Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Fair Trade

I am expecting that many of my future posts will introduce my favorite Fair Trade items, but before I address specific products, I wanted to talk about Fair Trade itself. What is it and why should we look for it? It’s a simple definition and the name Fair Trade really sums it up, but specifically it means that the worker was paid a fair wage under healthy and safe working conditions, without child labor and that environmental impact was minimized. It is not the same as organic but often the two can be found hand in hand.

Fair Trade USA is the most common certification you will see on products. They are a nonprofit organization that certifies if a product is fair trade or not. Their website is http://www.fairtradeusa.org/

Here is a quick Youtube video from Fair Trade USA that explains it.


Do you look for the Fair Trade label? What items do you buy that are Fair Trade?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Reusable Sandwich Bags

My kids prefer a bag lunch. Waiting in line at the school cafeteria just eats up too much of their short lunch break. So everyday, I pack them a lunch. And everyday I use at least SIX plastic bags total for my two kids’ lunches. It really adds up. This summer I made the decision to switch to a reusable sandwich bag, prompted by a GROUPON offer that made it enticing to give it a try.

I’ve been using these bags for about 5 months now and I have noticed a BIG difference. On the occasional day that I haven’t had a clean reusable bag to use, I cringe at the thought of going back to the plastic bags.

There are a few companies that offer the bags. You can check Amazon.com or etsy. Plus you are likely to be supporting a small business when you purchase these bags. If you decide you like them, I recommend ordering enough to get you through the week, however many that may be for you and then you can wash them all at once at the end of the week. I seem to use the smaller snack bag size more often, finding that they hold plenty.

I use the REUSIES brand (www.reusies.com). The kids loved being able to pick out a style they liked. They are lined, but not waterproof. They are dishwasher and washing machine safe, or for a quick clean up, I just wipe them with a soapy towel, rinse and let them air dry. I like that there is Velcro in two places on the bag, depending on how much is in the bag, you can get a tighter closure.

Just a warning though, as I mentioned above, the bags are not waterproof and there is not a tight seal like you get on a disposable zipper bag. For something a little more airtight, check out Laptop Lunches (www.laptoplunches.com). They offer adorable bento box style lunch boxes.

Still not sure? Here’s something to think about (info is from the Reusies website):

Plastic bags make up over 10% of debris found on US Coastlines. Each plastic bag takes over 1,000 years to break down. Plastic bags do not biodegrade, they photodegrade whereby over time they breakdown into smaller, more toxic petropolymers. Less than 1% of plastic bags are recycled. It costs more to recycle a plastic bag than to produce a new one.

So what do you think? Do you have a particular reusable bag you really like? Please share!

Welcome to my blog! I've decided it is time for me to be educated about the items I buy, whether it be making healthier choices with food or health and beauty products, or choosing to spend on items that have greater meaning to the recipient, less impact to the environment or benefit to a worthy cause. I would like to share my findings on this blog. Each post will feature a different item or company. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy!