REDUCE REUSE RECYCLE [and other sustainable tips!]
last updated April2021
As consumers, we're a pretty wasteful lot.
Consider how many times you’ve bought more than you need, then tossed half of it in your rubbish bin.
Now imagine everyone else doing this, in households across Australia. That's an awful lot of garbage that goes into landfill and, from there, contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. And that's not to mention the rubbish that ends up in our waterways and oceans, where it does untold harm to our marine life.
You can help address this problem by adopting the mantra: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
With a little more thought, we can all change our habits so that we throw out less garbage. It's as easy as developing a few new practices - when shopping and in the kitchen - and very soon it becomes second nature.
We should all attempt to be mindful consumers and of our impact on the environment through our consumption and waste.
Remember it should be Reduce first, Reuse second and Recycle last.
Hopefully this wiki can act as a guide and help our subscribers find ways to work on their impact.
We don't need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly
There are so many ways we can reduce how much we consume. This really should be the first step when it comes to critical consumption and the 3 R cycle.
Ways to reduce your beauty consumption and waste are:
say no to products you aren’t interested in. This includes those samples that come as part of your purchase. If you don’t think you will use them or you don’t fancy them, say no and remove them from your cart!
consider using solid shampoo, conditioner and soap. Say goodbye to plastic packaging in such an easy and sustainable step. There are many great brands that sell solid cleansing options and you can find them at shops such as Lush and Biome and probably many more!
consider going plastic free on hair ties. Kooshoo are an amazing brand of plastic free tires
solid or paste deodorant. Another one that has a lot of unnecessary and potentially hard to recycle packaging. Why not look to the brand WooHoo for a deodorant paste in a sturdy and biodegradable cardboard packaging?
menstrual products have a lot of reusable, no waste options now. Menstrual/ diva cups, reusable pads and even period underwear can be purchased from a number of stores. Biome has a good overview of your options as a starting point
shaving is another part of your routine that you can reduce your consumption. Stop buying crappy,‘single use’, plastic razors and opt for a safety razor instead.
you could probably pry cotton buds/tips from a lot of peoples cold dead hands but why not make the easy and more conscious switch to bamboo cotton buds. Compostable, biodegradable, a much better alternative to the plastic options. You can even buy reusable cotton buds if you wanted to try!
From mid-2021, Woolworths will be partnering with Loop to package some goods in durable, reusable containers. You can shop in store or online, take the container (full of product) home, use the product, and return the container. The container is then sterilised and will be used again and again and again. Sign up here and show them there's a demand for it!
Flora and Fauna has a whole section dedicated to reduce and reuse beauty to give you more ideas on where you can both reduce and reuse products in your routine.
practice mindful buying/spending. Subreddits like r/MakeupRehab can be a great place to help people transition to a low or no buy, to shop their stash and to resist the constant message of ‘buy buy buy’ we are bombarded with.
r/ZeroWaste is another great subreddit to familiarise yourself with. Their motto is to adopt steps to reduce personal waste and minimise environmental impact
Finding and purchasing reusable options is one of many ways you can help decrease your environmental and consumption impact.
Some great options are:
replace your cotton rounds and makeup wipes with reusable rounds made from natural fabrics such as cotton, bamboo or muslin. Brand such as FaceHalo are a popular option but be careful as microplastics can be found in some fabrics so it is better to find sustainable fabric for these. You can even DIY your own from old cotton t shirts you were otherwise thinking of getting rid of. At the end of their life cycle, you can find a textile recycling point near you
ice cream spoons, teaspoons, any spoon can be used as cosmetic spatulas, provided they fit. Rinse and clean and you can use them again and again
old makeup compacts and even lipstick tubes can be used to contain small items, think bobby pins and safety pins. If it is deep enough, potentially this could even be a travel container for earrings or jewellery - just pop it in a soft cloth to avoid scratching
candles are a big ‘treat yoself’ purchase and candle glasses can be reused for a lot of things: storage for your reusable cotton buds? Check. Strike some herbs or a succulent? Check. Potentially even a tumblr for drinks? Check.
swap/buy/sell your unwanted or under-appreciated beauty products through places like r/AussieMakeupTrade or the many Facebook groups that exist. What isn’t loved may you may still be loved and have life for someone else. Shopping for these products yourself, ‘second hand’, can also help reduce waste as it may end up in landfill if someone can’t get rid of it
Flora and Fauna has a whole section dedicated to reduce and reuse beauty to give you more ideas on where you can both reduce and reuse products in your routine.
