Tag Archives | PVC plastic

Lunch Bags – Reusable and Litterless Lunch Systems

Lunch Bags have transformed from the concept of traditional brown bags into functional and stylish lunch systems. We received our camouflage ACME Lunch Bag from the online store Every Little Bit and I’m so happy with my testing of my first ever lunch bag. Additional features to the ACME lunch bag is it’s roomy compartment with adjustable strap and ice pack.  The size of the ACME brand is big enough for an adult sized stainless steel water bottle and several reusable containers. The bag comes with an ice pack that fits into an inside pocket so anyone sending meats, yogurt, salad, etc. can rest easily that it’s cold enough to sit all day before eating. Every Little Bit does have a girlie color in the ACME brand lunch bag (although I love green camo for both boys and girls) in a fun Berry color, both with the great price point of $20.95.

Researching littlerless lunch systems has long been a favorite topic at Mommy Footprint. I talk to parents wherever I go and ask what their favourite system of packing lunches for kids that are in school all day. What I’ve learned is that everyone has a different system or preference to how lunches work – both parents and children. It’s interesting how some parents really like packing food in separate containers, while others find that a system that’s attached via a tiffin or lunchbox style works the best for their household. After hearing from several parents they enjoy using lunch bags – I turned my search to find an eco-friendly option and the ACME bags are a fantastic product. More things to love than their design and size is they are PVC and lead free.  This year, PVC- free products are a must with kids returning to school!  We need to start an uprising within our parent groups about how toxic and terrible PVC is for our children’s health and our planet. If the term PVC is new to you – it is the worst kind of plastic that is produced and is coded #3. It produces toxic dioxins when it’s made, off-gasses chemicals for it’s life-span, then never leaves our planet because there isn’t a way of disposing of it that doesn’t cause more harm to the environment; PVC doesn’t break down in a landfill or if it’s burned in an incinerator it again releases more carcinogenic dioxins into the air.  Not a pretty description of a plastic that is in probably most of your children’s toys and many back-to-school products that are pushed by the big box stores. Make PVC-free a focus with your back-to-school shopping this year – if not for the environment – then for the health of your kids. Okay…back to the awesome ACME Lunch Bags

I used my ACME lunch bag on my recent Geocaching family adventure and the shoulder strap was perfect to adjust to my body size. This strap can adjust back to fit a child too. The non-toxic freezer pack kept our stainless steel water bottles super cold during our geocaching outing in very hot weather. The interior lining of this bag is insulated for hot or cold food and beverages and is 100% made in the USA. It just gets better for this bag  – it can be thrown in to the washing machine for occasional cleaning and the insulated interior makes it easy for daily wipes with a damp cloth to pickup crumbs or spills.  A lot of positives and this product receives a high ‘Eco-rating’ from Every Little Bit and a high ‘Mommy Footprint’ rating for price point, quality, and back-to-school must have for those looking for Lunch Bags.  A great size for children attending full day school or adults working too!

Lunch Sacks by Ore on the Every Little Bit site are a great size for preschool kids or younger children needing snacks packed. There is a design to delight any child from Dia de los Murtos for boys (skulls) to Butterfly designs with lots of other fun themes – there is design for anyone. Sized for a snack and small water bottle – these would be most exciting for a little person entering the world of school this September. These cotton lunch sacks are laminated so they clean up easy in the wash and is non-toxic and lead free. With the lower ‘Eco Rating’ from Every Little Bit I’m guessing these bags are made overseas – the handy little tool on the Every Little Bit site measures if a product is simply a better option to traditional products or would be welcomed by they crunchiest of green people! But I love the fact they are made PVC-free with a variety of designs that would promote a 3 or 4 year old to embrace using a litterless lunch system.

For the size, quality, price point and the fact it’s made in the US – I think the ACME lunch bags are an awesome back-to-school option for parents looking for this system for packing litterless lunches in September. If you are confused whether a product is PVC-free I would love to tell you to flip over the product and look for the recycling code number 3 – but most products (in my experience) that are made with PVC aren’t coded. Instead stick your head inside the backpack, lunch sack, pencil case, etc. and smell. If you smell the yucky plastic smell – it’s likely been made with cheap plastic.  Don’t purchase these product. Also, look for supplies that are marked PVC-free on the package. It’s a big marketing factor for companies and because it costs more to develop products without PVC, these companies want you to know they are PVC-free and will mark that somewhere visible.

