FCV Staff share their personal plastic-free journeys. Carson Mitchell, Communications Manager, details the sustainable solutions in beauty routines and fashion choices:
My 2019 New Years Resolution was to live more sustainably. I thought this would be an easy task; little did I know it would turn the life that I knew upside down.
Packaging material accounts for nearly half of all plastic waste. I figured that was a good place to start. The first thing that had to change was my beauty routine. From brushes to lipstick tubes, the makeup industry uses some serious plastics. The packaging alone can make an insane impact. According to Stylist, 2.7 billion plastic bottles go to the landfill every year. Much of this packaging is unrecyclable, including bottles for shampoo, conditioner, soap, deodorant, and other countless products we use on our bodies every day.
Beyond the bathroom vanity, clothing can also be a source of single-use plastics. About 60% of clothing material sold worldwide has polyester, nylon, acrylic and other synthetic fibers, all which are forms of plastic. Just washing these clothes can release itty-bitty micro-plastics into our water supply.
Recommendation: Buy package-free products such as bar soap and shampoo; buy clothing with natural fibers or fewer new clothing items altogether.
I admit it: I love to shop. I love customizing my everyday look with quirky shoes, shirts, skirts, and every article of clothing in between. But limits to sustainable shopping have only made me more creative.
Sustainable clothing encompasses items that are secondhand, ethically sourced, or use less resources to produce. Brands committed to sustainability do exist and as these items are made from more durable materials, they last longer and thus consumers can expect to invest more. As environmentalists advocate individuals’ lifestyle changes, we have to remember that activities like upgrading your wardrobe can be expensive and inaccessible to those at varying income levels.
Buying second hand is a sustainable solution for both the planet and the wallet. By shopping for only second-hand goods, I’ve been able to explore fashion beyond the trends and find unique, timeless items. The search is half the fun, and supporting local consignments is a win-win.
Concerned consumers have options. In the clothing industry, thrifting has gone viral with online exchanges that empower consumers to buy and sell used clothing. Online shopping isn’t only for new goods, but for quality, used clothing as well. In the beauty aisle, brands are starting to not only answer to the impacts of single-use plastic but see alternative packaging as marketable. Both small and large brands are starting to take responsibility for their plastic use, committing to goals such as using recycled, reusable, or biodegradable packaging.
Single-use plastics, unfortunately, touch every aspect of our lives, and our beauty routines are not remiss. Our wallet is our power. We can support small start-ups by buying their sustainable products or pressure big brands to step up to the plastics plate. By putting our time and money where our mouths are, we can make small changes in our lives and communities.