Wednesday, April 22, 2009

National Healthy Schools Day

Don't forget about the RuMe Bag Giveaway! I am so pleased to have a guest post today to inspire us to get active for our planet and our children; Earth Day & every day!

National Healthy Schools Day

What you can do to make sure no child’s health is left behind

Guest Post by Janelle Sorensen

When my husband and I first toured schools to find the one we wanted to enroll our daughter in, I’m sure I was silently voted one of the strangest parents ever. Why do I feel I was secretly endowed with this title? Because every room and hallway we were taken through, I sniffed. A lot. And, according to my husband, I wasn’t terribly discreet.

I didn’t have a cold or postnasal drip. And, I’m not part bloodhound. I was simply concerned about the indoor air quality. My daughter was (and still is) prone to respiratory illnesses and I wanted to be sure the school she would be attending would support and protect her growing lungs (in addition to her brain). For many air quality issues, your nose knows, so I was using the easiest tool I had to gauge how healthy the environment was.

While air quality is a significant issue in schools (the EPA estimates that at least half of our nation’s 120,000 schools have problems), parents are also increasingly concerned about other school health issues like nutrition and the use of toxic pesticides. Many schools are making the switch to healthier and more sustainable practices like green cleaning, least toxic pest management, and even school gardening. What they’re finding is that greening their school improves the health and performance of students and personnel, saves money (from using less energy, buying fewer products, and having fewer worker injuries among other things), and also helps protect the planet. It’s truly win, win, win.

To highlight the issue, the Healthy Schools Network coordinates National Healthy Schools Day. This year, over three dozen events will be held across the country (and more in Canada) on April 27th to promote and celebrate healthy school environments.

What can you do? Healthy Schools Network recommends simple activities such as:

  • Adopting Guiding Principles of School Environmental Quality as a policy for your School;

  • Distributing information related to Green Cleaning or Indoor Air Quality (IAQ);

  • Writing a letter or visiting your Principal or Facility Director to ask about cleaning products or pest control products;

  • Walking around your school: looking for water stains, cracks in outside walls, broken windows or steps, and overflowing dumpsters that are health & safety problems that need attention. Use this checklist.

  • Writing a Letter to the Editor of your local paper on the importance of a healthy school to all children and personnel.

You can also help support the efforts of states trying to pass policies requiring schools to use safer cleaners. (Or, initiate your own effort!) There are good bills pending in Connecticut, Minnesota, California, Massachusetts, and Oregon. According to Claire Barnett, Executive Director of the Healthy Schools Network, the key pieces to promote on green cleaning in schools are:

  • Not being fooled by ‘green washing’ claims—commercial products must be third-party certified as green (to verify claims);

  • Understanding that green products are cost-neutral and they work; and,

  • Learning that “Clean doesn’t have an odor.”

She encourages parents and personnel to tune into one of the archived webinars on green cleaning (like the first module for general audiences) at

The fact of the matter is that whether you’re concerned about the quality of food, cleaning chemicals, recycling, or energy use – schools need our help and support. Instead of complaining about what’s wrong, it’s time to help do what’s right – for our children, our schools, and our planet.

What are you going to do? There are so many ideas and resources. Find your passion and get active on April 27th – National Healthy Schools Day.

Additional Resources:

  • Creating Healthy Environments for Children (DVD): A short video with easy tips for schools and a variety of handouts to download and print.

  • Getting Your Child’s School to Clean Green: A blog I wrote last year with advice based on my experience working with schools.

  • Healthy Community Toolkit: Healthy Child Healthy World’s tips and tools for being a successful community advocate and some of our favorite organizations working on improving child care and school environments and beyond.

  • The Everything Green Classroom Book: The ultimate guide to teaching and living green and healthy.

Janelle Sorensen is the Senior Writer and Health Consultant for Healthy Child Healthy World ( You can also find her on Twitter as @greenandhealthy.

