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Month: July 2012

Perfumes & The Environment: From Paris with Love

Today's perfume is about as romantic as hazardous waste.  95% of the chemicals used in perfumes manufactured are derived from petroleum.  Perfume laboratories are really just full of scientists trying to discover the most profitable sweet smelling molecule rather than mixing vats of rose petals.  Because each perfume can contain dozens or hundreds of scents that evaporate into the air, this causes environmental problems.  Also the chemicals used are from from fossil fuels, which is dangerous when being extracted and transported from the environment.  It causes damages not only to the air we breathe,  but the water ways are also in danger of being poisoned.

Perfumes do not show a complete list of ingredients on the packaging either.  The average fragrance product that was tested contained fourteen secret ingredients not listed on the label.  My real interest in how perfumes are bad for the environment was ignited by the actual bottle they are presented in.  I wondered why it is impossible to have the bottles opened so they can be refilled to be used again.  I had received as a gift a large splash bottle of cologne, which was not very easy to use.  I went through each and every bottle of perfume that I own (which mind you is quite a few) and to my disappointment none could be opened.  What a shame I thought. Such cute, beautiful bottles that will be discarded and will become toxic to the ecosystems of waterways.

Soon after this had happened to me, a friend from work told me about a recent trip she had purchasing  perfume at an exclusive store like Nordstrom.  You can buy a large size bottle at first, and when it runs out you can bring it back for refill and a lesser charge to you.  Actually a third of the price.  I was happy to hear that at least some big companies are trying to make an effort for our environment and also saving us, the consumer, some money.

Perfume truly is a luxury that we all love to possess.  It has been around for centuries.  Early perfumeries were by all means keeping the natural essence alive, using natural scents and spices to indulge our senses.  In our times, however, we need to work on our packaging and processing to keep perfume as beautiful as the fragrant potpourri it holds for our noses and surroundings.

Compost: An Inexpensive Alternative to Chemical Fertilizers

 Compost is an inexpensive alternative to chemical fertilizers. Have you ever read the warning label on a bag of fertilizer? How you have to carefully water it in to prevent it from burning up the plants you are trying to help, or even burning your eyes or skin or even your pets feet? Pretty scary!  Many chemical fertilizers are made from petroleum and other non sustainable sources. They leave heavy metals like lead, arsenic and cadmium that builds up over time. A shock of the chemicals can kill microbes that make soil fertile causing a cycle of dependency of their use.  Their price also seems to get higher and higher every year.
Compost is free, it actually absorbs odors and treats volatile organic compounds, it binds to heavy metals to prevent them from migrating to water resources, and eliminates pesticides and preservatives in wood. It takes a huge chunks of garbage out of landfills and improves all types of soil in every way imaginable!
  • Carbon  - in fallen leaves serve as an energy source
  • Nitrogen - in greener materials provide microbes with raw elements of protein to build their bodies.

A certain amount of water and turning pile maintains air passages for effective decomposition.

Layer like a lasagna
  1.  organic materials (veggie waste like grass clippings, egg shells , paper)
  2. plain garden soil
repeat 2 or 3 times , water every layer moist enough like well wrung out sponge, cover with dry leaves or similar yard waste.
Temperature is very important , decomposition occurs between 110-160 degrees F
Within two weeks if properly made.Turn your compost every three or four weeks , the more frequent you turn the quicker the  compost
Your plants will be beautiful your soil will benefit and you will save money not to mention the environment.  Good Luck!

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