There’s been even more effort these days to lead more sustainable lives. Most of the time, we aren’t even aware of the impact that our day-to-day lives have on the environment. One of the best ways to care for the environment is to be more mindful of our purchases. Millennials, the largest group in today’s workforce, and Gen Zs have said that they are willing to pay more for sustainable products. Brands are following suit, so there are plenty of sustainable alternatives to our favorite products on the market today.
Read the label
Many ingredients in the products we use daily aren’t beneficial to our bodies or the planet. People often excuse themselves from this by saying labels are too hard to read or that they won’t buy anything with ingredients they can’t pronounce. Know what ingredients and chemicals to avoid. Here are a few things to take note of when you read the label.
Choose eco-friendly hair spray. One of the most well-known facts in the beauty industry that hairspray – especially of the aerosol variety – is not environmentally friendly. Either you minimize the use of hairspray or choose another kind of product to hold your hair together after using a flat iron brush straightener. Josh Rosebrook’s Hair Spray contains rosemary and lavender oil and isn’t packaged in aerosol cans that contain compressed gases or hydrocarbons, which wreak havoc on the ozone layer.
Watch the ingredients in your sunscreen. Certain types of sunscreen are bad for the environment, responsible for the destruction of coral reefs. This is because of the presence of chemicals such as oxybenzone, octinoxate, and octocrylene. Other problematic ingredients include parabens, which are present in many personal care products as a preservative.
Avoid products with microbeads. Microbeads are used as an exfoliant in personal care products such as facial washes, soaps, and toothpaste. Unfortunately, most water waste treatments are unable to break them down. As a result, when they are released back into natural bodies of water, they accumulate. They also bind with toxins such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Unfortunately, they are often mistaken for food by the sea creatures we will eventually eat, so the microbeads we use on our teeth and skin end up in our stomachs.
Shop RSPO palm oil. Palm oil is another notorious ingredient in almost every product in our daily lives – from foods such as chocolate and pizza to care items such as lipstick and shampoo. The main reason for palm oil’s notoriety is its contribution to deforestation. It’s also an industry known for child labor and worker exploitation.
The problem is that it’s difficult to eliminate palm oil from our daily routines because it’s also one of the easiest crops to produce. While you can opt to buy products with no palm oil, you can also purchase palm oil products but are certified by the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO).
Use biodegradable, recycled, or recyclable materials
If you used plastic toothbrushes for most of your life, like the majority of people on this planet, then the first toothbrush you’ve ever used is still somewhere on this planet and hasn’t even begun to indeed decompose. Even bamboo toothbrushes, which are widely praised for being the eco-friendly option, normally still have non-biodegradable bristles.
The only biodegradable bristles on the market at the moment are those harvested from animals such as pigs. The only drawback is that we don’t know how those pigs are treated.
Choose products with minimal or thoughtful packaging
Plastic bottles pile up in landfills and will take many, many years to decompose. Opt for products that don’t come in bottles of any kind, such as shampoo and conditioner bars and facial cleanser bars. If you stick to bottles and other containers, try going to refillery stations or buying refills when running out of the product.
Say no to single-use
It’s one of the most repeated guidelines to living a sustainable lifestyle. But rejecting single-use products extends far beyond plastic bottles and straws. It also means you should cut down on using sheet masks and swap them out for face masks packaged in tubs or tubes. There are sustainable alternatives to dental floss, such as this biodegradable one from Etee Plastic-Free Floss. Use washable cotton pads instead of disposable ones.
Facial wipes are another single-use product you can forgo, but did you know that they’re also not good for your skin? They contain harsh chemicals that are necessary for the wipes to retain their integrity. If you have sensitive skin or conditions such as rosacea or hives, regularly rubbing your face with facial wipes isn’t good for it. Try oil makeup remover or cleansing balm instead.
Thanks to today’s mindful consumers, we now have more sustainable alternatives for everyday products. Sustainable products aren’t just those that come with minimal or mindful packaging but also have ingredients that won’t harm the environment. Make it a habit to do research on ingredients and how products are sourced before purchasing.