10 “Green” Furniture Companies (well, actually 11 :)…..

by Sabina Maier Smith

Good Design constructed with renewable materials – without sacraficing style or color!

~ Domino magazine 2007

ciscobrothers.com Its “Inside Green” collection offers modern, handcrafted upholstered
sofas, chairs and ottomans made of pure, chemical-free latex and sustainabley
harvested wood. Made locally right here in SF!

furnature.com An extensive line of classic sofas and other upholstered pieces, all
available in chemical-free wood finishes and organic fabrics. Plus, crib mattresses
produced from orgainic cotton. Located in Massachusetts.

leeindustries.com The “Natural Lee” package includes furniture with frames constucted
from Sustainable Forestry Initiative wood, armrest padding from reclaimed fibers and
water-based finishes. Located in North Carolina.

palecek.com For more than 30 years, this company has relied only on renewable
natural sources like wicker, rattan, hardwood, grasses and bamboo. Located in
Richmond, CA 🙂

qcollection.com Launched by an interior designer and an environmentalist, this high-
end line boasts well-researched eco-friendly materials, finishes and even
biodegradable textiles! I especially love the case goods, crafted from sustainable
woods. Located in NY.

vivavi.com Find cool, contemporary furniture and accessories by such hot green
designers as Lannone Sanderson, Material Furniture and Mio Culture. Also located in

the following resources are companies which I worked with will managing Eco Design
Resources, a “green” home improvement showroom which used to be located in San
Carlos, CA (it’s now located in Redwood City, CA).

woodshanti.com This SF based, worker owned cooperative builds high quality custom
furniture and cabinetry from responsibly harvested lumber and uses natural finishes.

thewoodenduck.com This Berkeley company specializes in furniture made from
recycled wood. It also imports & restores antiques from Indonesia, Europe and China.

bamboocabinets.com AlterECO creates unique and beautiful custom bamboo cabinets,
made with ecologically responsible materials. Tom, the owner (a super nice guy), even
has birdsong as his cell pone’s ringtone 🙂 AlterECO currently serves only our local San
Francisco Bay Area. They are located in Sausalito.
Sabina Maier Smith

pacificrimwoodworking.com This company hand crafts solid maple furniture from well
managed forests and then finishes them with beeswax and tung oil. My 2 year old sons
each sleep and jump and jump and jump in a Pacific Rim crib on a daily basis… these
puppies are built to last!

whitmcleod.com This company creates hand crafted furniture from reclaimed
materials. Their folding wine barrell chairs are especially cool. They are located just
north of us in Arcata, CA.

Happy sustainable shopping and blessings,


Find out more about our school: www.fengshuischool.com


Welcome to Healthy Home

April 3, 2008

Welcome to Healthy Home,

a compilation of healthy products for you, your family and your home.

Brought to you by:

Golden Gate School of Feng Shui


Find out more about our school: www.fengshuischool.com


April 3, 2008

Ecological Tableware: Disposable Plates, Cutlery & Cups

by Steve Garvey

This category includes products used in food service and for informal dining such as picnics. [The information below applies in cases when washable and durable tableware are not utilized or practicable.]

One way to reduce one’s ecological footprint is to use plates, cups, and napkins made from recycled paper. Another way is to use products made from recycled plastics (such as the Preserve brand). Another is to use less durable but reusable tableware such as that made from bamboo. Bambu Veneerware® is a popular brand, and widely available (bambuhome.com).

Disposable paper products products can also be made from bagasse, a natural by-product of sugarcane processing. Two manufacturers of bagasse products are StalkMarket (available through Amazon.com) and EcoWare (through fullcircleplanet.com).

StalkMarket products seem to be sturdier than Ecoware, and a 9 inch plate costs 10-15¢, depending on amount purchased. Here is a blurb from StalkMarket.net:

Bio-degradable, recyclable, and home compostable

• Made from 100% bio-degradable, compostable sugar cane fiber (Bagasse) that is a by-product of the sugar refining process. Supplies of this material are virtually unlimited worldwide and the use of Bagasse products eliminates the dependence of traditional wood fiber based materials in disposable tableware. Diversion of the Bagasse into the making of the tableware saves harmful air pollution from occurring due to the open burning of this formally thought of waste product from the sugar refining process.

