Green and Organic Savings Friday: Coffee, Water Bottles and Phthalate-Free Bath Toys

May 9th, 2008

Welcome back to Green and Organic Savings Friday at OrganicMania! Sorry for getting this post up a little bit later than usual this morning, but with two sickos in the house (DH and Big Boy), things are not going exactly according to plan! I’m sure all of you can relate.

Last Friday, we focused on organic tea. This week, the coffee drinkers get equal time. OrganicMania has blogged here about the fabulous biodynamic espresso beans and coffee available via mail order from Café Altura. It’s a great buy at $11 a pound, including shipping. We splurge on this coffee because DH is a coffee snob. (And I admit I’ve become one too).


But for some folks, coffee is coffee is coffee. They want Fair Trade coffee, but $11 a pound is too expensive. Well, how about $5.88 per pound? I haven’t actually tried this Sam’s Club Fair Trade coffee, but I haven’t seen a better deal. If any of you OrganicManiacs™ out there have tried it, please leave a comment and tell us what you thought! I found this on a scouting expedition the other week to check out Walmart’s organic lines, which have been getting a lot of press. (Yes, if you ever see a Mom with two kids and a Treo snapping pictures in your local store, that’s me! Say hello!) I also reviewed Walmart’s display of Clorox Green Works products during that same trip, check that out here.


Of course, there’s been a huge amount of press lately about the BPA and phthalates leaching into plastic bottles, sending Moms out to the stores in droves looking for eco-friendly green alternatives. The problem is that doing the research to replace your existing water bottles and bath toys can seem like a nearly full time job! If I can save any of you some time with these tips, it would make me very happy!

If you’re anything like my family, you had about 30 or 40 little plastic bath toys floating around your bath tub. They were so cheap, they seemed to invade the house. Well, one advantage to replacing the Cheap Plastic Crap bath toys with phthalate-free bath toys, is that they’re so much more expensive, you won’t have a boatload of them invading your house! But don’t make the same mistake OrganicMania did initially, and buy them separately for $5 to $15 a pop (ouch!) Instead, you can find reasonably priced tubes or boxes of Safari phthalate-free bath toys for around $8 to $10 for 10 to 12 bath toys. Here‘s one spot you can order them – and they’re on sale. Or, if you happen to be at the Delaware beaches, check out Big Boy’s favorite bookstore, Browseabout, which has a great selection of Safari toys – that’s where Big Boy scored his new bath toys.

And finding that perfect BPA-free water bottle? Well, I haven’t found one yet that’s priced right. So in the spirit of reduce, reuse, recycle, here’s what I’m doing….reusing a glass Honest Tea bottle.


Did you find any great deals on green and organic products this week? Leave a comment and share!

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Copyright 2008 OrganicMania

Still No In-Store Refill Containers for Clorox Green Works

April 29th, 2008

Back in January, OrganicMania posted a rave review about Clorox Green Works™, but questioned the lack of refill containers. How can a “green” eco-friendly product lack refill containers? At the time, a Green Works PR rep told OrganicMania that the company was “exploring this option.”

My local grocery store still isn’t carrying refill containers, so this weekend OrganicMania wandered into a Walmart, thinking that if any place would stock refill containers, it would be a superstore like Walmart, which caters to families and people making bulk purchases.


But there were none to be found. It’s now more than three months since the launch of Green Works, and still no refill containers. Do Clorox Green Works, Walmart and the other retailers just expect consumers to keep buying more and more of the small containers? Sure, they’re recyclable, but it’s not as sustainable an approach as offering refill containers.

Refill containers are important because they minimize the use of smaller, nozzled plastic containers, reduce waste, and simply because they’re something green consumers expect from a green product line. They’re a key component of source reduction, which decreases the amount of materials used during the manufacturing and distribution of products.

Funny thing is, you can easily find a 64 ounce refill container for traditional Clorox cleaners, but not for Clorox Green Works.


Can a product be truly green without a sustainable approach to packaging? Me thinks not.

4/30/08 Update: Finally, after more Internet searching, I discovered that refill containers for Green Works are available on line at multiple sources including here, here and here, as well as at warehouse clubs like Sam’s. But this approach isn’t sufficiently green for a green product. If you’re going to market as a green company, you need to be authentically green. That includes packaging considerations. More on this tomorrow, when OrganicMania talks about the Take Back the Filter campaign against Clorox and Brita water filters.

