Fun at the Beach

Day 208 – When you think about items you would need for the beach, I’m sure a towel is high on the list. Beach toys are also a must have. Children of all ages and even children at heart, love playing in the sand. Having good tools to dig those gigantic holes and build epic sandcastles is a must. Today’s post gives a few examples of towels and beach toys made from sustainable materials.

Beach Towels

Rupert and Bird – Each towel consists of fabric made primarily from recycled plastic bottles, equal to twenty-two bottles saved from the ocean or landfill. Each purchase contributes to 1% for the Planet. 

Nomadix – All products are made using certified post-consumer recycled plastic. Thirty plastic bottles equals one Nomadix towel. They also contribute to 1% For The Planet.

Evolve – Ultra-softexclusive Ecolite™ fabric is sustainably made from recycled plastic, with an average of 20 plastic bottles recycled to produce each sand free towel. 10% of all profits are donated to environmental charities. 

Beach Toys 

Love Lotte Eco Beach Toy Set – Made from bamboo fiber, this set is sturdy, but also biodegradable. So, in case anything goes missing, it will breakdown in the sand within 12 months and not become plastic waste. It’s a bit pricey for a beach toy, but knowing you are purchasing a sustainable product is well worth the $36.

Green Toys – I wrote about Green Toys on Day 152. Green Toys are made from 100% recycled plastic. They contain no BPA, phthalates, PVC, or external coatings. The toys are also dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. They have a wide range of bath/beach toys.

Rogue Wave Beach Toys – Pail and shovel is made from a certified compostable plant-based plastic. That means no petroleum, and no micro-plastics! Material is made in the US, BPA-free and oil-free. At the end of their very long life of play, they will compost back to soil in active landfills and commercial compost facilities.

Make your next trip to the beach a good one, for you and the planet.

Tomorrow, 100% recyclable is not exactly 100%.

Tips to a PVC Free Summer

Day 179 – What is PVC?

PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride. PVC is everywhere around us because it is such a versatile material. It is used in toys, bottles, packaging, bedding, construction materials, wire coatings, clothing, piping, and furnishings, just to name a few. PVC is the third most popular type of plastic. This year, PVC production is expected to reach 51 million metric tons, worldwide.

Should we be concerned about PVC?

“PVC is dangerous to human health and the environment throughout its entire life cycle, at the factory, in our homes, and in the trash. Our bodies can be contaminated with the chemicals released during the PVC lifecycle, such as mercury, dioxins, and phthalates, which may pose irreversible life-long health threats. When produced or burned, PVC plastic releases dioxins, a group of the most potent synthetic chemicals ever tested, which can cause cancer and harm the immune and reproductive systems.” – Children’s Environmental Health Network

Ever notice that smell after opening a new shower curtain or opening up a new inflatable pool or that new car smell?

That smell occurs as a result of off gassing. Off gassing is when volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are released into the air that you breathe. Volatile organic compounds can be all kinds of chemicals. There are thousands of chemicals allowed to be used in materials intended for use in your home, workplace or vehicles every day. In fact, around 80,000 new chemicals have been invented since World War II. Some off gassing VOCs are thought to be carcinogenic, which means they cause cancer. Other VOCs can be harmful when mixed with other chemicals. PVC plastic undergoes off gassing.

Sadly, PVC is found in many of the items we use throughout the summer. Thankfully, many manufacturers are beginning to move away from the use of this plastic.

Here are some suggestions to avoid PVC this summer.

Swimming Pools – The Safe Parent created a list of Non-Toxic and Hard Plastic Kiddie Pools. The pools listed are all PVC free.

Life Vests – Many summer activities may include the use of a life vest. Unfortunately, many are made with PVC. There are PVC free options, but you’ll have to look for them. Make sure the foam insert is made from PE foam, EVA form or Gaia foam. Brands like NRS, Stohlquist and Astral offer PVC free vests, just to name a few.

Pool Floaties – It is next to impossible to find a pool floatie not made with PVC. I could not find any in my search, but that’s not to say they do not exist. The best advice I could give is to avoid the pool floatie if you can. If not, at least give it a few days outside to off gas. Pool floaties are also not recyclable. So, that beachball, water wings and giant donut inner tube will end up in a landfill after they have popped.

Pool toys – Many children toys are made from PVC plastic. Green Toys are PVC free and have a fun line of water toys. Which would be great for the pool!

