organic

Efforts to live a more Earth-friendly lifestyle are becoming more and more common. Grocery store aisles are full of organic food and the importance of recycling is becoming more evident, but food is not the only commodity that can be produced in a natural, organic form.

Did you ever think that the clothing you wear and the skin and makeup products you use could also be beneficial to the Earth?

Rebecca Steckler, a sociology graduate student, lives an eco-friendly lifestyle.

“I’m a vegetarian, so I don’t wear leather, and I guess that kind of got me started on the other eco-friendly stuff,” Steckler said. “Resources are so scarce and every little bit of effort helps.”

When shopping for a new pair of shoes or facial foundation, other students may not make it a point to select the products made from recycled materials or natural ingredients. Clothing lines offer materials made of hemp and organic cotton along with reprocessed material.

In the Miami Herald, Samantha Thompson Smith said, “Designers are making hip-hugging jeans out of organic cottons. They’re using vegetable dyes to color T-shirt designs. And they’re using hemp to make fitted jackets — with bones for buttons.”

This creative use of raw materials supports the movement to be more environmentally friendly. Plus, wouldn’t quality, handmade material be better than something that was processed in a sweat shop somewhere overseas?

A growing popular trend seen on the UTSA campus is TOMS shoes. These shoes are actually a vegan-inspired product, made from recycled materials. Jasmin Malik Chua wrote in an article on ecouterre.com that specific styles “feature uppers made from hemp and recycled plastic bottles, latex arch supports, and recycled EVA outsoles.” TOMS also began a movement they call One to One, and Chua states that “each pair you buy will pay it forward with a pair of new shoes to a child in need.”

Another way students can be eco-friendly is by purchasing beauty, hair and skin products. Using natural ingredients in these kinds of products is not only supportive of a healthy environment, but is also much healthier for the human body.

Many people don’t look into the ingredients in skin care products; after all, who wants to take up the time to read labels before they make a selection? The body absorbs anything and everything that is put onto the skin through hair follicles and sebaceous glands so the information provided on the label is essential to buyers.

Researching some of the ingredients listed on the label of the body lotion on the bathroom counter or the shampoo in the shower could be shocking. Some of these shocking ingredients include Sodium Laureth Sulfate and Formaldehyde.

Narelle Chenery, Organic Natural Living, gives an example of a common, unsafe ingredient. Cocamide DEA, a foaming agent found in shampoo derived from coconut oil, “requires the addition of a synthetic chemical and known carcinogen, Diethanolamine – DEA, to the coconut oil. It’s therefore no longer natural, or even what you could call safe!”

Senior chemistry student Alyssa Gallilier is aware of the importance of knowing the ingredients of products that have contact with skin. She purchases natural products because “they’re usually better quality. I’d rather be putting nature on myself than anything else.” Gallilier goes on to say, “Anything that comes from the earth is better than something that isn’t.”

There are so many ways to live a “green” lifestyle in college, and the students at UTSA are noticeably aware of the importance of being eco-friendly.

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