24 Peace – Responsible, Charitable T-Shirts

24 peace

In case you missed them, and even if you didn’t, 24 Peace was one of the 4th Annual Trashion Fashion Show sponsors on April 19th. Owner, Cindy Witter, started the company in 2012 with a mission: to create & sell “earth-friendly apparel & products to inspire self-expression, giving, & a sense of community”


Following years in retail sales and management, Cindy wanted to build a business of her own. Inspired by the artwork and life of her late sister, she wanted to bring artwork into people’s lives and help make a positive difference in the process. 24 Peace emerged as the vehicle to make this happen.

24peace tees

“We are truly not just another T-shirt company. We have heart, soul, and compassion. We aim to address serious issues with a measure of peace, love, and laughter. Our products let you feel good about what you wear and feel good about what you do.”

“24 Peace collects original artwork to create art apparel and embellish eco-friendly and useful products. A portion of each sale benefits the artist and a selection of charities. Your purchases help support artistic expression and worthy causes. We hope to serve as a beacon of hope and creativity. Your purchases can help change the world.



“We invite you to consider our Million Dollar Message:

What would happen if for 24 hours everyone in the world experienced peace? If for 24 hours nobody was killed, bullied, scolded or abused? What would happen if for 24 hours nobody suffered from famine or warfare? What would happen if the world found peace for the 24 hours of one single day?
Can you imagine?” -Cindy

photo(1) (1)

Learn more about what 24Peace is up to by liking their Facebook page. You’ll find 24 Peace this summer at the Coventry Farmers Market as well as many other CT community events.



The Life Cycle of a T Shirt

.22 lbs fertilizers
.01 lbs pesticides
1.2 lbs fossil fuels
700 gallons water

That right there? That’s a recipe for ONE COTTON T SHIRT!

We’ve all gotten freebie t shirts at an event before- a charity walk, a fundraiser, an outdoor festival. T shirts are not only an all American fashion staple, they’re a marketing tool, an incentive, a novelty. So, have you ever wondered where, exactly, your t shirts come from? Not just what country they’re made in; but the whole process of turning a cotton seed into a piece of clothing.

Let’s consider the life cycle of a t shirt. A ‘Life Cycle’ as defined by the International Organization of Standardizations (ISO) is a methodology to assess the environmental impacts of a process, service or product. It’s not just, ‘you buy it, you wear it, you throw it away,’ which defines, perhaps, a t shirt’s life in your wardrobe; we want to consider the full scale impacts of a t shirt on the planet.



There are 5 major stages in the life cycle of a t shirt : material, production, shipping, use and disposal.

“The material phase of the lifecycle involves farming, irrigating, fertilizing, harvesting and ginning. While cotton is a natural fiber and ultimately not as harmful to the environment as manmade fibers like polyester, it still takes a toll in the material and production phases.” –Huffington Post The three largest cotton producers in the world are China, India and the US. Commercial cotton farming uses a massive amount of water and pesticides. In fact of the $4.1 billion that farmers spend on pesticides each year, 25% of that is used on cotton crops.

One American cotton farm can yield enough cotton to produce over 9 million t shirts each year.

Once the cotton is grown and harvested, the production phase begins. Spinning, knitting, wet process, bleaching, dyeing, confection, cutting and sewing. Aside from the vast amount of water and energy all of these processes use, commercial dyes and bleaches are harmful pollutants that can ultimately contaminate groundwater.

After the t shirt is made, it needs to be transported. If you look in your closest you’ll likely find a variety of countries of origin on your clothing tags. Studies have found that cargo trucks alone account for 1.15 pounds per mile of carbon emissions into the atmosphere. Planes, ships and trains use much more.


Shipping vessels move large containers of all sorts of imports across the seas every week.

The next phase is retail, which may seem like the least harmful phase but… think again. The biggest environmental drain your clothing causes comes from the repeated washing and drying we all do to keep our clothes clean. In fact, the environmental impact of laundering that t shirt for its life cycle (about 75 times) creates 17 times more CO2 emissions than the entire production process from cotton seed to retail store, two thirds of which is from using a conventional tumble dryer.

The final stage for the t shirt is disposal, which also involves quite a bit of carbon emissions and pollution, but it’s also a stage where you have some control as well. A disposed t shirt will either be incinerated or end up in a landfill- a sad story either way. But old clothes can be donated for future wear OR for the fibers to be recycled. Find a place to recycle or donate your clothing here.


