|Want to go green? Start with your purse! Here’s the skinny on how to make the bling in your purse green. |
|Lipstick, Blush, Mascara – Traditional cosmetics contain preservatives called parabens. Scientists care because the chemicals are now showing up in human breast tumors. Makeover: Cosmetics made from herbs, essential oils and vitamins by Ecco Bella or Aubrey Organics. |
|Nail polish – The usual nail polish contains dibutyl phthalate, a chemical linked to testicular problems in laboratory animals and people. Makeover: Sally Hansen, OPI, and Orly International are going dibutyl phthalate-free – find them in your local drugstore or supermarket. Honeybee Gardens makes water-based nail polish you can peel off so you don’t need acetone-based remover. |
|Perfume – Phthalates give fragrances their “stickiness.” BUT: They can make you itch and irritate your skin. They’ve been linked to feminized genitals in baby boys and abnormalities in frogs, mussels and other aquatic wildlife. Plus, they trigger asthma and other respiratory illnesses. Makeover: EccoBella eau de parfums are available in Ambrosia, Vanilla, Lavender and Verbena. Birch Hill offers a wide selection of perfumes made from essential oils and flowers, including rose, jasmine, orange and sandalwood. |
Scarf – Approximately 25% of all insecticides are used to grow cotton. These chemicals leach into groundwater, where they can contaminate drinking water and upset the natural cycles of wildlife. Makeover: Organic hemp scarves from Rawganique or organic cotton cable scarf from Gaiam.
|Cell Phone– “e-waste,” including cell phones, is the fastest growing portion of our waste stream Makeover: Resist the urge to upgrade every year. But when you do, recycle your used phone through Collective Good. The company will take back your pager and PDA, too, and donate a portion of their profits to an environmental charity you choose. |
Diamond ring – Conflict or “blood” diamonds have funded devastating civil wars in Africa, leading to terrible human rights abuses and the deaths of millions of people. Makeover: Ask for diamonds mined in Canada, where the human rights of miners are protected under strict environmental regulations. Brilliant Earth jewelry features Canadian-mined diamonds set in recycled gold bands
|Gold earrings –Toxic chemicals like cyanide and mercury, which leach gold out of rock, pollute drinking water supplies, contaminate farmland, and threaten the health of workers and communities. One gold ring generates 20 tons of mine waste. Makeover: GreenKarat sells rings, necklaces, earrings, pendants and custom jewelry made from recycled gold. Earthwise Jewelry uses gold and platinum processed from reclaimed sources to make wedding bands and pendants. |
Snack – Only 4% of food sold in the U.S. is grown without pesticides. Makeover: Organic apple or pear, organic pretzels, organic dried fruit and nut mix; now available in most grocery stores, farmers markets, and food coops
Antiseptic wipes – Anything antiseptic probably contains triclosan, an antibacterial agent whose overuse is creating resistance to dangerous bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus. Makeover: Wash hands with plain soap and water.
Pen – People throw away 1,600,000,000 pens every year, one of the many items that contribute to making the U.S. the world’s #1 trash producing nation. Makeover: Use pencils made from Green Earth’s recycled blue jeans or Earthwrite’s reclaimed wood
Pad of paper – Approximately 1 billion trees worth of paper are thrown away every year in the U.S. Makeover: Use a recycled paper pad. Or go paperless, with any of the PDAs (electronic “personal desk assistants”) that have a memo option. Use e-mail to send notes.
|Plastic water bottle – Americans throw away 25,000,000 plastic beverage bottles every hour. It takes 1,000 years for just 1 bottle to degrade. Makeover: Carry your own reusable water bottle. |