The current carbon footprint of an child in the western world is calculated to be 58.6 tonnes of CO2 per year.
The toy industry is a $20 billion industry and plastic toys account for 90% of the market. They are usually cheaply made and virtually impossible to recycle. Crayola alone produce 465 million markers, 9 million silly putty eggs and 1.5 million plastic jars of paint a year. With often a life span of just a few days or a few weeks they are quickly filling up our landfills. Plastic toys can also contain heavy metals such as lead and cadmium and other harmful chemicals like BPA, dioxins and phthalates- chemicals linked to hormone disruptions.
The fashion industry is responsible for more of the carbon emissions than the airline industry. 43 million tonnes of chemicals are used to produce textiles every year. Chemicals that are toxic to wild life, marine life and human life.
The average American family uses 500 ziplock bags a year and most of these bags end up in landfills.
The coral reefs in Hawaii alone are exposed to over 6000 tonnes of sunscreen lotion every year. The chemicals in the lotions is an indirective cause of coral bleaching. The chemicals are also absorbed by your kids' skin and ends up in their blood stream where it remains for days.
sun, swim & bath
Tweens & teens
clothes & shoes
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•Choose to buy from brands with sustainable and ethical practises.
•Try to buy long lasting toys that your child will enjoy for a longer period of time and when they've grown out of it-pass it on.
•When buying plastic toys, try to steer towards brands that use recycled plastic.
•Buy second hand
Plan Toys are one of our favorite toy manufacturer with strong ethical and sustainable ethos as the pillars of their brand. They use sustainable natural resources and create minimum to zero waste throughout the process. They work with reclaimed rubber wood and create their 'plan wood' from the sawdust, the glue is free from formaldehyde, and their dyes are water based free from lead and heavy metals. On their printed materials they use plant-based ink and their rubber toys are 100% natural rubber. You can buy their products from Amazon. (Don't forget to connect to your Amazon Smile and Amazon will donate to a portion of the sale to an organization of your choice at no extra cost to you.)
For every $1 million in revenue, the toy industry uses approximately 40 tonnes of plastic. At $20 billion a year that makes for approximately 800.000 tonnes of plastic. Per year. In an industry that sees no sign of slowing down. Plastic toys are hard to recycle due to their mixed material content and therefor most of it is doomed for the landfills after their usually short life span. But there are brands that have found a way. Eco Birdy is one of those brands. A Certified B-Corp based in Belgium they have invented a way to sort and recycle post consumer plastics into new plastic with similar properties as virgin plastics. Their eco friendly collection consists of furniture, lights and storage of which the furniture collection is entirely made from recycled plastic from European waste. You can learn more about the company here.
Refillable vacuum sealed stainless steel bottles from Hydro flask keeps the plastic out of the oceans and the water cold for hours. Their kids bottles come in fun colors and smaller sizes for little hands. Find them and more products on their website or Amazon.
Hydro Flask's 'Parks For All' program supports nonprofit organizations focused on building, maintaining, restoring, and providing better access to parks. To date, they’ve donated over $1.9 million dollars.
We love Planet Box lunch boxes! Made from stainless steel with different compartments for easy morning decisions. They come in three different sizes to fit different appetites. Planet box also makes stainless steel containers, cutlery, water bottles and bags to carry it all in. Check them out on Amazon.
Say good bye to plastic zip lock bags forever! Stasher makes dish machine washable, self-sealing, platinum silicon bags. Use it to pack snacks, sandwiches, to freeze in or to cook in-it is safe in the microwave, with a sous vide machine, a standard oven or a boiling pot of water-up to 400F. The bags come in a myriad of sizes and colors. Stasher is a B-corp and as member of 1% For the Planet, a portion of every bag sold goes straight to high-impact nonprofits like Surfrider, 5 Gyers, that are dedicated to preserving and rehabilitating our oceans. Check them out on Amazon or from Package Free Shop.
Glitter is traditionally just little bits of plastic that will be washed down the drain or spilled in the garden where it is very harmful to our environment. This glitter is biodegradable and come in a glass bottle. There's three different colors to choose from-party, silver or gold. You can buy them from Package Free Shop.
