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Friday, March 12, 2010

Buying Less - No to Silly Bandz

Like most moms, right up there on my priority list in life is my kids and their future.  Lately I've been doing a lot of thinking about what kind of world they will be left with.  Did you see the pictures of the birds after they've eaten all the little plastic garbage that's part of our everyday life in America?  Or see the work being done by groups like 5 Gyres?  It made me stop and think.  

And now our kids are obsessed with the latest craze:  Silly Bandz.  (I know these have been around for a while now...we are a little behind here in NJ!)  Not to single out one company when they are just a drop in the corporate bucket, but my kids came home asking for these, too.  So I wrote to the company asking what they were made of, was any of it recycled and could the used bandz be recycled.  The only response I got back was this:  "Sillybandz are made from 100% medical grade silicone."  A typical response, I suppose.  That's what worries me.  Most companies aren't thinking about these issues.  It's for somebody else to worry about.  

And who is that somebody else?  I think it needs to be us moms.  We are our children's protectors. We worry if they scrape a knee.  We want the best for them.  Is a world full of dead sea life, polluted waters and closed beaches what is best?  I don't think so.  

So I'm saying 'No' to Silly Bandz.  It's a first step....I will say 'No' to many others like them.  No....Not until you think about the product you are putting out into this world that belongs to all of us and our children.  No....Not until you take responsibility for becoming part of the solution instead of contributing to an ever-growing problem.  

To many, this seems like an extreme position.  Many will argue that these are harmless fun and kids need to follow the trends and have fun with their friends.  I just believe there are other (better) ways to do this.  Silicone doesn't biodegrade.  Do silicone bands really need to be packaged in even more plastic packaging?  Watching sea life and birds feed discarded Silly Bandz (shaped in their images, nonetheless) to their babies isn't's just sad.

What items have you said 'No' to because you were passionate about a cause?  Share your ideas here!


  1. Great blog Kate! Keep us informed so we all know to do better :)

  2. Against my better judgment, I caved. I thought about when i was a kid, and having fun w/ the rubber bracelets, etc. It killed me to do it, but I know most of the time I try to be as environmentally friendly as possible. UGH, the guilt!

  3. :) I keep telling son #1 to start a recycling program and it will lessen the guilt! I made my stance but he still came home with 10 Silly Bandz given to him by friends....And I think it's so nice that his friends have shared with him that I don't want to kill the mood by telling him he can't have them. Many of his friends' have already broken, though, and I said maybe it would be a good art project sometime to try to use them to make new things...?? @kuka - you are SUPER environmentally-friendly, so no guilt!

  4. seriously, WTF are Silly Bandz? haha - I'm so old.

    Anyway, perhaps we should start a campaign against Lance Armstrong for all those LIVEstrong bands?!?

    Here's the thing about all of these 'products'...the thing to teach our kids isn't that they should avoid plastic and medical grade silicone. They should avoid CONSUMERISM. Overbuying of ANY product, even 'green', is waste. Did everyone really need that Prius or the 100% post consumer heat shield on their starbucks coffee? I'm glad that people recycle but reduce definitely trumps both reuse and recycle combined. The challenge (much bigger than teaching recycling) is teaching our kids to live with less (like WE did!!!)

  5. I agree, sikbrik! I think you hit the nail on the head with your post! But it's so easy to get sucked in to consumerism....there are schools of people learning how to suck us in every day! And our kids are such easy targets.

    I think it's a case of taking little stands every day, making choices about what is really needed and what isn't. When we realize how powerful our choices are, we can make a big difference. But again, we have to make some tough choices, buck the trends, go against the grain and be consistent. We had a house full of plastic toys when Mikey was a baby. We have slowly moved away from that and are clearing our lives of the clutter...all of the extra things that we've accumulated that we don't need...and it is an embarrasingly large amount of STUFF! Sometimes I think we have to take a step even further back and learn to live with less like Poppy's generation did in the Great Depression. Go back to durable vs. disposable, fix things that are broken, take better care of our things so they much to learn from that generation. I wonder how they must feel to see all that we waste.

    I've had arguments with greenies about this since they talk about population control being the answer and to that I ask, "What if a family of 5 can live on less than your family of 2"? Of course our mere presence puts damage on the Earth, but without people, what's the point?