By Tori Carle, Waste Reduction Supervisor, City of Greensboro
Have you ever wondered what to do with your old nail polish? I have been known to keep nail polish until it is all dried out or gummed up. When this happens, it shouldn’t just be tossed in the trash.
Nail polish often contains toxins that are harmful to the environment, so nail polish should not go into the landfill and should instead be taken to the Household Hazardous Waste Center 2750 Patterson St. in Greensboro, Wed-Fri 10-6 and Sat 8-2.
You can also consider creative reuse options for your old nail polish! A quick google search will show you how to revitalize dried-out or gummed up nail polish and give you plenty of uses for it other than polishing your nails.
Or consider taking your old nail polish to Reconsidered Goods so that others in our community can use the paint, bottles, or both for creative purposes. www.reconsideredgoods.org
There is also a mail-in recycling program for nail polish through Chemwise (http://chemwise.org/services-nail-polish.html). Chemwise is also able to process the bottles and recycle the glass container, applicator brush, and the polish. It is not a cheap program, but if you gather enough nail polish between you and your neighbors it could be worth it!
There are many options to dispose of your old nail polish, so please, don’t send it to the landfill.
When you use a household cleaning product, to what extent are you releasing pollutants into your home?
Many common cleaning products rely on petroleum-based manufacturing and release toxic compounds into your home. The EPA broadly classifies these chemicals as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which includes airborne emissions like formaldehyde and car exhaust, as well as consumable compounds like ethanol and acetic acid.
Even in small quantities, VOCs are dangerous to inhale. Over time, these chemicals can build up and cause headaches and nausea, as well as eye, nose, and throat irritation. Certain VOCs have been linked to the development of allergies and asthma, and even complicated medical manifestations like sick building syndrome.
We analyzed this data along with Priceonomics customer, Ode, a company that creates environmentally-conscious cleaning products. As part of their product development process, Ode tested the VOCs released by common brands of air fresheners, cleaning sprays, wipes and soaps.
According to this data, on average, air freshener sprays and cleaning wipes emit the most VOCs per use, while air freshener plug-ins and body wash release the fewest VOCs per use.
The product that expelled the most harmful compounds per use is Wet Ones wipes, followed by Mrs. Meyer’s air freshener spray. Over a year of use, Wet Ones would release the most VOCs into your home: nearly half a kilogram (464,000 milligrams). Emissions from air freshener plug-ins add up over time (with hourly puffs of scent) to up to 100,000 milligrams per year.
For this study, we focused on volatile organic compounds (VOCs), a variety of chemicals emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. Volatile organic compounds are often used as ingredients in fuels, paints and varnishes, as well as thousands of cleaning, disinfecting and cosmetic products. Formaldehyde is one of the most common VOCs. You may know it as a common embalming chemical used to preserve dead bodies.
Levels of VOCs have been found to be two to five times higher indoors (where these products are used and stored) than outdoors. Exposure to these chemicals can result in short- and long-term health effects, including eye, nose and throat irritation, headaches, nausea, skin reactions, and even damage to the liver, kidneys or central nervous system.
The average indoor space has VOC levels at about 10 milligrams per cubic meter. For our calculations, we approximated an average room at 68 cubic meters (300 square feet with 8-foot ceilings), so a typical room has about 680 milligrams of VOCs in the air at any given time.
Air freshener sprays release the most VOCs by far, averaging nearly 700 milligrams per use (30 milliliters of spray). That means that a single use doubles the amount of VOCs in your living room. Cleaning wipes give off about 350 milligrams per use (4 wipes), followed by insect pesticide sprays and face cleaners. On average, body washes and plug-in air fresheners emit the fewest VOCs per use.
Most Americans see right through Zinke’s fake-cowboy, fake-conservationist act. Instead of protecting America’s land and waters, Zinke and Trump are selling out the nation’s public lands to polluters and the fossil fuel interests.
The agency had suspended the 2016 rule, meant to cut the waste of natural gas on public lands created by venting, flaring and accidental leaks, in January 2017 following the orders of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
However, the battle over regulating methane is not over.
Late last night a U.S. District Court in California reversed the Interior Department’s suspension of the Bureau of Land Management’s Methane Waste Prevention Rule, noting that the agency failed to justify its decision to postpone core provisions of the rule.