To keep those 465 million markers from landfill Crayola has a recycle program available. The Crayola ColorCycle recycling program is currently paused due to Corona, but don't throw away your markers! Save them for when they re-start the program. You can stay updated here.
Eco Kids does a whole range of arts and crafts products but our favorites are the beeswax crayons and egg shaped sidewalk chalk. All Eco Kids products are made in the US from natural ingredients that are safe for kids and good for the environment. You can check out their products at Earthhero.
sun, swim & bath
•Choose a sunscreen that is mineral based and free from chemicals that are harmful for marine and human life
•Choose a sunscreen that comes in a metal tin, aluminum bottle or paper tube, not plastic.
•Choose swimwear made from recycled plastic rather than virgin threads
•Buy from brands that implement sustainable and ethical practices in their production.
Baby + Kids sunscreen SPF35 from Raw Elements is reef safe, biodegradable, non toxic (sunflower seed oil, beeswax, coconut oil, cocoa seed butter, calendula flower extracts, sunflower seed wax, chamomile flower extract, rosemary leaf extract, vitamin E) water resistant and plastic free. It is formulated for the most delicate skin and is hypoallergenic. The stick applicator is made from recyclable and compostable cardboard and there is a tin version too. You can buy it from Package Free shop or from Amazon.
Sun, wind, salt, and sand all take a toll on your skin. Badger After Sun Balm moisturizes and restores your skin with natural antioxidants and come in a plastic free metal tin. Free of- artificial ingredients, fragrances, dyes, parabens, GMOs, synthetic chemicals, or harsh ingredients. Find the balm on Amazon and the sunscreen from Earth Hero.
Plaine Products offers everything you need for planet friendly bath- shampoos, conditioners, hand wash, body wash, and their products are safe for the whole family. The plastic free bottles are made from aluminum, and are returnable, refillable, re-useable and recyclable. Send them back when they are empty. Plaine products also does body lotion, face wash and moisturizers, facial toners, facial oils, hair repair and beauty oil (for face, body and hair). All products are manufactured in the US, the entire line is palm oil free, and contains organic non-GMO, vegan ingredients. They're all free of parabens, sulfates and toxins. Delivered to your door on a monthly basis or as you go. You can find them at Package Free Shop or shop the entire collection at Plaine Products.
Ethique's goal is for you to give up the bottle and they offer alternatives to most things you need for hair face and body-either as bars or as solid concentrates to be dissolved with water. Their Shampoo & Body Wash Bar for Babies & Kids cleans your little one from top to toe. Flaxseed, mandarin, lavender, cocoa butter and coconut oil leave skin clean and hydrated and hair soft and silky for easy brushing. Soap-free, pH balanced and gentle. Packaging is plastic free and compostable. Find it on Amazon along with all their other products.
MiniRodini is a swedish brand that makes their swim wear out of ECONYL. Econyl yarn is made from recovered fishing nets and other nylon waste. Mini Rodini joined The Fair Wear Foundation in 2016 to be part of their Living Wages Incubator-A move towards living wages ( which is different from minimum wage, a living wage you can actually live on) for all their workers in their sewing units by 2021. You can buy their swim wear here and directly from them here. Mini Rodini also make clothes.
•Borrowing books from the library is always our first option but when it's books you want to gift or read over and over see if you can find it in your local book store.
If you want to order online Bookshop.org connects you to small independent bookstores. If you do choose to buy from Amazon-consider turning your Amazon Smile and Amazon will donate a portion of the sale to an organization of your choice.
When a little girl discovers a cheeky orangutang in her bedroom she can't understand why it keeps getting angry at her chocolate and throwing away her shampoo. Rang-Tang explains to the little girl that there are humans in her forest, burning down trees to grown palm oil to put in products, and the little girl knows she has to try to help save the orangutans. It is a beautiful book based on the 90 second short video made by Greenpeace and narrated by Emma Thompson. The book is written by James Sellick and published in collaboration with Greenpeace with extra pages in the back that include information about orangutans and palm oil, and ideas about how young readers can make a difference. You can find the book here and from Amazon.
