SUSTAINABLE SWAPS

Little things that we can change that will make a big difference.

 
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TIP 1

Learn to make your own skin and personal care products.

This is obviously going to be my number one tip. For the last 60 years we have been brainwashed by the personal care and cosmetics industry, trained to think that only large companies with labs and cosmetic chemists can make and provide us with our everyday products. That they are the only ones we can trust to make these products safely? This could not be further from the truth in my opinion. Large companies have lied to us for years about the ingredients they use, how much of the ingredient they use, and the impact of the ingredients on the environment. Since learning how to formulate, how to research ingredients and how to read ingredient lists, my eyes have been opened. I had no idea that SO MANY of the ingredients used in mainstream cosmetics and personal care products are toxic to our environment and to aquatic life. Just one example are the preservatives that are used in almost all water containing mainstream products. They are there to kill microorganisms, to protect the product from microbial growth (bacteria, fungus and mould) and to increase the shelf life of the product. Unfortunately, once these preservatives get into our waterways (washed down the plug hole) they also kill the microorganisms that feed our tiny aquatic creatures, algae and plants. I dont want to scare monger and I'm not for a minute saying that they should not be using these preservatives to keep the products safe. BUT, I believe the general public need to be told about these ingredients and what they do, so they can make an informed decision on what they are using. Ingredient lists should be more transparent and honest and the ingredients should be explained to the consumer. There are some apps and sites popping up where you can type in a cosmetic ingredient name and it will tell you what it is and its function, not many tell you about the environmental impact of the ingredient though. But again, I think it should be the responsibility of the manufacturer to inform the consumer, the consumer should not be hunting for this information! The only way you can be SURE that the products you use are safe for you and the environment is to learn how to make them yourself, but make sure you learn from a reputable accredited school like Formula Botanica. You could also buy from small reputable businesses or brands that are truly transparent about their ethos and ingredients. Imagine if you could make at home even a quarter of the personal care products you would usually buy on the high-street. You could make your own cleanser, moisturiser, body butter or deodorant the list is endless. Think of the money you'd save, the packaging you would not need, the preservatives you would not need to use? 

And best of all, you choose the ingredients, you choose your ethos. 

Soon you could be like me whipping up a batch of organic, sustainably sourced, biodegradable, super food loveliness for your skin in your own kitchen.

Anyone can formulate, yes that means you too :)

 
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TIP 2

Stop using single use items.

Ditch the disposable cotton pads and wipes to take your makeup off. There are a multitude of reusable, washable, cotton, material or wool pads, scrubbies, clothes and wipes available now to buy, or there are loads of free patterns online if you are like me and like to knit and crochet. Simply make your own. There is an argument questioning the sustainability of the constant washing of these reusable items. But, really? They are incredibly easy to hand wash in a tiny amount of water, with a miniscule amount of detergent, or they will just go into your regular wash. I can't imagine that will have anywhere near the impact on the environment as the thousands of non biodegradable disposable pads and wipes do. Give it a go, I promise you once you've tried them you won't go back.

 
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TIP 3

Have reusables in your bag.

Take your own reusable cup, cutlery, straws and bags out with you. These are the items that are always in my bag when out and about. I put the cutlery and straws into a small draw string bag, so once soiled they dont make a mess in my handbag. The cup I have folds down really small and pops up to a full size when needed and my material bag also rolls into a very small bundle, so they really dont take up that much room either. We all know by now that it is going to take much more than this to stop climate change and to help our Sea's replenish. But, this is something that EVERYONE of us could do to help the environment and reduce single use plastics.

 
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MOON/MENSTRAL CUP

 

TIP 4

Try reusable sanitary products. Single use non-biodegradable sanitary products are a big problem for the environment, especially if they are flushed down the toilet! There are plenty of washable reusable sanitary pads or panty liners on the market now. You may also be able to find biodegradable tampons, pads or panty liners, these would be better than the regular ones that DO NOT biodegrade and stay in our environment for hundreds of years. They might cost a little more than the non-biodegradable ones, but if you can spare the few extra pence, surely you would to protect our environment? Menstrual or Moon cups are also becoming more popular. They are medical grade silicone cups that are inserted into the vagina to catch menstrual liquid. The cup can be removed, emptied, washed and reinserted. You can reuse it again and again, with some companies saying that if you look after it well enough it can last for tens of years.