Sunday, November 15 is America Recycles Day

November 15 is America Recycles Day.  (Of course, looking at the name, I immediately wonder why there isn’t a World Recycles Day.)  In 2009, I wonder why we need this.  By now, recycling should be a gimme.  There are recycling drop off stations in almost every city and town; many of us now enjoy curbside recycling; and there are tons of information sources from Real Simple and E-Magazine to the Environmental Protection Agency on how to recycle just about anything.  In addition, there are fabulous groups like Freecycle and resources such as Craigslist where you can sell, swap or just give away your old stuff to someone who might want or need it.

November 15 isn’t the one day in the year when you should recycle.  It’s a day marked out to evaluate how you are doing on recycling.  Let’s all try to improve recycling efforts both at home and in our workplace.  Of course, the less you use, the less you need to recycle.  Maybe November 15 is the day you finally buy that reusable Starbucks cup (or the equivalent at your favorite coffee shop), start packing your child’s lunch sandwiches in Tupperware instead of zip lock bags or put out a bin in the office to collect cans.  (Hint: if you don’t want to recycle them yourself, you can often find a Girl Scout or Boy Scout troop leader that will pick them up for you.)

Whatever you do, make one change starting now.  Add one small step to live greener.  You may be surprised by how good it feels.

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It’s that time again… Eco-Friendly Gift Wrapping

I had planned on doing a post about eco-wrapping later this holiday season.  Today I was going to write a bit about the first ever Eco-Model, Rachel Avalon, who won the Project Green Search eco-model competition.  I had the chance to meet Rachel very briefly last week at the first ever Green Bloggers Convention.  (On a side note, it’s thrilling to see all these new environmentally-focused events popping up.  More and more people are taking action to dance lightly on our planet.)

To my surprise, while I was looking for an introduction on Rachel, I found this fantastic little video that she produced on… you guessed it… eco-friendly gift wrapping.  So here’s Rachel introducing herself better than I ever could with some awesome green holiday tips.

In addition to all of Rachel’s great ideas, one of my personal favorites is wrapping gifts with the Sunday comics section.  If you happen to have any old maps lying around, they also make great wrapping paper. 
Reusable gift bags are good in a pinch as well.  Although many of them are made from virgin materials, well made ones can be used again and again.  I’ve had some holiday gift bags pass back and forth between family members for years.  Just fold them after use and store them for next year.
We offer a selection of tree-free gift bags made from a mix of kenaf, hemp, sugar cane, flax and recycled materials that will last through many gift exchanges.


If your child is asked to sell gift wrap through a school or event fundraiser, be sure to mention to the coordinator that you’d like to see recycled gift wrap on offer next year.  Many of the fundraising companies don’t receive a lot of requests or feedback, so letting them know what you would purchase can really make a difference.  If you have a chance to write or e-mail the company directly, take it.

As a final thought, if you’re purchasing any holiday gifts from FaeriesDance.com, you can always have us gift wrap them for you using 100% recycled apparel boxes (65% post-consumer) with 100% post-consumer recycled tissue paper and 100% post-industrial recycled kraft gift wrap finished with natural raffia ribbon.  New for this holiday, we just got in this festive tree motif recycled kraft wrapping paper design.

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Last Chance Item: Earth Creations Boxy-Cut Clay-Dyed Scoop Neck Tops

For years the Earth Creations Scoop Neck tops have been staples at FaeriesDance.com.  The boxy cut and flowing design that covers the (often problem) tummy area are cute and flattering.  Earth Creations has redesigned these shirts to be a bit longer and tapered for a more fitted look.  They’re calling the new cut the “Better Than Before” Scoop Necks, and while they are quite nice, we’re sure at least a few clients will mourn the loss of the original, boxy look. 

We currently have good stock left in almost all sizes of the original 5 scoop neck designs.  However we were restocking them regularly, and what we have in stock now is the last of them.  Stop by to pick up any you don’t have yet or give them a try before they’re gone forever.

The new BTB scoops will be available in the spring.

