If there’s one thing sustainability experts agree on, it’s this: the goal should always be progress, not perfection.
There are so many ways to make our lifestyles greener that trying to tackle them all at once can quickly become overwhelming. Instead, it’s best to choose one aspect of your life to focus on at a time. That way, you’ll inch towards a more planet-friendly existence without the stress (and minus the dent in your savings).
Beauty is an excellent place to start because we use – and replace – skincare, haircare, body care and makeup often. The beauty industry is packed with plastic, and a shocking 70 per cent of it ends up in landfills. Happily, there are plenty of simple ways to make your beauty routine more sustainable. Here are just a few.
In other words, don’t rush out to stock up on clean or green brands before you’ve used up your beauty stockpile. Use what you’ve got before you find a replacement. When it’s done, dispose of it thoughtfully – reuse or recycle it where you can. Got a few items laying around you no longer want? Gift or sell them.
When it’s time to shop, go for a product that’s lite on packaging. Solid bars are a great choice because they come in plenty of iterations (from face cleansing bars and regular soap to shampoo bars) and are wrapped simply in paper or cardboard. Some retailers even sell them nude – store them in Tupperware from home.
So much landfill comes from the single-use items we toss away every day. Replace as many of these with reusable versions, and you’ll save so much waste over time. Make sustainable swaps by subbing in reusable cotton buds, cosmetic rounds, safety razors and silicone sheet masks, plus period undies and moon cups.
For the big-ticket stuff like body wash, cleanser and moisturiser, go for minimal, recyclable packaging (think: glass, tin, cardboard, bamboo). Bonus points if you choose brands that offer product refills. You can also look out for brands that take part in TerraCycle, a program that keeps hard-to-recycle materials out of landfills.
We know that eating locally to minimise food miles (aka the distance produce travels from producer to consumer) is important, but what about the beauty equivalent? Opt for products manufactured locally to minimise your carbon footprint. New Zealand-made beauty is huge – Google will turn up lots of options.