1 bag at a time – a contest/giveaway

Vitamin Cottage reusable bag

UPDATE: The winner of the bag is Ellen L. Freeman! Congrats!

A few months ago, I was shopping at Vitamin Cottage (the only natural foods store in my city) and I noticed that, in addition to their usual canvas grocery bags for sale, they also had some new reusable bags for sale and they were only $.99 each. While I’d always wanted some of the canvas bags, I couldn’t justify the price, so instead I would just reuse my plastic bags time and time again until they wore out. However, with these new bags selling at only $.99 a pop, I could refuse no longer and bought several.

I later discovered that the bags are part of the 1 Bag at at Time project. Check out the site, it’s pretty cool.

From 1 Bag at at Time:

Each of our bags is designed:
to replace 2 paper bags or up to 4 plastic bags each time it is used.
to be used weekly for two years or more.
to replace up to 416 plastic bags over its entire lifetime.

So far, 1 Bag at a Time has sold over
600,000 reusable bags

Over the next 2 years, these bags together will save:
249.6 million plastic bags.
Enough petroleum to drive a car 17,828,572 miles.
Up to $42,432,000 in disposal costs.
That’s enough money to pay 891 full time teacher salaries!

These bags are wonderfully sturdy and durable and were so worth the cost. I use them whenever I shop at Vitamin Cottage as well as when I go to the other grocery store (Safeway). I’ve actually received several compliments on them by the checkers at Safeway. They are so impressed with how sturdy they are and how much more food you can fit into them. :) I tell them to go to Vitamin Cottage and get some for themselves. ;) Maybe I should tell them to tell their manager so that Safeway can start selling them too.

These bags are so functional I use them for more than just grocery shopping. Just today I used one for our towels, a diaper, clothes and some snacks when we went swimming with some friends at one of the city pools. They are so handy!

On one of my recent trips to Vitamin Cottage, they were giving away a free bag if you already had one or more, so I saved mine (it’s brand new and never been used) and would like to give it away to someone who can use it. It looks just like the one pictured above.

All you have to do to enter the contest is leave me a comment stating something “green” that you are doing to help make the world a better place. Please make sure you include a valid email address so I can contact you if you win. If you want to mention the contest and link to it on your blog, that would be super cool, but not required. Contest ends at midnight on Aug. 25 and the winner will be selected at random and announced later that day. Thanks! :)

What to do with the misfit toys?

misfit toys

Having a baby who puts everything (and I mean everything) in his mouth right now, I’ve been thinking more and more about the toy recalls and decided to take a closer look at the toys we have to see exactly where they were made and to make sure we don’t own anything that’s included in the recalls.

We don’t really have much in the “character” toy department, so I felt pretty confident that the recalls didn’t affect us. However, I went to Fisher Price’s recall page and found one of our toys – the Little People Animal Sounds Farm – on the list! I was a little panicked because Julian loves to chew on those darn farm animals, but I checked our model number and it was not affected by the recall (which was for loose screws on the stall doors anyway, not lead paint). Whew!

Anyway, as I looked through the kids’ toys, I was surprised to see that the vast majority were made in China, including brands like Fisher Price, Lamaze, and even Melissa & Doug (which I wrote about here). (I’m not sure about Ryan’s Room toys yet. I sent an email to the company to ask where they are made.)

We have a few HABA toys that were given to us as gifts and those are nearly the only thing I feel good about letting 8-month-old teething Julian chew on these days.

Ava and I decided to weed out some of the old made in China toys, including all of her plastic play food and dishes (another favorite of Mr. Julian to chew on), and filled up an entire Vitamin Cottage bag. Piling the dishes, food and other toys into the bag, I couldn’t help but think of the Misfit Toys from “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” I could picture all of these made in China toys ending up on some island somewhere singing softly, “We’re on the island of misfit toys…” Almost makes me feel sorry for them. (Hey, I’m a softy and a dork.)

So my question is what should I do with our misfit toys. They weren’t included in any recalls, so I don’t feel the need to toss them into the garbage and clog up the landfills. They are just toys that I don’t want in our house any longer. Ones that I hope to eventually replace with some better-quality wooden toys. Should I give them away on Freecycle or try to sell them? There’s a huge community baby/kids’ sale coming up next week at our fairgrounds, so I could try to sell them and make some money to help buy new toys. I’m already planning on consigning a ton of clothes (though I need to find the time to prepare them all of the sale still – eep!).

What do you think? What would you do or are you doing with any of your made in China AKA misfit toys that you want to get rid of?

Don’t forget to sign the MomsRising online petition to tell Congress and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC): “Testing children’s products for toxic chemicals must be a priority. No more toxic toys and children’s products!”

P.S. I’m having another contest soon. Will post details later today. :)