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Come see FaeriesDance.com In Person This Saturday

OCTOBER 24, 2009
International Day of Climate Action!
(On UNITED NATIONS DAY)

Come out and enjoy the Southern California sun in support of climate change action.  FaeriesDance.com will have a booth set up tomorrow at the Irvine Regional Park in Orange, California.

 

Our booth will be open from 9:00am – 3:00pm.  Register to participate in the event which includes a 5k run hiking, bicycling, tree planting, yoga and educational programs.  For more event information, see the full event listing.

 

If you don’t live in Southern California and would like to join an event in your area, check here for worldwide event listings.

 

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Swap Your Halloween Costume this Sat, Oct 10

Folks who live in Los Angeles have a unique opportunity to swap their old Halloween costumes with other eco-savvy swappers.  Swap-O-Rama-Rama is hosting a Halloween costume swap in Venice, CA.  What a great way to reduce our holiday footprint.  You can also bring pre-loved clothing items and swap them for new-to-you fashions – a true eco-fashion initiative.  Both adult and children’s costumes are welcome.

After you’ve found your treasure, design stations are set up where you can hem, silk screen or appliqué your new clothing to make it unique to you.  What a fun idea!  Here are the details:

Saturday October 10, 2009, 12 noon to 5pm
Swap-O-Rama-Rama – Halloween Costume and General Clothing

Venice Center for Peace with Justice and the Arts,
located at Venice United Methodist Church
2210 Lincoln Blvd (at Victoria, just north of Venice Blvd)
Venice, Ca 90291

For more information, visit: http://www.hiplinemedia.com/swaporamarama.html

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Your favorite lingerie – satin, lace and Formaldehye?

Formaldehyde has been classified as a known human carcinogen (cancer-causing substance) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and as a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  So it might surprise you to find out that there’s probably formaldehyde in your underwear, albeit at very low levels.

Formaldehyde has been used for years on a variety of clothing as a finishing agent.  It contributes to the stain-free, wrinkle-free and static-free properties of a garment.  The low levels of the chemical used in clothing have historically been considered safe.

However, last year Victoria’s Secret got hit with a lawsuit after one woman started developing welts and rashes after wearing one of their bras.  The lawsuit snowballed and there is now a class action suit against Victoria’s Secret.  I’m not sure that this is really a “fair” lawsuit, since you’d very likely find the same chemicals in bras purchased from the mall or any *mart store.  Additionally, some people are very sensitive to certain chemicals, while others may wear the same garment for years without issue.

All that being said, even if formaldehyde is harmless at low levels and can be removed with a few good washings, do you really want it in your underwear?  You may not be chemically sensitive, but… yuck!  Let’s not get all gloomy now, though.  FaeriesDance.com quite happily offers more than 3 dozen panty options and 2 dozen bras all sans formaldehyde.  Now that’s something to dance about.

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QUICK FACT: Is hemp illegal to grow in the USA?

Hemp is not technically illegal to grow in the USA. It can be grown with a special permit from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Rumor has it however, that farmers are never actually given permits. So for all intents and purposes, it is illegal. Industrial hemp is in the same family as marijuana and was banned for its similar look. You can’t get high on hemp though, as the mind-altering drug THC found in marijuana is nearly absent in industrial hemp.
On August 5 of this year, Oregon passed a bill to make hemp farming legal in that state. They are the 17th state to pass some sort of pro-hemp legislation in the past 3 years. The states are also lobbying to have the DEA permit issue removed and allow state-control of hemp production. At the moment, all of our hemp fabric for clothing is imported and US farmers would like to change that.
A really interesting tidbit is that in 1619 at Jamestown Colony in Virginia it was mandatory for farmers to grow hemp because there was such a shortage. …You must grow it, you can’t grow, oh the confusion over one little plant…
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Win a Classic Bikini Panty

Cleverly hidden at the bottom of the last post is a contest to win a Classic Bikini (or other panty of your choice) if you provide us some feedback on our “What constitutes Made in America” question.  To win you need to post a comment on the PREVIOUS post (not this one).  However, we just learned that the comment function wasn’t working with the settings we had chosen.  So… just a quick note to let you all know that you can now leave comments to enter the drawing.  🙂 

Sorry about the confusion and good luck.

