Sunday, May 25, 2014

Make this one small change to your cosmetics (for a safer you and a greener world)

Okay, again, I admit, this is a steal from this month's beauty guide section in Real Simple. Again, apologies for not posting a link, but I think it is too recent to be on the online version.

Real Simple interviewed Jody Villecco, the coordinator for Whole Foods Market on global quality standards (pretty cool job!) about which small change to your cosmetic line up would have the biggest bang for the buck.

"If you would like to keep as many of your conventionally formulated favorites in your routine as possible but still minimize your exposure to synthetics, body lotion is the best switch to make." This is because it covers the largest percentage of your skin.

The article doesn't mention this, but I would imagine, you use more lotion in total than other products, so using a biodegradable/non-synthetic lotion is better for the world too. 

How can I dispose of nail polish safely? Three solutions

The Question

You buy a huge pot of nail polish, only to wear it a couple times. Why does the polish container have to be so big? Does anyone actually ever use all of it?!? Then it just sits there, making you feel guilty for buying it in the first place. How can you get rid of it safely?

The Answer

Alternative 1: I recently read the solution in Real Simple. This month's edition has a section on environmentally friendly cosmetics (Sorry! I can't find the article on their online edition, otherwise I would put the link here). Real Simple found someone from EPA to ask! Enesta Jones, the US EPA spokesperson, said that you should take your old polishes to a household hazardous waste facility (see my blog article about that here and even more about it here). You should also drop off your unused hair dye there too.

Alternative 2:  Here was another good tip the article gave, "If there isn't a HHW facility in your area, let the polishes dry out by loosening the caps and leaving them outside... for 48 hours, then throw them away. This process allows the solvents in the polish to break down and evaporate, which means that they won't seep into the groundwater surrounding a landfill, says Doug Schoon, the president of Schoon Scientific, a company that provides regulatory technical consultation tot he beauty industry."

I admit I don't know who this Schoon guy is, but the advice makes sense. Oxidation -- either through air, sunlight, or fire -- is a good way to break down bad chemicals. This is why so many of the toxic chemicals taken to HHW facilities are incinerated. (FYI, the other way to break down nasty chemicals is by having bacteria eat them up and digest them. I've heard about this being used to break down used plastic baby diapers! Yucky!) Anyway, if you take them to the HHW facility, then poor people can use the nail polishes that you don't want anymore but aren't so old as to be crusty and gross.

Alternative 3: Then, searching on the internet, I found this other cool thing. There is a nail polish company called Zoya that holds an Earth week nail polish exchange, so you can bring in your old polish and exchange it for new ones. They take care of properly disposing the old stuff. Sounds pretty cool, assuming they are sincere (here is the link). I guess the Zoya prides itself on making nail polish that is less hazardous than normal polishes. I've never tried them, so I can't vouch for their products, but it seems like a nice thing to do.

Speaking of which, have you seen some of the Earth Day nails out there? Woah. Some people really get into it. (See youtube tutorial here for the nails pictured below. Holy crap, I could never do that in a hundred years.)