Last week, I purchased a higher-end face wash from a higher-end retailer. I was first given a sample jar to try at home which was provided to me in a tiny little plastic container and then delicately place in a tiny little plastic zip sealed bag. When bringing the full sized bottle home and talking it out of the its packaging, I was left with a poly propylene box, a six page insert, a plastic wrapper and seal. The actual container is also plastic with a metal-look lid which upon further examination, is also PLASTIC! That made me think about all the cosmetic products I have purchased over the 39 years I have been on this planet and how many of those cosmetic packages were recycled responsibly.
When Vinnie was a baby and I was searching for a successful way to manage his eczema, I tried probably close to 50 products. Each came in a similar manner and each ended up right in the garbage. At the time it would break my heart. Such a waste for our family from a financial perspective but now it also breaks my heart from an environmental footprint, too. Multiply that by the tens of thousand Canadian families unsuccessfully managing eczema every year. I mean, thats a lot of plastic packaging going into our landfills and oceans.
I didn’t set out to create an eco-friendly brand. I started this journey to help families with their eczema and sensitive skin challenges but as I grow older and my children become more aware, I realize what a social responsibility I have to them. When I heard Greta Thunberg speak at the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit in New York last month, I saw both Dani and Vinnie within her. I saw the mess we are leaving our children.
Along with limiting or avoiding plastic cosmetic packaging, please find below a few ways you can help reduce your plastic waste:
- Stop using plastic straws, even in restaurants. If a straw is a must, purchase a reusable stainless steel or glass straw
- Use a reusable produce bag. A single plastic bag can take 1,000 years to degrade. Purchase or make your own reusable produce bag and be sure to wash them often!
- Give up gum. Gum is made of a synthetic rubber, aka plastic.
- Buy boxes instead of bottles. Often, products like laundry detergent come in cardboard which is more easily recycled than plastic.
- Purchase food, like cereal, pasta, and rice from bulk bins and fill a reusable bag or container. You save money and unnecessary packaging.
- Reuse containers for storing leftovers or shopping in bulk.
- Use a reusable bottle or mug for your beverages, even when ordering from a to-go shop
- Bring your own container for take-out or your restaurant doggy-bag since many restaurants use styrofoam.
- Use matches instead of disposable plastic lighters or invest in a refillable metal lighter.
- Avoid buying frozen foods because their packaging is mostly plastic. Even those that appear to be cardboard are coated in a thin layer of plastic. Plus you'll be eating fewer processed foods!
- Don't use plasticware at home and be sure to request restaurants do not pack them in your take-out box.
- Ask your local grocer to take your plastic containers (for berries, tomatoes, etc.) back. If you shop at a farmers market they can refill it for you.
- The EPA estimates that 7.6 billion pounds of disposable diapers are discarded in the US each year. Use cloth diapers to reduce your baby's carbon footprint and save money.
- Make fresh squeezed juice or eat fruit instead of buying juice in plastic bottles. It's healthier and better for the environment.
- Make your own cleaning products that will be less toxic and eliminate the need for multiple plastic bottles of cleaner. We have a few of Melissa Maker's wonderful recipes in our Safer Home Cleaning section.
- Pack your lunch in reusable containers and bags. Also, opt for fresh fruits and veggies and bulk items instead of products that come in single serving cups.
- Use a razor with replaceable blades instead of a disposable razor
If we all take little steps to do the little things, those little things become big changes.