Greta and the Giants by Zoe Tucker tells the story of a girl named Greta who lives in a beautiful forest threatened by giants. The giants are chopping down more and more trees to make bigger and bigger homes and soon there is hardly any forest left. Greta knows she has to help save the forest and she has an idea... The story uses allegory to make the topic of the climate crisis accessible to young children. You can buy the book from Bookshop, Barnes & Nobles and Amazon.
In this informative book for little environmentalist you will find information on everything they will want to know. From pollution and micro plastics to renewable energy and green projects worldwide. The book is very informative with amazing illustrations and each page can be looked at in short bursts or longers reads making it great for all ages. You can find it at Bookshop.org. and from Amazon.
The Little people, Big Dreams by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara is a best selling series of books that explore the lives of outstanding people, who, like all of us, all started out as children. The story about Great Thunberg tells the story of how the activist through her school strike for the climate encouraged a global climate change movement, proving that no one is too small to make a difference. You can buy the book from Bookshop, and Amazon.
In this book about Charlie and Lola by Lauren Child, Charlie convinces Lola to recycle her old toys instead of throwing them away. Lola then discovers a recycling competition which engages her whole class who turn out to be extremely very good recyclers indeed! This adventure is printed on FSC approved paper and includes recycling tips as well as a tree poster just like Lola's so kids can keep track of their recycling projects and help save the planet all on their own. You can buy the book from Bookshop, or Amazon.
From former longtime Scholastic magazine editor Jack L. Roberts come a captivating and engaging new book that will help young readers (9-14years) understand one of the most important and pressing issues of our time-Climate Change. The book provides up to date answers to questions about global warming-what it is, what it is caused by, but also what young people can do to help stop it. You can get it from Bookshop, and Amazon.
Teen Vogue curates in this book a dynamic collection of timely pieces on the climate justice movement. It includes a collection of essays spanning topics from "Recycling Isn't Going to Stop Plastic from Destroying the Earth" to "What You Should Know About Environmental Racism". No Planet B is an essential primer for young climate strikers, eco warriors and every young person who wants, or needs, to know more about what is happening to this world. You can buy it from Bookshop, Barnes & Noble and Amazon.
Esembly is a woman owned cloth diaper company. Their story started back in 2009 when the same women launched a cloth diaper cleaning service in Brooklyn-Diaperkind. They took everything they learned from Diaperkind and crafted a complete reusable cloth diapering system that gives you the tools to diaper simply and sustainably. Their diapers are made from GOTS-certified organic cotton, grown responsibly in South Asia, and they offer everything you need to wash and care for them. The company is not entirely plastic free (care products are in plastic packaging) but their plan is to be by 2022 and since 37 BILLION disposable plastic diapers are being tossed EACH YEAR in the US alone, changing out the approx 65 plastic diapers a baby uses a week to reusable ones will have a huge impact. You can read more about them here. Use Live15 for a 15% discount on your first order.
Instead of having your baby or toddler sucking a piece of plastic for hours a day, get them a natural rubber pacifier. Natural rubber is derived from the rubber tree, not made from oil. The rubber is free from allergens, artificial colors, carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, chemical softeners, parabens, PVC, and phthalates. The pacifiers are molded from a single piece of rubber and are therefor free of joints and cracks where dirt and bacteria can accumulate. There are plenty of brands, Eco piggy which you can find at Package Free shop, and Earth hero, Danish brand Natursutten make their pacifiers in Italy and you can get them from Amazon.
Instead of a plastic bottle of soap for your tiniest person, just get a soap bar. Dr Bronners baby soap bar is mild enough to use on babies sensitive skin and is available from most places-CVS, Target, Walmart, Amazon. Burts Bees also make a soap bar version that is available in most big supermarkets or Amazon. Or even better-check out your local farmers market for handmade soap bars and speak directly to the maker.
