Tuesday, August 12, 2014

DIY Beauty - Waste Reduction Style

These are some excellent beauty tips for back-to-school so you can be looking your best for Welcome Week! These products are less wasteful than your drugstore cosmetic products because they require far less processing, packaging, and shipment. Who says beauty can't be painless?
homemade clay toothpaste
This photo was retrieved here.

  • 1/4 cup Redmond Clay (it'll come in a dry powder form, you can buy it here).
  • 3/8 cup boiling water (preferably purified)
  • 1/4 tsp. Real Salt (or really any kind of unrefined salt)
  • 15-25 drops Stevia (liquid or powder is fine)
  • 10-12 drops Peppermint Oil
  • 4-6 drops Tea Tree Oil
clay toothpaste ingredients
This photo was retrieved here.
How to DIY:
1. Combine the powdered clay and salt into a bowl.
2. Pour in the boiling water.
3. Mix the contents with a hand mixer. The consistency should be toothpaste-like. 
4. Add in the Stevia, Peppermint and Tea Tree oils until you are happy with the flavor.
5. Give it one last mix.
Homemade Lotion Recipe all natural and easy to make Luxurious Homemade Lotion Recipe
This photo was retrieved here.


How to DIY:
1. Combine ingredients into a mason jar. Make sure it's pint-sized, at least. 

2. Place a medium saucepan filled with a couple inches of water over medium heat. 

3. Put a lid on the jar, loosely, and put it in the pan with the water.

4. Watch as the ingredients in the jar start to melt. Shake or stir occasionally. When all         ingredients are completely melted, put them into a jar you'll use for storage.

Homemade Laundry Detergent
This photo was retrieved here.


How to DIY:
1. Shave the bar soap, if not already shaven.

2. Stir the ingredients together.

3. Store in a sealed container. 

4. Use 1. Tbsp. per load.

This photo was retrieved here.


How to DIY:
1. Put coconut oil, aloe vera gel, and grated beeswax in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir until beeswax is completely melted.

2. Open 1-2 capsules of activated charcoal (depending on desired color, about 1/4-1/2 tsp.) and pour into oil mixture. Stir until completely incorporated. Remove from heat.

3. Pour into a small plastic bag, pushing the mixture down to one corner. Then cut a very small hole in the opposite corner of the bag.

4. Fold the corner with the cut whole until you have a small tip that you can push into the empty mascara tube. (It's much easier if you have an extra set of hands nearby to hold the tube in place!) Make sure the tip goes far enough into the tube or you'll have a big mess on your hands!

5. Keep the small-hole-end securely in the tube (or get your helper to hold it in place). Begin pressing the mascara mixture toward the tube. Don't move too quickly or it will come out and you'll have to mess deal with. (I highly recommend doing this with a paper towel or napkin underneath.) Keep moving the mixture into the tube until it's all in.

6. Place the inner cap in place and then twist the wand on tightly. 

This photo was retrieved here.


How to DIY:
1. Mix baking soda and arrowroot together.

2. Add the oils and mix well.

3. Pour into a clean jar.

Chocolate Face Mask Ingredients Chocolate Oatmeal Face Mask | Healthy Homemade Series Part 2
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tbs. heavy cream, or sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons oatmeal powder

How to DIY:
1. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl with a spoon or spatula.
2. Apply immediately on face using a clean brush or fingers.
3. Gently massage into skin.
4. Lay down, and leave on skin for 15-20 minutes.
5. Rinse off with lukewarm water.
This photo was retrieved here.


How to DIY:
1. Combine the hibiscus powder, one teaspoon at a time until desired color is reached, with the arrowroot powder. 

2. (optional) Add cinnamon for a little "depth and glow."

While I have provided links for you to purchase these ingredients online, to cut down on pollution from transportation and waste from packaging, try to gather these ingredients from local sources: Trader Joe's, World Market, any local shops which provide these.

This photo was retrieved here.


  • Arrowroot powder (1 tsp. for dark skin, 1Tbs. for light skin)
  • Add one or a combination of:
    • Cocoa Powder
    • Ground Cinnamon
    • Nutmeg
  • (optional) Jojoba, Olive, or Almond Oil

How to DIY: 
1. Start with a base of arrowroot powder. 
2. Add in one or combination of the cocoa powder, cinnamon, or nutmeg until you reach your desired tone.
3. Want a more "compact" foundation? Add some jojoba/olive/almond oil to the mixture and press down into a compact. (Start with 5 drops and keep adding until it reaches your desired texture).

Works Cited
Langford, Stephanie. "Homemade Clay Toothpaste - Keeper of the Home."Keeper of the Home. N.p., 2013. Web. 11 June 2014.
Katie. "Homemade Lotion Recipe- How to Make Your Own Lotion." Wellness Mama. N.p., 2012. Web. 11 June 2014.
Jabs, Matt. "The Original Homemade Laundry Detergent." DIYNatural. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 June 2014.
"Homemade Mascara: All Natural and Eye Friendly." Thank Your Body. N.p., 15 Oct. 2012. Web. 11 June 2014.
Cottis, Halle. "How To Make Your Own Deodorant With Only 3 Natural Ingredients!" Whole Lifestyle Nutrition How To Make Your Own Deodorant With Only 3 All Natural Ingredients Comments. N.p., 2012. Web. 11 June 2014.
"Homemade Deodorant with Coconut Oil." Family Sponge. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 June 2014.
Cheryl. "Chocolate Oatmeal Face Mask." Gourmande in the Kitchen. N.p., 26 July 2013. Web. 11 June 2014.
"All Natural Homemade Foundation." Thank Your Body. N.p., 18 Mar. 2013. Web. 11 June 2014.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Animals Recycling

We all know of the constant loop of nutrient recycling that happens in the massive ecosystem that is our Earth. But did you know? Numerous animal species have adapted their survival skills in order to recycle waste we leave behind. Check out these recycle-maniacs!

