Back when I worked full time, I would scoot over to the Walgreens across the street and buy a bottle of nail polish when I couldn’t stand staring at my computer screen anymore. Perusing the rainbow of shades to find the perfect red, pink or green polish (hey, it was the 90’s) was a great workday pick-me-up.
As you can see from the photo, I needed a lot of nail polish motivation in my career as an editor. But now that I’ve become more environmentally aware, I don’t want to use those bottles of nail polish on myself anymore. It turns out nail polish is full of harmful chemicals such as benzophenone-1 and dibutyl phthalate (DBP), which studies show cause hormone disruption. And most nail polish has formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen.
In fact, nail polish is so bad for the environment, it must be disposed of along with other hazardous waste materials, such as latex paint. Check out Earth911.com, to find a hazardous waste recycling site near you.
But don’t get rid of all your bottles of nail polish. Here are some nifty uses for the stuff:
- Label things with old nail polish such as clothing, sporting gear, containers in the freezer and even plant markers for your garden. Dry nail polish is water proof and long lasting.
- Seal an envelope. If you are using an envelope that has been around for awhile the glue might not be as good as it once was, put a thin line of old nail polish on the inside of the flap before closing. Once dry the envelope will be permanently sealed.
- Waterproof with clear nail polish. A coat of clear polish over prescription bottle labels will keep them from smudging so dosage can be read. It is also great for waterproofing addresses on envelopes in case it rains while your mail is in transit.
- Rust proof the bottom of metal cans, such as shaving cream, before putting them into your shower or medicine cabinet. A coat of recycled nail polish on the bottom of the can will prevent them from leaving rust circles in your bathroom.
So if you’re like me, and have too many bottles of nail polish, save some for some household uses and get rid of the rest responsibly.
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