The Latest In Corporate Disappointments – Sigg Waterbottles

Why, oh why, do corporations knowingly hide information from consumers? Of course the answer is always the same: money.

But it’s especially disappointing when it happens with a company that seemed socially and ecologically conscious. My complaint today is with Sigg, the makers of those cute metal water bottles like the one I carry everywhere in my purse. In the face of the BPA scare with plastic water bottles I shelled out almost $20 a few years ago to keep myself “safe” with a Sigg bottle. Instead, I now learn, they all along have had BPA in the lining and the company knew about it. The company thought it would be OK with us consumers to advertise their bottles as BPA-free because, in their tests, the BPA didn’t leach out. That’s akin to advertising chocolate-chip cookies as fat-free because the fat doesn’t leach into the milk when you dunk it. If it’s in there, it’s in there and it’s false advertising to call it otherwise.

At least Sigg is taking their old bottles back and exchanging them for free for bottles lined with a new ecocare liner that really, honestly doesn’t have any BPA in it, they swear.  You can see pictures of the old and new liner here so you can decide if your bottle needs to go back. The exchange program is good through October 31st.

The CEO of Sigg wrote an apology letter published two days ago on the Huffington Post. Suddenly he’s more transparent than the water his bottles hold.

I don’t even care that much about the trace amounts of BPA in the old bottles. It probably doesn’t leach out. But tell me the truth. I’m glad to get a new water bottle since my old one is pretty dinged up anyway, but I won’t be buying anymore Siggs down the road. I’ll stick with companies that, at least up until this point, haven’t been found out to be lying to me.

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Going Green With Baby Book Signing in Beaverton – June 13th

41kuwbjbgul_sl160_1 If you’re a mom concerned about living green with and for the sake of a little one, you have to get a hold of Melissa Moog’s new book Itsabelly’s Guide To Going Green With Baby. I’ve blogged before about what a complete guide it is to being an eco-friendly eco-mom. Now you can get a signed copy of the book, meet Melissa in person (she’s really great), and enter for a chance to win a $400 stroller from Baby Planet.  Here’s the full scoop:

EVENT:

Itsabelly’s How to Choose Safe Baby Products Event
Saturday, June 13th at 11:00 am
Barnes & Noble Tanasbourne, 18300 NW Evergreen Parkway, Beaverton
Local author Melissa Moog, author of Itsabelly’s Guide to Going Green with Baby will offer simple and practical Baby Safe Tips including:

* Shopping tips & reviews on safe & eco-friendly baby products
* How to go green without breaking the bank
* Tips about organic and natural family living

Raffle drawing for $500 in eco-friendly baby products (Stroller System, Earth Mama Angel Baby Gift etc.)

Refreshments provided by New Seasons.

I Want To Move Here

Twelve years ago my college roommate Lisa and I spent a summer in the gorgeous Black Forest town of Freiburg. Here we shared a tiny dorm room while we studied German at a local language school. We got around the town and the entire Black Forest mainly by our own two feet, as well as by local tram, bus and train.  I lost a lot of weight that summer and felt great. I took my husband Steve back there a few years ago for a vacation and together we hiked Black Forest trails, took local busses and trains and generally loved the car-free existence.

Now there’s a suburb of Freiburg that really is 100% car-free. Vauban was built in 2006 and cars are not allowed to even enter the community. If a resident wants to own a car, he or she certainly can at the cost of $40,000 for a parking space at the edge of the development. 70% of residents don’t own a car at all. Everyone gets around instead by foot, bike and the local city tram that passes right through the suburb. It makes for a quiet, peaceful simpler life. By way of definition cars are practically required for most of the world’s city suburbs. Vauban and communities like it are showing that cars are not required if good planning is done. Vauban, do you have room for one more? Read more in the New York Times.