I hope you are finding helpful information with this series of healthier back-to-school lunch options that promote litterless lunches. Here are some related articles:

Litterless Lunch ~ Back To School With PlanetBox

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Valentina – A Very Special Valentine

I was struck by cupid’s bow a few months ago when I first saw the dolls at Gingermelon’s Shop. The faces – especially the eyes on these dolls grabbed hold of my heart immediately. The detail in the eyes, lips and face, puts them in a league of their own. Check out Valentina, a sold doll from Shelly’s site that is on it’s way to making one little girl very happy this Valentine’s Day.

Valentina

Isn’t she exquisite?  Each of these little lovlies from Gingermelon is a handcrafted doll and the dress, shoes, and undies are designed and created with obvious devotion from doll maker Shelly.  The process of embroidering the doll’s face is true art and most importantly, the doll’s body is made from unbleached muslin. This fact if so important because it’s not made from the usual material of choice ~ PVC plastic. The clothing is designed with linen/cotton blend and the shoes are hand-woven and hand-dyed felt – there is no scrimping on quality with these dolls. The hair is made from organic cotton, silk bamboo, or Alpaca blend, and is so soft and silky to touch.

I find it so interesting when talking to doll makers that at the end of the journey of making these dolls, they love to watch the personality unfold and come to life through their creations.  After a doll is completed, names and clothing selections seem to call and Shelly really listens. The clothing on the dolls is just lovely and the best part for me is that it’s removable and by request can be purchased separately. It is very hard to find a doll where you can purchase quality vintage clothing for dolls and it really lengthens the number of years the child will play and love their doll. My Sophia was truly amazed that her Gingermelon doll “Hannah” has underwear that slide up and down and shoes that come off. It’s wonderful to know that these options exist outside of having to go the Barbie route in order to enjoy the play of dressing up dolls.

My 3 year old Sophia loves her doll so much and I’ve removed the shoes so that they don’t go missing and disappear. These dolls aren’t for young children because there is a button on the shoes and they can’t be ‘loved roughly’ although my little cutie just can’t help herself.  The Valentina doll I teased you with is sold but the good news is you can find more on the Gingermelon shop that are gorgeous and available to purchase. Use the ‘contact Gingermelon’ option to chat with Shelly to create the perfect Valentine or special gift for your little sweetie this year.

Ailie doll

Lillian

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PVC & Christmas Toys

Sometimes I struggle remembering the old days of running through Toys R Us blindly picking out all of the plastic toys that my kids would love (if only for 2 minutes before they broke) that light up, shoot things, and were made with cheap plastic. I remember the kind of ignorance I once had and it was a very peaceful ignorance.  I had no idea what PVC plastic, phthalates, plasticizers were and I wasn’t haunted while shopping for my kids. I used to have the bulk of my Christmas shopping finished in August every year, getting great deals because my shopping list was dictated by sales, rather than any sort of eco conscience.

Well, two years later, things have really changed around here with shopping, planning, and budgeting for Christmas. Rather than rushing out to buy toys when they go on sale, I Google toys first to find out where they are manufactured and what materials they are made from. It actually makes impulse buying impossible. I was very excited to start shopping for my girls this year since they are so creative and imaginative at 3 years old. They also have a deep love for Ariel the mermaid, a Disney character, so having an Ariel doll, Prince Eric doll, and the rest of the characters under the tree for my girls was pretty high on their list. Only deep down I know that all of the ‘Disney Princess’ and ‘ Barbie’ type dolls and their accessories are plastic and made with PVC.  I could totally make an exception if they were just made from plastic and not PVC, but I truly don’t believe Mattel or Disney statements about what they use to make their plastic dolls. I also put this question out to The Safe Mama and The Safe Landing and they confirmed my fears.  So for weeks now I’ve been trying to rationalize my fear of having my daughters cuddle brand new PVC dolls and thinking that Santa is the best thing ever or trying to find a Waldorf type looking doll that is made from cloth and filled with safe stuffing and removing the commercialism from Christmas. It may sound silly, but these types of decisions haunt me. I think all parents just love finding that perfect toy that their children will shriek with pure joy when they unwrap Christmas morning.

