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A Guadalajara-Based Scientist Discovered Nopal Juice Can Create Plastic And Our Eco-Friendly Latina Moms Are About To Lose It

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez isn’t the only Latina fighting for a greener planet. Over in Mexico, Sandra Pascoe created a biodegradable, natural plastic that can make our shopping experiences a lot more eco-friendly. The key: The juice of the nopal cactus.

“The plastic is basically made out of the sugars of nopal juice, the monosaccharides and polysaccharides it contains,” Pascoe, a researcher at the University of the Valley of Atemajac, told EFE.

So far, the Guadalajara, Jalisco-based scientist has used the most popular type of edible nopal, the opuntia ficus-indica and the opuntia megacantha. According to her, the sugars, pectin and organic acids in the juice give it a thick, gummy consistency. This is then mixed with with Glycerol, natural waxes, proteins and colorants, which is dried on a hot plate to produce thin sheets of plastic.

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Currently, the plastic can be used to make greener alternatives to shopping bags, cosmetic containers, accessories and toys. However, she is currently studying how much weight the plastic can hold to determine other possible uses for it. She also teamed up with the University of Guadalajara Center for Biological and Agricultural Sciences to test how quickly and in which cases the plastic will decompose.

“We’ve done very simple degradation tests in the laboratory; for example, we’ve put it in water and we’ve seen that it does break down [but] we still have to do a chemical test to see if it really did completely disintegrate. We’ve also done tests in moist compost-like soil and the material also breaks down,” Pascoe said.

In 2014, the process was registered with the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI), where Pascoe is now seeking a patent. When the innovation is patented, her process could be commercialized, offering companies a greener alternative to plastic.

Read: Here’s How You Can Easily Be More Green And Save Big

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23 Free Self-Care Ideas For Your Next Relaxing Domingo

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23 Free Self-Care Ideas For Your Next Relaxing Domingo

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Self-care Sunday has become a popular hashtag on social media and for good reason. The world is finally beginning to recognize how much emotional labor women do and how much we need, um, time off. We need time to relax, rest and recharge — and we are finally not only making time for ourselves but also demanding that we get that time.

But you know what can be frustrating in our search for self-care? The fact that so many self-care ideas cost money. Now, I’m a big fan of pedicures and whatnot but they cost money. And although there are some cheap forms of self-care, like drinking a hot cup of tea at home, playing with your makeup, lighting a candle or painting your nails, they all require a bit of an investment as well.

That’s where this list comes in. For all of you chicas out there who want to do some serious self-care this Sunday, but don’t want to spend all your money, here are 23 free self-care ideas to rock your world.

1. Take a hot bath.

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If you don’t have bubbles for your bath, that’s okay. Many would assume that you need to have pricey, fancy-smelling bubbles to enjoy a hot soak but that’s just not true. All you need is a tub and access to hot water, and you’re good to go.

2. Meditate for 10 minutes.

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Meditation doesn’t cost a thing and that’s great. Sure, there are pricey apps and books but all you truly need is yourself and your breath. Find a quiet spot and then just sit in stillness, focusing on your breath. In and out, in and out, in and out.

3. Give yourself a foot massage.

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You can pay for a foot massage and it would be pretty fantastic. But, to be honest, you can do the same work yourself for free. You might not have the expertise but, trust me, when you work on your toes for the better part of half an hour, you’re sure to enjoy it.

4. Go for a walk outside.

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It doesn’t cost anything to walk outside. For some extra self-care, make sure that you head to a woodsy area or somewhere else that there is a lot of nature. That will help you chill out and relax. Trust me.

5. Offer to pet sit for the weekend.

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Pet sitting is one of my favorite ways to get self-care because there is a very special kind of love that only a pet can give you. Many of us can’t afford (or simply don’t want) to have a full-time pet, though. That’s why pet sitting for a weekend is a great self-care solution.

6. Do some stretches.

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Doing yoga at home is a great way to take care of yourself but you might not know all of the moves to get it done. Instead, what you can do is relax and simply do some deep stretches. You’ll especially love waking up every morning and doing these deep stretches then.

7. Journal about gratitude.

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One of the best ways to love your life is to engage in active gratitude. This means, typically, that you journal about gratitude. You don’t need a fancy notebook or anything for this, though. You can journal on your phone or just on a scrap of paper… so long as you write down what you are grateful for.

8. Go to your local library.

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If you want to do more reading as part of your self-care routine but don’t want to spend the money, then do you remember that little thing called the local library? It’s a great way to check out new books and, surprisingly, many library collections are even online now.

9. Put on some happy music.

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Nothing is as great for self-care as a little bit of dancing. Even if you don’t LOVE dancing, just go ahead and put on a happy song and watch your hip moves. I especially love doing this when I am doing chores around the house since the fun music makes the time go by quicker.

10. Write down compliments about yourself.

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Similar to a gratitude journal, but more focused on yourself. Some people call this turning negative thoughts into positive thoughts but I just call it complimenting yourself. Sit down and take the time to write down all of the things you like about yourself as well as all of your accomplishments thus far.

11. Let yourself sleep in.

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Sleeping in might actually be my favorite form of self-care, to be honest. Good sleep is essential for a lot of things, from creativity to fighting off diseases. So if you’re stressed out and in need of some relaxing, just turn off your alarm on the weekend and let yourself stay in bed.

12. Get some vitamin D.

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Just like walking outside will be good for you, so will taking in some serious vitamin D. You can do this by going to a sunny area and just… hanging out. Whether it’s a beach or a local park, you should try to absorb all the vitamin D that you can so that you can feel great.

13. Organize your space.

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Things, like making your bed every morning and organizing your makeup drawer, can do wonders for your mental health. If you’re in need of some self-care this weekend, then why not take a little extra time to organize something in your home and enjoy the benefits of a clean house all week long.

14. Call a friend.

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Some would say that you should call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while and catch up and that this is a form of self-care. But you know what’s truly a form of self-care? Catching up with any friend, any time. It doesn’t have to be someone you are estranged from, so long as it’s someone.

15. Unplug for a few hours.

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It might seem a bit funny to read this on a website that you are probably reading on your phone, but hear me out: Unplugging for a few hours can do wonders for your mental health. You need to be able to relax without staring at your phone for the entire day, so here’s your chance.

16.  Put affirmations on your mirror.

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Similar to the complimenting yourself act of self-care, I highly recommend that you take little notes and put affirmations on them. Then, hang those notes on your mirror or in other places around the house and you’ll be treated to a boost of self-confidence every time you find one.

17. Read a favorite book.

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You don’t need to buy a book in order to enjoy some reading time. Yes, you can go to the library (as I advised above) but you can also just take some time and enjoy one of your favorite books on the bookshelf. Pick up the one you love and have read a thousand times, then read it again.

18. Watch the sunset.

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You can wake up early and watch the sunrise or you can get home just in time to catch the sunset. Either one is fine, though I have a love of sleeping so you won’t find me waking up first thing in the morning.

19. Sign up to volunteer.

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Volunteering is a great way to get some self-care. Know why? It will make you feel good to help take care of your community and to help further whatever cause is close to your heart. Whatever it is, take some time this weekend (and every weekend) to do good.

20. Clear out your social media “friends.”

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I love taking an hour or two at the end of every year and clearing out my social media “friends.” It might seem contradictory in today’s world where we are just collecting followers, but I find that it gives me some serious peace of mind to delete people that I don’t truly care about or, even better, people that kind of bug me for whatever reason.

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