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Category Archives: Inspiration

How to Create an Eco-Friendly Halloween

Going green doesn’t mean you have to compromise the funny or yum factory of Halloween. Make your holiday fun, unique and an Eco-Friendly event.

  1. Participate in a Costume Swap

Gather a group of your children’s friends or parents from school and bring costumes to swap and trade. Your kids will be excited over having a “new” costume without having to purchase a whole new one and it will  eliminate waste.

  1. Give Out Healthy Candies and Treats

Pass out candy without harmful ingredients that still taste yummy and wont get your house egged.  See the Trick Or Treat OMI Blog from 2011.

UNREAL Candy offers chocolate treats that taste as good as major commercial brands but without the articial colors, dyes, sweeteners, preservatives, hydrogenated oils and GMOs.  Check out their goodies HERE.

Surf Sweets offers a variety of gluten-free, organic gummies, sour bears and jellybeans.   They even have treats in spooky spider shapes for Halloween!

  1. Use Reusable Bags for Trick-or-Treating!

Any bag can hold goodies, from baskets to bags to old purses and more.  Old pillowcases make great bags to collect candy and can be easily decorated or customized for your child.  A simple white pillowcase can be turned into a “ghost bag” by drawing, sewing or gluing on eyes and mouth.  Or simply add your child’s name.

  1. Decorate with Nature

Use natural items to decorate this year, such as hay bales, leaves, branches, gourds, pumpkins, mums and more.

  1. Light up the Night

If you string up lights to keep your walkway safe for trick-or-treaters, be sure to use LEDs or solar-powered lights.  LEDs use less energy than conventional holiday twinklers.

  1. Let Kiddos Decorate

Forget store-bought window sickers and skeletons. Help your kids cut out bats from recycled paper or make hand print spiders for walls and windows.  Carve or paint pumpkins for more decorations. White sheets can be hung as ghosts.  Get creative!

How will you keep your Halloween more Earth friendly?

OMI Featured in PGD Interview

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Amanda Chou was the first place winner of Project Green Dorms Makeover Contest a back-to-school resource to help students across the US move from conventional to conscious living lifestyles created by Teens Turing Green.  The contest invited students 18 and older to curate their version of the ultimate green dorm room or living space on Pinterest! Each Pinterest board had to contain between 25 to 50 eco items with a brief description of what makes each item green or eco-friendly. The Green Dorm contest ran from August 1 through September 3. A team of esteemed judges juried the entries and selected first, second, and third place winners!  The Grand Prize included a many wonderful eco and sage products including OMI’s Organic Pillows, Eco Wool Comforter, and beautiful 1 1/2 inch Eco Wool Topper.

Here is a link to the interview with Amanda Chou as she explains how she has gone green and about her quest to encourage others to join her.

Going seamlessly green in college dorms | Piedmont – WXII Home.

Project Green Dorm is a segway into Project Green Challenge, were students from across the country compete in simple daily challenges that demonstrate just how fun, accessible, and effective environmentally and socially responsible living can be.  The grand prize winner will receive many prizes from retailers such as eBay Green, The Container Store, Whole Foods Market, and many more including OMI.  OMI wanted to be sure that the winner was sleeping healthy and contributed a Midori Twin Mattress, 1.5″ Wooly, Comforter and Organic Cotton Pillow. 

Join the challenge NOW!  Challenge started October 1st and there is still time to enter and win!

No More Plastic Water Bottles

Plastic water bottles are seen everywhere from grocery stores to schools.  Many people are unaware that there is so much waste created in the production and use of the plastic water bottles. According to National Geographic, “Americans drink more bottled water than any other nation, purchasing an impressive 29 billion bottles every year. Making all the plastic for those bottles uses 17 million barrels of crude oil annually. That is equivalent to the fuel needed to keep 1 million vehicles on the road for 12 months. If you were to fill one quarter of a plastic water bottle with oil, you would be looking at roughly the amount used to produce that bottle.” For more water bottle pollution facts visit the National Geographic website HERE.

Concord, Massachusetts has tackled the issues surrounding water bottles and has become the first U.S. city to ban the sale of bottled water. Concord residents voted to ban the bottle citywide in an effort to promote sustainability.  The debate of the issue occurred in a Concord town meeting, and after nearly 2 hours of debate, attempted amendments and a recount, the vote was accepted.  The ban is for the sale of single-serving PET (polyethylene terephthalate) water bottles of less than 1 liter (34 ounces). The State Attorney General approved the bylaw, therefore the ban will be finalized on January 1st, 2013.

