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EcoWatch is a community of experts publishing quality, science-based content on environmental issues, causes, and solutions for a healthier planet and life.
Debris along the eastern shoreline of Eastern Island before a 2016 marine debris removal mission. NOAA PIFSC Coral Reef Ecosystem

Every July, a popular environmental movement inspires action to protect the land and sea. "Plastic-Free July" is a charity based out of Australia but operating as a global movement against plastic pollution. This year, EcoWatch in partnership with Plastic Oceans International is highlighting shoreline and beach cleanups as an important tool in the fight for the future of our oceans and planet.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Magnus Larsson / iStock / Getty Images Plus

What Is Ocean Bound Plastic?

Ocean bound plastic is plastic waste that is headed toward our oceans. The term "ocean bound plastic" was popularized by Jenna Jambeck, Ph.D., a professor from the University of Georgia. In 2015, she and a team of researchers estimated the amount of plastic waste entering the ocean from land.

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Up Your Skincare Game: 6 Best Vitamin C Serums

Medically reviewed by Anna H. Chacon, M.D.

Reviews
fizkes / iStock / Getty Images

From eating foods for healthy skin to switching up your morning and routines, taking care of the largest organ in the body can get overwhelming. Recently, vitamin C has grown in popularity in the skincare world — but do the best vitamin C serums live up to the hype?

Vitamin C is not only an essential supplement for your immune system and overall health, but it's also a great skincare ingredient that can help limit inflammation, brighten skin, dull fine lines and wrinkles, fight free radicals, and reduce discoloration and dark spots.

Adding vitamin C to your skincare routine seems like a no-brainer, but before you start shopping for a serum, it's important to be aware that vitamin C is an unstable ingredient. Dermatologists say it's important to find legit and properly formulated vitamin C serums to capitalize on the benefits of the antioxidant. In this article, we'll help you find the right dermatologist-approved vitamin C serum to add to your routine.

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Jacobs Stock Photography Ltd / DigitalVision / Getty Images

The recycling industry in America is broken. With unsellable scrap materials and already-burgeoning landfills, many consider the entire industry confusing and complex, at best, and a lost cause, at worst. Nevertheless, some local governments are trying to address program shortfalls with various policies.

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Recycling and general waste plastic wheelie bins awaiting collection for disposal in Newport, Rhode Island. Tim Graham / Getty Images

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. According to The National Museum of American History, this popular slogan, with its iconic three arrows forming a triangle, embodied a national call to action to save the environment in the 1970s. In that same decade, the first Earth Day happened, the EPA was formed and Congress passed the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, encouraging recycling and conservation of resources, Enviro Inc. reported.

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Xsandra / Getty Images

Looking for ways to cut down on single-use plastic while grocery shopping? You may already have eco-friendly shopping bags, but bringing your own reusable produce bags is another easy swap.

According to the UN Environment Program, up to 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used globally each year, and because of the material they're made from, most municipal recycling centers don't accept them (more on this below).

The most sustainable option is to skip the bag altogether. You can also make your own reusable produce bags out of old T-shirts. But if you'd rather purchase them new, here are our recommendations for the best reusable produce bags on the market today.

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person holding green leaf vegetable
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Bringing your own reusable grocery bags when you go shopping is one of the easiest ways to cut down on your plastic consumption — according to the UN Environment Program, up to 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used globally each year.

The most sustainable option is to use a bag you already have, whether it's an old tote or a laundry basket (thank TikTok for that idea). You can also make your own reusable grocery or produce bags out of T-shirts. But if you'd rather purchase designated reusable grocery bags, here are our recommendations.
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John Oliver attends NRDC's "Night of Comedy" Benefit on April 30, 2019 in New York City. Ilya S. Savenok / Getty Images for NRDC

In his latest deep dive for Last Week Tonight, comedian John Oliver took on plastic pollution and, specifically, the myth that if we all just recycled enough, the problem would go away.

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A plastic bag on the beach at Fisherman Island National Wildlife Refuge in Kiptopeke, Virginia on Oct. 22, 2011. Caitlin Finnerty / Chesapeake Bay Program / Flickr

The state of Virginia is taking a stand against single-use plastics.

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bird eye view photography of a green trees
Photo by John O'Nolan on Unsplash

At EcoWatch, our goal is to help readers find eco-friendly brands, products, and services that can create a more sustainable future. We review products that we believe can make a difference, and evaluate them on how well they live up to any claims about their environmental impact. We thoroughly research, compare, and test different products to find ones that we would use ourselves before we recommend them to you.

Our Review Standards

From reusable bags and recycled plastic shoes to solar panels and natural supplements, we approach every review with the same core set of standards in mind:

  1. Accuracy - Is the information true?
  2. Impact - Does the product make a difference?
  3. Transparency - Do we explain our review clearly?
  4. Accessibility - Can everyone understand our review?
  5. Positivity - Does our review help provide solutions?

Our Top Considerations

In addition to these overarching standards, here are the specific factors that we look for when evaluating eco-friendly products and brands.

