Good Girl/Bad Soap: Trader Joe’s Next To Godliness Automatic Dishwasher Detergent

Posted by organicneedle in product review, random rants

dishes I have a confession to make.  I miss my bad boy detergents.  Electrasol was amazing…every girl’s dream in the dishwasher…yet sooooo toxic.  The total bad boy of the dish washing industry; its phosphate level even exceeds the governments rather lack standards.  So, although completely satisfied, in an attempt to be good to the world, I moved on.  Went looking for a "good guy" and found myself in the arms of 7th Generation.  Yeah…he’s a good guy…comes in recycled/recyclable packaging, nice to the planet.  He just couldn’t get the job done where it counts.  Film and residue.   So I moved on to a snazzy looking Palmolive Eco+…and I was impressed.  That was until I started finding clues that it had a pretty dark secret.  At first it was just a hint of a smell…but then I found the note: Contains Bleach .  Sigh.  So I was back on the market.  This time I tried an old tried and true friend, Trader Joe.  My girlfriends said he was OK in the rack…certainly a nice guy, like 7th, but perhaps with a little more pizazz.  Well…I’m here to report that once again the nice guy just doesn’t put the sparkle on my plates I’m looking for.  Still the issue with residue…even with the vinegar rinse.  What’s a girl to do?

So…not wanting to destroy the world, I will keep seeking out the good guys, but you better bet as I rinse the dull film from my pans I will be fantasizing about Electrasol the whole time. 

And Tide…I still long for your scent on my sheets.  Sigh.



Check Out My Scarves! Or…Why Babies Hate Me

Posted by organicneedle in organicneedle, organics, product review, random rants, sewing


I have had these super vibrant soft organic cotton Harmony fabrics for a few months now…with overly ambitious plans to create baby blankets with them. As I was was prepping the material I realized that I wanted to wear them. So…I stitched myself up a little magic. I LOVE these not only because the patterns just make me smile, but they are also soooooo soft. (I sometimes find wool scarves a bit rough on my precious skin.) So tough luck babies…these are for the Mama. Well…I may have a few over at Etsy for anyone else craving a little splash of color this winter.

(Yes…my photos definately need a professional touch. I swear I could be standing on the sun and still not get enough light.)



Just in Case You Needed More Motivation to Climb Out of the Gap

Posted by organicneedle in Gap Ban, random rants

Gee…I’d like my stuff to be made more locally…but this isn’t what I had in mind. Read all about our local sweatshop. Sponsored by You-Know-Who. sweatshop



Just for the Record…Buying a Shirt, Wearing It, Stinking It Up, and Returning It Is Not, I Repeat NOT a Method of Consumer Reduction. So Knock It Off Stinkpit!

Posted by organicneedle in random rants, recycling

If you are looking for designs, chat about greening the house, or just delightful banter of any kind…today is not your day. Pure 100% rant day. Over the weekend I was granted a few precious hours to shop…by myself…for a few dressier outfits for my upcoming vacation. Something really fancy…like with no snot or peanut butter streaks. Now my choices are fairly limited by my Ban on the Gap and a rather short shopping attention span. (Yeah, the ban is STILL on baby!) I like Ann Taylor. They have a lot of petites that still look like adult clothes and, in general, I find their clothes hold up pretty well both in style and construction. (Plus wooden hangers :).) Background story: awhile back I bought a nice little top at the same store. Brought it home. Thought about how cute I looked for a few hours. Tried it on with some pants and suddenly caught a whiff of foul play. The shirt was preBOed! Uggggggg. Not normal human BO either…swampthing level BO. The kind of BO that makes you beg for the sweet smell of a potato so rotten it has liquified. But it was REALLY cute so I soldiered on and washed it with my crappy eco detergent…twice. Life continued. (I have yet to find an eco detergent that actually cleans…but that is for a whole other rant day.) armpitNow flash forward to this weekends outing…found a couple of cute shirts on the sale rack. My size and a good price. Versatile. Perfect. But oh no…the smell. The same wretched BO. Some woman in my neighborhood, the same size, with the same obvious good taste is buying my potential clothes stinking them up and returning them! SO NOT COOL STINKPIT! Despite whatever stink haze has permeated your brain & caused you to believe this is a valid way of reducing your consumer goods tally…it is so not OKAY. Watch out…I’ll be sniffing for you.



Green Power? I Just Can’t Buy It

Posted by organicneedle in blogtastic, energy, random rants

Now…I love Burbanmom. She is like my little blogspiration in a can. When she started her new challenge…I said sure sign me up. Laundry…yes I had already thrown in the towel on account of NYC mugginess…but out of love for her I did manage to smuggle all my sheets and blankets upstate for a dance in this neat thing they have up there called wind. Grass eating cows…not a beef eater…so sailed through that one. Compost…you all know my worms well. But her energy source switch challenge has got me in a pickle. Here’s the deal…my energy company is EEEEEEEEEEVIIIIIIIIIIILLLLLL. Seriously…ConEd has actually killed people and their dogs.

