Wild Mint Shares Tips on How to Shop Safe, Smart, and Eco Friendly on a Budget

Toyota’s Earth-Friendly Campaign Raises Lots of ‘Green’ for Boys & Girls Clubs of America

12 Ways to Green Your
Holiday Season

New Rating System for Organic and
Eco-Friendly Toys from EcoToys

Visionary Green Artist Sandhi Schimmel Gold

nature conserve

Wild Mint Shares Tips on How to Shop Safe, Smart, and Eco Friendly on a Budget

When many people think about Thanksgiving and Christmas, they envision gatherings with friends and family and lots of food. But along with the holidays come more than just gifts and feasts, and for people who want to be healthy and stay “green” it might require some pre-planning.

Started by a mother of 6 in her quest to find safer alternatives to toxin-laden products, Wild Mint is dedicated to helping people live eco friendly, healthy and non-toxic lifestyles.  It is a valuable one-stop source for trusted information and safer, more environmentally friendly products.  We’re happy to share their tips on how to shop eco friendly and safe for the Holidays.

“Most importantly, people need to remember that reusable items such as glass, stainless steel, and bamboo are better alternatives to plastic for more than one reason,” said President of Wild Mint, Hannah Helsabeck. “These eco friendly materials are not only toxin free but they are also so much more useful than plastics for serving and packing food, or carrying drinks, and will save money in the long run.”

In addition, there are money-saving tips for every room in the house, from cleaning to personal care products. To help shoppers watch their pocketbook this Holiday season while maintaining wise shopping choices, Wild Mint is sharing their top tips:

1) Ditch the disposables– The cost of using disposable items adds up for one’s wallet and contributes to environmental pollution. Disposable bottles, napkins, utensils, etc., can all be replaced with reusable options like glass, stainless steel, organic cotton, and bamboo. These healthy alternatives will last longer, paying off in the long run.

2) Bring a reusable bottle – It’s been estimated that sipping from a reusable bottle (glass or stainless steel) instead of a disposable one could save a person a whopping $550.00 a year (one disposable bottle daily at its average cost). A onetime small investment for a reusable BPA free water bottle is a smart choice!

3) Multi-purpose glass – Glass products last longer than plastic and have many uses. With a glass container a person can heat food in the microwave, store leftovers, pack lunch, and cook meals in the oven! In addition, glass is safer since its non toxic and doesn’t have the toxic chemical, BPA.

4) Love the freezer – People should purchase large portions of cheaper in-season produce, so they can freeze some when the items go out of season and are more expensive. To keep food fresh and safe in the freezer, use reusable glass containers that can be popped right in the refrigerator or microwave to defrost.

5) Watch out for high-priced “greenwashed” products – Greenwashed products are those that are marketed as eco friendly or toxin-free whether or not they have legitimate evidence to back up those claims. Cleaning items are an area where there are a lot of greenwashed products and to be safe, a person should only shop from reputable brands they trust.

6) Online shopping – In many cases online shopping is not only more convenient, but can be cheaper than visiting a retail store. People can save money on gas and find great discounts on everything from personal care items to baby supplies through free shipping offers and signing up for store emails.

7) Unconventional gift wrapping – Instead of the traditional and wasteful wrapping paper that is such a big part of many holiday celebrations, try unique options like using t-shirts, or reusable gift bags to wrap presents. Not only are these options also gifts on their own, but they can be reused for many years more!

From bakeware and bodywash to coffee tumblers and candles, get a jump on your “green” holiday now.  To order or to find more product information, visit their website, http://www.wildmintshop.com.   OH….and check out their recipes too. Many of them look delish!!


Toyota’s Earth-Friendly Campaign Raises Lots of ‘Green’ for Boys & Girls Clubs of America

Toyota Financial Services (TFS) / Lexus Financial Services (LFS) is kicking off its third annual “GoGreen” campaign, encouraging customers to sign up for paperless billing statements; allowing them to receive monthly emails when their bill is due, rather than traditional paper statements sent through the mail. 

Between November 1, 2013, and January 31, 2014, for every customer that signs up to “GoGreen,” TFS/LFS will donate $5 to Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA), up to a total of $200,000.  In addition to the convenience of online account management, customers may also access and pay bills through the company’s mobile website and smartphone apps.

For its third year, TFS/LFS is hoping to repeat the enormous success of its previous two campaigns.  The first year, the company surpassed its targeted goal when a record 239,450 customers signed up for the program.

