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Winners of “What Your Pets Mean to You” Contest

Thank you to everyone who entered our “What Your Pets Mean to You” contest. The Envirosax staff had a terrific time looking at all of the great photos and reading the wonderful write ups. After much deliberation, it was hard to decide from so many cute photos, so we added a few honorable mentions as well. Here are our winners.

(Winners will be contacted via Facebook by an Envirosax staff member to receive your prizes.)

Funniest: Rudy and Kasper sent in by Megan Yani

rudykasper

Best Dressed: Sam and Cassius as Spiderman and Captain Jack Sparrow sent in by Staci Summers

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Owner / Pet Look Alike: “Bearded Buddies” sent in by Marty Heflin

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Honorable mention:

Webee sent in by Lindsey Stockton Garret

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Lila sent in by Mary Elizabeth Kirkpatrick

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Karma sent in by Julie Bacon

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Thank you to all who entered! Don’t forget, during the month of November Envirosax will donate $1 from the sale of every Graphic Series pouch (set of 5 bags) and every Aqua Reusable Water Bottle sold on the Envirosax website to the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals)

BPA Free?

What is BPA and is it dangerous?

The ‘big 3’ in a customer driven organization is providing ‘quality, cost and on-time delivery’. The latter aside, perceived quality can be very different from the actual quality a consumer is receiving.  An online search for the term ‘reusable water bottles’ will bring up a wide array of companies, around 90% of which use the term “BPA free” concerning their reusable bottles.

Since a popular reusable bottle was linked to the chemical BPA (Bisphenol A), the term has been widely reported and has quickly escalated into mainstream media.

BPA is a chemical used to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resin. The plastic is used in some food and drink containers and the resin is used as lacquers to coat metal products such as food cans and metal water bottles. There are mixed reports as to the dangers of BPA but it is generally agreed that the chemical does transfer across to food and liquid in older food and beverage containers. The NTP (National Toxicology Program) released a report with their findings, in which they expressed concern with BPA’s effect on the human body, and in particular, on infants and children.  NTP Associate Director John Bucher Ph.D concluded that “the possibility that BPA may affect human development cannot be dismissed”.

So it is for good reason that consumers are turning towards products that state they are BPA Free.  Despite the fact that the published research is still rather inconclusive as to the detrimental effects of BPA, it is prudent to avoid the chemical wherever possible until a definitive conclusion has been made.

BPA and Water Bottles

When a new bottle is made, testing procedures are undertaken in laboratory conditions to ensure the beverage within the container will stay chemical free.  A reputable, certified testing lab will conduct a leaching test at 90C (194F) for 3 days in order to simulate usage and ageing.  These are extreme conditions for the bottle and cap.  After this time the contents of the bottle are tested for contaminates. It is at this crucial point where labs can differ in the results they present.

Different labs will have different limits as to what they can detect. For a given sample, one lab may not detect BPA due to their testing limits while another will detect BPA every time. Generally BPA is tested in parts per billion or parts per million (abbreviated ppb & ppm). A comparison of results from four major labs showed their testing limits varied greatly. Below is a table showing from top to bottom the most effective testing limits found to the least effective.

Company A (USA) 0.25 ppb 0.00025ppm Most effective
Company B (China) 200 ppb 0.2 ppm
Company C (USA) 400 ppb 0.4 ppm
Company D (China) 10,000 ppb 10 ppm Least effective

Company A is able to detect BPA if only 0.25 ppb is found, yet Company D would not be able to detect BPA if the chemical was found to be under 10,000 ppb.  These are two modern labs providing results used as certification on consumer goods, yet one is 40,000 times as accurate as the other.  It is scary to think that one “BPA Free” bottle could potentially have 40,000 times as much BPA in it as another marked as “BPA Free”, depending on which labs were used to do the testing.

Health Canada and the EFSA Europe have set the following Tolerable Daily Intake for BPA limits per kilogram of bodyweight.

Europe –  TDI of 0.05 milligram/kg body weight (eg 70kg person = 3.5mg TDI per day)

Canada –  TDI of 0.025 milligram/kg body weight

A 600ml bottle tested by Company D could theoretically leach up to 6 milligrams of BPA into the water over the testing period (enough to be in excess of the TDI for anyone weighing less than 120kg or 264lbs), and still be called “BPA Free” according to that lab’s standards.

Therefore, it is important when purchasing your bottle that you ask the company what limits they test down to.  The claim “BPA Free” is readily used as a marketing tool to imply the bottles do not contain any traces at all. On the contrary, the lab may not have been capable of testing down to the most sensitive limit.

Finally, it is worth noting that a number of bottle manufacturers claim that they are BPA free simply because the bottles are made from stainless steel and have no plastic liner.  It may be true that the bottle itself is BPA free, but the contaminates can come from the polycarbonate/polypropylene lids.  Whatever part of the bottle BPA may leach from, the hazard could still be there.

This article has been written to give the facts about the industry, which is still largely unregulated. Again it is left down to consumers to sift through the spin.  Anyone can claim to be “BPA Free” but unless the company is transparent with their certified testing results, as a careful consumer you should be wary of what you may be purchasing.

The Story of La Boheme

We are delighted to launch our new range, La Boheme, which has been inspired by a fusion of the romanticism of Bohemia and the ideals of the Art Nouveau movement. It is about bringing art and beauty into every day life and a celebration of pushing conventional boundaries.

