What is Your Beauty Carbon Footprint?

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What is Your Beauty Carbon Footprint?

It’s 2019 and the topics on everyone’s mind are climate change and the environment.  We often think about auto and industrial emissions as the culprits, but did you know the chemicals found in personal cosmetics produce the same amount of pollution as cars when coupled with other consumer products like paint and household cleaners?

Take, for example, your showers and laundry. Do you know the carbon footprint of a daily shower or the amount of detergent put into the environment from your laundry?  How about the plastic bottles on your counter or in your drawers?  Where does it end up?

In January 2018, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation announced that 11 leading brands, retailers, and packaging companies including Walmart, L’Oreal, The Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo and Unilever “were working towards using 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging by 2025 or earlier” representing upwards of 6 million tonnes of plastic packaging annually.

In the wake of the announcement, Unilever CEO Paul Polman said “it is welcome news that many other major companies are making their own commitments to address ocean plastic waste. Yet as a consumer goods industry, we need to go much further, much faster, in addressing the challenge of single use plastics by leading a transition away from the linear take-make-dispose model of consumption, to one which is truly circular by design.”

Knowing the impact consumerism is having on the environment, you might be wondering if it’s possible to make a difference by changing some habits in your own life. Well, it definitely is!  Here are some simple tips, backed by science, you can implement to reduce your “beauty carbon footprint” . (P.S – I’m coining this term!)

  • Cutback on Washing: Science tells us we don’t need a shower every day.  Not only is it drying but overwashing weakens the skin’s protective qualities and (quite literally) washes good bacteria down the drain. The same principle applies to bathing, which has a very high carbon footprint, so if you’re looking for a way to unwind at the end of the day, try meditation as an eco-friendly alternative.
  • Kiss Soap Goodbye: Traditional bars of soap, whether naturally milled or their modern counterparts found in your local drugstore are among the most damaging things we put on our skin. To understand why, check out Chapter 3 of Beyond Soap.
  • Try Something New: There are many sustainable alternatives on the market these days if you’re willing to give them a shot. For example, just one Ecoegg yields 720 loads of laundry! The pod contains detergent pellets and no fragrances which means a huge reduction in the detergent going down the drain and out into the environment.
  • Buy the Bar: Choose cleansing bars or cleansing oils instead of supersize body washes.  We have been conditioned that these are good for your skin but science does not support this.  By only washing your bits (i.e. groin, underarms and feet) on a regular basis, a cleansing bar should last months.  Again, the environment and your pocket book will thank you.

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