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Myth Busting  
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Made in China Is Not A Dirty Word
By Monica Hernandez
2/19/2014 9:14:00 AM  


If you’re anything like me, you can go into a sheer frenzy over “sales” and “low prices." Who doesn’t like a bargain? Unfortunately, I believe that our understanding of the true cost of a product has been skewed. Often, products are manufactured abroad, with low wages and low labor standards. We woke up one day to realize that almost everything in our homes was manufactured in another country—most likely, China.

Since the launch of reuseit.com in 2003, the concern over products manufactured in China (and other countries) has grown. So, as skeptical consumers ourselves, the team at reuseit makes sure everything we offer (including products made in the USA) meets strict criteria in the following areas:

Klean Kanteen China Manufacturing

• Safety testing results
• Ecological impact
• Quality
• Style
• Performance
• Durability
• Value

It’s nearly impossible to source certain—such as safe, high-quality stainless steel water bottles—from within the US. However, we’ve been fortunate to partner with over 300 vendors, and we continue to support companies which manufacturer responsibly, no matter where their products are manufactured. Ultimately, our goal is to help the environment by supporting companies that adhere to safe and ethical manufacturing and labor practices, while creating alternatives to disposable items. Companies such as Kinderville, Klean Kanteen, ChicoBags and Blue Avocado all manufacture their products safely and responsibly in China.

For example, one of our partners, To-Go Ware, manufacturers their products abroad, while still maintaining high manufacturing standards, so they can sell their products at an affordable price point. They explain it well, highlighting the importance of making reusable products available to the masses, not just the people wealthy enough to afford them:


“The issue of accessibility within the modern sustainability movement is something that concerns us, as we have witnessed the privilege that has turn

ed 'sustainability' into a luxury not everyone can afford. This is why we have chosen to source our manufacturing abroad. Currently the grade of stainless we require for our food carriers is not available for manufacturing in the United States at a price that would allow us to sell the food carrier at an affordable price point. We also believe that the more accessible our product is, the wider the audience and the greater shift in consciousness around our society's wasteful throw-away culture. In doing so, we have sought out international partners that are doing well by their employees and the environment.” —To-Go Ware


If we as consumers want to see more reusable products made in the USA in the future, then we need to support and buy products from these companies that manufacture both in the US and in foreign countries safely and responsibly. In our experience, it’s difficult for companies to meet the conflicting demands of consumers who want products manufactured in the USA, but in the same breath demand “discounts," “sales” and “bottom-dollar prices." The demand in "supply and demand" does not mean that we “demand” made in the USA products, or that we “demand” responsibly made goods, but rather represents the amount that consumers are willing to pay.

We do our best to distingusih our line of Made in the USA products, as well as products safely and responsibly made in China and India. When shopping in a particular product category, you can also use our left navigation filter to sort by Country of Origin to make the right purchasing decision for you.


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4 Simple Laundry Room Hacks to Save Money, Reduce Waste & Avoid Toxins
By Mary Shea Valliant
1/24/2014 10:20:00 AM  

Plastic Bag Monsters aside, we think the Laundry Day Monster is another scary (and often smelly…) reminder of the need to reduce, reduce, reduce. According to Procter & Gamble, the equivalent of 1,100 loads of laundry are started every second, every day in the US! Endless clothes, expensive detergents, huge electricity and water consumptions—unfortunately, there’s very little to look forward to come laundry time…

 

Thankfully, we have a few resource- and money-saving ideas to help you take down the Laundry Day Monster—while reducing waste and avoiding harmful chemicals along the way: 

1)    Ditch the disposable dryer sheets

According to a recent article by EcoWatch and Women’s Voices for the Earth, here’s a very small sample of what fragrance ingredients and volatile organic compounds—even carcinogens!—you might find in your average scented dryer sheet:

 

Butane: used for blending different types of gasoline and burns to form carbon dioxide

Acetone: commonly used to clean laboratories and in the production of bisphenol-A (BPA)

Limonene: emits a lemon-orange fragrance and doubles as an alternative to turpentine and paint strippers.

 

Not only do these chemicals end up coating your clothes, they’re also emitted from dryer vents into your home and the outdoors—which can cause skin and respiratory irritation, and even disrupt the nervous system. Yikes!

 

2)     Give wool dryer balls a spin

Unlike dryer sheets, wool dryer balls lift and separate clothes, which allows more air to circulate, reduces static cling, and cuts drying time down by up to 25%. You’ll reduce waste, electricity expenses from your dryer and not have to buy a box of dryer sheets every couple weeks. Check out a few of our favorite wool dryer balls from Eco Nuts, Loo Hoo, or Woolzies.

 

3)     Load up on sustainable soap

 Unfortunately, like dryer sheets, detergents and liquid softeners can also include a number of similar chemicals to which your body and home shouldn’t be subject. Choose an unscented detergent, and as always, read your labels. We love Eco Nuts’ Natural Laundry Soap because it’s eco-friendly from content to container: it’s biodegradable, dye-, fragrance-, phosphate and phosphate-free, organically grown and harvested, and recommended for cloth diapers!

 

4)     More soap does not mean cleaner clothes

 The Wall Street Journal and Method Products Inc. report that 53% of laundry-doers don’t use the recommended amount of detergent per washing cycle. By guessing or simply filling the detergent bottle’s cap, we waste over 50% of the laundry loads 1 bottle of detergent can clean. With each load, make sure you’re filling the cap to the recommended amount.

