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Starbucks Going Green, But is it Enough?

Supporting Starbucks has always been something that weighed on my mind. I admit I drink their coffee, I like it. I drink their cheapest drink mind you, iced coffee. I totally understand how insane it is to spend $5 bucks on a latte, but you know what, that's pretty much anywhere today. So the question remains, is supporting your local Starbucks a bad thing?

I often feel like it is, but at the same time I get annoyed that I feel that way. I would love to support my local cafes, but once summer ends they all stop making iced coffee, forcing me to pay extra for a hot version "over ice" which let me tell you, never tastes the like real thing (as the ice melts immediately and causes you to have a nice watered down morning cuppa joe, ew, no thanks). That being said, I drink iced coffee EVERY DAY, doesn't matter how cold it is out, that's what gloves are for in my opinion!

While Starbucks is a large company and the neighborhood cafe is who I really should be supporting I just can't justify ordering a coffee I don't want just to support. Don't get my wrong, I don't eat at Starbucks, I eat at my local cafes, but for my morning coffee, I get what I want, and I shouldn't feel bad about it.

I just read an article about Starbuck's attempts to green their outposts, it was interesting and great to see they care, but the question remains, is it enough to turn those non-believers. Are they just greenwashing us?

Starbucks plans to boost the sense of local community into specific locations, working in reclaimed wood, repurposed decor and local touches to their shops. In addition they are seeking LEED certification for all of their company-owned stores beginning next year. Check out the article for more information here!

In addition they serve and sell shade grown fair trade coffee, promote reusable cups and provide organic soy milk. But of course at the same time they still have single use sugars and single packaged straws, so the battle continues.

What do you think about all of this?


Awaiting Bunny's Arrival

With only a few weeks (9!) to go before our little eco-bunny arrives I've been working hard on gathering all of her (and my) needs so I can focus on all things HER when she arrives and not have to worry about what she's needing me to pick up. I am in love with the nesting phase, as Kevin and I just moved in June, I am finally able to put those dreams to fruition and go crazy!

I am quite particular with baby clothing, I adore baby clothing, but not just any baby clothing! People can give you whatever their hearts desire, and it is appreciated with open arms, but for me, falling in love with an butter soft pale colored romper provides me with more joy than anything.

I've been working hard to stay eco-friendly with all of my baby shopping, and by eco, I mean that in 2 ways, ecological and economical. It can be done, you just need patience and lots of time. And since I've been shopping for baby since the day we found out, I am doing pretty well. Here are some of my tips for how to keep your wallet full and your baby earth friendly!

1. Hand Me Downs!!! I can't emphasize this enough, getting your friends/relatives to send you hand me downs from their children couldn't be better. Emotionally it's meaningful to put your newborn in something that has been loved before, increasing the memories and life of the item is a great way to stretch your budget and reuse! So go ahead and ask, they may be tossing anyway!

2. Used baby clothing stores, I know I live in NYC and have access to a lot, but take the time to seek this out wherever you live. We have 2 baby specific used clothing stores here that have supplied at least half of our arsenal. We found organic cotton items in both and I can't tell you how excited I was to find items I knew I couldn't afford new for only a few bucks.

3. Vintage baby clothes, I just came across the most beautiful and amazing baby & child vintage clothing website. Now, I warn you, it ain't cheap, but my oh my do I want it all!!! The site is Belle Heir. **Pics in this post are from their site! To die for!

4. Etsy! Support small local artisans by picking up baby goods on the site, there is a ton to choose from.

5. Shop eco brands like Kicky Pants, Kate Quinn Organics, Gerber Organics, BabySoy and Kee Ka Organic Clothing.

6. Think about your purchases, do you really need it? There is a lot of baby items we think we need (bottle warmer etc) that we really don't. Ask around, lots of new parents will be eager to tell you what they DIDN'T use!

7. Research your brands, find a cheap and eco-brand of detergent (often eco-friendly unscented detergent is perfect, no need to spend extra for another bottle that is designed for baby), seek out skincare you can afford that is full or natural and organic ingredients. We are starting with Method Baby & Weleda. All are priced close to the chemical laden big name brands.

8. Choose eco (and baby!) friendly paint for your apartment, we picked up an $8 gallon at Loews! Easy as pie

9. Breastfeed if possible, no wasted containers there!

10. Choose organic cotton or bamboo sheets for baby, if you can't afford an organic mattress that's okay, make your dollar work for you with the sheets, it's what they will be laying on right!

More to come.....


Vegan Footwear Can Be Sexy

I know what you're thinking, huh? We're all making the effort to reduce our meat consumption in order to lessen our impact on the environment, we're sourcing better quality meat be it organic and grass fed, or local and humanly raised (hopefully all of those things) but what about your footwear? Or did you forget that?

Leather is a HUGE huge industry, especially in the handbag and footwear department. It's time to seek better options. Vegan footwear may be harder to find, but isn't everything great worth seeking out?

