Sustainable Beauty & Living Tips for Plastic-Free July 2024

Sustainable Beauty & Living Tips for Plastic-Free July 2024

Plastic Free July 2024 is upon us, and this year's theme, "Small Steps, Big Difference," encourages everyone to make small, manageable changes that collectively significantly impact our environment. As millions join this global movement to refuse single-use plastics, there's no better time to reassess our beauty and skincare routines to align with sustainable practices. Here's how you can make your bathroom and beauty regimen more eco-friendly while embracing the principles of slow skincare.

The Importance of Sustainable Skincare

Making sustainable choices in your skincare routine has a profound impact beyond achieving a glowing complexion. Every small change you make contributes to a healthier planet, helping to reduce waste and environmental harm. 

At Selkia, we believe in the power of these small steps and their collective ability to lead to significant positive change. This Plastic Free July, let's explore how we can further reduce our plastic footprint in our beauty routines.

As Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop, wisely said, "If you think you are too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito."

Each decision we make can lead to substantial environmental benefits, no matter how small. By opting for products that use sustainable, locally sourced ingredients and eco-friendly packaging, you're caring for your skin and making a conscious effort to protect and preserve the environment. Embracing sustainable skincare is about recognising that every swap and every sustainable choice adds up. This Plastic Free July, let's commit to these small but powerful changes for a better, greener future.

The Environmental Impact of Beauty Product Packaging

Regarding beauty product packaging, several materials and designs have a significant environmental impact. Here are some key findings from the latest research:

  1. Soft Plastics include items like sachets, wrappers, and film packaging. Soft plastics are notoriously difficult to recycle due to their flexible nature and contamination issues. They often end up in landfills or, worse, in the ocean, contributing significantly to plastic pollution. Soft plastics can be problematic because they require specialised recycling processes that are not widely available.
  2. Complicated Pumps and Multi-Material Containers: Packaging such as pumps, spray nozzles, and mixed-material containers pose a significant challenge for recycling. These items often combine materials like metal springs, plastic tubes, and rubber components, which must be separated before recycling. This complexity makes it harder for consumers to recycle them correctly, making them more likely to end up in landfills.
  3. Single-Use Plastics: These are commonly found in sample sachets, sheet masks, and disposable wipes. The convenience of single-use items comes at the cost of sustainability, as they are used briefly and then discarded, contributing to the vast amount of plastic waste.

Recommendations for Sustainable Packaging

  • Mono-Material Packaging: Using packaging made from a single type of material, such as all-polypropylene (PP) containers, simplifies the recycling process. Mono-material packaging ensures that the entire item can be recycled without disassembly.
  • Refillable Options: Encouraging the use of refillable containers can drastically cut down on plastic waste. Glass or durable containers can last longer and look better, which helps with adoption. Brands increasingly offer refill stations or refill pouches for reusable packaging, which consumers can refill multiple times.
  • Biodegradable Materials: Innovations in biodegradable and compostable packaging materials, such as those made from bioplastics or plant-based resins, reduce the environmental footprint. These materials break down more quickly and do not contribute to long-term pollution.

Impact and Future Directions

The beauty industry is moving towards more sustainable practices, driven by consumer demand and regulatory pressures. Brands are investing in research and development to create packaging that protects the product and minimises environmental impact. Collaboration among brands, suppliers, and recyclers is vital to overcoming sustainable packaging challenges and achieving broader industry goals.

Waste Statistics in the Beauty Industry

The beauty industry produces a significant amount of waste annually. Globally, it generates 120 billion units of packaging each year, most of which are not recyclable. This contributes to the broader problem of plastic pollution, with packaging being the top contributor to plastic waste worldwide. In Australia, the beauty industry also contributes a substantial amount of waste, including over 1,500 tonnes of recyclable aluminium from the hairdressing sector alone, ending up in landfills each year.

Five Tips to Reduce Plastic in Your Bathroom and Beauty Routine

1. Switch to Refillable and Reusable Containers and Tools: Opt for skincare products in refillable containers or glass bottles. Glass bottles preserve products better and last longer, reducing the need for frequent replacements. While reusing plastic bottles might seem eco-friendly, they can leach harmful chemicals like BPA and harbour bacteria over time due to tiny cracks and crevices that develop with repeated use​. Using glass or stainless steel bottles is a safer and more sustainable choice.

2. Adopt a Minimalist Beauty Routine: Simplifying your beauty routine can reduce clutter and plastic waste. Focus on the essentials: a cleanser, toner, moisturiser or balm, an eye serum, and an all-rounder anti-aging serum. For instance, use a face oil in the morning and a retinol serum at night. This streamlined approach minimises the number of products you need and emphasises quality over quantity. 


3. Speak to Your Favourite Brands and Shops: Advocate for change by speaking to your local or favourite brands and shops about reducing their plastic footprint. Encourage your favourite bakery to use paper bags instead of plastic for wrapping bread. Ask online retailers to ship in more sustainable packaging or avoid wrapping clothes in plastic. You can help drive a shift towards more sustainable practices by voicing your concerns and suggestions. Companies are increasingly responsive to consumer feedback, and collective pressure can significantly change packaging and sustainability efforts.

4. Buy in Bulk and Refill: Purchasing products in bulk can minimise plastic waste. This can also save you money and reduces the need for more frequent trips to the shops or shipping. Look for stores that offer bulk buying options for items like shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. Bring your containers to refill, reducing the number of plastic bottles you use. 

5. Support Brands Committed to Sustainability: Choose brands that are transparent about their sustainability practices. Look for sustainable pages on websites and ask brands questions for claims you are not sure of. Supporting such brands encourages the entire industry to move towards greener practices.

Why we LOVE Plastic-Free July 🧜

At Selkia, we are the masters of slow and thoughtful refillable skincare. Plastic-Free July is a celebration close to our hearts because it aligns perfectly with our mission to reduce plastic waste through innovative packaging solutions and sustainable product offerings.

We take pride in the challenge of innovating and researching environmentally friendly packaging. By choosing products from brands prioritising sustainability, you are making a conscious decision to support and protect our environment. 

Plastic-Free July is a time to reflect on our consumption habits and make small changes that have a significant impact. Let's embrace this opportunity to contribute to a cleaner, greener planet, one thoughtful skincare choice at a time. Your commitment to sustainable beauty helps drive the change towards a more eco-friendly future.

Join the Movement!

Participating in Plastic Free July can start with simple steps and gradually evolve into lifelong habits. Whether you're refusing single-use plastics, opting for reusable alternatives, or supporting eco-friendly brands, every action counts. Let's make a collective effort to reduce plastic pollution and protect our beautiful planet. Tag us this July using #SelkiaPFJ24 

For more ideas and inspiration, visit Plastic Free July and discover how to make a difference.

Read more about Anita Roddick -

'Dame Anita Lucia Roddick DBE was a British businesswoman, human rights activist and environmental campaigner, best known as the founder of The Body Shop.'

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