How to Cut Down on Plastic Waste in Your Beauty Routine

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We’re inching closer to Plastic Free July, an initiative designed to encourage us all to work towards a world where plastic waste is a thing of the past.

The campaign asks people to sign up to a challenge to reduce their plastic consumption during the month — whether they’re committing to cutting down on single-use plastic items or takeaway items like carrier bags, straws, bottles, and coffee cups.

While progress is being made globally (many countries have banned free plastic bags in supermarkets, for instance), there’s still a long way to go if we’re going to tackle the more than 8 million metric tons of plastic that end up in our oceans each year. As Plastic Free July reminds us, we can all do our bit to help by examining our buying habits and thinking about how we can eliminate unnecessary waste at home.

The bathroom is a good place to start. Beauty products often contain — or come packaged in — single-use plastics, but there are lots of sustainable alternatives out there that are just as effective, so why not give it a go?

Here are four ways to reduce plastic waste in your beauty routine.

Try ‘Naked’ Products

Think your shampoo, soap, or shower gel has to be poured out of a plastic bottle? Think again. ‘Naked’ (or packaging-free) cosmetics can be just as effective at cleansing without the need for a bottle. Just add water to lather up.

“Shampoo bars are a fantastic and easy way to start reducing your plastic usage,” says Rowena Bird, Lush co-founder and product inventor. “One Lush Shampoo Bar is the equivalent of three 250ml plastic bottles of shampoo, and lasts up to 85 washes.”

Over the last 14 years, Lush has sold 41.3 million solid shampoo bars globally, saving 124 million plastic bottles — equal to 3,100 tonnes of plastic.

 

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Buy Plastic-Free Alternatives

It’s not just plastic bottles, tubes, and tubs we need to cut down on – don’t forget beauty essentials like brushes.

“Plastic hairbrushes, make-up brushes, and toothbrushes are all contributing to the plastics crisis we are facing – 111 million plastic toothbrushes are thrown into landfill sites every year,” says Joanne Maclachlan, founder of The Eco-Friendly Living Co. “But there is a sustainable alternative – bamboo. Bamboo toothbrushes are toxin-free, vegan, eco-friendly, sustainable, and come with soft bristles.

“The bamboo is 100% sustainable and can be thrown straight on a compost heap or normal recycling bin. Just snip the soft nylon bristles off first.”

 

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Use Reusable Face Pads

“If you’re guilty of reaching for make-up removing wipes every night, now is the time to save your skin and the planet,” says Maclachlan. “Not only do these wipes contain lots of chemicals that can irritate, dry out and even age your skin, but they also have a devastating impact on the environment – blocking up sewers, lining beaches, and ending up in the sea.”

There are a variety of reusable face pads available, made from materials like cotton or bamboo fiber. “They are kinder to your skin and won’t contribute to the world’s mounting plastic problem,” says Maclachlan. “Just use, rinse, and throw them in the wash. By switching to reusable pads, not only will your skin thank you, but you could save around AED250 per year.”

 

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