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WEEK 50: BUY CRUELTY-FREE

We all enjoy looking pretty, feeling nice, and putting a little effort into our appearance, but do we ever stop to think if our products were tested on animals? Animal testing is a serious problem- many corporations test their products and ingredients on innocent and defenseless animals. Animals used in laboratory tests for developing cosmetics and toiletries are mainly rabbits, mice, guiniea pigs, hamsters, rats and sometimes dogs. These animals are not relaxing while getting aromatherapy shampoo: they have harsh chemicals rubbed into their shaved skin, they are forced to breathe poisonous fumes or have lethal chemicals poured into their eyes without any pain control, and sometimes bones are broken when they are held down and forced. 

There are no excuses- there is no law enforcing animal testing, animals who are tested on are not freed after being used, and there are plenty of alternatives including new technologies that can test new products in a fraction of the time it takes when using animals. Animal testing is wrong and there are still big companies that still do it like L'Oreal, Max Factor, Ponds, Johnson and Johnson and Dial.

So what can we do? Be a conscientious shopper and know what you are buying. Take the time to look at labels before making a purchase. If you want to check on a company’s cruelty-free status, check animal rights websites for a list of approved companies. Buy cruelty-free cosmetics to save an animal, to save your skin, and to save your conscience. It doesn’t matter what your reasons are, just do the right thing.

As a makeup artist, makeup and skin care is my whole career. Learning about animal cruelty has been eye opening and appalling, so I am taking action to switch my kit over to be completely cruelty-free. Together we can start taking a stance and start making a difference.

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WEEK 49: PROPERLY DISPOSE OF UNIVERSAL AND ELECTRONIC WASTE

Universal and Electronic Waste- what is it and how do you properly dispose of it?

Universal waste comes primarily from consumer products containing mercury, lead, cadmium and other substances that are hazardous to human health and the environment. Examples of universal waste are batteries, fluorescent tubes, and many electronic devices. Electronic waste, also known as "e-waste" is consumer electronic equipment that is no longer wanted. E-waste can include computers, printers, televisions, VCRs, cell phones, fax machines, stereos, and electronic games. Electronics may contain lead, copper, and other heavy metals or potentially toxic substances.

Both types of waste can harm public health and the environment, which is why they need to be disposed of in particular ways. Universal and electronic waste contain toxic heavy metals such as lead, mercury, and cadmium. When they are thrown away in the trash, they end up in landfills, and these toxic compounds can leach into soil and water, polluting lakes and streams and making them unfit for drinking, swimming, fishing, and supporting wildlife. 

Fortunately, there is a solution: return your used electronics for responsible recycling, rather than throwing them in the trash. Every time you replace one of your electronic devices, it’s your responsibility to be sure your old one gets recycled properly.

In Los Angeles, LA Sanitation has established a number of permanent collection sites throughout the City, known as S.A.F.E. CENTERS. These S.A.F.E. CENTERS are open every weekend and provide a timely and convenient way to dispose of your residential, household e-waste. You can also take Universal Waste to an LA County HHW Roundup event.

So, to recap: 
1. Sell or donate electronics that still work.
2. Do a quick online search where you live to see if there are any designated drop off recycling centers or if your local trash service might have a designated day for e-waste pickup. 
3. Spread the word about proper disposal of universal and e-waste! 

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WEEK 48: USE RECYCLED OR REUSABLE "WRAPPING PAPER"

It's gift giving time! In the United States, we use and throw away about two million tons of wrapping paper during the holiday season. That amounts to 30 million trees being cut down just to wrap our gifts. 

Instead of wrapping your gifts in paper that will just get thrown away, use a more eco-friendly option. You can recycle materials that you can find in your house right now as gift wrapping, or get creative and create a wrapping that is reusable.

Here are some fun ideas:
1. Reusable bags work great to hold gifts, and everyone could use an extra bag to bring to the grocery store!
2. Glass jars and coffee cans can hold smaller items and be decorated with ribbon.
3. Your 2015 calendar is almost used up, recycle some early months as wrapping paper.
4. Old maps make a cool wrapping paper, especially since most maps are digital now. 
5. Newspaper is an old favorite- it's fun to use the comic section!
6. Fabric like scarves, blankets and towels can be creatively wrapped like paper and double as part of the gift!
7. Cardboard cereal boxes or dried food containers can be folded and shaped as a box to hold gifts. 

Happy Holidays!

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WEEK 47: TAKE THE STAIRS

Since most of us will be indulging a little more on delicious food during the holidays, I thought it was perfect timing to think about taking the stairs! It's not a humongous amount, but by taking the stairs over the elevator you save about 72 kilowatts a day (if you avoid 2 elevators a day). Even the small amounts of energy saved adds up to big differences, and any energy saved is good for our environment. Because elevators run on electricity, taking an elevator might require the mining of uranium or fossil fuel, the operation of a nuclear or fossil fuel plant, transmission to your elevator, and the emission of greenhouse gases. So by taking the stairs, you are helping prevent all of that for your quick ride. 

Stairs are very helpful for your health! Climbing stairs is one of the best cardiovascular workouts you can give your body. You burn calories going up stairs and also coming down them. For buildings that are five stories or less, studies have shown its usually faster to take the stairs than wait for the elevator. So keep of the holiday weight this season by always choosing to take the stairs!

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WEEK 46: HAVE A "NEAR" BEER

The holiday seasons are upon us which means lots of travel, catching up with friends and family, and enjoyment! So one little tip to stay eco-friendly over the holidays is to enjoy local draft beers whenever you are out! 

When you factor in production, packaging and transportation to get beer all over the country, one bottle of beer can have quite the carbon footprint. By ordering local, draft beers, you cut down your "beer mileage". There is very little waste or packaging used for draft beers- just kegs and reusable glasses. And this gives you the chance to explore and try local beers you might not have had before.

If you do drink out of cans or bottles, make sure you remember to recycle! You should also try the latest eco-savvy way to enjoy fine beer at home – growlers. The 64-ounce glass jug, typically sporting the logo of the supplier, is filled with fresh draft beer and is the perfect way to enjoy your favorite craft beers at home. So have fun this holiday season and drink a "near" beer! 

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