July 25th, 2017

5 Things You Need to Know About Greener Sunscreen.

Great Green Sunscreen Info Graphic

Sunscreen is one of those things we are supposed to apply liberally to our arms, legs, face, kids… so what’s actually IN it? How does it work? Are some sunscreens ‘greener’ than others? Here’s some information for your consideration from the London Drugs’ What’s the Green Deal Team:

1. How sunscreen works: There are 2 types:

MINERAL sunscreen creates a layer of particles (zinc or titanium oxide) that deflect the sun’s rays.
Effective immediately
Does not degrade from UV exposure
Does not penetrate the skin
Also effective against UVA rays
Can leave white residue

CHEMICAL sunscreen uses compounds that absorb the sun’s rays and turn them into non-damaging wavelengths.
Easy to apply, non-whitening
Requires wait time to be effective
Chemicals can penetrate skin
Chemicals degrade when exposed to UV

2. Chemical Sunscreen Ingredients
Chemical sunscreens typically contain a combination of two to six of the following active ingredients:
Recently, concerns have been raised about long-term safety of some of these ingredients, particularly oxybenzone (benzophenone-3 ) which, in addition to sun protection, acts as a penetration enhancer. This chemical has been linked to allergies, hormone disruption, and cellular damage.
(Oxybenzone is present in over 500 other North American cosmetic items.)  1

Watch the Spray!
Spray sunscreens have increased in popularity, but some experts don’t recommend them, because of the hazard of inhaling chemicals and particles. 2

3.Look for Broad Spectrum Protection
The suns rays come in different lengths, and it’s a good idea to protect against them all.
UVA radiation
Goes deeper into the skin (dermis).
Causes premature aging and wrinkles.
Causes tanning.
UVB radiation
Affects the skin’s surface (epidermis).
Contributes most to burning of skin.
Damages your eyes. 5

4. Is Higher SPF Better?
People assume that they get twice as much protection from SPF 100 sunscreen as from SPF 50. In reality, the extra protection may be negligible. Used correctly, sunscreen with SPF values in the range of 30 to 50 will offer adequate protection, even for people most sensitive to sunburn.6

UV protection does not follow a linear relationship, meaning that if you apply half of the recommended amount you get LESS than half of the labeled SPF protection.

5. Protect ecosystems and coral too – Biodegradable and Reef Safe options
Researchers have identified four common sunscreen chemicals as toxic to coral health. (oxybenzone butylparaben, octinoxate and a chemical called 4MBC)
Unfortunately, 25 to 60 million bottles worth of sunscreen chemicals wash off into coral reef areas each year. Sunscreens with titanium oxide or zinc oxide, (natural mineral ingredients), have not been found harmful to corals. 4 If you are swimming in nature, choose one of these options.

Great Green Sunscreen Options
London Drugs is pleased to offer a range of sunscreen options. Here are some choices that protect as sustainably as possible:

Aveeno Mineral & Aveeno Baby
Mineral based protection
UVA, UVB protection

Badger Sunscreens
Non-Nano Zinc Oxide Mineral Protection
87% organic ingredients
UVA, UVB protection
What’s the Green Deal Featured

Boo Bamboo Natural Sunscreen
Active ingredient: Zinc Oxide, Titanium Oxide
UVA, UVB protection
Made in Canada

Goddess Garden
Certified organic
Non-Nano, Reef Safe, Non-GMO, Biodegradable
Vegan, Cruelty Free, Paraben and Phthalate Free
UVA, UVB protection
What’s the Green Deal Featured

Green Beaver
Non-nano zinc oxide and titanium oxide mineral protection
100% natural, biodegradable and reef friendly
Made in Canada
UVA, UVB protection
What’s the Green Deal Featured

Neutrogena Sheer Zinc
Active ingredient: Zinc Oxide
UVA, UVB protection

Trying a new sunscreen?
Test a little on a small area of skin. If you have a reaction, please bring the product back.

LEARN MORE at greendeal.ca 
Blogs, videos, articles & products to help you live a little greener.


