Monday, June 16, 2008


Well this is just depressing. I’m torn on what to do with my various “exfoliating bead” products now that I know those little plastic beads are making it into the ecosystem. Is waste worse than pollution? Probably, since they exist whether I use them or not.

I’ve been facing this realization with more and more products. Some of my beloved LUSH bath bombs wash glitter down the drain, lip gloss is made from petroleum. Environmentalism is such a thing now, and every magazine is doing articles full of things you can buy to reduce your consumption.

I remember the last time the environment was a big thing. Way back in the early 90s, Bette Midler starred as Mother Earth in an Earth Day special.

It was a big deal, at least to me. At twelve or thirteen years old I considered myself an eco-warrior. I once overheard my sister tell her friend that I was probably going to join Greeenpeace once I got to college. By the time I got to college, the environment wasn't so much on my mind. I'd been through the humiliation of asking the lunch ladies if they'd consider using paper trays instead of styrofoam. Lunch ladies don't have any purchasing power, and you shouldn't hold up the line on nacho day. Part of me really, truly still wanted to save the world, but I burnt out the second or third time I volunteered to sort the classroom paper for recycling. We had to take out the staples, and you couldn't mix white paper with newsprint.

Now it's much better. Recycling is like magic - everything goes in one bin. There's fuel-efficient cars, even if I can't afford them. I work in a building with fancy water-saving toilets. But there's still the question of stuff - how much of it I need, how much of it I use, and how much of it I create by being a consumer.

I'm making small steps, conserving in easy ways so I don't burn out. I've washed my face with honey (non-toxic and paraben free!) for a few years. I don't bring plastic bags home from the store if I can help it. Tonight I asked the guy at the Deli to wrap my sandwich in foil instead of putting it in styrofoam. And once I use up what I have, no more exfoliating beads unless I know for sure they're not made of plastic.

Now about that petroleum-free lipstick...