I donate most of my used clothes to the local thrift shop or the neighborhood church.

    Recycle_computer * Electronics - I recycle old monitors, computers, fax machines, chargers, phones, and pretty much anything else with a cord on it, taking most of it to Best Buy or Staples, which accept almost any reasonably-sized electronics at no charge. I even recycled my TV!

    * Lightbulbs - I can now recycle my light bulbs at my city's community waste facility. Some stores, like Ikea and Home Depot, also accept them.

    * Paper (newspapers, junk mail, magazines) - All of my paper goods can be recycled curbside, but the trick is to reduce the amount of paper coming into my house in the first place. I read most newspapers and magazines online, and have used Catalog Choice to reduce the number of unwanted magazines and catalogs I receive.

    * Plastic bags - I use reusable cloth bags instead of plastic bags, but if I have excess bags, I recycle them at my grocery store.

    * Toys - I have given my kids' used toys to neighborhood kids or donated them to the local thrift store.

    * Furniture - I have sold unwanted furniture through my neighborhood list-serv, or simply given it away to others who can use it., and are also great ways to unload sofas, chairs, lamps, and dining sets you no longer want or need.

    Refrigerator * Appliances - The easiest appliance to recycle in my neighborhood is actually my refrigerator. Here's how I not only recycled my old refrigerator, but received $200 when I did it.

    * Food - The ultimate way to recycle food is to compost it. I have a barrel composter in my backyard that helps me turn fruit and vegetable scraps, egg shells, and other non-meat or dairy waste into a rich fertilizer I can put on my garden.


    This year, America Recycles Day has teamed up with Catalog Choice to help consumers reduce the number of unwanted catalogs they receive in the mail. It's free and quick to sign up, and much easier than calling individual companies to try to get your name off their list.

    What do you recycle? Please let us know!



    RecycleTop Ten No-Brainer Things You Should Recycle

    Can You Recycle Your Car?


    August 18, 2012

    How Can Reusing One Cup Save 24 Trees?

    Here's the clearest explanation I've seen of why it's so important to use a reusable mug, cup or water bottle, courtesy of Shane at Environmental Booty and her client, Factory Direct.


    December 14, 2011

    Avoid Post-Christmas Clutter: 15 Things You Can Easily Recycle After Christmas

    Now's the time to think ahead to the day after Christmas -- and all the stuff you may want or need to throw away. Instead of trashing it, here's a list of what you should easily be able to recycle:

    Wrapping paper1) Wrapping paper and ribbon (keep a paper bag or box handy when you're unwrapping presents to make the job easy and efficient) - Shred paper to use as packing material, put aside for your kids' art projects, or recycle with the weekly newspapers and junk mail.

    2) Cardboard and paper boxes - Line smaller boxes with soft towels to create a new bed for a cat or small dog; flatten any boxes you don't need for easier recycling.

    3) Cell phones - Take to Best Buy, Staples, or Office Depot, or send to Collective Good, which will refurbish them, re-sell them, and share the profits with the charity of your choice.

    4) Computers, laptops, notebooks, monitors, keyboards - Any of the office supply stores should accept them at no cost to you.

    5) Cameras - (same)    

    6) Fax machines (same)

    7) Clothing - Most shelters will take t-shirts, pants, long-sleeved shirts, jackets, underwear and socks. Donate fancier clothes to the local theater company or school drama department to use as costumes.

    8) Christmas lights - These links will show you where you can recycle old lights and find new, energy-efficient LEDs.

    9) Beverage cans, bottles and jugs - Glass, aluminum, and plastic beer, soda, juice and bottled water containers can all be recycled.

    10) Plastic food containers - Many community recycling programs now accept plastic food trays and cartons, along with containers from yogurt, sour cream, dips, and spreads.

    11) Toys - Clean, working toys your kids have outgrown can be passed along to the children of neighbors, family, friends, day care centers, and shelters that help house children.

    Xmastree512) Christmas tree - if your community doesn't pick up used trees, recycle this yourself: cut the boughs off to create mulch, and use the needles to make potpourri.

    13) Televisions and Major appliances - If you got a new appliance, ask your installer to recycle the one he removes. Or check these links to get specific guidance on recycling your tv.

    14) Christmas cards - Cut off the part containing the signature (usually the back page), and use the front, decorated page as a Christmas gift tag for next year.

    15) Food - Combine leftovers into stews and soups, or freeze in lunch-size portions to take to work or send to school with the kids; simmer meat and turkey bones until they make a rich broth that can be used for gravies and stock; freeze cookies, breads, and dessert bars to use over the next three months.

    Click here for suggestions on recycling tinsel, ornaments, and other Christmas decorations.

    Holiday Traditions That Mean the Most to Me: Family, Friends, Food!