We would like you to help create a story for the new La Boheme range to give it depth and personality.

While our focus is on breathing new life into eco-friendly products with beautiful design, feel free to take this story anywhere you want it to go.

Comment as many times as you like, and any length. Get your creativity flowing. The story can go in any direction…however comments will be edited if necessary if the story goes beyond decency boundaries.

The blog will be ‘live’ for two weeks, at the end of this time the story will be posted across our sites permanently, so your words will be a part of the Envirosax La Boheme story.

To start you may find inspiration from this picture.

lb_girl-1-blog1

So we will begin the story…

Life was starting to get a little hectic for 20 year old Lorien with uni exams, boyfriend giving her grief and parents just not understanding the pressure she was under. She decided to have a break from study and go for a walk in the forest behind her house. She had always loved the quiet, stillness and imagined growing up that it was enchanted, just like in fairy tales. After walking for a while, slowly feeling more calm and peaceful, she came across this beautiful red bag. Her attraction to it was immense and she just sensed there was something special about this bag, something magical…

Fair Trade – sifting through the spin

Fair Trade is an alternative approach to conventional trade that has become recognised as the standard for evaluating the rights of workers in developing nations who produce the products we consume.

The FTAANZ website provides an informative summary of Fair Trade, noting:

It focuses on helping farmers and producers in developing countries to move towards economic self-sufficiency and stability. By paying producers and their workers fair prices and helping them gain the skills and knowledge needed, allows them to have a greater stake hold in their own business, provide safer and ethical working environments and therefore play a wider role in international trade. Fair trade also encourages better environmental practices and the application of responsible methods of production.

It is about providing a fair go – not charity.

A Fair Trade Certified Company ensures that the supply chain down to the production of goods in factories has purchased all their manufactured components from producers and workers that have been treated ethically using the Fair Trade principles.

This covers:

  • Banning child and slave labour
  • Guaranteeing a safe workplace and the right to unionize
  • Adherence to the United Nations charter of human rights

Horror stories are constantly emerging of employees losing limbs in factories, only to receive no compensation and without the ability to work, not being able to afford to go home. An Amnesty International report tells the moving tale of a Chinese woman who had been working 12-hour night shifts in an embroidery factory in Korea, who wrote this on her suicide note:

“Migrant workers are also human beings. Why don’t they pay me for my work? I cannot go home because I don’t have money. I have chosen to kill myself, as there is no other way.”

What you have to remember when purchasing a product from somewhere that states they are a Fair Trade Company is that anybody can claim they are a Fair Trade Company.

Do not be confused by such organizations as the Office of Fair Trading (UK) or the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC). Both of these organizations regulate economic competition law and policies amongst businesses, but have little to do with Fair Trade in the workers-rights sense of the word.

Their mandate is to provide consumer protection, not worker protection. The OFT slogan is to make “markets work well for consumers” and the KFTC website indicates that it’s primary focus is on anti-trust and consumer-protection cases, as does the KTFC’s own byline which refers only to competition laws, consumer protection, and boosting competition.

This has nothing to do with Fair Trade as it is commonly perceived.

To ensure that you are buying Fair Trade these are the only labels that are certified:

wfto_white_logo_square1fairtrade

To read more about Fair Trade and where Envirosax stands in regards to these ethical principles, please read the full article.

Earth Day 2009

earth-day-envirosax-imageDid you know that April 22, 2009 is the 39th Earth Day?

Founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson in 1969, the first Earth Day was held in 1970 and led by 20 million students around America. At the time, The New York Times wrote an article reporting on the astonishing rise of environmental activism – “rising concern about the environmental crisis is sweeping the nations campuses with an intensity that may be on its way to eclipsing student discontent over the war in Vietnam”.

Earth Day has grown to be a worldwide campaign with events being held all around the world, see http://earthday.envirolink.org/calendar.html , http://earthday.net/search/location and http://www.deepdalefarm.co.uk/earthday/ for examples.

While Earth Day is a great way to increase awareness worldwide of environmental issues, every little action that millions of people take on a regular basis is what really helps to protect our planet. There are many small ways we can help, as simple as turning out lights when we are not in the room or walking instead of using the car.

Users of Envirosax designer reusable bags should be congratulated for helping to green the planet every day. In its lifetime, each Envirosax bag saves the planet from approximately 6000 ‘one-use’ plastic bags from clogging waterways, killing wildlife and floating in the ocean for thousands of years. This one action of 3.5 million people using Envirosax reusable bags around the world is having an enormous environmental impact. Congratulations and thank you for making a difference to our planet!

earthday-image

The original designer reusable bag

Kristi L. Gustafson, staff writer for Times Union recently wrote “Reusable shoppings bags are so in vogue, shoppers can now find hundreds of different totes that are neither paper nor plastic. In fact, a reusable sack may be more fashion-forward these days than the latest must-have Louis Vuitton handbag.”

It seems that in the current economic market, the must have Dolce & Gabbana or Chanel bags have been replaced by more affordable, eco-chic reusable bags like Envirosax.

And with the likes of Cynthia Nixon using Envirosax, the reusable bag trend looks set to continue.

cynthia-nixon-alone
(holding Retro Graphic Bag 4)