Four Fabulous Online Eco-Boutiques For Moms, Babies And Kids

As a fairly new mom (Grace just turned 2) I’ve found my desire to live in a sustainable way does not usually conincide with the marketing messages and products pumped out by most corporations targeting my demographic. There are some great online alternatives though, and these four I’m going to recommend all happen to be run out of mom’s homes within a 10-mile radius from my home. I’ve bought from some of them, am keeping my eye on others. I can vouch for all their products and customer service though, because I personally know the owner of each and every one. They are all proud mamas working hard to offer healthy alternatives for their own families and others.

Itsabelly Baby Concierge – Melissa Moog recently published the great guide Going Green With Baby. The book is available on her website as well as a nice selection of natural, organic mom and baby-care products. Melissa’s primary focus is on baby-planning, so she can offer an array of services to new or expecting mamas in getting adjusted to life with baby as well.

Punkin Butt – I recently purchased a stack of cotton training pants plus a cute little potty chair for Grace from Punkin Butt. Owner Audrey was so helpful in her recommendations, having just gone through potty-training with her own little girl. Punkin Butt’s specialty is cloth diapering but they also carry a great array of natural baby products as well as having dozens of helping articles on the website.

Little Jumping Beans – This is a really fun site of eco-friendly baby products run by a Tualatin mom, Jheni. The site is super-easy to navigate and there’s even a baby registry. I was amazed to see the array of products Jheni offers, knowing she runs the business from home.

Clementine NW – This site is primarily focused on eco-friendly baby gifts. It’s a great one if you want to pick out a fun gift basket for a new or expecting mom, and want to make sure the products are good for her, baby and the planet. Owner Brenna has put together a wonderful selection of natural toys, organic cotton blankets and bibs, and a great selection of organic, natural skincare products.

New Rules Designed To Protect Kids Are Hurting Small Businesses

Have you heard about the new rules put out by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)? In response to the lead-tainted toy recalls in 2007, this legislation to require testing was to go into effect yesterday. Thankfully it did not.

How can I say that, you may ask? I’m a mother of a toddler so obviously I care greatly about the safety of her toys. stuffed_llama_lgandsmThe problem is this legislation went so far it has already caused some small, at-home crafters to shut down and some European toy makers (the kind that make amazing natural wooden and textile toys) to pull out of the US market altogether. The requirements for testing are so stringent that large mega-corporations like Mattel can afford the equipment involved while smaller shops and manufacturers can not.

Enforcement of the legislation has been delayed for a year thanks to the lobbying efforts of many small businesses, including a number here in Oregon.  The rules were simply over the top. They were to require testing on baby products like cloth diapers or all-cloth stuffed animals, like these knitted toys I carry at Bambootique, even though cloth has never been a problem when it comes to lead-poisoning of children. The rules were going to require consignment and second-hand stores to test their products for lead as well, which they would never be able to afford to do. The equipment to test for lead starts at $24,000, according to the Oregonian article on the topic a few days ago. Few and far between are the thrift shops with that kind of money laying around.

As a mother, I do want my daughter’s products to be safe. I also know that as a mother I have to use common sense when shopping for toys. When she was a teething infant of course I bought products that were certified lead-free. Even at two she still puts anything and everything into her mouth as she explores the world of tastes and textures. But I do not expect small toy companies, which I tend to prefer for Grace’s toys, to go to ridiculous lengths to test inputs like cotton or untreated wood that clearly have no or very little risk of lead. On the other hand I do expect the big guys like Mattel or Hasbro to test anything and everything, since it’s failures by companies like theirs that caused all this hub-bub in the first place.

Personally I’m continuing to go out of my way to choose toys for Grace from smaller companies like Plan toys or Melissa and Doug because I want to make sure they’re around for the long-haul. Keeping our kids safe is essential but protecting them to the point of eliminating unique, interesting playthings would be too much of a loss. I’m already afraid that the choices are dwindling.

What do you think? Does this legislation go too far? What do you think needs to be tested and what doesn’t? For more info or to advocate on this issue see National Bankruptcy Day’s website.