Archive for the ‘organic’ Category

7 eco-friendly donations for your child’s classroom

Posted on September 4th, 2012 in organic, recycling, seeds of change, Uncategorized |

Teachers are always in need of extra supplies at the beginning of the school year.  Here are a few ideas for eco-friendly donations that will help your child’s class get a little greener.

Scratch paper.  If you or someone you know works in an office which generates paper used only on one side, bring it in to be used as scratch paper or as art supplies.

Green wipes and tissues – A container of wipes made with eco-friendly and healthier materials, or tissues made from recycled paper, will definitely come in handy during the school year.

Homemade, naturally dyed play dough – For younger classrooms, whip up a batch of play dough using vegetable or fruit juice for dyes, to replace the artificially dyed kind.

Green school and art supplies.  More green art and school supplies seem to be coming on the market all the time, such as the cedar pencils to the right which are made from wood scraps.  Green paints, crayons, and modeling clay are other supplies you can green with a donation.

Books about green topics – Buy or borrow from the library (even better!) books at your child’s grade level on green topics such as recycling, plants and animals, or climate change for your child’s classroom library.

“Adopt” an animal or an acre of rainforest for the class – Particularly if you know that your child’s class will be studying a species or a particular habitat (rainforest, desert, oceans), sponsor an animal or habitat “adoption.”  Several organizations run such programs, such as the The World Wildlife Fund, Oceana, and The Nature Conservancy.

Recycling help – If your child’s school doesn’t have a recycling program, offer to set up a simple recycling program in your child’s classroom.  A box for recycled paper is a great start!

 

 

 

Pretend Play Giveaway-Week 3- Royal Fun!

Posted on July 30th, 2012 in dandelion products, feeding baby, Imagination, organic, Uncategorized |

This is week 3 of our 4 week Pretend Play Contest! Dandelion, Earth-Friendly Goods is giving away a set of Pretend Play each week all month!  Our Pretend Play line is designed as “grow-with-me” toys.  As your child’s interests and abilities progress, the Pretend Play characters will become part of their world of imagination and fun!

We’re just as concerned as you about toxins in toys and teethers. Our babies’ toys spent countless hours being “loved” and mouthed, and we make these little friends durable enough to withstand all that attention – without the toxic materials. Our Pretend Play line is woven from brightly colored pesticide-free bamboo rayon thread and stuffed with natural corn-fiber filling.  They are cute, durable and machine washable!

Our 3 Pretend Play characters for this week’s contest are royally precious.  The King, Queen, and Wizard set, a $45 value will offer hours of entertainment for your little one. To win, tell us in the comments below what you’d name them, if you win them.

Next week we are bringing in the whole family!

To enter, please tell us what you do to ensure your buying safe, toxin-free, all-natural products for your family.

Check out all of our products at:  www.dandelionforbaby.com

Pretend Play-Rescue Hero Contest!

Posted on July 24th, 2012 in dandelion products, organic, seeds of change, Uncategorized |

This is week 2 of our 4 week Pretend Play Contest Dandelion, Earth-Friendly Goods is giving away a set of Pretend Play each week all month!  Our Pretend Play line is a designed as “grow-with-me” toys.  As your child’s interests and abilities progress, the Pretend Play characters will become part of their world of imagination and fun!

We’re just as concerned as you about toxins in toys and teethers. Our babies’ toys spent countless hours being “loved” and mouthed, and we make these little friends durable enough to withstand all that attention – without the toxic materials. Our Pretend Play line is woven from brightly colored pesticide-free bamboo rayon thread and stuffed with natural corn-fiber filling.  They are cute, durable and machine washable!

We are giving away 3 Pretend Play characters in this week’s contest:  the Police Man, Fireman, and Construction worker set, a $39 value. To win, tell us in the comments below what you’d name them, if you win them.

Come back next week to win Royalty!

To enter, please tell us what you do to ensure your buying safe, toxin-free, all-natural products for your family.

Check out all of our products at:  www.dandelionforbaby.com

Why buy an organic crib mattress? Is there a cheaper alternative?

Posted on June 4th, 2012 in organic, seeds of change, Uncategorized |

When we (finally!) lay our little ones down to sleep the last thing we usually think about is chemical exposure.

But conventional mattresses, according to Planet Home author Alexandra Zissou, are “veritable clouds of questionable chemicals.”  One solution is an organic crib mattress.  But since they’re more expensive than conventional ones, it makes sense to understand the issue and the options.