Using reusable bottles for water can save you money while reducing your impact on the planet.  There are many options for replacing plastic water bottles, from glass to stainless steel.  Choose the best option for you and enjoy.

Enjoy this video and follow the marching water bottles all the way to the recycling bin.

OMI Participates in 2nd Teens Turning Green Project Challenge

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 Teens Turning Green is a student-led movement that is devoted to educating and engaging youth about environmentally sustainable and socially responsible choices for communities, schools and individuals.   Teens Turning Green began in 2005 in the San Francisco Bay Area and now has a presence in elementary, middle and high schools, as well as universities and student organizations across the country and around the globe. The goal of Teens Turning Green is to inspire the transition from conventional to conscious living.

Project Green Challenge is a 30-day eco lifestyle challenge created by TTG in which students from across the country compete in simple daily challenges that demonstrate just how fun, accessible, and effective environmentally and socially responsible living can be. The submissions are judged and assigned points daily, and then twelve finalists are selected. The finalists are invited to join esteemed eco leaders for the Project Green Challenge 2012 Finals: Green University for an unprecedented weekend of sharing, inspiration, and social action platform development. The grand prizewinner will take home many prizes, such as a $5,000 Natracare Scholarship, $1,000 gift cards for eBay Green, The Container Store, and Whole Foods Market as well as an OrganicPedic by OMI Midori Twin Mattress, 1.5” Wooly, Wool Comforter, and Organic Cotton Pillow.

For more information about Teens Turning Green or Project Green Challenge, visit the website HERE. Check out last year’s grand-prize winner on the OrganicPedic Blog, Teens Turning Green Hosts First GREEN UNIVERSITY.

Happy Monday!

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We hope your day is as good as this…

 

Seven Earth Conscious Tips for an Awesome Dorm Room

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  Every year students all across the country make the big move to college.  This move is often the first chance to live away from home.  Setting up a dorm is no small task, especially for the first semester.  It is important to make your dorm room a comfortable place to study, sleep and hang out.  Why not make your room into a more earth-friendly place by making conscious decisions?  All it takes is a little creativity, effort, and a few tips and tricks.

1. Moving

Use reusable packing materials.  Transport clothes and other items in laundry baskets, bags and suitcases.  Be sure to recycle any boxes you used for moving.

2. Electronics and Appliances

Dorm rooms are usually stuffed with all types of electronics and appliances: Computers, printers, TVs, DVD players, sound systems, alarm clocks, mini fridges, microwaves and more.  Talk to your roommate about who brings what so you aren’t doubling up.  When buying electronics or appliances look for higher ENERGY-STAR-Certified ratings.  ENERGY-STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy that rates electronics and the amount of energy that they use to help consumers purchase items that do not use excess amounts of electricity.  Be sure to turn off all electronics when not in use.  Also, plugging electronics into power strips is a great solution to easily turn off multiple electronics at once. Choose electronics that serve multiple purposes, such as an alarm clock that’s also a speaker and charger for an iPod or iPhone.  A laptop with a large screen that can act as not only a computer but a TV and DVD player, too.

3. Furniture

Most dorm rooms come furnished, but can often be lacking key pieces such as chairs or bookshelves.  If possible, look for second-hand or recycled products made from sustainable processes and materials.  The typical particleboard furniture found in dorms can contain formaldehyde and other chemicals that can offgas and pollute indoor air so steer clear of them when you can.

4. Lighting

Replace standard incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent light bubs or LED lights, which consume less energy and last longer than standard bulbs, as well as giving off better light to allow for the better studying.

5. Air Quality

Improve air quality in the dormand add some appeal by having a green plant or two.  The plants help to absorb unwanted airborne gases and brighten up your surroundings.  A trip to your local nursery can help you pick out a plant that will thrive indoors in low-light conditions.

6. Bed and Bedding

It is essential for students to have a good night’s sleep to help keep the brain fresh and ready to learn.  To make a good night’s sleep possible, be sure to have a comfortable and natural mattress and bedding that doesn’t offgas toxic chemicals.  We offer several economical options of organic mattresses, including the Midori – one of our classic mattresses – available in Twin XL, which fits most form beds.

OMI Midori

MSRP (mattress only): twin $1495• twin XL $1595• full $1895 • queen $2195 • king $3095

Foundation sold separately

If you can’t change out your mattress, invest in a Mattress Barrier Cover, which encases the entire mattress to protect from bed bugs and dust mites, reducing allergens.

