Turning The Tide on Convenience – statewide ban on single-use plastic grocery bags

Great news! California Governor Jerry Brown just passed the nation’s first statewide ban on single-use plastic grocery bags. Starting in July 2015, large grocery stores in California will no longer ask “paper or plastic,” because they won’t have plastic! Are paper bags the best option compared to reusable? Nay. But I’d like to hear more conversation about what’s going into those bags.

Convenience is a pill offering instant gratification, but can leave one with feelings of regret and dissatisfaction. Three words from my mom two decades ago, like a prophet’s counsel – “don’t cut corners” – ring through my mind ironically as a remedy for complexity and chaos. The idea is that you expend a little more energy now to save you later. This idea has saved me bundles of time and money over the years, has spared me from buying items that were cheaply made, and reminds me to evaluate whether I really needed certain items in the first place.

Landfill

Speaking of complexity and chaos, have you seen the news lately? It’s really hard to look at humans and animals suffering, effects of global warming, Ebola outbreaks, and plastic and toxic chemicals in everything, everywhere, without wanting to fix it. What I like to focus on is what I can personally do today to help change the world for the better. Knowledge is my leverage. The more I learn about which chemicals are where and why, for example, the easier it becomes to change my ways. One good habit builds upon another. That’s convenient. Since I’m bringing my own cloth grocery bags shopping, for example, I automatically have a place for reusable produce bags and bottles to refill with bulk liquids. Pop it in the trunk of my car and I conveniently have them when I go to the store.

Check out this one-minute National Geographic Video:

Other examples of toxic convenience in the average American’s life are: fast food, driving when you can walk, dollar store and GiantMart shopping, microwaves, spraying chemical herbicides to kill weeds, using chemicals in your home to “clean” it, and buying cheap clothes to fill a closet. Just say no! Or at least start saying no to more of these things. Don’t wait until there’s a universal bag ban. Ban the bag on your own.

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I realize everyone has different circumstances and most people can’t afford organic food and goods all the time, but reevaluating what we really need and how it gets to us is something we all can do. Imagine if EVERYONE was willing to carry their own clean, cloth grocery bags into stores! With a little effort and forethought we can all make a huge difference.

Image of landfill:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landfill#mediaviewer/File:Wysypisko.jpg

Can you Eat an Organic Mattress?

What is an organic mattress?

Just like organic food, an organic mattress is made entirely out of all-natural materials such as certified organic wool, organic cotton, and/or natural latex. An organic mattress does not contain chemical fire retardants. Conventional mattresses are made primarily of man-made materials derived from nonrenewable resources, such as natural gas and petrochemicals.  Conventional mattresses are drenched in chemical fire retardants.

Can you eat an organic mattress?

Yes, the question has been asked.  And no, you cannot.  A lot of people have never even heard of an organic mattress.  Nowadays, pretty much everyone knows the benefits of organic food, but what are the benefits of an organic mattress?  People used to think just about their comfort when it comes to a mattress purchase, not about what it is made of.

 

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Conventional Mattress Interior

 

 

Sleep Safe by Walter Bader

It is a healthier choice to sleep on organic materials and avoid many of the synthetics and chemicals that have become industry standards. Walter Bader, owner of Lifekind and author of the book Sleep Safe in a Toxic World, sent several mattresses to an Atlanta-based lab. A memory-foam model was found to emit 61 chemicals, including the carcinogens benzene and naphthalene.

 

When you choose an organic mattress, the benefits to your family include everything from reducing chemical exposure to helping the planet. 

 

Euro Cutaway

Lifekind Euro Organic Mattress Interior

So in conclusion, while an organic mattress is a great choice for your family, I do not recommend eating it.

 

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Lifekind.com Redesigns its Website

images We are very excited to have finally launched our new website!

Hopefully you will find this new design extremely user friendly.

