Buy Something that Makes a Difference Day!

November 28th, 2008

Last year at this time, I supported “Buy Nothing Day,” which encourages consumers to abstain from “Black Friday” shopping sales.

This year, it’s a different story. With “Going out of Business” signs all around the shopping centers, we see sad reminders of an economy in tatters.

I’m not suggesting you buy a bunch of useless “stuff” just to help the economy and save a few bucks for the holidays. But what I am suggesting is that whether you’re out and about today on “Black Friday” or cruising the Net on “Cyber Monday,” you can choose to make a difference with your purchases by patronizing those companies that help us to go green – either by saving energy, using organic farming methods, or insisting on recycled paper from well managed forests.

And yes, I have a few savings tips for you – all, I’m happy to say, from some great green companies I’m representing through my consulting business.

Savings Tip #1 – Free Organic Food for Kids (With Rebate)
Is there a SuperTarget near you? I visited for the first time last week and was impressed by their attractive display of organic produce, along with the increasing variety of eco-friendly products Target stocks – all at great prices, of course. The reason for my visit was to check out their new display of Mom Made organic foods. Now’s the best time to try Mom Made — for free. Mom Made will refund the purchase price of one Mom Made for Baby, Mom Made Munchie, or Mom Made Meal purchased at SuperTarget through December 10th. Just download this form for info on where to send your receipt and proof of purchase.

Savings Tip#2 – Free Shipping on Energy Efficient LED Lights
Think compact fluorescents are the latest and greatest in energy efficiency? Think again. LEDs are the wave of the future. Prices are coming down, and the energy savings are enormous. (Check out this comparison chart to get informed on the differences between incandescent, compact fluorescent, and
LED lighting for details). Now you can order that practical someone on your list the latest in LED lighting technology – with free shipping for the holidays. Check out Mr. Beams motion sensor activated SpotLight and StairLight, and read their great consumer reviews here.

Savings Tip #3 – 10% off Soft Organic Cotton Tees and Note Cards
Got a dog lover on your list? What about an environmentally conscious dog lover who wants to support dog charities? Check out these adorable, soft, whimsical organic cotton tees printed with water-based inks and the matching note cards, printed on FSC certified paper by an FSC certified printer in a carbon-neutral facility. Coordinating envelopes made from 100% recyclable paper, packed in biodegradable/compostable packaging with hemp string. Whether you choose to shake it off or live in the moment, there’s something for you at Fundamentally Dog! Use coupon code 1EM1108 to save 10% on your first purchase by 12/20/08. 

Happy Shopping…and remember, think carefully about how you spend…you can make a real difference by patronizing firms that are working hard to protect and preserve the environment. Want to take it a step further? Sign up for my friend Diane MacEachern’s “One in a Million Challenge,” and commit to shifting $1,000 of your spending to eco-friendly products. As Diane, author of The Big Green Purse, puts it “The more money you spend on green products, the more you encourage manufacturers to reduce pollution, save energy and water, use less packaging and protect natural areas.”

– Lynn

Copyright 2008 OrganicMania

Ten Tips for Throwing a Green Party

April 20th, 2008

Hope you all had a great Earth Day weekend. I found myself at a book party for Big Green Purse author Diane MacEachern, whom I interviewed here.

Talk about pressure to be green! But it turns out I wasn’t the only one wondering how to dress. That question actually came up at the party. And according to Diane, recycled fibers are best, followed by hand-me-down or “vintage” clothing, and then organic fibers like hemp or cotton. Cotton actually takes a lot of water to grow, organic or not!

Many of the women in attendance had on very chic recycled jewelry made of buttons strung through string and other natural fibers. Apparently a lot of eco-boutiques are carrying these necklaces or – you guessed it – it’s pretty easy to make yourself.

One thing really struck me about the party. Despite the savvy of this crowd of Prius-drivers, even they complained that it’s still hard to find “green” party supplies. People were trading tips about where to find corn-based disposable, biodegradable plates and cutlery.

Here are a few tips I picked up from the Master Green Party Givers, mixed in with a couple of my own suggestions:

1. Skip the paper invitations and use an email invitation program like evite.

2. Decorate with natural materials like plants.

3. Finger food means finger food. Why use forks at all? You can serve foods like asparagus, stuffed mushrooms, cut vegetables, baked brie, cheese, mini-sandwiches, and small pastries or cookies.

4. Go organic! Of course! This includes the alcohol. You can find great organic beers on sale like this one and of course even better is biodynamic wine.

5. Re-usable cups are important. No one likes plastic (least of all your green friends). But even the biodegradable ones are still kind of plastic-y, so why not use real glass or durable re-usable plastic (if you already have them at home)?

6. Cloth napkins are always elegant, but they take on new meaning at a green party. They don’t need to be fancy. You can even use handkerchiefs or odds and ends from a variety of sets.

7. Biodegradable plates are good for the environment, and they feel sturdy, too. They’re actually much nicer to hold than regular paper plates.

8. If you must use cutlery, opt for your everyday stainless. You can wash it. It’s better than plastic that gets thrown away.

9. There’s no need for party favors. People don’t need more stuff, least of all the greenies. If you do want to give something away, a nice reusable bag is always appreciated.

10. And as Diane pointed out, you can compost the left-over party food!

–Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2008

When Green Means Chic

February 22nd, 2008

There was a time when the Greens conjured up images of anything but fashion. The original “Greens” were a political movement that rejected fashion and other bourgeois values. But today’s “Greens,” at least in the US, are primarily female and, as the New York Times pointed out, increasingly bourgeois. So of course they’re interested in fashion. Perhaps that’s why twice in the past few hours I’ve stumbled upon green fashion launches – Organic Style, a new online “green style” magazine, and today’s launch of Mimi and Motherhood Maternity’s new lines of organic cotton clothing and “eco-accessories.”

Organic Style is a brand extension of Organic Bouquet, and an adaptation of a print magazine published for several years by the venerable Rodale Press, the leading health and wellness publishing firm. Organic Style is quite highbrow, promoting items such as cruelty-free footware “custom made to your specifications” for $450 to $800 per pair, luxurious eco-friendly resorts with suites costing $1500 per night, and “the world’s tallest roses,” starting at $249.95. It’s like Town&Country for the eco-set.

At the other end of the spectrum is Motherhood Maternity, offering organic cotton maternity tops for just $17.  The selection is quite small, with just fifteen items encompassing organic t-shirts, Burt’s Bees potions, and organic pregnancy and baby books. Mimi’s selection is more upscale than Motherhood’s, so you’ll pay a higher price for an organic cotton top – about $30 more than at Motherhood.

What I really want to know is – where can I find regular (non-maternity) stylish organic cotton tops for around $17?

– Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2008