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A Parallel World of

Personal Care and Wellness Products

Challenge

Shop for organic personal care products. Better yet, take a look at some easy recipes to make your own organic personal care products, and give one a try. You’ll be hooked on the quality and cost savings.

History

The Personal Care Council will take you through a five-page, detailed history of national and international personal care products. It’s fascinating, and illuminating, if you care to explore. The Manufacturing Perfumers’ Association was formed in 1894, and to the present day controls and regulates perfume manufacturing.  This story reveals a journey through tax and tariff reforms, animal rights, fashion, political lies and intrigue.

Most mass-produced products benefit from a plethora of chemical preservatives, emollients, stabilizers, and dyes. You never know what you’re getting, never mind being able to even pronounce the long list of ingredients. These unpronounceable ingredients are needed to extend shelf life and provide consistency and predictable product performance. Advertising and labeling entice the consumer to believe they are better off with a particular product. All in the name of looking good, smelling sweet, feeling your best, while trusting corporate manufacturers and mass-media to keep you healthy.

If you have had issues with skincare products, it is no wonder. These are some of the top skin care allergens:

    • food allergens ( soy)
    • lanolin (emollient)
    • sun screen
    • preservatives
    • fragrance

Making your own products or looking for locally made products at your farmers market and herbalist down the street is the Parallel way to go. For convenience, find certified organic products, although they are sometimes more expensive than their chemical counterparts.

Commercially Available Products

Certified organic and natural personal care companies are becoming more of an option in today’s market. Look for words like organic, no preservatives, no animal cruelty, and non-GMO on product labels.

Personal Care Products include:

    • Herbs
    • Supplements
    • Hair care
    • Skin care
    • Cosmetics
    • Soaps, cleansers
    • Shampoos
    • Teeth care
    • Ear care
    • Eye care
    • Pain relief

Make Your Own Products

With these raw ingredients you can make your own organic toothpaste, shampoo, deodorant, some cosmetics and skin lotion. Find recipes on the internet and away you go!

    • Olive Oil
    • Aloe
    • Bees wax
    • Coconut oil
    • Essential oils
    • Green tea
    • Coffee
    • Vitamin E
    • Vitamin C
    • Calendula
    • Shea butter
    • Baking soda
    • Vinegar
    • Lemon juice
    • Organic mayonnaise
    • Essential oils
    • Lye
    • Distilled water

Finding organic sources of these kinds of ingredients at local coops or herbal shops can be tricky, but they are easily available on-line. Once you have a supply on hand, it just takes minutes to whip up a batch of lotion in your kitchen blender.

Do you know the simple household ingredients for an organic skin lotion recipe? Vitamin C, as ascorbic acid, is a preservative as well as an intensive skin conditioner. Green tea extract is an anti-oxidant. Calendula is a sun screen. Essential oils provide many attributes like hydration, aroma, muscle relaxant, scar healing, and more.

Predicting the results of these homemade products is not guaranteed, such as how much sun protection or how effective an antioxidant. But what you do know, is exactly what’s in them. Your skin is the largest organ of your body. Anything put onto your skin can get into your bloodstream, so don’t jeopardize it.

The cost savings may be enough of a reason to stir up a batch in your kitchen.

Other Resources

— Laurianne Fiorentino has had over 54 occupations ranging from Alaskan fisherperson, allergy technician, comic, published photographer and journalist, Ortho-Bionomy practitioner and teacher. Mostly, she makes a lot of noise in Santa Fe and around the world as a musician and songwriter. Her curiosity roams the neighborhood of emotional politics and navigates mysterious fiefdoms of the heart, mind, and soul. She hopes your dreams chase you down as soon as you let them. www.lauriannefiorentino.com


A Parallel World of

Household Supplies

The Challenge

Many toxins and potentially dangerous ingredients can be found underneath your sink, in the products you use to keep your home spic-and-span. The APW Marketplace offers you only the safest cleaning products. These products are all non-toxic, earth-friendly, really work, and are often the same price as the harmful conventional alternatives. Replacing your toxic supplies with APW Marketplace products is the easiest and most affordable way to clean up your act!

Let’s Make a Change! Switch to APW products – we have done the research for you.

History

Conventional cleaning and household products in most American homes contain over 400 toxic chemicals. In many cases, our children breathe more toxins indoors than out. One in three conventional cleaning products contains ingredients known to cause health problems. 184,000 tons of household cleaning products are poured down sinks every year, causing environmental harm. Air inside your home can be 200% to 500% more polluted than outside air due to toxic cleaning products.