Copyright OrganicMania 2008

Clorox Green Works(TM) Responds to OrganicMania…

January 24th, 2008

Monday’s post about Clorox’s new green cleaning line posed a question about the lack of large refill containers for Green Works products. Refill containers are important because they minimize the use of smaller, nozzled plastic containers, reduce waste, and simply because they’re something green consumers expect from a green product line. They’re a key component of source reduction, which decreases the amount of materials used during the manufacturing and distribution of products.

Since I didn’t see refill containers in the store, nor on the Green Works website, nor mentioned in their press release, nor for that matter mentioned anywhere in the blogosphere, OrganicMania contacted both Clorox and their PR firm to find out about their plans for refill containers.

A representative from Ketchum, Green Works PR firm, left a voicemail for OrganicMania saying that GreenWorks is “exploring this option” and noted that “that’s all the information that’s available right now.”

Hmm…I scratched my head. How can you launch a green product line and not include refills? It seems so basic. Especially when a quick trip to my local grocery store proved that other Clorox products, such as their clean-up cleaner with bleach, come in 64 ounce refill containers.

Before posting this update, I decided to do one more comprehensive web search to see if anyone else was addressing the refill issue. You’ll never guess what I found….on, an ad for a 64 ounce refill container of Green Works glass window cleaner.

Green Works(TM) Really Works!

January 21st, 2008

I hate to clean. Really, really hate it. That’s the reason you haven’t read about green cleaning products on OrganicMania™. After all, it’s so much more fun to try organic foods than to try organic cleaning products!

But the fact is, toxins in the home – many from chemical-laden cleaning products – are one of the greatest dangers to health. When considering which organic and green products to buy, cleaning products should rank near the top of your list, along with “the dirty dozen” fruits and veggies. Yet deciding which green cleaning products to purchase is a tricky and expensive process of trial and error. Like many Moms, I have a shelf full of barely used green products that simply didn’t do the job as well as the tried and true standards we all grew up with – Ajax, Clorox, Mr. Clean, and Spic n’ Span.

Now, improvements are coming with the introduction of green product lines like Clorox’s Green Works. Green Works products include all purpose cleaner, bathroom cleaner, toilet bowl cleaner, dilutable cleaner, and glass and surface cleaner. When I spied some prominently displayed at my local Giant for just $2.99 per 24 oz. bottle, I decided to try the natural bathroom cleaner. After all, I’ve spent more than twice that much on natural cleaners from companies that specialize in green products but are hardly household cleanliness icons, like the Clorox Company.

It’s Green, It Works, and It’s a Bargain at $2.99

Here’s what I noticed when I put Green Works to the test on my dirty bathroom sinks:

• Easy-to-pump trigger – it felt like a “real” cleaning product with foam and spray options;
• Mild, clean scent; and
• Fast working effectiveness.

Incredibly easy to use, all I needed to do was swish some wet towels around the sink and the caked on soap scum and dreck came up really quickly. The entire cleaning process took only seconds, with just a wipe, rather than a true hard scrub.

Some skeptics may question whether Clorox can be trusted to introduce a truly natural product. While there’s no true standard for “natural” products, the Clorox Company states, “We set ourselves a very stringent standard. The ingredients must come from renewable resources, be biodegradable and free of petrochemicals. Green Works™ cleaners are at least 99% natural. In certain cases we had to use synthetic ingredients, like the preservative and green colorant.” The package ingredients are clearly listed. For example, the natural bathroom cleaner contains coconut-based cleaning agent (nonionic surfactant), glycolic acid, essential lemon oil and filtered water. The label also points out that it contains no bleach and no phosphorus.

My only complaint? I didn’t see any large refill containers. I hope Clorox is not expecting green consumers to repurchase these relatively small 24 ounce containers. Sure, there’s a bold printed request to please recycle the packaging, but I didn’t see any large refill containers in the store, nor pictured on their website or mentioned in their press release. These would be an obvious addition for such a complete product line, so lets hope the large refill containers appear in grocery store aisles soon.