So, why buy an organic mattress?

Conventional crib mattresses contain a host of chemicals.  Conventional mattresses contain flame retardants which are potentially carcinogenic, can cause thyroid disruption, and are reproductive toxins and endocrine disruptors.  Many also contain vinyl and phthalates.  While flame retardant chemicals have undoubtedly saved lives, they also contribute to the high “body burden” children carry of potentially harmful chemicals.

Babies much more of their day sleeping than adults.  Newborns typically spend 16 or 17 hours sleeping, and older babies also spend far more hours asleep than adults.  So your child has more exposure to his or her mattress than we do to ours.

Babies spend more time on the floor, where chemicals collect.  Chemicals which off-gas from mattresses into the air collect in dust on the floor, where babies spend much more of their time.  And since babies engage in lots of “hand to mouth” behavior, their risk is higher.

A link to SIDS?  Some research from New Zealand has raised the question of a connection between conventional mattresses and SIDS risk.  Most sources say that the jury is still out on this question, but if you’d like to read more, Healthy Children has a summary of the issue with plenty of references.

How can you afford an organic mattress?  Are there other ways to minimize the risks without spending a lot more money?  Here are a few ideas:

  • Ask your friends and family to contribute toward the purchase of an organic mattress in lieu of other presents.
  • Forgo some of the less necessary purchases to save for an organic mattress.
  • Wrap your mattress in a tested mattress wrapping product.  BabeSafe, a New Zealand company, offers mattress wraps which have been shown to block chemical exposure.
  • More sleep on you.  Babies love few things more than a nap on a warm grown-up, so use slings/carriers or an organic nursing pillow for naps.  Just be sure to follow safe co-sleeping guidelines.
  • Co-sleeping on a safe mattress.  A larger expense, but one that might benefit more family members, would be to purchase a safer mattress for you and co-sleep safely with your baby.  Unfortunately, we don’t know of any mattress wrapping product for adult size mattresses.
  • Check out this Healthy Child post for some other budget friendly solutions.

If and when you do decide to buy an organic mattress, see Healthy Child’s guide to choosing a mattress and avoiding the “greenwashing” claims of some manufacturers.

Toxic flame retardants in your baby products?

Posted on February 15th, 2012 in organic, seeds of change |

We were dismayed to see this recent report, Hidden Hazards in the Nursery, authored by The Washington Toxics Coalition and Safer States.

The report details the results of testing of foam in a number of commonly purchased baby products.  The authors purchased 20 common baby products at major retailers and had them tested at Duke University.  The results: 17 tested positive for toxic flame retardants, some of which had been phased out of children’s pajamas in the 1970′s because of their potentially harmful effects.

The report found flame retardants in bassinet pads, nursing pillows, changing pads, and car seats.  The most commonly found flame retardant was chlorinated Tris (TDCPP), found in 80% of the products.  The report states that “California recently classified chlorinated Tris as a carcinogen, and evidence links the chemical to neurotoxicity as well as hormone disruption.” The full list of tested products is here (pdf).

The Coalition notes that there are safe means of achieving flame resistance without the use of Tris or other chemicals known to pose health risks.   The Eddie Bauer Pop-up Booster Seat, Balboa Nursing Pillow, and First Years Co-Sleeper all tested negative for Tris, and the report states that several other companies are known not to use it (Boppy, Orbit Baby, and Baby Bjorn).

The Washington Toxics Coalition offers some tips for lowering your family’s exposure to Tris.  And you might consider joining the Safe Chemicals, Healthy Families campaign.

 

A snowman you can snuggle up to!

Posted on January 20th, 2012 in dandelion products, organic, Uncategorized |

Snow is finally falling in many areas of the country.  We hope you’ll enjoy getting cozy with our line of snowmen!

Our Build a Snowman book is oversized for little hands to manage.  Its soft velour pages crinkle and are secured by candy cane knots.  It features bold colorful pictures of everything baby needs to build their own special snowman.  It’s velour with organic cotton fibers and filled with soft corn fibers.

Our Plush Snowman is a puffy plush friend wrapped with with knots for tugging and teething.  This Snowman is ready for warm cuddles and quiet take-along adventures.  He’s velour made with organic cotton fibers and filled with soft corn fibers.

