Hey future anna! After talking about recycling in a previous post, I thought it was important to share tips, tricks and my thoughts about the products I use everyday as part of my getting ready routine, which will hopefully help the people who read this to help make the world a better place too!
I understand not everyone can afford everything, or are in a place to be able to access or use certain products. I understand not everyone can or wants to change, but please do as much as you can!
I mention a few brands and products in this post, but this is not sponsored (although I wishhh so give us a ring, yeah?!)
I think everyone cares about their face and how it looks, and it's always the first thing I do as part of my daily routine: wash my face! It's also the last thing I do at night after brushing my teeth to get rid of any pollution or dirt from the day. At night I normally just use water, but in the morning, I love using a proper face wash. It's taken me years to find something I like and is good for my purse and skin. I've tried so many high street brands and others over the years, but one always stood out to me. Angels on Bare Skin by Lush. I bought one pot and genuinely my face was amazing, but then I went back to ones that I could easily pick up from Superdrug. When I wanted to change my products to be more plastic/rubbish/recycling conscious, I saw that basically every tube of face wash I'd ever used couldn't be recycled! How annoying. I was lucky because I knew the Lush one was good, so I repurchased it after not having it for a few years, and it's still one of my faves! I can then also take the pot back to Lush when I've finished with it to be recycled! But that still doesn't solve the problem of the others and their packaging.
There are some out there, but you need to do your research on your favourite products! Skin hates change, and if you have problem skin, this may be something you can't do anything about, but just make sure to make other changes where you can. It's tough because we all want our faces to be glowing so invest in all sorts of things and masks, just annoying that almost all of it ends up in landfill when we're finished!
I have a few face masks that come in little pots for a few uses, and when I've finished them, I'm going to use them to store paperclips and things like that in my desk! I'm nearly finished with my last mask, and I'm a bit worried about what I'll do next because I love giving my face a good deep cleaning once a week! Maybe I'll stick with Lush face stuff as I know their packaging can be recycled. If you discover any good face products with good packaging, let me know, and I'll keep you updated if I find some too!
About a year and a half ago I got my first bamboo toothbrush and have been using them ever since, PLASTIC WHO??? It's crazy to think that the toothbrushes I used as a kid are probably still sat on the earth taking up their place. I'm annoyed that I didn't start earlier, but better now than never! I ask you all to switch to bamboo because it's basically the same, but they are so much better when you're done with them! I had thought about getting each member of my family and some friends a bamboo toothbrush each for Christmas, and it isn't completely a no, so I might do! It's one of the EASIEST swaps you can make, so make it!!
As for toothpaste, that's a lot harder. Tubes are made of plastics that aren't really recycled and councils won't collect them as there's nothing they can do with them. Pump toothpastes may be slightly different, but it's a similar story. This is probably the only product I'm having A LOT of difficulty with as I can't go without it but there are hardly any alternatives. Lush sells Tooth Tabs which look expensive and not right for me, and there are some eco companies who sell glass jars with pastes in, but they're normally charcoal and whitening related so not recommended for everyday brushing! I'm still on the look out, so if I find anything, or you do, please let me!!!
Finally for this section, MOUTHWASH! These bottles can be recycled like other plastic bottles you'll read about further down this post! Just make sure to wash it out when you're done with it!
Ya gotta stay clean! When I moved to London, I started using bars of soap that came in cardboard packaging, which are great because I can recycle the packaging easily and stay squeaky clean! However, when I travel it can be hard to transport soap, so I bought a bottle of shower gel. But as you may know, these bottles, once used and thoroughly cleaned out, can be recycled! Amazing! I like using soap everyday, but this is great for travelling easily! I also feel this cuts down on the amount of plastic I'm buying, even though it can be recycled (sticking to the reduce part of the recycling code)! I said in my previous recycling blog post that quite a few companies will accept their packaging back to reuse again and again, so I often treat myself to a Body Shop body wash, as they smell great, and I love what they do!
Same as the previous section, once you've used up your hair care bottles, you can clean them out and place them in your recycling bin which is amazing! But that's the thing, make sure you thoroughly clean the bottles out, as the contents can contaminate products going to be recycled, and cause more rubbish to end up in landfill rather than being used again! It is estimated that an average of 35.8 million plastic bottles are used EVERY DAY in the UK, but only 19.8 million are recycled each day. This means there are on average 16 million plastic bottles a day not making their way into the recycling bin. Stop putting your finished products in the bin, and recycle them!!! It's not hard!
Now, you may have some hair care products that come in tubs or tubes, and these aren't as easily recycled. Make sure to look at the packaging and see if there is a code near the recycling label. You can easily google the letters (between 2 - 4, and normally something like: PP, PE, HDPE, etc) and assess the situation from there. You may need to contact your local recycling people and ask if they accept what you have, or maybe try and find an alternative in better packaging. It can be tough, especially if the body of the product can be recycled but the lid maybe can't. Just do what you can. If you're struggling with the product you have, maybe visit a store that recycles it's own packaging (Body Shop, Lush, etc - not sponsored but lol I wish, hiiiii), and speak to them! See if you can find an alternative, just make sure to take the packaging back there to be recycled!
