After I finally felt that I had conquered my kitchen and shopping habits to rely less on plastic, I knew that my personal care and beauty routine needed to be next. The personal care industry makes 500 billion dollars a year and relies mostly on fully or partly non recyclable plastic. Globally, an average of eight million tons of plastic escapes collection systems, winding up in the environment and eventually the ocean (B.A.N.). Once there, sunlight and currents shred plastic debris into smaller particles called micro plastics which absorb and concentrate toxic chemicals up the marine food chain and into our bodies. Many companies have prioritized our health and sustainability and have reconsidered the nature of the products, packaging, and supply chain itself. I have chosen to highlight these companies and their products that are either refillable, made from reused plastic or in a better recyclable material like glass or stainless steel.
Approximately1 billion toothbrushes are thrown away every year in the United States, leading to 50 million pounds of toothbrushes added to landfills annually.
Switching from a plastic toothbrush to a bamboo toothbrush is pretty easy. I will admit that I miss the smoothness of the plastic compared to the bamboo, but you wear it in and get used to it and think about how much non-recyclable plastic you are preventing from going into landfills and oceans and move on. The glass contained mouthwash, refillable dental floss, toothpaste in recyclable aluminum and bamboo cotton swabs are no brainers. Everybody’s body chemistry is different, so one deodorant might work for one person that doesn’t for another. I love the deodorants by Meow Meow Tweet (and I just love that name!). Meow Meow Tweet sells their stick deodorant in cardboard and their cream deodorant in a glass jar.
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I had been using Revision Skincare for my face routine. The products were great but I knew I needed to find something new because all Revision products are in black plastic and black plastic is completely non recyclable. Plastic items are sorted by optical scanners which use the reflection of light to identify the types of plastics. Black plastic doesn't reflect light, so cannot be seen and sorted by the scanners.
I found a few great brands that I have been alternating between for my skin routine: Tata Harper and S.W. Basics. Tata Harper’s products are mostly in glass and the plastic resin from the tubes is derived from corn, a renewable resource. Tata Harper’s products smell like a dream and feel amazing on my skin. I use the Clarifying Cleanser as my face wash and use the Rejuvenating Serum, Rebuilding Moisturizer and the Illuminating Eye Cream to keep those wrinkles at bay. I love the Revitalizing Body Oil as one of my body lotions. I have found that body lotion is hard to come by in a non-plastic material. The Plaine Products body lotion is fantastic. We also use their haircare products. S.W. basics has prioritized using plastic-free packaging from their start. Adina Gregoire, the founder, chose glass for her primary packaging because of its nearly infinite recyclability, even though the bottles and jars she used cost about 10 times more than a comparable plastic alternative. The products have a more realistic price point for everyday use than Tata Harper and also feel wonderful on your skin.
I have found four great options for haircare: one with no packaging, one in recycled packaging, one contained in glass and one in refillable aluminum. The most eco-friendly options are the shampoo and conditioner bars for obvious reasons. No packaging at all! I bought some and will use them every once in a while, but do find them a little drying for my color-treated hair and not quite what I am used to. I was already using Kevin Murphy products before this journey and was both relieved and delighted to read about their efforts to create a circular supply chain by using recycled-ocean plastic for all of their packaging. I have always loved their products! Plaine Products is an awesome line of refillable haircare and body wash in aluminum bottles that both my husband and I use. They smell wonderful. O-Way Haircare is an Italian line of haircare products in 100% glass and aluminum containers. They are committed to sustainability in all aspects of their production. O-Way has a huge line, including skincare and men’s grooming. I have loved their haircare and can’t wait to try more of their products.