Tiffany Norton of Juniperseed Mercantile tried different kinds of packaging for her delicious lip balms until she found the right one. She sent me one to try in its brand new cardboard tube, and I love it.
Here’s what Tiffany has to say:
Now packaged without plastic and made without beeswax!! I am super excited to share my new paper tube lip balms! They are more than three times the size of a typical little plastic tube, so they will last you quite a long time. And since there is no plastic involved in the packaging (even the label is made of recycled paper), you can recycle or compost the tube after use, and feel good about reducing your plastic impact on the earth. This is absolutely, without a doubt, the greenest way to purchase lip balm. We will even ship your package without plastic tape!
I make and sell breakfast burritos sometimes at school. I just make them the way I like them. Turns out, everyone else likes them just like I do. I’m … Read the rest
Six years ago, I posted a rant about the fact that many commercial facial scrubs contain tiny plastic (polyethylene) beads meant to exfoliate the skin. These beads are too small for water treatment plants to filter out, so they end up in our waterways and eventually the ocean. In the ocean, tiny plastic pieces mix with the zooplankton to enter the food chain. What’s more, plastic in the ocean acts as a sponge, absorbing and concentrating toxic chemicals. It’s one thing when plastic ends up there inadvertently, but it’s inexcusable for companies to produce plastic products intentionally meant to be flushed down the drain.
Now, it turns out, plastic particles aren’t just in facial scrubs, and they aren’t only made of polyethylene. According to a recent position paper (PDF) (PDF) published this year by a coalition of ocean advocacy groups lead by 5Gyres:
Microplastic particles and microbeads … Read the rest
I suppose I should be careful when using the term bath salts these days. I could have said lip balm or sugar scrub or herbal soap, which are all products you can learn to make yourself and at the same time help homeless women learn job skills. My friend Karen Lee–captain of the Eco-Etsy team and the author of the blog EcoKaren–and her business partner Mary Kearns of Herban Lifestyle have created a brand new for-profit social enterprise called Herban Crafts, which offers DIY personal care craft kits as part of job training program to empower homeless women living in transitional housing. In addition to putting together the kits, the women will learn skills to help them gain employment in the future.
It’s a cool idea. And what is even cooler is that Karen is committed to creating kits that are as green as possible. All the ingredients in Herban Crafts Kits are certified organic, fair trade and/or ethically wildharvested. … Read the rest
Mascara. It’s been the downfall of many a plastic-free blogger. For Envirowoman, the very first plastic-free blogger who inspired me back in 2007, mascara was the one thing that made her break her plastic-free pledge. Taina Uitto of Plastic Manners, on the other hand, discovered the joy of going without mascara. Personally, I have never been a big fan of mascara in the first place, but I know that many women (and some men) won’t leave the house without it. So I was psyched to learn (via several readers of this blog) about the lash tint from T.W.I.N.K. Beauty, a cake mascara that comes in a metal tin.
03/28/2012 UPDATE: Special Offer from T.W.I.N.K. Beauty to MyPlasticFreeLife.com readers: If you are ordering for the first time, use coupon code “noplastic” to get 10% off your first order. If you have already ordered from T.W.I.N.K. Beauty in the past, use coupon code “noplasticagain” to get 15% off your… Read the rest
The BlogHer conference is this weekend. Time for my annual eyebrow wax and pedicure. You know the saying that women dress for each other? When it comes to BlogHer, that saying couldn’t be more true. All other days of the year, I’m a pretty low maintenance gal. I mean, how often do I write about cosmetics on this blog? Almost never. But when the BlogHer Estrogen Fest rolls around, I get all self-conscious about my neglected feet and crazy eyebrows.
Witness the crazy eyebrows for yourself. Don’t see what I’m talking about? That’s okay. I see the crazy, and that’s what matters.
This time, instead of paying $15 for someone to slather paraffin wax (a petroleum product) on my face and rip it off with half my skin, I decided to save my money and inflict the pain on myself. I found some ancient wax strips and a sugar waxing kit in the bathroom cabinet. I can’t remember buying them, so I’d guess… Read the rest
Queen Helene’s hugely popular mint julep masque is widely considered to be a safe product. I mean, it’s found in all the health food stores, so it must be okay, right? Or is it? And is there any actual mint in it?
