Plastic Free July: Creating a Clean Beauty Routine
If you’ve ever spent any time scrolling through Facebook, you’ve probably stumbled across a photo of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an immense flotilla of waste circling in the Pacific Ocean, or seen a video of a sea turtle with a plastic straw stuck in its nose.
Viral images like these surface every now and then on social media and inspire critical discussion regarding plastic waste. Alongside click-worthy videos, change-making regarding the reduction of plastic waste has long been at the forefront of social and political spheres. In October 2020 Canada created a plan to fully ban six forms of harmful single-use plastic by 2030 in an effort to prevent an estimated $11 billion dollars worth of plastic material from being thrown away.
Ripples of this are already felt on a small scale: being offered a paper straw at a café, or a reusable shopping bag at a grocery store. While long-term policies provide tangible goals and encourage meaningful action, we believe that you can make effective environmental choices on a personal level that benefit both you and the planet.
Why is plastic waste such an issue?
Reverberations of excessive plastic consumption can be felt on a microscopic to macroscopic level. From micro-plastics entering the diet of wild salmon to six-pack rings strangling marine life, plastic has infiltrated nearly every aspect of our lives and negatively impacts environmental and human wellbeing.
In a single year, Canadians produce as much as 3.3 million tonnes of plastic, and most of it is not properly disposed of. Have you ever stood in front of a row of garbage and recycling bins, overwhelmed, only to accidentally throw something in the wrong bin? You’re not alone - less than 10% of plastic is properly recycled, and 86% of it ends up in a landfill. As a result of this, 29 000 tonnes of plastic end up directly in our natural environment causing irrevocable damage.
Beauty products are a significant contributor to single-use plastic around the world. In a single year, roughly 120 billion units of cosmetic packaging are manufactured - in 2018 alone, 7.9 billion units of plastic waste were created in the U.S and most of it is improperly disposed of.
Plastic Free July: a history
To combat such ubiquitous plastic waste, Plastic Free July and the Plastic Free Foundation were created in 2011 to encourage people and companies to reflect on their habits of consumption and to make more sustainable choices. Founded by Rebecca Prinz-Ruiz with support from members of local government in Western Australia, the campaign has garnered international support and actively supports many of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Plastic Free July provides a comprehensive resource for people looking to make more environmentally friendly choices that they can sustain long-term. In July, they have a challenge in which participants can share how they’re choosing to reduce plastic waste.
Collectively, participants in this challenge save nearly 940 million kilograms of garbage from ending up in the landfill every year.
Effective ways to reduce plastic waste in your beauty routine
While reducing waste in every area of your life can feel daunting, starting with one area can make environmental choices feel more accessible and sustainable.
At Goya Naturals, we believe that you can create a luxurious eco-friendly body and skincare routine that doesn’t sacrifice quality or performance. We prioritize eco-friendly packaging that is 100% compostable, without sacrificing the aesthetics of our products (because we know skincare shelfies are a thing).
Here are some tips on how to make your beauty routine more environmentally friendly.
If you’re a fan of double-cleansing (like we are), you’re probably familiar with disposable makeup wipes or single-use cotton rounds. Rather than use products designed to go directly in the garbage afterwards, there are a multitude of companies that sell reusable makeup wipes, often made from bamboo - a fast-growing crop that uses less water and pesticides than cotton. Alongside being more environmentally friendly, they’re also more cost-effective as you can continually reuse them - just be sure to clean them!
Opt for products that are 100% plastic free. Products that are traditionally packaged in hard plastic, like bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and body lotion, can be replaced by package-free alternatives. Plus, one of the great things about solid body products is that you can bring them in your carry-on luggage without worry (and without border service officers rifling through your skincare). And with travel opening up again, we’re pretty excited about that.
For a nourishing solid body lotion, try Goya Naturals Lotion Bar - Vegan.
After spending an entire summer's day reapplying sunscreen, there’s nothing better than coming home and scrubbing it off under a cool shower. Many traditional exfoliators contain microbeads - small plastic beads that end up in our fresh-water and ocean systems. Instead of that, treat yourself to a sugar scrub, or a reusable loofah brush. It will be a welcome addition to your beauty routine and will keep your skin healthy and vibrant while minimizing damage to the environment.
Now that masks are no longer mandatory, focus is returning to the lips - and we don’t know about you, but we want nicely moisturized lips before we rock a bold lip. Traditional lip balms, often packaged in plastic tubes, are thrown directly into the garbage. At Goya Naturals, we offer lip balms packaged in recyclable and biodegradable tubes, and each tube contains double the amount of a conventional lip balm, meaning you get more product and less waste.
- We love a good pamper night, and that couldn’t be complete without a sheet mask. Traditional sheet masks often contain multiple components of single-use materials - petroleum based-fibers and non-recyclable packaging that will eventually break down into micro-plastic particles and end up in waste-water treatment plants. Rather than use single-use sheet masks, purchase a mask in a glass jar. Either in a liquid or powder form, multi-use face masks are a great way of saving on packaging. Plus, you get multiple uses out of them - and more self-care nights are never a bad thing.
Minimizing plastic waste can feel overwhelming, especially when there is so much of it. We believe that incorporating a few eco-friendly choices into your beauty routine is more effective and sustainable than aiming for perfectionism. Drawing inspiration from the tips above or joining a challenge like the one Plastic Free July offers will allow you to feel inspired and excited when thinking about making environmentally-friendly choices.