OMI Mattress Barrier Covers starting at $220

 Bedding is just as important as a mattress, since it needs to be comfortable and made without the use of chemicals.  Pick soft and luxurious organic cotton sheets and all season wool comforters.  You can choose a duvet made with color grown cotton to add some color but make sure it is organic.

OMI Eco-Wool™ Comforter starting at $475

Click HERE for more information on OMI mattresses and bedding.

7. Decorations

Many students want to make their dorm rooms comfortable and homey.  Rather than buying all new decorations, choose items from your bedroom at home and revamp them to better fit the dorm.  Use material from a favorite shirt or old curtains to cover corkboards, creating an area to hang pictures, notes and other items and add color.  Coordinate with roommates to get complimentary organic duvet covers and cover you thrifted loveseat with matching sheets.

 

Find more tips and useful ideas by going to Teens Turning Green’s ‘Project Green Dorm’ website HERE.  Enter their challenge for a chance to win OMI products as well as many other fabulous and green prizes!

Friday the 13th, 13 Scary Facts About Conventional Mattresses

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In honor of Friday the 13th here is a guest blog, from our sister company Lifekind, with 13 scary facts about conventional mattresses.

It makes sense that an organic mattress would use organic cotton, but beyond that, most people may not be aware of many reasons that organic mattresses really are so much better than conventional mattresses. Lucky for you, we are experts in this area, and can break it down for you.

Warning: If you’re unsettled by things that are creepy, crawly, or contaminated, do not read before going to bed!

1. Bed bugs, dust mites, mold, and germs love your mattress
Bed-bugs and dust mites love to live in the dank, dark inside of a mattress. The environment also provides the perfect environment for molds & fungi to thrive in, along with bacteria, viruses, and contagious diseases. Because conventional mattresses are typically made with man-made materials like polyurethane foam, they don’t have the inherent dust-mite resistance that is a feature of the 100%-natural rubber latex used in the organic mattresses we make at Lifekind.

2.Your new mattress may not be new
Conventional mattresses can be sold, used, returned, and then resold as “factory seconds” or “refurbished.”  Even when they are “sterilized” with chemicals, many nasty things can be left behind.  A Dateline investigative report found bed bugs in all stages of life and death, blood, numerous forms of fungi and mold, and occasional traces of urine and fecal matter in refurbished mattresses that were in the same factory and sales-floors as new mattresses.  Only 26 states have laws on selling refurbished mattresses, and the government isn’t setting a standard on proper sterilization, which means it’s up to the mattress builder to determine whether or not a mattress is sterilized.  In the Dateline report, all of the mattresses tested were contaminated.

3. It’s pumped full of hazardous chemicals
Even if your mattress is brand new and uncontaminated, you’re not in the clear yet.  Did you realize that formaldehyde and boric acid are just two of the chemicals commonly used in the manufacture of conventional mattresses?  When Walt Bader, our CEO, was writing his book Toxic Bedrooms, he had a memory foam mattress tested by an independent lab and it emitted 61 VOC chemicals?  The chemicals used in your new mattress can aggravate allergies, cause respiratory irritation or bronchitis, affect your hormone levels, and even limit the amount of oxygen your body is able to absorb. Some chemicals are known carcinogens, endocrine disruptors and reproductive toxins, with warning labels advising “Caution – do not inhale,” “Use in a well-ventilated area,” “Can cause irritation,” or “Avoid contact with skin.”

4.   It can adversely affect the quality of your sleep and health
Cellular repair, rejuvenation, growth and healing all take place while you sleep. The chemicals that are used in the manufacture of conventional mattresses can cause all kinds of discomfort, and even illness. The range of symptoms can be as varied as the people affected, but one thing is for sure: If you’re sleeping on a toxic mattress, you’re not experiencing optimal health. For more details about the effects of sleeping on a toxic mattress, check out chem-tox.com

5. The bed you sleep in can harm future generations through inherited toxicity
Even if you’re one of the lucky ones that are totally unaffected and have children who sleep well without allergies or complaints, you can be certain that your grandchildren will show detectable amounts of harmful chemicals – even before birth!  Scientists have confirmed that chemical fire retardants, such as those used in conventional mattresses, have been measured in pregnant mothers and passed through the placenta to their unborn babies.  The danger of these chemicals is that they build up and remain in fatty tissue for years, waiting to be shared with your growing baby. Even if you aren’t experiencing any symptoms, there’s no way to know how three generations of built-up toxic chemicals will affect your grandchildren.

