Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Save Small Business from CPSIA Chosen!


"Save small business from CPSIA" was one of the top 10 ideas for change chosen by voters!
Just wanted to follow up on last week's blog.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Save Small Business from CPSIA!

The issue "Save Small Business From the CPSIA" is currently at 6th place on Change.org
and today is the last day to vote.

I wish I had known sooner about the voting deadline, as I would have blogged about this before now. But I didn't even find out about CPSIA until a week or so ago.

I want to make a note, that I do think the law is a good idea- in theory. I just think that, as it stands right now, the Act needs some re-working in order to prevent a lot of people from losing a small business that they've worked so hard to create. Isn't that the American Dream?

What is CPSIA, you ask?
Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.

Sounds like a good thing... Safety First!
So, why did Congress just recently (August 2008) pass this act? Answers to this, and other questions, from the www.change.org website:

"In 2007, large toy manufacturers who outsource their production to China and other developing countries violated the public's trust. They were selling toys containing dangerously high lead content, unsafe small parts, and chemicals that made kids sick."

Hm, well yes. Something had to be done. So what's so bad about CPSIA?

"Among other things, the CPSIA bans lead and phthalates in children's products, mandates third party testing and certification, and requires manufacturers of all goods for children under the age of 12, to permanently label each item with a date and batch number."

Oh! Well that's a good thing. We don't want toys with lead laying just around and all.
But wait! There's more:

"All of these changes will be fairly easy for large, multinational companies to comply with. Large manufacturers who make thousands of units of each item have very little incremental cost to pay for testing and updating their systems to include batch labels. Small businesses however, will likely be driven out of business by the costs of mandatory testing, to the tune of as much as $4,000 or more per item. And the few larger manufacturers who still employ workers in the United States face increased costs to comply with the CPSIA, even though American-made toys had nothing to do with the toy safety problems of 2007.

Anyone who produces or sells any of the following new or used items will be required to comply with the law: toys, books, clothing, art, educational supplies, materials for the learning disabled, bicycles, and more. Any uncertified item intended for children under the age of 12 will be considered contraband after February 10, 2009. It will be illegal to sell or give these items away to charities, and the government will require their destruction or permanent disposal, resulting in millions of tons of unnecessary waste, and placing an enormous strain on our landfills."

The website www.Etsy.com, which sells only handmade goods, has an entire forum dedicated to CPSIA discussion:
since there are many people in the Etsy handmade community who sell handmade items for children, including clothes, accessories, toys, art, etc.

Some people who've written to their representatives have been told that the bill will have a provision providing exemption for One Of A Kind items. Let's hope they're right!

Monday, January 12, 2009

More Green Art Stuff!

For the last few years I've struggled a little bit with the fact that acrylic paints are NOT eco-friendly by any means. While I do work with colored pencils once in a while- and I do love them and have noticed many eco-friendly ones to choose from- I just can't trade painting for drawing.

Well...... I recently found out about these:

The artist Wyland has his own show that's only 30 minutes long and he shows you how to do a whole painting in that time. It's awesome. At the beginning of the show, you see a list of the tools Wyland is going to use in that episode, and on that list would always be "Wyland Ecological Paints."

Apparently, these are environmentally friendly acrylic paints! At the end of his show, Wyland always mentions something about the oceans and the environment and how we all need to do our part in protecting them. I need to do a little more research and find out *what* it is about the paints that's environmentally friendly. Is it the ingredients? The way that they are made? Does the factory in which they are made run on solar or wind power? Is the packaging made from recycled materials?
Hopefully the answer is yes to all :)
And if not, we can hope that that's not too far off!

For now, since I know of the three R's (reduce, reuse, recycle), reducing is the most important, I will stick with trying to use up all the paints I already have before diving in (HAHA!! Get it!?) to the Wyland paints!

(PS... Maybe by then Wyland will have added a Hooker's green to his catalog of colors.... pleeeeeease?)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bee store! Bee store!

I've come up with another way that I hope will raise both awareness AND funds for honeybee research,
Check out Cafe Press- Samantha's Bees!

By carrying one of these bags, wearing one of the shirts, or adding a button to an outfit, a person can show many people the simple things that can be done to help the bees.

The profits from these items will be donated to a honeybee related charity- either vanishingbees.com , pollinator.org, or Penn State honeybee research (find out more on www.helpthehoneybees.com).

There are t-shirts, bags, and buttons currently in the shop. The items feature pictures of bees and a slogan- either "Bee Kind, Bee Green" or "Bee Aware, Bee Kind" and list various ways that everyone can help our dwindling honeybee population:
Buy organic. Don't use pesticides. Eat local honey. Plant native local flowers. Support beekeepers. Have a garden for all seasons....

Yes YOU can do at least one thing from this list! :)

In 2008 I started the Honeybee Helpers team on www.etsy.com. The team has a blog, BEE sure to check it out!

In my Etsy shop, I donate $10 from the 8x10 prints that I sell to honeybee related charities.