June 07, 2014

Ten tips to save money & put a spring in your step

Here are some handy tips to help your hip pocket, and put a spring in your step knowing you're helping mother earth.

  1. Refill a reusable water bottle with tap water instead of forking our your hard earned for disposable water bottles. 
  2. Skip the juice bar. Squeeze a little lemon, orange, or fresh fruit juice into your water bottle. 
  3. Side-step the smoothie shop. Mix a delicious home-made smoothie in seconds at home and pour into an insulated drink bottle to enjoy on-the-go later that day. 
  4. Refill baby food pouches with delicious home made fruit puree instead of buying baby food from the supermarket. Cheaper, healthy, and waste free!
  5. Stop buying plastic cling film to cover leftover food. Choose a  non-toxic, reusable food wrap and make sure it’s easy to clean in the washing machine.
  6. Stop using plastic sandwich bags. Instead use reusable food wraps that are non-toxic and easy to clean. 
  7. Next time you visit your local barista take a reusable coffee cup for them to fill. Often they’ll offer a discount because they don’t have to supply cups (and you’re keeping disposable cups out of landfill).
  8. Dare I say it, brew your own coffee or tea instead and take it with you in the car or train in a spill-proof cup. 
  9. Pack a snack container with delicious fruit, nuts, and nibbles and do a pirouette around the snack food vending machine.
  10. Enjoy a hot meal at work but on budget? Heat up last night's leftovers and pop into an insulated food container and viola, you'll be the envy of all.

 

May 30, 2014

Materials We Love

Many of us worry about the health risks associated with using plastic, especially to hold and store food. Our mission is to find and offer the best alternative to plastic products, products made from safe, non-toxic, and eco friendly materials. We’ve done oodles of research to identify a list of ‘materials we love’ which in turn is used to select and screen the reusable items we sell. So without further ado, the materials we love are:

  • Glass and stainless steel are considered the safest materials for food storage. Glass is a safe option made from totally natural raw materials: sand, limestone and soda ash. It’s a great material to use with food and drinks because it doesn’t leach chemicals, it’s recyclable, and can withstand high and low temperatures. Because glass is chemically inert, it can also be microwaved safely. Glass is commonly used for cups, bottles and food storage. Check out our reusable safe glass products.
  • Stainless Steel is a safe option when it comes to use with food and beverage, because it doesn’t leach chemicals into your food from these products. It’s durable, recyclable, easy to sanitise and corrosion resistant to various acids found in meats, milk, fruits and vegetables. We recommend products made of 304 or 18/8 grade stainless steel. This indicates the % of chromium (18%) and nickel (8%) both of which are used to prevent rust and corrosion. Visit our safe stainless steel products.
  • Natural bamboo is a safe, strong, resilient, renewable and eco-friendly material. It grows quickly, it doesn't need pesticides or much water and it pulls carbon dioxide out of the air. Choose products made from natural bamboo fabric, but avoid synthetic bamboo products made from Rayon. When bamboo fibres are made into Rayon, lots of chemicals are required, anti-microbial features are often lost, and it might not be bio-degradable.
  • Hemp is a strong material typically grown chemical free which enriches its soil, saves water and produces 2 – 4 times more fibre per area than other sources. Hemp is durable, biodegradable and recyclable. Contrary to popular belief, hemp is not the same as marijuana, and actually has very little in common with it. 
  • Silicone is a man-made, rubber-like and inert material that won’t leach into foods. It’s non-toxic, BPA-free, hypoallergenic and resistant to bacteria. As such, it is perfect for food storage and serving purposes, safe, pliable and easy to clean. It can go in the microwave, fridge, freezer or oven (up to 428 degrees Fahrenheit) making it highly versatile and durable. Silicone is derived from silicon, a natural element abundant in sand and rock. It is transformed into silicone when combined with oxygen, carbon and hydrogen. material derived. It’s non-biodegradable but is recyclable.

Disclaimer: we are parents with a passion for healthy and sustainable living, not scientific experts. We've compiled information published by industry experts and Australian & international industry bodies including the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the US Food & Drug Adminisration (FDA) and shared the key bits for your convenience above. But we also acknowledge that certain aspects (i.e. the toxicity of plastics) are not fully understood or adequately tested. We always encourage you to do your own research to make informed decisions but hope this helps.

Related Articles: 

Materials We Limit

> Materials We Leave

 

     

     

    May 29, 2014

    Materials We Limit - BPA-Free Plastics

    Plastics are man-made materials and in today's modern life are nearly unavoidable. Some are considered safe and others toxic, particularly when used to hold and store food & drink. We like to err on the side of caution so where practical we try to limit use of safe plastics in favour of materials like glass and stainless steel because they are safer for people and the planet in daily use and the manufacturing process.

