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Being the mother of two young children, toys are an inescapable part of my life. Toys and batteries, that is. Those toxic little tubes of power create just as much mayhem as the toys they bring to life. I was truly hopeful when I came across the Ecotronic Eco Duck. Here was a toy that lit up and made music, but would not require batteries. Awesome! I cannot tell you the number of trips made to the library’s battery recycling center since our first Christmas with children.

The packaging for most toys is also an enormous waste of plastic, cardboard and paper, but not the Eco Duck. This toy comes in a biodegradable box wrapped with a one piece card stock label to keep it all together.

According to the label, Eco Duck proclaims, “I’m fun, I’m friendly. Wind me up and discover my lights and sound!” I just handed it over to the kids and away they went. Fun…debatable! Friendly, well, it kind of looks like it’s smiling, but my kids played with it for about 10 minutes and that was it. The music, which isn’t very loud, only plays when the crank for the internal battery is being turned and the lights are dim. It’s also a pull toy, but the string is too short for my 3 year old to comfortably use. Overall, this pricey toy did not hold the interest of my kids for very long and has become another item piled up in the corner of the playroom.

Toys occupy every nook and cranny of our home. This not necessarily a bad thing, though, because toys play a role in teaching children about creativity and imagination, motor skills and hand/eye coordination. Plus, sometimes you need to have your kids busy so you can rest! I have become an expert on what kind of toy will entertain my babies and for how long.

In the end, I think I’ll stick with my favorite eco toys…my own pots and pans! They’re noisy, but the kids and I have a blast with them!

Traceyclean Natural Products
I’ve been talking about the health effects that conventional cleaning products have on our bodies and our homes in recent Diva-Zines.  I found that all of my conventional cleaners that I use on my food prep counter, cook top, sink, dishes, pots & pans, floors and even wiping down the table, all released volatile organic compounds and other toxins into the air in my home and remain on all surfaces.  I learned that because of these conventional cleaners, the air quality in homes is 5 times more toxic then outside.  Several of the chemicals used in products like bleach, have been found to contribute to cancer, hormonal & reproductive disorders, neurological problems, acute asthma, respiratory & immune deficiencies, skin rashes and are poisonous if ingested.  WOW!  I’m not only cleaning but I’m creating a completely unhealthy toxic environment in my home.  Think about it for a moment…..Yikes!

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Tracey Hiner, owner of local favorite TraceyClean Natural Products (www.traceycleannaturalproducts.com).  Her product line is produced in Indiana by Tracey and her husband, Steven.  Tracey is a wife and mother of two, who finally got fed up with the commercial cleaning product industry enough to begin creating her own line of natural non-toxic cleaners.

Tracey says, “My products are for people who want the benefits of natural cleaners but don’t have the time to do the research, gather the materials, and make the products themselves. I have tested different ingredient combinations found on websites, in books, and talking with chemists. The products I developed are what I feel are the best mix of ingredients for each product.”

You can purchase TraceyClean online or if your in Indiana she has several drop points and sells here products at local farmers markets.  Her products are fantastic!  Give them a try and make sure to tell her you read about her products in TheEcoDivas Blog.


Cup Couture is Fun, Funky and Fresh!Cup Couture is Fun, Funky and Fresh!

Next time you stop at your local coffee shop take a moment and think green.

  • Fair Trade Coffee, Please!- Ask your Barista for the Fair Trade Coffee instead of the conventional pour.  Fair Trade Coffee is certified and exported from developing countries with the help of international organizations.  This organized social/market-based movement helps to regulate fair pricing, improve social and environmental standards, promote sustainability for producers and workers, increase economic self-sufficiency. Impoverished countries and societies are empowered by this development aid.
  • Say NO to the Sleeve- Before you take one of those handy cardboard coffee sleeves think about your impact on the forestry industry.  Instead of grabbing that cardboard sleeve, you can slide on your own customized “CupCoat”.  Cup Couture sells the most amazing insulated sleeves that fit 12oz, 16oz and 20oz coffee cups.  Using a reusable sleeve will save 6-10lbs of paper waste per person a year.  I own the Mint Chocolate Design and am the envy of my local coffee shop.
  • Think before you Pour- Forget about using that plastic stir stick.  Add your sugar or sweetener of choice before you fill the cup with coffee.  This will naturally melt the sugar and allow you to conserve energy, oil and reduce waste by not using the stir stick.
  • BYOC - Bring your own thermal refillable/reusable cup for the road.  Think of all of the waste you’ll be reducing by just supplying your own personal mug.

Taking these 4 quick and easy steps will drastically reduce your global footprint making you Eco-Chic in every way!

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