The problem of waste generation in the United States is a worsening issue and contributes directly to climate change, creating methane gas (CO2). It is estimated that every day, Americans create 4.4 lbs. of waste. Part of this problem is overconsumption, an issue somewhat unique to Americans. Over the past twenty or so years, the push for zero-waste packaging has risen dramatically.
Zero-waste packaging has become popular with environmentally conscious beauty brands striving to reduce their impact on waste. From razors to face lotions, numerous brands are creating sustainable products and using biodegradable materials to combat consumption.
Yay For Earth
Founded by activist Stevie Van Horn, Yay For Earth emerged from a long process of trial and error. Horn, desperate for a simple face lotion, created YayForEarth on the premise of honoring the planet. Horn reflected upon humanity’s dependence on nature and applied that ideology into the ingredients she chose, as well as the packaging.
Yay For Earths’ signature product Sensitive Skin Face Lotion is made from only four ingredients which are organic olive oil, organic shea butter, local beeswax, and organic pomegranate seed oil. Their use of local beeswax supports small bee farmers. The lotion comes in a fully recyclable jar; if disposed of correctly, the product is entirely zero-waste. Yay For Earth has created an entirely waste-free product, from the actual lotion to the container.
EcoRoots offers a wide range of beauty products, from reusable cotton rounds to shampoo and conditioner bars. The cotton rounds are made of biodegradable materials such as organic cotton and bamboo. Because the cotton rounds are cloth, they can be washed and be reused. The rounds are packaged in fully recyclable cardboard.
Among other brands, Eco Roots also carries zero-waste shampoo and conditioner bars made from coconut oil and cocoa butter. These bars come in different scents and are sold without packaging. When ordered online, they come in a completely recyclable box. According to EcoRoots, the bars last for over fifty washes.
Package Free boasts the largest supply of zero-waste products. Package Free is committed “to make the world less trashy,” in their own words. They carry essential beauty products like razors and deodorants. Most razors are plastic single-use products that pile up in landfills and cannot be recycled. These all-metal, stainless steel razors use replaceable metal blades that can also be recycled.
Package Free also offers a “butterfly” razor. The “butterfly” razor can close over the blade for extra protection and to add to the longevity of the blade’s lifespan.
The cream baking soda free deodorant also has its sustainable perks and comes in a fully recyclable container. Package Free, aside from its range of products, is also an educational site, sharing facts about how much waste one person produces on average, encouraging the elimination of plastic, and emphasizing need over want. At the end of the day, we can purchase as many sustainable products as we like but only buying what we need is equally important.
Towards a Zero-Waste and Plastic-Free Future
Packaging contributes substantially to plastic pollution. Zero-waste packaging is a step in the right direction to reduce our consumption and waste. Even products that use more sustainable packaging are a step, when it is impossible for a product to be “package-less.” Using reusable bags and products or buying biodegradable items are some easy ways to reduce our plastic consumption footprint.
Plastic pollution is another issue affected heavily by packaging, though there are ways individuals can change their plastic consumption habits. Trash is For Tossers is full of guidelines and ideas to be more sustainable, and offers changes one can make to be less consumptive. Their site teaches how to recycle properly, gives ideas for zero-waste gifts, and even how to have a waste-free period.
Plastics must be eliminated from packaging to truly reduce the impact of their waste, though effective change will require major companies to make that switch. Looking at the political field the US has entered, initiatives in favor of the climate may be on the rise.