  • Materials/ingredients - We look for products that use all-natural ingredients and sustainably sourced materials. We prioritize brands that use organic, recycled, or biodegradable materials whenever possible.
  • Green Certifications - We use recognized industry standards and certifications, like B-Corp, USDA Organic, Leaping Bunny, and Rainforest Alliance seals, to help distinguish the most eco-friendly brands and products from the rest.
  • Quality - The products we review need to both help the environment and actually work. Whether it's an alternative to paper towels or an all-natural sleep aid, we want to make certain that it is actually worth your consideration.
  • Packaging - The amount of packaging waste a product creates matters, and we highlight brands that minimize packaging and use recyclable, biodegradable, or compostable materials instead of plastics.
  • Price - In the eco-space, cheaper is not always better. Still, we try to compare all of your options to ensure that anything we recommend is fairly priced and worth the cost. Whenever possible, we highlight deals and less-expensive options.
  • Causes - We love brands that donate a portion of their profits to great causes. We try to recommend options that allow you to support organizations that make a difference with your purchase.

If a certain category of products has additional or unique standards to consider, we explain those clearly so you can fully understand everything that went into our reviews.

Our Process

Each of our reviews includes several different steps to make sure that we provide accurate, honest, and useful recommendations.

Industry Research

Our first step involves researching the industry or product category broadly. This allows us to learn more about industry standards, governmental regulations, how products work, how performance and quality are measured, and the leading brands to compare. During this step, we work to become experts on the details.

Brand Evaluations

Next, we look more closely at the top brands or products that we discover in our initial research. This involves thoroughly vetting the brand's site to see what makes them stand out and what types of products they offer. We look for information on the brand's sustainability efforts, philosophy, and environmental impact.

Product Reviews

In this step, we dig into the details of the individual products or services. Where possible, we try to get our hands on the product itself to test and evaluate. We then scrutinize the claims made by the brand in any product descriptions and specifications to see if they hold up, and how they compare to industry standards and competitors.

Recommendations

Finally, we write up our review and include a ranked list of the best options. We do our best to provide plenty of context in our reviews so that you know how we chose the products on our list, and why. In addition to our recommendations, we give you the links to all of our sources of information.

Reviewing Eco-Friendly Products

An important thing to note about eco-friendly products is that some industries or categories have more options than others. We always try to prioritize brands with the smallest environmental footprint and products that can make the biggest impact.

In certain cases, however, there may not be a brand or product that truly meets our standards of sustainability, or that offer imperfect solutions (like a good product that includes too much plastic packaging). In those cases, we will always note the areas where brands or products fall short environmentally and explain why we still recommend them anyway. If a company pledges to do better through changes to process, we will follow up to see if they live up to those pledges.

By doing our best to highlight goods and services that prioritize environmental stewardship, we hope to promote better practices throughout entire industries.

If you have any questions about our review methodology or any of the products we recommend, please email us at [email protected]

Trending
Nzambi Matee told reporters she was "tired of being on the sidelines," and decided to create a solution of her own for commercial plastic waste. Gjenge Makers Ltd.

Nzambi Matee is an entrepreneur with an incredible goal -- to turn plastic destined for the landfill into sustainable, strong building material. Her company, Gjenge Makers, uses the plastic waste of commercial facilities to create bricks that can withstand twice the weight threshold of concrete.

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Photo by Good Soul Shop on Unsplash

If you're looking to cut down on your single-use plastic consumption, refusing to-go cutlery is an easy switch to make. In this article, we'll show you three of the best bamboo utensils and cutlery sets for eating on the go.

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LumiNola / E+ / Getty Images

By Gwen Ranniger

Fertility issues are on the rise, and new literature points to ways that your environment may be part of the problem. We've rounded up some changes you can make in your life to promote a healthy reproductive system.

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EcoWatch is a community of experts publishing quality, science-based content on environmental issues, causes, and solutions for a healthier planet and life.
Debris along the eastern shoreline of Eastern Island before a 2016 marine debris removal mission. NOAA PIFSC Coral Reef Ecosystem

Every July, a popular environmental movement inspires action to protect the land and sea. "Plastic-Free July" is a charity based out of Australia but operating as a global movement against plastic pollution. This year, EcoWatch in partnership with Plastic Oceans International is highlighting shoreline and beach cleanups as an important tool in the fight for the future of our oceans and planet.

Read More Show Less
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Magnus Larsson / iStock / Getty Images Plus

What Is Ocean Bound Plastic?

Ocean bound plastic is plastic waste that is headed toward our oceans. The term "ocean bound plastic" was popularized by Jenna Jambeck, Ph.D., a professor from the University of Georgia. In 2015, she and a team of researchers estimated the amount of plastic waste entering the ocean from land.

Read More Show Less
Up Your Skincare Game: 6 Best Vitamin C Serums

Medically reviewed by Anna H. Chacon, M.D.

Reviews
fizkes / iStock / Getty Images

From eating foods for healthy skin to switching up your morning and routines, taking care of the largest organ in the body can get overwhelming. Recently, vitamin C has grown in popularity in the skincare world — but do the best vitamin C serums live up to the hype?

Vitamin C is not only an essential supplement for your immune system and overall health, but it's also a great skincare ingredient that can help limit inflammation, brighten skin, dull fine lines and wrinkles, fight free radicals, and reduce discoloration and dark spots.

Adding vitamin C to your skincare routine seems like a no-brainer, but before you start shopping for a serum, it's important to be aware that vitamin C is an unstable ingredient. Dermatologists say it's important to find legit and properly formulated vitamin C serums to capitalize on the benefits of the antioxidant. In this article, we'll help you find the right dermatologist-approved vitamin C serum to add to your routine.

Read More Show Less