Top 10 Green Valentine’s Day Gifts for Women and Men From AusPen Eco-Friendly Markers

Looking for gift ideas for Valentine’s Day that show your romantic side, but that are still earth-friendly? Going green for Valentine’s Day is easier than you may think. AusPen eco-friendly markers has selected the 10 best eco-friendly and economical Valentine’s Day gifts for women and men. From hand-blown glass vases, to natural beauty products to eco-friendly jewellery, you’ll be sure to find a gift idea that your sweetheart will love.

For Women:
1. Organic, fair-trade chocolate
Chocolate just tastes better when you know that the growers are paid a fair wage and that the growing practices are less destructive to the environment. Fair Trade chocolate is typically organic and shade-grown under the canopy of the rainforest rather than in a clear cut field. Fair trade arrangements also provide for a social premium – extra money that is invested back into the communities for much-needed projects. Try Cocoa Camino, Divine, Maya Gold of Green & Blacks, and Presidents Choice chocolates marked with the Transfair logo.


2. Essential oil perfume
In the 2010 Environmental Working Group’s report, Not So Sexy – The Health Risks of Secret Chemicals in Fragrance, we learned that the chemicals added to commercial perfumes are very toxic and poorly regulated. 95% of chemicals used in fragrances are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum and can be linked to cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders, hormone disruptions and allergic reactions. For natural perfumes made of essential oils, try Nantucket Natural Oils, Aubrey Organics, Lavender Farms, and Tigerflag Natural Perfumery.

3. Hand-blown glass vase, candle holder or jewellery
Crystal is a traditional choice for Valentine’s Day gifts, but quality crystal is made with lead, a heavy metal with serious health risks. There may also be lead present in some ceramic glazes. As a healthier alternative, consider hand-blown glass creations. Many glass artists use recycled glass to create beautiful and one-of-a-kind hand-blown vases, candle holders and jewellery. For a hand-blown glass creation, visit your local gallery or artisan shop.

4. Organic cotton pjs, towels, bedding, outdoor blankets
It is said that cotton is the ‘fabric of our lives’. But growing conventional cotton requires the use of enormous amounts of pesticides - approximately 25 percent of the world’s insecticide use and more than 10 percent of the world’s pesticides. These chemicals have a huge environmental impact and present health risks for those working with and around the cotton fields. For organic cotton pj’s, towels and bedding, try Gaiam, and for outdoor blankets try Blue Lotus.

5. Conflict-free, eco-friendly jewellery
Leonardo DiCaprio brought the troubling issue of ‘conflict diamonds’ to our attention in his 2006 movie, Blood Diamond, and the United Nations has said that conflict diamonds has been a crucial issue in fuelling wars. Ensure that the country of origin of any diamonds is not on the UN blacklist. Also, recycled gold is a green choice as the production of one gold ring generates 20 tons of waste. Some green jewellery retailers include: Brilliant Earth, GreenKarat, and Faeries Dance.

For Men:
1. Natural grooming products with essential oils.
Conventional grooming products such as cologne, hair product and shaving cream can contain phthalates, dyes, parabens, and other harsh synthetic ingredients. For natural personal care products for men, try Organic Grooming, Burt’s Bees Natural Grooming, Bulldog, and The Natural Grooming Company.

2. Organic massage oils
Synthethic-based massage oil contain mineral oil, which is a petroleum by-product. Natural vegetable, seed or nut oils would be a greener choice, and healthier for the skin. Weleda, Lush, Happy Endings and Earth to Body have products that use certified organic oils and 100% natural products.

3.A low-flow shower head
Many newer energy-efficient showerheads conserve energy and water without changing water pressure. Low-flow showerheads use up to 70 percent less water than standard showerheads, and can save approximately 15 percent on the cost of heating your water.