The irresistible Snowman Cuddlie teething blanket is so soft and squishy.  His cute knots, pillow-soft stuffed head and stitched details, make him perfect for safe teething and soft hugging.  He’s velour made with organic cotton fibers and filled with soft corn fibers.

All are machine washable, so they’re made to be carried and loved everywhere!  We hope you’ll brighten up the winter season with these safe, organic toys for baby!

How can you know if the toys you’re buying are toxin-free? A podcast interview with The Smart Mama

Posted on November 28th, 2011 in feeding baby, organic, podcasts, seeds of change |

We’re very happy to share an interview about toxic materials in toys with Jennifer Taggart, author of Smart Mama’s Green Guide: Simple Steps to Reduce Your Child’s Toxic Chemical Exposure.  Jennifer runs the website The Smart Mama.

As many of us get ready to buy toys for holiday gifts we thought we’d explore the issue of toxins in toys, and try to answer the question:  “How do I know that this toy is safe?”

Jennifer talked about the chemicals of concern, which types of toys are of particular concern, how toxins in toys are regulated, and resources to help consumers avoid buying toys with toxins.

You can listen to the podcast with the player below, listen with Quicktime, or download and listen from our free iTunes store.

 

 

Don’t bag ‘em! Consider these ten ways to make use of your fall leaves

Posted on October 31st, 2011 in organic, recycling, seeds of change |

Since many of us are spending our weekends raking leaves these days, we thought we’d share this list of way to use your leaves in the garden and in your home.

Bagging, hauling, and disposing of leaves uses landfill space, fuel, and other resources, costs towns (taxpayer) money, removes nutrients from the environment.  These alternatives make better environmental sense.

1.  Leave them where they are to provide a home for insects, amphibians, and as root insulation for trees.

2.  Compost them along with nitrogen-rich materials (like lawn clippings, food scraps), and have great mulch by spring.

3.  Mow them into your lawn, and see less weeds next year.

4.  Use as winter cover for your vegetable garden plot.  Worms love leaves, and plants love worm castings!

5.  Use as a winter blanket for your more fragile outside plants.

6.  Make leaf rubbings.

7.  Make leaf sun catchers for your windows.

8.  Use them to stuff a scarecrow (and then compost them).

9.  Make a leaf wreath.

10.  And don’t forget to make big piles and jump in them!

Podcast: Greening your cat and dog care, with the owner of Green Dog Pet Supply

Posted on September 30th, 2011 in organic, recycling, seeds of change, Uncategorized |

Want to make the care of your cat or dog more environmentally friendly?  Not sure about that clay kitty litter or your dog’s food?

We talked to Christine Mallar, owner of Green Dog Pet Supply – the nation’s first pet store specializing in environmentally-friendly pet care products – about how we can all green our pet care.  We discussed pet foods, kitty litter, toys and bedding, and ways to make green pet care affordable.

You can listen to the podcast using the player below, listen with Quicktime, or listen through our free iTunes store.

 

 

The picnic, Mad Men style. How green is yours?

Posted on July 16th, 2011 in organic, recycling, seeds of change |

Even if you aren’t a Mad Men fanatic you may enjoy (or cringe at) this depiction of a 1960′s picnic in the park.

Fortunately for everyone, picnic norms have changed a lot since then.  But while it’s no longer acceptable to dump your trash on the grass, many of us can still do better at making our picnics more eco-friendly.

Here are some guidelines for making your next picnic a green one:

Get there green.  Biking, walking and other human-powered means of transportation are obviously the greenest, but if you live far from your picnic spot, public transportation is is usually preferable to driving your own car.  A side benefit:  no hunting for parking.

Ditch the disposables.  Bring your food in reusable containers (no plastic sandwich bags), carry drinks in reusable water bottles, and bring your own silverware and cloth napkins.

Eat green.  Ideally, it’s best to bring fresh, local, and organic food, prepared at home.  But if that’s not practical, just avoiding processed foods is a great start.

Leave no trace.  Be sure to pack it all up when you leave, and if you’ve been grilling be sure to follow safety guidelines.

How green have your picnics been this summer?

 

Do you u-pick?

Posted on June 17th, 2011 in feeding baby, organic, seeds of change |

It’s the time of year when farmstands pop up and farms open their fields for pick-your-own visitors.

We thought we’d name some of our favorites reasons why u-pick is great for kids – and you!

