Ban on dishwasher detergents with high phosphates to begin July 1st


Beginning July 1st, it will be illegal for retailers to sell high phosphate dishwasher detergent in sixteen states. The new phosphate limit of 0.5 percent phosphorus by weight only applies to non-commercial dishwasher detergents. 

A ban on phosphates had been in the works in a number of states since 2008, to give detergent companies time to develop effective dishwashing alternatives. 

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Earth Creations offer eco-friendly fashion

Earth Creations makes sustainable clothing with no harsh chemicals


Approximately one-third of a pound of chemicals are used to grow the cotton in one t-shirt. There are an array of harsh chemicals that are used throughout the garment manufacturing process, most of which are toxic to humans. These include chlorine, sodium hydroxide, heavy metal salts and formaldehyde. Residuals of these toxins stay in the fabric. They also find their way into wastewater systems, particularly in developing countries.     

Many dyes that are excluded from the Organic Standards contain toxic components, said Martin Ledvina, co-founder of Earth Creations, Inc. Most conventional dyes don’t comply with EPA regulations so they’re sent overseas. The products that use these dyes, often made in sweatshops, make their way back here.     

Earth Creations makes fashionable sustainable clothing from materials like hemp and organic cotton, using natural clay-based dyes and others that have a low impact on the environment.     

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Electrolux to recycle from the Pacific Garbage Patch

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is filled with plastics Electrolux plans to recycle


Vacumn giant Electrolux has announced plans to collect and recycle plastic from the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

The company says project Vac from the Sea makes sense since there’s not enough  recycled plastic on land to fill consumer demand, so they plan to use the scooped-up plastic and recycle it into appliances like their vacuum cleaners.This first-of-its kind venture is both visionary and fraught with challenges

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Green on the airwaves

Eco Trends logo

If you haven’t heard of it, take a listen to Eco Trends.

It’s a new radio feature that discusses the newest, innovative eco-friendly consumer products on the market. You can hear this fun, informative radio spot can be live or archived online every Tuesday and Thursday around 3:20pm Pacific.

Check it, then spread the word!

Deep water drilling – it's what's behind the scenes that counts

Underwater view of oil gushing after the temporary cap broke at BP's rig

Underwater view of oil gushing after the temporary cap broke at BP's rig

On the heels of the news that the cap that had been placed on BP’s gusher in the Gulf of Mexico had been broken by an underwater robot comes an even more fascinating revelation.

The Louisiana judge that had tossed out the moratorium on new offshore exploration and further deepwater oil drilling in the Gulf has extensive investments in the oil and gas industry.

U.S. District Judge Martin Feldman reported these holdings in financial disclosure reports in 2008.

Turns out the judge owns stock in Tranocean, which owns the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and is the world’s largest offshore drilling company. Along with the $15,000 worth of stock, Judge Feldman also recently owned stock in oil industry corporations including  Halliburton, Prospect Energy, Hercules Offshore, Parker Drilling Co., and ATP Oil & Gas. 

And then there’s the one about a certain percentage of Congress who’s portfolios are chock full of oil industry investments and who, not surprisingly, are in favor of continuing deepwater drilling.

Has anyone heard the phrase “conflict of interest”? Apparently not.

Innovative Water Wand makes tap water healthier

Water-In-Human-BodyThe human body consists of 75 percent water, though babies are over 90 percent. The amount and quality of the water we drink daily has a profound effect on our health and well-being. 

Over the past 15 years, the purity of the drinking water has improved in the US. But a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) shows tap water is getting worse, due in large part to old pipes that can leach contaminants and breed bacteria, weakened legislative water protections. delayed or weakened standards of levels of contaminants and/or the elimination of water protection programs. 

The government allows a percentage of contaminants in our tap water, which almost none of the water filters available on the market today – from the moderately priced to the more expensive ones – completely filter out. 

The Water Wand, a compact personal water filter made of high-grade stainless steel, is about to change that. 

The Water Wand infuses tap water with the best qualities of pure mountain spring water

The Water Wand infuses tap water with the best qualities of pure mountain spring water


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Samsung to launch trial "mail back" mobile phone program

Samsung-Seek2Giant electronics manufacturer Samsung has announced they will launch a trial mail-back program with the introduction of their new Seek® mobile phone.

These fun colored pink or blue mobile phones will come a uniquely designed postage-paid box that customers can use to send back their older mobile devices, data cards, batteries and accessories. The company plans to do a comparison between the rate of return of the new box and that of their traditional mail-back program for their other electronics.

Samsung-Seek1It’s another step forward toward product responsibility, one I hope other manufacturers will get on board with soon.

Eco-friendly baby carriers with flair

Belle Baby Carrier 1Babywearting – carrying an infant or toddler in a cloth sling or carrier – has been practiced by mothers across the globe for centuries. 

Young children who are carried this way reap impressive benefits. Evidence shows it helps accelerate their ability to learn, they feel more secure and safe, they cry less and they’re calmer. Moms report they feel more in tune with their babies too, and are more easily able to anticipate their child’s needs.

Until recently,however,  fashion and ergonomics weren’t part of this equation.

Enter Belle Baby Carriers in Colorado who, since 2007, has been offering moms – and dads – stylish, comfortable and ergonomic baby carriers.

The design is streamlined for comfort,” says Belle Baby’s Sales and Marketing Director Julianne Pearce.

The carriers were designed by two dads who, as engineers, had designed mountain gear like backpacks and rock climbing equipment. Not satisfied with the carriers on the market, they created the simple design that became the Belle Baby Carrier.