• Each item is press-formed at 200º Celsius (392º F) forming a rigid platform and sterilized piece at one time. In addition, each item is sanitized a second time utilizing UV light prior to packaging.

• Product is capable of handling boiling water or oil up to 212)º F and is both microwavable and freezer safe.

• After use, product can be recycled for the making of paper, or 100% catabolized as compost.

• Cost effective and earth friendly products for both the home and institutional use.

• Packaging with house brand in the size, style and package quantity of your choosing or bulk pack for institutional use.

• Variety of sizes, shapes and uses.

• Cut proof resistant.

Besides products made from bagasse, the other innovation in ecological tableware is in the field of bioplastics, which can be used in the manufacture of cutlery and cupware. Here is a blurb from Worldcentric.org (an online fair trade and eco store):

Bioplastics are a new generation of biodegradable & compostable plastics, derived from renewable raw materials such as starch (e.g. corn, potato, tapioca etc), cellulose, soy protein, lactic acid etc., that are not hazardous in production and decompose back to carbon dioxide, water, biomass etc. in the environment when discarded. Cornstarch is currently the main raw material being used in the manufacture of bioplastic resins. Mater-Bi (main component corn-starch), and PolyActide (PLA) (made from corn-starch as well) are currently the 2 main resins (raw materials), being used today in the production of compostable & biodegradable plastics and are certified for compostability under standards set by international organizations. However, other resins are coming into the market made from potato starch, soybean protein, cellulose etc. Most of these are currently not certified for compostability, though some are for biodegradability. The field of bioplastics is constantly evolving with new materials and technologies being worked on and being brought to market.

The following information is also important. From Worldcentric.org:

Biodegradability & Compostability

Bioplastics can take 90-180 days to totally compost based on the material and are meant to be composted in a commercial composting facility where higher composting temperatures can be reached. Most existing international standards require biodegradation of 60% within 180 days along with certain other criteria for the resin or product to be called compostable. It is also important to make the distinction between degradable, biodegradable, and compostable, as these terms are often used interchangeably.

Compostable According to the American Society for Testing & Materials, in order for a plastic to be called compostable, three criteria need to be met:

1) Biodegrade – break down into carbon dioxide, water, and biomass at the same rate as cellulose (paper).

2) Disintegrate – the material is indistinguishable in the compost; that it is not visible or needing to be screened out

3) Eco-toxicity – the biodegradation does not produce any toxic material and the compost can support plant growth.

[Note that “home compostable” is a further degree of compostability, not applied to bioplastics.]

Biodegradable Plastic will degrade from the action of naturally occurring microorganism, such as bacteria, fungi etc. over a period of time. Note that there is no requirement for leaving “no toxic residue” and as well as no requirement for the time it needs to take to biodegrade.

Degradable Plastic is plastic that will undergo a significant change in its chemical structure under specific environmental conditions resulting in a loss of some properties. Please note that there is no requirement that the plastic has to degrade from the action of “naturally occurring microorganism” or any of the other criteria required for compostable plastics.

A plastic therefore may be degradable but not biodegradable or it may be biodegradable but not compostable (that is, it breaks down too slowly to be called compostable or leaves toxic residue)

Another manufacturer and brand is Cereplast Compostables™, whose “resins are renewable, ecologically sound substitutes for petroleum-based plastic products, replacing nearly 100% of the petroleum-based additives used in traditional plastics. Cereplast Compostables™ resins are starch-based, made from corn, wheat, tapioca and potato starches that primarily come from the).” (http://www.cereplast.com/product.php)

An assortment of brands are distributed by Excellent Packaging (excellentpackaging.com), as follows:


Biodegradable Cutlery made from 80% starch (potato or corn) and 20% soy or other vegetable oil. Able to withstand High-Heat!


Paper plates, cups, trays, bowls, and boxes made from plant fibers, either grown or recovered as crop residue. May be sugar cane, wheat bamboo or rice based pulps. Microwavable, ovenable and freezable, biodegradable, compostable and sustainable.