 

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A few of our goals for the new website were to make it faster and easier to navigate for users and to incorporate customer reviews. Lifekind’s best salespeople have always been our customers, so we thought, why not let our customers speak for us?  We don’t have many reviews yet because we literally JUST launched, but we are sooo looking forward to our customers’ comments.  We also have a long-asked-for Wishlist and other great features.

Our organic products are everywhere, from the White house to Hollywood.   If you take a look around the site I think you’ll get a pretty good idea of why Lifekind is America’s most trusted name in organic mattresses.

Please share your thoughts about the new design in the comments section below, or, if you’ve purchased from us, go to our site and review your favorite products.

My personal favorite product is the Molded Rubber Pillow. I don’t leave home without it.  The molded pillow isn’t currently on sale, but you can enter the Lifekind promo code EXTRA2 to get an extra 2% off your entire order.

lifekind molded pillow

If you run into any unpleasant issues, please let us know.  We want your entire experience with us to be memorable in a good way.

 

Lifekind Summer Catalog

Product Specialist at LifekindSomething to start with…

Though some of the Lifekind customers in the Eastern U.S. thought it might never arrive, summer is finally here. It’s a time when we can put the rigors of winter behind us, take a deep, relaxing breath, and enjoy the benefits of living in a healthful, organic home.

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Through the years, our Super Summer Sale has grown into a highly anticipated event. It’s our 9th Annual this time around, and we’re celebrating by offering 20% off almost everything in our catalog — including mattresses and foundations — as well as bumping the discount up to an impressive 30% on our All-Season Wool Comforter. You’ll find the same 40% discount you’ve come to know and love on our luxurious Pure Organic Sheet Set, plus a whopping 50% off our Pleated Crib Skirt. Add free shipping for almost every item for orders over $149 or over and you’re looking at a sale you won’t want to miss.

As always, we thank you for being a loyal customer and supporting the growth of truly organic products here in the United States. It’s making a difference for all of us.

Wishing you a happy, healthy summer,

Summer Brings out the Bugs – How to Protect your Organic Pillow from Bed Bugs

BUGS!     Bed_Bug

Summer brings them out, and we keep them out of our organic pillows with our Certified Organic Dust-Mite and Bed-Bug Barrier PILLOW COVERS.

Lifekind Organic Pillow Barrier Cover
We guarantee that our certified organic barrier covers will keep dust mites allergens and bed bugs out of your pillows, unless they’re already there, :( in which case the barrier cover will cut off the dust mites’ food supply (flakes of your skin).  Without  food, the dust mites will starve and die.  The barrier cover will keep bed bugs out of your pillow, but if they are already there then it is time to get new bedding.

As an added bonus, barrier covers keep your organic pillow in pristine condition.  Which is great, because our organic pillows can’t be washed.

Use one of our certified organic barrier covers on a new organic pillow and it will protect it for its entire product life.

Bed_BugLittle

 

 

 

 

 

Lifekind Organic Mattress Profile: The Combo Natural Rubber Latex / Innerspring

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The Combo organic mattress is often the best choice for people who prefer the traditional “bouncy” feel of an innerspring mattress yet want the cushiony comfort of natural rubber latex. It’s also ideal for sleepers of different weights and statures who share a bed.

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Lifekind Combo Organic Mattress cutaway

Available in two versions, the one-sided, non-flippable Combo has a two-inch layer of natural rubber added to the top of the innerspring core, and the two-sided, flippable Combo has two inches of natural rubber added to both sides.
Either version of the Combo can be supported by a boxspring for added “give” and softness, or by a wood-slat foundation or platform- style bed for a firmer, more stable feel.

Click here to view more details and pricing: http://goo.gl/YmokOa

As always, Lifekind’s Product Specialists are happy to answer all your product questions or help you decipher which firmness or type of mattress is best for your personal needs, and can be reached between 7:30 and 5:00 Monday through Friday Pacific time at 800-284-4983. Give us a call!