Monday, April 20, 2009

RuMe Reusable Bag GIVEAWAY

Even the lightest of greenies are starting to bring their own bags to the supermarket, and saving millions of pounds of waste each year. But even with the best of intentions, many of us leave our bags at home, in the car....anywhere but in the store with us! With so many types of reusable bags out there, choosing the right system for you can be daunting. I'd like to share with you why RuMe reusable bags are my personal favorites!

  • The Ease: Compact & simple to fold up into my purse. After I unload my market goods, groceries, or shopping exploits from the bag(s), I simply fold it up and return it to my purse. When I used plastic bags, I emptied them and stuck them in a designated spot for recycling. Now the spot is in my purse....and my cabinets are free of clutter!

  • The Design: Specifically the square designed seams. These make the bags easy to stand up, which makes your bagger like you. Other reusable bags can be slippery and annoying for baggers who are used to a system....which has led to me being left to bag myself! Never happens with my RuMe Bags

  • The Size: HUGE! You can take 3 and get an average size grocery cart into them. I'm not kidding...I've done it! They are also great at farmer's markets because they are water-proof and easily fit over your shoulder for easy carrying.

  • The Style: Who wants to walk into the mall or Target with a $2 grocery-store branded bag? RuMe bags are so cute, they move beyond the grocery store, and replace ALL one-time use bags! Not to mention many of the styles are masculine...your man will thank you!

  • The Options: If you don't need a bag as big, buy the Mini! Same style, durability and design...just mini! Great for packing lunch, going to the library, the gym, wherever!

There are really more reasons why this is my go to bag constantly, but I'll stop here! Actually, I'm not stopping, I'm giving away 3 of these bags to celebrate Earth Day! To enter, leave a comment about what one green thing you've resisted doing, and why. For an extra entry, subscribe the the MamaGoesGreen newsletter. And lastly, Twitter about it, and let me know! Do it before April 23rd, I'm choosing the winners on the 24th. Have fun!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

SKOY Winners

The winners have been chosen and contacted! Keep your eye out for another giveaway this week!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

SKOY is here!

Hello, my name is Sara and I am a dish rag addict. I fully admit that I have an obsession with avoiding paper towels. Maybe some of you can relate. It started as a frugal thing, I hated the extra dollars they added to my grocery bill, but then I realized how much waste they created. But lets be honest....a traditional rag doesn't always get the job done quite as neatly as the paper towels did. Not to mention how icky they get after just one use....getting a whiff of a stinky dishrag is the worst! We got a chance to try out SKOY, and I am officially in love! I had to order some immediately to offer on MamaGoesGreen!

I've been using my SKOY for about a month now, and as other moms must imagine, I have had PLENTY of opportunities to test out the durability and effectiveness. Dried up egg, jelly, peanut butter, and various unidentifiable messes are all tackled efficiently with the SKOY cloth. And just a quick rinse and ring, and the SKOY will be ready for its next use. I've had one in use for a month, and it has held up to the dishwasher every night, and just now needs to be replaced. At this price, these will save you money from the start!

SKOY is eco-friendly because they are 100% biodegradable, and made from a unique blend of cotton and wood-pulp cellulose. They are manufactured in Germany, in a facility that makes every effort to be as eco-friendly as possible. Independent tests have shown this to completely break down in compost within 5 weeks. All of the colors and inks are made using water based materials.

In celebration of EARTH DAY 2009, we will be featuring 1-2 products that we love per week, and doing giveaways for each of them! SKOY starts off the festivities, with a total of 3 winners! Here is how to enter:

1. Leave me a comment about how you are trying to cut down your waste
2. Twitter @Mamagoesgreen about this giveaway
3. Visit and tell me what you'd love to see the next giveaway about
4. Subscribe to this blog
5. Become a Facebook fan

3 winners will be chosen on April 10th, 12pm EST. Be sure to leave your email address so you can be reached. Have fun!