How Toxic Are Your Household Cleaning Supplies?

Some cleaning supplies cause skin or respiratory irritation, watery eyes, or chemical burns. Others are associated with chronic, or long-term, effects such as cancer or hormone disruption. The most acutely dangerous cleaning products are corrosive drain cleaners, oven cleaners, and acidic toilet bowl cleaners. Fragrances added to many cleaners, laundry detergents and fabric softeners may cause acute effects such as respiratory irritation, headache, sneezing, and watery eyes. These symptoms are more evident in sensitive individuals or allergy and asthma sufferers. Cleaning sprays with hazardous toxins and hormone disruptors have been linked to a 30%-50% increase in risk of asthma nationwide.

Find Safer Home Products

A few safe, simple ingredients like soap, water, baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice and borax can take care of most household cleaning needs. Just add a little elbow grease and a coarse sponge for scrubbing, and you are done! See links to formulas for non-toxic, homemade cleaners that work great. They can save you lots of money wasted on unnecessary, specialized cleaners!

When you need the convenience or added cleaning power of pre-made commercial cleaners, find smart choices in the Parallel World Marketplace. A Parallel World Marketplace products are from both local and national vendors. When shopping on your own, choose products made with plant-based, instead of petroleum-based, ingredients.

What to Avoid

Cleaners marked “Danger” or “Poison” on the label must be avoided. Products with warnings such as “corrosive” or “may cause burns,” as well as “may cause skin irritation,” “flammable,” “vapors harmful,” are also dangerous.  Avoid products that contain the ingredients chlorine or ammonia. These can cause respiratory and skin irritation and will create toxic fumes if accidentally mixed together.

Protect water quality and aquatic life by refusing to purchase detergents containing phosphates, which may cause algal blooms, or alkylphenol ethoxylates, including nonylphenol and octylphenol.

Labels Can Be Misleading

Beware of unregulated “greenwash” claims on labels. Terms such as “natural” and “eco-friendly” do not necessarily indicate safety. The labels must be backed up with specific ingredient information, such as “solvent-free,” “no petroleum-based ingredients,” “no phosphates,” etc. “Non-toxic” has no official definition, so unless a third party has verified this claim, it is not considered meaningful.

“Organic” ingredients in cleaning and other chemical products labeling is misleading. Although “organic” in the grocery store refers to foods grown without synthetic pesticides, in cleaning products it means chemicals that are carbon-based.  These chemicals can include some VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that release harmful fumes and may cause brain damage or cancer. The Organic Foods Production Act does not regulate household cleaning products, but some of their ingredients, such as plant oils, can be labeled “certified organic.”

Be aware that some labels that may make a product appear eco-friendly are actually meaningless. For example, many aerosol spray cans are labeled “no CFCs” leading consumers to believe they are buying an eco-friendly product. Actually, CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons, which deplete the ozone layer) have been banned from aerosols since 1978 so none are permitted to contain CFCs!

When you are gauging ecological claims on product labels, look for specific information. For example, “biodegradable in 3 to 5 days” holds a lot more meaning than “biodegradable.” Most substances will eventually break down if given enough time and the right ecological conditions. Claims like “no solvents,” “no phosphates,” or “plant-based” are more meaningful than vague terms like “ecologically-friendly” or “natural.”

For more info, visit ecolabels.org.

Packaging

The plastic bottles used to package cleaning products pose another environmental problem by contributing to the mounds of solid waste. These containers must be land filled, incinerated or – in not enough cases – recycled. Most cleaners are bottled in HDPE (denoted #2 inside the recycling triangle), or PETE (#1) which are accepted for recycling in many recycle centers. However, some cleaning products are bottled in PVC (#3). PVC is made from cancer-causing chemicals such as vinyl chloride, and it forms as a byproduct a potent carcinogen, dioxin, during production and incineration. Most recycling programs do not accept PVC – less than 1% of all PVC is recycled each year.

To reduce packaging waste: Choose cleaners in the largest container sizes available; especially seek out bulk sizes. Select products in bottles made with at least some recycled plastic. By doing so, you support companies that are providing a vital end-market for recycled plastic (without this market, recycling would not be possible). Choose concentrated formulas, which contain only 20% or less water. Because dilution with water is done at home, not at the factory, concentrated cleaners overall require less packaging and fuels for shipping.

Think of all of the resources that would be saved if companies that advertise their packaging as “100% recyclable” actually switched to materials that are “100% recycled!”