Our independent third-party certifications are shown below:

GOLS •  Certified to the Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS)

 

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•  20-year limited warranty, and meets the GREENGUARD® product emission standard

 

 

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• GOTS prohibits the use of ingredients like formaldehyde, GMOs, heavy metals, copper, fumigants, fluorocarbons, aromatic solvents, and chlorophenols in any part of the production process. Raw materials known to be toxic (to the earth, the ozone layer, or any living organism) are also prohibited. Additionally, GOTS explicitly requires that organic materials do not come in contact with non–organic materials.

Best Organic Kids Mattress

Kids breathe and absorb toxic chemicals on an ordinary mattress!

A kids mattress SHOULD be nontoxic. Conventional mattresses are made from an array of petrochemicals, synthetic materials and chemical additives (flame retardant chemicals, mercury, boric acid, and formaldehyde).  Kids spend a lot of time on their mattresses especially when they are very young.  Sleep is important for healthy development, not to mention their mood. Do you spend the extra time to provide your kids with healthy food to put in their bodies?  Don’t you want your kids to spend the time that is supposed to rejuventate their minds and bodies in a clean, nontoxic environment?

The Shasta – Best Organic Kids Mattress

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Lifekind’s Hand-Tufted Natural Rubber Organic Mattress (The Shasta) is the best organic mattress for kids.  It is our most budget-friendly natural rubber latex organic mattress.

Fire Protection Done Wrong 

Conventional mattresses are drenched in toxic chemical flame retardants.  Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are used in conventional mattresses to lower the risk and slow the spread of fire.  How many kids do you know who are smoking a cigar when they go to bed?   When kids sleep at night, they breathe in the PBDEs that offgas from the mattress. 2010 study found that “children with higher concentrations of PBDE congeners in their umbilical cord blood at birth scored lower on tests of mental and physical development between the ages of one and six. Developmental effects were particularly evident at four years of age, when verbal and full IQ scores were reduced 5.5 to 8.0 points for those with the highest prenatal exposures.”  There is a ton of information on the internet about the risks of exposer to PBDEs, so why not avoid the risk altogether?  

Other flame-retardant chemicals currently approved for use in mattresses include:

Antimony, a metal that may be more toxic than mercury
Boric acid, a toxic respiratory irritant used as an insecticide
Formaldehyde, which has been classified as a known human carcinogen

Fire Protection Done Right 

My favorite thing about Lifekind certified organic mattresses (that’s a mouthful!) is the absence of chemical flame retardants.  Not only are their organic mattresses made completely from certified organic materials, but they aren’t dipped in chemical flame retardants.  A lot of companies that, claim to be organic use kevlar as their flame retardant. Kevlar is a petrochemical material used in bullet-proof vests. Not Lifekind – we just use naturally safer Wool!  The Shasta organic kids mattress has passed the same flame retardant tests that chemical laden mattresses pass, so you are not risking any fire danger by choosing the organic option.  The secret? The Naturally Safer® pure wool under the cover is packed tightly.  I know, it seems so simple.

Lifekind’s Organic Mattress Factory’s Burn Test – OMI

Organic Certifications

GOLSThis organic kids mattress is filled with GOLS certified organic latex rubber and has layers of Naturally Safer® pure wool beneath the certified organic cotton surface of the mattress to create natural flame protection.  

 

GREENGUARD_Gold_RGB_GreenLifekind’s organic kids Shasta mattress is Greenguard Certified, which means that it has extremely low chemical emissions.  Why is that important?  It lets you know that you can trust Lifekind’s claim that this product is safe, that a third party has tested it.  Your child will be sleeping in a high-quality, nontoxic, organic natural mattress.  Reducing your child’s exposer to harmful chemicals at night.

 

gots-logo_cmyk_epsKOLifekind’s factory, located in Northern California, is the first and only large-scale 100%-organic mattress Eco-Factory™ in North America. Oregon Tilth has certified our entire facility to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). That means that every product that is made in this factory is organic.

 Provide your child with safe and healthy sleep.

