Sustainable Products

  • Glass, Metal, Plastic? Choosing the Right Water Bottle

    WaterDrop_484x484You know proper hydration is critical in maintaining great health and strong immunity. Water’s multitude of benefits includes increased metabolism, boosts in energy, healthy, glowing skin, and optimal brain and kidney function (and pretty much every other organ in your body!).

    Meeting the recommended 91 oz per day intake of fluids, however, can be a challenge. To get started on the path to better hydration, make sure you’re keeping fluids accessible at all times by getting into the habit of keeping a refillable water bottle nearby.

    When it comes to selecting a bottle, the market is saturated with options. From body construction (plastic, aluminum, steel, glass) to lid technology (widemouth, straw sippers, attached caps and loop-handled tops) and insulation (single-wall to triple-wall insulation), you’ll find an endless variety of brands and features to consider. To simplify your search, we’ve created a list of qualities to consider when picking out your bottle, helping to ensure you’ll find exactly what you need to stay hydrated in the new year.

    1. Easy drinking. Think about your preferred drinking method, and make it as convenient as possible to hydrate properly—would you be more likely to drink through a straw or traditional cap? Though most bottles offer lids with a standard spout, Lifefactory bottles offer a straw top option. (Fun fact: Studies have shown that drinking through a straw can help increase water intake with each sip). Also, look for leak-proof caps to prevent spills—crucial for your bag or near your laptop.
    1. Safety first. You’ve likely heard of concerns over bisphenol A, an industrial chemical used to make food storage products—including disposable water bottles—since the 1960s. This potentially harmful chemical is thought to leach into water from the packaging source; fortunately, water bottles made with BPA are rare these days (and you’ll only find BPA-free water bottles at and in our stores). Still concerned about plastic? Lifefactory bottles are made with glass to eliminate worries and preserve taste, and are encased in a silicon sleeve for non-slip handling and breakage prevention.
    1. Portability and packability. Consider how and where you’ll be toting your bottle. For use at your desk, a larger 22 oz or 1 L bottle will keep you hydrated throughout the day. For stashing in your purse or pack, Lifefactory offers a smaller 9 oz version of its glass silicon-sleeved bottle—perfect for errand-running or a short outing.Would a handle make you more likely to carry your bottle with you? Lifefactory’s loop bottle cap fits on its 22 and 16 oz bottles, making it easy to carry or attach to a backpack. And if you’ve challenged yourself to increase your water intake significantly, try the 2.2 L Enviro Bottle to hold your entire daily water requirement. The Enviro is perfect for a New Year’s cleanse, long workouts, a day at the beach or camping trips. This hefty bottle also features an attached cap (no more lost caps!), a nylon carry strap for over-the shoulder carrying and a jumbo handle for easy mobility. (Find it in Pharmaca stores).
    1. For the kiddos. To survive around little ones, this bottle has to pass the kid test: leak-proof, spill-proof, shatter-proof—essentially, bombproof. That’s where Kid Basix’s stainless steel Sippy Bottle2 comes in, featuring handles for two-handed holding, a wide and stable base, dust cap to keep the spout clean, nubbed sleeve for no-slip grip, leak-proof and spill-proof construction, and—best of all—a lid that converts from sippy to straw, for when your child decides it’s time to drink like the big kids. For even younger sippers, the Lifefactory Glass Baby Bottle provides a clean taste without the worry, in 4 oz and 9 oz versions.
    1. Let’s face it—looks matter. Earthlust’s food-grade stainless steel bottles are available in a range of cool, eye-catching graphics, making them stand out from the crowd. Choose from geometric designs, animal graphics (we like the cool matte black 1 L stallion and the 13 oz parakeet bottles), colorful insects or botanical collections.
    1. Hot and cold. Water bottle technology has advanced significantly, allowing liquids to stay hot or cold for extended periods of time. Pharmaca’s Triple Insulated Hot & Cold Beverage Bottle is great for keeping your coffee hot for up to 8 hours, and features a removable strainer for coffee and tea. It’s even great for soup! But that’s not all—this multi-use bottle also keeps cold drinks cold for up to 36 hours, and the wide mouth easily accommodates ice cubes. The attachable cap makes it easy to prevent lost lids.
  • Just Add Vinegar: Cleaning Humidifiers with Crane

    Crane Drop Humidifier in AquaFrom our friends at Crane USA

    Uses for humidifiers range from preventing dry skin in the winter to relieving allergies to keeping wood furniture from cracking. No matter what you’re using it for, cleaning your humidifier regularly helps the machine run properly and prevents buildup of minerals and bacteria. Each day, be sure to dump out excess water from the humidifier, and clean the entire unit about once per week.