Environmental Concerns

After cleaning liquids disappear down our drains, they are treated with sewage and other wastewater at municipal treatment plants, and then discharged into nearby waterways. Some ingredients in chemical cleaners do not break down in the treatment process, threatening water quality or fish and other wildlife. APEs and phosphates are particularly damaging.

—Linda Smith has a master’s degree in building energy engineering and has won numerous awards and commendations, including the “Governor’s STAR” award for exemplary achievement, “Innovation in Energy Management” award from the U.S. Department of Energy, and “Green Thought Leader” recognition from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. She is president of an energy efficiency consulting company, 9Kft Strategies in Energy. She was a Sr. Program Manager at the Colorado Governor’s Energy Office for over 17 years.


A Parallel World of

Natural Clothing

The Challenge

You may want to explore replacing clothing made of synthetics and chemically treated fibers. What you wear next to your skin, your body’s largest cleansing organ, can affect your health. Organic clothing is made from materials raised in, or grown in compliance with organic agricultural standards. Materials include cotton, jute, silk, ramie, hemp, or wool, for example. They are free from herbicides, pesticides and genetically modified seeds.

History

There was a time, of course, when practically all clothing was organic. Homegrown wool from sheep, woven grasses, silk gathered from worms and cotton grown and spun in the community were reliable sources. The industrial age allowed for production in huge quantities and demanded more and more raw materials, ushering in the use of chemicals, preservative, pesticides and herbicides.

In the 70s, the polyester era had begun to dampen and scratch the younger generations with its synthetic fibers. Older generations were still mending clothes and getting by with what they had. Synthetic fabrics flooded marketplaces with less expensive, mass-produced clothing.

Chemicals used in crop growth and manufacturing tend to be reabsorbed into the environment in forms that leave trails of damage. These chemicals began to cause health concerns for humans and animals alike. Years later, stories about chemicals and sustainability started to leak out, and the health conscious began to demand more environmentally friendly materials.

High fashion and popular labels noticed the trend and began using identifying words like “organic” and “all natural” in their labels. Sometimes, the labels made false claims but these days it is hard to get by without proper documentation. It is a matter of checking the “made of” and “made in” labels of each item of clothing before you buy.

Why Choose Organic Clothing?

Buying cheaply made clothes is a false economy. Sweaters and pants shrink and become misshapen after one wear or one wash.  Cheap seams, weak stitching, inconsistent fibers, and loose buttons leave you repairing or even discarding inferior items.

These days you can build an entire wardrobe from organic cottons, sheep’s wool, hemp, linen and various other ethically sourced and organically grown materials. And, you can find this fine clothing side by side with other fashionable items in many stores. As an added bonus, clothing made with natural fibers tend to be very well made and consequently last much longer, thereby saving you money

Some are made from fair-trade sources and production. Now a closet full of fashions that are ethically and environmentally conscious is simply a matter of hunting around rather than grabbing the first thing off the rack.

Look for these words when searching:

  • fair-trade
  • organic
  • pesticide-free
  • no preservatives
  • made with no chemicals
  • made in the US

Benefits to the environment and economy

Take the example of a well established organic clothing company’s claims:

“When you buy one of our T-shirts, you are guaranteed that it has been made without any child labor or exploitation. 

Through fair-trade certification, the cotton farmers and garment workers are paid a decent, living wage, giving them and their family a chance in life.  This empowers communities and breaks the cycle of poverty. We’re all about ethical fashion, and want to create quality clothing that also bring quality of life for those in developing countries.

All our clothing is high quality, looks good, and feels great. We only use high-grade organic certified cotton, which is better for farmers, workers, the environment and you! Organic cotton is free from harmful pesticides, chemicals and genetically modified material. Plus, by buying organic, you receive a high quality product that looks good and feels great.” – Life Threads Clothing

Authentic organic fabrics and clothing can help the environment in a number of ways, such as:

– being pesticide-free

– producing far less CO2

– 60% less water is used compared to non-organic farming

– accidental chemical release into the environment avoided

Find your local organic clothing mom-and-pop store, try on a few items, and consider a gradual switch to all-organic clothing. Your health and your environment will thank you for it.

