Friday, July 24, 2009

Great and Not so Great "Green" Products

I get sent a lot of sample "green" products to try, so I thought I would share a couple of my favs and not so favs.

Green Products I Love: (Besides our Chartreuse Products of course)

Mythic Paint
I had to repaint my kid’s bedrooms and was looking for a low VOC option. I found something even better, an ultra low VOC, nontoxic option. As we all know, paints stink. But that smell is not just unpleasant, it’s dangerous. The off gassing which comes from VOCs in paints contributes to global warming, ozone depletion as well as serious health effects. Many major brands have come out with low VOC options but they are still toxic (the warning labels would scare any parent) and you still have to discard them in designated hazardous waste locations. Mythic Paint has no warning label because it doesn’t contain anything that you need to be afraid of. It is a water-based latex paint with no toxic solvents (and no toxic smell.) You can throw it away with your regular trash. It comes in over one thousand colors. I found a perfect match for my kid’s room. And it goes on just like premium paint. My contractor was truly impressed. Best of all two years later, it still looks great. Unfortunately, it is not as easy to find as major brands and it costs more. I am not sure I would do my whole exterior in it for example, but for my kid’s rooms it was perfect.

Magic Nail Buffers
I’ll admit that I am a girl who likes to be groomed. My house might be falling apart and my calendar might be exploding but if I have a clean set of polished nails somehow it feels as if I am still holding it together. But the knowledge that major nail polish manufacturers have only recently removed lead from their polish, and only after heaps of public exposure and pressure, leaves me wondering what else might be lurking in those pots of color. That’s why I was thrilled to find these new buffers. These buffers go by many names and are available at most salons, spas, and beauty supply stores. The one I have is from Onsen. The rectangular buffer has two white, one blue, and one gray side. You buff your nails in the order on the instructions and presto, nails which look as if they have a polished clear coat without the use of any chemicals. The buffed look lasts longer than polish as well. After years of paying someone else to do my nails (so that they didn’t look like a kindergartener painted them) I can now expertly do this particular grooming service at home saving me time and money. The only down-side is that I no longer get to read all the back issues of People I used to devour at the salon.

Organic Cotton Hanky Panky Thongs
The best thongs around (if you haven’t tried them you should) now come in organic cotton. I found them at Olive Boutique (who also happens to carry our products.) Made from 100% cotton organically grown in the U.S., the thong is available in both Original and Low Rise styles. It features a natural cotton color as no bleach or dyes were used. It is amazingly soft to the touch and feels smooth against your skin. And best of all it is the same price as their regular thongs. Of course you're not going to save the world from global warming with lingerie. But it just shows you don't have to be frumpy to be organic.

Not so Great “Green Products”

Magic Laundry Balls (Also called Greenwash balls)
These balls go by many names and have been around for a while but are becoming increasingly available in reputable green retailers. The sales pitch is extremely compelling to anyone looking for an environmentally-friendly laundry alternative. No detergent needed. The package explains that these simple, little balls will wash you laundry over 1,000 times without the use of detergent. The balls retail at around $40 bucks so if it worked, it would be a remarkably earth-friendly and economic alternative to laundry detergent. We were sent a sample to consider carrying as a product and I am sorry to report that the product did not work very well. It did remove all traces of odor but it washed the clothes about as effectively as washing without detergent. The soaking and agitation do eliminate some dirt but it did nothing for the hard to remove stains from my three active boys. So I would recommend giving these $40 miracles a miss. In my opinion Chartreuse Laundry Soap Nuts are much better.

Dryer Balls
Again a great concept, toss these plastic balls in your dryer and reduce drying time while leaving your clothes soft. I went to the website to read their independent testing report to check out the claim about reduced drying time. I could not make heads or tails of their report but it was not at all convincing. Their report also admitted that the softening effect, while present, was not substantial enough to be noticed by most participants. The balls are also made of PVC, not exactly the nontoxic product that the manufacturer claims. We don't claim that the Chartreuse Reusable Dryer Sheets will reduce drying time but it is a chemcial free way to remove static. And you don't need a softener if you are using the Chartreuse Laundry Soap Nuts.

No comments: