Body Care the Clean, Green and Healthy Way

Green cleaners is a bedrock topic for Master Recyclers.

Since its inception, program volunteers have engaged over a quarter of a million people in the Portland metropolitan region in thinking about household hazardous waste and greener cleaning alternatives. Master Recyclers Chelsea Althauser (Class 50) and Audrey Schaab (Class 42) were even featured in the Oregonian this fall talking about how to avoid the toxic brew of household cleaners.

 A small handful of Master Recyclers have taken an even more personal take on toxics: greener body care. Like household cleaners, chemicals in our soaps, makeup, shaving creams, toothpaste and lotions are ubiquitous, and yet we are actually applying them directly to our bodies.

What can we avoid toxics in body care products? 

Know your products: There is even less labeling requirements involved with body care than there is for cleaners. Happily, Skin Deep and US Department of Health Household Products are web databases that list tens of thousands of body care products and scores them for safety. 

Use less: When you can’t avoid ingredients that cause harm, you can still reduce your exposure. Are there products you can use weekly? Can you use a smaller amount of lotion or shampoo? 

Avoid fragrance: Read the ingredient label and look for products that don’t list the word “fragrance.” Even “unscented” products may contain fragrance made from a mix of  chemicals. These chemicals may include phthalates and synthetic musks that can damage organs, cause asthma and disrupt hormones. 

Make your own: Master Recycler Mentor Serena Ross (Class 37) spent much of her Centurion hours presenting on how to make your own body care products. She shared recipes that she collected and even makes a product during the presentation. 

Spread the word: If this topic is near to your heart, consider fulfilling some of your payback by presenting on this topic.