DanielwithFlag

This is my son, Daniel, on a Lifekind organic mattress. Made in America!

Here are some of the features of the Shasta that make it such a great organic option for children:

•  Filled with 6” of pure shredded natural organic rubber

•  Layers of Naturally Safer® pure wool beneath the surface of the certified organic cotton cover, which provide extra cushioning and natural flammability protection

•  Medium-firm feel

•  Mold-, mildew-, and dust-mite resistant (reduces allergy exposure)

•  Metal-free

•  Available in twin and twin extra-long only

•  Depth: Approximately 7”

•  Handmade in the USA

•  90-Day Comfort Exchange

•  20-year limited warranty

Can you reduce your child’s chemical exposure at night while a chemical mattress is still in their bedroom?

An Organic Barrier Cover can help reduce your childs exposure to dust mites, but not to toxic outgassing.  You should not purchase a plastic cover because it will offgas on its own.

Use a HEPA filter to clean the air

Vacuum your child’s room option

Use a wet cloth to remove dust

Use organic pillows

 Lifekind’s other Organic Options

Lifekind also has several other organic mattress choices for kids that also ship free the month of May 2014.  My 3 boys spent their early years on a Lifekind Organic Natural Rubber Crib Mattress, which I am now handing down to my little brother.  This organic mattress was built to last.  I used organic flannel and moisture pads on it and it still looks brand new, 9 years later.  I am glad that I reduced my children’s exposure to chemicals.

Sources:

Sleep Safe in a Toxic World

Organic Mattresses, Inc. passes CPSC flammability audit

Dr Mercola article – Is your mattress making you sick

http://www.achildgrows.com/organic-twin-matresses-what-to-look-for-and-where-to-find-them/

http://livewholebefree.com/wordpress/how-to-avoid-harmful-toxins-in-mattresses/

http://productguide.ulenvironment.com/ProductDetail.aspx?productID=20871

Greenguard.org

Prenatal Exposure to PBDEs and Neurodevelopment

GOLS certification

 

7 Mindful Shopping Practices

Twenty years ago organic food was not so popular, but I sought it out. People would ask me, a struggling single mother at the time, how I could afford organic groceries. The heart of my decision to shop organic was, and still is, the principle of it. I know I’m directly supporting the environmental movement every day, plain and simple.

Today organic groceries can be found in almost every grocery store in America. Healthier, organic food has become the norm for many, and there is more collective knowledge about what organic means.

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This message isn’t about healthy food. It’s about sustainable choices. We need to embrace change (yesterday!) and apply what we’ve learned about the food we eat to products we buy for everyday use. The chemicals used in conventional products and their manufacturing are just as dangerous as chemicals used in agriculture.

Observing the explosion of Whole Foods Market all over the map, it’s not hard to imagine a paradigm shift from “more for less” to “less is more.” Are you with me? Great! Read on for seven simple tips to help you keep your mind where your heart is while you’re shopping for everyday items.

1. Think quality, not quantity. Once you adopt a minimalist mentality, it is very difficult to go back. No more going to a dollar store for two items and ending up spending $20.

2. Support local. Read labels to find out where things are made. Unfortunately most items are made elsewhere, but it’s like striking gold when a surprise “Made in America” label is found. When you find products you love made in your region, state or country, latch on and don’t let go. Why not inform friends and neighbors, as well?

3. Disposables and planned obsolescence. Seek out longer lasting, recyclable, reusable or compostable alternatives to disposable or short-lived products you currently use, like diapers, razors, toothbrushes, feminine products, light bulbs, paper towels and napkins, paper plates, plasticware and cups, trash bags, sandwich & storage bags, and grocery bags. If you’re unsure where to find these alternatives, please leave a comment for us below.

 

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4.  Think about sources. What materials were used, using what chemicals in the process? For example, cotton fabric is made from soft plant fibers, so it’s perfect for textiles, but cotton is considered the world’s dirtiest crop involving tremendous amounts of pesticides, chemical treatments and water. Organic cotton is an excellent substitute, and as we continue buying more of it, more options will become available.