Source: London Drugs Health Blog 2014 – http://healthblog.londondrugs.com/suncare-update-2014
Source: Environmental Working Group Sunscreen Report 2017 – http://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/executive-summary/#.WW_md4qQxE5
ENvironmental Working Group – Do the Chemicals in your sunscreen damage fragile coral reefs? – http://www.ewg.org/enviroblog/2016/07/do-chemicals-your-sunscreen-damage-fragile-coral-reefs#.WW_vvIqQxE4
US National Park Service Bulletin – Protect Yourself, Protect the Reef! – https://cdhc.noaa.gov/_docs/Site%20Bulletin_Sunscreen_final.pdf
Canadian Skin Cancer Foundtion -http://www.canadianskincancerfoundation.com/sun-screen.html
Environmental Working Group – What’s wrong with high SPF? – http://www.ewg.org/sunscreen/report/whats-wrong-with-high-spf/#.WW_054qQxE4

June 17th, 2015

Four Green Cleaners Face Off in the Greener Cleaner Showdown!

It’s Spring Cleaning time at the cabin, so we put some of our Green Deal featured spray cleaners to the test with some duct tape and an old windsurfer.

Attitude, Method, Seventh Generation and GreenWorks all brought their triggers to the corral, and we compared them for ingredients, packaging, corporate responsibility, cleaning power and of course, price! Check out the results below.  (Click here for PDF view)


April 28th, 2015

First Green Calgary Rain Barrel Sale of the Season a Huge Success !


Calgarians are making a big difference, significantly decreasing water consumption

On April 18th, London Drugs hosted Green Calgary for the first Rain Barrel & Composter Sale of the season. We are thrilled to announce that it was a sellout event with a record 161 rain barrels and 32 composters sold.

It’s inspiring to see so many Calgarians changing their behaviour towards water consumption and together we are making a big difference! Despite seeing the largest population increase on record in 2014 – 38,508 new people – total water consumption decreased 2.1 billion litres from 2013.

Every rain barrel helps conserve even more. It’s not too late to get yours!

Upcoming London Drugs Rain Barrel Event Dates:

Sat, May 30, 9AM-12PM
London Drugs – 3545-32 Ave NE

Sat, June 13, 9AM-12PM
London Drugs Royal Oak – 500-8888 Country Hills Blvd NW

Sat, June 20, 9AM-12PM
London Drugs Brentwood – 3630 Brentwood Rd NW

Other Locations and Rain Barrel Event Dates:

Sat, April 25, 9AM-12PM
First Calgary Oakridge – 70-2580 Southland Drive SW

Sat, May 2, 9AM-12PM
Truckload, Crowfoot RONA – 90 Crowfoot Way NW

Sat, May 9, 9AM-12PM
First Calgary Transcanada – 510-16 Ave NE

Sat, May 23, 9AM-12PM
First Calgary Signal Hill – 5735 Signal Hill Ctr SW

Sat, June 6, 9AM-12PM
First Calgary Shawnessy – 110-70 Shawville Blvd SE

All proceeds from the sales go to support Green Calgary’s programs that are dedicated to empowering people to create healthy homes, workplaces, and communities.

June 23rd, 2014

Olympic Village Residents Celebrate Summer with a Green Barbecue and a visit from What’s the Green Deal.

Photo: Motoi Matsukura

Photos: Motoi Matsukura

One of London Drugs’ most sustainable stores is located in the heart of Olympic Village, a condominium community on the shores of Vancouver’s False Creek. Residents in a local building invited London Drugs’ Green Deal representative Lorne Craig to join them and share some information on recycling programs at their local store. We also shared some hot dogs, homemade halvah, corn salad, watermelon, and sparkling conversation on all manner of green topics.

Kayak-green-bbq-lorne-motoiTheir building is one of the energy-efficient developments created as part of the original athletes’ village for the 2010 games in Vancouver. Residents who live there seem to really embrace the idea of ‘urban village’ living, and they are quite knowledgeable about sustainability issues. Several people also mentioned that having a local ‘everything’ store like London Drugs within walking distance helps reduce trips they need to make by car.

“We were able to surprise a few folks with the depth of London Drugs in-store recycling,” says Lorne Craig, “Most people knew we took back batteries and plastic bags, but our ability to also handle small appliances and electronics right at the store raised more than a few eyebrows.”

To learn a bit more about the recycling rates and sustainability of our Olympic Village London Drugs location, and for all our stores, check out the Green Deal videos below.
If your community organization wants to learn more about What’s the Green Deal, recycling or sustainability, talk to your local London Drugs manager or drop us a line on Twitter @WTGreenDeal.

See you on the patio!


