I certainly don't claim to an expert on sustainability, however I'm definitely of the belief that if we all do something to help protect the environment, it will all add up and it's better than just a small percentage of people being perfect. Growing up, we grew the majority of our own fruit and veg, baked homemade bread, biscuits and cake and it was similar to The Good Life, if you're old enough to remember that show? We didn't have a recycling bin in the 1980s, however we always used a composter for peelings etc and there really wasn't any waste - it was just how we were brought up, as my parents were both keen horticulturists and gardeners, and we had enough land for them/us to be able to do this (but you can grow herbs on your windowsill, so you don't need lots of land, or even small propagators). As kids, we chose our own veg to grow each year, and tended to it (from around the age of five), and I can still remember the sense of achievement when my sweetcorn or cauliflower appeared! Nowadays, people have much busier lives, but there are still small ways in which we can be more sustainable in our everyday lives, and there are some brands that make it easy. Today, I want to share some of my favourites - some will probably be of no surprise, but I'm hoping that there might be some that you can incorporate into your lives.
Kiehl's Refillable*: I am absolutely delighted that Kiehl's have now started to sell refills of their best selling products, in order to reduce waste. The refills will save 80% more plastic than buying individual products and they contain between 2 and 5 refills (depending on the product). At the moment, the refills are available for six of their best sellers: Crème De Corps, Grapefruit Hand Body Lotion, Amino Acid Shampoo and Conditioner (the latter of which I was kindly sent and leaves hair silky smooth and strong!), Grapefruit Body Cleanser and Grapefruit Hand Soap. I'm sure that it will be extended, but this is a fantastic start, as they are all everyday use products. They are also launching a reusable, waterproof Refill-A-Bottle, made from 100% aluminium, which also comes with a pump and is packaged in recyclable materials. Kiehl's have a Future Made Better Campaign, which aims to reduce the environmental impact of their product formulation and packaging, thereby generating less waste. I love when brands do this because it means it's easier for us, as consumers, to be more sustainable, with little to no effort! They also give back, which makes me love a brand even more. Since 2015, they have been able to donate $17.5 million to various charities, which support the LGBTQ+ community, and children's charities, among others. That's pretty amazing, right?
L'Occitane refills and Terracycle (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle): This brand is one of the most dedicated to sustainability in the beauty industry, if not the number one brand, and it's been part of its heritage since the brand began. They use traceable, sustainable products in their products, and also love to support local producers. They offer refills for many of their products - shower gels/oils and body cream, and their aim is to ensure that 100% of their bottles are made from 100% recycled products by 2025. To recycle your products, if you are ordering online, you enter the code RECYCLE at checkout and they will send you a complimentary Terraccyle envelope to return your empties, free of charge (the envelope is also recyclable). If you are shopping in a store, it's even better, because they will accept empty beauty and skincare products from not just L'Occitane, but any brand, and you'll receive 10% off any product in store. I think that this is a brilliant incentive! They also support charities throughout the year, such as selling solidarity soaps, to support vision charities and they also donate every year to Surfers Against Sewage and Clean Coasts charities, by donating £5 or 5 euros from each eco-refills purchased over a 3 day period. This brand really does make it easy for us to be more sustainable in our everyday lives, without much effort! It's, without doubt, one of my favourite beauty brands. Their latest addition is deodorant balms, which are formulated with 98% natural ingredients (free from aluminium salt and alcohol), and offer up to 48 hour protection. I was kindly sent the Shea Butter* one and it was my first time using a deodorant balm, after quite a while of promising myself that I would, but I didn't know which to try - L'Occitane is a brand I trust, so this was perfect timing for me. I have mentioned many times how I have long-Covid and regular bouts of pneumonia, which in turn, equals a high temperature that makes me sweat. I'm conscious of it, and really wondered if a natural deodorant could match what I usually use (which has bothered me for years, due to the waste/packaging), but it really does. I know that you can buy a brush to apply it, which might make it more cost-effective, but I've just been using my fingers. The texture is creamy, but light and it dries in quickly. The scent is subtle, which I really like and it feels moisturising and soothing on the skin - perfect for shaved armpits. I have found it very effective at reducing any body odour, which I dread, as I like to feel and smell clean at all times. I am very impressed and now I just need to convert my husband! It is also available in the verbena scent, which I will definitely have to try as I just ADORE the verbena range!
Back to MAC: I'm sure you've all heard of, and taken advantage of, this offer! If you return six empty MAC packaging containers, you'll receive a free lipstick (apart from VIVA Glam and limited editions). I went in with 18 one day, as I had de-potted eyeshadows and blushes, to put into palettes and got lipsticks for my Mam & I. It's well worth keeping your empties as MAC lipsticks are classics!
Shampoo bars - L'Occitane* and Garnier*: I love that shampoo bars are now something that are easily accessible. I reviewed the Garnier ones here, and I was kindly sent the new ones from L'Occitane*. There are three available from the brand, to suit all hair needs: my favourite is the Intensive Repair Solid Shampoo, as I love the liquid version. Each soap lasts up to 20 washes, which is fantastic and you really do get a lather, which I know most people love as, mentally, you feel your hair is cleaner after rinsing a lather out. There is also a Gentle and Balance Solid Shampoo, which suits all hair types, and a Purifying Freshness Solid Shampoo, which is best suited to those with hair that leans on the oily side. I know that some people wonder about how to store them - well, you can install a soap tray in your shower, or just use an old fashioned soap dish (very retro!) - both will prevent it from slipping all over the floor of the shower, or wasting product.
