Archive for February, 2009

TOYS!!!

…for your dog and cat.  Sorry to tease.  But you know a toy for the pooch or putty-tat means fun for you also (ever watched a cat try to get inside a sack of Nip?  Or a dog roll around with a plush bone?  If not, you are seriously missing out on some rather cheap entertainment…)

For those of you with K-9 companions, check out our dog bones created from post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. These are 100% safe, re-engineered fibers that divert unnecessary waste from going to your landfill and takes eight times less energy than producing fabric from virgin fibers.  Made with 85% IntelliLoft™ recycled fibers and milled in the USA, these bones are clean, safe and comprised of completely re-engineered fibers for optimum quality and durability.

dogbones

Or try the Twist rope and get involved in the action pulling your pooch around the yard (slippery floors make for lots of laughs also.)  Like the bones, this eco-conscious toy is made from fabric created from 85% IntelliLoft™ fibers.

twist-rope

For Mr. Whiskers, check out our Green friendly turtle shaped toy filled with energizing USDA certified Organic Catnip.  This ‘slow’ toy measures 6 inches and has a sewn-in jingling bell to drive you insane while watching Discovery Channel.

turtle-toy

And last but never least…CATNIP!! US grown and USDA Certified Organic Catnip won’t give your kitty the munchies, instead it will make him work harder that Ed Begley Jr. at an oil spill to get at the heart of things.  This 6″ tall sack of goodness is 100% premium organic catnip wrapped in organic cotton and tied with a string made of reclaimed cotton.

nip

February 26, 2009 at 9:57 am Leave a comment

Disposable Water Bottles – Problem or Not…

In follow up to our post on the problem with BPA’s, we’re back again to talk about the issue of disposable water bottles. We read a lot about this issue, from multiple sources surrounding the central issues – 1) providing water which all humans need and 2) unnecessary waste – and, with a mountain of statistics, facts, anecdotes, and personal experience in front of us, we have one conclusion: disposable water bottles have got to go. We’re aware that economic repercussions result from such a hard-line stance, and we are sensitive to the billion dollar industries that relate to the production, distribution, sale, recycling, et cetera of disposable water bottles (we’re strictly talking water here, leave soda and other beverages out of the equation for now.) However, at the end of the day, the extra effort of supplying clean water is not so costly and difficult that it cannot be achieved – and the benefits far outweigh the cost of the waste associated with this particular context.

One source we went to is the International Bottled Water Association. We applaud the IBWA for assertively encouraging people to recycle disposable water bottles and for providing copious volumes of information about disposable water bottles. They even have ‘The Bottled Water Code of Practice’ for members. But right there are two significant problems – 1) to expect people on a large scale to carefully recycle is unrealistic, even with large scale educational programs (which IBWA does not distribute) and 2) companies that produce and distribute disposable water bottles have the choice to become members, rather than legislation that enforces that their business standards fall in line with best-practices. Laissez-Faire free-market Capitalism is nice, but we need boundaries when the very physical environment’s health to sustain human life – in which we accomplish this business – is threatened by our market practices.

We also read the Pacific Institute’s website and fact sheet. The PI are attempting to address this specific context of the issue: “The growing consumption of bottled water raises questions about the product’s economic and environmental costs. Among the most significant concerns are the resources required to produce the plastic bottles and to deliver filled bottles to consumers, including both energy and water.” We think that is a prudent and fair manner of dealing with a global dilemma and support the PI’s balanced examination of the topic. Here are some stats gleaned from their fact sheet:

According to the Beverage Marketing Corporation, Americans bought a total of 31.2 billion liters of water in 2006. These were sold in bottles ranging from the 8-ounce aquapods popular in school lunches to the multi-gallon bottles found in family refrigerators and office water coolers. Most of this water was sold in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, requiring nearly 900,000 tons of the plastic. PET is produced from fossil fuels – typically natural gas and petroleum.

According to the plastics manufacturing industry, it takes around 3.4 megajoules of energy to make a typical one-liter plastic bottle, cap, and packaging. Making enough plastic to bottle 31.2 billion liters of water required more than 106 billion megajoules of energy. Because a barrel of oil contains around 6 thousand megajoules, the Pacific Institute estimates that the equivalent of more than 17 million barrels of oil were needed to produce these plastic bottles.

