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Kaitlyn’s adorable new puppy Arial from Toronto knows all about wasting-not! Image

Kids Parties: Loot Bags


*Photo Credit: Ayla87

If you’re a parent no doubt at some point or another you’ve received or given a loot bag for a kids party. Loot bags can easily become the biggest form of after party waste along with some concerning toxins in cheap toys.

A typical loot bag will contain tons of little candies as well as small plastic toys. When it comes to small candies you are often left with a pile of wrappers. Sometimes unwanted candies end up in the garbage as well.

On top of the garbage left behind by candy, the toys that come in the loot bags often become clutter and the garbage. Usually they are so cheap they break within an hour. If they don’t break, the toys are so simple your child may abandon it after two hours. Even worse still, cheap toys made of plastic often run the risk of being filled with chemicals from dye and plastic.

So what are you to do when your kids next birthday roles around? It’s so customary to give a loot bag it’s not only disappointing for the kids, some parents even fear judgment from other parents. While you want to make it as waste free you probably also want to keep the cost down.

Working at a party store I have heard many suggestions for loot bags and have seen many choices.
Some parents are opting to give small gift cards of $5 to Malls or even local toy shops like Mastermind.
You could even consider giving one good quality toy.

If you are at the party store and can’t be bothered with shopping around and don’t like the 1 gift idea here are some other tips:
-Skip the candy. With chocolate there are peanut scares, and what kid needs even more candy?
-Consider the usefulness of the toys. Pencils, pencil crayons, notebooks, and pencil sharpeners are all things for school.
-Instead of filling plastic bags, consider using sand pails or lunch boxes which make great gifts on their own.

Spring Cleaning: Paper Free!

Image: Kittikun Atsawintarangkul / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve started the traditional spring cleaning. Time to put our baking soda, hot water, and vinegar to use! But before you get to the surface you need to clean up everything on the counter first.

In my family for some reason paper always seems to pile up. Junk mail, bills, print offs never used, it can create way to much clutter. And then on the other side it’s a huge waste of paper!

Did you know Americans receive close to two million tons of junk mail every year?
*”Organizing for Your Brain Type by Lanna Nakone

That’s not only a ridiculous amount of junk, but also a lot of wasted paper. Even worse is some of the glossy paper can’t even be recycled.

So what are we to do?
Well, what can’t we do?

In this day and age technology has become so advanced I can safely say almost everything can be done paper free. Bills, Recipes, Directions, letters (e-mails), agendas, calendars, everything is at our finger tips and extremely portable with laptops and cell phones.

If you have a smart phone there are many apps that will help you keep track of bills and how much you’re spending without all the paperwork.

Mint.com provides an amazing service that keeps track of your spending helping you create a budget. What’s great is it uses all your banking information so you have everything you need in one space to create the perfect budget. It even made Time magazines top 100 apps!

Don’t have a smart phone? The same program is available on their website and best of all it’s free!

Still see no point in switching over to paper free? You can even save money by doing the switch! Most companies now charge up to 2$ for paper bills. If you have 5 bills thats 10$ a month that you could be saving along with all those trees!

Do you have any tips on reducing your paper clutter by going digital?

Sustain a Day: Making Easter more Sustainable!

Image: Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

With Easter fast approaching it’s time to do a little party planning. Then there is the same question with every holiday: how do we make this event more sustainable? I have some great tips on making your Easter a little more garbage free.

Chocolate

One of my personal favourite parts of Easter has to do with chocolates and sweets. As sweet as candy is, most of it comes with a ridiculous amount of garbage! Especially those giant chocolate bunnies wrapped in tons of cardboard.

Another option? Home baked goods!
It’s a little more work but cake and cookies made from scratch have that taste that you can’t deny. You also avoid the nasty PGPR chemicals that chocolate companies are now using instead of actual cocoa butter.

Decore

It’s easy to go out and pick up some cardboard easter bunnies and window stickers but you just end up throwing them out at the end of the season. And then buy more next year? Just a little more then wasteful.

Another option? Fresh cut Flowers!
Nothing says spring like flowers. So why not pick up some fresh cut flowers at your local greenhouse? Not only do they look great, they smell amazing and will be a great replacement for any chemical laden air freshener.

Still can’t keep away from those cardboard cut outs? Reuse! Instead of throwing them out make sure to find a safe and dry place to keep them for next year.

Also remember to toss any of your eggs into your Organics bin rather then the garbage. No organics pick up in your area? Consider starting a composte in your backyard, mother earth will appreciate it.

-Heather

This is Pilot. He knows everything about the environment.

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