5.  Awaken your senses. Commercial household cleaning products and personal-care products are made with chemicals that are toxic to the people manufacturing them, the people using them, animals that come into contact with them, and the water systems where they end up. You can smell the pollution walking down the cleaning-products isle at conventional grocery stores. If it doesn’t smell like something from nature, don’t buy it. Tip: go to a health food store and sniff the pure essential oil samplers to get a better idea of what non-toxic scents from nature smell like.

6. Educate yourself and others. Tell people what you learn about consumerism, toxics, trash, and great alternatives. We have an opportunity to change the future for the better by educating children. To get my daughter to understand what clothes (something she has a genuine interest in) are made of, we made up a game I’ll call “animal, plant or other.” Her eyes lit up when she realized that the cotton shirt she was wearing was made from plant flowers. When I explained that rayon fabric is mostly made from wood pulp, she was like, “Whaaat?!” In a fun way, that forced her to think about material processes.

 

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7. Take it in stride. Don’t go out and replace everything all at once. I suggest you take it as it comes, which will give you time to research better options. When you need new sheets, buy organic cotton sheets. When you need new razors and toothbrushes, buy Preserve recyclables. And on and on.

 

“Change is the only constant.” –Heraclitus

 

 

 

Pulling the Wool Over Your Eyes – It is possible to pass the open-flame mattress flammability test without chemicals

This great blog from our sister company OMI, (who manufacturers all of Lifekind‘s mattresses), touches on a “hot topic in the organic mattress industry.  Since we don’t use any chemical flame retardants, customers often ask how we can pass the flammability requirements with just wool.  Well, we worked hard to make it possible.  Be sure to watch the video below, which is of one our mattresses during an actual open-flame mattress flammability test (which we pass with flying colors!)

Although we know how important it is to reduce your chemical exposure during sleep (since you spend 1/3 of your life in bed), most of the country doesn’t understand the risks associated with sleeping on a traditional mattress.

As is the case with most specialty products, there is a fairly limited customer base of people who are aware of, and ready to purchase, an organic mattress.  This means that there are companies out there that will say anything in order to take a mattress sale from their competitors.

Since we opened our doors, we have been fighting an uphill battle against greenwashing.  Other mattress companies have thrown in a handful of eco-friendly ingredients and called their products “natural,” trying to charge a premium for something that isn’t much better than mainstream.

Now that the country is becoming more aware of the greenwashing epidemic, we have seen mattress companies telling flat-out lies and mistruths, with the hope of seducing a customer with promises they can’t back up.

One fallacy that you will see promoted is that wool alone can’t be used to pass flammability tests. This argument is often used in a company’s justification for using chemical fire retardants because it is “the only option.”

I am here today to tell you “yes.”  Yes, wool can be used as the sole fire retardant for a mattress to meet federal flammability requirements.  And that, in fact, we have been using wool (without any chemical treatments) as our only fire retardant for years.

The purpose of a flammability test on a mattress is to make sure that the mattress doesn’t flame up in the event of a domestic fire.  We don’t claim to make fireproof mattresses (I can’t even imagine the kinds of chemicals that would go in to that!) We make mattresses that won’t turn into a six-foot fireball if your house catches fire.

Our competitors have shown photos of a piece of wool yarn that is set to fire, and predictably, the fire travels up and burns the piece of wool yarn.

As seen on strobel.com, spreading misinformation about wool used in mattresses.

Well, of course it is going to burn.  It is a natural material that has been shaped into a “wick” and a flame has been set to it.

Of course, you don’t have to just take my word for it.  The video below is an actual open-flame flammability test of one of our mattresses, which shows just how well our chemical-free design works.