5 Ways that you can make a difference:
It may be too daunting to think about everything that needs to change in order to make the clothing industry more transparent and less environmentally costly. But there are a lot of small things you can do to make a difference.

1. Buy organic clothing. Organic cotton is farmed sans pesticide which keeps our water safe.

2. Buy American made clothing. A lot of cotton is grown in the states, but its often exported to become clothing and then imported as a final product. Keeping the whole process in one country significantly reduces transportation related CO2 emissions and fossil fuel use.

3. Hang dry your clothes in warmer months. You’ll save money on your electric bill and some natural resources at the same time.

4. Recycle your clothing instead of throwing it away. There are many donations centers all over the country that are trying to have a huge impact on our landfill space- and they need your clothes!

5. Learn more about the whole process in less than 10 minutes from a recent NPR and Planet money video series about the t shirt life cycle.


BTI llc
Council For Textile Recycling
Huffington Post


Tree Sleeve – Coffee Cup Sleeves for the Eco Minded


EDC founder Rachel DeCavage, guest speaker Ray Fraser, amazingface volunteer Rory Gale

EDC founder Rachel DeCavage, guest speaker Ray Fraser, GD Coordinator Rory Gale at March Hartford Green Drinks

If you missed Hartford Green Drinks in March, you also missed our amazing and eloquent guest speaker, Ray Fraser, of Tree Sleeve. He chats with us about how his idea was conceived, Tree Sleeve’s mission and what’s next on the horizon!

“Last winter while sitting in a coffee shop our founder, Ray Fraser, was astounded to watch the trash can fill up with paper coffee sleeves. Once emptied, it didn’t take long to fill up again. He went home that night and did some research and found that 1,000,000 trees are cut down each year to make paper coffee sleeves. Could there be an alternative? Enter TreeSleeve.

“The original TreeSleeve is made of 100% recycled silicone and acts as a thermal insulator, keeping your hand cool and coffee warm. If you’re like me and drink coffee at least twice a day, you end up using 10 or more paper sleeves a week. Using the silicone TreeSleeve keeps 10 sleeves out of the trash per week and that’s just with one person.


“Our newest product is a sleeve made entirely of upcycled sugar cane. This single-use sleeve is 100% compostable and made with our proprietary EarthFruit, which helps to accelerate the composting process.  With a purchase of either sleeve, our non-profit partner plants and nurses a tree in the effort to reforest regions affected by deforestation.

“To learn more about TreeSleeve and other happenings in the sustainability movement check out the following links:

Facebook             Twitter              Our site

 “Another way to stay in touch is to join our newsletter, which can be found on our site listed above! If you want to make TreeSleeve a part of your daily routine, visit any of the retailers listed here or check out our site.

“Stayed tuned for the launch of our Kickstarter campaign on Earth Day, April 22ndand for our newest product, a single-use sleeve made of 100% compostable sugarcane – now only if it where edible…”


You can also read more about the importance of reusable disposables here. Tree Sleeve is a proud sponsor of the 2014 Trashion Fashion Show so don’t miss your chance to talk with Ray in person on April 19th!

Swedish Dishcloths by Three Bluebirds


One of our many vendor volunteers this year at the 4th Annual Trashion Fashion Show was Three Bluebirds, who showcased their collection of Swedish dishcloths. Owner, Lynda, also managed the Evergreen Design Co booth about paper towel consumption and waste.

Three Bluebirds offers a beautiful line of super absorbent and eco-friendly Swedish dishcloths. They are the perfect green replacement for paper towels and sponges. Each dishcloth is reusable, 100 percent biodegradable and compostable.

The cloths can be cleaned and disinfected in the top rack of the dishwasher, washing machine, microwave or even boiled in a pot of water. Each one lasts approximately nine months with normal use—that’s about 300 washings!
Made from two natural fibers from sustainable resources, cellulose and cotton, these sponge-like dishcloths absorb 15 times their own weight. They can be used to clean everything from kitchen and bathroom surfaces; dishes and windows; to cars and patio furniture. They’re also great for damp dusting, polishing stainless steel and cleaning glass streak-free. They can even be used as a natural sponge in the shower!



