March AusPen Giveaway Draw!

AusPen Giveaways

Where it pays to go green

 Welcome to EcoSmart’s giveaway program where your “Green” stories can get you great free eco-friendly products.  Each month we choose a theme, welcome your input, and have an AusPen draw, ranging each month from AusPen starter kits, to marker packs to accessories.


March Theme:  Nominate your green hero

For March’s giveaway, we’d love to give away AusPen eco-friendly products on your behalf to someone else. Tell us who works hard to go green, spread green, live the green life. Maybe a colleague, a teacher, a family member, or a leader in your circles has inspired you by his or her commitment to the environment.  Share your nomination of your green hero, with a brief description of his or her activities at info@ecosmartworld.com and you will be automatically entered into a draw for AusPen giveaways!


Please note some portion of your submission may be used by EcoSmart Products in promotional material.


Top 10 Green Valentine’s Day Gifts for Women and Men From AusPen Eco-Friendly Markers

Looking for gift ideas for Valentine’s Day that show your romantic side, but that are still earth-friendly? Going green for Valentine’s Day is easier than you may think. AusPen eco-friendly markers has selected the 10 best eco-friendly and economical Valentine’s Day gifts for women and men. From hand-blown glass vases, to natural beauty products to eco-friendly jewellery, you’ll be sure to find a gift idea that your sweetheart will love.

For Women:
1. Organic, fair-trade chocolate
Chocolate just tastes better when you know that the growers are paid a fair wage and that the growing practices are less destructive to the environment. Fair Trade chocolate is typically organic and shade-grown under the canopy of the rainforest rather than in a clear cut field. Fair trade arrangements also provide for a social premium – extra money that is invested back into the communities for much-needed projects. Try Cocoa Camino, Divine, Maya Gold of Green & Blacks, and Presidents Choice chocolates marked with the Transfair logo.

2. Essential oil perfume
In the 2010 Environmental Working Group’s report, Not So Sexy – The Health Risks of Secret Chemicals in Fragrance, we learned that the chemicals added to commercial perfumes are very toxic and poorly regulated. 95% of chemicals used in fragrances are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum and can be linked to cancer, birth defects, central nervous system disorders, hormone disruptions and allergic reactions. For natural perfumes made of essential oils, try Nantucket Natural Oils, Aubrey Organics, Lavender Farms, and Tigerflag Natural Perfumery.

3. Hand-blown glass vase, candle holder or jewellery
Crystal is a traditional choice for Valentine’s Day gifts, but quality crystal is made with lead, a heavy metal with serious health risks. There may also be lead present in some ceramic glazes. As a healthier alternative, consider hand-blown glass creations. Many glass artists use recycled glass to create beautiful and one-of-a-kind hand-blown vases, candle holders and jewellery. For a hand-blown glass creation, visit your local gallery or artisan shop.

4. Organic cotton pjs, towels, bedding, outdoor blankets
It is said that cotton is the ‘fabric of our lives’. But growing conventional cotton requires the use of enormous amounts of pesticides - approximately 25 percent of the world’s insecticide use and more than 10 percent of the world’s pesticides. These chemicals have a huge environmental impact and present health risks for those working with and around the cotton fields. For organic cotton pj’s, towels and bedding, try Gaiam, and for outdoor blankets try Blue Lotus.

5. Conflict-free, eco-friendly jewellery
Leonardo DiCaprio brought the troubling issue of ‘conflict diamonds’ to our attention in his 2006 movie, Blood Diamond, and the United Nations has said that conflict diamonds has been a crucial issue in fuelling wars. Ensure that the country of origin of any diamonds is not on the UN blacklist. Also, recycled gold is a green choice as the production of one gold ring generates 20 tons of waste. Some green jewellery retailers include: Brilliant Earth, GreenKarat, and Faeries Dance.

For Men:
1. Natural grooming products with essential oils.
Conventional grooming products such as cologne, hair product and shaving cream can contain phthalates, dyes, parabens, and other harsh synthetic ingredients. For natural personal care products for men, try Organic Grooming, Burt’s Bees Natural Grooming, Bulldog, and The Natural Grooming Company.

