Feature Articles: The Green Scene

Many parents care about packing a healthy lunch for their kids, but don’t think about what they’re packing it in. News on the dangers of plastic keeps piling up. Health risks associated with vinyl and aluminum further fuel anxiety. The fuss, furor and lack of eco-friendly containers on the market inspired Sandra Ann Harris to found ECOlunchbox, and provide a lunch-packing approach that is free of plastic, lead, BPA, PVC and vinyl. The company’s solution was to manufacture nifty stainless steel food containers packed in handmade cotton lunch bags.

Organic cotton has gained popularity in recent years –– particularly in infant fashions –– because of its gentleness on both the skin and the planet. The market for organic cotton and other environmentally friendly clothing is full of both established and emerging companies. It pays to do a little research and find out which ones have the most cutting-edge styles, the most creative designs, and state-of-the-art “green” manufacturing practices. Here are a few worthy of retail consideration: Pickle Peas, mini mioche, Itsus Eco and Bungalow BeBe.

In a technology-driven world, child-driven play has become the exception rather than the norm. Parents searching for non-electronic toys have brought a resurgence to open-ended creativity and play. From Frobi blocks to Tinker Toys, the love of creating and building appeals to children of all ages. Answering that call for creative play, Miller Goodman creates wooden toys that are artistic and fun, with endless play possibilities. Design combined with the feel of wood and bright colors bring their PlayShapes and FaceMakers to the forefront of boutique toy stores and family homes around the world.

Sound Beginnings
Kids in Distressed Situations, Inc. (K.I.D.S)

Who wants to bundle a baby in a blanket made of synthetic fabric that has been treated with chemicals? Certainly not your customers. Show them hand-woven, all natural fabric blankets from Shi Shu Baby and point out that these blankies are made solely from cotton and bamboo yarn. Cotton has a “strong hand,” meaning it is a durable fiber that drapes well (especially helpful when wrapping a little squirmer). Bamboo has many virtues in that it is very soft and breathable; the fiber regulates temperature and it is said to have antibacterial qualities. Bamboo is a self-sustaining plant, so using this fiber is kind both to the baby and the planet.

Start customers buzzing by promoting skin, lip and hair care products so pure you would gladly use them on yourself. Welcome the natural, family-owned world of Beecology where products are made in small batches to ensure that every item meets high standards. No sulfites or parabens in this line — only totally natural ingredients chosen with concern and care. The beeswax, honey and other ingredients in their products come from family-owned hives where concern for the environment and its affect on people is a top priority.

Who hasn’t wanted a second chance, the opportunity to start over? Wouldn’t it be great to go back and have the chance to change something in the past? Since there are no time machines, the best we can do is to try to make the future a better place for ourselves and the people we care about. Parents are excited to have the chance to give children all the things they never had — or could have. The brains behind BeginAgain toys have taken those ideas and created products that match children’s desires to be creative with adults’ desires to promote sustainable living and healthy toys.

Michael Scott Studio

With young children, learning can be fun. With new Wooden Magnetic Sets by Mudpuppy, children can learn with fresh, bold, and memorable letters, animals, fruits, and numbers! These magnetic sets are simple but modern, and they offer a welcome twist on classic toys. Mudpuppy’s Wooden Magnetic Sets make things pop with artistic patterns that give them an edge over typical refrigerator magnet sets. Even if toddlers drool over these wooden wonders, no worries! They’re made of nontoxic inks, as well as 80% recycled wood.

Diva Chics is an all-natural line of hair products from Lucky 11, designed for tweens and teens. The salon-quality products include a shampoo and conditioner, detangler, styling product, and hair and body glitter. Diva Chics is designed for the “It Girls” — girls with enthusiastic personalities. Salon-tested products are created to provide the perfect balance of strength, moisture, and shine. The most natural and mild ingredients are used in each product to provide maximum benefit without causing build-up, flaking, and needless exposure to chemicals.

Designer Preeti Ayyangar founded Spunge Design in 2008. Based in Atlanta, GA, Spunge Design studio creates modern, child-friendly, organic cotton products. Spunge products are designed with an awareness that children learn through exploration and discovery. Spunge’s super-soft baby blankets are made engaging through nature-inspired graphics, three-dimensional appliqués and embroidery. Children will delight in these intriguing textures and designs that reflect the beauty of nature.