Sunday, January 20, 2008

Skin Care that Cares for Our Planet by Eve Stahl

There is much attention these days regarding personal and business practices that are eco-friendly, planet sustainable and green. People are looking closer at the smaller things that can make a positive impact on our life on this planet for both the present and the future. One area that has a great impact on the health of our planet, yet is not often touted as such, is skin care and body care products.

Information is circulating; the word is getting around. There is a massive market of skin care products that can be harmful to your health. Scientific evidence indicates that many synthetic ingredients used in body care products may cause cancer, birth defects, infertility, kidney and liver disease. In depth information and references can be found on the environmental working group's cosmetic database; an informational database for safe product selection. Many of the ingredients used in commercial body care products are petroleum based synthetically derived chemicals. Those chemicals eventually end up in our streams and rivers from the discharge of wastewater from sewage treatment which does not remove petro-chemical compounds. This not only contaminates our land and water, it in turn ends up in our food supply...and so the cycle continues.

The good news is that cosmetics that are safe for people are also a healthier choice for our planet.

What is special about using natural ingredients for our skin care is that plants are living substances. They contain a vital life energy. It is what differentiates living matter from synthetically derived matter. Plants are composed of the same vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids, enzymes and hormones that we are. Our body recognizes plants as nutrition. We can safely eat most of them, use them in body care products and diffuse their oils for therapeutic benefits. Plants are best used in their natural whole form. All of the constituents of the plant must be present in their proper, natural balance for them to be in optimal support of our purpose. When elements of a plant are extracted or compromised during processing, the plant no longer acts as was intended. The wisdom of the plant is lost. Side effects may occur because it is no longer the true plant. A primary principle to consider is life responds to life. Our bodies receive and respond to the energies of plants. When the energy of the plant interacts with our energy our vital life force is enhanced.

On the contrary, synthetic ingredients are "man made" chemicals devoid of life. The body recognizes that they are different from nature's plants and one's own chemistry. The immune system registers this as foreign, possibly toxic matter and may respond with an allergic reaction. Our skin is a reflection of our inner health and well being. It reflects radiance when we are in good health and a dull appearance when our health is compromised. Our skin functions as a major organ of elimination of toxins and impurities for our body. It can be viewed as a valuable form of body communication providing us with information about the state of our health.

When our skin appears less than vibrant and clear it is a sign of imbalance and can possibly be an indication of disease. The foods we eat, how we handle stresses, the quality of the water that we use will reflect almost immediately the condition of our skin.

Our skin is bombarded by toxic matter from our environment. Therefore it is doubly important to provide nourishment and protection with carefully chosen healthy skin care products. We can positively affect our health and the condition of our skin by the lifestyle choices we make.

The skin has the capacity to absorb. You should consider what YOU choose to absorb? Whatever you put on your skin enters the body through your pores and courses through your circulatory system having the potential to reach every cell in your body. Therefore it is especially important to scrutinize ingredients when selecting body care products just as you do when choosing your food.

Anything you put on your skin you should be able to actually are ingesting it! This is why many of the ingredients in natural skin care products are the same wholesome foods included in a holistic health plan e.g. vegetable oils, pure water, honey, oats, herbs, seaweed.

Absorption of chemicals (natural or synthetic) through the skin depends on several factors. Everyone's skin is different. The condition of one's skin, hydration level, pore size and density influence absorbability. Our skin is composed of several layers. The stratum corneum is the primary layer. It serves as a protective barrier to keep out materials which do not belong in our skin, body cells and body system in general. Thin skin is more readily penetrated by toxins and impurities than thick/dense skin. Different materials vary in absorbability dependent on the nature of their chemical make up. Numerous body care products on the market incorporate ingredients known as penetration enhancers to assist (force) the absorption of ingredients that the skin will not readily receive. Penetration enhancers alter (damage) the cell structure and thus allow other harmful ingredients and impurities to enter the cells. There is an abundance of natural plant ingredients such as herbs and flowers that are beneficial to the skin and that the body natural welcomes. These are your best choices for your skin, your health and the care for our planet.