2. Organic massage oils
Synthethic-based massage oil contain mineral oil, which is a petroleum by-product. Natural vegetable, seed or nut oils would be a greener choice, and healthier for the skin. Weleda, Lush, Happy Endings and Earth to Body have products that use certified organic oils and 100% natural products.

3.A low-flow shower head
Many newer energy-efficient showerheads conserve energy and water without changing water pressure. Low-flow showerheads use up to 70 percent less water than standard showerheads, and can save approximately 15 percent on the cost of heating your water.

4. Tree-free journal
A journal is a sweet Valentine’s Day gift, giving your man the opportunity to record memories and dreams, especially if it is a green journal. 2011 is the United Nation’s International Year of Forests. Reducing our consumption of paper made from virgin fibre will alleviate the pressure on this limited natural resource. Tree-free paper can be made from the fiber of banana leaf, sugar cane husk, hemp, jute, flax, bamboo, sisal and even crushed stone. Some retailers that sell tree-free paper include: Green Field Paper Company, Kenaf Paper Products, Living Tree Paper and EcoPaper.

5. Repurposed accessories
Guys generally love technology and gadgets – why not repurpose a gadget into a cool, one-of-a-kind Valentine’s Day gift? Online retailers offer recycled circuit board cufflinks, rubber messenger bags, necktie wallets, bicycle wheel clocks, bike chain bottle openers, doorknob bottle stoppers…you get the picture.

AusPen Markers are the eco-friendly alternative to disposable dry erase markers. Made from 100% recycled aluminum, AusPen markers are refillable with low-odor, non-toxic ink, and are recyclable. You never need to throw away another dry erase marker, or inhale toxic fumes.

Schools and businesses can significantly reduce their toxicity and waste while saving money.

SOURCE: AusPen Eco-Friendly Markers,
Call toll free 1 866 328-7736


AusPen All-Stars

At EcoSmart Products, we recognize the efforts our customers have made, and want to celebrate the commitment they have made to the environment. Our AusPen All-Stars program is a way to showcase outstanding ways in which the switch to AusPen eco-friendly markers has made a difference. Congratulations to all the AusPen All-Stars!

Schools reduce their ecological footprint with AusPen eco-friendly markers

San Rafael High School

Meet an amazingly informed, inspirational and motivated group of teens – the Teens Turning Green Club at San Rafael High School. Through fundraisers, the environmental club raised money to purchase kits of AusPen markers for their teachers.

Watch the video of the club co-president presenting the new marker kits to the teachers:

Read San Rafael’s press release here.

Way to go, San Rafael High School!

Holy Trinity School

By switching many of its classrooms to AusPen dry-erase markers, Holy Trinity School has avoided the use of approximately 450 pounds of non-biodegradable waste, which would have otherwise gone straight to the landfill. That’s something to be proud of!

Read Holy Trinity’s Press Release on their environmental activities and switch to AusPen markers!

L-R: Tara Irani-Senior Science teacher, Erica Auer-Science Department Head, Jacqueline Butler-Senior Science Teacher/Environmental Sustainability Coordinator

Oak Bay Secondary, Vancouver Island

Oak Bay Secondary, a high school of 1300 students, has had outstanding success in conserving resources with AusPen markers. The community of Oak Bay Secondary has kept the equivalent of 478 pounds of toxic waste out of their landfills. Congratulations on creating such an impact!

Bethpage High School

EcoSmart Products recognizes Bethpage High School and their environmental club, Generation Green for their amazing environmental activities. Based on an Earth Day math class project, students at Bethpage High School calculated how many markers the school district was throwing away every year (10,000 markers) and the cost to the schools ($7,000). As a result, many of the teachers in the district have switched to AusPen refillable markers; Bethpage High School has cut down on 450 pounds of toxic waste. Way to go Bethpage!

Bethpage’s Generation Green Team ‘Make a Difference’

Read Bethpage’s inspiring story here on how a ‘Make a Difference’ project for Earth Day has turned into a district-wide movement.