“Our second annual campaign received such an overwhelming response, that, only two weeks into the 11-week campaign, we had already met our goal of raising $100,000 for Boys &Girls Clubs of America,” said Mike Groff, President and CEO of TFS. “This inspired us to double our commitment, and Toyota Financial Services ended up donating a total of $200,000.  We hope to do the same again this year.”

Every day, BGCA members across the nation participate in numerous “green” activities, such as recycling projects and community clean-ups.  By choosing to “GoGreen,” TFS/LFS customers are not only helping provide much-needed funds to BGCA, they are helping to greatly reduce the volume of paper statements that TFS/LFS sends each month; conserving approximately 270,000 lbs of paper (nearly 13,000 household garbage bags’ worth).  The “GoGreen” campaign reduces the company’s impact on the environment, while supporting after-school and life-skills programs that teach young people how to better care for their neighborhoods… and for their planet.

“Toyota Financial Services has enjoyed a very close and rewarding relationship with Boys & Girls Clubs of America over theyears, and we are thrilled to have found a way to continue our ongoing support of their programs while also protecting our environment,” adds Groff.  “We are encouraged by the increasing success of the ‘GoGreen’ campaign, as more and more of our customers sign up for paperless billing, and we look forward to finding even better ways to help the environment, and improve the overall experience for our customers.”  For more information, please visit www.toyotafinancial.com.


12 Ways to Green Your
Holiday Season

1. Treecycling: Christmas trees can be re-purposed into mulch and used in gardening and landscaping or chipped and used on hiking trails and paths. Christmas trees can also been used for erosion control, soil stabilization and shoreline maintenance. When used in this manner, the trees not only stabilize the soil, but also provide habitats for fish and birds.

2. Scrap the Traditional Wrap: Wrap holiday gifts with children’s artwork or a colorful section of your local newspaper. Some beautiful remnant fabric or what was once a “must have” scarf would make cheerful holiday gift wrapping.

3. Light up the Night with LED Lights: Energy-saving LED lights burn brighter, last longer, and save you money.

4. Green Greetings: sending e-cards—saves time, money and the planet. When the holidays are over, why not turn some of those beautiful greeting cards you received into gift tags for next year? Start by separating the front of the prettiest holiday cards from the back. Trim the edges of the front, following the design of the card, to create a festive gift tag.

5. Give Back: give a gift that makes a difference—changing a life or saving a life. Donate to a local or favorite charity in a friend’s name.

6. Decorate with Nature: create a beautiful holiday wreath using gifts from nature. Collect pinecones, twigs, branches adorned with berries and more from your own backyard, use wire to create the round wreath shape, and decorate with festive ribbons. A great, and green, family project.

7. Shop local: walk into town to do your holiday shopping. Neighborhood shops offer festive and unique holiday gifts—no more gas-guzzling spins around the mall parking lot looking for a parking spot.

8. Use Wrapping for Scrapping: Use holiday-themed wrapping from gifts that you receive for festive scrapbooking page borders. Ribbons, bows and embellishments will also help to create lively holiday memory keepsakes.

9. Give Battery-Free Toys: battery sales spike during the holiday season and these batteries can end up in landfills. Art sets and craft projects provide inspiration and feed imagination.

10. Serve Organic and Locally Sourced Meals: visit local farmers markets to shop for your holiday menu. Locally made jellies and jams also make great gifts.

11. Teach Kids About Giving: after all the new gifts have been opened, ask kids to select a toy they no longer play with and have them donate it to a children’s hospital or child care center. What was old will now seem new again to a child this holiday season.

12. Remember Those in Need: Clean out your closets and donate gently used clothes and coats to local thrift shops and shelters.

New Rating System for Organic and
Eco-Friendly Toys from EcoToys

Many parents want toys for their children that meet a higher standard for organic and eco-friendly qualities. The EcoScore rating system has been developed to help parents judge how non-toxic and eco-friendly toys are.

