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Wands For Wildlife, an initiative by non-profit animal rehabilitation centre Appalachian Wildlife Refuge, lets you donate your used mascara wands to help save orphaned animals. Not only will you be giving injured and orphaned animals a second chance at life in the wild, you’ll also be keeping the environment clean by preventing those tiny non-recyclable plastic brushes from ending up in our already overflowing landfills and polluted oceans.
Founded in 2014, Appalachian Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina in the United States provides care for injured and orphaned wildlife, and supports the conservation efforts within the wider community. Earlier in 2017, the organisation’s co-founder Savannah Trantham launched a Wands For Wildlife campaign, calling for people to donate their used mascara wands that can help the tiny critters in the centre. While these used, old small makeup wands in your drawer might seem like trash to you, it can make a big difference to help small injured animals.
Since receiving thousands of old clean wands from all around the world, the refuge has been able to remove fly eggs and larvae, clean off sawdust and dirt from the fur and feathers of numerous small animals, as well as facilitate examinations of injuries. These wands can also be used to clean tiny tubes that feed little orphaned creatures.
Donating mascara wands instead of chucking them in the trash also prevents these non-recyclable, non biodegradable pieces of plastic from ending up in our overflowing landfills, oceans and waterways. Although mascara wands might seem like a small item, when we add up the astonishing numbers – as many as 6 mascaras are sold per minute in the United States alone – they add a big pile of plastic pollution to the more than 120 billion units of non-recyclable waste produced annually by the global cosmetics industry.
Once these pieces of plastic end up in our oceans and waterways, they slowly break down into even smaller bits of microplastic. Our planet is already facing a plastic pollution crisis: microplastic has been found virtually everywhere, from the air we breathe to literal raindrops from the sky. Not only has this affected aquatic life, it may also pose a risk to our very health as we ingest these particles through water and food.
Due to an “outpouring of compassion and large quantities coming in,” the campaign will only accepting wands twice a year (in October and February). However, this does not mean that these wands can’t be collected, washed to remove all residual mascara, and saved until they can be put to better use to help save lives and planet in the future. For those wishing to take action now, the Appalachian Wildlife Refuge is currently looking for food and supplies on their Wishlist, or direct Donations.
Lead image courtesy of Appalachian Wildlife Refuge.