10 Tips for Preventing Stormwater Pollution

318454_9151Last week on Dirty Jobs, Mike Rowe helped clean storm drains, which made me a bit sick to watch, I guess that’s why they call it “Dirty Jobs”. It made me think about how important it is that we put our trash in the proper place and keep our drains free of pollution as much as we can. Below are 10 tips to preventing stormwater pollution. We don’t want this pollution going to our rivers and streams, harming fish and wildlife along the way. Did you know that a single cigarette butt can take 25 years to break down? So please don’t litter, it doesn’t take much to look for a trash can and dispose of trash properly.

  1. Never dump anything down storm drains or into streams and report anyone who does.
  2. Replant bare spots in your yard and preserve streamside vegetation.
  3. Direct rooftop downspouts away from paved surfaces.
  4. Take your car to a car wash or wash it on an unpaved area.
  5. Check your car for leaks and recycle your motor oil and antifreeze.
  6. Pick up your pet waste; it can carry harmful bacteria and parasites.
  7. Have your septic tank pumped and system inspected regularly.
  8. Choose low-maintenance, native plants that require fewer chemicals and less watering and sweep up debris from driveways and sidewalks.
  9. Consider alternatives to impervious surfaces such as pervious pavement, paving blocks, gravel cobbles, brick and natural stone.
  10. Get a rain barrel to collect stormwater and install an approved rain garden or green roof.

Green Sprouts Organic Baby & Family Fest

gs_splashc

On August 17 I told you about the Green Sprouts Fest now I am sending out a  little reminder that the Green Sprouts Organic Baby and Family Fest at Peninsula Park in Portland is happening this coming Saturday, September 26th.

Do not miss it!

Admission is a $3.00 suggested donation.

The next Green Sprouts Fest is in Salt Lake City on October 17, 2009.

Non-stick Cookware Concerns

531931_83735513In a recent article in my local newspaper I read about non-stick pans and its effect on the environment. I had heard some bad things about teflon and why we shouldn’t use it but never like this.

This excerpt is from The Oregonian Food Day section from Tuesday, August 18, 2009.

Traditional nonstick pans are coated with polytrafluoroethylene, PTFE for short. When overheated PTFE releases polymer fumes that can cause fleeting chills, headache and fever.  Those stories you hear about fumes from searing-hot nonstick pans killing pet birds are true: Birds have very sensitive respiratory systems (to be fair, the fumes emitted by overheated cooking oils can kill birds, too).

Now you need to know that PFOA, a chemical used in making PTFE coatings such as teflon, is not only found in non-stick cookware but is also found in items such as eyeglass lenses, waterproof outdoor gear, ball bearings, pizza boxes, and more. Thankfully the EPA classified PFOA as a carcinogen and has urged that companies eliminate its use by 2015.

The important thing to know about non-stick cookware is that if used properly they wont emit toxic fumes but that means keeping the heat to a medium temp or below. But when cooking we rarely use our pans in a low to medium heat. So when you heat to medium-high or above you are abusing your non-stick cookware and causing environmental and health concerns.

So your best bet is to limit your use of non-stick pans or avoid them altogether. Check out the Cookware Consumer Guide for the Big List of the Best of the Best.

Eco-Friendly, Non-Toxic, Safe Baby Rattles

la_hippoSo many friends of mine are expecting and I have been looking at baby toys, seeing whats available. My kids are way past that baby stage so I am not familiar with what is out there. Its crazy to think about all that we ingested when we were kids from the lead-filled painted toys to the toxin leeching toys. Last night I was at a store in Portland and saw some interesting baby rattles that are eco-friendly and non-toxic. Ones that you would love to give and feel good about giving.

Natural Wood Rattle – Wood beads spin and rattle around crescent-shaped handle to entertain baby. Sustainable 100% rubber Wood. Free of toxins with no dyes or stains.

Harper the Hippo Maple Wood Infant Baby Teether Rattle – Handmade from OHIO Maple and finished with Whole Foods certified organic flax seed oil.

Organic Cotton Knitted Bear Teether/Rattle – Safe, Non-toxic and Organic.

Baby Teething Ruing Doll – The perfect safe and non toxic toy. Our doll’s body is made of natural organic cotton, the hat is made from color grown organic cotton, it’s sweet little head is filled with natural wool and the ring is made of natural, untreated wood that has been finished with a water based lacquer. Easy to hold and safe to chew on. A healthy toy parents can feel really good about.

Cherry Rattle by Camden Rose – Beautifully-designed with smooth and gentle contours, all natural and proudly made in the U.S.A. using organized sustainability programs. It is hand polished with beeswax and is non toxic. Since wood is a natural anti-bacterial material, it is ideal and safe for teething to soothe tender gums.

Organic Cotton Teething Twisty Pals – 100% Organic Cotton – unbleached, undyed, not chemically processed.  100% worry free.  Easily washed and dried along with baby’s laundry. The twisted cotton can be slipped over baby’s wrist.