4. Tree-free journal
A journal is a sweet Valentine’s Day gift, giving your man the opportunity to record memories and dreams, especially if it is a green journal. 2011 is the United Nation’s International Year of Forests. Reducing our consumption of paper made from virgin fibre will alleviate the pressure on this limited natural resource. Tree-free paper can be made from the fiber of banana leaf, sugar cane husk, hemp, jute, flax, bamboo, sisal and even crushed stone. Some retailers that sell tree-free paper include: Green Field Paper Company, Kenaf Paper Products, Living Tree Paper and EcoPaper.

5. Repurposed accessories
Guys generally love technology and gadgets – why not repurpose a gadget into a cool, one-of-a-kind Valentine’s Day gift? Online retailers offer recycled circuit board cufflinks, rubber messenger bags, necktie wallets, bicycle wheel clocks, bike chain bottle openers, doorknob bottle stoppers…you get the picture.


AusPen Markers are the eco-friendly alternative to disposable dry erase markers. Made from 100% recycled aluminum, AusPen markers are refillable with low-odor, non-toxic ink, and are recyclable. You never need to throw away another dry erase marker, or inhale toxic fumes.

Schools and businesses can significantly reduce their toxicity and waste while saving money.

SOURCE: AusPen Eco-Friendly Markers,
Call toll free 1 866 328-7736
maureen@ecosmartworld.com
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http://www.prweb.com/releases/2010/11/prweb4828164.htm

The Comeback of the 70's Green Movement

Woodsy Owl, the 1970s environmental icon, just might be coming back to life.

If ABBA and one-piece pant suits can make a comeback, why not Woodsy Owl?

Who could forget “Give a hoot, don’t pollute!” It was the catch phrase of Woodsy Owl, created for the United States Forest Service (USFS) in 1970 for the first Earth Day.

For those of us growing up in the 70′s and 80′s, being green mostly meant not littering. The campaign effectively taught a generation to use the garbage can. And now that we’re grown up, it’s plain to see that we are really good at throwing things away.

Fastforward to now. Along come products like AusPen refillable dry-erase markers  that challenge us to refill a product rather than throw it away.

 Woodsy Owl will need an extreme modern make-over. The environmental message for kids these days is a much more sophisticated call to action from establishing environmental clubs, to caring for rooftop gardens, to urging their teachers to buy non-toxic cleaning and school supplies.

JLo is taking care of the pantsuit comeback. If you want to get involved in sponsoring the project to bring Woodsy Owl back to life, you may also be interested in this original Woodsy Owl video for a walk down memory lane, or a chance to laugh at the fashion of the 1970′s. http://kck.st/h95rjJ

EcoSmart Products Launches its AusPen All-Stars Appreciation Program

EcoSmart Products, the North American distributor of AusPen eco-friendly markers, launches its AusPen All-Stars Program to highlight the commitment to sustainability that its distinguished customers are making. In switching to refillable, non-toxic markers, AusPen customers are reducing waste and improving indoor air quality in significant ways. The new customer appreciation program aims to recognize outstanding efforts to go green while also inspiring other educational institutions and businesses with the stories of personal motivation and collective success.

In its inaugural selection of AusPen All-Stars, EcoSmart Products celebrates three schools that have made a significant difference in their communities. The selected schools have taken active steps to create an environmental movement and mobilize the school community into action. From a math class that seized an opportunity on Earth Day, to a teacher that was having an allergic reaction to regular markers, to students carrying out fundraisers in order to purchase AusPen markers for their teachers, the stories are practical examples of schools going green.

Some highlights from the first round of AusPen All-Stars include:

Bethpage High School, New York.

As an Earth Day project, a grade 10 math teacher asked his students to calculate how many disposable markers were thrown out in the school district a year, and what that was costing them. The students crunched the numbers and consequently wrote letters to the district Superintendent to propose the use of AusPen dry-erase markers. The switch to the refillable markers has enabled Bethpage High School to save 450 pounds of disposable plastic markers from its local landfill. Inspired by these results, Generation Green Team, the school’s environmental club, has gone on to create programs to recycle paper, plastics, shoes and exam booklets.

Holy Trinity School, Ontario.

