Over the past few years, the way that we think about our own impact on the planet has changed substantially. We’re more conscious of our carbon footprint than ever, reject single use plastic in favour of pretty reusable bottles almost as standard, and plant-based diets are on the up, with many stating their motivations for shunning meat are environmentally driven, rather than necessarily health inspired.
But when it comes to beauty and wellness, there's still further to go. So, what can you do to make your daily routine more eco-friendly?
Choose Your Toiletries Wisely
Cleaning up your skincare and beauty regime is a great way to start. Among the easiest eco-friendly swaps is to ditch the facewipes – which may seem harmless enough but are usually around 80% plastic, then wrapped in more plastic – and replace them with a washable muslin cloth. Simple!
It's time to give your cupboard a clearout too, because while fresh air isn’t necessarily a phrase you’d usually associate with the bathroom, swapping traditional deforestation-contributing toilet paper for a brands made using more sustainable methods is one way to contribute help ensure it. smartass, which is made using sugarcane waste and bamboo fibres, and is also free from inks, dyes and scents is just one example.
Make Your Makeup Bag Matter
While there has been a huge upsurge in vegan and cruelty-free makeup brands, beauty is still one industry that – on the whole – has been slower to adapt to change. Among the biggest issues is packaging; according to Zero Waste, it’s estimated that the industry produces over 120 billion items of packaging every single year (1). With this in mind, scouting out products that come in glass or aluminium packaging is key to cutting down on your waste.
Some of the worst offenders when it comes to your makeup bag include disposable cotton buds; they might be great for getting your eyeliner flick on point, but you’ve seen that seahorse photo. It’s not good. Fortunately, Last Swab have just launched a reusable cotton bud, which makers claim has the potential to replace up to 1000 swabs.
Quit Fast Fashion
Take Your Lunch to Work
It’s estimated that 132 million items of clothing go unworn every year, and with influencers such as Zanna Van Dijk and Grace Beverly taking to social media to shout about the impact of fast fashion on the environment, it’s becoming increasingly hard to ignore the fact that the way we shop may not always be kind to the planet.
Creating a capsule wardrobe full of classy, timeless pieces that you will wear again and again, is a fantastic way to make sure you get the most out of your wardrobe. Look out for brands that only make the product they think they will really sell and restock if necessary, such as Zanna’s Stay Wild Swim or Grace’s TALA activewear range.
Choose Eco-friendly Menstrual Brands
On average, it is estimated that one woman will get through up to 14,000 tampons during her lifetime. Staggering, right? With that in mind, swapping to more sustainable brands such as DAME – which is based around the concept of a reusable applicator and does not use chemicals – can make a real impact, as well as helping to limit your exposure to chemicals.
Alternatively, menstrual cups, such as those produced by Saalt, can last for up to 10 years. If you're nervous about trying them, be assured that a 2019 study of over 3000 women showed that cups manage blood flow as effectively as tampons or sanitary towels (2), although it's fair to say they do take a bit of getting used to.
While we all love a Friday treat, limiting your lunch-on-the-go to just once a week could make a real difference to your overall plastic consumption – have you ever thought about the amount of salad or sandwich wrapping you get through every year by impulse buying lunches? Put it like this: in 2018, almost four million items of plastic food packaging washed up on UK beaches (3), and that's before we even consider the amount that went to landfill. While many retailers are making steps towards focusing on reusable packaging, bringing your own in reusable tubs is always better. If you’re not doing it for your bank balance, then do it for the benefit of mankind.
1. Zero Waste - https://zerowasteeurope.eu/zw-library/reports/
2. van Eijk AM, Zulaika G, Lenchner M, et al. “Menstrual cup use, leakage, acceptability, safety, and availability: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” The Lancet - Public Health. 2019.