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Science

Help protect our waterways from contamination with these ingenious wet wipe alternatives

Pristine Cleansing Sprays can help wipe away your environmental worries.

Help protect our waterways from contamination with these ingenious wet wipe alternatives

With a rapidly changing climate, protecting our waterways has never been so important. Not only are they some of our most beautiful natural areas, they also offer tons of amazing recreation opportunities. Who doesn’t love a summer day down by the river?

With ever increasing amounts of pollutants, single-use plastics, and personal cleansing wipes making their way into our waterways, our planet’s natural bodies of water face threats of contamination. Wet wipes are especially harmful since many are made with plastic fibers that prevent them from breaking down in plumbing and sewer systems when flushed down the toilet - even those labeled as “flushable” still don’t always break down as required. These flushed wipes can bond together to create giant masses called “fatbergs” (like this giant one found in Maryland), which clog sewer systems and cause raw sewage overflows into our waterways. This major problem affects both wildlife and drinking water sources.



“There seems to be a common misunderstanding that, if it goes down the toilet, it's ‘flushable,’” says Jessica Oley, Owner & Founder of Pristine Cleansing Sprays, a company that makes eco-friendly alternatives to wet wipes. “City sewers and water treatment infrastructure are simply not equipped to handle the increased use of wet wipes, which has led to damaged machinery and sewage overflows into our natural bodies of water.”

While prioritizing care of our environment is undoubtedly a top priority, some luxuries are difficult to go without – especially those that contribute to our comfort and cleanliness and feel like necessities. Wet wipes and body wipes are some of those guilty pleasure items because of their convenience factor, but when you really consider their negative environmental effects, they become all guilt and little pleasure. Thankfully, though, the company Pristine Cleansing Sprays has begun curating products that provide the same comfort and convenience as wet wipes, while alleviating the negative environmental impact. Pristine’s toilet paper spray is sprayed onto dry toilet paper to create a wet wipe that naturally breaks down once flushed, so there’s no threat of clogs, fatbergs, or sewage overflows. Pristine also offers an eco-friendly alternative to another type of wet wipe – body wipes – with their new Body Cleansing Sprays. They spray directly onto your body (and/or cloth), then cleanse and refresh without creating extra waste that stems from single-use items like wipes. New products like these and eco-focused companies like Pristine might be the key to a clean body and a clean planet.

“It was really important to us when starting Pristine that we not only create high-quality, safe products, but that we did so in a way that reduced the burden on the environment,” said Oley. “Quality and environmental concerns are the central focus in every discussion that we make when curating new products.”

We wanted to learn more about the company and its impact. So we reached out to the founders of Pristine Cleansing Sprays for an interview and found out all about the inspiration behind these life-changing sprays. Here’s what they had to say:

1) Your toilet paper spray sounds like magic. Is it? If not, how does it work?

It’s magic! Plus a year of testing, formulating, and re-testing to perfect the right balance of quality ingredients and superior wiping experience while not compromising the integrity of the toilet paper :) Our toilet paper spray was formulated to be a simple, eco-friendly, truly flushable alternative to wet wipes. So all you have to do is spray Pristine directly onto folded toilet paper, wipe, and flush – like magic!

2) A lot of companies say they're eco-friendly and help the earth - what makes Pristine a company that truly makes the planet better?

When we started Pristine, it was extremely important to us to clean up more than just backsides. This meant formulating innovative products that truly help keep the environment cleaner. Our sprays are made to replace the use of wet wipes, body wipes, and hand wipes, with a spray alternative that is biodegradable. With every 4 oz bottle of Pristine, you prevent 200 single-use plastic wipes from entering the ecosystem. Plus the packaging is reusable and/or recyclable. We also seek out partners who care about the environment - our manufacturer is based in the USA, powers its facilities through 100% wind energy, and specializes in sourcing cruelty-free, sustainable, and natural ingredients.

3) So which came first – the toilet paper spray, the body spray, or the hand sanitizer? And be honest with us – do you have a favorite?

Our toilet paper spray was our first creation! Its early success took us all the way to the Shark Tank stage where we had the opportunity to tell 5 billionaires that they were wiping their tushes all wrong. We recognized that we didn’t have to stop at the bottom, but could create simple, eco-friendly solutions to other common problems. Our body cleansing spray was born to bridge the gap between an actual shower and a body spray that masks odor without cleansing. Then our hand sanitizing spray was released during COVID to aid in the hand sanitizer supply shortage. As a small, family business, our sprays feel like they are a part of the family, so we have to say that we love them all equally :)

4) So we read that you guys were both lawyers before starting the company... There's gotta be a story there, do tell :)

Yes, we are first cousins and both former lawyers! Early on in the development of our company, we would joke that the worst thing about failing in the butt-wiping industry would be having to be attorneys again. Ha! In all seriousness, the idea for Pristine was born over a family dinner conversation about wet wipes. We both had specific reasons about how we thought that we could improve upon wet wipes in a way that was better for the backside and better for the environment. That night, we took the leap and started working on what would eventually become our new and improved full-time jobs!