The only raw materials used to make this mattress (or any of our mattresses) are organic cotton, wool, and 100%-natural rubber.  The mattress is sitting on a wood-slat foundation.  Both pieces are built in our GOTS-certified factory and are GREENGUARD® certified.  There are no added chemicals, no silica barrier, or any other methods employed to assist in the flame test.

So there you have it: It is possible to pass the open-flame mattress flammability test without chemicals.  And we do it every day.

Our Top 10 Spring Cleaning Tips and Tricks

Spring is here, which means it’s time for spring cleaning!  OK, I know that you aren’t as excited about that as I seem to be, but hopefully these tips and tricks will help you when you are getting your house in tip-top shape this spring.

1. Put an organic bed-bug and dust-mite barrier cover on all of your pillows and on your mattress.  Even though natural rubber mattresses naturally repel dust mites (it’s not a very hospitable environment for the little buggers), these covers can also keep the surfaces of your bedding clean, and can be thrown in the wash very easily.  If you have an older innerspring mattress, a dust-mite barrier cover can keep the dust mites away from you.  If you already have covers on your mattress and pillow, this is the time to throw them in the wash.

WaterMarkDustMiteCover

 

2.  Freshen up your non-washable bedding by airing it out in the sun.  Wait for a nice sunny day, and put your wool comforter, pillows, couch cushions, and anything else that can’t go in the washing machine out in a sunny part of your yard.  You can even sprinkle a little bit of baking soda on the surface while it sits out in the sun for extra freshness.  The sun is a natural brightener, and will make your bedding feel nice and refreshed.

Baking Soda

3.  Instead of using your dryer to dry your bedding, hang it outside to dry.  Not only will it give you that great straight-off-the-line crispness, it doesn’t cost anything, and is a great way to save on energy costs when you are washing all of your bedding.

Fresh Organic Bedding

4.  Is your house feeling a little stuffy after being closed up for the winter?  Open all of the windows on a nice day, and let it air out.  It makes a huge difference in switching your mind from “winter mode” to “spring mode,” and makes the chore of cleaning a little bit more enjoyable.  If your house is especially stuffy, try one of our HEPA air purifiers.  Lifekind has several different sizes that can handle an area as small as your car to a space as large as 1,300 square feet!

 Lifekind HEPA Air Filter

 

5.  Dust all of your surfaces, starting at the top of the room, and work your way down to the floor, saving vacuuming for last. Don’t forget to wipe down your light fixtures and baseboards to remove contaminants that aggravate allergies.

6.  Vacuum after you have done the rest of the cleaning. If you vacuum first, you will just end up knocking all of the dust from higher up in the room back onto the floor, and you will need to do the floors again.  Save yourself a step.

7.  For hard, water-safe surfaces throughout your house, you can use our All-Purpose Cleaner and Degreaser.  It is made with grapefruit-seed and orange-peel extract, and has a nice, clean scent, so your house will smell great, without smelling like chemicals.  I usually dilute it for wiping down counters, painted walls and other light-duty cleaning, but also use it full strength for tougher cleaning.AllPurposeKO8.  Flip your mattress!  Most of our mattresses need to be flipped only once a year, and this is the perfect time to do it.  If you have a mattress that doesn’t need to be flipped, you can still rotate it (move the head of the mattress to the foot) so that it wears evenly and will last as long as possible.

Lifekind Organic Kids Mattress
9.  Move all of your appliances and clean out from behind them, including vacuuming off the dust from the back of the fridge, getting the schmutz from around the stove (full-strength Cleaner and Degreaser works great for this!), and all of the lint that hides around your dryer.  These hidden allergens can be annoying your sinuses, even if the rest of your house is spic-and-span clean.

10.  Put a few vases of fresh flowers around your house. Even though this isn’t really cleaning, it is a great way to put a smile on your face and remind yourself that spring is just around the corner after a long, cold winter!shutterstock_73432741
Bonus Tip: Don’t forget to change your household air filter.  You should be doing this every month to make sure your HVAC system is working as well as possible, but if you haven’t done it in awhile, do it now!