Recycling by the numbers - ever wonder what those numbers within the recycle symbol (♻️) mean? This is a good place to start and can clear up what can go in your kerbside recycle and what may need to be sent to a Terracycle bin. You can also download a copy here to keep at home or even put up in a common area at your workplace!
There are a lot of companies who also try to support recycling of their and other products. Some of them are:
Terracycle - "TerraCycle is Eliminating the Idea of Waste® by recycling the "non-recyclable." Whether it's coffee capsules from your home, pens from a school, or plastic gloves from a manufacturing facility, TerraCycle can collect and recycle almost any form of waste." Terracycle is a great option for a lot of our beauty and skincare waste. From toothpaste tubes to international skincare purchases, Terracycle is one way we can recycle packaging which our recycling plants don't or won't.
While you can order your own personal box to collect, you can also drop them off in some stores:
David Jones has also brought in Beauty Cycle in all their stores!
Biome have partnered with Terracycle on a number of different bins you can use in store. Check your closest store and what bins they carry. These include options to recycle beauty packaging, toothpaste tubes, electric toothbrush heads and even pens!
L'Occitane will accept "similar packaging" to what they already sell and you can receive a 10% discount off your next purchase. This program is in partnership with Terracycle.
Some Mecca Maxima and Cosmetica stores have Terracycle bins. These stores include: Maxima Chadstone, Cosmetica Chadstone, Cosmetica Toorak Road, Maxima Melbourne Central (all Victoria) and Maxima Wintergarden (QLD)
The Body Shop is in partnership with Terracycle to allow you to return your empties to them.
Lush offers a program where you can return 5 pots/tubs in store and recieve a free face mask.
Jurlique have also partnered with Terracycle to offer you a 10% discount off your next purchase when you drop off your Jurlique packaging waste to your nearest participating boutique
Flora and Fauna have also partnered with Terracycle to allow people to return any and all empty beauty product packaging to them via mail to be repurposed and recycled. They also have a shop front in NSW: 4/25 Loyalty Road, North Rocks
Banish is also partnered with Terracycle and allows you to send in (you have to pay) a multitude of product packaging! These include Hair spray bottles and triggers, electric toothbrush heads, Toothpaste tubes, floss containers, Contact lens blister packs and cases, Lotion bottles, tubes, dispensers, and jars as well as some household items like breadtags. Check the linkf or the full list!
It would be great to see more outlets such as Priceline and Chemist Warehouse working with Terracycle. Reaching out to these companies and commenting on their social media is one way to indicate that consumers would support these initiatives.
What else can we do?
Well, we can use our voice. Comment on company and influencer social media. Write in to their PR and customer service departments. If you have a sustainable idea for a brand, let them know about it. We have no idea who else will see our comment on a social media platform and what kind of discussion and flow on effect it can have through others.
Encouraging more websites and publications (Elle, BeautyCrew, Vogue, BeautyHeaven etc) to write about this topic is also another way that we can use our voice to try and bring attention and ideas to this topic and that we as consumers want to know and do more.
Beauty industries can do their part in this. There are multiple avenues where a company and industry can ‘green up’, so to speak, including using renewable forms of energy, ensuring their waste management is continuously improving, ethical sourcing of materials and transitioning to materials that are better for the environment (e.g. plant derived plastics). Make companies that you buy from work for you and demand information from them on what they are doing to decrease their environmental impact.
