Environmental progress often dubbed “job killers”

It’s been my observation that whenever decisive action is taken that would benefit the environment, the scream goes up that taking such steps will surely mean the death of jobs in that area or region.

Case in point.

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Frito-Lay rolls out new SunChips bag – will it make a difference?

After all the hullabaloo four months ago about the loudness of the SunChips bags, Frito-Lay  has now introduced with what they hope will be a much quieter version.

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Recycled Gift Wrap makes Gift Giving special

As we move closer to Christmas,with thoughts turning to presents and lists, there are some important ecological facts to bear in mind.

Americans generate an added 5 million tons of waste during the holidays. Of this, four million tons are wrapping paper and shopping bags. Worse still, the majority of holiday wrapping paper can’t be recycled because it contains lead and/or metallic materials, which are toxic if burned. So it all winds up in our landfills.

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Treefrog’s tree-free paper – an eco-friendly alternative

Treefrog copy paper is 100% biodegradable and made without any wood products

Worldwide, the consumption of paper has grown 400 percent over the past forty years. Thirty five percent of all the trees harvested are used to manufacture paper.

“There’s a huge amount of rainforest lost every day to make paper,” said Michael Nilan, CEO of Treezero, Inc., an Atlanta-based company that sells a 100 percent tree-less paper called Treefrog.

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Chicago Cubs to fans: let's recycle!

Wrigley FieldThe dog days of summer will be a little bit greener this year, at least in Chicago at Wrigley Field.

Cubs fans have a lot to be proud of. Their team has taken on recycling in a big way.

Their new “Real Fans Recycle” campaign asks fans to help divert aaround 165,000 pounds of plastic and cardboard from landfills.  This season, vendors at Wrigley Field will use compostable plates and cutlery, and plastic drink cups and napkins that are made from recycled content

The "Real Fans Recycle" logo will be on shirts throughout Wrigley Field this summer

The "Real Fans Recycle" logo will be on shirts throughout Wrigley Field this summer

Fans will see ushers nd event staff sporting cool “Real Fans Recycle” shirts made from 100% recycled material, including recycled PET plastic from which Wrigley Field beverage cups are made.

The emblazoned shirts are sponsored by Solo Cup Company, who’s partnered with the Cubs Baseball organization, Allied Waste, Free Green Canand Levy Restaurants for this innovative recycling effort.

For year-round recycling, the Cubs organization has placed 25 dual-purpose (recycling/trash) Free Green Cans  around the outer footprint of Wrigley Field that fans, residents and visitors can utilize.

Way to go Cubs!  Come on, Commissioner Selig, how about a league-wide green initiative? What a difference THAT would make!

Two eco-friendly ways to keep baby comfortable

BabyChafing and diaper rash are par for the course with babies. Moms deal with these using whatever ointments and powders were available.

With growing concerns about harmful chemicals and toxins in baby products, it’s nice to know there are eco-friendly choices that help keep babies dry and comfortable.

In 2009, Elements Naturals introduced their 100% Natural & Compostable Baby Wipes. They’re made from a man-made plant-based fiber called Ingeo, a patented product developed by Nature Works.

Linda Naerheim, CEO and co-founder of Elements Naturals LLC, says she was shocked to discover that what was considered “natural” out there in baby wipes really wasn’t. Those “natural” products used latex and petroleum by-products, the same materials used in Pampers and Huggies. Cotton wipes only have around 15 percent cotton and contain a cocktail of harsh chemicals, including parabins and endocrine disruptors that have proven to cause cancer.

Elements NaturalsSeeking a better alternative, with the help of Nature Works, she developed her 100% Natural Baby Wipes.

Larger and thicker, these wipes are chemical, fragrance and chlorine free and have no essential oils that could irritate baby’s skin.

Since its introduction last year, Naerheim has worked to improve the formula and the packaging. And the company moved its manufacturing from overseas back to the U.S.

These 100% plant-based wipes have received a lot of recognition. They’ve been featured in Parents Magazine as one of the top eco-friendly baby products, were featured in Pregnancy & Newborn magazine’s April issue in its “A” list for “green” diapering. And they’re one of the top 12 best diapering picks on Seventeen.com.

“It’s an important product,” says Naerheim.

Shockingly, over 39 billion individual baby wipes go in to landfills every year. That’s 107 million each day! They leak toxins into our soil, challenge our ecosystem and they don’t break down because of the plastic resins they contain.

Since these wipes are compostable, they help reduce landfill dumping.

“(Using this product) is one thing you can do every day to reduce your impact on the environment,” said Naerheim.

Another great baby product to help keep babies dry will be introduced within the next two months by Baby Magic, a baby product line that’s been around for over 100 years.

Baby Magic Patty CakeTheir newest, most eco-friendly product – Baby Magic Patty Cake – will be the world’s first U.S. patented, talc-free, dustless baby powder. This unique product won’t come in a plastic bottle but in a compact.

Based on the concept of women’s make-up (i.e. pressed face powder), it’s made especially for babies and their delicate skin, says Melanie Timms, Brand Manager with Naterra Intl. Inc., maker of Baby Magic products.

Decades-old use of baby powder is rapidly shifting, particularly with warnings by doctors about the dangers to infants of airborn dust and powder.

Patty Cake has lots of pluses. It’s hypoallergenic, it contains moisturizers and it hydrates skin. One of its ingredients helps repel water from baby’s sensitive skin. And it’s made from rice, not corn which can trigger allergies, says Timms.

Patty Cake has almost no fragrance and can be applied exactly where it’s needed, with no talcum cloud.

Its convenient size makes it “easier to throw in your diaper bag than a messy diaper rash cream,” Timms says. And you can travel with it, she said. “It’s airline safe.”

Baby Magic Patty Cake lasts a long time. The box says it will last for 250 applications but, Timms says, depending on the amount used, it will generally last 4 to 6 months.

A resealable package of 80 wipes costs $5.95. Elements Naturals 100% Natural & Compostable Baby Wipes are available at a growing number of retailers around the country, including some Whole Foods, and online at Diapers.com, Drugstore.com and ElementsNaturals.com. And, says Naerheim, you can request that your natural food store carry them.

Patty Cake will retail for around $8.00 or less and will be available at national retailers online and at Drugstore.com.

Aquamantra's new biodegradable water bottle

aquamantraAquamantra Premium Bottled Water has introduced their new 100% biodegradable, recyclable and compostable plastic bottle.

Made by Phoenix-based Enso Bottles LLC ,these new bottles are made of  polyethylene terephthalate, not made from polylactic acid, and and are being marketed at Whole Foods Market in Tustin, California.

Containing an organic additive developed by Enso that attracts microbial colonization, the bottles will break down within 10 months in landfills through anaerobic or aerobic decomposition. They also will biodegrade in a compostable environment in 250 days.

According to Aquamantra, these T water bottles can be recycled with PET containers.

Though I prefer not buying bottled water at all, this is definitely a step forward and a much better choice than the traditional petroleum-based plastic you see out there. Way to go Aquamantra and Enso!