Sustainable Packaging for Health and Wellness
Written by Moni Wahid
Our last article was about the ingredients in your products, but what about the container holding your product? A major consideration One of the biggest things you should consider when buying products is the packaging. Examining the packaging and making educated choices helps us move towards a zero-waste lifestyle.
The more packaging we use, the more garbage there is in the world. Take a look at these statistics, 40% of plastic that is generated is used for packaging. If we can cut this number down there will be less waste being produced. Excessive garbage seems unavoidable but there are solutions!
We all most likely vaguely remember learning about the 3 R’s in elementary school; reduce, reuse, and recycle. However, are we actually reducing, reusing, and recycling? Not knowing how to do so usually leads people to just toss their used shampoo bottle into the garbage.
REDUCE and REUSE
How can we reduce packaging when we need the product that comes in them?
The easiest way to do this is to find products that can be bought without a package. For example, shampoo or lotion bars. Try to find places where you can buy items like these and take your own cloth bag or glass container to cut down on single-use items. Another way to reduce packaging is by reusing the items you already have. Take your empty bottles and refill them with the products of your choice.
A great place to check out is Lush, besides their shampoo and lotion bars, check out their zero-waste mouth products like toothpaste. Another solution, that you can find on campus, is Soapstand. It’s a great place to take an empty container and fill it up again and again with the various soaps, detergents, shampoos and body wash.
RECYCLE and REFUSE
If you just can’t part with an item that you aren’t able to reduce or reuse the packaging, be sure to recycle it! If you’re confused about what you can recycle and how you can recycle it visit RecycleBC and look it up. This easy search function allows you to recycle without headache.
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Screenshot of RecycleBC's recycling database tool.
If you find that there isn’t a way to recycle the packaging, move towards refusing the item. The older model of the 3 R’s has been updated to include ‘refuse’ and it’s easily doable. Most products that we already use have alternatives that either doesn’t use packaging or uses packaging that is recyclable/reusable.
However, there might be something in your arsenal that you absolutely cannot recycle, reuse, or refuse. Don’t feel guilty, living zero-waste is not something to be stressed about, it’s about taking small steps.
A good way to reduce the amount of garbage packaging creates is to buy things in bulk. If you know you love it and will buy it again in the future, might as well cut down on the packaging (plus buying in bulk is easier on your wallet).
Hot Tip: Make it Yourself!
Making your own products will definitely give you peace of mind about the packaging and the ingredients. Plus it’s fun and usually cheaper! There are tons of resources online for how to DIY your own products, try something easy like a lip balm.
Be sure to share your own ideas and progress on how you’re incorporating some of these ideas in our Facebook group, we can’t wait to see what you’ve come up with.