Itty Bitty Greenie

eco-fabulous finds for kids

Archive for the ‘Reduce’ Category

Top 5 tips for a spring clean – the greenie way

blog-springcleanSpring has to be one of my favourite times of the year. After a long grey winter, those first rays of sunshine and buds of green popping up in the garden somehow inspires me to freshen up our living spaces, indoors and out. Here are some of my top tips for greening up while you’re cleaning up.

1) REDUCE: The quickest way to do your spring cleaning is to have less to clean… so take this opportunity to clear out closets, toy boxes, shelves, the pantry and get rid of all that stuff you don’t use.

2) TURN UP THE SHINE: It doesn’t take more than a little vinegar and water to get rid of the grime on your windows, a little lemon and bi-carb to scrub the bathroom and a little eucalyptus oil and water to clean and disinfect floors and benchtops. Think natural and you’ll save on harmful chemical exposures found in most conventional cleaners as well as saving money.

3) CLEAR THE AIR: add some freshness indoors and out with a few potted plants. They act as a natural air filter indoors and can add some colour and cheer to outdoor spaces.

4) SHARE THE LOAD: Pick a day and have a family cleaning bee. It’s great to get the kids involved in de-cluttering their own things and sharing responsibilities at home. Choose some kid-sized chores (like cleaning out the cubby house, weeding or washing down patio furniture), and you can reward yourselves later for a job well done.

5) CHECK IT OUT: Spring is a good time to check your major appliances to ensure they are running efficiently. Dust off the ceiling fans, clean the seals on your refrigerator, and clean out your washing machine and dishwasher to ensure they are running efficiently.

We are currently testing  some amazing new eco-friendly products; an alternative solution to laundry detergents and a probiotic all purpose cleaner. Stay Tuned!

 

10 EASY green parenting choices that will save you money

1) CHOOSE SECOND-HAND ITEMS: It’s tempting for parents to buy shiny new gear for their first born, but since baby items are only used for a short period, isn’t it wiser to cut your consumption and save cash? Graciously accept donations and visit garage sales and online shops specializing in second-hand goods like Petite Repeat. Supporting a sustainable future for our children is win-win for buyers and sellers.

2) NAPPIES: When you consider that the average family can save thousands of dollars by using cloth nappies instead of disposables, it really adds up. The good news is there are heaps of modern cloth nappies that are not only easy to use but gorgeous too. Some of our faves: TotsBots EasyFit cloth nappies and Designer Bums all in ones.

3) BABY WIPES: They are a nappy bag essential, but have you ever thought about the amount of waste they create and how much money they cost in the long run? One easy way save is to keep a stack of clean baby washers next to the change table and a spray bottle with nothing more than water and a few drops of essential oil – does the trick!

4) ECO CLEANING: Ever notice how much more laundry comes into your life when you have a child? If you are doing one or more loads of washing a day, that adds up to a lot of energy and water consumption. Invest in a good eco-efficient washing machine and it will pay for itself in no time. And for most household cleaning jobs, a little vinegar and baking soda can go a long way. And when you consider the health hazards associated with many commercial cleaning products, you’ll be doing your family a favour by cutting your exposure to harmful chemicals as well as saving money.

5) GROW YOUR OWN: Food prices in Australia are on the rise, and if you prefer to buy organic, it can quickly become unaffordable. The best way to manage both issues is to plant your own veggie patch. Even if gardening is not your thing, you can start small and experiment with a few seedlings. The kids will love digging in the garden, and there’s nothing more satisfying that eating food that you’ve grown yourself.

6) LUNCHES / SNACKS: There is so much money and unnecessary packaging that can be saved by using an eco-friendly lunchbox for your kids. Stop buying expensive pre-packaged snacks or using plastic wrap for sandwiches. Buy in bulk, and find reusable containers for packing lunches. Our favourite is the Goodbyn lunchbox, which is BPA free and has handy sections.

7) TOYS / BOOKS: When play is their primary job, it doesn’t take long for kids to get bored with their toys and books. But that doesn’t mean you have to buy more. Take a trip to the local library to find something new. Most communities have a toy library as well, so you can rotate things and the fun never ends. Save new toys (and your money) for birthday and Christmas gifts.

8 ) WALK / BIKE: to the grocery store, to the park, to the pool or post office. Stop using the car so much, support local businesses, get some exercise and teach your kids the value of this – not only for their health, but for the health of the environment too. Live local.

9) WATER: Water restrictions may not be as severe as a few years ago, but we should all remain conscious of wasting water and doing our part to conserve. Installing rain water tanks and recycling bath water for the garden, etc. will save money and this valuable resource.

10) SOLAR – The Australian government has offered homeowners incentives for installing solar panels, and depending on the size of your home, you can even sell solar credits back to the grid. A great way to reduce energy bills and your impact on the environment. For more information, visit the Australian government website on solar rebates and assistance.

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SPECIAL OFFER

Itty Bitty Greenie readers can enjoy a further 15% off the already low prices of second-hand baby clothing at Petite Repeat until the end of the year by including the coupon code: ittybitty at checkout (unlimited)! Click here to start shopping.

 

School lunch adventures

My little guy is starting kinder this year, which means I’m about to embark on an adventure that involves packing school lunches and snacks a few times a week. I’m not sure if any parent really enjoys this, but I know that given a few tricks and tools, the process can be easier than we might think. As with most things, I look for eco-friendly and toxin-free options for both the food we prepare and the containers in which we store it.

