Green to Grow
Driving my wife and son home from the hospital during evening rush hour, I began, for the first time, to comprehend the magnitude of my responsibility as a parent. Hart was not quite 3 days old. He and my wife, Shelley, were in the back seat. It was starting to get dark. The crawling traffic seemed unbelievably perilous, not just the enormous size and weight of the vehicles around me, but the emissions, the drivers, the road itself. I gripped the wheel and slowed. Other drivers honked; I could see their lips moving as they cursed me. But none of it mattered compared to the weight of my responsibility: protecting our son, seeing him home safe. Though it would be years before I knew it, this was the moment Green to Grow was conceived,
In the following months, and years, Shelley and I discovered the existence of other child-related perils. Shelley is a librarian and her research skills led to reams of paper and stacks of books on her nightstand, filtering steadily across to mine as she finished. I was appalled at the dangers we humans have created for our children, threats to the most fundamental necessities: food, clothing, bedding, soaps, toys. Even more amazing was the difficulty of finding safe alternatives.
Our decision to launch Green to Grow with a line of bisphenol A-free plastic baby bottles grew from our alarm as we read reports that highlighted the potential dangers presented by polycarbonate plastic, which contains the hormone disruptor bisphenol A—a neurological, developmental, and reproductive toxicant—and from our frustration over the lack of options. We believed concerned parents like us would welcome safer alternatives, even if they cost more due to the higher price of the raw materials used. And to ensure the highest level of quality and safety, we decided to have our bottles periodically spot tested for bisphenol A, phthalates, and lead at an environmental laboratory in Chicago, Illinois.
We have learned, in our efforts to serve as stewards of health and wellbeing for babies and children, that it is impossible to separate what is best for babies and children from what is best for the earth. To this end, we are committed to seeking environmentally sound business solutions and consider the environmental impact of every decision we make. We use 100% recycled paper and soy inks in all of our packaging and printed corporate materials and have partnered with 1% for the Planet, pledging to donate 1% of our annual sales to environmental causes. We have also founded the Bottles to Babies Initiative, using our web site as a vehicle to connect families who are no longer using their baby bottles with local non-profit organizations and women’s shelters that accept used baby bottle donations. Green to Grow has plans to partner with these organizations and to donate new nipples to be used with donated bottles. This is truly a grassroots effort: in addition to our list of recommended locations to donate bottles, customers are encouraged to find local organizations that accept baby bottle donations and to contribute this information to our web site, where we are in the process of compiling a national database.
Shelley and I have always believed in the power of knowledge and the necessity of direct action. We cannot wait for change. We must all do what we can to protect our children, our families, and our earth. This is the founding principle of Green to Grow. Our goal is to serve this commitment through our products and through our ability to raise awareness about issues.
I’m glad to say my days of white-knuckle driving are over. (And I expect other drivers are glad of this too.) But what I discovered on the ride home from the hospital that evening remains a guiding truth for me, as I’m sure it is for all of us who are parents. It is the desire to see our children home safe—every day, in every way.