And their Green Power program is a little too wishy washy for me. Well…more like a joke. They say they use the extra money paid for green energy to “create a market for green energy.” WTF? Yes…they could use the extra money to create new wind or hydro powered grids. Yes…they could. I could also paint myself green and change my name to Super Pickle. I guess they just don’t want to bother customers with the pesky details of exactly where each nickel is going. I just pay the extra money and they will figure out how to handle it. I don’t need to worry my sweet pretty little self about it. Well…I’m the kinda gal who wants to know whose wasting my money…besides me.mean green
Actual Photo taken at Con Ed Meeting

Ummmmmm. So to summerize…I’m suppose to trust the company whose CEO gave himself a 24% raise and is about to raise NYC’s rates 22% to use my extra money to buy green “credits.” The same company that was responsible for a 9 day blackout that wiped out 1/2 the small businesses in Astoria and said they didn’t have enough money to actually pay for their mistake. (They offered businesses $7,000. 9 days of no business plus ruined inventory. Most businesses were out 10s of thousands and many more were just plain OUT.) Oh…and this is also the same company that blew someone up last year. Pick, pick, pick.

I don’t know Burbarino…I just don’t know if I can do this one. I would feel better donating money to a company that had a clear cut energy plan than to trust that my corrupt monopoly of a zapper is going to do anything but pay out lawsuits or stuff their little fat pants with it. How about I just promise not to buy each of my worms personal air conditioners? See…I can sacrifice too.



A Moment of Weakness

Posted by organicneedle in random rants

I miss you. I know it is better for us to be apart. You are bad for me…I know. The things you do to my body. That buzz I get when you touch my lips. I know your sweetness is only an illusion….a sick, sick, artificial illusion. But I still miss you.  You have left my heart and my recycly bin empty.


I miss you Diet Coke.



Oh…and the Week of Shame Continues… for Me and for Coke

Posted by organicneedle in plastic, random rants, recycling

For the most part Ol’ Needly here tries to live a healthy life. I eat my veggies & my spawn provide me adequate exercise by method of chaos. But I have a very unhealthy secret habit. (No…not the wine…that I have convinced myself is good.) The dirty secret: Diet Coke. There I have said it people. I LOVE DIET COKE. Anything nutritional about it? Nope. Is it even in the neutral zone? Nope. Most likely carcinogenic joy in a can. Can I put an environmental spin on it? Well…I do buy it in recyclable cans in a recyclable box? But yes…it is trucked from Satan’s factory who knows how many miles and weighs a butt-load. Not to mention that Coke, the company, is, well…kind of evil. Melissa at Better Living reminded us of their whole India debacle as a prime example. Not to mention the whole bottled water brainwash thing . And I’m sure Beth could add some terrific fun facts to that end of the discussion. So plenty O’ reasons to kick its can.hulk

So…I’m doing it. I’m kicking the evil little monkey off my back and switching to home brewed ice tea. (Now I’m sure someone will write soon about what my tea consumption is doing to the world…and I’m sure there is some evil involved as there is with anything tasty.) Local…no…not so much. Organic…not as of yet but the company I order my loose tea from, Tealuxe, does offer a few varieties. Fair labor…again I’m researching for future purchases. Patience people!

**Coming soon to a blog near you…well…this blog….I will reveal my new tea bag designs and there will be a little give-away …with the usual guinea pig clause attached of course. You gotta work for it if you want to get your hands on a little of the Needle’s goods.**

Now that I have successfully weened myself from one giant conglomerate, the Gap , I guess life would be far too easy without taking on another mega-giant. Now…trying to track down everything Coke owns may prove to be a bit more of a challenge. The list reads like a phone book…literally hundreds of names. All variations of Coke, of course, Dasani, Minute-Maid, VitaminWater, Fanta, Sprite, Nestea, & Barq’s are just the US biggies.  And Bacardi Mixers?!?! The playground is going to be just a tad duller this summer with just tea in Mama’s “happy” sippy cup.



Should I Become an Eco Hall Monitor?

Posted by organicneedle in building projects, projects, random rants, recycling

Last week I received a little pamphlet from the city about a new recycling/energy efficiency program they are kicking into gear focusing on the collective ecopower of modern communal livers..aka..apartment dwellers. NYC

Awhile back I too considered the positive side of compact living and certainly have plenty of opinions and ideas for what I would like to see done. (Although…my community progress has been…quite frankly sad.) What the program really comes down to is creating not so glorified hall monitors.hall

The city would send a building representative for a course on recycling and offer evaluation tools and supplies with the hope that said rep would go back and whip the building and its tenants into eco shape.

Now…I am of two minds on this. The education & supplies part would be great. However…it seems to me with either people recycle or they don’t. Not sure how to change that.

I know our board president, who has a lot more power than the little ol’ Needle, has an eye for the green but hasn’t had a whole lot of success pushing green policies through. (Although…we did get light timers put in the laundry room which must save those lights hours of shining.) Now I know there are some diligent recyclers and others who are just open minded to new ideas.

Buuuuuuuuut there are also those who are still thrown for a loop by our 4 part recycling system(glass, paper, metal, 1&2 plastic…which included pictures…yes pictures…above the cans…in color.