    A few tablespoons of vinegar and a few cups of water can go a long way in the maintenance of your humidifier. Simply add two tablespoons of vinegar (feel free to estimate this measurement) and two cups of water to the tank and shake to distribute the solution. Then dump it out. Add the same amount of vinegar and water to the base and let sit for 20-30 minutes and scrub in any tight areas with a Q-Tip. Then dump it out. Be sure to rinse the tank and base when you’ve finished!

    Still have trouble removing buildup? To help scrub the inside of the tank, try using a baby bottle brush, which are usually wire and able to bend into the hard to reach places of the tank. You can also use crushed ice. Add a few cups of crushed ice cubes into the tank with a cup of water. This won’t scratch the tank, and the ice cubes will act as scrubbers, removing any buildup from the inside of your tank.

  • Crane’s Humidifiers: A Model for Sustainability and Healthy Living

    iStock_000001921014SmallFrom our friends at Crane USA

    Since the company’s inception just 10 years ago, Crane’s goal has been to create the best humidifier for every member of the family, from newborns to grandparents. Crane not only looks out for people’s health during cold and flu season, but their futures as well; Crane’s products help reduce emissions and pollution so people worldwide can live healthy lives for generations to come.

    Crane’s post-industrial recycled packaging is becoming even more sustainable with this year’s mission to remove the styrofoam carton. By switching to a post-consumer recycled cardboard pulp, Crane is proud to share the exciting fact that only recycled cardboard materials from homes and businesses go into creating their packaging, which means nothing needs to go in a landfill!

    Additionally, Crane’s recyclable packaging is made using an emission-free production process. The packages sit on giant carts in the sun until the cardboard cartons are dried and set. Any leftover water from this process is either added back into the cardboard pulp mixture or evaporated during the drying process.

    This all happens before the humidifiers even get to your home. But it doesn’t stop there! A regular household light bulb uses more energy than a Crane humidifier, making it one of the most energy-efficient humidifiers on the market. Crane’s humidifiers are also completely recyclable themselves: the mist lid and tanks can go into your regular plastic recycling stream and the base of the humidifier can be recycled through most electronic recycling programs.

    Crane is committed to making sustainable improvements through all facets of their company and products.

  • Make Earth Day Every Day

    At Pharmaca, we’re committed to celebrating and preserving the earth, and we take pride in our offering of environmentally friendly products, from health and beauty items to supplements to non-toxic home products. Here are just a few terrific things you’ll find at Pharmaca that are great for you and the environment:

    Reusable water bottles

    Carry a reusable bottle and you’ve got easy access to hydration all day long. BPA-free and available in a variety of fun styles and colors, these non-leaching bottles are the perfect way to quench your thirst and eliminate the need for disposable bottles.

    Eco-Fact: Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour.

    Skincare made with organic and biodynamic ingredients

    Choose cleansers, moisturizers and makeup from conscientious producers like Juice Beauty, Jurlique and Primavera. Their support for organic farms keeps pesticides out of the environment—and off of your skin!

    Recycled-plastic goods

    From cute eyeglasses from Zoom to Preserve’s sturdy toothbrushes, purchasing goods made of recycled plastic keeps it out of landfills, saves energy and increases demand for these types of products.

    Eco-Fact: Recycling 1 ton of plastic saves 7.4 cubic yards of landfill space.

    Eco-friendly household cleaners

    Look for detergents and cleansers from Seventh Generation, Mrs. Meyer's and Biokleen. They’re great at getting the dirt out without filling your home with chemicals like phosphates or petroleum products. Pharmaca also helps conserve plastic by offering refillable, recyclable containers and refill pouches.

    Recycled content paper products

    Pick up Seventh Generation's tissues, feminine care products and bath tissue made from post-consumer-content recycled paper and you’ll go a long way toward conserving our forests.

    Eco-Fact: Each year, nearly 900 million trees are cut down to provide raw materials for American paper and pulp mills.

    Wild-crafted, organic supplements and herbal remedies

    Pharmaca carries a diverse assortment of supplements from manufacturers like New Chapter, Herb Pharm and Reserveage Organics who carefully harvest only the finest-quality ingredients. Filled with organic roots and mushrooms or wild-crafted herbs that are sustainably gathered from their natural habitat, these supplements often come in recyclable packaging.

