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Digital Subscriptions > Healthy Food Guide > April 2019 > BEAUTY ROUTINES that don’t cost the earth

BEAUTY ROUTINES that don’t cost the earth

We’re all keen to reduce plastic waste, but have you looked in your bathroom cabinet lately? Luckily, says Leah Hardy, it’s getting easier to look good sustainably with plastic-free beauty and zero-waste skincare options

FROM SHAMPOO to dental floss, make-up compacts to toothbrushes, our cosmetic staples are dependent on plastic. And that’s proving a huge problem for the planet.

Your innocent-looking plastic toothbrush will take at least 400 years to break down. If everyone in the UK replaced their brush the recommended four times a year, that could mean 260 million toothbrushes in landfill each year! Sealed, disposable batteryoperated toothbrushes don’t offer much hope, either, as not only does the plastic not biodegrade, but the batteries leak acid, which ends up in the earth and our waterways.

Greenpeace estimates that 12.7 million tonnes of plastic bottles and tubes enter our oceans each year – that’s a truck-load every minute. Research by the Ellen Macarthur Foundation has found that by 2050 the ocean will contain more plastic than fish. Because fish ingest particles of plastic, the synthetic stuff is entering the food chain, too.

As for those convenient face wipes, they’re made of polyester (plastic by another name), and will also hang around for hundreds of years, sitting in landfill or finding their way into our oceans.

Not what anyone wants… But the situation isn’t hopeless. There’s a lot being done to tackle our plastic-dependent beauty habits, with some manufacturers coming up with ingenious solutions. Even mainstream cosmetics companies are responding to public pressure to develop alternatives to singleuse plastic. Here’s how you can join in this welcome trend…


Back in the day, we all 3 used to shower and bathe with a bar of soap. So why not get back into the habit?

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About Healthy Food Guide

Want to cut your plastic consumption and get healthier, too? We’ve got 50 easy changes to help you do both. Prepare for the chocolate season with our dietitian’s tips and tweaks on enjoying Easter treats without dreading stepping on the scales. Plus expert advice and recipes from Dr Rupy Aujla on foods to beat dementia. And don’t miss our amazing vegan pavlova!