    Safer plastics, namely BPA-free, PVC-free and Bioplastics, are generally considered eco-friendly and safe when used properly. Plastics are typically grouped into seven plastic recycling codes you can use to identify safe plastics and they are found on the underside of the bottle or packaging. Safer plastics are marked:

    • #1: PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate)
    • #2: HDPE (High-Denisity Polyethylene)
    • #4: LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene)
    • #5: PP (Polypropylene)

    Importantly avoid plastics with the recycling code #3, #6, and some #7 (read more on these in our 'Materials to avoid').

    Also if you must use plastic to hold and store food there are also a few rules of thumb for proper use of safe plastics:

    1. don’t heat in the microwave
    2. don’t store fatty or acidic foods
    3. don’t used if scratched or worn, and

    Disclaimer: we are parents with a passion for healthy and sustainable living, not scientific experts. We've compiled information published by industry experts and Australian & international industry bodies including the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the US Food & Drug Adminisration (FDA) and shared the key bits for your convenience above. But we also acknowledge that certain aspects (i.e. the toxicity of plastics) are not fully understood or adequately tested. We always encourage you to do your own research to make informed decisions but hope this helps.

    Related Articles: 

    > Materials We Love
    > Materials We Leave



      May 29, 2014

      Materials We Leave

      Materials we avoid for safety reasons are listed below. We acknowledge that toxicity of some materials (i.e. some plastics) is not fully understood or adequately tested, but as former EWG senior scientist Dr. Anila Jacob told Web MD,

      Although most of the chemicals making the culinary crossing are considered "safe," Jacob tells WebMD that's generally not because they've been proved safe, but rather they haven't been proven to be unsafe.

      "There is very little published research on the potential adverse health effects of chemicals that leach from plastic food containers, so it's difficult to say they're safe with any degree of certainty, especially with long-term use," says Jacob.

      So we happily share findings from our research and assure that you won't find these nasties in our products, but always encourage you to do your own research to make informed decisions.

      Unsafe materials to avoid (we certainly do):

      • Plastic #3: PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) contains phthalates and plasticisers than can leach into food and drinks. These can be found in cling wrap, clear plastic containers for fruit or take-away sandwiches and some soft drink containers. The manufacture of PVC releases a potent carcinogen that accumulates in animals and in us. It may also contain phthalates, chemicals used, among other things, to soften plastics. Some phthalates are hormone disruptors that have been linked to possible reproductive problems and birth defects, and even to smaller penis size in boys. PVC workers have higher cancer rates.
      • Plastic #6: PS (Polystyrene) is found in rigid plastics such as opaque plastic spoons and forks, and in Styrofoam, such as those found in coffee cups and meat trays. These plastics can leach styrene, a known neurotoxin with other negative health effects.
      • Plastics #7 (includes Polycarbonate and Acrylic) is a catch all for a variety of plastics some of which are harmful and some that are not. Harmful plastics in this category include polycarbonate which can release BPA into food, especially when bottles are washed for reuse. This plastic may be used in bottles for sauces and condiments, baby bottles, infant drinking cups, and water bottles used by cyclists and bush walkers.
      • Plain Aluminium cookware and storage is low-cost, light-weight, and thermally responsive – but aluminium is reactive and can affect the taste of food and drink. Foods cooked or stored in aluminium can react with the metal to form aluminum salts associated with impaired visual motor coordination and Alzheimer’s disease; however there is no definite link proven. One study did find that about 20% of aluminium in the diet comes from the use of aluminium cookware and foil. More than half of all cookware sold today is made of aluminum.
      • Teflon is Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA), a toxic chemical which doesn’t ever break down. It’s used to coat baking trays and cooking utensils. Increasing amounts of this substance are building up in our environment, in food chains – and ourselves. We avoid Teflon.

      Should be safe but take care

      • Quality ceramic with a lead-free glaze in good condition is considered safe and eco-friendly alternative made from clay and minerals. However there have been reports that some lead-free pottery can still taint food (U.S Food and Drug Administration) so caution should be taken choosing a good quality lead-free product.

      Disclaimer: we are parents with a passion for healthy and sustainable living, not scientific experts. We've compiled information published by industry experts and Australian & international industry bodies including the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the US Food & Drug Adminisration (FDA) and shared the key bits for your convenience above. But we also acknowledge that certain aspects (i.e. the toxicity of plastics) are not fully understood or adequately tested. We always encourage you to do your own research to make informed decisions but hope this helps.

      Related Articles: 

      > Materials We Love

      Materials We Limit

        May 20, 2014

        Learn About....

        Our guides are designed to help you make informed decisions, and live a better life with safe, non-toxic reusables. Learn about our selection criteria and the materials we love, limit and leave when choosing safe, non-toxic reusable products in our store. And browse our tips and ideas to save money and feel great living waste free! Start with the links below, or choose one of the articles in the left navigation area. Happy reading!