AND even worse than that…again…to be frank…there are a lot of miserable f***ing people in the world…and many of them have chosen my little corner of the earth to plant their cranky asses. These particular people complain endlessly about the slightest imperfection in their day…like having to pass toddler art on a neighbor’s door on their way to their own perfect abode. And they know everything of course. You know…the if they don’t already do it-it isn’t worth doing sort of people…because how on earth could someone else know better. Do I really think any of the self-absorbed set are going to take ten seconds to even HEAR a new idea let alone try it? And more importantly do I want to be the do-gooder that all of their fury is aimed at? And these are totally the types who love to find a fatal flaw…like the fact that I have a car. Don’t know if I could handle the scrutiny…I’m not exactly green perfection. And I do have to actually live with these people. Hell some of these grumps are even my friends. Well…were…before this post. As much as I would like to see strides made in our building in the form of energy efficiency – just don’t know if I want my name or face attached…rather be a suggester and ducker…you know…an eco-weenie. Seriously…I have enough people throwing food at me during the day. At least I hope it’s food.



Trader Joe’s is a Good Egg Afterall!

Posted by organicneedle in plastic, random rants

About 2 months ago I ranted about how Trader Joe’s, despite having one of the best bag policies around, has really awful packaging practices. I even shared my little correspondence with them about their plastic egg cartons among other things. Yesterday I took my monthly trip to Ol’ Joe’s…with the usual list and expectations. eggWhen lo and behold, what did my tired eyes see, besides my 4yr old squeezing the crap out of a melon I had no intention of buying, but paper, yes paper egg cartons. Not only that…instead of being trucked from CA like the previous eggs…they were from MA, not exactly the backyard of NYC…but we’re on the right coast now. Trader Joe’s actually listened. To me. I run Trader Joe’s! What should I tell them to do next? Nude cashiers? Bowling with frozen organic turkeys? Ohhhhh…the possibilities are endless.



Bloomberg’s Says Fatties Not Welcome in NYC

Posted by organicneedle in random rants

Trans fatties that is. Got your attention, no? Just a little NYC health history for you out-of-towners. In 2003, thanks to Mayor Bloomberg, smoking is banned in restaurants AND bars. People argue Big Brotherism…big brotherthe Mayor fights back with workers rights to not get 2nd hand cancer and the rights of all patrons to be healthy. In December of 2006 NYC restaurants were given 18 months to to cut out all artificial trans fat or face increasing fines. That’s right. Our restaurants are not allowed to cook with or add trans fat to food. Sweet, no? The latest in the fight against obesity? Calorie posting for chain restaurants. Did you know your latte packed 480 calories? New Yorkers did.

Now for the thinking part of the day. Obviously the things Bloomberg is fighting against…cancer, heart disease, strokes, heart attacks, and the million and one things that come with being obese are all seriously dangerous things. But is he treating us like babies….loved little babies, but babies none the less? Will these policies work? Are they a fair burden on businesses, especially the smaller ones? Would you welcome these policies in your own town?

Now for my little ol’ opinions. (You didn’t think I was going to just let you think for yourself, did you?) )Smoking ban…LOVE IT. smokingTo knowingly subject workers to carcinogenic toxins day in day out is completely unethical. And to make the argument that employees choose the job and therefore willingly accept the environment is to be completely oblivious to working class reality. Does it help people stop smoking? Yepperdepperdingdong. Since the ban, rates have dropped steadily each year. For those struggling, the city even offers free patches.

Tran fat ban…tansfatAgain I support it. Not much of a fast food eater…but still good to know that ALL restaurants are forced to cook responsibly. I’m not sure what argument from a consumer point of view could be made against this. The burden is entirely on the business end of things. Since the same laws do not apply to packaged food, I’m not entirely sure how much this will impact the health issues related to trans fat. (Trans fat is a biggie for long-term food.)  It certainly couldn’t hurt. All studies are speculative at this point.

Calorie posting. Surprise…I like it. It is just information so I can’t see what the objection would be to people being able to make a more educated choice about their food consumption. Can you argue against consumer knowledge? Is it a bit of a buzz kill when you see a cinnamon bun has 600 calories in it. Sure. Will this help reduce obesity….not sure. Obesity comes from a lot more than just not knowing how many calories are in something; a whole lot of other issues play into the epidemic. But for the average Joe Schmo, like myself, I think it will help us stick to our own personal dietary ideals.

Now…I do understand the whole BIG Brother argument against this kind of regulation and think it is valid. The truth, however, is that without intervention we are all going to continue to pay increasing costs of preventable illnesses. According to the Journal of Health smoking related diseases cost about 75 billion a year in health care costs, 20 billion alone to Medicare. So even if you have never smoked, you are paying financially for those who have. Obesity related diseases come in at 117 billion. Does the money change your thinking? It at least gives validity to it being a communal issue in need of government address. To the extent of mandates and fines….that is the debatable part. Universal health care, which I support, could just magnify this cost for the average American. Maybe with universal health care we need to look at universal responsibility…which includes personal AND business practices.

So to summarize, if you enjoy deep fried…everything, being oblivious to calorie and fat content, all whilst sucking back a pack of American Spirits…NYC just might not be your port.