This Plastic Free July lets consider how we reduce our plastic footprint when buying beauty products.
Plastic Free July has begun! Every year I take up this challenge because I know that just like the journey of eliminating toxins from your environment, reducing plastic use is a journey. You may already be taking a reusable coffee cup to the cafe and your cotton bags to the grocery store but there are so many other things we can do.
Well done if you have changed some habits to reduce your plastic footprint but what new challenge can you take? And how can you achieve less plastic when it comes to beauty?
Here are six ways you can reduce your plastic use when it comes to beauty.
1. Buy less products
One way to reduce the plastic you have to bin or recycle is to just buy less. Finding products you love that are multi-taskers can be a great way to do this. Some of my favourite are rosehip oil (for skin and hair, and even to style your eyebrows) and papaya ointment which can be used for lips and dry skin, or to soothe kid’s bumps and scratches.
2. Choose products with no plastic packaging
I know this isn’t easy but it is possible for a few beauty items. Not only can you buy soap either without any packaging or with a paper wrap, but now there are great brands out there offering shampoo and body scrubs as bars also! Brands to try who also offer low tox, natural ingredients include New Zealand brand Ethique and a great Australian brand I recently discovered at Woolworths, Freshwater Laboratories. Great bar soaps are also made by Eco Store and The Australian Natural Soap Company but if you look around you can find them everywhere including your local farmers’ markets, health food stores and pharmacies – just make sure there are no nasty ingredients in them!
3. Buy re-fillable products
Bulk stores in my neighborhood like The Source Bulk Foods and Naked Foods offer this, as do many health food stores and co-ops. Take your own containers or buy ones from them. Trick is to remember to take the empties back again for refill! I know this doesn’t work for all products and especially make-up but some key products we use every day like hand soap and dishwashing liquid, this is worth considering. I was excited to hear that Flora & Fauna in Sydney have the first EcoStore refill station!
4. Make your own beauty products
YOu may think this is time-consuming but not necessarily! There are some simple recipes with only a few ingredients that you can easily whip up! Maybe make it a fun weekend project with the kids. My suggestion to start would be toner/skin refresher, bath salts, and lip balm. Initially, you do need to invest in the base ingredients and some essential oils but these last a long time and over time you will save money as well as improve your plastic footprint. You can also make home cleaning products!
5. Consider the packaging
I realise when you have a favourite beauty product you may not want to give it up, but this month why not at least take a look at the packaging to see if you can recycle it. Hopefully, you can and you have! If recycling is where you fail then at least improve your recycling habits as your one step towards less plastic in your home. If your favourite brand doesn’t offer recyclable packaging then you do might need to find a replacement! Remember too that some tubs and bottles are easier to recycle than products with more bit like pump packs.
6. Is there plastic in your products?
My final tip isn’t about the packaging. Instead, you may unknowingly be adding to the plastic problem in our oceans and waterways because of what is in the products you use – in particular, micro-beads! Micro-beads are tiny plastic beads used in face washes and scrubs which are now known as a major water pollutant causing damage to the environment and sea animals. The other concern in beauty products is the micro nano-plastics called Polyethylene or Polyethylene-terephthalate (PET) – check the ingredients list! I write about plastic in beauty products HERE