Goodbyn lunchboxA while ago we tried the Goodbyn Bynto lunchbox, and it has been brilliant for packing food while on road trips, visits to the zoo and all pit stops in between. I love the separate compartments and easy-open lid. Not to mention its drink bottle and the fact it’s made from toxin-free, recyclable plastic that’s also dishwasher safe. Yippee!

Until recently, a Goodbyn would have been my top recommendation for an eco-friendly lunch option for kids. But just as I was going to re-stock for Itty Bitty Greenie this year, I found out Goodbyn has discontinued their line of large lunchboxes, and the smaller bynto ones are now sold without the drink bottles and stickers. I’m not sure why Goodbyn made the switch, but I was disappointed, and so starting looking for alternatives.

That’s when I discovered the Keep Leaf range. Designed by a mum (from my hometown of Toronto, no less), Keep Leaf insulated lunch bags (pictured above) are made from 100% organic cotton canvas, and not only are they beautiful and ethically made, they’re the perfect size to hold a variety of lunch items and snacks. There are also matching reusable food wrappers perfect for packing up sandwiches, etc. I’d have to say these are my new favourite eco lunch bags.

Also handy are the stainless steel food containers by Kids Konserve, including the nesting trio and thermos, great for packing hot soup on a chilly day. They make it easy to buy your kids’ favourite snacks in bulk so you can dispense them on a daily basis, rather than giving in to the less eco-friendly option of individually wrapped items. When you think about the waste this could save in one year alone, it really adds up.

To accompany the lunchbox, they’ll need a drink bottle – and if your kids are like mine, you’ll need a sturdy option, as these get tossed around like nobody’s business. I love the Australian brand Onya’s stainless steel drink bottles, which are strong and ergonomically designed for little hands. We’ve had ours for almost 3 years now, and my son has graduated from a sippy lid to a flip-n-flow spout lid that’s easy to use. The Safe Sippy2 bottles are also great as they convert from a sippy bottle to a straw bottle when your child is ready. Always a better option to have one product that adapts, than having to buy new bottles every year or so.

Of course the variety of eco lunch options has expanded greatly in recent years and this is just a selection of a few of my favourites. For a more extensive list, visit our back-to-school sale on Itty Bitty Greenie, where right now you can save 20% to 40% on our entire range.

Makedo your own toy masterpiece this Christmas

For many of us with children, there’s a familiar scene on Christmas morning after all the presents have been opened and the kids are happily playing with their new treasures: a mass of packaging carnage littered across the lounge room floor. And while it used to be that this “waste” was discarded or recycled and forgotten, there’s a better way to engage kids in the process, and even get them making their own new toys and Christmas masterpieces by upcycling.

Makedo is a connector system that enables everyday materials including cardboard, plastic and fabric to easily join together to form new objects or structures. It has been hailed as the “Lego of the next generation” by media around the world, and has won some very impressive toy and design awards. But did you know that it was conceived by a Melbourne-based company?

I love the brand because not only does it inspire children to use their creativity and change their perspective on what might otherwise be thought of as rubbish, it also has no boundaries, it celebrates sustainability and aims to foster social change and sharing.

The makedo system started with the Freeplay Kit that includes their clever “re-clips” (reusable nylon connectors), “lock hinges” for creating corners, and “safe saw” for cutting cardboard or plastic as needed. Recently they’ve added new products to the line, including a “Find & Make Robot” “Find and Make Car” “Find and Make Dollhouse” and “Find and Make Flowers”, which are all based on the same concept of using found materials to inspire new creations.

And of course, coffee lovers will adore their newest addition to the makedo family: Makedo Cup Critters, which allow you to take an ordinary coffee cup and turn it into a cute creature, from silly monkeys and cheeky chicken, to happy hippos and waddling penguins.

Best of all, the parts are reusable, and the possibilities are endless. The makedo website has instructional videos, teacher resources and a photo gallery where you can upload your own creations and connect with others.

Discover the makedo range this Christmas at Itty Bitty Greenie, and share your creations with us too – we’d love to see them!

Win a Green Toys Recycling Truck!

I had a laugh the other day when I dropped my son off at childcare, and noticed as I was leaving that there were quite a few kidlets with their noses pressed against the window watching intently… and just what were they so interested in? Why it was rubbish day, and the recycling truck was on it’s way down the street to pick up the bins.

I don’t know what the fascination is about the rubbish truck, but I do remember waiting eagerly to watch the same weekly event when I was a child. And that’s probably one of the reasons the Green Toys version of the recycling truck is such a popular toy. It’s an awesome eco design, made from 100% recycled plastic milk containers and no metal axles – it even has a movable recycling bed and open/shut rear door.

My son received one as a gift on his second birthday, and I can honestly say he’s played with it almost every day since. He sorts rocks, sticks, cardboard and just about anything he can find before re-enacting the ceremonial “dumping of the rubbish” complete with some pretty interesting sound effects.

Since we know our customers love this classic, we’re giving one away in time for Christmas! Just tell us in the comments below any of your own recycling tips. Whether it’s getting the little ones to help with sorting, or “upcycling” by reusing household items for crafts and such, we’d love to hear your ideas.

A winner will be chosen at random and notified on Dec. 10. In the meantime, discover the entire Green Toys range at Itty Bitty Greenie – and save 20% until Christmas!