Itty Bitty Greenie

eco-fabulous finds for kids

Posts Tagged ‘eco-friendly’

Good Onya

H2 Onya stainless steel bottlesDid 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.

Onya is 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 our 350ml range for younger children. We have also tried out the Onya Reusable Sandwich Wraps and find they are a brilliant solution for keeping sandwiches and lunch nicely packed and ready to go!

And, for more interesting facts on bottled water and it’s affect on our environment, visit the cool


By Donna MacMullin

Creative Communications, Graphic Design, Communications, Blogging, Copywriting, Content Management

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!

California, where it’s easy to be green.

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 BabyTomat 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.


By Donna MacMullin

Creative Communications, Graphic Design, Communications, Blogging, Copywriting, Content Management

A cool change…

It’s interesting to be on the other side of the table sometimes, and being an exhibitor at the Baby & Toddler Show in Melbourne last weekend, I was reminded of what it was like three years ago when I was the one with the baby bump, going to every baby expo in town to check out the latest and greatest of goods and services that I might need or want for my impending motherhood.

As overwhelming as these events can be, with stand after stand promising bold things and having a different sales pitch to draw the crowds, where else can you get so much information in one place and have the opportunity to sample and ask, touch and feel?

It seemed back then that I just couldn’t find what I was looking for – innovative eco friendly and organic products, and toxin free feeding accessories – but what struck me this year was that even among the predictable brands, there was an abundance of environmentally friendly options for parents, from reusable nappies, to organic baby food, glass baby bottles and of course yours truly, offering the latest and greatest of green products sourced from Australia and abroad.

There is a definite change in the air, and Australian parents more than ever are are showing their preference for products that are not only practical and beautiful, but environmentally responsible as well. Even among those parents-to-be who had little knowledge about issues such as BPA and toys made from sustainable wood, there was a genuine interest to see what “all the fuss was about.”

For those who stopped by the Itty Bitty Greenie stand to say hi, ask questions, give our products a try and sign up for our mailing list, I’d like to say a huge thank you. The fact that you’re even interested is a sign of encouragement for me, as it has been my goal all along to make “green” choices part of the mainstream, and not the alternative lifestyle choice they formerly seemed to be.

And also, congratulations to Rachel Bentley, the winner of our gift box raffle containing more than $150 worth of eco friendly baby products!

From plant … to potty … to plant?

EcoLife biodegradable potty

My son has proudly reached the potty-training stage and I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to never having to change nappies again.

So I’ve been thinking (and reading) a lot lately about ways to approach the whole process, and I started with a trip to a local baby supply store to see what was out there in terms of “potties”. All I can say is that this, like many experiences of buying products for my child, was overwhelming.

Is it better to get the seat that goes on top of your toilet? Or the separate potty that sits on the floor? What about the travel potty? And there are ones with Thomas the Tank or Dora the Explorer and every other kids brand you can think of. Should I let my son choose? Why are they all PLASTIC? Can they be recycled? What do you do with it when you’re done? Unlike toys or clothes, a potty is surely not something most people would hand down to someone else – so do all these potties become landfill?

EcoLife biodegradable pottyThere has to be another option, I thought. And it turns out there is. I have found an eco-friendly version of a potty that’s new, and has some pretty nifty features. For one, it’s made from recycled plant materials that biodegrade naturally. Really?

Yes. EcoLife International has created a potty made from bamboo and rice husks, that have been ground into a fine powder and then blended with biodegradable resin to form the potty seat, which looks exactly like most standard plastic potties in shape and size.

You can use it and clean it in exactly the same way as any plastic potty, and once your child is (finally!) done using it, then it’s time for a little lesson about recycling and gardening that is sure to be rewarding. You can plant the potty in your garden with some seeds and water, and soon it will biodegrade and turn into something beautiful! How’s that for incentive to use the potty?

The eco-potty also gets extra points for using minimal packaging – using only a small cardboard sleeve that is made from recycled paper and is also recyclable.

And for those worried that the eco potty won’t stand up to repeated washings or exposure to sunlight, there’s no need for concern – EcoLife tests these potties rigorously and they are said to have a life-span of at least a year.  (It will only start to biodegrade after it’s been planted in your garden). With a price tag of $19.95 that’s pretty good value.

The EcoLife biodegradable potty is now available for the first time in Australia at Itty Bitty Greenie  – click here for more details.

Sophie’s the #1 choice

For nearly 50 years Sophie the Giraffe has been loved by babies all around the world, and she has become an iconic toy that has been passed through generations, a favourite among celebrity mums, old-school mums and modern mums alike. But what makes me love this classic teething toy so much more, is the fact it is also eco-friendly, all natural and toxin-free.

For those who don’t know her heritage, Sophie was born in 1961 in Paris. She is made by the French company Vulli, located in the French Alps, from 100% natural rubber derived from the sap of the Hevea tree that grows in Malaysia. Every morning, before the daytime heat sets in, the milky liquid latex that oozes from beneath the bark of these trees is collected. Vulli then applies a traditional process of rotational moulding to shape the rubber into Sophie as we know her. Amazingly, each Sophie is still produced traditionally, involving 14 manual operations before completion. With more than 30 million Sophies sold around the world, that’s a lot of manual labour!