June 10th, 2014

Quick Tips for Greening Your Neighbour Day Event


To celebrate how Calgarians came together after the worst flood in its history, many communities will be hosting celebrations on Neighbour Day, June 21st. The flood created an estimated one year’s worth of garbage in Calgary in only a few hours. So when you are planning your commemorative event – or  any backyard BBQ or block party – it’s important to think about minimizing the waste.
Here are a few of the ways you can green your event:

non-paper-platesMake It a BOYD Party

If you’re hosting a BBQ or potluck party, an easy way to reduce the amount of waste created is to ask your neighbours to bring their own dishes. “This not only helps reduce the amount of waste being thrown away at the end, but it also saves you some money and cleanup,” says Louise Daly, Manager of Events with Green Calgary. It’s also important to have some disposable plates on hand in case people forget to bring their own. World Centric sustainable and compostable fibre plates are a great green option. They are made from wheatstraw fiber – an annually renewable resource – and they are soak proof.

Have a Dishwashing Station

If your neighbours are on-board with bringing their own dishes, have a dishwashing station that allows them to clean up their plates, cutlery, and cups afterwards so that you can minimize the mess. All you’ll need is dish soap, a few wash tubs and some wash cloths and you’ll be all set for your eco-friendly potluck or barbeque!

Choose Green Food & Beverage Options

Food and beverage are a big part of any event, but they can create a lot of waste. To keep your community space clean after the big party, Green Calgary recommends opting for food and beverage items that minimize waste – this can be a wide variety of things, from providing tap water instead of bottled water to serving drinks and condiments in bulk form.  Asking your neighbours to bring their own reusable water bottle  and provide jugs of tap water instead of individual disposable bottles for re-filling.

Recycle & Compost Leftovers

Set up waste stations at your event that include recycling and compost bins in addition to garbage bins; this way, your community can recycle and compost as much as possible. If you use compostable dishware like fibre plates, be sure to let your neighbours know they can go in the compost bins. Bag to Earth food waste bags  are made from all natural materials and are designed to disappear fully into the earth: perfect for disposing of food scraps and other compostable materials at your party.

Since the 2008 launch of  What’s the Green Deal, London Drugs now tallies more than 42 million pounds of materials recycled including over a million kilograms of electronics and devices, and over 200,000 pounds of Styrofoam.

June 21st, 2013

It’s time for green beach days and guilt-free picnics.


Sustainable living doesn’t mean you have to give up on the summer fun. If you’re throwing a beach party and don’t want to worry about washing dishes, World Centric has a line of almost-guilt-free disposable dinnerware. The plates and bowls are made from wheat straw fiber instead of trees. Their cups are made from paper and 100% bio-based lining instead of petroleum-based plastic. World Centric cutlery is made from TPLA, consisting of 70% non-GMO corn and 30% talc. All of their products conform to the ASTM D-6400 standard of biodegradability, meaning they break down in commercial composters in 3-6 months. (Should be no problem for municipal systems like those used by Vancouver’s Green Bin program) If you’re a real green picnic geek, you can learn more on the World Centric website.

recycled-platesIf throwing away your plate still seems evil, try the reusable plates and bowls from Preserve. Made in the USA from 100% recycled plastic, (including take-out containers) these green beauties are BPA-free and dishwasher safe. Preserve will even take them back and recycle therm AGAIN when you are done.

green-sunscreensAs you are basking in your righteous green-ness, don’t forget to keep the warming sun at bay with sunscreen alternatives by Green Beaver and Badger. Green Beaver Sunscreen is certified organic, biodegradable and gluten-free. The Badger formula is non-nano, biodegradable and water resistant.

Barbecue and beach season await, so get out there and enjoy the world. And leave a smaller footprint at the same time.

June 8th, 2013

Taming the Trash at the Calgary Stampede


For over 100 years, the Calgary Stampede has been hootin’ and hollerin’, and one of its greatest traditions is the Pancake Breakfast. Unfortunately, with hundreds of these festivities throughout town, the annual Stampede ‘trash hangover’ is getting a bit wild.

Now an innovative community collaboration is helping one community association host their annual flapjack festivities without the waste. London Drugs is sponsoring Green Calgary to divert waste from the Rocky Ridge Royal Oak Community Association’s (RRROCA) Stampede breakfast and inspire other community groups to celebrate Stampede with sustainability in mind.