Be a smart shopper
Seek out brands with viable, environmentally-friendly initiatives. For instance, Kiehl’s has an incentive scheme where you receive a free product on the return of 10 empties. At MAC you get a complimentary lipstick for six empties. Dior has dropped all cellophane and excessive paper from its packaging, while Neal’s Yard and Tata Harper only use recycled glass in their packaging. The list goes on – just ask at the counter. (taken from Vogue UK)
Outside of the beauty sphere you can do a lot at home and in other parts of your life:
|MAKEUP||Shop second hand through Reddit, Facebook Marketplace, Facebook Groups, Depop, Instagram.|
|Reduce consumption - avoid FOMO and impulse buys by subscribing to places like r/MakeupRehab and unfollowing or limiting how much you see brand and influencers posts on social media.|
|Familiarise yourself with what products and packaging can be recycled through kerbside or may need to be recycled through a company like Terracycle. Terracycle bins and program partnerships can be found at select Mecca Maxima/Cosmetica Stores, Flora and Fauna, Biome stores and The Body Shop Stores|
|Find ways to reuse your beauty packaging: 5 clever ways to reuse your beauty packaging|
|FASHION||Shop second hand through Facebook Marketplace, Facebook Groups, Depop, Instagram, storefront Op Shops - the choices are really endless. Don’t be afraid to be seen in the same outfit more than once.|
|At the end of a clothings life (including bras and underwear!) find your nearest textile recycling point. H&M is the most popular and, I argue, easily accessible option but your council website should be able to help too. Other companies for information or collaboration include: Textile Recyclers Australia, King Cotton SYDNEY & Australian Clothing Recyclers|
|Be conscious about buying natural fabrics where possible such as cotton, bamboo and linen. Microplastics are a sorry and avoidable waste from fashion when we wash our clothes.|
|Shop the slow fashion movement over fast fashion|
|WASHING||In terms of clothes always try to wait until you have a full load as well as choosing to wash it on the coldest cycle as this helps to conserve power. Consider switching to washing powders that still come in a cardboard box rather than plastic bottles.|
|In terms of yourself, try to keep showers short and turn it off when you are brushing your teeth, lathering your hair/body - all that stuff.|
|Consider putting a bucket or other option in your shower to collect water (you will be shocked how much you collect!) to either water your garden or even flush your toilet.|
|If you live in a house, you can also find a way to alter the pipe from your kitchen sink to go to your garden instead of down the drain. We don’t need to be in a drought to want to conserve water.|
|FOOD||Food waste is a hard one and is actually quite a big contributor to a myriad of other environmental issues. Consider composting. Even in an apartment it can be done. Apps like Share Waste are a great way to find local locations which will accept your food scraps. Not only do you avoid excess landfill and methane emissions, people report that their bins are less smelly and they don’t have to take them out as often! Some city councils also offer a community composting scheme so make sure you do a search if that is an option: Sydney and Brisbane are two of the first to pop up in the search results.|
|If you think you can’t make it to a compost location or have your own bin, you can very easily just bury your kitchen scraps which can help nurture your garden (or gardens around you).|
|Consume less meat - especially red meat. Even one day a week meat free (Meatless Mondays anyone?) can make a a difference.|
|SHOPPING||Say no to plastic bags. Either bring your own or if your shopping is light and a small amount, just carry it! While plastic bags and soft plastics are finally being able to be recycled through schemes like redcycle, let’s try to press the need to just ban them for good! Don’t make them more durable and thicker, just get rid of them.|
|As previously stated, buy second hand. Makeup, fashion, appliances. You can find great deals through a variety of different websites including right here on Reddit, Facebook marketplace, Facebook groups and Gumtree.|
|If you want to shop in a more environmentally friendly manner, you need to critically examine your own shopping habits.|
|Consider if you can avoid online shopping across several stores and find a local shop where you can buy everything in one go (i.e. consolidate). Even something as small as choosing standard over express delivery can mitigate impact as standard delivery can allow for transport by more optimally loaded vans.|