Made from bamboo, rice, or sugar cane and corn starches. Sturdy disposable food containers are microwave, oven and steamer safe. 100% biodegradable All natural, no bleach, chemicals or lamination. Oil and hot water resistant.

NatureWorks™ PLA

Made from corn grown in the USA, PLA (PolyActide) is used to make clear plastic cups, bowls, boxes, straws and can liners. Biodegradable, compostable and sustainable


Bags and can liners made from Mater-Bi, derived from cornstarch. Used for T-shirts bags and can liners. Biodegradable, compostable, recyclable and burnable.


Food films made from renewable wood-pulp. Suitable for wrapping and bagging food. Ovenable, heat sealable, biodegradable, compostable and sustainable.


Paper hot cups and soup containers made with a PLA lining, making them fully compostable, biodegradable and sustainable.

Amazon.com carries Jaya brand bioplastic eating utensils, at 20¢ per set, for example.

Coop America’s Green Pages list the following resources in the food service category:

• Asean Corporation (Stalkmarket): stalkmarket.net

Biodegradable, compostable sugarcane tableware. Uses waste fiber from sugarcane. Raw materials renew themselves in 12 months. Home compostable. Sturdy and heavy duty.

• Full Circle Industries: fullcircleplanet.com

A wholesale company offering compostable dinnerware products as an eco-friendly alternative.

• Greener Earth Marketing: sinlessbuying.com

Manufacturer of tree free, natural or white disposable food service packaging. Custom make various products with alternative paper and non-GMO starch derived biodegradable plastic.

Note: Many of the companies and brands in this article are manufactures and/or wholesalers rather than retailers. Their products and web sites are sometimes geared toward institutional use or re-packaging under a house brand.


Find out more about our school: www.fengshuischool.com


April 3, 2008

Eco-friendly Clothing Lines

by Tracy Johnson

Relative website that lists a variety of eco-friendly clothing lines


1. Rawganiquewww.rawganique.com/

• Sweatshop-free organic linen, cotton, and hemp clothing and hemp products made in USA, Canada, & Europe under fair labor conditions.

• do not carry clothing made from soy (issues with Genetically Modified Organisms — GMOs — and pesticides and chemical fertilizers), bamboo (issues with chemicals and acids in the manufacturing process), PET (recycled soda bottles: issues with outgassing and chemicals), or wood fiber (made from new wood, plus acids & chemicals in processing).

• hemp products are made from certified organic European hemp

2. Blue Canoewww.bluecanoe.com/

• organic cotton clothing made entirely in the USA

• practices are based on a lifestyle committed to living lightly on the earth, following good sense rather than trends, supporting sustainability, recycling and non-chemical alternatives

3. Cottonfieldusawww.cottonfieldusa.com

• organically grown cotton apparel

• The cotton is grown by small farms in Texas, Northern California and North Carolina and then is woven or knit into fabric by textile mills in North and South Carolina

• “Our goal is to work in harmony with people here and abroad to help restore integrity and justice, health and balance to Planet Earth”

4. Nauwww.nau.com

• outdoor clothing company

• believes ‘sustainable fabric’ is one that leaves the least impact throughout it’s lifespan of creation, through it’s long life, and once it reaches it’s life’s end

• 3 concepts utlitized in sustainable clothing line: energy and resources used to create a fabric, use of restricted substance list to help push safe highperformance fabrics forward, and traceability in knowing where fabrics are created and reducing impacts in shipping as well as carbon offsets

5. Earth Creationswww.earthcreations.net

• organic cotton and hemp clothing

• have revived an ancient dyeing process that combines clays with natural fibers such as hemp, linen, cotton, and organic cotton

• fibers are sustainable, garments made in USA, clay dyes are natural

This site is a compilation of the topmost healthiest options of products in the market today. It has been compiled by Golden Gate School of Feng Shui’s graduating class of 2008.

When researching these products, our students have thought holistically, looking at the broader versions of health, including the company’s practice. They have considered:

~ is it local?

~ is it fair trade?

~ is it organic?