Olsen Haus is your new favorite designer and your new favorite shoe shop

Check out her bio (pulled from site):
From her work experience in Malaysia, Italy, South American and Asia—to her African safari, the gal has some perspective. On the East Coast, she has been the Creative Director at Tommy Hilfiger and designed for Calvin Klein, Bulga, Nine West, Jodi Arnold MINT, and many others. On the West Coast, she's worn the shoes of a print and ad-campaign stylist, and commercial and film stylist.

Check out her site/shop here!



Hope all you Eco-Papa's out there had a great holiday, enjoying the fresh air and your loved ones!


Dewy Morning

Summer Project

I've had an idea for a while, and someday I might get it together to make it happen....maybe you can attack this project quicker than me!

A group Yard/Stoop/Garage Sale! Often we think we don't have enough to make it worth while, but pool your stuff together and boom, huge sale! Have someone bake some organic brownies or cookies to sell, whip up a few batches of fresh squeezed lemonade and you've got yourself a great weekend!

Here's how I would go about it.

1. Send out an email to a group of friends (who can continue by inviting their pals too), try to decide who's got the best digs to set up shop, aka the best lawn, stoop or most foot traffic.

2. Start cleaning out your home!

3. Pick up price tags and a package of sharpies/markers in as many shades as those selling, each person/couple/household gets a color. That way at the end of the day you can divide the cash to the appropriate recipient.

4. Designate jobs, someone to be in charge of the cash, set up, food sales etc.

5. Organize displays, who's got folding chairs, easy to transport tables etc.

6. Advertise, on craigslist, on facebook, mass emails and lots and lots of posters!

HAVE FUN and make some cash!!! Resell and reuse, make that your motto! Clean house and feel good about it. And whatever you don't sell, donate to charity!

Go forth! Sell!


Compostable Diapers " Kind to You, Your Baby and the Planet"

Dear Eco readers,
I am writing today about Diapers. Nature BabyCare diapers. “Go green without giving up performance” I started out using a brand of unbleached diapers. They fit really well and the no-bleach factor got me in the beginning, but I thought about it more. They are still disposables. Was I really doing something so different by using non- bleached diapers? No I wasn’t! I was still going to contribute 1- 2 tons of non- biodegradable diapers to the environment if I continued using them, and I was, and still am, not ok with that. Second, I wanted to find a product line that really stood the test of eco friendly in many ways.

As I started looking for alternatives, I was frustrated…until I settled on Nature Babycare. They average at $10.99 per package if you buy a case ($43.99) of 4 packages. This price is comparable to many other brands. I order them from, and in NYC they are available at the Green Depot on the Bowery.
Visually I immediately liked the white diaper with the simple patterns of green leaves. I was thrilled that a concerned mother had created them, a Swedish mother, Marlene Sandberg (did I mention that I am very inspired by Nordic design of all sorts) and that they can be composted! And all the packaging they come in too! “100% compostable distribution system. 100% natural and biodegradable backsheet. 100% chlorine free.” They claim that in 150 days a diaper or the package the diapers come in, will be biodegraded. Gone! Re-absorbed into the earth from hence we came. Content wise I was totally satisfied too. They are made “from a corn based compostable non-plastic leakage barrier, distribution layer and consumer packaging.”
(Never throw the fecal matter in the compost, or try to home compost a fecal matter diaper. My father just published a scientific article about the high amount of feces found in commercial grade compost currently on the market.)
The fit of Nature BabyCare are different from other brands, but as with one brand to the next sizing doesn’t always carry over. They are not as stretchy like other commercial brands; considering what they are made of this is fine. They have to be pulled slightly tighter, but the “elastic” edges do their job very well. None of these things hinder Siena’s bum in any way.
Now the true test, to see if a product is really what it claims to be, one has to run an analysis. Not everyone has access to a lab, but that’s why I am writing about this dear readers! My father owns and runs a compost and bio energy laboratory in Maine. He has the ability to run tests on many different types of substances to see what kind of composting program he can create to cause the breakdown of an item. To begin with, I threw at least 2 diapers into my father’s large home compost bin. It resides outside, next to the garden, as a stately green figure. He didn’t notice any diapers when he turned the pile about 2 months later, which is great news; and so I asked him to test the packaging the diaper comes in.

In the following photos, the bag, (the packaging the diapers come in), is shown in several stages of breakdown. The day is noted as 1st image: 42 days, 2nd image: 69 days, and the 3rd image is 88 days. The final outcome: the bag was completely broken down in less time (88 days) than the company claims (they claim 150 days). Excellent product, it actually exceeds the claims and therefore proves it is Eco Mama’s no. 1 choice.

For the rest of the article check out Eco-Mama's blog FeverBreaks and check out the rest of Nature BabyCare's line on their website!

(Images: Courtesy of Eco-Mama & 1st image

Does Recycling Really Make A Difference?

