Small but significant eco-friendly changes you can make now!
While the beauty and wellness industries produce products to make you look and feel good, they often have the opposite effect on the environment. “The products we use most often in the most intimate places in our lives have been found to be incredibly wasteful,” says Buckhead resident Savannah Seydel, vice president of sustainability at Better Earth.
Fortunately, there’s also a growing sustainability movement with more and more brands making eco-friendlier moves with their packaging and overall ethos. “Consumers, brands and companies are choosing more sustainable packaging because we’re facing a massive crisis. Three hundred million tons of plastic are produced every year, 50% of which is for single-use purposes. And each year, 8 million tons of this plastic waste are dumped in the ocean. Research now shows that plastics break down into microplastics, which are extremely small pieces of plastic debris. These particles can be found everywhere, from the depths of Lake Tahoe to our stomachs,” Seydel says.
If you’re looking for simple ways to waste less and make healthier choices for both the environment and your body, here are a few options that don’t require major sacrifices.
Choose Glass or Metal
Select products in glass or metal containers, which are highly recyclable, instead of plastic. “Glass containers can be reused over and over. You can plant in them or wash them to store stuff. Please recycle or reuse your containers,” says Ebru Karpuzoglu, Ph.D., founder and Chief Science Officer of local beauty brand AveSeena, which uses sustainable ingredients, biodegradable formulas and recyclable glass packaging. Bonus: It looks better than plastic on your countertops.
When possible, purchase products from local businesses to reduce your carbon footprint and avoid packaging waste. Look for local brands that are doing the environment good, such as Buckhead Candle. Made in-house from clean soy wax and nontoxic essential oils for fragrances such as lemon verbena and lavender chamomile, the majority of its pretty holders can be refilled. “The concept is a win-win. People can keep the favorite candle containers they love and keep them out of landfills,” says Lawton Hall, owner of EcoHome Fine Gifts & Home Décor that produces Buckhead Candle. Seydel highly recommends clean beauty store AILLEA in Buckhead and high-end makeup line Kjaer Weis, a pioneer in refillable packaging.
Buy in Bulk
Make use of the bulk and refillable options at your local grocery and beauty stores. For example, at Whole Foods’ bulk items stations, bring your own containers to fill with freshly ground nut butters and use the provided recyclable paper bags for nuts, oatmeal, granola and a host of other goodies for your healthy diet. And wellness shop Fig & Flower has a Common Good Refill Station where you can fill your own containers with dish soap, hand soap, laundry detergent and more.
Recycle and Refill
For those who rely on the modern convenience of online shopping (we get it), one respectable practice is to recycle and reuse your purchases’ packaging, such as the box and bubble wrap, as much as possible.
Also check out refill subscription options for everything from eco-friendly cleaning products to bath and grooming items. The Refill Shoppe, for instance, ships refillable face washes and laundry concentrate, as well as reusable dryer balls and long-lasting dish soap bars, right to your door. “Making small changes like refilling not only helps you to live more sustainably, it gets you thinking about other gradual changes you can be making to be kinder to the Earth,” says Michelle Stevens, founder and CEO of The Refill Shoppe, which favors glass, metal and cork in its packaging whenever possible.
Fig & Flower
The Refill Shoppe
Managing Editor and Wellness Columnist at Simply Buckhead. Blogger at Badass + Healthy.