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Zeroing in on Zero Waste

Where are we headed?

I am a sucker for clickbait. 

I hate to admit it, but I find myself reading articles upon articles of things that really do not expand my knowledge. 

Buzzfeed? Love/hate relationship example number one. I don't even want to let you know how many Buzzfeed quizzes I have taken. Too bad I cannot put that on my resume, expert Buzzfeed quiz taker, haha!

The easiest way for me to access my news for the day is the through Apple News. Because I am an avid reader, I can keep track of where I left off, and that way I am not overwhelmed by the loads of news that come in day to day. 

It was about two days ago that I stumbled upon a "30 day Zero Waste Hygiene Routine" challenge that a writer at Buzzfeed accomplished. Of course I clicked on it, because it was written by a Buzzfeeder! 

I was intrigued. 

Zero waste is very hard in today's society where everything is plastic based. Especially in the hygiene and cosmetics world, this sector is a major contributor to waste. 

We all go in search of hygienic products, and the aisle is packed from floor to ceiling with plastic. There are new products that roll out on the daily, and a majority of the nation cannot wait to try something new that will "reduce fine lines and wrinkles." Not only are all of the products plastic, but a majority of them also cannot be recycled. 

I recently went to Walmart and was looking for a new face wash. I like a certain brand, Neutrogena, and I know how wasteful their products are with the majority of their products being plastic, but the one that I use can be recycled. Although it is still plastic, at least I am aware of the products that are not able to be recycled. 

It was when I looked to Walmart's Great Value brand that I saw a new symbol on one of their face washes. It was a recycling symbol that was crossed out. This was right on the front of the bottle for everyone to notice. However, even with it being on the front of the bottle, with it still being on the shelves and available for the consumers, people will still purchase it. Instead of ending up in the recycling, it will end up in the landfill. 

After reading this Buzzfeed article, being intrigued that she was not only trying to switch to natural products but also switch to plastic free, I realized one small problem. 

By doing this challenge, she had to make the initial decision to throw away all of her hygiene products that were plastic. 

I have one critique of this method. Instead of being zero waste, she just eliminated everything in the beginning. This would have been more waste than 30 days worth. She could have tried to finish her products for 30 days and then switch to natural options once she used the product up. 

A lot of people are considering the 30 day zero waste challenge. This is a great step in the right direction, no doubt. 

But, hear me out. What if instead of throwing everything away, we were actively trying to find ways to repurpose our plastic products. 

Repurposing can be a great way to enhance your creative problem solving abilities. I will link the original article and an article on how to repurpose your plastic at the bottom!

Like I said in my previous article, the change cannot solely come from the consumers. If companies are providing the plastic products, consumers will continue to buy them because they are readily available. It is going to NEED to be a joint effort between companies and their consumers. 

Speaking of taking responsibility for the environment, let's talk about a specific company. 

Glossier

I recently had a friend who received a Glossier product in the mail. That product came in a 12x12 box, had cardboard inserts inside, plastic surrounding the product, and a small cardboard container for the actual product. Her product was in a plastic tube and could have been shipped in a smaller envelope or smaller box. She took to Instagram to express her disappointment in the use of excessive packaging. I had another friend who received three products in the mail from Glossier and these products were covered in a foil plastic that was in no way recyclable. It was an unnecessary plastic bag in which the products could have just come in a box without this use of plastic. She also responded to their use of packaging on Instagram, and she received a reply stating that they were reevaluating their use of packaging and were in the process of becoming more sustainable.

The more we make companies aware of the dissatisfaction among consumers, the more we can advocate for change.

Corporations that have the ability to look at their supply chain and manufacturing processes are the ones that are going to survive. Retail is changing, and the hygiene product sector will soon be one to be highly criticized.

I have to say that, yes, it is convenient to go to the store and have a ton of options to choose from, but we need to stop being comfortable with convenience. Who said being comfortable was fun?!

Wake up! Sometimes we just need a change in perspective. Get over your ego and become eco!

The next time you go shopping, bring your reusable bags, try to only buy products that will create zero waste, and be a shopper that is aware of their contributions to this beautiful planet of ours.

If you need a subtle reminder... reduce, reuse, recycle. 

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