When a teacher started developing headaches from regular markers, Holy Trinity School decided to pilot AusPen markers for a year. Another teacher had just returned from maternity leave with a fresh perspective on the need for environment stewardship and began what is currently an almost school-wide use of AusPen markers. This recent initiative has kept over 450 pounds of toxic waste from hitting local landfills. The school’s environmental efforts have carried over into all other aspects of school functioning, creating an ‘environmental revolution’. 

San Rafael High School, California.

As part of a national movement of youth, the Teens Turning Green chapter at San Rafael High School decided that its first area of focus would be toxic markers. The students organized a series of fundraisers (which included a prom dress exchange and a 13-mile hike-a-thon) to purchase class sets of AusPen markers for their teachers. Once that was accomplished, the students turned their attention towards cleaning up ‘that pink soap’ in the washrooms.

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The view from here

Clark Little / Nature's Best Photographs

Like most people, I love photography, especially when a photograph makes me stop and think, or teaches me something about how I view things. I had to borrow ‘s Clark Little’s photo, “The View from Inside a Hawaiian Wave” for this blog. It’s amazing.

 When I saw it, I didn’t realize that the photo was an actual air pocket, or ’tube’ inside a breaking wave. I saw it as a plastic bottle in the water - something I’m apparently more familiar with than the beauty of a rolling wave.

What does that say about how I see things? What does that say about how the younger generation – often exposed to pictures of environmental degradation – views things?

For photo lovers: this image was posted on msnbc’s photo blog, a great site where conversations are sparked by photojournalism.

 

Description of the image: 

Matching artistic composition with dramatic force, the lip of a wave pushes toward the photographer and creates a large, hollow air pocket called the “tube,” seen running the length of the photo parallel to the sand bottom. Because the wave continues to move forward, even after it breaks, the tube is forced to spin and follow the wave’s momentum. As the tube rotates, water and air are pulled along into this spin cycle. Even for those accustomed to wave photography, some explanation is needed to understand exactly what is going on in this image: A breaking wave is just a few feet in front of the lens. Beyond the wave is the deep ocean. The beach is behind the photographer.

How to clean permanent marker from your whiteboard

It’s bound to happen. Someone has taken a permanent marker to your whiteboard. Your impulse is to find the person and write on them with permanent marker, but maybe you should apply your energies to the following question:

Q: How can I remove permanent marker from my whiteboard?

A: Write over top of the permanent marker with your AusPen dry-erase markers and wipe with a soft cloth. Repeat this if the stains are still dark. Then wipe the board with a window cleaner. This should remove the permanent marker.

Hint: If you are carrying baby wipes in your bag, these can be used for newer stains on your whiteboard.

The Drill on Non-Toxic Ink

At a recent trip to the dentist, I had a strange sensation that the dentist was working in my mouth with AusPen dry-erase markers.

I know what you’re thinking, but I hadn’t been given laughing gas or hallucinatory drugs. I was actually associating the faint odor of his instruments with AusPen markers. Rubbing alcohol is one of the main ingredients in AusPen markers, the principal reason why they are non-toxic, and excellent for those who have chemical sensitivities or an aversion to smelly markers.

It was an experience that really drilled into me the non-toxic nature of AusPen markers… pardon the pun.

EcoSmart Products launches its new AusPen All-Star Program

EcoSmart Products announces the launch of its new AusPen All-Stars program, a customer appreciation program that recognizes the outstanding commitment of some of our AusPen customers to reducing waste and improving health.

In our first round of AusPen All-Stars we celebrate schools that are going green. Their stories are inspiring, and their impact is significant. Here’s a sneak peak at what inspired them, who rallied for support, and how much waste they have saved from their local landfill.

1. San Rafael High School, California. Where else would you find high school students raising money to buy sets of AusPen markers for their teachers? The Teens Turning Green chapter at San Rafael High School literally climbed mountains to raise the funds! Watch the students presenting their teachers with their new markers in this video.

2. Holy Trinity School, Ontario. When a teacher started developing headaches from regular markers, Holy Trinity School decided to pilot AusPen markers for a year – and now many of the other teachers have caught on and they’ve kept over 450 pounds of plastic waste from hitting their local landfills.