Belle Baby carriers distribute weight evenly, making them comfortable for Moms too

Belle Baby carriers distribute weight evenly, making them comfortable for Moms too

Its ergonomic waist belt makes the carrier as comfortable as possible, says Pearce. It distributes the baby’s weight unlike other carriers. Fifty percent of its weight rests on the parent’s hips or waist while the other fifty percent is evenly distributed between each shoulder. Babies can face in or out and be comfortable. 

“This (carrier) has been endorsed by a pediatrician whose patients have commented on how comfortable it is and what a difference it’s made for them,” Pearce said.

Made to carry babies 8 to 30 pounds, Belle Baby Carriers have style, says Pearce. There are five Organics and seven polyester-blend fabric choices to choose from. They also feature a new detachable head support panel, perfect for young infants. 

On the non-organic side, one carrier deserves a special mention. The Orange Blossom carrieris made from a cute, upholstery-grade, microsuede embroidered fabric with, says the company, “dark brown teddy bear fur” for its inside liner. 

Two of the Organics stand out.

The Organic Denim baby carrier is made from an certified organic cotton – organic hemp blend. Its outer denim panel is made of 77% hemp and 23% recycled environmental polyester. 

Belle Baby Carrier 2

Baby Belle Organic Sand Earth carrier

byTheir Organic Earth carrier, introduced in April. resulted from customers requesting an all-natural, un-dyed interior fabric.

This carrier was featured in Pregnancy & Newborn magazine’s April “Eco-friendly” issue, and was selected one of Baby Talk magazine’s favorite “Eco Chic” baby carriers. It will be featured in Kiwi Magazine’s June-July issue.

All Belle Baby Carriers are hand or machine washable in cold water with a gentle detergent made for baby clothes. Hang rather than machine dry.

Many celebrities have discovered these amazingly simple baby carriers, including Angelina Jolie and Jessica Alba.

Belle Baby Carriers are available online and at retailers across the country.

Solar Day – celebrate the opportunities of renewable energy

Solar Day takes place on June 19th at events across the country

Solar Day 2010 events takes place June 19th across the country

After thirty years, the importance of Earth Day is recognized globally. But another environmentally-related celebration is fast on its heels.

June 19th is the second annual celebration of Solar Day, an event honoring solar as an alternative way of providing electricity and light to an estimated more than 1.6 billion people with no direct access to it.

Solar Day will focus on aspects of green living and climate change, with events throughout the U.S. to educate consumers about renewable energy programs, rebates and incentives that are available at city, state and federal levels.

Last year was a sort of virtual event, said Addison Huegel, Executive Director of Solar Day 2010, with one physical event that took place in San Francisco.

RenewablesThis year Huegel anticipates events in 25 to 30 cities. These include one in New Orleans put on by the Louisiana Green Corps, an open house at a solar home in Ft. Bragg, California and booths at farmers markets across the country. A number of fairs will run in conjunction with Solar day, including renewable energy fairs in cities like Sacramento, California, Huntsville, Alabama and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

“We’ve also talked with the United Nations Energy and Sustainability Council,” said Huegel, “to have more of a global outreach.”

This year Cairo, Egypt will also be celebrate Solar Day.

“We have a huge push for renewable energy these days,” said Huegel. “We’ll have an even larger push with this environmental disaster that’s going on,” he said, referring to the increasingly disastrous Deepwater Horizon-BP oil spill.

“It’s sort of a backdrop to highlight all the programs available and incentives for people,” he said.

Solar Day is larger than one day or any single event. It’s founded on a mission that energy independence is a fundamental right of citizen and business sustainability and a way to improve the lives of people without access to electricity.

solar 2Solar Day’s Light the Night and Solar Villages programs are meant to use low-cost solar energy as a tool for change in the developing nations who need electricity for basic functions including:

  • electricity to pump clean water and to process crops
  • enabling telephone and internet communication
  • enabling solar-generated lighting in villages all over the world to let residents learn or read at night
  • to allow residents of those countries to conduct commerce and improve their lives

“Globally, the idea is that (solar) is an energy source that’s portable,” Huegel said. “For countries that don’t have electrical transmission, this is a solution.”

Huegel hopes to have Solar Day be officially recognized as an annual event by the US and other governments.

Solar Day’s website shows where events will be held. People can also enter a National Solar Sweepstakes there to win a $5,000 credit off a residential or commercial solar installation for homeowners in the U.S. Existing government rebates make that worth close to $10,000 off the cost of an installation.

Visit the Solar Day website for more on Solar Day events and updates

Cereplast meets consumer demand with new bioplastics

Cereplast's new resins will create biodegradable plastic products that reduce landfill impact and GHG emissions

Cereplast's new resins will create biodegradable products that reduce landfill impact and GHG emissions


Known for their quality line of bioplastic resins, Cereplast Inc. has bowed to consumer demand by introducing eleven new grades of bioplastic resins.

I’ve written a few posts on the varied use of bioplastics in consumer products (see and  Cereplast’s resins are used to produce products as diverse as tableware and cutlery,  toys,  healthcare/hygiene products, bottles/containers, bags, packaging, gift cards, printed displays, straws, and  pipes, conduits.

In the wake of the disastrous BP oil spill, consumers are demanding more sustainable solutions that rely less on petroleum, says the company.

Cereplast anticipates this demand will result in the company shipping approximately 16 million pounds of bio-plastic resins to customers this year, a 400 percent rise in shipments and 190 percent rise in revenue over 2009 figures.

With the new line of resins, Cereplast will produce plastics using a more sustainable manufacturing process. These plastics, says the company, will reduce landfill disposal and greenhouse gas emissions.