Each dishcloth is 6 ¾ inches wide by 8 inches long and 1/16 inch thick, featuring a brightly colored pattern printed with eco-friendly ink.  Each pattern could signal different uses (i.e. one design designated for use in the kitchen, another for the bathroom, etc.)

To purchase, visit their site. Make sure to follow 3BB on Facebook. And if you have any questions, shoot Lynda an email!

What the $%@# is in my cosmetics?? by Sami Jo Jensen of Poor & Pretty


Sami Jo Jensen makes her own all natural beauty products including these cupcake shaped soaps.

Most likely, some really nasty stuff. Once you start mass-producing anything, sacrifices tend to be made. Somehow, we went from making our own soap from nutrient-rich olive oil and volcanic ash to pumping out stuff that foams up before it even gets out of the bottle. We mistakenly judge our shampoo and body wash by how many bubbles they can produce. This kind of thinking typically leaves us with dry and brittle skin. I know, I was guilty once too! But after doing some basic research on the ingredients in my favorite body wash, I did three things: threw out anything with parabens, looked for natural alternatives, and started making my own soaps, lip balms, and lotions.


Para-what? Parabens are the most toxic ingredient in your beauty products and they are in EVERYTHING. Eyeshadow, concealer, shampoo, shower gel, lotion, sunscreen… Sadly, even LUSH uses parabens in their otherwise natural products. Why? They’re fantastic preservatives. So your 95% organic lotion won’t get moldy, but you might pick up breast cancer from regularly using it. But don’t take my word for it. Here’s how the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database rates parabens, on a scale of 1-10, 10 being “high hazard”:

  • Benzylparaben – 2
  • Butylparaben – 7
  • Ethylparaben – 4
  • Isobutylparaben – 7
  • Isopropylparaben – 7
  • Methylparaben – 4
  • Propylparaben – 10

Methylparaben and Propylparaben are the most commonly found in cosmetics. Note: These can also be listed as: Benzyl-parahydroxybenzoic acid, Methyl-parahydroxybenzoic acid, Ethyl-parahydroxybenzoic acid, Propyl-parahydroxybenzoic acid, Butyl-parahydroxybenzoic acid, Parahydroxybenzoic acid and Parahydroxybenzoate. Whew! Try pronouncing those!


Even in low doses, parabens have been scientifically proven to lead to endocrine disruption, which can lead to reproductive issues; changes in hormone levels, the first step to breast cancer; early onset puberty; a weakening of the immune system; and more. Here are a few popular beauty products that contain parabens:


Herbal Essences Shampoo – Ingredients List

Other common offenders are Sodium Laureth and Lauryl Sulfates, foaming agents which cause eye and skin irritation. They’re powerful surfactants and detergents, often found in home and industrial strength cleaning products because they’re very effective at removing oil and grease. Unfortunately, this means they’re also good at removing your skin’s own natural oils, thereby leaving you with dry skin. When they’re in shampoo, sulfates will strip hair color and dry out your scalp, leaving you with dandruff.

While Propylene Glycol is generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, it has lead to skin rashes such as hives and eczema outbreaks if applied to skin and asthma if inhaled. When we went snorkeling in Mexico last summer, my family was surprised to learn that we had to wear all-natural sunscreen — sans Propylene Glycol. Up until this point, they all thought I was nuts for spending sometimes twice as much as them on non-toxic beauty products, but when I explained to them that PG emits high levels of biochemical oxygen demand in water — meaning, it consumes oxygen needed by aquatic life — I think they started to get it.


Let’s talk about Fragrance with a capital F. It seems like a pretty harmless word, but it’s what the word isn’t telling you that’s a problem. “Fragrance” or “parfum” represents an undisclosed mixture of lovely little scent chemicals. Most commonly, they contain dibutyl phthalate, which are so bad for you, California has classified it as a “reproductive and developmental toxicant” and the European Union has actually banned it in cosmetics and personal care products. Unfortunately, most companies don’t have to disclose that they’re using phthalates, and instead just hide behind the word “fragrance.” If your label doesn’t say that your shampoo, body wash, lotion, etc. is phthalate-free, don’t be tricked by “fragrance,” and for the sake of their brain development, do NOT use it on your kids!


Bath & Body Works is famous for its array of fragrances.