Pop Culture

Airbnb host finds unexpected benefits from not charging guests a cleaning fee

Host Rachel Boice went for a more "honest" approach with her listings—and saw major perks because of it.

@rachelrboice/TikTok

Many frustrated Airbnb customers have complained that the separate cleaning fee is a nuisance.

Airbnb defines its notorious cleaning fee as a “one-time charge” set by the host that helps them arrange anything from carpet shampoo to replenishing supplies to hiring an outside cleaning service—all in the name of ensuring guests have a “clean and tidy space.”

But as many frustrated Airbnb customers will tell you, this feature is viewed as more of a nuisance than a convenience. According to NerdWallet, the general price for a cleaning fee is around $75, but can vary greatly between listings, with some units having cleaning fees that are higher than the nightly rate (all while sometimes still being asked to do certain chores before checking out). And often none of these fees show up in the total price until right before the booking confirmation, leaving many travelers feeling confused and taken advantage of.

However, some hosts are opting to build cleaning fees into the overall price of their listings, mimicking the strategy of traditional hotels.

Rachel Boice runs two Airbnb properties in Georgia with her husband Parker—one being this fancy glass plane tiny house (seen below) that promises a perfect glamping experience.

@rachelrboice Welcome to The Tiny Glass House 🤎 #airbnbfinds #exploregeorgia #travelbucketlist #tinyhouse #glampingnotcamping #atlantageorgia #fyp ♬ Aesthetic - Tollan Kim

Like most Airbnb hosts, the Boice’s listing showed a nightly rate and separate cleaning fee. According to her interview with Insider, the original prices broke down to $89 nightly, and $40 for the cleaning fee.

But after noticing the negative response the separate fee got from potential customers, Rachel told Insider that she began charging a nightly rate that included the cleaning fee, totaling to $129 a night.

It’s a marketing strategy that more and more hosts are attempting in order to generate more bookings (people do love feeling like they’re getting a great deal) but Boice argued that the trend will also become more mainstream since the current Airbnb model “doesn’t feel honest.”

"We stay in Airbnbs a lot. I pretty much always pay a cleaning fee," Boice told Insider. "You're like: 'Why am I paying all of this money? This should just be built in for the cost.'"

Since combining costs, Rachel began noticing another unexpected perk beyond customer satisfaction: guests actually left her property cleaner than before they were charged a cleaning fee. Her hypothesis was that they assumed she would be handling the cleaning herself.

"I guess they're thinking, 'I'm not paying someone to clean this, so I'll leave it clean,'" she said.

This discovery echoes a similar anecdote given by another Airbnb host, who told NerdWallet guests who knew they were paying a cleaning fee would “sometimes leave the place looking like it’s been lived in and uncleaned for months.” So, it appears to be that being more transparent and lumping all fees into one overall price makes for a happier (and more considerate) customer.

These days, it’s hard to not be embittered by deceptive junk fees, which can seem to appear anywhere without warning—surprise overdraft charges, surcharges on credit cards, the never convenience “convenience charge” when purchasing event tickets. Junk fees are so rampant that certain measures are being taken to try to eliminate them outright in favor of more honest business approaches.

Speaking of a more honest approach—as of December 2022, AirBnb began updating its app and website so that guests can see a full price breakdown that shows a nightly rate, a cleaning fee, Airbnb service fee, discounts, and taxes before confirming their booking.

Guests can also activate a toggle function before searching for a destination, so that full prices will appear in search results—avoiding unwanted financial surprises.


This article originally appeared on 11.08.23

National Autistic Society/Youtube

"Diverted" educational video shared through the Too Much Information Campaign.

Everyone who lives with autism experiences it somewhat differently. You'll often hear physicians and advocates refer to the spectrum that exists for those who are autistic, pointing to a wide range of symptoms and skills.

But one thing many autistic people experience is sensory processing issues.


For autistic people, processing the world around them when it comes to sight, smell, or touch can be challenging, as their senses are often over- or under-sensitive. Certain situations — like meandering through a congested mall or enduring the nonstop blasting of police sirens — can quickly become unbearable.

This reality is brought to life in a new video by the U.K.'s National Autistic Society (NAS).

The eye-opening PSA takes viewers into the mind of a autistic woman as she thinks about struggling to stay composed in a crowded, noisy train.

It's worth a watch:

The PSA hit especially close to home for 22-year-old actress and star of the video Saskia Lupin, who is autistic herself. "Overall I feel confused," she said, of abrupt changes to her routine. "Like I can't do anything and all sense of rationality is lost."

She's not alone.

According to a study cited in NAS' press release, 75% of autistic people say unexpected changes make them feel socially isolated. What's more, 67% reported seeing or hearing negative reactions from the public when they try to calm themselves down in such situations — from eyerolls and stares to unwelcome, hurtful comments.

The new PSA aims to improve that last figure in particular.

It's part of the organization's Too Much Information campaign — an initiative to build empathy and understanding in allistic (i.e., not autistic) people for those on the spectrum.

