Going PVC-free for back-to-school August 4, 2010
For 14 years, I was a 5th grade teacher. Every August, a few times a week, I’d go to my classroom and do my best to make it into a creative space for my new students. I was “getting greener” every year but just didn’t think of it that way – it was more like “recycling old things into new things” on the cheap! I wish I knew more about the dangers of PVC plastic back then and how I could have helped to eliminated it from my classroom.
“PVC is unique among plastics because it contains dangerous chemical additives. These harmful chemicals include phthalates, lead, cadmium, and/or organotins, which can be toxic to your child’s health. What’s worse is the danger these chemicals posephthalates and other toxic additives can leach out or evaporate into the air over time posing unnecessary dangers to children. Over 90% of all phthalates are used to soften or plasticize PVC products. Children are at risk from even small exposures to these toxic chemicals. That’s why it’s important to purchase PVC-free school supplies.”
- PVC products are often labeled with the word “vinyl” on the packaging
- To identify PVC packaging, see if it has the number “3” inside it, or the letters “V” or “PVC” underneath it. This means the product is made out of PVC.
The Center for Health, Environments & Justice’s (CHEJ) just put out its 2010 Back to School Guide to PVC-Free School Supplies list. There you can find everything PVC-free from binders, notebooks, pencils cases, and much, much more.
But here’s a few PVC-free school items I’ve always liked:
- Sandwich or snack bags: Snack Taxi, Eco*Ditty, or some Etsy creations here and here.
- Rain gear
- Lunch boxes/bags: Crocodile Creek, Laptop Lunches, L. L. Bean, Skip Hop
- Backpacks: Lands End, Skip Hop, Jansport, Crocodile Creek
- Water bottles: Klean Kanteen, CamelBak, Thermos, Think Sport
I am not employed by any of the companies mentioned, nor was I paid to review these products.
DIY Snack or Sandwich Bags July 27, 2010
A handy list of “green” summer links July 9, 2010
At the moment, the temperature is 101° F outside and it’ll be the same for tomorrow. I’m really not into these hot temperatures – what can I say, I’m more of an “Autumn kind of girl”.
Here’s a list of some handy sites to help get you through the summer months of heat, sun, and “mom, what else is there to do????” on those lazy days of summer:
- SafeMama’s 2010 Safer Sunscreen Cheat Sheet
- A natural alleviation for sun burn
- SafeMama’s 2010 Safer Bug Repellant Cheat Sheet
- The Soft Landing’s PVC-free pools and toys list
- The Soft Landing’s PVC-free Pool Cover List
- BPA-free ice pop molds here, here, here, and here. Let’s not forget some great homemade recipes for them too!
- A great list of some do it yourself, “green” summer toys
- Some nice lists of summer reading books for all ages
- Some great, “green” summer games that you can put together with object found around the house
Keep cool everyone!
DIY “green” toys that spark the imagination June 11, 2010
Since my daughter was born two-and-a-half years ago, my “going green with baby” focus has changed with her age. First it was all about safe BPA-free baby bottles, then the same for teethers, sippy cups and unbreakable plates and cups. The Soft Landing and Safe Mama were amazingly helpful in these areas and saved me a lot of internet searches for the safest products out there.
Right now, the focus is all about fun, fun, fun. Imaginative play is what it’s all about these days and I find myself thinking often of what I can do to make it exciting and new. The challenge is seeing if I can make it a little “green” while saving a a little “green” too.
The first thing I did was make a doll house out of a box.
Then I made a stove and oven out of an old box.
If you’re feeling more adventurous and want to make a more elaborate kitchen, try this link for some other ideas.
Afterward, I filled up her kitchen with felt food to play with. Why go for the plastic ones when you can make your own! Here’s a great list of free patterns so you can sew your own. If your sewing skills have seen better days, then have a look at Etsy where you can buy all kinds made from very crafty individuals.
Here’s a really easy one I made that anyone can do – spaghetti with sauce!
Of course, you can always recycle some containers from your own kitchen.
And let’s not forget the always popular playhouse out of an old box — who didn’t do that when they were a kid?!!! It’s pretty simple to do but if you want some instructions, try here.
Check out all his ideas — they’ll keep both you and your children busy for months!
DIY Aquarium June 1, 2010
Getting arts-and-craftsy the eco-way! May 14, 2010
I do my best to be as “green” as I can be (which, believe me, does fall short sometimes – hey, no one’s perfect). But I also like to save a penny here and there too. My daughter is almost 2 1/2 now and she’s really into art supplies, like crayons and water colors. It made me think – “What else is out there to help fuel some creative, artsy juices?” I found “greener”, “safer” options over the traditional, but many of them were costly and adding on shipping made them even pricier. What’s a “Frugal Green Girl” to do? Make them herself, that’s what!
Here’s some interesting links for making your own art supplies. I haven’t tried them all but they look promising. If you give any of these a try, leave a comment and let us know what you think! Some of the recipes call for food coloring. Since none of these finished products are meant to be eaten, you can use traditional ones. However, if you’d like to go a more natural route, check out this link for one and see here and here for where you can buy it.