I am trying to stick to a big goal this Christmas with plastic toys ~ unless it’s been purchased 2nd hand or from a thrift store, it will not be going under the tree. Wish me luck.  Right now, my frustration with the Barbie/Disney type dolls is not their body shape being distorted, but the material in which the doll is made from is toxic. Frustrating still that the only mermaid toys I could find for tubby time for my girls were Barbie mermaids.  And please know, as I do now, that the bendy tail on her mermaid body is filled with phthalates to get it bendy, and the rest of her is created with PVC plastic – the most inexpensive and toxic plastic that exists. And the fact this toy is meant to go into water (a bathtub) with children and the plastic it’s made from has been called a carcinogen. So why am I struggling with this if I know purchasing these toys might lead to cancer causing materials to surround my children? I wish I could answer that.

Forget the fact that Barbie or the Disney dolls cannot be recycled or ever by properly disposed of.  I wait for the day a huge manufacturer of kids toys (like Mattel) to decide to use their billions of dollars and produce ‘plastic’ toys from the natural rubber tree like Plan Toys or the manufactures of Sophie ~ why can the smaller companies do it and the large ones can’t?  I’m really not big on the idea of boycotts or slamming a company via a blog, but all toy companies need to be held accountable for damage caused to human health and environmental health. Starting my mental check-list of Christmas shopping for my kids should not be this hard or require this much research, but in fact, toy companies cannot be trusted with my children’s health. They have proved one too many times that they don’t care enough.  And apparently with the billions of dollars they make, there are not enough parents asking them to change. I hope they experience huge losses in profit this Christmas and that the greener toys manufacturers and small shops that produce toys by hand are the people that truly profit this year. They are the people that are protecting my children with sourcing different ways to produce toys that don’t adversely affect a child’s health. Blech -shopping used to be so much easier and enjoyable.

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Reusable, Hip, PVC-Free Snack & Food Bag Alternatives

Since writing my articles about PVC and having a newly heightened awareness of not wanting ‘poison plastic’ (#3) touching my kid’s food, I’ve been seeking alternatives.  The most immediate solution was to start using wax paper to wrap sandwiches (I was using cling wrap before!) and using it as a barrier when wrapping left over cheese, watermelon, etc. . . anything so my food is not touching the cling wrap.  This is working well from a toxic standpoint, but is very wasteful.  Well a beautiful and functional alternative came my way from Plum Creek Mercantile and I’m happy to have a great cloth alternative.  Photo of Sorbet Swirl Snack Bag courtesy of Plum Creek Mercantile site:

We all know I’m a huge fan of stainless steel lunch containers, but I wanted to give cloth snack bags a try.  They are a great option for sandwiches, dry snacks, and veggies.  I’m always on the go and with 4 children to keep snacks readily available for, I can’t fit a laptop lunchbox or tiered lunchbox into my purse. Well my new cotton snack bags have solved this problem!  They are the perfect size for crackers, sandwiches, trail mix, veggie sticks, and more. . . they also have very strong velcro closures so I’m not worried about loosing my snacks.  They are also made from the softest, most hip and beautiful fabrics I’ve seen in PVC-free snack bags!  These bags are made of 100% organic and regular cotton in a variety of fabric choices ~ perfect for boys or girls with Cool Robot or Sorbet Swirl designs.

Another great product from Plum Creek Mercantile is their bulk food bags. These cloth bags are perfectly suited for people that shop from bulk bins. Naturally beautifully selected cotton with a functional, non-toxic clear window so you can see what’s in the bag.  You are able to easily record a bin number or expiry date written with a grease pencil or dry erase marker that can easily be removed later. If you want some inexpensive Martha Stewart flair on your kitchen countertops ~ check out these affordable, stylish food bags. 

 

 

We all love a bargain and Plum Creek Mercantile is selling slightly dinged food bags for a discounted price!  A set of two bags in the organic tea dye fabric are only $15.99 (picture directly above).  Take advantage of bags that merely have creases in the window or uneven sewing.  The structure of the bag is still intact, making this bargain perfect for someone wanting to try out this new system for dry food storage.  Enjoy almost $10 in saving on the two bags!