It’s fun! First and foremost, it’s just so much fun for kids to hunt for the perfect strawberry or peach.

Yum. Is anything better than a blueberry right off the bush?  Healthy eating is never as attractive as when you have a role in getting the food to your plate – or mouth.  Ever notice that kids will eat more of what they pick or grow themselves?

It supports local agriculture. When you u-pick you support small, local farms.  And kids may even get to meet the farmer.

It’s affordable. Pick your own is often more affordable than store-bought, especially when it’s organic.

It connects kids to the seasons.  Judging by what you can buy in a supermarket, you can understand why kids might think that January is tomato season.  U-pick helps them learn the rhythm of the seasons.  And it reminds you when to look for the best-tasting and most affordable produce.

It can be more a more affordable way to buy organic. Look for organic farms, especially since your little ones will be running around in the fields.  When you do find them, organic u-pick farms may be cheaper than store-bought organic.

It gets kids outside.  Fresh air and sunshine is the best antidote to summer boredom and the best way to pull kids away from electronic media.

Kids may spot a tractor or two. Need we say more?

If you’re looking for a list of u-pick farms in your area, try this state-by-state directory.

Is u-pick a summer tradition for you?  What’s your favorite thing to pick?

Saving money and the planet while preparing for baby: A podcast interview with author of The Eco-Nomical Baby Guide

Posted on June 7th, 2011 in feeding baby, organic, podcasts, recycling, seeds of change |

Going green and saving money while preparing for a baby isn’t that hard!

For this month’s podcast we talked with Joy Hatch, co-author of The Eco-Nomical Baby Guide, and co-founder of the website Green Baby Guide, about how to do it.

While the average family spends $7,000 on their baby in the first year, Joy spent less than $1,000.  In our interview she shared some great tips for saving money while reducing, reusing, and recycling.  One piece of advice we liked:

“Your baby will think a box is fascinating – or a little piece of ribbon.  So I think it’s wonderful to buy some really nice organic toys, and then instead of buying a whole bunch of low quality plastic junk, letting them play with what you have.”

We talked about how to know if used gear is safe, which parenting choices are high on the green list, and baby products you can make yourself.

You can listen to the podcast with the player below, listen with Quicktime, or at our free iTunes store!

Which produce should you always buy organic? Keep this guide in your wallet or on your phone.

Posted on May 16th, 2011 in organic, seeds of change |

There are many reasons to buy organic food:  less pesticide exposure for you, few chemicals in the environment, better nutritional content, and no use of hormones, drugs, or genetically modified products.

But when it comes to produce and pesticides, not all products are equal.  Some fruits and vegetables are sprayed with many different types of pesticides.  Some produce is particularly likely to retain pesticide residue.  Other produce is sprayed minimally and poses a very low risk of exposing you to chemicals.

When you’re walking down the produce aisle – and trying to figure out what you can afford to buy organic -  it can be hard to sort it all out.

Fortunately for all of us, the Environmental Working Group has taken confusion out of the shopping by analyzing data from the USDA and the FDA and producing a simple and easy to use guide to what to always buy organic.

Their “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides,” should have a place in your wallet or on your phone.  It lists the  “Dirty Dozen,” (the produce carrying the highest amount of pesticides), and the “Clean 15,” (the lowest in pesticides).  Naturally, they encourage us to always buy the “Dirty Dozen” organic.

You can print the pdf version and keep it in your wallet, or download the iPhone app for free and keep it on your phone.  This list was updated last year, so if you have an older version you’ll want to swap it out.

Celebrate spring with 3 eco-ideas

Posted on April 29th, 2011 in organic, recycling, seeds of change |

We’re happy to share this article on celebrating spring from Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson, mother and daughter authors of Celebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations and Traditions for the Whole Family.

You can listen to our podcast interview with them on how to throw an eco-friendly baby shower!

Celebrate spring with these 3 eco-ideas

Whether daffodil stems have barely pierced the dirt or have already popped open where you live, here are three eco-friendly ways to dump the winter blahs and celebrate spring.

Why are they eco-friendly?