3. Oak Bay Secondary School, British Columbia. One of the original users of AusPen markers in North America, Oak Bay Secondary School has stood the test of time.

4. Bethpage High School, New York. It all started when a grade 10 math teacher asked his students to calculate how many disposable markers were thrown out in the school district a year, and what that was costing them. The students crunched the numbers and wrote letters to their Superintendent to make the case for a more sustainable alternative to regular dry-erase markers. Now there’s no stopping Generation Green Team, the school’s environmental club.

Way to make a difference, AusPen All-Stars! http://www.ecosmartworld.com/allstars

Top 10 Green Valentine’s Day Gifts for Women and Men

Looking for gift ideas for Valentine’s Day that show your romantic side, but that are still earth-friendly? Going green for Valentine’s Day is easier than you may think. AusPen eco-friendly markers has selected the 10 best eco-friendly and economical Valentine’s Day gifts for women and men. From hand-blown glass vases, to natural beauty products to eco-friendly jewellery, you’ll be sure to find a gift idea that your sweetheart will love.  

 For Women:

1.    Organic, fair-trade chocolate

Chocolate just tastes better when you know that the growers are paid a fair wage and that the growing practices are less destructive to the environment. Fair Trade chocolate is typically organic and shade-grown under the canopy of the rainforest rather than in a clear cut field. Fair trade arrangements also provide for a social premium – extra money that is invested back into the communities for much-needed projects. Try Cocoa Camino, Divine, Maya Gold of Green & Blacks, and Presidents Choice chocolates marked with the Transfair logo.

2.    Essential oil perfume

In the 2010 Environmental Working Group’s report, Not So Sexy – The Health Risks of Secret Chemicals in Fragrance, we learned that the chemicals added to commercial perfumes are very toxic and poorly regulated. 95% of chemicals used in fragrances are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum and can be linked to cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders, hormone disruptions and allergic reactions. For natural perfumes made of essential oils, try Nantucket Natural Oils, Aubrey Organics, Lavender Farms, and Tigerflag Natural Perfumery.

 3.    Hand-blown glass vase, candle holder or jewellery

Crystal is a traditional choice for Valentine’s Day gifts, but quality crystal is made with lead, a heavy metal with serious health risks. There may also be lead present in some ceramic glazes. As a healthier alternative, consider hand-blown glass creations. Many glass artists use recycled glass to create beautiful and one-of-a-kind hand-blown vases, candle holders and jewellery. For a hand-blown glass creation, visit your local gallery or artisan shop.

4.    Organic cotton pjs, towels, bedding, outdoor blankets

It is said that cotton is the ‘fabric of our lives’. But growing conventional cotton requires the use of enormous amounts of pesticides – approximately 25 percent of the world’s insecticide use and more than 10 percent of the world’s pesticides. These chemicals have a huge environmental impact and present health risks for those working with and around the cotton fields. For organic cotton pj’s, towels and bedding, try Gaiam, and for outdoor blankets try Blue Lotus.

5.    Conflict-free, eco-friendly jewellery

Leonardo DiCaprio brought the troubling issue of ‘conflict diamonds’ to our attention in his 2006 movie, Blood Diamond, and the United Nations has said that conflict diamonds has been a crucial issue in fuelling wars. Ensure that the country of origin of any diamonds is not on the UN blacklist. Also, recycled gold is a green choice as the production of one gold ring generates 20 tons of waste. Some green jewellery retailers include: Brilliant Earth, GreenKarat, and Faeries Dance.

For Men:

1.     Natural grooming products with essential oils.

Conventional grooming products such as cologne, hair product and shaving cream can contain phthalates, dyes, parabens, and other harsh synthetic ingredients. For natural personal care products for men, try Organic Grooming, Burt’s Bees Natural Grooming, Bulldog, and The Natural Grooming Company.

2.  Organic massage oils

Synthethic-based massage oil contains mineral oil, which is a petroleum by-product. Natural vegetable, seed or nut oils would be a greener choice, and healthier for the skin. Weleda, Lush, Happy Endings and Earth to Body have products that use certified organic oils and 100% natural products.

