Teachers Gifts…And All Fabulously Eco-Chic!

I have been asked numerous times in the last week what ideas I have about fab, teacher gifts that are unique with a twist of eco. I have given my kids’ teachers this type of gifts for years with great success. My kids seem to enjoy helping to pick out the unique gifts and deliver them with great pride each year.

And of course I can’t help but remember my neighbour who had been a teacher for 30 or so years mentioning the piles of mugs she received over the years as gifts. As much as I am sure she enjoyed the thought and kindness that brought the mugs her way, the pile of mugs sadly became a BIG, unused pile. So if you want to stand out in the crowd, give something fabulously unique, useful AND eco-chic…. read on!

The Coolest Cooler Bag Ever

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Love the quality of this ultra cool BPA-free cooler bag by Toronto’s SoYoung. BEST I have seen. AND the shoulder strap can be configured so it it can be worn backpack-style making it extra fab. Great for active types or for those (like me!) who tote their own food around. Cute retro-inspired designs.  $37  Cutest ice packs EVER $10 

 

The Best Organic Skincare on the Planet

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If you love giving your fave teacher skincare that is friendly to skin and to the planet, then Consonant is for you. Choose one or more items.. from $12 for the most luxurious olive oil soap ever to $18  for their award-winning organic body wash Lots of options! Best part… it comes ready to give in a beautiful gift bag with tissue. Love!

 

The Most Hip and Happening Litterless Lunch Containers

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Schools are practising Litterless Lunch so not to create excess trash. I gave my daughter’s teacher a few of these items last Holiday season and they were a huge hit! Choose from re-usable/non-plastic products by mompreneur companies such as Fluf or Keepleaf, uber-popular stainless steel containers by LunchBot or glass bottles in a silicone sleeve (pictured) by LifeFactory. Mix ‘n match and have your child help!

The Best All-Natural/Organic Hand Creams

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Many teachers LOVE hand cream.  My pick is Consonant Intensive Hand Therapy $20. I gave this to my daughter’s principal and recently she was squeezing out every last bit claiming it as her favourite hand cream! Add a gardeners brush total cost $29.  **An honourable mention to uber-popular Canadian favourite LoveFresh for its lovely scented, all-natural hand creams $22 each.

Happy (almost) summer holiday everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

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Why You Don’t Want to Use StyroFoam Dishes This Summer (or Ever!)

 

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It is finally summer fair and barbeque season. Yippee! However, I am reminded how often I see food being handed out on styrofoam plates and containers and why this is should be of concern to everyone.

I have always hated the feel of styrofoam cups on my lips so I started avoiding it years ago. I have since learned it contains some serious toxic compounds which can leach out into food. So shouldn’t we all be avoiding it? The challenge is that it is still so widely used.  As it’s likely you too will run into it this season, best to know WHY and HOW  to avoid styrofoam.

What is styrofoam??

  • Styrofoam is a trademarked name for an extruded foam made from polystyrene
  • Polystyrene is a synthetic compound derived from petroleum, and contains toxic compounds such as benzene. It is a lightweight, insulating material that is used in many formats in industry…unfortunately including disposable dish ware.

Studies have shown that the styrene leaches out of the styrofoam and into our bodies when we use styrofoam cups and plates.  In fact, a study published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology found just that when the food (or drink) inside was hot. If it makes you feel any better, it was also found that styrene didn’t leach out of foam egg cartons, which are usually refrigerated. so we can assume the most harm to human health comes when the styrofoam is heated.

However the direct impact on human health shouldn’t be our only concern. Styrofoam has become an acute environmental issue. The Environmental Protection Agency released a report (1986) listing the polystyrene manufacturing process  as the fifth largest creator of hazardous waste. Fifty-seven toxic chemical byproducts are released during the manufacturing process of polystyrene, including benzene. Just think of the workers who manufacture it if nothing else.

As well, styrofoam takes 500 years to decompose. It makes up 25-30% of our world’s landfills AND has become a major source of marine pollution. And even though styrofoam is no longer manufactured with CFC (‘chlorofluorocarbon’ the famous ozone depleting chemical), it still uses hydrofluorocarbons linked to depleting the ozone layer and affecting global warming.

How to Avoid Styrofoam:

  • Look for the number 6. Polystyrene foam should be easy to spot by looking for a 6 inside the chasing arrow (aka ‘the mobius loop) symbol.  Unfortunately, polystyrene is also used in non-foam food containers, including clear-plastic clamshells and coffee-cup lids.
  • Don’t frequent restaurants or take out places that offer this type of food container.
  • BE PREPARED and take your own environmentally-friendly food and drink containers where you can to picnics, BBQs and fairs.

And remember that even though many jurisdictions are now trying to recycle styrofoam.. it is not a good option to use in the first place. So many chemicals used in its production affecting workers and our environment. We can all do better for the sake of our health, other people, AND our environment. So get yourself some stainless or glass re-usable containers and bamboo plates.

This post was inspired by the work of SaferChemicalsHealthyFamilies who work tirelessly to inform people of hidden toxins in their consumer goods….for which we should all be thankful 🙂