Other Resources

LifeThreadClothing

The History of Organic Clothing

— Laurianne Fiorentino has had over 54 occupations ranging from Alaskan fisherperson, allergy technician, comic, published photographer and journalist, Ortho-Bionomy practitioner and teacher. Mostly, she makes a lot of noise in Santa Fe and around the world as a musician and songwriter. Her curiosity roams the neighborhood of emotional politics and navigates mysterious fiefdoms of the heart, mind, and soul. She hopes your dreams chase you down as soon as you let them. www.lauriannefiorentino.com


 

A Parallel World of

Product Reuse, Recycling, Second Hand & Consignment Stores

The Challenge

Find and purchase what you need and what you want “after market” and avoid premium costs and mass-produced goods. Unload items you do not use or need and turn them into a mode of exchange by getting involved in this method of recycling. Stepping away from the notion of “latest and greatest” and fashion fads can be challenging and fun.

Today’s Product Reuse/Recycling venues may be the answer. Thrift Stores, Consignment Stores, and Pawn Shops offer pre-owned goods sloughed off by those who no longer want or need them. Why not turn those used items into methods of alternate currency?

History 

Recycling, reusing and repurposing manufactured goods are a long-standing American tradition. An older sibling’s clothing handed down to a younger sibling was plain common sense. Generations of cash-strapped shoppers have used Good Will, Salvation Army and St. Vincent de Paul for affordable used goods and clothing. By the mid-1960s, wearing used clothing became a fashion statement. Middle class Americans began visiting traditional “thrift stores” in search of augmenting their “look.”

After 50 years of hearing that “new” was always better, Americans began appreciating the higher quality often found in the “old” and the unique. The 2008 recession boosted the appeal of used goods to more and more people. This was true across broad sections of socio-economic classes and age groups. As a result, the “resale industry,” as it is now known, continues to grow at phenomenal rates.

Many Local Venues to Choose From 

Consignment store growth has not been limited to the local fashion maven running the corner boutique. At an estimated $13 billion of annual revenues, resale is now big business. There are nearly 30,000 resale, consignment and thrift shops across the land.

Many of these consignment outlets belong to chains and even franchises. Well-informed shoppers are now familiar with names like Clothes Mentor, Buffalo Exchange or Second Time Around. Like the locally owned consignment boutique, they too offer “quality at a savings.” Now, traditional thrift stores, such as those run by Goodwill Industries, compete with the higher end consignment stores.

Charitable Donation

Charities can help those in need by donating or selling surrendered goods. You can get a tax-deductible receipt for your donation and feel good for helping those less fortunate than yourself.

Pawnshops

Pawnshops offer different approaches. The owner can surrender physical possession of the item (but not legal title) in exchange for a loan. Then they reclaim the item upon repayment of the loan with interest (or else surrenders legal title). Alternatively, the owner can surrender both physical possession and legal title for an immediate payment. The pawnshop retains all proceeds from any subsequent sale.

Consignment

Consignment shops differ from charity or thrift shops. Original owners surrender both physical possession and legal title to the item as a charitable donation. The seller retains all proceeds from the sale.

An unwanted or used item may have still have too much value to give away. The item would serve the owner better if it was sold, outright, to another party directly. Consigning the item alleviates the time and energy of arranging a sale. The owner pays for that service by sharing the profit of the sale.

Merchandise often sold through consignment shops includes antiques, athletic equipment, automobiles, books, clothing (especially children’s, maternity, and wedding clothing which are often not worn out). Furniture, firearms, music, musical instruments, tools, paragliders and toys are also sold. Drop-off stores and online sellers such-as eBay often use the consignment model of selling. Although a different form of consignment, art galleries, as well, often operate as consignees of artist’s work.

Specialized Shops

There are also specialized shops like Habitat for Humanity where contractors and homeowners who are replacing or restoring homes, donate older home components. Fixtures, furniture, plumbing, lighting, windows, doors and appliances can be found at a fraction of the cost of new ones. Often, these donations are simply out of date yet entirely functional and in good condition.

Other Resources

Nissanoff, Daniel (2006). FutureShop: How the New Auction Culture Will Revolutionize the Way We Buy, Sell and Get the Things We Really Want. The Penguin Press. ISBN 1-59420-077-7. (Hardcover, 246 pages)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consignment

— Laurianne Fiorentino has had over 54 occupations ranging from Alaskan fisherperson, allergy technician, comic, published photographer and journalist, Ortho-Bionomy practitioner and teacher. Mostly, she makes a lot of noise in Santa Fe and around the world as a musician and songwriter. Her curiosity roams the neighborhood of emotional politics and navigates mysterious fiefdoms of the heart, mind, and soul. She hopes your dreams chase you down as soon as you let them. www.lauriannefiorentino.com


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