Glass Lock: Non-Toxic Glass Conatainers

group_12000If you’re looking for food containers that are safe and convenient for your family, Glass Lock has just what you are looking for. Made with tempered glass that prevents breakage and transferring of food colors to the containers. You can take these straight from the freezer to the microwave with no problems at all. These are also oven and dishwasher safe.

Glass Lock™ containers are made from all natural stain-proof, shatter-resistant, tempered glass, and are manufactured to withstand repetitive usage in the refrigerator, freezer and microwave. They are ideal for consumers who appreciate being able to store, microwave and serve in the same glass container.

Glass Lock Food Storage Containers come in 3 shapes, round, square and rectangle with an assortment of sizes to choose from. Snapware guarantees there products shall be free from defects or they will replace the defective item at no cost.

Look for Glass Lock the next time you are at the store, most major department/grocery stores carry them. Prices starting at about $8 for one small and around $28 for small, medium and large.

The Story Of Stuff

I came across an interesting video this past week upon recommendation by a professor of mine in a class I had recently. The title of the video is called “The Story of Stuff”. The Story of Stuff has some really interesting things to say about our consumer culture and the way in which our economy has structured itself around our incessant need to consume.

While I may not buy into all of the political jargon in the video, the video outlines some important and staggering truths about our culture and what it has become. It illuminates the linear structure by which our production and consumption is set up and the potential danger of that linear system within a finite planet.

Some of the staggering statistics illuminated in the video are:

Over 99% of the products that we buy are in the trash after six months of use

-Companies and industries often manufacture products to break easier and sooner, forcing us to buy more

-People are working more and more in our culture and have less leisure time, and the two things we most commonly spend our time doing in free time is watching TV and shopping

-The average American sees over 3,000 advertisements a day. We see more advertisements in one year than a person in the 1950s saw in their whole lifetime.

It is important to consider what we are buying and why we are buying it. Are we buying it because we think it will satisfy some sort of desire or happiness? What do we do with our products once we are done with them? Do we throw things away before we need to?

These are things that we here at GreenGlancy are trying to understand and to live out. Check out the video and let us know what you think in the comments section.

Raising Green Babies – BPA Free Giveaway From The Soft Landing

Over at greenandcleanmom.org I found this article, BPA Free giveaway from The Soft Landing. I decided to check out The Soft Landing and see what all the fuss was about.

The Soft Landing came about when Alicia Voorhies, a retired RN, was searching for safe feeding gear. What she realized was how limited the information was and how few options were available. Alicia said What started as a growing awareness of toxic plastics, became a mission to care for my own children and newborn nephews. A highly motivated search team grew out of my concerned family members and now we work together to find the highest quality non-toxic baby care products for our children and yours.”

The Soft Landing is giving away a BPA-free Beginning Solids Kit! If you subscribe by email or in a reader by Oct. 31, 2008. You don’t have much time so do it today. Now greencleanmom.org is also having a giveaway, hosted by The Soft Landing to help them promote their cause. “The winner will win: Dr. Brown’s Glass Bottle and Siliskin Cover Prize and to sweeten the pot, Green and Clean Mom will also throw in a $35 Gift Card to The Soft Landing. That’s a $79 prize value and a whole lot of safe BPA free products! Yee-haw!”

Check out The Soft Landing blog for all the latest Safer Feeding Gear News & Reviews. They offer a guide to feeding baby safely, which has all the info you need to navigate your way around the endless baby products and find the safest options for your little ones. They also have a BPA and PVC Free Plastic Baby Bottle Comparison Chart to download for free.

The options of being able to buy sampler kits appeals to me, because you never know which style your child will like and at least you know they will be a fan of one of them, and the prices are comparable.

Check out The Soft Landing for your next safe baby gear purchase.

7 Bicycle Safety Tips

People all over the country are taking advantage of their bikes now more than ever before, either due to the high rise in gas prices, wanting to lessen their carbon footprint or just needing the exercise. But before you take off on your bike and ride your little heart out, check out these 5 bicycle safety tips to get you where you want to go safely.

1. Do a safety check – Six Point Bicycle Safety Check.

2. Always obey the traffic signs, lights and road markings.

3. Always wear your bicycle helmet. In most states the law is that any person under the age of 16 has to wear a helmet and in some states its under 18, but the best thing you can do for yourself is wear a helmet at all times, no matter you age, when riding a bicycle.

4. Learn the correct hand signals.

5. Be predictable! Don’t surprise pedestrians, motorist, or other cyclist.

6. Cyclists must ride in the same direction as other traffic, not against it.

7. Riding at night – You will need:

  • A white light that illuminates the highway and is visible from a distance of 300 feet to the front and sides of the bicycle.
  • A red reflector mounted on the rear of the bicycle and visible from 500 feet to the rear of the bicycle
  • A white or yellow reflector mounted on each pedal visible 200 feet to the front and rear of the bicycle, a white or yellow reflector on each side forward of the center of the bicycle and a white or red reflector on each side to the rear of the center of the bicycle.