Article by David Jenkins
Parents concerned about the costs of sending their children to school are more and more looking to minimise lost property by labelling their childrenâ€™s belongings. There are many online companies that sell a range of labels that can be used to identify all the belongings taken to school. The most widely used of the labels is a vinyl sticker label that can be used for almost anything, even items like lunch boxes and drink bottles that are washed in the family dishwasher. One such company http://www.kidlabels.com recently removed vinyl labels from its website amid concerns for the environment and human health.Vinyl, also known as PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is an environmentally unfriendly chemical compound that is widely used in the construction industry. It is a tough material and can be produced relatively cheaply. However, its toughness causes it to be somewhat inflexible. In order to make it more flexible, it is mixed with chemical additives called phthalates. These give the PVC a more â€œplasticâ€, pliable quality.
However, the phthalates have been known to cause toxins to leak from the PVC and increase the risk of cancer, asthma and allergies. They have also been linked to damage to the reproductive system, the liver and the kidneys. As a result, the EU banned the use of various phthalates in childrenâ€™s toys in 1999 because of concerns that children could become ill if they put the toys in their mouths.
PVC is also used in many other products, such as cosmetics, medical products, shower curtains, car interiors and some types of food packaging. However, several companies have started trying to eliminate PVC from their products. The 2000 Sydney Olympics aimed to use no PVC in its materials, wherever possible.
Other concerns about PVC include the release of dioxins during its production process. Also, dioxins can be released into the atmosphere when PVC is incinerated after use. Similarly, toxins can be released into the soil if PVC is dumped into landfill. And its chemical constitution makes it very difficult (and expensive) to recycle PVC. In other words, PVC can cause problems when it is produced, all through its lifetime and even when it is disposed of.
Polyester labels are a more environmentally friendly alternative to PVC labels. However, polyester labels lack the pliability of PVC labels. They will stick to flasks and bottles, but not on areas that have double curves, such as necks of bottles and some baby bottles. They also have trouble sticking to tight curves like pens and pencils. They are a â€œgreenâ€ solution, but they do not meet all the needs of todayâ€™s kids.
KiD Labels now use a sticker label made of a combination of polypropylene and polyethylene, resulting in a much â€œgreenerâ€ label. For example, the labels do not emit toxins when heated, so they can be used in microwaves. This unique chemical compound also creates a highly flexible label, capable of conforming to double curves and tight curves.
According to Greenpeace, polyester rates better for the environment than PVC but not as good as polyethylene or polypropylene. (PVC scores 1/5, and is the worst. Polyester scores 3/5. Polyethylene & polypropylene score 4/5. Bio-based plastics are the best, scoring 5/5. However, there are currently no bio-based plastics that have all the characteristics that are needed for the labels.)
As the owner of http://www.kidlabels.com I was concerned that the new labels did not come in a wide range of colours like the PVC labels, however I found that the new labels out performed in terms of temperature resistance, and there fore could be used in baby bottle sterilizers. KiD Labels focus is now on supplying better, safer, greener labels and ensuring that only ethical materials and ethical labour practices go into producing their labels.
About the Author
Father of 2 young children. Started in the children’s school label business 3 years ago. Spent the last 2 years searching for a better and safer alternative to the PVC sticker label.
Let’s Meet Up at the Stone Lion ! – Kids at a Japanese Temple
Image by Okinawa Soba (On the Road for a While)
Another fine, hand-colored view by T. ENAMI ca.1898-1908.
Enami’s stereoviews abound with images of children in all forms of work, play, and general hanging around. Japan, like America, (and many countries still today) built half of their country’s wealth on the back of Child Labor. But for these kids, it’s a sunny day off for time with friends.
Enami, who was good at gathering children in front of his camera, usually chose to show them in happier moments of rest or play. Click on "ALL SIZES" above the picture to see the kids in detail.
I wrote the above Flickr title while thinking about the statue of Hachiko, the faithful Akita dog, that stands outside one of the many exits of the Shibuya Train Station in Tokyo. I have left the station via the "Hachiko Exit" many times, meeting up with my friends at the Statue of Hachiko. The only problem I ever encountered was the 100 or more other people who were waiting at the same statue for their own pre-arranged meetings !
The above lion-dog in Kyoto is far removed from Hachiko in Shibuya, but the feeling is the same to me when I see all of these kids gathered together, as if waiting for their friends with a pre-arranged plan. Let’s Meet Up at the Stone Lion !
For more on the photographer see : www.t-enami.org
LOTS MORE OF ENAMI’S CLASSIC IMAGES ARE IN THIS FLICKr COLLECTION : www.flickr.com/photos/24443965@N08/collections/7215761388…