Ethique's goal is for you to give up the bottle and they offer alternatives to most things you need for hair face and body-either as bars or as solid concentrates to be dissolved with water. Their Shampoo & Body Wash Bar for Babies & Kids cleans your little one from top to toe. Flaxseed, mandarin, lavender, cocoa butter and coconut oil leave skin clean and hydrated and hair soft and silky for easy brushing. Soap-free, pH balanced and gentle. Packaging is plastic free and compostable. Find it on Amazon along with all their diaper rash balm and other products.
Swim diapers are much cheaper and much more sustainable than single use swim diapers, but they are much easier to clean than regular cloth diapers-as you only wear them in the water and they are not made to absorb any pee, and most of the times don't get soiled. There are so many option it's almost a wonder that single use diapers even exists. We like these by Green Sprout that you can get from Amazon.
Dropp's did the original laundry pod way back when. They now do laundry detergent pods, stain and odor pods, scent booster pods, and oxi booster pods. (As well as dishwasher podsTheir laundry bar for sensitive skin and babies is fragrance free and mild enough for your tiniest person. All in completely water soluble PVOH pods (What are PVOH pods you might wonder? You can read all bout it here.) Delivered to your door in a recyclable and compostable box, with tape and shipping label that is also recyclable and compostable. Made in the US. Subscribe to have them delivered every 4 months or buy as you need. Check them out on Dropp's website, or on Amazon..
Shampoo- and Conditioner bars
A more sustainable shampoo and conditioner is plastic and sulfate free. This bar from Unwrapped Life is Ultra gentle and preserves natural oils. You can find it at Package Free Shop.
TEENS AND TWEENS
Discovering Thinx was a bit of a revelation for us a few years back. Thinx makes reusable period panties that replaces your tampons, pantyliners and pads. You wear, you rinse and you wash them in the machine. They're comfortable, they don't leak and they prevent single use menstrual hygiene products from ending up in landfill. There's different styles for different bodies and different absorbencies for different flows. And there's Thinx formulated for teens and tweens. Thinx BTWN is exactly what we wished we had had access to when we got our first period, it would have saved us from embarrassing leeks, and having to sneak off to bathrooms with the pads hidden so no one would know.
Thinx are advocating for menstrual equity and are fighting against discriminatory policies so that every person has access to the products they need to reach their full potential. Today 1 in 5 students struggle to afford period products or are unable to purchase them at all. 84% of young people say they have missed class or know someone who has missed class due to a lack of access. This year Thinx is working together with PERIOD and other members of United for Access coalition to take menstrual equity to the presidential stage through their Thinx2020 campaign. You can find ThinxBTWN on their website and you can find Thinx at Package Free Shop.
The Saalt teen Period Cup is a medical grade silicone cup that collects rather than absorbs the menstrual flow. The cup is naturally odorless, biocompatible, and chemical free making it a healthy and sustainable alternative to pads and tampons. Because it has 2 to 3 times the capacity of a regular tampon, you can wear it for up to 12 hours before emptying. Yes, that means you only have to change it twice a day, and can sleep with it in. Once inserted, the Saalt Teen Cup’s flexible design molds to your internal shape so you can comfortably wear it to hike, swim, or or all day at school. You can find it on Amazon.
The Ruby Cup is a menstrual cup made of 100% medical grade silicone making it soft and easy to use. It has 3x the capacity of a tampon and can be worn for up to 8 hours at a time.
The silicone material is hypoallergenic, non-absorbent and contains no harmful additives or chemicals. You can reuse a Ruby Cup for up to ten years and save 10kg of plastic from disposable products from ending up in landfills.
Since 2012, every single Ruby Cup sold is accompanied by another cup that is donated to a girl or woman who struggles to gain access to safe and affordable period products. Get yours here:
If you have kids, or even just if you have ever met a child, you probably know that all falls, scratches, bruises and minor bumps has to be treated with a bandage strip or the pain will never go away (factually incorrect but try telling that to a child with a scraped knee) They are usually made from plastic, and wrapped in plastic. But these bandage strips from Patch are made from 100% bamboo and fully home compostable. You can find them at Package Free Shop and on Amazon.
clothes & shoes
•The most sustainable clothes are the ones you already own, take care of them and pass them on when they longer fit.
