Safe Cosmetics: What Can We Do?
We’re made in the image of God, but we still like to enhance ourselves a little, right? The problem is that many of our personal care products, such as soap, shampoo, deodorant, lipstick, shaving cream, lotion, and even baby wipes, contain toxic chemicals. These products are virtually unregulated in the United States. Read on to learn how to take steps to remove these toxics from your everyday life.
Get information. - Watch “The Story of Cosmetics” at http://storyofstuff.org/cosmetics/.
- Go to www.safecosmetics.org. Sign up for news and action alerts. Click on Get Involved, Join Our e-Mail List.
Use less. Use fewer products with fewer ingredients less often.
Check these Web sites for help in choosing safer products:
- Skin Deep - http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/personal care products rated on health impact and data availability ratings 0 to 2, 3 to 6, 7 to 10— the lower, the better (data ratings range from none to robust)
- GoodGuide - http://www.goodguide.com/variety of products: personal care, food, household, baby, apparel, electronics, appliances, cars, etc., rated on health, environmental, and social impacts ratings 0 to 4.0, 4.1 to 5.9, 6.0 to 10 — the higher, the better
Patronize companies that have signed the Compact for Safe Cosmetics. Check list at www.safecosmetics.org. Click on Companies, The Compact for Safe Cosmetics.
Make some of your own products. Check ingredients first! Recipes are available at www.safecosmetics.org; click on Get Involved, Get Crafty, DIY Recipes.Get political. Ask Congress to pass the Safe Cosmetics Act.
- Write a personal letter, make a personal phone call, or send a personal e-mail to your representatives.
- Sign the Safe Cosmetics petition from the Environmental Working Group. Go to http://www.ewg.org/ and click on Take Action.
- Contact your representative. Go to www.safecosmetics.org and click on Get Involved, Take Action, Ask Congress to Support Safe Cosmetics Legislation.
Get down to business. Call, write, or e-mail the companies that make your favorite cosmetics to let them know you want safe products. Check product packages for contact info.
Get personal. Spread the word to your friends and family.
You can find simple and/or detailed guidance for composting at www.compostguide.com
Alamance County Cooperative Extension Service offers classes, individual advice, and helpful literature on gardening. Soil testing can be done through them also. Go to www.alamance.ces.ncsu.edu or call 336-570-6689.
NC State University, Department of Horticultural Science has lots of helpful information for gardners and landscapers. Go to www.ncstate-plants.net.
Guilford County Prison Farm: We now have a local site for recycling used electronics. Instead of bringing the items to ECC, take them to the Guilford County Prison Farm from 7 am - 3 pm daily. To reach the farm, go through Gibsonville on Hwy 61 North, turn right on County Farm Road, turn right on Howerton Road. Enter the first driveway at the top of the hill and give your items to the officer at the greenhouse. Do not leave them by the fence. Items that can be recycled are: Computers, Televisions, Cell phones, DVD players, Small appliances, Microwaves, Stereos, Electronic toys & games. For more information, call the Prison Farm 641-2630.
ECOFLO, Inc. in Greensboro accepts electronics. The facility is located at 2750 Patterson St. (336) 373-2196. Go to www.ecoflow.com and click on the Household Waste section for a list of materials they accept.
Gibsonville is covered with curbside service.
ECOFLO, Inc. (mentioned above) will accept household batteries from ECC members. You can also leave them in the battery collection box under the mailboxes in the downstairs hall at ECC. Tanya Gold will take them to ECOFLO.
Best Buy in Alamance and Guilford counties will accept household batteries, as well as batteries from cell phones, cordless phones, laptops, camcorders, etc. Drop boxes are located near the front of the store.Cell phone and computer batteries (as well as unbroken compact fluorescent bulbs) can be recycled at Home Depot.
DISPOSAL OF ELECTRONICS
Electronics include televisions, computers, cell phones, regular phones, radios, tape and CD players, VCR’s and DVD players, electric razors, hairdryers, small kitchen appliances, etc.
At www.earth911, when you type in your zip code, you can find a list of some nearby recycling resources for electronics (and other things). Additional resources are listed below.
For towns with no established curbside service, items can be taken to the following:
Alamance County Landfill: 2701 Austin Quarter Road, Graham. (336) 376-8902. www.alamance-nc.com/d/landfill/electronics-recycling.html lists items accepted. No tipping fees apply.
C&H Metals: 105 Stone St., Haw River. (336) 578-4994. Call first to be sure it’s open. Charge of $6.75 for each monitor or TV because of glass.
Carolina Environmental: 3149 Lear Dr., Burlington. (336) 229-0058. Call first to be sure it’s open. Charge of $.50 per pound for any circuit board or screen (monitor or TV).
Goodwill Store: 2320 Maple Ave., Burlington. (336) 228-0961. Old computers and other electronics in working condition.