I’ve had this same plastic tube of the stuff sitting in my bathroom cabinet for years and had pretty much forgotten about it until a few weeks ago when I noticed my face was getting dirty from all the work in the garden. (For those who don’t know, mud masks are used to suck out the oil and dirt clogging your pores and leave your face baby soft.) Following my resolution to use up the plastic-packaged stuff I already have before looking for alternatives, I dug out the Queen Helene and got ready to slather it on my face… until I read the ingredients.
Not only does this “natural” product come packaged in plastic, but it contains enough questionable ingredients to rate a 5 on Environmental Working Group’s… Read the rest
Cotton balls come packaged in plastic. So do cotton facial rounds. And even organic cotton balls come in plastic. So I’d pretty much given up using either of them after my last bag ran out a few years ago.
And then, in March, I discovered cotton balls in a cardboard box at CVS. I checked inside the box to make sure there wasn’t a plastic bag hiding in there. Nope. A paper bag. I got all excited and bought a box.
But as I walked home, I started to think. And the more I thought, the less excited I got. First of all, the packaging might not have been plastic, but there sure was a lot of it. Double packaging — box AND bag. It didn’t seem like such great alternative to the plastic after all.
The problem with cotton
And then I started thinking about the cotton balls themselves. I could get organic cotton balls in a plastic bag, but the cotton in this box was not organic. And, according to the Organic Trade Association:
Cotton is considered the world’s… Read the rest
Flying home from Maryland on Saturday, I sat next to a really cute guy. Unfortunately, the plane was completely full, so I couldn’t switch seats to get away from him. Well, not him. He was cute. But his Axe cologne, or whatever heinous product he was wearing, made my eyes water, nose itch, throat close up, and left me with a throbbing headache.
I reached for a handkerchief to cover my nose, but sadly my very helpful dad had tossed in a Bounce dryer sheet when he did my laundry, and my hanky just made me sneeze even more.
While on vacation, I caught a nasty cold/flu, which I can deal with because my body will fight it off. But the body doesn’t fight off the effects of environmental chemicals the way it does an infection. Instead, it becomes more and more sensitized with repeated exposure to allergens. In fact, I just recently noticed my nose itching from Michael’s stick deodorant that he has used for years. How can I get away from the onslaught… Read the rest
Guys (meaning readers who identify as male), here’s another post about cosmetics. So unless you’re into makeup (and really, why shouldn’t you be?) you can forward this one to your female friends. I promise I’ll have a post just for you next week!
I frequently get asked about what I do for plastic-free makeup, and honestly I haven’t had the best answer. As you know, I continue to use the products that I already had before I began this project and generally only replace them with plastic-free alternatives once they are used up. But after reading about lead in lipstick and other unhealthy chemicals two years ago, I checked out all the cosmetics I owned against Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database and ended up doing a huge purge of most of my makeup.
What I kept: one combo eye shadow/liner stick, two colored lip gloss sticks, and one twist blush. Pretty much everything else went to the Hazardous Waste facility.… Read the rest
I have another treat for you that I discovered at the San Francisco Green Festival last month: Organic Essence plastic-free cream and lip balm. As far as I know, Organic Essence is the first company to develop completely home compostable containers made from cardboard for such products. Materials include Forest Stewardship Council (FSC #SW-COC-001530), Post Consumer Waste (PCW), 100% recycled paper and organic adhesive and glaze.
The lip balm tube is ingenious. It’s made with a squeeze bottom which pushes up the lip balm instead of a twist bottom. What’s more, the products contain USDA certified organic ingredients with no petro-chemicals, preservatives, parabens, or artificial fragrances.
I asked Organic Essence to send me some samples to review, and I can tell you that they work very well. The lip balm, surprisingly, does not get crushed in my purse. The cream is very thick and concentrated: a little goes a long way, and … Read the rest