    Rechargeable batteries

    About 14 million disposable batteries end up in landfills each year, allowing chemicals like mercury and cadmium to leach into groundwater. But there’s no need to throw out rechargeables—just pop them in the recharger for a few hours and you’re good to go!

    Eco-Fact: Each rechargeable battery can replace 500 to 1,000 disposables.

  • Your Spring Greening Checklist

    It’s almost Earth Day...why not take advantage of this opportunity to start fresh (and green)? Here are a few ideas we love for greening your spring.

    Get your garden growing
    Growing your own food can be one of the most rewarding and environmentally friendly activities we can engage in. Get started now and you’ll have fresh (and local!) veggies on your plate in no time. New to gardening? Check out Whole Living’s Beginner’s Guide to Organic Gardening.

    Conventional wisdom says to wait to plant seeds outside until after the last frost—usually around Mother’s Day (check out the Farmer’s Almanac for planting recommendations by zip code). Whether you’re planning a serious vegetable garden or just a few herbs, start planning your plot with certified organic seeds from Seeds of Change (buy one, get one free in stores in April!).

    Give your home a deep clean

    Cleaning out your home’s nooks and crannies doesn’t require toxic chemicals—just a little elbow grease and some eco-friendly cleaning products from Pharmaca.

    According to a 2008 story in US News and World Report, exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in some household cleaners can reduce lung function or increase the risk of asthma. Companies aren’t required to list the ingredients in their cleaning products and air fresheners, so you never know what hazardous toxins are lurking in there.

    Instead, scrub the tub with Mrs. Meyer’s Surface Scrub, get mirrors sparkling with Seventh Generation’s Multi-Surface Cleaner, and throw the clothes in the washer with a Grab Green Laundry Detergent Pod.

    Do a spring cleanse

    “Dieting and cleansing is most effective during this time of year,” says Kate Brainard, ND. “Spring is a time of new growth and restarts, as your body is following the biorhythms of the planet.”

    Help your body clean out the liver and gall bladder, as well as purify the blood, with a whole body cleanse. Start by incorporating some of the new fruits and veggies coming up, then get into a detox. Kate likes to recommend Renew Life’s First Cleanse, a simple 14-day cleanse that includes a morning and evening formula that target multiple organs all at once. While you’re cleansing, Kate says, stay away from complex carbohydrates, refined sugars and saturated fats, and drink lots of water.

    Make over your look

    When flip-flops and sundresses beckon, it’s time to integrate some fresh spring colors and trends into your makeup routine.

    Cosmetics can be one of the most important areas to make sure you’re getting the cleanest products, since 60 percent of what we put on our skin gets absorbed into our bodies. That’s an astonishing number, especially considering people use an average of 10 different cosmetics or personal care products on their skin each day.

    Rest easy with some of our favorite (non-toxic) spring trends:

    All-in-one makeup kits: We love My Steppes from jane iredale, a three-step that includes complementary bronzer, blush and two shades of lip glosses. Available in Cool and Warm palettes. Perfect for slipping in the beach bag to go from day to night!

    Colored eyeliner on the lower lash line: Pick up ZuZu Luxe eyeliner in brilliant colors like Iguana, Indigo or South Pacific. Line the lower lid with color, then soften the look by applying a corresponding eyeshadow directly on top of the eyeliner. Instantly brightens and adds flair for a night on the town.

    Suggested ZuZu combinations:
    Blue eyes – Slate eyeliner with Gem eyeshadow
    Green eyes – Indigo eyeliner with Odyssey eyeshadow
    Brown eyes – Ocean eyeliner with Ice Princess eyeshadow OR Tobacco eyeliner with Sahara eyeshadow

    Lip and cheek stains: Another double-duty item to stash in your purse. Look for jane iredale’s Forever Pink Just Kissed Lip and Cheek Stain. This combination lip and cheek stain, filled with nourishing plant-based ingredients, naturally adjusts to your chemistry to provide just the right pink hue for cheeks and lips.

    Stop into Pharmaca today for more great ideas about spring greening!

  • Have you heard about Meatless Monday?

    A new movement is gaining momentum around the world: It's called Meatless Monday, and the goal is to bring awareness to our tendency to overconsume animal products. Ultimately, it serves as a way to improve our health and lessen our impact on the environment.

    According to the campaign: "On average, Americans consume 8 ounces of meat per day – 45% more than the USDA recommends. Going meatless once a week can reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. It can also help limit your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel."

    If you've ever talked to a Pharmaca practitioner, they've probably recommended a diet full of leafy greens and whole grains--and low in foods high in saturated fat like red meat. Meatless Mondays are the perfect way to pay more attention to your diet, to try healthy new recipes and to feel good about eating food that isn't so taxing on the environment.

