I had a look at the list of the 12 ingredients the David Suzuki Foundation suggests I avoid in my cosmetics. Now that I’ve found toxic ingredients like fragrance and parabens in almost everything, I’m not sure how to dispose of the products I no longer want. I don’t want to pour them down the drain, so should I take them to the dump?
Lisa, Toronto

Identifying the “Dirty Dozen” ingredients to avoid in your cosmetics is a huge first step. Now that you’ve done your homework — reading the fine-print ingredient lists with their numerous complex chemical names – it’s natural to want to turf everything overnight. And you’re not alone. Almost 80 per cent of products reported in our spring survey contained at least one of the “Dirty Dozen” ingredients. They are that widespread.

When it comes to disposal, you were right not to throw products in the garbage. One option is to consider finishing up what you have and then buying a safer alternative without harmful ingredients next time.

If you’d rather stop using your product today, find out if your city considers personal care products household hazardous waste. I see that the City of Toronto’s website www.toronto.ca/garbage has some helpful information about disposing of unwanted household hazardous waste. No matter where you live, check out your city’s website for more clues on disposal.

A final option is to take a stand and mail your product back to the manufacturer. Include a note explaining your reason, and then ask them to sign the Compact for Safe Cosmetics.

Lindsay Coulter gives you the straight goods on living green. Send your questions to queenofgreen@metronews.ca. For more great tips, visit The David Suzuki Foundation at davidsuzuki.org.

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