 

Since laundry is a task you’re probably doing more than a few times a week, you’ll make a big difference in reducing waste and adopting a more sustainable lifestyle with these simple steps.

For more ideas, be sure to visit our green cleaning section.

 

Have a green cleaning idea of your own? Leave us a comment below, on Facebook or Twitter.


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Tags: laundry room ideas, laundry ideas, green laundry room ideas, laundry room, green cleaning, wool dryer balls, eco friendly soap
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EWG's 2011 Bottled Water Score Card
By RUI
4/5/2013 9:57:00 AM  

http://www.startalie.com Still buying bottled water? Check out how your brand stacks up. According to a study by the Environmental Working Group, there are some questions you should ask before shelling out up to 1,900 times more for bottled water than tap water.

  1. Where does the water come from?
  2. Is it purified? How?
  3. Have tests found any contaminants?

According to their study, among the ten top-selling brands, nine (Aquafina, Dasani, Crystal Geyser and 6 of 7 Nestle brands) don't answer at least one of those questions.

Why are these companies so hush-hush about something as simple as water?

"Bottled water companies enjoying this massive commercial success may suspect that their customers would turn away if they knew that most of them draw their product from municipal tap water (BMC 2010, Food and Water Watch 2010), or that the plastics used to make the bottles can be laced with chemical additives that leach into the water (EWG 2008)." - EWG Bottled Water Score Card

With Canada's Bottled Water Free Day just around the corner (March 10th) this is a great time to take the pledge to say NO to bottled water. Filter your own tap water at home, or use a filtering bottle - you'll save money and resources in the process.

Visit reuseit.com for our selection of safe, reusable water bottles and facts about plastic bottles.


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Planetary Boundaries: A Safe Operating Space for Humanity aka Wake Up, We're Blo
By RUI
4/4/2013 9:25:00 AM  

PhpThumb

According to a new paper published in the latest issue of Nature called Planetary Boundaries: A Safe Operating Space for Humanity, there are 10 separate biophysical systems crucial to humanity’s flourishing and we've already exceeded three of them. 

In their digest of the article, Grist discusses the notion of "carbon blindness" - the idea that most people see climate change as a single problem with a single solution. (Reducing CO2 in the atmosphere.) As they put it, "... the Nature paper makes clear that as politically, intellectually, or even spiritually inconvenient as it may be, the problem we face is much larger and more systemic than carbon in the air."

There's no doubt that this information is daunting, and knowing that the fate of the world lies squarely on our (its inhabitants) shoulders is humbling to say the least. But as William James said, "Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does." Read the paper and ask yourself what you can do to keep the seven other crucial systems as far from the tipping point as possible.

We all have the power to start consuming less right now. Basic steps we promote like taking only what you need, reusing what you have and cutting down disposables. Grist quotes Marshall McLuhan as saying, “There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew.” And we're inclined to agree.


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A Closer Look at Consumerism
By RUI
4/4/2013 9:19:00 AM  

With the holiday season in full swing, we wanted to share with you a short animated film by psychologist Tim Kasser that examines how America's culture of consumerism undermines our well-being. Accompanied by beautiful hand-drawn images and poignant narration, Kasser examines how and why people buy into the omnipresent message that "the good life" is "the goods life." Because when people do this, they not only use up Earth's limited resources, but are overwhelmingly less happy and less inclined to help others.

This brilliant animation exposes the inherent problems of excess materialism and proposes solutions that promote a healthier, more just, and more sustainable life.

Take a look below and remember the earth pays for our cost of living too. Give gifts that give back this holiday season.

For more information, click here.


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Who is the CCF & what's their beef with reusable bags?
By RUI
4/3/2013 3:06:00 PM  

BermanRecently, several reports have surfaced revealing unsettling lead content in cheap reusable bags sold by many major retailers. We've never carrried the non-woven polypropylene bags featured in the reports, and quickly responded with facts you should show about reusable shopping bags.

We feel it's important to understand where these reports are coming from, and it didn't take much searching to find out who was behind the most recent alarming studies - the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF). 

So who is the CCF? From Wikipedia:

CCF was set up in 1995 by Richard Berman, executive director of the public affairs firm Berman and Company, with $600,000 from the Philip Morris tobacco company. Berman told The Washington Post that CCF is now funded by a coalition of restaurant and food companies as well as some individuals; according to the group's website it is supported by over 100 companies and thousands of individual consumers. Sponsors are reported to include Brinker International, RTM Restaurant Group (the owner of Arby's), Tyson Foods, HMSHost Corp, and Wendy's.

CCF has campaigned against a number of organizations, such as the Centers for Disease Control, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, and maintains several websites devoted to criticizing them.

According to a story on GreenTech, "In a press statement CCF senior research analyst J. Justin Wilson says 'retailers were goaded into selling these bags' by environmentalists." The result, he went on to say, is an increase in cheap, and possibly unsafe reusables flooding the market.

While we agree that the popularity of cheap reusables, namely 99 cent shopping bags, inevitably does more harm than good, we have to question the motives behind the CCF study.

So what's the good news? In that same story from GreenTech,  we were sited as a source for reusable bags "made of safe, and recycled materials."

Check out our previous post about lead in reusable shopping bags.

Read more about the problems associated with cheap reusable bags.


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