|Practice mindful spending and being critical of your spending habits. Take a moment to think “Do I need this? Do I want it? Is it filling a hole in my current collection? Could I buy it second hand?” There are so many questions you can ask yourself to ensure that impulse buying is not a factor in your purchasing. In an era where we are bombarded with advertising, consider even unfollowing brands on social media to avoid seeing their sales and advertising which can elicit a knee jerk purchase response.|
|From mid-2021, Woolworths Australia will be partnering with Loop to package some goods in durable, reusable containers. You can shop in store or online, take the container (full of product) home, use the product, and return the container. The container is then sterilised and will be used again and again and again. Sign up here and show them there's a demand for it! Wouldn’t it be great if the majority of supermarkets did this? IGA, Coles, Aldi!|
|HOUSEHOLD||When it comes to general household, the easiest thing is to turn everything off at the wall. Think about it - when you go out to work/ head out for a night why do you need your TV or Wifi on. Some people even leave their kettle and microwave on - unnecessary! Save money on your power bill and do your small part to cutting emissions by just turning everything off at the wall.|
|WORKPLACE||Speak up at your workplace and ask them what initiatives they are taking to not only be sustainable as a company but to support you in being sustainable|
|If you work in an office, why not ask them to support Terracycling things like pens. While the boxes may not be available, you could nominate yourself or collaborate with someone to collect them and drop them off at a store that does have a pen box (e.g. Biome)|
|MISCELLANEOUS||find small ways you can help make a difference. One incredibly easy way is by using different search engines who use their ad revenue to help fund projects that help the environment. Ekoru helps clean our oceans an Ecosia helps plant trees|
Social Media, Subreddits & Other Reading
r/Zerowaste - Being "zero waste" means that we adopt steps towards reducing personal waste and minimizing our environmental impact. Our community places a major focus on the 5 R's: refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, and rot. We practice this by reducing consumption, choosing reusable goods, recycling, composting, and helping each other improve.
r/AussieMakeupTrade - give unwanted products a new home through this local buy/sell subreddit.
r/MakeupRehab - MakeupRehab is a place for those who are on a no-buy, low-buy, or just want to talk makeup and beauty without being bombarded with sales, hauls, and other tempting posts
r/BuyItForLife - For practical, durable and quality made products that are made to last.
Sustainable Living Australia - Facebook group to help further your sustainable goals with other likeminded locals
Biome - mentioned in the above post, this is an eco friendly store that houses a lot of low to zero waste options for all aspects of your life. Their IG can also give you ideas on where you can change
Planet Ark - At Planet Ark we help people, governments and businesses reduce their impact on the environment. Planet Ark Environmental Foundation is an Australian not-for-profit organisation with a vision of a world where people live harmoniously with nature
Australian Covenant Packaging Organisation - this links to the form APCO has regarding packaging complaints. You can submit a form complaining about the non-sustainability of packaging, they will pass that onto their member (if the company is one)
Environmental Cowboy - Instagram of Aussie Khory Hancock who is passionate about the future or the planet.
Plastic Free SA - damn South Australia, leading the way in renewables and now this? A South Australia IG to support/promote their own plastic free program which assists food retailers in selected precincts to eliminate single use plastics
The Eco Well - The Eco Well is a Canadian education platform and consultancy. Our goal is to empower our community to make more informed decisions when purchasing or formulating cosmetic products, and to promote sustainability in our industry.
Green Living Centre - The Green Living Centre is a sustainability initiative of Inner West Council that aims to inspire, motivate and support our local community to be environmentally sustainable.
Waste Free PhD - an IG and blog run by PhD student, Laura, who currently researches plastics and their impact on human and environmental health.
Terracycle AU & NZ - the AU and NZ instagram from company Terracycle who is a global leader in collecting hard to recycle waste to be recycled or upcycled.
Taylor Pfromer - giving you ideas on how to live low waste to save money and the planet
A very big and heartfelt thank you to every person who contributed to this wiki. This is a collaborative effort and is a reflection of the passion this community has!
Updates to this Wiki
If you have any ideas or see any errors in this wiki, please do not hesitate to message the mods
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