Ok, so this was the first thing I changed when I started to go through my toiletries and get better with them. It sucks because I now know that every single deodorant in a metal spray bottle can be recycled (I knew the metal part could, just didn't realise about the spray/lid bit as that's made of plastic), SO DON'T JUST BIN IT WHEN YOU'RE DONE WITH IT GUYS!!! I decided to go for a packaging less deodorant from Lush, which is literally a solid bar of deodorant. It's great, like a roll on but without a packet (I keep it in a lil box, so it's all fine haha). I'm coming to the end of it, and I'm trying to decide what I want to do, whether I want to repurchase this or go back to aerosols as I know they can be recycled, and they're also cheaper. When I initially made the changes, I wanted to go as packaging free as possible, to just cut my waste down, which is why I started using soap (explained above), so I don't know. I'll probably go back to my spray deodorant as it's easier and cheaper, but I'll let you know!
I just wanna finish this point by saying that roll on deodorants aren't recyclable. So why not switch to a spray can, or try a solid deodorant bar like the one I have from Lush! There are so many options, but if you can't make the switch, try and do it somewhere else!
When I discovered the Body Shop recycling programme, I thought it was fantastic. The only thing is, you can't recycle their perfume bottles there. So when I was replacing my finished bottle, I bought a spray from Lush which can be recycled there as it's made from their special black plastic. After learning that my aerosol bottles can be recycled, I guessed that body sprays in the same cans can be recycled too which is great! So I think I'm gonna switch to body sprays when my Lush one is finished, but I'm gonna make sure to take it to the shop to recycle it!!
Perfume bottles are another story. Some can be recycled with your glass collection, but others can't. For this specific item, it depends on your local council and what they'll take and won't. It's annoying, but either search the website, send an email, or give them a ring and hopefully you'll be able to get some clarity! I'd love for you to be able to keep your signature scent, so fingers crossed!!
I use the same moisturiser on my face and body (it can be used on both, it says on the label haha!), and omg it's one of my holy grail products. I have been using it for years (not the same one, I've repurchased hahah), and it's really tough to realise that the packaging isn't recyclable! Especially because I have another big tub ready for when my current tub of it runs out. I've been on the search for a new one ever since I found out but it's hard. I've decided to keep the pots it comes in that I currently have as storage for lil things in my desk when they're finished with, but what about my skin? I went to boots yesterday and hardly found any moisturisers with good packaging. The Body Shop have a lovely selection of creams and body ones which are all so lovely, and the body yoghurt I've been looking at is a good price, but the face moisturiser I like best is a lot. Literally 4 times the price of the one I have now and it's half the size of one tub. It sucks. As I still have a lot of my product to go through, I have time to try and find alternatives, but it's super annoying, So this section is kinda closed but I'll keep you updated; I've found an alternative for my body, but for my face, I need to keep looking, or see if the product I've found is worth it. If you have any tips or products, let me know!!
AFTERTHOUGHT: I'm half way through writing this and needed to pop out. Whilst near Superdrug, I popped in and saw that some of their own brand tubs of body creams and scrubs come in tubs that are 100% recyclable which is amazing! Like said, I don't need to buy any now, but when I'm ready, I'll definitely be popping back in there because they are super clear about their products, and want to support that! Just thought I'd pass it on!
Now here's the tough one. I don't wear makeup everyday, so I'm slowly minimising the amount of makeup I have, and when it's finished with I will try and find replacements for what I really use every now and then (concealer, powder, mascara, maybe eye shadow!). But if you wear makeup everyday, or even just a lil bit more than I do, it must be hard to see your favourite beauty products and not know how to get around it.
Bottom line is, you can't. If you have your holy grail products, they probably can't be recycled. Anything with mirrors, pumps, it's basically every makeup product. My solution is this: do your research! Most makeup just has to be thrown out when it's finished with, and it's understandable, but try and search up what you could do with the containers!
Some wildlife charities accept cleaned mascara wands to brush out fur on animals they're caring for. You may be able to repurpose your containers. There are some organisations who will accept your empty packaging and recycle it through them if your local council and collection people can't (CHECK OUT TERRACYCLE)!
You may find a company who creates the makeup you need in better packaging, or even treat yourself to a palette that you can fill with eyeshadow and recycle the metal tin when it's finished (I hope that makes sense, and a few big makeup brands do this thing wear you buy an empty palette, but one you keep forever, and just buy your favourite shadows to fill it with). It won't be an overnight thing unless you stop wearing makeup, but I don't expect that of you. If you enjoy makeup, wear it! Just please do your research on how to sort out your empties before you put them straight in the bin!
Like with the toothbrushes, you can get bamboo makeup brushes, so look into that if you're wanting to treat yourself to some new tools! And the same with hairbrushes! But don't waste what you have by not using them if they are fine!