Do you feel like your school or business is an AusPen All-Star? Tell us why. We’d love to hear your experiences at allstars@ecosmartworld.com


City of San Francisco Chooses AusPen Eco-Friendly Markers

After years of researching alternative green products, the City of San Francisco has recently released a database of over 1,000 products and services tested to meet the city’s health and environmental standards. AusPen non-toxic and refillable markers are the suggested green choice for dry-erase markers in San Francisco city departments.  

In 2005, the City of San Francisco was the first in the nation to implement strict purchasing standards that would require all city departments to buy products that met environmental, health and toxicity guidelines. After five years of market study into green products, San Francisco launched its new website, SF Approved, in August 2010, listing more than 1,000 approved green products and services. To eliminate airborne toxins and the solid waste generated by disposable dry-erase markers, the San Francisco Department of the Environment suggests the use of AusPen refillable non-toxic markers.

The motivation to create such a list came from the challenge of knowing whether the claims of a ‘green’ product are actually true or stringent enough to meet city standards. “It is quite difficult for purchasing agents to find environmentally preferable products,” Karl Bruskotter, environmental programs analyst with the City of Santa Monica, California, wrote in an e-mail. “Any vendor can offer a product or service and call it green, and the purchasing agent may not know how to ask the right questions to uncover whether or not the product really is green.”

The approved products list takes many health and environmental factors into consideration, including recycled content, energy efficiency, product reviews from city staff and ingredients used.  Aiming to reduce toxic exposure, researchers used the Berkely-based GoodGuide to assess the hazards of more than 60,000 chemicals. AusPen’s non-toxic ink, which uses an organic vegetable compound, avoids the commonly used chemical xylene, a potentially harmful ingredient.  

 City staff is now required to buy PVC-free office supplies. PVC, another chemical identified by the GoodGuide, releases cancer-causing dioxins and can cause other problems such as high blood pressure, hypertension, nerve disorders and reproductive problems. Since AusPen markers are made of 100% recyclable aluminium, they meet the standards of recycled content and avoid PVC plastics.

While the SF Approved list was generated to serve as a resource for San Francisco city departments, it is also a template for other cities and corporate purchasing agents and consumers who are making efforts to go green. The online database can be used as a quick reference to others looking for unbiased information on eco-friendly products.

The approved list also regulates against products that are not approved. City purchasing agents are prohibited from buying certain products like bottled water, plastic foam containers and nickel-cadmium batteries.


Teachers.net Exclusive Offer

Welcome Teachers.net Members!


Thank you for visiting our site – the place to learn more about AusPen refillable, non-toxic markers

AusPen Kit, equivalent to 246 markers $39.95 for Teachers.net!

Receive a 20% discount on all AusPen products

Use discount code: Teachers20

 Order Now!

Why use AusPen dry-erase markers? We have 3 good reasons:

1) Non-toxic ink

  • AusPen’s specially formulated ink is derived from an organic vegetable compound, and is certified non-toxic
  • Proven safe for people with reactions to ink in regular disposable markers
  • Protect yourself and your students from harmful exposure to toxins
  • Ultra-low odor markers won’t smell up the room

2) Reduce Waste!

  • AusPens are made of recycled material – and no PVC plastic!
  • Refill your marker with a few drops of ink and never throw another dry erase marker into your local landfill
  • One kit of 6 markers and their refill inks is the equivalent of 246 disposable markers!

3) Cost!

  • Save approximately 70% of the cost of disposable dry erase markers
  • Enjoy an additional 20% off for being a Teachers.net member
  • One kit is regular $49.95, or $39.95 for Teachers.net members

Order online now (http://www.ecosmartworld.com/order-auspen) with your Teachers.net discount code: Teachers20

Or call the EcoSmart Products Office: 1 866 328-7736 (toll-free)


We’re better consumers now, right?

Check out this old ad. Did consumers believe it? At the bottom it reads:

How soon is too soon?

Not soon enough. Laboratory tests over the last few years have proven that babies who start drinking soda during that early formative period have a much higher chance of gaining acceptance and “fitting in” during those awkward pre-teen and teen years. So, do yourself a favour. Do your child a favour. Start them on a strict regimen of sodas and other sugary carbonated beverages right now, for a lifetime of guaranteed happiness.