Even more amazing, Sophie’s popularity grew by simple word of mouth – mums obviously know a good toy when they find one – and there are plenty of reasons why. This toy is not only soothing for teething babies, it’s great for early learning because it stimulates all five senses:

SIGHT – the dark and contrasting spots of the giraffe provide visual stimulation for young babies

HEARING – the gentle squeak of Sophie stimulates hearing and keeps babies amused

TASTE – the natural rubber is soft on gums and the all-natural food paint is non-toxic and completely safe for babies

SMELL – the singular scent of natural rubber makes Sophie the Giraffe very special and easy for a child to identify among all their other toys

TOUCH – the shape of Sophie’s long neck and legs is easy for little hands to grip; she’s also very light and soft to touch

It’s no wonder this sweet little giraffe has become the star she is today.  Soft and soothing, the perfect size to hold and chew, Sophie comforts and pacifies babies like no other toy or dummy can.

Buy Sophie here and we’ll gift wrap her for free!


By Donna MacMullin

Creative Communications, Graphic Design, Communications, Blogging, Copywriting, Content Management

Shall we dine eco alfresco?

Why send your kid off to school or childcare with a boring old lunch bag when there are so many more fun, stylish and eco-friendly options these days? One of my favourite brands making super-cute, durable and reusable “lunchbugs” is Mimi the Sardine.

There are many fabric options to choose from, so whether your little one is into airplanes, animals, pretty flowers or ladybugs, there is one in their collection of fun Swedish designs that is sure to appeal.

Made from 100% organically grown cotton, the fabric has a water-based acrylic coating (not PVC) that is water, soil and mess resistant, yet remains soft and supple. And just to be extra sure (because by now you know that I’m pretty picky about toxins and the environment) the coated fabric meets CPSIA requirements, and the Oeko-Tex 100 Standard, which certifies that it does not contain harmful chemicals and components.

And because we all know kids are sometimes (ok, often) prone to spills, these lunchbugs can also be machine washed to keep them looking great!

While we’re at it, when you’re packing that lunch, why not ditch the plastic wrap and go for a reusable food wrapper instead? I’m a sucker for great design, and I love snackTAXIs because not only do they come in two perfect sizes for sandwiches and all kinds of snacks, the selection of materials is fabulous – from retro-cool designs to kid-friendly motifs they have dozens to choose from.

The exterior of a snackTAXI is 100% cotton and, to protect your food, the interior is lined with polyurethane coated nylon that has been tested and confirmed to be lead and phthalate free. Take a closer look at the styles available on our website.


By Donna MacMullin

Creative Communications, Graphic Design, Communications, Blogging, Copywriting, Content Management

Sweet corn

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, 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.


By Donna MacMullin

Creative Communications, Graphic Design, Communications, Blogging, Copywriting, Content Management

A healthy snack for your itty bitty bookworm

It’s never too early to plant the seeds of earth-friendly living, and since most kids love books, the Little Green Books series is a great way to start. Not only are these books printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper with vegetable inks, the stories are devoted to educating children (and parents) about the benefits of being green.

As a mum and booklover, I can say one of the things I like about this series is not only do these tales deliver a great message, they’re entertaining as well. In The Adventures of a Plastic Bottle for example, kids follow the journey of a plastic bottle from a blob of crude oil, to a plastic bottle, to being recycled into a fleece jumper. Told in diary form, this humorous tale is sure to give readers a laugh while stressing the significance of the recycling process.

In My First Garden, follow a mother and daughter as they dig up soil, plant a flower bed, and water the seeds to make their very first garden of colourful fruits and veggies. It’s a board book with a handle cut out of each page, so kids can take it with them wherever they go.

The books in the series cover a variety of subjects, teaching children about the dangers of global warming, the benefits of recycling, and what they can do to help endangered animals. There are also a couple of soft books in the series, which are perfect for babies. The covers of the Little Monkey and Little Panda books are Polartec® fleece, made from recycled clear plastic bottles. Super-soft and machine washable, they make a great gift.

The books also include a glossary of terms at the back so that parents and children can learn what “post-consumer” means or what “compost” is. And one of my favourites in the series is the It’s Easy to be Green book, loaded with easy activities you can do with your children to help them learn about the environment and living sustainably.

For more information and lots of green tips and games for kids, check out the Little Green Books website. And to purchase books from the Little Green Books series, please visit the “Greenie Books” section of the Itty Bitty Greenie retail site.


By Donna MacMullin

Creative Communications, Graphic Design, Communications, Blogging, Copywriting, Content Management

Everyone’s doing it…

OrganicKidz stainless-steel baby bottle

OrganicKidz stainless-steel baby bottle

Canada led the way by banning the it from childrens’ products, and now regulators around the world are starting to invest money into researching the potential health risks from bisphenol-A, or BPA, a widely used chemical component of plastic bottles and food packaging.

In a shift of position, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said in January it had “some concern about the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behaviour and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and children,” and would join other federal health agencies in studying the chemical in both animals and humans.

The government will spend $30-million on BPA research in humans and animals, to take place over 18 to 24 months.

Read the full New York Times article here.

In the meantime, parents are wise to choose feeding products that are BPA-free, and here are some of our favourite ones for children:

Green to Grow have award-winning baby bottles in glass or toxin-free plastic, along with some pretty cool accessories. Their packaging is made from post-consumer recycled cardboard & soy dyes. Plus, there is a lot of great information on their website about the dangers of BPA.

lunchboxes are BPA-free and come with a matching drink bottle AND …stickers so your kids can personalize theirs. The bento-style design eliminates the need for extra waste (bye-bye plastic wrap!), which is definitely eco-fabulous.

OrganicKidz has made the world’s first stainless-steel baby bottles. They’re unbreakable, dent-reistant and free from BPA, PVC and pthalates – plus, the gorgeous designs (pictured) are sure to inspire parent-envy in your playgroup!


By Donna MacMullin

Creative Communications, Graphic Design, Communications, Blogging, Copywriting, Content Management