It's Green Week at Byrdie HQ, which means we'll be highlighting stories about natural beauty, sustainability, and all things eco. Sometimes, even seemingly small (and easy!) decisions can add up to a huge impact on our environment.
Sustainability is a beauty buzzword right now, but being a little more eco-friendly with our beauty choices is more than just a fad—it's the right thing to do for the future of our planet. According to a study by Nielsen, 22 percent of fast-moving consumer goods (which includes things like food and toiletries) that were sold in 2018 had sustainable attributes, with the forecast being up to 25 percent by 2021. And it's millennials driving this change, with 90 percent saying they are willing to pay more for sustainable and eco-friendly products compared with just 61 percent of the baby boomer generation.
The horrible truth is that there are 25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. And, as it stands, more than 268 million tons of municipal solid waste is generated, but only 35% of that is actually being recycled or composted, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, so the rest is ending up in landfills or in the ocean.
Shopping consciously and with sustainability in mind doesn't need to be hard. Whether you want to limit your plastic usage, start recycling, or take a more edited approach to your beauty consumption, here are seven ways to give your beauty routine a sustainable makeover.
Shop for Beauty on a Loop
The brainchild of recycling organisation Terracycle, Loop is giving customers the chance to buy products, while renting the packaging. Ren is supplying 6 of its bestselling products in glass, label-free bottles. You pay for the contents and a deposit for the bottle, it is then delivered to your door via a carbon-neutral mode of transport. You use the product and when it is running out, you simply let Loop know and they send a new product to your door and you return the empty bottle to be cleaned and reused. How genius is that! Other brands like Dove, Pantene and The Body Shop are also involved. Head to loopstore.com to find out more.
Recycle in the Bathroom
When was the last time you recycled the empty products in your bathroom? According to Johnson & Johnson 552 million shampoo bottles end up in U.S. landfill because we're not recycling in this part of the home. Get yourself a bin like this Joseph one that has a section for waste and another for recyclables. Simple.
Remove Makeup with a Conscience
It takes 20,000 litres of water and a whole lot of chemicals to make a cotton T-shirt. In the beauty world, cotton is used to create makeup removal pads and buds and for beauty lovers, these are things you might be using every day.
For starters, try to switch to organic cotton pads, as these are better for the environment. When it comes to cotton swabs, look to ones made from bamboo rather than plastic. The next step would be to ditch the cotton entirely and try a washable makeup removal, pad like the Face Halo.
Seek Out Refillables
To limit your packaging consumption, look to refillable products which, in the case of the My Myro deodorant and Kjaer Weis makeup, are far chicer than some of the alternatives out there. Both brands are free from nasties like parabens and silicones and packed with good-for-you ingredients.
Brush with Bamboo
Bamboo is compostable and biodegradable and it grows at around 3.5 feet per day, making it a totally viable and extremely eco-friendly alternative to plastic. Switch out your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo one like this.
Go Packaging Free
Lush is doing a brilliant job of limiting and, in some cases, removing all packaging from its products. The Shampoo Bars come wrapped in recyclable paper and lather up to clean your hair with ingredients that won't harm the environment when they swirl down the drain. Other brands to check out: Ethique, which calls itself a zero-waste beauty company, and Seed Phytonutrients, which creates hair and body products made with 100% post-consumer recycled paper.
Recycle In Stores
So many stores offer incentives for you to return your empty packaging so the staff can recycle it on your behalf.
Take any full-sized product from any brand to L'Occitane and they'll give you 10 percent off a new full-size product you buy on the day. Back to MAC is a program that gives shoppers a free lipstick once they have returned six full-size empties to the store. Finally, Le Labo gives anyone that returns their bottle for a refill 20 percent off. Another excuse to stock up on Santal 33.
Nielsen. Was 2018 the year of the influential sustainable consumer? Updated December 17, 2018.
Environmental Protection Agency. Advancing sustainable materials management: 2017 fact sheet. November 2019.