Last year, over 2,000 people attended the RRROCA Stampede Breakfast, leaving garbage bins overflowing.
Green Calgary and Green Events consultant, Lauren Minuk, will be working with RRROCA to divert as much waste as possible, with re-usable plates, water stations, composting, recycling and more.

Come see what a greener breakfast looks like July 6, 2013 from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the North West Family Church (10307 Eamon Road NW).

“Our commitment extends beyond our stores, to the communities we serve and into the homes of our customers,” says Clint Mahlman, Senior Vice President and COO of London Drugs. “Sponsoring waste reduction at the RRROCA Stampede Breakfast is a natural extension of our in-store waste reduction and recycling programs.”


September 1st, 2011

How to control fruit flies without poisoning your pad.

At this time of year, kitchens are filled with the bounty of summer’s harvest; ripe berries, healthy fruit and of course, fruit flies. Thankfully, Drosophilidae are not as bloodthirsty as mosquitoes, but they breed like small winged rabbits and are surprisingly difficult to squish.

If you want to control the annual pilgrimage of these pests without coating your organic bananas in a fog of toxic insecticide, take a look at the Tanglefoot Fruit Fly Trap. It’s basically a small jar that holds a natural attractant and a piece of sticky card. A special entrance tunnel means the flies can check in anytime they like, but find it hard to leave. It’s odourless and non-toxic. The lure and sticky cards are refillable, so you can use the trap year after year, and it really works. (Our family has successfully used the Tanglefoot trap for the last two fruit fly seasons)
Tanglefoot also makes traps for house flies, pantry moths and wasps.

Now if only they could develop a snare for annoying summer house guests…

June 27th, 2011

Sunscreen – What’s the Green Deal on not turning pink?

Well, it’s officially time to write the sunscreen blog, even though (in Vancouver anyway) the golden orb has been a bit of a no-show so far. London Drugs has a huge variety of sunscreen choices, and talking to a Beauty Advisor will get you way more info than can be listed here. But I wanted to feature a few alternative options to consider if living a little greener is one of your summer priorities.

What are Mineral Sunscreens and why are they becoming more popular?
Most sunscreens work by being absorbed into the skin, where their chemicals then absorb UVA and UVB rays. Mineral sunscreens don’t get absorbed the same way. They stay on the skin’s surface, creating a barrier (of zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide) to reflect the sun’s rays. Some people prefer the idea of surface protection, and others may find mineral formulas less irritating to sensitive skin. An additional benefit is that mineral sunscreens work as soon as you apply them – you don’t have to wait for them to soak in.

Nature’s Gate Mineral Kids SPF 20
Pediatrician tested and specially developed for children’s sensitive skin, this fragrance-free formula offers UVA/UVB broad spectrum protection. It’s also paraben free. All the ingredients are listed on their website, which we at What’s the Green Deal always appreciate.
Badger SPF 30 Lightly Scented and Unscented
These formulas have 18.5% uncoated, non-nano zinc oxide as their active ingredient. Totally natural and chemical-free, the Badger website says they are naturally water resistant, safe for children of all ages and block both UVA and UVB rays. Extra Green Deal points for their 50% post-consumer-recycled #2 plastic packaging as well.
Burts Bees Sunscreen with Hemp Seed Oil
The Burts Bees website calls this a ‘chemical-free’ sunscreen, as its active ingredient, titanium dioxide, occurs naturally as the mineral rutile. Like all BB products, it’s also paraben-free and petrochemical free.
Hawaiian Tropic Island Sport 30 Biodegradable
It’s important to note that just because chemical sunscreens get absorbed, that doesn’t mean they are bad. And some, like this biodegradable Hawaiian Tropic product, can be considerably better for sensitive environments. When chemicals from regular sunscreen wash off into the ocean, they may interact with marine creatures, including coral reefs. For this reason, Mexico allows only biodegradable sunscreen. Sport 30 comes in a recyclable bottle with a nifty interlocking 60ml size, which unfortunately uses more plastic in its manufacture. But if you refill the smaller bottle, at least it’s convenient and reusable. Fish may thank you.

But none of this matters if you don’t apply it enough.
Almost all research drives this point home. Most of us apply our sunscreen too little, too late and forget to reapply after 2 hours. (Yes, every 2 hours!) So whether you choose mineral, biodegradable or chemical sunscreen, keep slapping it on. Or you will be the real RED deal.