Today sees the start of Zero Waste Week 2023, an annual event (which this year runs from 4th-8th September) which aims to highlight the issues surrounding and encourage people all around the world to commit to reducing their landfill waste for a week – or hopefully longer!
What does Zero Waste really mean?
According to the Zero Waste International Alliance (ZWIA), the definition of zero waste is:
“The conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of products, packaging, and materials without burning and with no discharges to land, water, or air that threaten the environment or human health.”
I think all of these things can be a little overwhelming and it is easy to get hung up on trying to change everything all at once. Stop right there.
It is important to remember that the idea of Zero Waste Week is to raise awareness and encourage people to get started by making one or two little changes. No one is expecting you to have an empty bin at the end of the week; if it has just a handful less things in it, then that’s great!
“we don’t need one person doing zero waste perfectly, we need lots of people doing it imperfectly”
Anne Marie Bonneau, zero-waste chef
So how can we apply the Zero Waste principle to beauty?
Small changes can make a big difference. Here are a few zero waste ideas that you could integrate into your beauty routine.
When you need to restock, consider in bulk or buying bigger sizes were possible. Not only could this save you a whole heap of cash and also uses less material in the long run. Whilst we don’t all have the space to store vats of excess product at home (I know I don’t) but if you can it may be worth looking into.
Neal’s Yard Remedies have recently introduced 950ml bottles to both their bath and body ranges so you can decant into more manageable sized bottles at home. Faith in Nature have been producing products since 1974 and they have totally nailed the refill angle (and were one of the first to do so). They produce their hair and bath products, laundry and even dog shampoo in 1L, 2.5L, 5L and even whopping 20L containers!! That will certainly keep you going!
Skip the Disposables
Instead of using disposables as part of your daily skincare routine, why not switch to washable alternatives?
Cleansing pads and good old flannels are a great way to cleanse and remove makeup – arguably I think they do a better job than cotton wool! There are a whole heap on the market now so there are plenty to choose from. I have load of different types and textures and use them for different things – even removing nail varnish!! My favourite cleansing pads are the Luxury Bamboo Makeup Pads (£7.95 for 5) from Cheeky Wipes. Remember it doesn’t need to get expensive, you can pick up a single flannel from Ikea from as little as £1.50 or a pack on ten for just £4.50!
In October 2020, the UK government banned the sale of plastic cotton buds so most are now made using paper or bamboo. I’ve been trialling silicone cotton buds recently – you can use them again and again, just give them a wash between uses.
I love a refillable product!! As a Makeup Artist I have been depotting (decanting into smaller containers or palettes) for years and love putting together palettes for each job/actor bag or whatever. Wherever possible I have always purchased eyeshadows/blushers and similar products in the pan (rather than in a compact) so the fact that refillable beauty has become mainstream is a joy for me!
There are now a number of natural and organic makeup brands which offer refillable options on some or all of their products. My favourites include Kjaer Weis, RMS Beauty and Zao. I should also give a shout out to Lush, who’s makeup is all pretty much completely packaging free! In terms of skincare (and hair and bodycare) Upcircle are fantastic! I can’t rate their refill scheme highly enough.
Switch up your Blade!
If you shave then why not try switching to a razor with replaceable plastic free blades. Not only do you save a fortune in disposable razors but also you save on the waste – I read somewhere that in the US, 2 billion of them are thrown away every year!!
There are a huge number available on the market now (there are even razor subscription services!) so there is bound to be one to fit your price point. Personally I use the Upcircle Plastic free Safety Razor (£24.99) which I love as it’s not over heavy or bulky (I have little hands) but if aesthetics are your thing then take a look at the beautiful collection of razors from Muehle (prices start at £36.99)
It’s worth now that Upcircle also offer a Razor Blade Return Scheme where by you return your old ones to them to be disposed of and recycled and for every 5 blades returned you’ll get £1 off your blades refill pack (£3.49)!
Last but not least, check out your local Zero Waste shop, you will be surprised as to what you may find; my own local shop is constantly surprising me with new additions to the shelves! They are also great places to get inspiration on how you can reduce you waste!
What zero waste ideas will you try this week?
Images: (1)Zero waste Week, (2-4) LJS – OMUA