    Free, Mostly Green, Holiday Gifts to Keep Your Christmas Green



    November 15, 2011

    Top 10 "No-Brainer" Things You Should Recycle on America #RecyclesDay

    America Recycles DayToday is America #RecyclesDay, a national event designed to encourage you, me and millions of other Americans, businesses, governments, and institutions to throwaway less trash and recycle more.

    Here's my Top 10 "No Brainer" List of what you should be recycling today - and every day. I call them "no brainers" because they're relatively easy to do in many communities, because it doesn't cost you anything to do them, and because they have a big environmental impact.

    1.  Newspapers and magazines (though to reduce how much you need to recycle, cancel subscriptions to magazines you don't read, and read newspapers and magazines online when possible)

    2. Junk mail, office paper, and catalogs (here's how to reduce the amount of junk mail you get in the first place; reduce office paper waste by printing on both sides, circulating documents electronically rather than on hard copy, and using software to reduce excess paper use; here's how to cut catalog overload)

    3. Paper bags and packaging from the grocery store, hardware store, or department store (reduce paper packaging waste by using reusable shopping bags.)

    4. Plastic bags (if your community recycling program won't take them, most grocery stores that still use them now take them back. Avoid them in the first place by using reusable bags.)

    5. Plastic milk jugs (choose paper cartons instead if those are easier to recycle where you live.)

    6. Plastic juice and beverage bottles (choose glass or cans if those are easier to recycle where you live.)

    7. Electronics, including computers, fax machines, and especially cell phones (Best Buy, Office Depot and Staples will recycle your electronics for you; most phone companies will take your old phone and recycle it.)

    8. Aluminum cans (pretty much all aluminum cans can be recycled, including those that contained soda pop, alcoholic beverages, and energy drinks.)

    9. Clothing (recycle your clothes by donating to charity, selling at thrift shops, giving to neighbors and friends, or repurposing them as rags and even pillow-stuffings; send your shoes to

    10. Food (recycle food waste into compost, to use in fertilizing vegetable and flower beds, trees and bushes)

    Want More Ideas?

    Top Ten Ways to Control Catalog Overload

    Recycling Your Computer Just Got Easier

    How to Recycle CFLs

    Can You Recycle Your Car?

    America Recycles Day

    What else do you recycle?

    April 14, 2011

    Recycling Your Computer Just Got Easier

    Tired of how inconvenient it can be to recycle your cell phone, laptop, MP3 player or PDA? A new ECycling Leadership Initiative will make it easier for you to find more than 5,000 recycling locations around the country so you can keep your e-waste out of the trash.

    Ewaste Consumer electronics industry leaders have launched this first-ever industry-wide electronics recycling initiative with an ambitious goal: To recycle one billion pounds of electronics annually by 2016, which would be a more than threefold increase over 2010. One billion pounds of electronics, if not properly recycled, would completely fill the equivalent of a 71,000-seat NFL stadium. (The picture to the left shows a mountain of electronic keyboards in need of recycling.)

    E-waste is the fastest growing element of the waste stream, so recycling it rather than throwing it away must be done. Electronic equipment contains many heavy metals that are better captured than left to get loose in landfills or trash heaps, where they can contaminate groundwater and soil. Plus, given how much energy, water and other resources it takes to make a computer or a phone, it's much more environmentally friendly to recapture and reuse those materials than tp throw them away.

    "The billion pound challenge is about both the quality and quantity of electronics recycling,” said Walter Alcorn, CEA’s vice president of environmental affairs and industry sustainability, in a company press release. “But we won’t stop at a billion pounds. The eCycling Leadership initiative is an ongoing, permanent initiative that will ... prohibit the use of recyclers and downstream processors who dump end-of-life electronics in developing nations.” 

    To that end, CEA supports certifying third-party recyclers to verify that the electronics are, in fact, being recycled rather than trashed when they're out of sight.  In the future, look for new mobile apps to help make recycling used electronics as easy as buying new ones. The eCycling Leadership Initiative will also bolster the number of collection sites by working with state and local governments and charities to make more ecycling sites available.


    Best Buy - I regularly recycle my electronics at Best Buy. Here's their policy: "We'll take just about anything electronic, including TVs, DVD players, computer monitors, cell phones and more. You can bring in up to two items a day, per household, and most things are absolutely free. However, there is a $10 charge for TVs 32" and under, CRTs, monitors and laptops — but we'll give you a $10 Best Buy gift card to offset that cost." Along with an in-store drop off program and kiosks, Best Buy also offers a TV haul-away service when a new product is delivered, and a Tech Trade-In program compensating consumers with gift cards for valuable products. In early 2011, Best Buy stores nationwide collected nearly 400 pounds each minute for recycling.

    Goodwill - Businesses and consumers can donate computers to Goodwill for recycling. Check with your local Goodwill office before dropping equipment off.,, and - These sites also enable you to sell, trade or donate your computer rather than toss it in the trash. enables you to find more local computer recycling locations. Just go to their website, plug in your zip code, and you'll find electronics recyclers nearest your home or office.