~ is it non-toxic?

~ is it “green”?

We have compiled this list so that all may benefit from each other’s research.


Find out more about our school: www.fengshuischool.com

Organic Favorites

April 3, 2008

Best Organic Products

submitted by Terri Butler

My teeth are so white people always think I’ve bleached them – nope, I use all organic stuff, the best I’ve found is a Oral Elixir from www.ascendedhealth.com – it is so expensive and it is sooooo gooood. You can even swallow it once you’re done brushing. I use it with Dr. Tung’s Ionic toothbrush. Have not been to a dentist in 15 years…

Our son Tristan has never been exposed to soap, we’ve only used the purest we found: http://www.morroccomethod.com/ (I do photography for this site in exchange for products, that’s how much I love their stuff) their shampoo’s are great facial cleansers and I even use them as a masque and leave on for a few minutes.

Aubrey Organics http://www.aubrey-organics.com/ has great shampoo and conditioners for women that have processed hair (the Morrocco Method stuff have no things in it to make damages hair appear healthy).

Really good pure facial masque: Flower Acid Facial Masque from


Best eye-gel, by far: Simply divine botanicals “pack your bags they’re leaving”


Best deoderant that works: “Real purity” http://www.realpurity.com/

Earth’s Beauty has the best organic makeup http://www.earthsbeauty.com/ ,

Jane Iredale has the best natural (not organic) makeup http://janeiredale.com/

(I use it on models sometimes for photoshoots).

Good website for organic skincare: http://bewellstaywell.com/

Best eyelash conditioner (they grow longer and thicker) and lipbalm overnight (not vegan): pure Lanolin (available at Whole foods)

Dr Hauschka has great products- like their cleansing cream and love the rythmic night conditioners (remember that for my birthday… he he… they are sooooo expensive here in the States)

Best free eco email: www.happyhippie.com

Best superfoods: E3Live http://www.e3live.com/ , “Pure Synergy” Superfood and their Manuka Honey http://www.synergy-co.com/

Tristan’s favorite toys that have lasted the best:

BRIO – loves the train set and the toddler wobbler, the quality of Brio is just amazing. http://brio.knex.com/

Automoblox – all except the mini’s (the mini’s are great but not nearly as good quality as the big ones and they warp in water) http://www.automoblox.com/

Seventh Generation diapers http://www.seventhgeneration.com/ are the only ones that worked for him, all others gave really bad diaper rash- we tried them all, hemp, wool, cotton- we got all the washable diapers in all brands and all materials and it just didn’t work. Also tried the G-diaper but they are very low for boys in the front so they leaked, a lot.

Best organic baby clothes we found: Speesees.com and Of The Earth



http://www.northernnaturals.com/ have the most inexpensive organic mattresses I’ve found

Some non toxic toy sites:



















and some organic clothing:





Starting an eco friendly photography service this year:



Find out more about our school: www.fengshuischool.com

Lip Balm

April 3, 2008

by Terri Butler

My personal preferenses to some of these products are the Alba line, babybearshop, Racheal Perry, and Samantharoma. I have to admit that I’m not up on cosmetic lines and most to the products that were given a clean rating I had never heard of before. Even highly touted products such a Burts Bees weren’t given a high rating in some of the lip lines. The Alba line is one of my favorites. I’ve enjoyed their products for several years. They are competitively priced, easy to find, and are great for my skin and hair. The babybearshop line has a wonderful website. It gives lots of information on not only their products but links into an organic living site, Inhabitant, Lots of product information, articles and editorials on the greening of Corporate companies, and world events. Racheal Perry and Samantharoma just seemed to have very high quality products with consistent ratings. The website I used for this research is in a link to www.skindeep.com.–cometicsdatabase.com This site was developed by the gentleman who established Aveda. It is his hope to provide a accurate guide for organic products, because the industry is so new many regulations have not been consistent or observed or followed. The amount of misleading labeling and ideas about what is organic seemed to inspire him to create this website. Have fun with this information.

May your lips be happy.

