Wednesday, April 15, 2009

New Uses For Nail Polish

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, 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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MaryAnn Ashley said...

The can idea is a really good one... thanks for the tips.

Mama Zen said...

I love the tip on rust proofing the shaving cream can. I'm definitely going to try that. That ring in the shower drives me nuts!

Kathleen W. said...

Those are great tips. I'm not a huge nail polish person (I'm ashamed to admit I bite my nails), but I often apply it in summer on my toes. I think I have some bottles around that are at least 10 years old.

angie said...

I would have NEVER thought of this. Thanks for the idea!

Cookie said...

Wow! Those are really great ideas. And I had no idea that nail polish was a hazardous waste. Yikes!

And thanks for your comment on my blog today. That was so sweet and totally made my day!!!! :) :) :)

the mama bird diaries said...

So what kind of nail polish can I use on my girls? B/c they love the nail polish.

Jenn Jilks said...

Clever post! It reminds me that it's toenail painting season again.

Rebecca said...

I've tried to cut down on beauty products in general because I realized how many I let go to waste!

With some of your recent posts on making your own beauty supplies, I thought you might be including a recipe for homemade organic nail polish! You could use beets or tomatoes for a nice rosy tint.

I like your ideas for using old bottles of polish!

Kathleen said...

Great trips as per usual.

janny226 said...

I've used clear polish as a sealer for many little painting projects over the years. Thanks for the reminder and additional ideas!

greenbaby said...

Great tip! Now that I have a little one I have no need/time to paint my nails so there are a few bottles I could dispose of. It's nice to have a few ideas on how to creatively re-purpose them! Thanks for joining us this week for Thrifty Green Thursday!