    Ipod_hero20100525 All e-waste collected by Apple programs worldwide is processed in the region where it was collected. The company says nothing is shipped overseas for recycling or disposal. Apple has instituted recycling programs in cities and college campuses in 95 percent of the countries where its products are sold, diverting more than 130.2 million pounds of equipment from landfills since 1994. Apple also takes back Apple computers, iPods, iPads and iPhones at no charge.

    A partnership between Dell and Goodwill Industries International lets consumers drop off any used computers for no-cost recycling, whether they're Dell brand or not. Donated equipment meeting Reconnect’s criteria are resold, and devices needing repair are either refurbished or broken down into parts to be recycled by Dell partners. The program supports Goodwill’s job training programs, employment placement services and other community-based programs for people who have disabilities, lack education or job experience, or face other challenges to finding employment.

    HP currently operates recycling services in 56 countries or territories worldwide. In the United States they launched a buyback program in January 2009 that includes free recycling if an HP- or Compaq-branded system has no value for consumers. HP recycled more than 200 million pounds of hardware globally in 2009, resulting in an estimated 210,000 tons of avoided carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emissions. Since 1987, HP has recovered over 2 billion pounds of electronic product (for recovery and recycling) and HP print cartridges (for recycling).

    LG’s recycling program lets consumers drop off unwanted electronics at a Waste Management designated eCycling Center, or other alternative methods may be available. LG has recycled more than 7 million pounds since 2009, of which 3.3 million pounds were through LG’s voluntary program.

    Nintendo of America
    Because video game systems and games retain their value for many years beyond their retail lifecycle, Nintendo of America offers a number of customer support options to maximize their continued use, while also offering a free courtesy Take-Back Program to minimize the waste disposal of its products. The Take-Back Program provides for recycling of Nintendo hardware, software, accessories, and rechargeable batteries.

    Panasonic, Sharp and Toshiba (Electronic Manufacturers Recycling Management Company, LLC)
    Among other things, the Electronic Manufacturers Recycling Management Company, LLC (MRM) operates a voluntary nationwide collection and recycling service for brands produced by Panasonic, Sharp, Toshiba, Mitsubishi and Vizio. Since October 2007 MRM has established 840 collection sites across the U.S. and recycled more than 78 million pounds of electronics.

    Launched in the fall of 2008, Samsung Recycling Direct[SM] offers drop off locations in all 50 states.  Samsung holds its recyclers accountable for environmentally responsible recycling, including no landfill, incineration, or export to developing countries of hazardous electronic wastes as commonly defined. Last year, in 2010, Samsung recycled over 50 million pounds of e-waste across the U.S., most of which was done voluntarily.

    The Sony Take Back Recycling Program was the first national recycling initiative to involve both a major electronics manufacturer and a national waste management company. Since its inception in 2007, Sony has established a goal of collecting a pound of electronics for every pound it produces. To date Sony has collected and recycled more than 43 million pounds of electronics.

     The eCycling Leadership Initiative is a collaboration among consumer electronics manufacturers, retailers, collectors, recyclers, non-governmental organizations and governments at all levels, and is coordinated by the Consumer Electronics Association.

    You can find more information on the eCycling Leadership Initiative here.




    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.

    June 29, 2010

    Recycle, Re-Use or Donate Your Wedding Dress

    Wedding dress Whether you've just celebrated your own wedding day or your daughter's, you may be left with one souvenir you don't need to hold on to: the dress.

    Yes, you can keep it in a bag in the back of your closet for the next 20 years and hope someone, someday will wear it again.

    Or, you can give your dress a second life right away, by selling it or donating it online. If you're in the market for a wedding dress, think "new to you," as opposed to "brand new," and you'll not only get a dress that's more eco-friendly. You'll probably get a bargain, too. The dress pictured to the left? Over $3,200 new; just $800 gently worn at

    Some of the re-sellers listed below charge a small fee to list your dress, then pay you when the dress sells. Others simply sell on consignment, which means they'll only pay you when they sell your dress.

    Recycled Bride. This free marketplace recycles everything from designer wedding gowns to table decorations. The site works just as well for buyers as it does for sellers.

    Encore Bridal. An online consignment and resale bridal boutique, this company also uses recycled paper for stationary, recycled and biodegradable shipping packages, and fuel-efficient transportation.

    Once Wed. This site offers brides everything from wedding ideas and photos for inspiration to once-worn wedding gowns. You can list your wedding dress on the site for free. Bonus? A portion of the revenue brought into the site goes to International Justice Mission which supports justice for victims of slavery, sexual exploitation, and violent oppression.

    Pre-Owned Wedding Dresses and WoreItOnce. Both online companies connect buyers and sellers of new, sample and used wedding dresses.

    Continue reading "Recycle, Re-Use or Donate Your Wedding Dress" »

    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" »

    EcoCentric Mom
    Everbuying led light
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