I think today’s equivalent ads are the ones that deceptively link themselves with images of being natural and green. Like when I am convinced to lighten my hair with Herbal Essences and my lips tingle and go numb after a treatment.

In 2002, a corporate watchdog, CorpWatch came up with the Academy Awards for Best Greenwash. Would you like to guess who got top nod? It was none other than BP for their “Beyond Petroleum” rebranding campaign.


AusPen at Seattle Green Festival 2010

EcoSmart Products is proudly attending this weekend`s Seattle Green Festival – the world`s largest consumer event series dedicated to green products, organics, sustainability and social justice.

 In the area? Contact us at info@ecosmartworld.com for a complimentary pass to the Green Fest! Stop by the AusPen booth on June 5&6 at the Washington State Convention & Trade Center, where you can chat with us and purchase AusPen starter kits at a special conference price.

 For more info on the festival, go to: http://www.greenfestivals.org/seattle/


Green jobs and greening your job

Now that we know what Santa brought this year, the big question is: what changes in the job market will 2010 bring? Increasing evidence shows that green jobs are better paying than non-green jobs in similar sectors, according to a new report from PayScale and CleanEdge. Even entry-level positions were better paid, on average. But where are the majority of green job openings? Research by Green Dream Jobs found that the top 20 green job openings this past year were actually mid to high level positions (see below for list).

One reason for that could be that the American market really is embracing green technology. In the new book, The Green Collar Economy, Van Jones says, “The time has come for the nation to give greater support to the problem green-collar workers, and green consumers. We have the chance now to create new markets, new technology, new industries, and a new workforce.”

Leaving the pollution-based economy behind, here are the top 5 sectors for clean-tech job activity in the US for 2009:

  1. Solar
  2. Biofuels and biomaterials
  3. Conservation and efficiency
  4. Smart grid
  5. Wind power

Source: Clean Edge, Inc., 2009

If a switch to a newly emerging green job is not right for you, but you want to bring your ideals into your current job, consider making some environmentally-friendly switches like using the refillable, recyclable AusPen dry-erase markers in the classroom or boardroom. Your colleagues will take note that one kit of AusPen markers eliminates toxic fumes from the room and it replaces approximately 246 disposable toxic whiteboard markers, which would end up in local landfills. It’s a great way to make your current job go green.

Top 20 Green Job Titles, according to Green Dream Jobs:

  • Executive director of a nonprofit
  • Project leader/manager
  • Sustainability program director/manager
  • Sales/business development associate or manager
  • Marketing manager/coordinator
  • Community crew leaders/supervisors for conservation associations
  • Business/data analyst
  • Research analyst/manager
  • Environmental educator/naturalist
  • Account executive/manager, sales
  • Professor
  • Sustainability analyst/consultant
  • Operations manager
  • Wind energy engineer

Carbon Credit Christmas Trees

Speaking of Christmas trees…we also wanted to highlight the “eco” efforts of our good friends at Prince of Wales Secondary School in Vancouver, B.C., as they seek ways to be “greener” and teach their students about environmental stewardship.

First, Prince of Wales has committed to making their annual Christmas tree sale as green as possible. Our last blog highlighted a new approach taken by some companies to rent and reuse real, potted Christmas trees, eventually planting them. The Prince of Wales initiatives with their tree sale is two-fold: 1) sourcing trees as close as possible to the school and 2) by calculating and purchasing carbon credits to offset the greenhouse gas emissions from the transport of trees to the lot.

Incidentally, the tree sales are in support of TREK, the school’s outdoor and education program and one that is responsible for many hours of community service.

Another way in which the school is taking environmental responsibility is through its use of the AusPen whiteboard markers, keeping hundreds of pounds of non-biodegradable waste out of the local landfills every year. Well done, Prince of Wales.


AusPen All-Stars

NEW! Check out our AusPen All-Stars! In recognition of our thousands of loyal customers, we salute our All-Stars.