Nature's herbs and flowers provide high quality nourishment for our skin. Nature doesn't need the help of harmful synthetic chemicals to be developed into beautiful skin care products.So, when you shop, look for products with only basic ingredients of nature that you recognize. You can leave the more complicated products that are made with mysterious synthetic ingredients on the shelf.

Over the past decades numerous small companies have been bringing attention to their green and sustainable practices. What do these companies do that is different from other companies? These are companies that are using natural ingredients free from synthetic chemicals and sourcing ingredients from free trade and sustainable companies. Companies strive to create minimal waste and toxicity by choosing reusable and recyclable packaging materials. They reuse packing materials from all shipments and welcome such materials from local stores that would otherwise send them to land fill. In house and out-sourced printing is on post-consumer waste paper with vegetable base ink.

What difference does this translate to for the consumer? Small green organic hand crafting companies are producing products that are inspired by a heartfelt desire to produce quality products that are not at all harmful to people and our planet. They usually go the extra step to ensure the superior quality of each ingredient, the perfection of each finished product, and that their customers sense that they are being cared for as individuals. Personal contact with the producer of a product today is only experienced with a small hand crafting company. This interaction creates a personally satisfying experience for both the consumer and the producer.

Be Smart, Be Wise;

Keep it Simple and Truly Natural.

Protect Your Health & the Health of Our Planet

Copyright © 2007. Eve Stahl, Garden of Eve, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Recycling Paper: How It Helps Our Eco-System by Victoria M. Brown

Recycling paper is the process of taking waste paper, or paper that would otherwise be thrown out, and remaking it into new paper products. Paper that can be used to make recycled paper is broken down into three categories- mill broke, pre-consumer waste, and post-consumer waste. Mill broke paper is paper that becomes scrap during the manufacturing of paper and it is recycled right in the paper mill. Pre-consumer paper waste is papers that were discarded before consumer use. Post-consumer paper waste is papers that were discarded by the consumer after use. Paper that is used in recycling is called scrap paper.

What is the recycling process?

There are usually 8 steps in the process of recycling paper. The first is called pulping, which is adding water to the paper and using machines to separate the fibers. The second step is screening, where screens are used to remove contaminants that are larger than the fibers. Next is centrifugal cleaning during which the materials that are denser than fiber are released. Flotation or deinking then causes ink to collect on the surface of the paper. The fifth step is called kneading or dispersion. Here machines help remove any remaining contaminant particles. Nest washing helps remove any small particles by passing water through the fibers. If the paper is supposed to be white, it is now bleached. Finally, the recycled paper is clean and it is now made into a new paper product.

What types of paper can be recycled?

Each recycling plant accepts different kinds of paper for recycling. Some types of paper forms that are commonly accepted include:

-White and colored paper -While and colored envelopes -Booklets or manuals -Fax or copy paper -Greeting cards -Post-it notes -Soft covered books -Manila folders -Magazines -Newspapers -Collapsed cardboard boxes

Why recycle?

90% of paper is made from wood. Paper production uses about 43% of harvested wood. Recycling newspaper saves about 1 ton of wood and recycling print or copy paper saves about 2 tons of wood.

Energy consumption is also reduced by recycling. However, the exact energy savings is still being debated. The Energy Information Administration claims that when paper is made with recycled paper, there is a 40% reduction in energy use, but the Bureau of International Recycling says that there is a 64% reduction. Regardless of which estimate is correct, both numbers represent a significant energy savings.

In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency has found that recycling paper causes 35% less water pollution and 74% less air pollution.

What are some of the resources saved per ton of paper recycled?

-17 trees -350 pounds of limestone -60,000 gallons of water -9,000 pounds of steam -275 pounds of sulfur -225 kilowatt hours -3.3 cubic yards of landfill space

Recycling paper has substantial benefits on our eco-system and it is so easy to do! Many communities have a recycling pickup day just as they have garbage pickup days. Simply contact your local waste management center to find out how to begin recycling in your community!