The manufacture of every ton of PET produces around 3 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). Bottling water thus created more than 2.5 million tons of CO2 in 2006.

In addition to the water sold in plastic bottles, the Pacific Institute estimates that twice as much water is used in the production process. Thus, every liter sold represents three liters of water.

The Pacific Institute estimates that the total amount of energy embedded in our use of bottled water can be as high as the equivalent of filling a plastic bottle one quarter full with oil.

poptech-chris-jordan-plastic-bottles-all

Staggering, ain’t it? Yet, nothing hits home more acutely than our direct experience in light of these statistics. Look around you at the trash cans full of disposable bottles. When you’re at the restaurant or office – how many disposable bottles end up not recycled? And forget about America – we’ve read articles about other parts of the world, and seen pictures of disposable bottles strewn around like leaves in Autumn because other countries have NEED for the clean water, certainly, but zero infrastructure to deal with the bottles which become only so much more trash (message boards about this topic are the best place to meet people around the globe who can speak to this issue.

Okay, how to help? Well…getting yourself a non-disposable bottle to reuse (rather than recycle) is the best that any individual, family, and/or business can do. Next step – encourage others to behave this way. Education is usually all it takes for our friends and family to heed our requests – don’t beat them over the head with it, just lead by example. Maybe you could even get them their own reusable bottle? Check out ecosumo’s online shop for our variety of cheap, effective, and stylish reusable water bottles (for everyone from the on-the-go busy mom, to the urban professional, the athlete, to the children.)

Thanks for helping ecosumo make the producers of our products more conscious of where they come from and where they return to…our one and only planet!

February 18, 2009 at 11:45 pm Leave a comment

Bisphenol A (BPA) and What You Should Know

People throw around the acronym BPA a lot.  We’re going to drop some knowledge here about what Bisphenol A truly is and how you can inform yourself.  By the end of this article we’re basically going to tell you this: It would be difficult to consume enough BPA to become seriously ill from it, HOWEVER – it is more poisonous to children AND there are alternatives, so why not work to diminish your and your children’s intake of BPA as much as possible?

The facts:

  1. Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical building block that is used primarily to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins. Polycarbonate plastic is a lightweight, high-performance plastic that possesses a unique balance of toughness, optical clarity, high heat resistance, and excellent electrical resistance.  Polycarbonate is used in a wide variety of common products including digital media (e.g., CDs, DVDs), electrical and electronic equipment, automobiles, sports safety equipment, reusable food and drink containers.
  2. In 2002, approximately 2.8 million tons of bisphenol A (BPA) was produced globally (Source: Chemical Market Associates, Inc. (CMAI))
  3. In April 2008 the FDA did a “cross agency review of current research and new information on BPA’s. The results concluded that “…we believe there is a large body of evidence that indicates that FDA-regulated products containing BPA currently on the market are safe and that exposure levels to BPA from food contact materials, including for infants and children, are below those that may cause health effects.This position is consistent with two risk assessments for BPA conducted by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) Scientific Panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids and Materials in Contact with Food and the Japanese National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology.”
  4. A 12 member panel for the National Institute of Health, in August 2007, declared that “the compound, also known as BPA, could pose some risk to the neurological development of infants and children.”
  5. The state of California banned certain products with BPA in April 2008.  The Toxin Free Toddlers and Babies Act specifically “…bans any detectable level of the toxic chemical bisphenol A (BPA) from all toys and child care products sold in California.”

bpa-free-bottle

Be certain to regard that highlighted/itallicized item in #3 – FDA REGULATED PRODUCTS CONTAINING BPA.  There are A LOT of polycarbonate products out there that are not FDA regulated.  Research based information produced by reliable sources (FDA, NIH, EFSA, JNIAIST) all concur that BPA is not an absolute health risk, but they do concur that minimal risks exist.

Because a risk does exist, although it is minimal, the intelligent person must ask: Are there alternatives?  And there are.  And ecosumo carries some of them.  Check out the BPA free reusable water bottles: KOR Hydration vessel for style around town, Nalgene’s Grip-N-Gulp for the kids as your moving ’em about, and the Nalgene Titan 32 0z. for your hikes and around the office/home.  And don’t forget – reusable water bottles play a HUGE part in reducing the waste of disposable water bottles (a topic we’ll follow up on next week.)

February 5, 2009 at 5:57 pm 1 comment


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