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Which Organic Clothes are Made in America?

This is a question we get often so I’d like to clarify the answer.  We have many lines with tags that say “Made in the USA” on them.  But legally speaking, that only means that the final garment was sewn in the USA.  There are essentially 3 steps to making a piece of clothing (organic or otherwise). 

  1. The base material (cotton, hemp, bamboo, pine tree, whatever) has to be grown somewhere. 
  2. The base material has to be soaked, spun, woven or otherwise turned into fabric for cutting or yarn for knitting/crocheting.
  3. The garment has to be sewn (or knit or crocheted).

While there are always exceptions to every rule, we have found that in the vast majority of cases #1 and #2 are done in the same region.  It’s too expensive to grow cotton in one country, send the raw material to another country to make fabric and then send the fabric to a 3rd country for cutting and sewing.  Most raw material is turned into fabric or yarn local to where it is grown.  However, it is very common to produce fabric in one country and then ship the finished fabric off to another country to have it sewn.

The tag on this adorable Overall Dress on the left states Made in the USA.  But the Hemp/Tencel blended fabric is imported.  We do our very best to track down exactly where our products are imported from.  We try to list both where an item is sewn and where it’s grown along with working conditions for both.

As we mentioned in our last Quick Fact, the USA does not grow enough organic cotton to meet our own eco-fashion needs.  Thus organic cotton is often imported.  Hemp is still illegal to grow in most of the USA (more on this in an upcoming Quick Fact), so it is almost always imported as well.

I’ve thought about putting together a separate category of just Made in America items, but I’m uncertain about where to draw the line.  If the tag says Made in the USA (i.e. sewn) but the fabric comes from China, should it be listed as Made in America?  Or does Made in America only mean sewn and grown end-to-end here somewhere in the USA?  There are still a few manufacturers who grow and sew end-to-end completely in the USA.  For example, SOS From Texas grows, spins, weaves and sews completely in the USA. 

What about America-first policies?  Bgreen, maker of our most popular panties, the Classic Bikini (shown right), sews right here in California and gets as much organic cotton as they can from US farmers.  When they’ve purchased all that is available, they look to Turkey to fill in their raw organic cotton needs and import just the raw material, which they add to their US-grown cotton and turn into organic fabric in their California warehouse.  Does this “count” as Made in America?
Please give us your feedback.  We’d love to hear your thoughts on what you consider Made in America.  What would you want to see in a category called Made in America if you were perusing for something?  To encourage participation in this topic, we’re giving away 1 pair of our Classic Bikinis (they come in 7 colors and sizes S – XL) to one person who leaves a comment about their Made in America thoughts. 

TO ENTER THIS CONTEST:  Leave a comment on THIS blog post (comments on facebook or through e-mail will not count) and we will randomly draw one name from all comments posted by 8am PT this Friday, September 18, to receive one free Classic Bikini (or any other of the $10 value panties that bgreen offers: String Bikini, Hi Cut Brief or String Thong).

Good Luck!

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Last Chance Item: Eat Organic Bikinis

We’ve been e-mailed a few times after something has gone out of stock from disappointed customers who had an item on their wishlist.  So I’ve decided to add this “Last Chance Item” post as a permanent feature to the blog when very popular items start running low.  First up are the Eat Organic Bikinis.

These adorable organic cotton hipster panties have been a popular staple at FaeriesDance.com for the last 3 years.  Unfortunately, they were manufactured through HTNaturals, who closed their apparel division this summer.  As of this morning we have decent stock left in size Medium, but only 2 Small left, both in Cherry and 2 Large left, both in Kiwi.  Once the few Smalls and Larges go, we will also have to start substituting them out of the Bikini Sampler Gift Set.  So if that’s been on your wish list for a while, now’s the time to get it.  These panties make amusing gifts for the winter holidays, Valentine’s day and wedding showers, too.

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