Organic? All natural? Fair trade? Non-toxic? With mounting evidence about the harmful side effects of pesticides and chemicals, many parents are monitoring the food their children eat with increasing vigilance. But what about the toys they put in their mouths and the stuffed animals they sleep with at night? There hasn’t been an easy way to assess the eco-friendliness and non-toxicity of a toy.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission regulates toy safety regarding choking and strangulation hazards and lead poisoning, but many parents want a higher standard. The EcoScore was developed by a research scientist who is also the mother of a toddler. The EcoScore is an easy way to judge the sustainability of a toy at a glance. Sustainability in this sense means that a toy is non-toxic and environmentally friendly, and thus sustains the health of the child and the health of the earth. The EcoScore was developed by compiling the characteristics of natural, organic, and sustainable toys:

  • Free of plastic and vinyl

  • BPA-free

  • Lead-free

  • Phthalate-free

  • Free of toxic paints, dyes, and flame retardant chemicals

  • Uses renewable energy

  • Made with renewable energy

  • Made of durable materials

  • Made of natural materials

  • Made of sustainable materials

  • Fair trade

  • Recyclable and biodegradable packaging

  • Meets European Toy Safety Directive standards

These characteristics are weighted, and toys are ranked according to the degree to which they meet these criteria. EcoScores range from 0 to 100, with 100 being completely organic, non-toxic, sustainably produced, fair trade toys.

For example, a typical vinyl doll from Mattel has an EcoScore of 11, while a cloth Waldorf doll from Kathe Kruse has an EcoScore of 98. What are the differences? The Mattel doll is made of plastic that likely contains BPA, phthalates, and other chemicals, and could be contaminated with lead. In fact, numerous Mattel toys made in China have been recalled for lead contamination including toys in their popular Barbie line and Diego line, according to the recall page on Mattel's website. In contrast, the Kathe Kruse cloth doll is made from 100% natural, sustainably sourced materials such as cotton and wool, and is tested to be free of the above toxic chemicals. In addition, many of the Mattel dolls use batteries, and are not made with renewable energy like the Kathe Kruse doll.

Similarly, in contrast to many of the plastic building toys on the market, magnetic wooden blocks from Tegu are sustainably produced and completely non-toxic. Tegu blocks are made in a Fair Trade facility in Honduras that provides education, fair wages, good working conditions, and career advancement opportunities to Hondurans. Tegu sets a new standard for environmental and social responsibility among manufacturers. Tegu also plants one tree for every set of blocks sold. Tegu blocks have an EcoScore of 97.

The developers of the EcoScore system have launched an online retail outlet, called EcoToys, for natural and organic toys. The website gives the EcoScore for each product on the site. The owners also use the EcoScore to decide which products to carry on their site. All toys sold on the EcoToys website have a score of 80 or higher.

For more information about the EcoScore and its components, visit http://www.ecotoys.org.


Visionary Green Artist Sandhi Schimmel Gold

In Sandhi Schimmel Gold's hands, junk mail is transformed from garbage into extraordinary pop-art portraits. The award-winning artist pioneered the upcycle genre of art and has turned it into amazing fine art.

It’s not always easy being green, but it can be beautiful when Sandhi Schimmel Gold is involved.  Gold creates extraordinary eco-friendly fine art. Her art is created by recycling junk mail and paper most people would throw in the trash. In addition, the adhesives, paints and lacquers used are all green: non-toxic, water-based and acid-free. An early pioneer of the Green Fine Art movement, Gold's work hangs in private, corporate and museum collections around the world.
Paper mosaic portraits created by Gold are much more than meets the eye. Every picture tells a story. They reflect on beauty, radiate positive energy, and promote the importance of a green lifestyle. 

ALL AMERICAN BLONDE made from political junk mail, tax forms
In Permanent Museum Collection, San Francisco, CA

Refreshingly original, Sandhi’s work speaks in her authentic voice; and, just like haute couture, is of exceptional quality and precision craftsmanship. Everything is drawn, painted, cut and assembled by hand. She specializes in creating custom portraits.

Sandhi has devoted her life’s passions to innovations in design while stepping lightly upon the earth. She finds inspiration in nature, fashion, theatre, history, music, emotions, and words.
Sandhi’s collection is a rare genre of work which has been experienced by only a select few, yet her diverse portfolio of pop art images, and pseudo-traditional portraiture, can enhance any environment; from a corporate setting to a contemporary loft to the utmost in luxurious living. She has been dubbed the "Queen of Junk Mail" for her colorful work and vivacious personality.

Schimmel Art is the work of Sandhi Schimmel Gold, a fine artist living near Richmond, VA. She is represented by Chasen Galleries in Richmond, VA. Art can be seen now through November 24 at the http://www.ojaiartfestival.com. You can also find the art at Arts & Artisans locations in Chicago and several Ripley's Museums. The artist is always interested in additional gallery representation.  For more info visit: http://schimmelart.com/collection.htm