    Want to join the Meatless Monday movement? Sign the pledge at, find delicious recipes on Whole Living's blog every Monday and encourage your friends and family to consider going meatless just one day a week. Doesn't that feel better?

  • New reasons to keep your sunblock natural

    According to a new article in Women’s Health magazine, some common ingredients found in chemical sunscreens could be not only dangerous to your skin, but also to the bodies of water you’re swimming in.

    “Twenty thousand tons of sunscreen wash off swimmers, divers, and surfers into the oceans every year, eventually affecting marine life, according to a 2008 study published in Environmental Health Perspectives,” says the article.

    The offending chemicals? Octinoxate, oxybenzone, parabens, or camphor derivatives, commonly found in sunscreens, can kill hard corals, eventually disrupting the biodiversity of the ecosystems in which they live. If you want to steer clear of these chems (for coral's sake!), Women’s Health recommends Alba’s Mineral Sunblock, a Pharmaca favorite.

    Other interesting tidbits from the article:

    Replace your sunblock often. While most products are made to last up to three years, if they’re baking in the sun or in a hot car, there’s a good chance they’ve lost some efficacy. Our estheticians often recommend replacing your sun care every year no matter what.

    Certain nutrition can actually increase your natural sun protection. The article cites a study in the British Journal of Dermatology that researched the power of the antioxidant lycopene (found in fruits like watermelon and tomatoes).  Women whose diet included 16 mg of lycopene every day for 12 weeks showed a reduction in the damage created by UVA and UVB rays. So keep eating your fruits and veggies--and keep slathering on that good sunblock.

  • Get that garden growing!

    Want some pointers on starting your own organic garden?

    Growing your own food can be one of the most rewarding and environmentally friendly activities we can engage in. Get started now and you’ll have fresh (and local!) veggies on your plate in no time. If you're new to gardening, check out Whole Living’s Beginner’s Guide to Organic Gardening.

    Conventional wisdom says to wait to plant seeds outside until after the last frost—usually around Mother’s Day (check out the Farmer’s Almanac for planting recommendations by zip code).  Whether you’re planning a serious vegetable garden or just a few herbs, start planning your plot with certified organic seeds from Seeds of Change (15% off in April!).

  • Spring Cleaning the Natural Way

    With toxic chemicals showing up in home cleaning agents, beauty care products and even in our streams and water supply, consider taking a fresh look at spring cleaning this year. Pharmaca offers its customers safe, effective and high quality options, so get started this spring by cleaning out your cabinets.

    Corrosive chemicals in many cleaning agents can be harmful to your health as well as the environment. Instead of products with petroleum distillates, phosphates and artificial fragrances, use plant-based natural cleaners made from essential oils, citrus extracts and natural fragrances. We offer a selection of top natural cleaning products from brands like Mrs. Meyer’s and Seventh Generation.

    Once the dust bunnies are banished, consider what may be lurking on your skin. According to the Environmental Working Group, less than 10 percent of the approximately 100,000 synthetic chemicals used in beauty products have been tested for their effects on human health. Choose products that are formulated without coal-tar-based dyes, sodium laureth/lauryl sulfate, formaldehyde or parabens. Companies that have signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics—a pledge to avoid potentially harmful ingredients in beauty care products—include Dr. Bronner's, Dr. Hauschka, Weleda and many more Pharmaca lines.

    Making responsible purchasing decisions for everyday products goes a long way toward a cleaner world. That’s why Pharmaca carries eco-friendly items for those who want their lifestyle to reflect their values. If you believe in supporting organic farming practices to reduce pesticide use in agriculture, try one of our organic cotton towels. Need another pair of reading glasses? We have recycled plastic frames available. From solar-powered cell phone charges to reusable water bottles, our selection makes it easy to live a cleaner, greener lifestyle.

  • Pharmaca's top-rated home cleaning products


    According to an extensive study by the website, some of our favorite eco-friendly cleaning products have earned top honors for effectiveness and safety. The study's authors used environmental impact ratings from Good Guide, researched ingredient safety, and looked for positive reviews to determine the products' efficacy. Where do your home cleaning products stand?

    Pharmaca favorites among them are:
    Dishwashing Soap: Seventh Generation (also in the running: Method)
    Laundry Detergent: Method (also in the running: Seventh Generation and Mrs. Meyers)
    Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Seventh Generation (also in the running: Method)

    Find all of these products at your nearest Pharmaca.

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