So, we've all wondered if recycling really does make a big impact...

My answer before even investigating is OF COURSE. Not only are you taking responsibility for your trash and taking a stand, proclaiming that you do in fact care, but you are turning trash into something new and usable again!

Here are some stats to help you see the light too...

(info below from Planet Green)

*20 recycled cans can be made with the energy needed to produce just one single can using virgin materials.

*Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to keep a 100-watt bulb burning for almost four hours or run your television for three hours.

*Tossing a single aluminum can in the garbage wastes as much energy as pouring out half of that can’s volume of gasoline. (whoa!)

*Glass can be recycled over and over again without compromising its quality

*Every 20 glass bottles you recycle will save two pounds of carbon emissions

*Each pound of mixed municipal solid waste (MSW) that you recycle is not only a pound saved from many years in a landfill, but saves 2.5 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions.



Weekend Reading

I came across this article this morning and had to pass it along for your weekend reading....

Fast food can be healthy for you and the planet, so don't feel bad if you're jonesing for a cheap and quick meal. Never fear, here's your ultimate list.

Here's the lowdown of the top 10, and of course click here for the rest of the article and more details (including where the restaurants are located):

10. Organic To Go
9. Chipotle Mexican Grill
8. Evos
7. GustOrganic
6. O'Naturals
5. Amanda's
4. Burgerville
3. Seller's Market
2. Pizza Fusion
1. Pret A Manger


Don't Forget.....

Food Inc. Opens today in NY/LA/SF!!!

I blogged about this one weeks ago and it's finally here! I can't wait to see it. I've read so much about this topic and really changed my eating habits over the past few years and visually experiencing the impact of this knowledge will be amazing. Support this film, learn something and change your life forever!

Click here to learn more on the movie's website


Blog Inspiration

Doing my daily check of blogs, I came across some beautiful home decor shots. I am in the process of setting up house myself and eat photo I see like this makes me want to take a deep breath, a big pause and start over with all new colors and designs....

All images from {frolic!}

Trying to stay eco-friendly when decorating is hard sometimes, you've got to reign in your desires to "start over" and buy all new....buying vintage and used is great, but try to reinvent what you have, repaint furniture, wallpaper your bathroom and work with what you have. And of course pick up a few things here and there if you must!

I love large vased flowers like this...

Organized chaos is my favorite look, so hard to achieve!

I love how cool and calm this room looks....


Surf's Up Dude

While many of us can only drool at the thought of spending the day catching waves at the beach, many of us are lucky enough to live driving distance to the big blue ocean. What better time to rethink your summer purchases and check out a more eco-friendly surf board!

Grain SurfBoards makes beautiful boards out of Northern White Cedar with a bit of Western Red Cedar for color. They use wood from sustainable forestry professionals, meaning also that they are supporting small family-owned sawmills. Snap!

And while the boards seem slightly heavier on land, in the water this turns directly into momentium....sounds good to me.

And if wood surfboards still seem odd to you, remember surf boards were originally made of wood, not so crazy now eh?

And if I do say so myself, they are pretty gorgeous to look at. Now if only I could have the drive to learn to surf.....


Good Morning Beautiful

Organic Trends in India

India has more than 300,000 organic farmers, and that number is growing!

Monsanto, the agribusiness giant that likes to stomp on smaller farmers with their genetically altered seeds & growing methods is trying to make their mark in India but Indian farmers are fighting back with organic methods, and that's always a good thing.

One farmer speaks out about the benefits of organic farming:
"Our rice yields under the organic system are almost as good as before," he says, as his wife scoops up cow manure with her hands and pats it into disks to fuel the cooking fire. "And we're spending much less money on inputs, since we're not buying pesticides and fertilizer — although labor costs have increased."

Click here to read the entire article!


Eco-Weekend Plans

As the weekend approaches it's time to put your eco-thinking cap on and set out to keep the green momentum going. Here are some ideas of what you can do to get your green on this weekend.....

As the sun begins to shine, get those curtains or blinds open, ditch the lights in the house and use natural light to get you through the day. Make sure you turn lights off all day long, it's habit to turn them on despite barely seeing any additional light when the windows are open. Cut your bills too!

Cook! Create a feast for your loved ones with delicious in season organic produce, naturally and socially responsibly raised meats & poultry. Looking for grassfed in your area, click here! I know you'll find what you're looking for at

Ditch the car for your bike, or legs! Walk where you're going, ride in the sunshine and enjoy the fresh air. Obviously this depends on where you live, but the more you spend outside enjoying the fresh air the better, no matter where you live.

Support local artisans by shopping at local boutiques and farmers markets. I will be attending the Renegade Craft Fair in Brooklyn this weekend, with over 300 vendors this year I can't wait! I am hoping to find a little something sweet for baby...The craft fair rolls around to Brooklyn, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago, check out the link above to find out more info, dates & links to vendor sites.

Enjoy yourself....