Autism Awareness Day, campaign, World Autism Awareness Week

Campaign by National Autistic Society created to share the autistic experience to the world.

Photo from Pixabay

"It isn't that the public sets out to be judgmental towards autistic people," Mark Lever, chief executive of the NAS, said in a statement in 2016. It's just that, often, the public doesn't "see" the autism.

"They see a 'strange' man pacing back and forth in a shopping center," Lever explained, "or a 'naughty' girl having a tantrum on a bus, and don't know how to respond."

Well, now we do.

Instead of staring, rolling your eyes, or thinking judgmental thoughts about the young person's parents, remember: You have no idea what that stranger on the train is going through.

“We can't make the trains run on time," said Lever. But even the simplest, smallest things — like remembering not to stare and giving a person some space and compassion if they need it — can make a big difference.


This article originally appeared on 03.28.18

Pop Culture

A brave fan asks Patrick Stewart a question he doesn't usually get and is given a beautiful answer

Patrick Stewart often talks about his childhood and the torment his father put him and his mother through.

Patrick Stewart often talks about his childhood and the torment his father put him and his mother through. However, how he answered this vulnerable and brave fan's question is one of the most eloquent, passionate responses about domestic violence I've ever seen.



WARNING: At 2:40, he's going to break your heart a little.

You can read more about Heather Skye's hug with Captain Picard at her blog.


This article originally appeared on 06.26.13.


How to clear a stuffy nose instantly.

With cold season upon us, there's no better time to learn a couple of awesome and easy tricks that will clear up the dreaded and annoying stuffy nose.

Prevention magazine created a short video showing two easy ways to get you breathing free again no matter how stuffed up you might be.


Both tricks take less than two minutes and are certainly worth trying out when it feels like that runny nose might never go away.


Watch the YouTube video below:

This article first appeared on 9.8.17.

Family

Heartwarming comics break down complex parenting issues with ease

Lunarbaboon comics tackle huge, important subjects with an effective, lighthearted touch that you can't help but smile at.

All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission

Writing comics helped a father struggling with anxiety and depression.

Christopher Grady, a father and teacher from Toronto, was struggling with anxiety and depression. That's when he started drawing.

He describes his early cartoons and illustrations as a journal where he'd chronicle everyday moments from his life as a husband, elementary school teacher, and father to two kids.

"I needed a positive place to focus all my thoughts and found that when I was making comics I felt a little bit better," he says.

He began putting a few of his comics online, not expecting much of a response. But he quickly learned that people were connecting with his work in a deep way.


The comics series called Lunarbaboon was born, and the response to the first few was so powerful that Grady was inspired do more with his comics than just document his own experience.

"I began getting messages from many people about how they connected to the comics and it gave them hope and strength as they went through their own dark times," he says.

"When they look back…they probably won't remember what was said…or where you were when you said it. They may not remember any details of your time together. But they will remember that you were there…and that's what matters most."

"Usually the circle of people we can support, help, influence is limited to our families, friends, coworkers, random stranger at the bus stop, but with my comic I suddenly found my circle of power was much much larger," Grady explains. "I guess I decided to use this power for good."

Grady continued to draw, making a point to infuse the panels with his own special brand of positivity.

"Kids are always watching adults and they look to the adults as role models," he says. "I try to show (my kids and students) that even with all my flaws and weaknesses I am still a good person and I can still make a positive change in the world."

Lunarbaboon comics tackle huge, important subjects with an effective, lighthearted touch that you can't help but smile at.

Check out Grady's take on teaching his son about consent. (All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission.)

consent, relationship advice, father son advice, family

A comic about listening and respecting your partner.

All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission

Here's one about parents being supportive of a gay son or daughter.

sexual orientation, parenting gay children, positive messages, gender orientation

Parents being supportive of their gay son.

All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission

On raising girls in a patriarchal world.

adulting, education, medical field, dreams

Comic encourages girls to chase all their dreams.

All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission

And here's a sweet one about appreciating the heck out of his wife.

motherhood, moms, childbirth, family

Mom one ups dad easily.

All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission

Big topics. Important issues. Grady tackles them with humility and ease.

As Lunarbaboon has continued to grow, Grady says the messages of support he gets have become increasingly powerful.

He certainly doesn't claim to have all the answers to all the complexities of parenting, but he does say that "people like knowing they aren't alone in life's daily struggles. Most people who contact me just want to say thank you for putting something positive into the world."

Grady doesn't expect his Lunarbaboon comics to fix rape culture or end bigotry. He just hopes his message of love, inclusion, and positivity continues to spread.

inclusion, gender roles, social anxiety, happy

Teaching children to accept what might be different.

All images by Christopher Grady/Lunarbaboon, used with permission

"My hope is that for the short time people read it they smile and feel good," he says. "Then I hope they take that good feeling and smile into the world and make it slightly brighter."

You can check out even more of Grady's awesome work over on his website or in his newly published book.


This article was originally published on 11.30.17