Main Website: Skin Deep


BRAND: Candy Kisses Natural Lip Balm


BRAND: Mint Lip Service Lip Balm


Lip Balms

Accu-soothe Lip Balm (lip balm)

Alba Organics Hawaiian coconut cream lip balm (lip balm)

Alba Organics Hawaiian pineapple quench lip balm (lip balm)

Anthony Logistics for Men Lip Balm (lip balm)

Anthony Logistics for Men Lip Balm Citrus (lip balm)

Avalon Active Organics Vitamin C Lip Balm (old formulation) (lip balm)

BABYBEARSHOP All The Better To Kiss You with Lavender Vanilla Certified

Organic Lip Balm (lip balm)

BABYBEARSHOP All The Better To Kiss You with Pepperminty Certified

Organic Lip Balm (lip balm)

Badger Cocoa Butter Lip Balm – Coffee Roast (lip balm)

Badger Cocoa Butter Lip Balm – Cool Min (lip balm)

Badger Cocoa Butter Lip Balm – Creamy Cocoa (lip balm)

Badger Cocoa Butter Lip Balm – Lime Rocket (lip balm)

Badger Cocoa Butter Lip Balm – Sweet Orange (lip balm)

Badger Lip & Body Balm, Highland Mint (lip balm)

Badger Lip & Body Balm, Lavender & Orange (lip balm)

Badger Lip & Body Balm, Lavender and Orange (moisturizer)

bareFaced Mineral Cosmetics Tantalizing Tubes Lip Balm (lip balm)

Canary Cosmetics Vegan Natural Lip Balm (lip balm/treatment)

Cosmic Dance Fresh Mint Kiss Lip Balm (lip balm/treatment)

Cosmic Dance Natural Kiss Lip Balm (lip balm/treatment)

Cosmic Tree Essentials Ambrosia Lip Balm (old formulation) (lip balm)

Cosmic Tree Essentials Apricot Truffle Lip Balm (old formulation) (lip balm)

Cosmic Tree Essentials Coconut Cream Lip Balm (old formulation) (lip balm)

Cosmic Tree Essentials Turkish Delight Lip Balm (old formulation) (lip balm)

Cosmic Tree Essentials Vanilla Moonbeam Lip Balm (old formulation) (lip balm) Dancing Dingo Shea Lip Butter Balm (lip balm)

Dropwise Essentials Aromatherapy Lip Balm, Licorice Mint (lip balm)

Dropwise Essentials Aromatherapy Lip Balm, Luscious Lime (lip balm)

Dropwise Essentials Aromatherapy Lip Balm, Orange Dream (lip balm)

Dropwise Essentials Aromatherapy Lip Balm, Peppermint Pattie (lip balm)

DuWop Buttercream Lip Balm (lip balm)

Earth Mama Angel Baby Mint Herbal Lip Balm (lip balm)

Farah D Chamomile Lip Balm (lip balm/treatment)

Farah D Peppermint Lip Balm (lip balm/treatment)

Golden Earth soothe lip balm (lip balm)

Inspiration Vibration VIBEsmile beeswax lip balm (lip balm)

Its Elixir Black Cocoa Butter Lip Balm (lip balm)

Inspiration Vibration VIBEsmile beeswax lip balm (lip balm)

Its Elixir Black Cocoa Butter Lip Balm (lip balm)

Khushi Spa Products Lip Balm – Grapefruit (lip balm)

Khushi Spa Products Lip Balm – Lavender (lip balm)

LIPCOTZ Lip Balm, SPF 45 (lip balm)

Max Green Alchemy Chap Defense Lip Balm, Peppermint Tea Tree (lip balm)

Miessence Organic Jaffa Lip Balm (lip balm)

naked cardamom lip balm (lip balm)

Nature’s Gate Organics Lip Balm, Carrot Smoothie (lip balm)

Nature’s Gate Organics Lip Balm, Green Tea & Mint (lip balm)

Nature’s Gate Organics Lip Balm, Neroli Orange & Chocolate Mint (lip


Perfect Organics Shea Butter Lip Balm (lip balm/treatment)

Perfect Organics Shea Butter Lip Balm (lip balm/treatment)

