We spent the last couple of weeks in sunny California, which was a welcome break after more than a year of working on Itty Bitty Greenie – and also a chance to meet up with my family, who flew in from Canada to join us on our holiday.
I’ve never explored this part of the world, and was delighted to find that not only does it offer wonderful attractions for the kiddies (Disneyland anyone?), it is also a very eco-conscious place. Of course, you first have to get past the fact that the population of motor vehicles is actually greater than the population of people…
I always seem to have my green radar on, so I tend to notice things like green-rated hotels, an abundance of hybrid vehicles and the recycling trucks that run on natural gas.
As we settled in to our lovely beach house with the organic fruit and yogurt bar down the street, and the massive Whole Foods market and amazing farmers markets where we did our shopping, I realized I was in eco heaven!
A few other eco things I found interesting about California:
- – California is first state in the U.S. to ban BPA as a harmful toxin in baby bottles – in legislation that was passed this month
- – there is an abundance of amazing eco products for children and I couldn’t resist taking home things from California Baby, Tomat for Kids, and more.
- – they offer incentives for recycling, and have an elaborate recycling program with strict laws on use of post-consumer materials in everything from trash bags to newspaper and sustainable building materials (In 2010, Californians recycled an average of 45,305,983 beverage containers each day. Each day? Wow.)
- – there are tax incentives for things like the use of hybrid vehicles and solar power installation in homes
- – almost everywhere, there are random things with eco value – like at Legoland, many of their park benches were made from recycled milk jugs – cool!
- – the state is known for its wineries, and in recent years there has been a push on sustainable wine growing. Many top-class wineries are using eco practises for production – which made my wine shopping a joy!
Overall, I fell in love with the fact that living sustainably and making green choices seemed to be second nature and extremely mainstream, while at home in Australia it often still feels like an alternative lifestyle choice. Awareness is growing here, but it was inspiring to see how easy it can be, to be green.
Click here to discover our new range of organic and eco-friendly clothing from California label Tomat for kids.
For new parents, anything that can make life easier and more convenient becomes more than a necessity – you can’t live without it. And when your child is starting solid foods it’s a messy business, so having the right equipment can make all the difference.
I wish the Wean Meister Freezer Pods were around when I was cooking, mashing and freezing my son’s first foods. I was using individual plastic containers back then, which were BPA free, but who knows what other toxins might have been leaching into his food. And when it came to feeding time, I had to run the container under warm water to loosen the block of food, which was time consuming, wasteful and frustrating indeed.
Australian mum Sarah Marriott obviously experienced similar baby-feeding frustration, and seeing a gap in the market, created the Wean Meister.
What makes these trays unique (and so much better) is they are made from a high-grade silicone, which is flexible, so it won’t snap under pressure, and the food or breast milk you freeze in them will pop out with one easy push. The trays are also extremely durable and come with a lid to prevent freezer burn or contamination, while also making them sturdy and stackable.
With nine perfect baby-sized portions (75mls each), certification that these are completely free of BPA or phthalates, and endless ways to reuse them long after your baby is past the weaning stage, these freezer pods are an absolute must-have. Oh, and did I mention they’re also dishwasher and oven safe? Yes, you can bake mini muffins with them too – how’s that for a kiddie treat idea?
Check out this video demonstration of how they work, and be sure to also visit the “recycling” section of the Wean Meister website for lots of great ideas of how to reuse them – the possibilities are endless!
The Wean Meister Freezer Pods come in three colours (Blue, Turquoise and Coral Pink) and are available now at Itty Bitty Greenie for $19.95.
Did you know :
- bottled water generates 600 times more CO2 than tap water? For Australia that’s 60,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year.
- Australians spend more than half a billion dollars a year on bottled water.
- 70% of plastic bottles end up in landfill, and they take up to 1,000 years to degrade.
There are many more staggering statistics on the subject, but suffice it to say, bottled water is something we seem to spend a lot of money on, and usually without thinking about the environmental impacts of that choice. In Australia we are lucky enough to have quality, accessible drinking water, and with so many great reusable water bottles on the market, there really is no excuse to be wasting away with plastic.
Add to this the fact that most plastic bottles contain hormone-disrupting chemicals such as BPA and phthalates, and you should have even more motivation to make the switch.
I recently discovered an Australian company that has created some stylish and reusable stainless steel water bottles in sizes suitable for anyone, no matter what their age. H2 Onya bottles are especially great for children, because their ergonomic design means they don’t easily slip out of little hands, and they have interchangeable lids, so they can start off using a teat and drink milk from these, and then progress to a sippy lid and eventually one of the sportier lids. Made from food-grade stainless steel, these are built to last a long time – even if they are knocked around a bit (as they most likely will be when used by kids).
Even if you’ve already bought those popular Avent bottles, the teats and sippy attachments are compatible with the Onya lids too. Click here to check out the 350ml range for younger children, and the 500ml bottles, which are great for older kids too.
And, for more interesting facts on bottled water and it’s affect on our environment, visit the Bottled Water Alliance.
By now most of us know that plastics and melamine are poor choices for dishware, since most contain hormone-disrupting toxins such as BPA and phthalates that are harmful – especially when they can leach into food. But parents also know too well that using glass or other breakable dishware is not a safe option for kids (especially if you have a toddler like mine, who regularly makes a sport out of seeing how far he can toss his dinner bowl …)
Thankfully there is a new and eco-friendly option of tableware for children. The Dandelion brand of earth-friendly goods has an entire range of re-usable dishware that is naturally free of BPA, Phthalates and PVC, and it’s made from a renewable resource: corn.
I love these products because not only are they natural and functional, they are well-designed – taking into account the little things that can make a big difference to your little ones. The divided plate, for example, keeps foods separated and fussy kids happy. The easy-grip bowls have deep sides to keep food inside, and parents happy! The utensils are specially shaped to fit small hands and help toddlers as they learn to feed themselves. They’re also affordable, and sold in multi-packs, so you’ll always have enough.
What’s better is the Dandelion company is ticking all the boxes when it comes to being a “green” company. They use the bare minimum of packaging and its made from 100% recycled cardboard printed with vegetable inks. No twist ties, no plastics, no cellophane wraps. They have a fair trade policy and encourage manufacturers to minimize their impact on the environment by striving to reduce waste, energy use and emissions, and implement environmentally friendly technologies. They also offset their carbon emissions with carbonfund.org, a leading non-profit carbon offset and climate solutions organization, and they contribute a portion of the proceeds from sales of its corn feeding line to support organizations providing food to people living with hunger.
Now that’s eco-fabulous. Look for these items in IttyBittyGreenie’s eco-shop … we’re one of the first retailers to offer them in Australia!
Shop Dandelion Earth-Friendly goods here.