Plastic. It’s cheap, versatile, and everywhere. Since 1950, our plastic production has increased two hundred times (to the tune of 381 million tonnes in 2015), cumulating in 7.8 billion tonnes -- the equivalent of more than one tonne per person alive today.
Where does all of that plastic end up? Until 1980, 100% of plastic waste was merely discarded, to end up in landfills, or as we are well aware, the ocean. As of 2015, recycling accounts for only 20% of plastic disposal. Recycling can be inaccessible, and ineffective.
We’ve all seen the posts and videos on social media--beaches littered with plastic, interfering with and harming wildlife, and we all feel called to action. But with plastic so pervasive in modern society, and only 20% of it ever being recycled, the weight of that 381 million tonnes can feel overwhelming. What can one person do in the face of the current situation?
Fortunately, innovative and environmentally conscientious companies are beginning to see the way of the future and making it easier for you, the average consumer, to do their part in small ways that add up. From household consumables to cosmetics, let us introduce you to some companies that are putting the environment--in addition to their superior products--at the forefront of their mission.
Dissatisfied with the current market offerings and lack of transparency when her first son was born, Alicia set out to change the model in the cosmetics world. From there, Upfront Cosmetics was born, offering vegan, certified cruelty-free, plastic-free shampoo and conditioner bars for all types of hair. Because you’re getting just the good stuff, no filler, each bar diverts 2-3 plastic bottles from a landfill and leaves your hair feeling (and looking!) healthy and amazing.
Since 2014, Elate Cosmetics has made it their mission to create ‘products that don’t compromise the health of any person, animal or the planet’. Using various mediums like aluminum, glass, bamboo, and seed paper, they’ve replaced plastic packaging for around 75% of their luxurious makeup and beauty products, with a focus on becoming 100% plastic free.
Not only are laundry detergent jugs big and unsightly to dispose of, every current commercial offering is plastic. Tru Earth is changing the laundry detergent jug story with their readily biodegradable laundry detergent strips. They use zero plastic packaging, and are free of paraben, phosphate, dye and chlorine bleach. They’re hypoallergenic, vegan, and eliminating plastic jugs from piling up in our landfills!
We brush our teeth at least daily, if not two or three times, and throw our toothpaste tubes away without thinking about it. Are toothpaste tubes even recyclable? (Hint: they’re not!) Change Toothpaste is ‘just like paste, without the waste’, doing their part to divert the approximately 900 million tubes of toothpaste that enter landfills globally each year. Packaged in compostable paper bags, Change tablets are easy to use and free of harsh chemicals, leaving your teeth healthy, and feeling fresh.
Sold in either refillable glass jars, or cardboard tubes, Routine’s big star is their natural deodorant. Free of aluminum zirconium, aluminum chlorohydrate, parabens, triclosan, or propylene glycol, Routine offers a scent or formula for everyone, including vegan and baking soda free--all 18 options are even gluten free! Canadian-made with stores offering refills in most Canadian provinces (and a few in the US as well!), Routine is an option you need to add to your day!
Most consumers upgrade their mobile phones the minute they’re able to (about every 12-24 months). Of course, each new model requires a new protective case--which are made of plastic. While most areas have an electronics recycling program and many vendors offer a trade in option, those pesky plastic cases just go in the trash, and end up in--you guessed it--landfills. Pela Case’s innovative cases are pretty, protective, and 100% compostable. They supply cases for both Apple and Android, and are even branching out into other great options like Apple watch straps, and AirPod cases.
While tackling the plastic problem we currently have can seem overwhelming, every small change helps, and these companies are here to help you make those small changes for big results!