Peter Thomas Roth Matte Lip Balm (lip balm)

Plantlife Herbal Lip Balm (lip balm/treatment)

Rachel Perry Lip Lover Balm Banana Coconut (lip balm)

Rachel Perry Lip Lover Balm Cantaloupe (lip balm)

Rachel Perry Lip Lover Balm Grape Juice (lip balm)

Rachel Perry Lip Lover Balm Mint Tingle (lip balm)

Rachel Perry Lip Lover Balm Raspberry Cherry (lip balm)

Rosebud Strawberry Lip Balm (lip balm)

Samantharoma Lip Balm, Orange Cream (old formulation) (lip


Samantharoma Lip Balm, Orange Cream (old formulation) (lip balm)

Samantharoma Lip Balm, Peppermint Patty (lip balm)

See the Dawn Caress lip Balm (lip balm)

Trimedica Msm Lip Balm (lip balm)

ViDoma Naturals Lip Balm (lip balm)

Weleda Everon Lip Balm (lip balm)

Weleda Everon Lip Balm (lip balm)

Zosimos Botanicals LLC Apricot Nectar Lip Lustre Lip Balm (lip balm)

Lip Schtick (1 product)

Lip Scents, Inc. (0 products)

Lip-Ink International (0 products)

My Lip Stuff (0 products)

Pure Lip, Inc. (0 products)

Vermont Bee Balm (0 products)

Lip Schtick (1 product)

Butter Me Up Body Balm (0 products)

Cactus Nail Balm (0 products)

Lip Fusion (0 products)

Lip Scents (0 products)

Lip-Ink International (0 products)

Mountain Baby Butt Balm (0 products)

Mountain Mama Belly Balm (0 products)

My Lip Stuff (0 products)

Peppermint Tree Foot Balm (0 products)

Pure Lip (0 products)

Sana Balm (0 products)

Vermont’s Original Bag Balm (0 products)


Find out more about our school: www.fengshuischool.com

Hybrid Cars

April 3, 2008

Hybrid Cars

by Suzanne Grocha

It seems that the new craze in cars is the Hybrid electric cars. With the rise in gas prices and the increased need for people to live in the country and work in the city which means more driving, it is no surprise that people want to know which hybrid is the best to invest in for the future.

If we are simply speaking miles per gallon and price the Honda Insight is the way to go. With an average of 57 mpg this lightweight, two door, two passenger hatchback is quite the deal at base price $22,080. Safety is pretty standard and after a few good upgrades it can be a sweet ride. Unfortunately for the Insight it didn’t really jump into the “in” crowd so it has stopped production. However, don’t fret. If you have your heart set of this car you can find 2006 models for sale, used.

Next in line is the ever so popular Toyota Prius. With an average of 53 miles to the gallon and a base price of $22,305. This not so attractive four door, five-passenger car is great for the family, small commute, energy efficient investment. At low speeds the car uses only electric energy so gas can last awhile. That’s always a good thing. However the power of this vehicle does tend to lack some kick on the highway.

If you aren’t one to take the leap from a traditional look of a car to the sometimes cheese wedge looking prius, don’t fret. Honda has provided us with a suitable competitor. The new Honda Civic Hybrid has the look of an original Civic with the benefits of a Hybrid. Averaging 51mpg at a base price of $22,745 for an ’06 and $23,195 for an ’07. The Civic is a bit more expensive than the Prius but for some, the regular look is well worth the extra cash.

Other options for hybrids have more power accompanied with a higher price tag. The Toyota Camry Hybrid at $26,820, average 40 mpg, the Nissan Altima Hybrid at $25,015, average 40mpg and the Lexus GS 450h at $55,615, average 28mpg. There are also Hybrid SUV options with more power, cargo space and versatility of use.

As the price increases in these cars the likeness to their all gasoline counter parts strengthen. With these options the transition to a hybrid is seamless and comfortable. If you would like more information on these cars I suggest you visit Car and Drivers website as well as the car companies wedsites and sales rooms. Test drives are a must. Never make a choice as large as this without exploring all aspects of all options.


Find out more about our school: www.fengshuischool.com