Photo of elephant eating Christmas tree

The photo to the left is of Thabo-Umasai, an elephant calf at Germany's Dresden Zoo munching on a used Christmas tree. Camels, deer, and sheep also participate in this recycling of Christmas trees. "Elephants around the country will enjoy a delicious lunch consisting of about five Christmas trees each," said Ragnar Kuehne of the Berlin Zoo. Kuehne also noted that the pine trees' unique oils actually help some animals' digestion.  

Sponges such as the Halisarca caerulea grow in deep cavities underneath coral reefs. Scientists at the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (RNISR) discovered that every day, these sponges consume half of their own weight in dissolved organic carbon. Where is all of that food energy going? As it turns out, the sponges shed cells produced from processing the carbon, which other residents of the reef then consume. "Halisarca caerulea is the great recycler of energy for the reef by turning over energy that nobody else can use into energy that everyone can use,' explained Jasper De Goeij, who worked on the RNISR study.
Orb-Weaving Spiders (We spared you the photo on this one.)
Some orb-weaving spiders decorate their webs with bits of leaves, twigs and other plant matter. Sometimes these creepy crawlers add ribbons, fluff and silk tufts in order to make their webs as enticing as possible for prey. Not only are they reusing materials left behind by humans, but many orb-weaving spiders rebuild their nests every day, so they are always busy recycling. This helps keep both their webs and their surrounding environment clean!
Hermit Crabs
Hermit crabs don't grow their own shells, so to protect themselves they have to salvage shells abandoned by other sea life, or in this case abandoned by us humans. But really they'll use whatever they can find, which often includes glass bottles, cans or shotgun shells. If you have a pet hermit crab you can provide it a recycled shell! Just remember that as a crab grows, it will seek out new shells in order to find the best fit.

recycling animals main 6 Animals Who Love To Recycle (GALLERY)

Similarly to the orb-weaving spiders, many birds will incorporate everything from lint and string to human hair in their nests. Seriously, leave your hair clippings outside for the birds to use; they'll even accept your pets' hair! Bowerbirds from New Guinea and Australia collect colorful trash (mostly bottle caps and plastics) and re-purpose it for nest decoration. Some species of city-dwelling birds line their nests with discarded cigarette butts, which have been known to deter parasites from entering the nest. 

Though very sensitive to variations in their environment, these corals can adapt shipwrecks, undersea pipelines, and oil rigs into surfaces to develop reefs on. By re-purposing this human wreckage, they also provide habitats for twenty-five percent of marine life, and 4000 fish species alone.

Several species, such as the veined octopus (as seen on right), have been observed building shelters out of discarded debris. Some of these debris include cracked coconut shells, abandoned sea shells, glass jars and other waste whose fate is the bottom of the ocean. 

Dung Beetles
Dung beetles move, eat, lay eggs, and even LIVE in poop. Hey, somebody's got to do it! Every resource needs to be put to good use, even poop! Commonly referred to as "rollers," their waste-collection strategy is to roll feces into balls so that it can be easily wheeled away. It's estimated that dung beetles save the United States' cattle industry $380 million annually by livestock feces recycling alone. Their recycling abilities  have even been proposed as a way to help curb global warming

Decorator Crabs
Decorator crabs are covered with hooked hairs, nobs and spines to which they attach bits of sponge, seaweed, and even anemones. They do this to create an ideal camouflage appearance; their goal is to blend in with the coral reef. The Marine Education Society of Australasia says they’re only noticed when they move. Some crabs will even wear anemone hats with stinging tentacles to deter predators.

Burrowing Owl
Did you know burrowing owls nest underground? They also hang out during the day. Let's just say they're oddballs for an owl species. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, they are capable of digging out their own burrows, but they’ll also use homes left over by prairie dogs or ground rodents. They also recycle animal dung, making a kind of 'Welcome' mat out of it. 

Have you seen any animals recycling on U of M's campus? Perhaps you've observed one of our notorious Diag squirrels recycling a plastic water bottle, or a bird at the Arb using bits of plastic to create a nest? If you have any photos, please send them to recycle@umich.edu. Lastly, we hope you're inspired by these recycling champions. Get out there make a house from dung! Don't forget your stinging tentacle hat!

Works Cited
Chamberlain, Ted. "Photo in the News: Baby Elephant Eats Christmas Trees."National Geographic. National Geographic Society, 28 Oct. 2010. Web. 26 June 2014.
Viegas, Jennifer. "Top 5 Animals That Recycle : DNews." DNews. DNews, 22 Apr. 2010. Web. 26 June 2014.
Nelson, Bryan. "6 Animals That Recycle in Their Everyday Lives: Corals." MNN. Mother Nature Network, n.d. Web. 26 June 2014.
Langley, Liz. "St. Patrick's Day: "Green" Animals That Recycle." National Geographic. National Geographic, 14 Mar. 2014. Web. 26 June 2014.