6. Suspected to contribute to SIDS
A toxic crib mattress is definitely not what you want your brand new baby to start life on. Many of the chemicals used to manufacture crib mattresses, including chemical flame-retardants, are suspected to contribute to SIDS – a logical assumption. Taking into consideration that babies have less mass overall, breathe faster, sleep more, and can’t communicate sources of irritation except by crying, they are by default more sensitive to toxic chemicals. Although research supporting this fact is shunned in general by the mattress and medical communities, common sense and anecdotal evidence from astute parents should not be ignored.  Besides, how many mothers wouldn’t rather be safe than sorry?

7.  Not actually built to last…
It only makes sense that in order to stay in business, a company must sell more product.  Unfortunately, many mattress manufacturers prey on their best customers by employing a trick called “built in obsolescence”.  They basically build a product that is meant to wear out at a certain time interval (often using cheaper materials that will break down more quickly), which forces the customer to pay good money to purchase another mattress from them. (So how do we stay in business?  We focus our marketing on consumers that don’t yet know the benefits of organic mattresses, and we use the best salespeople on the planet: customers who love their organic mattress are always sending their friends and family our way!)

8.  …Except that they last FOR-EV-ER
And not in the “super plush and comfy for a hundred years” kind of forever (see Scary Fact #7), but they will last forever in our landfills.  Even with mattress recycling being fairly effective, there are only 11 mattress recycling facilities in the entire country.  This means that most mattresses end up in the landfills (to the tune of 10 million mattresses a year!)  The polyurethane foams and synthetic materials and fibers that are used in the construction of conventional mattresses are not biodegradable, which means that they will be polluting our Earth for generations to come.

9. Damaging to our natural resources
Commercially grown cotton is a huge offender in polluting the natural world, as are the toxic components used in polyurethane foam and the petrochemical, plastic-based fillers commonly found in, and on, conventional mattresses.  Many people are unaware that cotton is treated with substances such as formaldehyde even before flame retardants come into play, not to mention the harm that GMO crops and pesticides cause the environment.  The production and processing of conventional products is known to cause harm to the environment, and is thought to contribute to global warming.

10. The chemicals can cause irreparable harm to wildlife
The chemicals used in conventional mattress construction that can harm human health are also harmful to wildlife and pets.  Many people recall how the harmful pesticide DDT was an effective bug killer, but that it was also responsible for the deaths of thousands of birds and fish that ate the poisoned bugs, prior to being banned in the 70s.  Clearly our precious wildlife doesn’t have the option to choose organic, nor do they have the option to relocate beyond nature.

11.  Built with sweatshop labor and shipped halfway across the world
Laborers in third world countries build thousands of mattresses daily, working for wages that are a fraction of what a U.S.-based company, paying fair wages, pays their workers.  The finished mattresses are then shipped halfway across the world, subject to fumigation, and sold in American stores.  Basic economics has taught us that price is a huge reason why we choose to purchase an item in the first place, so companies will go to great lengths to make the cheapest product possible.  More often than not, products imported from overseas are sold for a fraction of what a U.S.-based company paying fair wages is able to sell its products for, which is great for the guy profiting off of these mattresses. Even when mattresses are made in the U.S., it’s important to be sure the raw materials are U.S.-grown also – otherwise you’re missing a huge opportunity to improve your own economy.

12.  Every “vote” for conventional mattresses perpetuates the problem
Beyond economics and financial support, it’s important to realize that every dollar spent makes a difference. You wouldn’t cast a ballot in favor of increasing pollution, or to support foreign labor or poor health. However, that’s what happens when you vote with your dollars and purchase mattresses made with conventional methods.  Every dollar that goes towards the conventional mattress industry encourages their practices, strengthens their lobbying power and keeps the public uninformed and in a potentially dangerous position.  Every time a consumer selects a more healthful choice, we can chip away at the old-boys club that is the mattress industry.

13. We don’t know what we don’t know…
Even all of this information is just the tip of the iceberg, a scattered few facts that reflect the limited tests and research that have been done concerning conventional mattresses.  Most of the chemicals used have been deemed safe by default, since they are already in products, but lack the research to show what the long-term or more immediate effects are.  Mattresses are today, where cigarettes were 50 years ago.  As our knowledge increases about the chemicals used in conventional mattresses, we are sure to learn even more dangerous effects they could have on consumers.

It’s a scary thought that your mattress, which should be a safe-haven in your home, could actually be bad for you.

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