New Year, New (Greener) You!


By Sue Good


There’s only one New Year’s resolution that matters for 2020: to live a greener, more environmentally healthy life. We all know that major lifestyle and infrastructural changes need to progress, in order to stop the predicted increase of the earth’s temperature and prevent rising sea levels. So, alongside the usual ‘give up alcohol’ and ‘couch to 5K’ resolutions we usually set, try a green one too. How about cutting personal hygiene and beauty waste by 50%? This is easily achievable. Simply follow the advice below on making your health and beauty routines greener for the new decade:

1. Make sustainably savvy buying choices. Simply read the labels and be environmentally and ethically aware of what has gone into the production and distribution of your product. Buy organic or vegan, for example. Becoming aware of legitimate kite marked products from independent certification bodies will also help. For example, Soil Association and Ecocert all require a percentage of the product to be organic. Also, don’t forget to read up on your product’s air miles and look out for Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance logos too.

2. Avoid buying what you don’t need or will never use. According to John Lewis research, the average woman owns 40 make up/beauty products but daily only uses 5. Just ask yourself: do I need a 5th lipstick; the latest eyebrow pencil; more highlighter? And the answer will probably be – no.

3. Pass on your excess buys/gifts. If you do find that your bathroom cabinet is bulging with unused products, or your make up bag is overflowing, then you can donate products to a beauty bank. Not for profit company collect, re-package and distribute donated personal care and beauty items to women’s shelters and charity partners.

4. Choose products with minimal packaging. Whether it’s foundation, shampoo or perfume, hunt for brands that invest in simple packaging or preferably, none at all. High street store, Lush, seems to be leading the way with their ‘Naked’ range of package free beauty and bathroom products.

5. Buy products that come in recyclable or recycled containers. Support brands, such as Ren, who are investing into circular recycling and support environmentally minded partners such as Surfers Against Sewage and Plastic Patrol. Soaper Duper, is a great brand that sells vegan and cruelty free products, in recyclable and recycled packaging, plus they’re made in Britain. They also support WaterAid. The Body Shop is another brand to note, as it has introduced recycle bins in various stores so that customers can return their empties instead of throwing them away. Go local with Barry’s very own The Goodwash Company, who are a Welsh eco-brand making sustainable waves.

6. Alternatively, go for biodegradable packaging. The Soap Company package their soap in compostable biofilm, made from wood pulp. Pangea Organics is also worth checking out.

7. Buy bamboo. Bamboo toothbrushes, bamboo make up pads, bamboo compacts, bamboo make-up brushes…. The list goes on. All non-toxic and biodegradable.

8. Consider beauty refills. The LCA Centre suggests that buying a refill instead of a new product saves 70% CO2, 65% energy and 45% water. L’Occitane was one of the first high street brands to invest in the refill phenomena. Online you can buy refillable pouches which can use up to 90% less plastic than regular bottles, saving more than 214 tonnes of plastic each year. Rituals has also got sustainable packaging sorted: from hand washes to body creams, when your favourite product runs out, just buy the refill pack. Olay have recently trialled refills in the ‘Whip’ moisturiser range and high street haircare brand, Faith In Nature, provides refill stations up and down the country where consumers can replenish shampoo, conditioner and more.

9. Buy products with ethical production methods. Brands such as Evolve Beauty and Elemis support local wildlife and Clarins ensures that their products don’t harm delicate coral reefs.

10. Ditch single use products. Wipes and cotton wool pads are now no-goes and alternatives are in abundance. Boots and Superdrug offer make-up removal pads that just need washing. Local Cardiff store, Ripple stocks bamboo pads, plus there are dozens of similar varieties online.

Make up brands are also waking up to the eco-revolution:

11. At and in Charlotte’s standalone stores, you can purchase lipstick refills. They can be interchanged with any of the 5 collectable, refillable Hot Lips 2 Lipstick designs.

12. The make-up world has found refillables a plausible option in some areas. Major brands such as MAC and Nars offer refills on eyeshadows, powders and concealers, whilst Kjaer Weis’s products come in chic metal cases designed to be refilled again and again. A little pricey for many of us, but the refills are nearly half the price of the original product.

Watch out for…

…TerraCycle’s upcoming Loop scheme. Dubbed “the milkman reimagined”, it will see mainstream beauty brands (Ren and Nivea, being two) sold in durable packaging designed to be collected, cleaned and refilled on a regular, subscription-style basis. Launched in New York and Paris in May 2019, it is set to arrive in the UK in 2020, with Tesco as its confirmed retail partner.

Hats off to John Lewis & Partners who have also partnered TerraCycle on a new sustainability initiative. BeautyCycle will allow John Lewis loyalty members to recycle empty beauty products, including shampoo bottles, caps, lotions and mascara tubes, from any brand and receive £5 off members’ next beauty purchase. Just bring in 5 or more empty beauty products to your nearest John Lewis ; hand over the beauty counter and show your John Lewis loyalty card and you will receive £5 off your next purchase. TerraCycle will then take the products to be recycled and composted, or in the case of plastics, made into pellets which can be moulded into new products, such as storage containers, plastic lumber and outdoor furniture.

Check out the link:

Also watch out for sustainable sanitary wear. You can already buy re-usable sanitary pads or menstrual cups at Ripple on Albany Road.

So, what’s your New Year’s resolution? Mine is simple.