I can honestly say that I did not avoid PVC plastic when my kids were younger. I didn’t know I had to. Hopefully, this information will help make your future purchases easier, knowing to avoid polyvinyl chloride.

Tomorrow, tips on having an environmentally friendly block party.

Plastic Toys: It’s not all fun and games

Day 152 – One of my least favorite toys that I had to assemble for my children was a kitchen. A rather large, plastic kitchen. All the pieces were attached and had to be separated before they could be reassembled to resemble a kitchen set. I did it all by myself on a Christmas Eve and it was absolutely the worst. However, the kids loved it! And when it’s all said and done, isn’t that what it’s all about?

Well, I sure drank the KoolAid on that misconception. Most of us don’t give much thought about the cheap, plastic toys we purchase for our children or young people in our lives. Our main concern is usually their happiness. So, we spend our money on toys that will most likely not even last a year and will end up in the trash.

About 90% of today’s toys are made from plastic. Sadly, most of the plastic is not recyclable. Think about the plastic toys you played with as a kid. Those same toys are still sitting in a landfill somewhere and will be there for centuries to come.

So, what are our options when looking to purchase toys?

Find toys made from other materials, like wood, cotton, metal or natural rubber

Companies like Big Future Toys and Begin Again Toys are finding other ways to produce fun and entertaining toys without the use of plastic.

Find toys made from recycled material

Companies like Green Toys and Luke’s Toy Factory are using recycled material to create their toys.

Find toys with take back programs

Numerous toy manufacturers are taking back their toys. If you have toys that have reached the end of their life, from any of the following companies, you can ship them, at no cost, to be recycled. Be sure to check out the list of accepted toys for each program.



Leap Frog




*The Northcenter Neighborhood Association Recycle Popup collects all the toys listed here. The next popup is June 19th.

Find alternatives to toys

Another great option to avoid plastic toys, is to give the gift of an experience. Maybe it’s a trip to the bowling alley, or the arcade. A movie with all the popcorn and candy you can eat, a hike in a beautiful wooded area, or a day at the waterpark, would all make awesome gifts.

So, the next time you are faced with the challenge of finding that perfect gift consider avoiding the cheap plastic toys. There are so many great alternatives out there. You just need to look.

Tomorrow, a company that has found a purpose for the plastic from discarded children toys.

Happy Innovation Day!

Day 47 – Today is the day we celebrate new ideas, new products, new technology and a new way of doing things. I thought today would be a good day to highlight some innovative companies that are putting the planet first and producing products that can help the environment.

Fair Harbor Clothing – There signature boardshorts and swim trunks are made using post-consumer recycled plastic bottles, transformed in to functional fabric at factories they visit personally and regularly. Fair Harbor creates a full range of stylish and thoughtfully designed clothing and swimwear from unique and sustainable materials.

GO-OPV’s ORENgE systemOrganic energy uses a thin film panel to capture the sun’s rays and converts it to power, similar to traditional solar power. The panels could be used for windows or trucks, phone or computer chargers, or it can be a building-integrated photovoltaics in glass. What makes organic energy different from solar power is that it is light-dependent, not sun dependent, meaning it will always create power as long as there is some form of natural light. Producing the OPV also has a lower impact on the environment compared to silicon solar panels.” – Leighton Schneider (ABC News Reporter)

Gumdrop LTD “Gumdrop Ltd has been founded on a closed loop recycling process. Gum-tec® is used to manufacture the Gumdrop Bin and Gumdrop on-the-go, pink receptacles designed specifically for the disposal of waste chewing gum. Gumdrops are bright pink and look like strawberry flavored bubble gum bubbles. Once the Gumdrop is full, the whole Gumdrop along with its contents of waste gum is recycled and processed to manufacture new Gumdrops, the cycle starts again. Gumdrop Ltd collaborate with manufacturers and companies globally in order to offer innovative products made from recycled and processed chewing gum. With Gumdrop’s help, recycled and processed chewing gum can become a vast number of things from boots, to mobile phone covers, stationary, packaging and much more. As well as being used as a more sustainable choice to virgin plastics.” – Gumdrop LT

Green Toys – Their toys are made from 100% post-consumer recycled high density polyethylene (milk jugs). The toys are made in the USA. All products are packaged in 100% recyclable cardboard and printed with minimal color using soy inks.

So, on this day of ground breaking ideas and Earth saving products, seek out companies that make their #1 priority the planet and keeping it safe.

Tomorrow, an organization recycling and repurposing just about everything.