I could go on for pages, I really could, but I think you get it. Read your labels. My philosophy is, if I can’t pronounce it, it’s probably not good for me. So who do I trust? For the most part, Aveda, Burt’s Bees, California Baby, The Honest Company (from Jessica Alba), Jason Natural Cosmetics, LUSH (just look out for parabens), method (okay, they’re mostly home stuff), Physician’s Formula, and Yes To (Carrots, Tomatoes, etc.) are a few of the big names. Even so, many of these companies still have nasty chemicals in some of their products. Most of my truly safe bath & body products are ones that I’ve made myself, or have come from very small companies like DressGreen, Green Beauty Cosmetics, Mere’s All Natural, and Sam’s Natural (for men).

If there’s one takeaway here kids, it’s READ YOUR LABELS! And hey, you can have some real fun making your own soap, body scrubs, lotions, even makeup! Check out my blog, Poor & Pretty, for some all-natural beauty recipes as well as my favorite non-toxic products.


Have questions? Don’t miss Sami Jo Jensen at the Hartford Trashion Show on April 19th. She’ll be there to talk about all natural beauty and will teach you how to make your own sugar scrub. You’ll even be able to take home a sample!


Hartford Green Drinks Returns!

green drinks

It goes without saying that EVERYONE at Evergreen Design Co is very excited to bring Green Drinks back to Hartford. For those of you who haven’t gotten the chance to bask in the Green Drinks glow, it’s a internationally recognized networking association for eco-minded folks.

First off, we’d like to thank TJ Clynch at Civic Mind for sharing the Green Drinks logo his team created last year. #yay

With so much wonderful help from one of Evergreen’s newest volunteers, Rory Gale of Hartford Prints, we kicked off our first Green Drinks of 2014 at  On20 restaurant. Our guest speaker was Ray Fraser of Tree Sleeve who made the rounds and talked to all our wonderful green drinkers that evening. #doubleyay

EDC founder Rachel DeCavage, guest speaker Ray Fraser, amazingface volunteer Rory Gale

EDC founder Rachel DeCavage, guest speaker Ray Fraser, amazingface volunteer Rory Gale

Stay up to date on future Green Drinks by liking our Facebook page or use the contact form below to be added to our mailing list!

And don’t miss the April Green Drinks at EBK Gallery on Pearl St. Drinks will be sponsored by City Steam. Our guest speaker is Amy Merli who will be chatting about the Trashion Fashion Shows. We’ll be raffling off a Hartford Trashion Show & After Party combo ticket AND we’ll have a diy Trashion Party Hat table for your enjoyment. Don’t miss it!

Fair Trade Coffee – Why It Matters

After crude oil, coffee is the most sought after commodity in the world, putting it ahead of natural gas, gold, sugar and corn. Worldwide, over 500 billion cups of coffee are consumed every year.

Coffee farming is the economic livelihood of over 25 million people, and while 90% of coffee production takes place in developing countries, the vast majority of its consumption is in industrialized nations, namely Finland, Japan and the US. But here’s the scary fact : “for every pound of gourmet coffee sold, a coffee farmer may receive between 12 and 25 cents. Only one cent of the price of a $2 cup of coffee goes to the grower.” –GroundWorkCoffee.com

coffee farmer in Nacaragua

coffee farmer in Nicaragua

Wondering what you can do to help justify this inequality? Buy Fair Trade Coffee.  “Most small-scale family farmers live in remote locations and lack access to credit, so they are vulnerable to middlemen who offer cash for their coffee at a fraction of its value. Fair Trade guarantees farmers a minimum price, and links farmers directly with importers, creating long-term sustainability. Through Fair Trade, farmers earn better incomes, allowing them to hold on to their land and invest in quality.“ –FairTradeUSA.com


Look for this seal when you shop!

While “fair trade” coffee is still only a small portion of the coffee market, it’s the most popular fair trade commodity in the world. Look for the Fair Trade seal when you’re shopping for coffee beans at your local market. If you don’t prep your morning brew at home, you’re in luck! Many companies including Starbucks, McDonalds and Dunkin Donuts carry fair trade coffee.

Better yet, source your Fair Trade beans from a community coffee roaster, such as the 2014 Trashion Fashion Show sponsor A Happy Life. They roast their beans locally in Wallingford CT and can be purchased at events or online.

Ground Work Coffee