  • They don’t require buying
  • They produce no waste
  • They have no impact on the Earth

1. Plan an afternoon outside

  • Hunt for signs of spring. See who can find the most.
  • Dye silks that kids love to use for play
  • Take a book about trees and identify as many as you can. Take a sketch book and let everyone draw the different trees
  • Making bark rubbings using crayons
  • Collect rocks to use for crafting
  • Play clothes pin tag and other tag games
  • Build a shelter from things you have lying around
  • Create an obstacle course from natural materials, for example, rocks and branches

2. Create!

  • Look around your house and gather materials that you can use to make spring collages. Papers of all kinds of course, costume jewelry, even nuts and bolts. Give everyone a piece of cardboard, then glue the items on to make flowers or other spring images.
  • Make birdhouses cardboard or scrap lumber. The former can be hung outside in protected areas or kept inside as a reminder of spring.
  • Hand make a book featuring quotes about spring.
  • Make up a play, song, puppet show or skit with a spring theme.
  • Paint or wrap paper around cans that you can fill with flowers or blooming branches when the time is right
  • Make flower pins using felt you can easily make from old wool sweaters

3. Go a little crazy! (You’ve just been through a long winter, it’s OK!)

  • Eat breakfast under the dining table
  • Stage a backwards dinner (insist that no one will get their broccoli unless they eat their dessert)
  • Make faces with your food
  • Make flour finger paints then “finger paint” with your feet!
  • Exchange roles for a meal. Put everyone’s name on a piece of paper (remember to recycle). Each person chooses. Whomever they get, they assume that role during dinner.
  • No matter your age, try standing on your head (with help and against a wall still counts)
  • Put on some springlike music and dance til you drop

Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson are mother and daughter and co-authors of Celebrate Green! Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations and Traditions for the Whole Family, available at www.CelebrateGreen.net

At Dandelion, every day is Earth Day

Posted on April 22nd, 2011 in dandelion products, organic, recycling, seeds of change |

This week communities across the world are celebrating Earth Day.  But long after Earth Day has passed we at Dandelion will still be doing everything we can to protect our planet.

We chose the dandelion as our namesake because it’s hardy but also adaptable.  We believe that, as caretakers of our planet, it’s crucial to adapt to meet our environmental challenges.  In every decision we make we consider how we can become even more green.

So we’ve committed to observing Earth Day 365 days a year.  Here are some of the ways we meet that commitment:

Organic cotton and bamboo fabrics.

We believe that the fabrics closest to your baby should be closest to nature.  Our toys, clothing, and bags are made with certified organic cotton certified organic bamboo.  Using organic cotton means less pesticide use and a safer product for your baby.  Bamboo is a sustainable and renewable resource requiring no pesticides.

Corn-based plastics.

Our teethers and natural tableware are made with cornstarch instead of petroleum-based plastic.  It has has no BPA, no phthalates, and no PVCs. The materials we use are biodegradable, and unlike petroleum based products, corn is a renewable and sustainable resource.  Our corn-based products require significantly less fossil resources, and generate far fewer green house gases than conventional plastic.

Corn and bamboo fiber filling.

We choose corn fiber filling instead of synthetic filling for our toys because it is both natural and washable.  Corn filling retains its loft and does not clump, like cotton filling can.  In our new handcrafted line we use bamboo filling, another sustainable choice.

Low impact dyes.

We use fiber reactive dyes. Fiber reactive dyes are also called “low-impact” dyes due to their low-impact on the environment.  They have a significantly higher dye absorption rate (70-80%), which means less rinsing and much less dye runoff in the water: hence, a “lower impact” on the environment. Low-impact dyes typically have no heavy metals and don’t require mordants.

Eco-friendly packaging.

Our amazing packaging is eco-friendly!  Each item comes in a custom designed card or sleeve, and “locks” into place using the product’s unique features. No twist ties.  No plastics.  No cellophane wraps. Just 100% recycled paper and vegetable ink.  And you can make the next eco-logical choice… recycle it again at home!  Our sleeve system also reduces the overall size of the package.  A smaller package size means less fuel is used for transportation. Less fuel + less waste= less impact on our environment.

Going green at our offices.

At our offices we’ve reduced our energy usage, provided staff reusable drinking containers, and use recycled paper products.  And we’re always looking for new ways to work green!

Supporting green charities.

We are proud members of 1% for the Planet. As a member, we contribute one percent of revenues to approved non-profit environmental organizations including the Nature Conservancy and the Ocean Conservancy.  We’re a partner of carbonfund.org and members of the Organic Trade Association and the Natural Products Association.