Awesome Green Gift Guide Take One

Last year I made a gift guide and I had a blast doing it. This year I am creating a few. This is my first in a few posts of green gifts by category. You will see that in each category I listed an experience. All to often we are left with lots of “stuff” after the holidays that we do not need but someone wanted to get you something so you got that. My list of categories below are short I thought of easily 25 more categories and I will get to them through out the month.

My fellow fabulous bloggers who have made some awesome gift guides that you must check out Cupcakes and Cutlery, A Fabulous FeteI Go You GoMint Loves Social Club, and Hank and Hunt. Check out their guides too (they blog about other awesome things), these take a lot of time to prepare and you will not be disappointed with the awesome ideas you can get from them!


Eco-friendly cookware from Cuisinart Their new GreenGourmet line they created “Cuisinart Ceramica” which is a nonstick technology that is ceramic based instead of petroleum and it’s completely free of PTFE and PFOA. Even the packaging is made out of recycled materials.

Bamboo Cutting Boards Everyone can use new cutting board and utensils, they get old and dirty and the bacteria can grow in the cracks so since using plastic cutting board (which are easier to keep clean) is not a good idea replace their old wooden ones with renewable bamboo.

Cookbooks: I made a whole list of great cookbooks on my post here so go check it out (leave a comment for a chance to win the whole list)

Apron: get an upcycled apron from on of the crafty wizard at Etsy like the one above from Scarlett’s Plunder

Experience: Send them to a cooking class. There are millions around the country go to Google to find one near their home (I found like 90 websites for cooking classes, it really depends on where you live).


Solar backpack I am completed fascinated by these and think there is a level of safety that this can bring to anyone who likes to explore the outdoors. The solar panel can charge a gps or a cell phone, which can help ensure safety when out in the elements.

Outdoor clothing Head over to to check out outdoor wear made from recycled materials, made in factories that adhere to their code of conduct and they give 2% of every sale to partners of change.

Experience At you can browse by destination or by what you want to do so send your friend on a trip of a lifetime (great group gift for the family to chip in on). If you know of a particular location you want to send your family member to you can always find great travel agents who can help create a great experience for them.


Doll House: Plan Toys The Green Dollhouse Last years list had a doll house on the list but this years doll house is even better. It is from Plan, they make their toys out of recycled rubber tree wood. This house has solar panels, wind turbine, rain barrels, and recycling bins. As soon as my daughter is old enough to enjoy this I am buying it for her. I love it.

Craft Supplies: Get some Crazy Crayons Eco Stars everyone loves these I have not put my hands on them but I am have read they great. Get the kids recycled roll paper because kids go through a ton of paper creating their master pieces use recycled paper to cut down on the impact (and recycle it again when they have made a new master piece!)

Experience: Take your kids to local natural history museum or zoo and get a guided tour from one of the experts or create a fun scavenger hunt helping them learn about the things that they are really interested in. Make it a real experience by traveling to a place they have not been to or make sure the experience at the place they have been to is special and different than before. Think of a what an awesome experience it would be for your son who loves dinosaurs to get a tour by a paleontologist, no amount of plastic Legos can make up for that!


Beer: Lots of guys love beer. Go to the local BIG liquor store and make a sampling box of local or organic beers for your man to enjoy. Here are some links to some posts about good organic beers The Daily Green and Head over to Uncommon Goods to get a creative upcycled bottle opener. Finish off the basket by going to Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods or other health food stores to get snacks to go with it (this is also a great last minute gift).

Sporting Equipment: Go to The Fair Corp website to get fair traded ethically made sporting equipment (they have a cool pair of Ethletic shoes that look like Converse but are organic) to get the golfer in your life reclaimed golf balls.

Experience: Music lessons or rock camp, lots of guys dream of the rock star lifestyle and that usually includes playing the guitar or drums so let them live the dream for a little bit. Tickets to a sporting event or concert pick a venue that is close to public transportation or even close enough to walk to. While there is nothing inherently ecofriendly about this idea it is not an actual thing but is something every man will enjoy.


For the new mom: Motherlove makes the best products for the new mom, I love their Green Salve (you do not even need to be a Mom to love this just have some dry skin). Their products are available widely at Whole Foods but also other health food stores or on their website. Every Mom needs a robe… really they do Gaiam has great organic cotton and soy robes and they are incredibly soft.