3.    A low-flow shower head

Many newer energy-efficient showerheads conserve energy and water without changing water pressure. Low-flow showerheads use up to 70 percent less water than standard showerheads, and can save approximately 15 percent on the cost of heating your water.

4.    Tree-free journal

A journal is a sweet Valentine’s Day gift, giving your man the opportunity to record memories and dreams, especially if it is a green journal. 2011 is the United Nation’s International Year of Forests. Reducing our consumption of paper made from virgin fibre will alleviate the pressure on this limited natural resource. Tree-free paper can be made from the fiber of banana leaf, sugar cane husk, hemp, jute, flax, bamboo, sisal and even crushed stone. Some retailers that sell tree-free paper include: Green Field Paper Company, Kenaf Paper Products, Living Tree Paper and EcoPaper.

5.    Repurposed accessories

Guys generally love technology and gadgets – why not repurpose a gadget into a cool, one-of-a-kind Valentine’s Day gift? Online retailers offer recycled circuit board cufflinks, rubber messenger bags, necktie wallets, bicycle wheel clocks, bike chain bottle openers, doorknob bottle stoppers…you get the picture.

AusPen Markers are the eco-friendly alternative to disposable dry erase markers. Made from 100% recycled aluminum, AusPen markers are refillable with low-odor, non-toxic ink, and are recyclable. You never need to throw away another dry erase marker, or inhale toxic fumes. Schools and businesses can significantly reduce their toxicity and waste while saving money.

AusPen All-Stars

At EcoSmart Products, we recognize the efforts our customers have made, and want to celebrate the commitment they have made to the environment. Our AusPen All-Stars program is a way to showcase outstanding ways in which the switch to AusPen eco-friendly markers has made a difference. Congratulations to all the AusPen All-Stars!

Schools reduce their ecological footprint with AusPen eco-friendly markers

San Rafael High School

Meet an amazingly informed, inspirational and motivated group of teens – the Teens Turning Green Club at San Rafael High School. Through fundraisers, the environmental club raised money to purchase kits of AusPen markers for their teachers.

Watch the video of the club co-president presenting the new marker kits to the teachers:

Read San Rafael’s press release here.

Way to go, San Rafael High School!


Holy Trinity School

By switching many of its classrooms to AusPen dry-erase markers, Holy Trinity School has avoided the use of approximately 450 pounds of non-biodegradable waste, which would have otherwise gone straight to the landfill. That’s something to be proud of!

Read Holy Trinity’s Press Release on their environmental activities and switch to AusPen markers!

L-R: Tara Irani-Senior Science teacher, Erica Auer-Science Department Head, Jacqueline Butler-Senior Science Teacher/Environmental Sustainability Coordinator







Oak Bay Secondary, Vancouver Island

Oak Bay Secondary, a high school of 1300 students, has had outstanding success in conserving resources with AusPen markers. The community of Oak Bay Secondary has kept the equivalent of 478 pounds of toxic waste out of their landfills. Congratulations on creating such an impact!


Bethpage High School

EcoSmart Products recognizes Bethpage High School and their environmental club, Generation Green for their amazing environmental activities. Based on an Earth Day math class project, students at Bethpage High School calculated how many markers the school district was throwing away every year (10,000 markers) and the cost to the schools ($7,000). As a result, many of the teachers in the district have switched to AusPen refillable markers; Bethpage High School has cut down on 450 pounds of toxic waste. Way to go Bethpage!

Bethpage’s Generation Green Team ‘Make a Difference’

Read Bethpage’s inspiring story here on how a ‘Make a Difference’ project for Earth Day has turned into a district-wide movement.






Do you feel like your school or business is an AusPen All-Star? Tell us why. We’d love to hear your experiences at allstars@ecosmartworld.com

An AusPen Intro

What a cute video of 2 children receiving a set of new non-toxic markers! The artwork is sublime. Thanks to JuniperHenry for posting this on You Tube!

See the AusPen Review here