Final final point: if you love a makeup brand, send them an email or DM and explain how you love their brand but would love if they took recycling and their packaging seriously. Companies are understanding that they need to change, but if we actually make them aware of it, it's likely to happen a lot faster! I have a moisturiser I've just finished and emailed the company to ask if I could recycle the product. I can't, but they're looking into ways their products and packaging can be better in the future! Amazing! But I won't be repurchasing unless it is all done!
Makeup Wipe/ Cotton Pads/ Cotton Buds
A while ago, I began making the switch to reusable cloths and flannels to remove my makeup whenever I wear it, with just the help of water. I never really wear heavy makeup so this works fine for me. I still have a few makeup and baby wipes left, and I only use them if I really need them. A few companies have started producing biodegradable wipes which are brilliant, but the annoying thing is that the packet they come in is often plastic. Most of these in the shops can't be recycled which is such a shame, especially if the product in the packet is going a step in the right direction! There are a few brands online that sell makeup wipes in better packaging, but they're not as easy to access than the ones at the shops. For this particular item, it really is down to the individual. Personally, I don't mind flannels and reusable cloths, but for you personally you may prefer a specific brand of wipes. If you can't make the switch, just make sure you do in other ways!
Similarly with cotton buds and pads, they cannot be recycled. It's annoying because it kinda feels like they could be, but unfortunately they can't. Some buds may be made of a cardboard middle which can be recycled, but make sure to remove the cotton on the ends. Again, you may be able to find some reuasble cotton pad replacements, but I don't think cotton bud ones exist! So like the wipes, it's gonna be a personal thing whether you rebuy or cut down. It's annoying, but that's just how it is!
Ok TMI for some people, but just skip this bit if you're not interested! I just feel it's important!
Some people recommend period cups as it saves on waste and can be used for 10 years! Amazing right! But I'm a scaredy cat so never managed to use the one I bought, but a friend uses one and says it's great! A few of my friends do, and there are so many people on youtube raving about them! It may be bit of a splurge when you initially buy it, but just think about all the money you're saving in the long run by not having to buy sanitary products! Everyone is different, but it may be the right thing for you!
I personally use tampons and pads, and buy tampons that are organic and have a paper/card applicator so they will simply decompose! Stop buying tampons with plastic applicators please!!!! The Aldi own brand tampons have paper applicators and are just as good as Tampax (they also have cardboard application tampons available! should say on the box!) and other big brands, just better for the environment!
I try and buy pads that don't have a plastic wrapper, which can be difficult, but places like Holland & Barrett stock a big selection! You can also buy/make reusable pads, which I've never used and seem kinda gross to me, but again, check out youtube to see some great people talk about them and their experiences to learn more!
Finally for this section, you can get period underwear which apparently holds onto what you release, so basically like a pad but better?! I guess this may be something you're interested in if you have a light flow and want something not inside you like a period cup, but something that's better for the environment.
Periods are personal things and everyone goes through them differently. Do what's right for you, but there are changes you can make which are better for the environment whatever you may do during your time of the month!
How Can I Find Out If What I'm Using Is Recyclable?
Good question! First of all, not every product has a recycling label or bit on it, but that doesn't mean it can't be recycled! Use your knowledge or google to see if you can find your answers!
Most beauty products have either an outright "you can recycle this" label on them, or a few little symbols to help you see what you need to do.
I was once out and someone stopped me to talk about nail files and creams. I said I wasn't interested as I was looking for products that I could recycle and the guy just pointed to a lil circle on the back made of 2 arrows. It's on the back of nearly every beauty packet, and I kinda wanted to laugh, but I kept calm, said I didn't want anything and walked away. That little symbol means that the company is doing all it can to help the environment with its products. So it may send out it's deliveries and orders in cardboard boxes, and be cutting down on bad stuff, BUT IT DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE PACKAGING OF THAT PRODUCT IS RECYCLABLE! Lol to that man. But at the same time, if you don't know, you don't know! I didn't and I'm so glad I know now!
By that symbol, there will be some little letters, like I mentioned earlier on, and those will tell you if the packaging is recyclable! I won't go through each individual one, so I will include links to a few websites which are good to look through! One includes a PDF sheet you can print out, and the other goes into detail on how to recycle each one and what it may become!
To finish this section, I'm going to include a link to my favourite website which has really helped me learn about what can be recycled, what symbols mean, and just really help me clue myself up on the whole system! The website is: recyclenow.com but I will include some links here for direst pages:
Recycling Symbols Explained: https://recyclenow.com/recycling-knowledge/packaging-symbols-explained
Can I recycle...?: https://recyclenow.com/what-to-do-with
Ok, I think that's a lot, but good coverage anna wooo! I haven't covered absolutely everything, and there will always be more I don't know about and need to learn myself, but I hope what I have learnt and taken on board can help you too! I want us to live in a world where there is no waste, everyone recycles, and the world is a happy happy place! It may be harder than you think for some things, or so much easier than you anticipated, but try your best and do what you can! I believe in you!
Keep going future anna, you're doing great!!