For an avid reader: Amazon gift card if they have a Kindle or an Ipad, Barnes and Noble card if they have Nook. Personalize it by making a list of your favorite books, books you would like to read, or a list of books you found online that you think they would like. You can always personalize a gift card rather than making it basically money by showing why you thought about giving them that gift. If they are really green and go to the library make a donation in their name and make them a special canvas bag to carry their library books home in (here is a tutorial)

Experience: Get a personal shopper to help vintage shop, lots of cities have walking tours of vintage shops with tips google it for your area or go on Craigslist (make sure you check reference for any Craigslist options, I could say I am good at vintage shopping there and it would not be true).

Tune in tomorrow for my personal green wish list and though out the next few weeks for more ideas. There are a ton of ideas in my head that I need to get the details on to post them!


Survey Says: Guy Like Green Girls!!

So there is a study that came out that says that guys like girls who are green. Drive a gas guzzler, litter, or leave the lights on… you are going to have some lonely nights ahead of you to ponder your eharmony and profile. Guys like chicks that love the Earth too…

More than half the men surveyed stated that they think a woman who is ecofriendly would make a good friend or wife. But I have to add my own spin on this information, most men do NOT want the super crunchy granola chick who does not groom herself to standards that are considered normal and I would venture to guess ruining a date analyzing everything that is non-ecofriendly that you walk by would be taking this survey findings a bit too far.

It is nice to know that your green efforts will help make you more attractive to a mate… so ladies do your makeup and make sure you leave your recycle bin out where he can see it in case you bring him home.

Here is the link to the actual survey info: Timberland Survey

Follow me on Twitter @greenforu

Why Plastic is Bad!

Thousands of people have read my post on “Why Styrofoam is Bad” and I think people are also curious as to why plastic is bad. There has been alot in the news lately about how plastic is not good for our health, it has made the baby product industry particularly evaluate their products and many carry labels professing that they are free of the “bad” plastic.

What is bad plastic called on labels or chemically? Studies have shown that Polyvinyl Chloride or PVC, polycarbonate, bisphenol A (BPA) and the chemical phthalates which soften other chemicals to make the material pliable.

What are the health effects?The chemical typically found in plastic items with a recyclable symbol number 3, Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) leaches the chemical phthalates out into the items/liquids within the containers. The health effects of these chemicals is decreased lung function, increased weight gain, increased resistance to insulin, low sperm count and DNA damage to sperm. There have also been studies that show infant males exposed to this chemical have negative reproductive development.

Polycarbonate which contains bisphenal A (also known as  BPA) can also leech into the contents/liquids that plastic container is holding. While there has not been a ton of human studies done on the human effects these chemicals have there have been extensive animal studies and it is know that bisphenal A mimics estrogen so there are known health effects related to this finding.  There has also been studies that showed bisphenal A increases the occurrence of diabetes, heart disease, and high levels of certain liver enzymes. Women who have everyday contact with this chemical can have an increase in miscarriages, polycystic ovarian syndrome which is known to cause infertility, baldness in women, and ovarian cysts. There have been 100’s of studies in animals that have shown obesity, breast and prostate gland cancer, early puberty, low sperm count, infertility, and reproductive organ defects. The scary fact is the CDC found that BPA was found in 95% of adults and 93% of children urine (source: wikipedia).

So who makes these plastics? Bayer, Dow Chemical and General Electric produce 6 BILLION pounds per year worldwide. Between 1980 and 2000 production grew 5 times just in the US.

Environmental effects of the use of plastic? We all know that plastic does not disappear on its own and everything we throw out made of plastic will be here at least 500 years from now so recycling is the only option. The recycling of plastic is an extremely expensive because there are 7 different plastic recycling codes so all plastics need to be sorted before they can be processed and that is only the plastic products that do not need to be disassembled. Many plastic items are made with different kinds of plastic and would need to be taken apart to be recycled. The cost of disassembling and recycling is usually more than the value of the plastic so that obviously that presents a whole host of problems.

What can you do? Stop purchasing products that are in plastic containers, use less plastic in your home, and if you need to buy plastic items make sure it does not contain BPA. Do not microwave your food in plastic containers and do not put your plastic containers in the dishwasher. You can also appeal to your government to make laws that do not allow these chemicals to be used in the products that we buy. Several states and other governmental bodies have worked to create legislation that protects the consumer. There have also been some recent class action lawsuits that have help sharpen the landscape of this issue.