So think of all those times you reach into your kitchen drawer to pull out the cling wrap or plastic sandwich bags when preparing snacks and lunch.  After introducing these reusable cloth snack bags into your routine, you will be amazed and delighted at the savings.  Not only are the bags wonderful for the environment, but you keep PVC plastic away from snacks, meals, and stored dry food that your children consume. What an incredible product to introduce to your family this summer and watch how kids naturally understand and embrace how another part of their lives changed from disposable to reusable in a fun, easy way!

Related Articles:

PVC Items In Your Every-Day Life

PVC Plastic ~ The Poison Plastic In Your Home

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Earth Day ~ What Will Your Legacy Be?

With 200 articles in the Mommy Footprint vault I’m hopeful I’ve shared all of my Earth Day tips over the last year.  I’ve kept a few tips up my sleeve in time for an Earth Day article and hope you enjoy. <wink>

The tag line on the Mommy Footprint site is “what will your legacy be?” and that is still the driving force behind this blog.  Changing small acts in everyday life is what will impact our world the most.  A few upcoming acts I pledge to write about include:

~ starting a database for readers of where PVC plastic lurks that effects children in their household, classroom, etc.

~ Talking about products that are next to the skin or worse (!) inside our bodies that are produced with chlorine, dioxins, and chemicals.

~ Trying to convince high-end, educational facilities to eliminate toys or products that young children can mouth or bath with that are made from PVC; my goal is to have it completely removed from the Vancouver aquarium gift shop because of the precedent it should uphold to the marine life it educates the public about. 

~ Hold companies accountable for the products they sell to consumers when they are manufactured and sold containing harmful chemicals or materials.

~ Encouraging parents to create eco-friendlier events for children like birthday parties, family BBQs and special events; a guest or child from these get-togethers will always notice something different and the ball of education starts to roll.

~ And always watching for new ideas or concepts to engage children with nature.  Like anything in life – children bore easily so it’s up to parents to keep creative ideas flowing even if we feel exhausted and struggle ourselves.  There is no greater accomplishment in my life than having all my children engaged and joyful in nature…and no matter how tired I feel, the fresh air has always been healing for my body and soul.

Enough about me.  Here are some ideas for unique ways to celebrate or kick-off family goals this Earth Day:

Show kids recycling codes on plastic. Post a chart with each resin code with a child friendly description and let kids take on the task of sorting household plastics for recycling.  It’s like an easy math problem or game that kids would love.  Incorporate the topic of plastic packaging into this new activity.  Teach your child about the massive amounts of plastic that cannot be recycled and how as a family you can reduce and purchase products more responsibly.

Mark storm drains in your neighborhood or surrounding community at your school.  I’ve talked about this activity a lot because it was the highlight of my summer last year with my sons.  I got 1-1 time with them to talk, and they loved telling people why they were doing it and putting documentation on door knobs.  Then of course hammering the decal into the pavement ~ what child wouldn’t enjoy this?  For more information read Ultimate Eco Activity For Your Family.

The Hummingbirds are out and hungry in my neighborhood.  What a treat to still have Black Capped Chickadees to watch in our back-yard and Blue Jays in our front ~ and to now have Hummingbirds join the crowd. Too fun!  If you don’t have a bird feeder, purchase a cheap one.  Guaranteed your local thrift store will have a hummingbird feeder for sale.

Plant one vegetable in a pot or garden with your child.  Teach your family the power of one small act and the many positives that result from a household garden.; no pesticides, no cost to purchase from the store, better taste, and the pride of growing something yourself.  Make a pledge to add a vegetable to the garden every earth day – imagine what it will look like in a few years.

Write a quiz for your kids on products that can or can’t be recycled.  Have samples of these materials and test their recycling knowledge and ask them to pick out items that can or cannot be recycled.

For a list of adorable Earth Day crafts, check out the Crafting Our Way To A Greener World article on the Kids Stuff World site.  I especially love the globe cookies and egg carton owls.  I wish you a wonderful day on Earth Day (April 22nd, 2009) and hope you find joy and a bit of magic, with discussions and conversations with friends, family, and children about why celebrating the earth’s health is so important.

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