Your beauty routine could be accountable for a lot of waste. When you’re trying to make your skin smoother and hair shine brighter, many producers are wrapping beauty essentials in unrecyclable plastic, and even adding it to the content of products. By following our eight easy steps, your daily care routine won’t harm the environment.
You may find microbeads in scrubs, moisturisers, products with glitter, and many other personal care items. When you wash the cosmetics away, microplastics get into the sewage system. Modern wastewater treatment facilities aren’t able to filter all the microbeads, so they freely run into rivers, seas and oceans, where they enter the food chain through fish and molluscs. Then we humans eat them, and finally, microplastics float not only down the river but also through our veins. Scientists estimate that we are all already eating an amount of microplastics equivalent to a plastic bank card each week.
Be part of the solution and only buy cosmetics that don’t include Polyethylene, Polypropylene, Nylon, Polyurethane or one of the other 500 microbeads components.
The Internet is full of tips on how to make toothpaste, deodorant, body scrubs or mouthwash with ingredients that you can easily find without packaging. The recipes are super easy, and they’re often healthier as you can control exactly what goes into them. We’re sure your hands wouldn’t mind a soap from scraps either.
Liquids always need packaging, and they take up more space too, due to the water they contain along with the active ingredients. Some famous brands understand the impact of plastic packages on the Earth, allowing customers to refill their bottles with shampoo, shower gel and hand wash instead of buying a new one every time. But solid options are much better. You can easily find soap bars, solid shampoo, conditioner bars and toothpaste tablets in plastic-free recyclable packaging. Or even better, in bulk without any packaging at all.
It’s not just microplastics that can lead to terrible consequences for living beings. Chemical sunscreens, for example, pose a threat to both you and underwater wildlife. (And needless to say, they always come in plastic containers). Choose a nature-friendly mineral sunscreen or wear special swimwear to sunbathe safely without it.
Sunscreen is just one well-known example of unsustainable personal care products. It is better to suspect every new piece of cosmetics in your beauty arsenal than to let some toxic chemical slip through. Before buying, verify that any suspect ingredient is safe for you and for nature, using a dedicated app.
Support companies with strong zero waste and sustainability values by sharing their online content. You can also nudge other brands who make brilliant products to become greener. Social media will come in handy to encourage producers to meet their zero waste customers’ expectations.
Aside from beauty products, there are a lot of other single-use items in our bathrooms too.
Replace disposable items like cotton wool makeup remover pads, to make sure taking care of yourself produces no waste. You might like these durable beauty swaps, for example:
You can also look for eco-friendly alternatives to regular plastic items, such as bamboo toothbrushes, luffa washcloths, compostable dental floss, and bamboo/paper buds. These items are not designed to last forever, but the Earth will thank you for choosing them.
Though of course, we are only highlighting here what alternatives exist, you may not even need half of them for your beauty rituals. Don’t forget that the "refuse" step in our mini-guide is the most important, so only buy zero waste swaps that you really need.
If you are a newbie to the zero waste philosophy, you probably have a strong desire to throw all the plastics out of your bathroom. Don’t do that! The main principle of a sustainable lifestyle is the conscious usage of resources. So use up everything you already have down to the last drop, and swap care products with green alternatives step-by-step as needed.
Beauty products don’t appear spontaneously in our bathroom. Take note of how the number of bottles, containers and tubes grows in your house then break the cycle. For example, avoid free cosmetics samples, don’t fall for promotions and warn your nearest and dearest that you won’t be happy with a new plastic bottle in your life.
Do you have other zero waste beauty tips? Share them on your social media and tag us!