It is important to note that MANY infant and child products have stopped using the chemicals listed above but as a consumer you should mindful of the health effects and work to avoid exposure. As consumers it is very hard to avoid plastic but the more you try the better it will be for your health and the environment.

Alot of the information I read in preparation for this article talks about how serious the effects of chemicals on fetus’ and small children. I also found that these chemicals have increased significantly in the last 20 years in average everyday item. I seriously wonder how this will affect the fertility and obesity of the children born in the last 20-25 years. They had plastic baby bottles, plastic lunch boxes, plastic bags with all their snacks in it, plastic toys…etc.

I recommend you read a very detailed artcile of the studies and results that have been done on the health effects of plastic. It very readable for the average reader and can be found at here. Here is another article that you find interesting here.

Another note: Plastic is found in canned goods as well. Many cans are coated in a thin layer of plastic on the inside so you are exposed to these chemicals with canned goods.

Below is a list of the recycling codes for plastic and what kind of plastic products carry those symbols.

No. 1: Polyethylene terephthalate (PETE or PET). Used in food and drink containers, including milk jugs. Generally considered safe.

No. 2: High-density polyethylene (HDPE). Used in food and drink containers, detergent bottles, grocery bags, trash bags. Generally considered safe.

No. 3: Polyvinyl chloride (PVC or vinyl). Used in food packaging, cling plastic wraps, vinyl-lined lunchboxes. Gets its flexibility from phthalates, which are possible carcinogens.

No. 4: Low-density polyethylene (LDPE). Used in dry-cleaning bags, bread bags, frozen food bags, squeezable bottles. Generally considered safe.

No. 5: Polypropylene (PP). Used in food and medicine containers. Generally considered safe.

No. 6: Polystyrene (PS) Also known as styrofoam (see my post here for more details on the health effeccts). Used in egg cartons, packing peanuts and disposable cups, plates and cutlery. Some scientists worry about the health effects of the styrene, which can leach into food and drink.

No. 7:  Other (often polycarbonate, PC). Used in hard plastic sports bottles, baby bottles, 5-gallon water jugs. BPA, the chemical that the U.S. is being urged to ban, is found in polycarbonate products. There are BPA-free products made from polyethersulfone (PES), which will be marked with 7 but not PC. Consumer Reports recently tested a handful of BPA-free baby bottles and found that they contained only negligible amounts of the chemical.

Here is another chart to keep handy that describes the plastic, its use and the possible health effects.

Plastic Common Uses Adverse Health Effects
Food packaging, plastic wrap, containers for toiletries, cosmetics, crib bumpers, floor tiles, pacifiers, shower curtains, toys, water pipes, garden hoses, auto upholstery, inflatable swimming pools Can cause cancer, birth defects, genetic changes, chronic bronchitis, ulcers, skin diseases, deafness, vision failure, indigestion, and liver dysfunction
and others)
Softened vinyl products manufactured with phthalates include vinyl clothing, emulsion paint, footwear, printing inks, non-mouthing toys and children’s products, product packaging and food wrap, vinyl flooring, blood bags and tubing, IV containers and components, surgical gloves, breathing tubes, general purpose labware, inhalation masks, many other medical devices Endocrine disruption, linked to asthma, developmental and reporoductive effects. Medical waste with PVC and pthalates is regularly incinerated causing public health effects from the relese of dioxins and mercury, including cancer, birth defects, hormonal changes, declining sperm counts, infertility, endometriosis, and immune system impairment.
Polycarbonate, with Bisphenol A (#7) Water bottles Scientists  have linked very low doses of bisphenol A exposure to cancers, impaired  immune function, early onset of puberty, obesity, diabetes, and  hyperactivity, among other problems (Environment California)
Polystyrene Many food containers for meats, fish, cheeses, yogurt, foam and clear clamshell containers, foam and rigid plates, clear bakery containers, packaging “peanuts”, foam packaging, audio cassette housings, CD cases, disposable cutlery, building insulation, flotation devices, ice buckets, wall tile, paints, serving trays, throw-away hot drink cups, toys Can irritate eyes, nose and throat and can cause dizziness and unconsciousness. Migrates into food and stores in body fat. Elevated rates of lymphatic and hematopoietic cancers for workers.
(#1 PET)
Water and soda bottles, carpet fiber, chewing gum, coffee stirrers, drinking glasses, food containers and wrappers, heat-sealed plastic packaging, kitchenware, plastic bags, squeeze bottles, toys Suspected human carcinogen