The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
5 Ways to Be a More Earth-Conscious Beauty Consumer
By Annie Tomlin
As the effects of climate change become increasingly obvious, minimizing our impact on the planet is more important than ever. If you haven't already switched to an Earth-conscious beauty routine, what better time to try than Earth Day? It's a move that's better for you—and for the environment. Not sure how to get started?
Here are five ways you can make shopping for beauty greener, cleaner and kinder to the world. Because as the saying goes, beauty is as beauty does.
1. Avoid throwaway items.
Makeup wipes. Daily contacts. Those tiny one-time-use toothbrushes bizarrely sized for Smurfs. They all go from your bathroom bin to the landfill, where they'll fester for thousands of years. Why do that when it's so easy to swap them out for items you'll turn to over and over again? "I use reusable cotton rounds instead of disposable makeup wipes," said Alden Wicker, the founder of Ecocult, a website about sustainable fashion and travel. "And I don't use face masks—they're basically just a lot of moisturizer on a piece of disposable cloth." It's easy to buy for the long-term, and you'll save money as well.
2. Seek out sustainable and responsibly sourced ingredients.
The ingredient list of any product is part of a much bigger story. Take palm oil, for instance. It's one of the most commonly used ingredients in cosmetics, and increasing demand has led to rampant deforestation in parts of Asia. That method of cultivation, in turn, destroys animal habitats, leading some species close to extinction.
While there are few simple solutions for complex supply issues, you can contact beauty companies to ask how their raw materials are grown, harvested, and sold. Not satisfied with the answer? Make it clear to brands what it'll take to make you a loyal (and Earth-minded) customer. Try something like this: "Sustainable agriculture would help emerging markets avoid damage like deforestation, pollution, and carbon release—issues that will affect everyone through climate change in the long run," said Magdalena Antuña, the editor of Selva Beat, an environmentally conscious lifestyle magazine for millennials.
3. Choose post-consumer recycled packaging.
The best packaging is none at all, but when that's not possible, avoid "virgin" materials—especially plastic, which is made from fossil fuels and usually winds up in landfills. Instead, look for packaging that's already on its second (or third, or fourth) life. For example, inside Seed Phytonutrient's shower-friendly paper bottles is a liner made entirely from post-consumer plastic, which uses 60 percent less plastic than a traditional bottle. Which leads us to the next step:
4. Go the extra mile when recycling.
That means, for instance, cleaning out the last bit of product from your shampoo bottle before rinsing and recycling it. Or plucking out the bristles of a plastic makeup brush before tossing it into the recycling bin. Not sure where to recycle—or whether something can be recycled at all? Plenty of brands offer incentives (a free lipstick, for example) if you return a selection of empties in stores or through Terracycle, a company that turns even the trickiest items into new materials.
5. Think beyond shopping.
While you can certainly vote with your dollars, don't forget about your actual vote. "The most powerful thing a consumer can do is become an advocate for more sustainable consumer products for everyone, not just highly educated women of means," Wicker says. She advises contacting your representative to ask tough questions: What are they doing to help standardize recycling systems across the country? How are they working to improve chemical testing and safety? What are they doing about plastic waste? Without pressure from voters, most lawmakers are unlikely to prioritize the planet—so pick up the phone, speak your mind, and help effect change.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Modern Farmer.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Lauren Wolahan
For the first time ever, the UN is building out a roadmap for curbing carbon pollution from agriculture. To take part in that process, a coalition of U.S. farmers traveled to the UN climate conference in Madrid, Spain this month to make the case for the role that large-scale farming operations, long criticized for their outsized emissions, can play in addressing climate change.
They're prepared from puréed acai berries — which are fruits grown in Central and South America — and served as a smoothie in a bowl or glass, topped with fruit, nuts, seeds, or granola.
By Elliott Negin
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences' recent decision to award the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry to scientists who developed rechargeable lithium-ion batteries reminded the world just how transformative they have been. Without them, we wouldn't have smartphones or electric cars. But it's their potential to store electricity generated by the sun and the wind at their peak that promises to be even more revolutionary, reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and protecting the planet from the worst consequences of climate change.
The global population of the critically endangered Javan rhinoceros has increased to 72 after four new calves were spotted in the past several months.