•Consider buying second hand.
•Rent (or borrow) clothes for special events
•Buy from brands that implement sustainable and ethical practices in their production.
Veja is one of the most Sustainable sneaker companies there is, if not the most sustainable. Veja brings together organic, fair-trade, environment and social reintegration. One of the main raw materials in a Veja sneaker is Amazonian rubber which they pay twice the market price for and buy directly from cooperatives formed by families of rubber tappers. Read more about it here. For their cotton they use only organic and fair trade produced cotton or recycled cotton. They are big on upcycling- turing trash in to something useful. Their B-mesh is made entirely out of plastic bottles, three per shoes to be precise. Their J-mesh is made from a blend of jute, recycled cotton and recycled PET. Their C.W.L is a vegan alternative to leather made from cotton fabric covered by a corn based coating.
For their leathers they only use leather from tanneries audited and certified Gold by the Leather Working Group tome sure they know where the leather comes from and that it doesn't contain dangerous chemicals. We could go on listing all the steps they take to make sure their sneakers are as sustainable and ethical as possible but we would run out of space. You can read about it all here. Did we mention they look dope? You can find them here.
Native Shoes is an Canadian shoe company (with production in China and Vietnam) that make shoes completely out of EVA or ethylene-vinyl acetate. It's is not a sustainable or biodegradable material (it's plastic) but Native can recycle the whole shoe and make it in to seating, playground flooring insulation and more. You can read more about it here. Their goal is for every one of their shoes to be 100% life cycle managed by 2023. You can buy their shoes in many on-line and brick and mortar shops or directly from them.
We understand that most people can not afford to buy Stella McCartney but we want to include her because of her commitment to sustainability. From never using fur or leather, pioneering new alternative materials, to utilizing cutting edge technologies, pushing towards circularity, and protecting ancient and endangered forests. Every year Stella McCartney 9and the whole Kering Group) measure their environmental impact in their EP & L-Environmental Profit and Loss, taking to account their greenhouse emissions, water pollution, land use, air pollution and waste across their entire supply chain. The impacts are then translated into monetary value which allows them to understand the hidden costs and benefits they generate from the way they operate. They have been members of the Ethical Trading Initiative which promotes respect for workers rights around the globe since 2012. They have created a Green Book to help their stores run as sustainably as possible-in the UK both stores and offices run on wind power and in Dallas their store run on the solar panels on the roof. Our point is, Stella McCartney as a brand is heading in the direction that all brands should be heading. You can learn more about their practices here. And check out their collection here and here.
Patagonia famously took out a full page ad in a newspaper a few years back encouraging us NOT to buy their jacket. What they meant was of course unless you really needed to. As in actually really needed to. Patagonia offers good quality clothing meant to last, a repair shop for when it doesn't and a buy back program for used Patagonia clothing. They have been part of 1% for the Planet (an alliance of businesses that commit to contribute 1% of their gross annual sales to grassroots environmental groups) since 1985 and have to date awarded over $89 million in cash and in-kind donations to domestic and grassroots environmental groups making a difference in their local communities.
The Real Real
Buy (or consign) used kids' designer clothing and accessories on The Real Real. The items are authenticated and shipped from their warehouse. You can also buy (and consign) second hand luxury brands for men and women.
ThredUp, is is one of the largest online consignment and second hand stores and carries both kids' and women's clothing. You can find both designer brands like Gucci and Stella Mccartney and high street brands like Gap and Hannah Andersson.
Buy (and sell) kids' used clothes on the Poshmark app. Everybody with kids know how fast they grow out of things, so instead of buying new, new, new, buy something gently used. You can also find women's and men's clothing and accessories.
If you have kids how many tutu's, sequined dresses and dress shirts do you have lying around that has only been used once? Too many is probably the answer. Rainey's closet offers special occasion rentals for your next yearly photoshoot, wedding or special event that can be rented for five or ten days. Their site covers everything from the outfit to crowns, bows and suspenders. Check them out here.