MebTec Environmental Recovery: 1404 Dogwood Way , Mebane. (336) 266-9146. M–F 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Accepts and responsibly disposes of a large variety of electronic equipment. Individuals can drop off unwanted items at their facility. For businesses, they offer pick-up services and walk-throughs at the facility to help determine and manage e-waste disposal needs. Their website,www.mebtecrecovery.com, has a list of items they accept and much good information. With a few exceptions, there is no charge for their disposal services. Call ahead to make sure they are in the office before going there.
Things I Can Do to Reduce Global Warming
___ turn off the water when brushing my teeth
___ limit showers to five minutes
___ install an efficient showerhead and low-flow faucet aerators
___ drink water from reusable bottles rather than bottled water
___ run only full loads in the washing machine and dishwasher
___ buy only water-saving and energy-saving appliances
___ decrease volume of water in the toilet tank or flush sparingly
___ plan ahead to combine errands and avoid rush hour traffic
___ carpool, walk, or bike to my destination whenever possible
___ check my tires regularly because underinflated tires waste gas
___ avoid aggressive driving and speeding
___ avoid idling my car for more than a minute
___ make my next vehicle purchase a fuel-efficient one
___ turn off unnecessary lights in my home and workplace
___ switch most of my light bulbs to compact fluorescents or LEDs
___ use rechargeable batteries and recycle old batteries
___ put “energy vampires” (computers, printers, TVs, etc.) on a power strip, and turn them off completely when not in use
___ purchase blocks of NC GreenPower
___ caulk and weather-strip doors and windows
___ stop receiving unwanted catalogues ( www.cataloguechoice.com )
___ turn my water heater down to 120 degrees
___ wear warmer/cooler clothes rather than adjusting the thermostat
___ lower the thermostat by 3 degrees in winter and raise it by 3 degrees in summer
___ install a programmable thermostat
___ buy local and organic foods
___ have at least one meat-free meal per week
___ recycle aluminum, glass, plastic, paper, and cardboard
___ avoid using disposable cups, plates, and utensils
___ plant a garden or plant trees
Healthy Local Foods: Support your local Farmer’s Market. The Authentically Alamance Farmers' Market at Elon Community Church runs April - May, every Thursday, 3-6:30 pm. Learn more here!
Company Shops Market in downtown Burlington will sell food from local farmers. It is renovating an old grocery store at 268 E. Front St. To find out more or join the coop, go to www.companyshopsmarket.coop or call 336-314-1972
Earth 911 has listings of recycling resources near you, as well as “green” lifestyle articles. Go to www.earth911.com
Faith Response to Environmental Issues:
North Carolina Power and Light is an interfaith organization that provides creation care information, resources, and speakers to religious groups. They also spotlight environmental legislation. Go to www.ncipl.org
The information below was highlighted during worship, February 27, 2011:
Resources for Living Green
Practically Green. Go to the Web site and take the five-minute quiz. It’ll help you assess how green you are and help you make a plan for further protecting the earth. Fun, easy, helpful. www.practicallygreen.com
The Daily Green. This is a consumer’s guide to navigating green products. It also has lots of tips on living in an earth-friendly way. www.thedailygreen.com
Earth 911. This Web site is dedicated to helping you find recycling resources in your area. Simply type in your zip code along with what you want to recycle, and your local resources will be displayed. earth911.com
North Carolina Interfaith Power and Light. This is a faith-based response to the environmental crisis. It emphasizes loving God and all life by caring for creation. It lists available programs and resources for congregations and individuals. It also alerts us to important environmental issues and legislation. www.ncipl.org
Carbon Offset Calculator
Here is a simplified way of determining what amount of money donated to the ECC Solar Panel Fund would offset the carbon that your travel has put into the atmosphere.
By motor vehicle:
Determine how many gallons of gasoline you burned on your trip. You could add this up if you keep track of your gas usage. Or you could divide the number of miles you traveled by the miles per gallon that your car averages.
To convert the gallons burned to pounds of CO2 produced. multiply the gallons by 18.75 pounds. For instance, if you burned 30 gallons of gas, multiply that by 18.75 to get 562.5 pounds of CO2.
Now multiply the pounds of CO2 by $.106. That will give you the appropriate donation to offset the carbon produced by your trip. In the above example, multiplying 562.5 pounds of CO2 by $.106 gives you the donation total of $59.63. Or you could just make it $60.
Go to calculator.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx?tab=3
The result of your calculation will appear in metric tons of CO2. Convert this to pounds of CO2 by multiplying the metric tons by 2204.6. Thus 2 metric tons multiplied by 2204.6 would equal 4409.2 pounds.
Then, once again, you multiply the number of pounds by $.106 to determine the donation to the ECC solar panel fund that would be appropriate as your carbon offset. In the above example, you would multiply 4409.2 times $.106 to get $469.38.