Halo Pads: I'll admit that I was very skeptical about this type of product until I actually started to use them. I have found that they will remove the top layer of makeup (in the way wipes do - if you do still use face wipes, bin them now - they're not good for your skin or the environment). You only need to use water on these pads, no product, and they can be washed and reused 500 times. That being said, I do still personally love cleansers, so I will use this initially and then give my skin a thorough cleanse, but they're also perfect for morning cleansing. One note to add is that when my mother used these, her face was so red - whatever cleansing ingredient is in them burnt her skin so she had to stop using them. There was no other change in her routine, so it had to be these pads. In that case, you can use reusable cotton pads.
Reusable face masks: Mask wearing will be here for a while - you have no way of knowing if the people around you are vaccinated or asymptomatic, so it's worth sticking with the masks, even if the rules around wearing them change. Instead of going through boxes of disposable masks, buy one or two reusable ones that you can wash after each use. I find the Slip silk mask comfortable - I don't feel too suffocated and it's also soft on the skin. Save 20% on these masks by using the code LYMIN at checkout.
Refillable perfume: This is such a brilliant idea, which I have seen some brands starting to do, but the first I noticed was Escentric Molecules - I've used several travel sizes, which fit perfectly and are safe in the container, which you can buy with a travel size in it. Other brands (Dior springs to mind), have stations where you can bring your empty bottle and refill it - genius and so sustainable, particularly if it's your favourite fragrance!
Ecooking products: Apart from having very effective products (review here), which are all natural and mainly vegan, the packaging of the products is completely recyclable and the filling that is in the parcel (to protect the products), is made from corn and can be recycled with water. What I love about this brand (apart from the effectiveness), is that the products say on the tin what they are - day cream, peeling mask, body lotion etc, so you don't need a degree is science to figure out which products to use (unlike The Ordinary, for example). Even better is the face that you can save 20% on all products with the code beautylymin, which is not affiliated.
If you don't like a product, use it elsewhere on the body: I've done this a lot - if I find that a moisturiser, or oil just doesn't suit my face, I'll use it on my arms or legs. It means that there is no waste involved and the product eventually gets used up!
Repurpose old candle jars: We've all done this, I'm sure! But if you haven't, you're missing a trick - they're ideal for holding makeup brushes, cotton pads/buds etc. The prettier, the better! I'm looking at you, Diptyque and Overose!
Refillable Water Bottle: I don't drink tea or coffee, but I always have water with me, so it's a no brainer to use a refillable bottle, or cup in the case of tea/coffee drinkers. The Rifle Paper Co x Corkcicle tumblers are brilliant if you like both hot and cold drinks, as they have the capacity to keep hot drinks hot, and cold drinks, cold.
Metal straws: I don't know about you, but I hate paper straws, so if I'm out and about and get a lemonade or a milkshake, a paper straw makes me cringe! It's like nails on a blackboard for me! I bought a set of metal straws in Penneys/Primark and keep one in my bag at all times (protected, of course), and I love it. It's also so easy to clean as a little brush is part of the set, with three straws. I know ask for a drink without a straw, if I happen to buy one.
Refillable Cleaning Products: When Woods of Windsor* sent me some room products, I also received a refillable cleaning bottle, which had a sachet of geranium scented powder cleaner, which you put into the spray bottle and add water. It's been brilliant, as I had been meaning to buy a refillable cleaning bottle for the longest time. Now I will only have to buy the sachets, which will save on so much packaging, plus the product works really well. Something I need to work on is more sustainable products for doing laundry, so hit me up with your recommendations!
Compost - fruit and vegetable peelings, egg shells, grass clippings, cardboard, leaves and even black & white newspapers, can be put in a composter. It's ideal (if you have the space) to have two on the go, as it can take time to actually produce usable compost. This is only if you're interested in gardening, if not, use a compost bin. Water butts are brilliant if you're in a rainy country, because you can then use that water to water your plants, which saves on water use and bills and means you can still water your plants if there is a hosepipe ban, due to a heatwave (we can dream!).
Seeds from flowers: Every jacket of my mothers, has seeds in the pockets. It's such an affordable way to produce more plants for your garden. She puts them in envelopes and writes on the outside what they are and when to sow them. You can also divide some plants to make more (spider plants are the first ones to spring to mind, as well as Peace Lilies). My mother could probably write an entire blog post (possibly even a book!) on how to be more sustainable and how to save money, when gardening!
Reuse jam jars & make your own by foraging blackberries in Autumn: Who remembers foraging in the fields for blackberries when they were younger? We also had fruit bushes, so every Autumn, we'd make blackberry jam, gooseberry jam, or apple and blackberry pie (from our apple trees, which my Grandad planted years previously and they are still going strong!). In summer, it would be strawberry jam (if they ever lasted that long), or strawberry crush icepops. My Mam still makes jam and sometimes chutney, for all of the family every year. There's nothing like the taste of a home-grown strawberry - so much nicer than the watery ones sold in the supermarkets.
Put herbs in ice cube trays: If you grow herbs, or buy a pot to make a dish, and have leftovers, the best thing to do is to chop them up, put them in ice trays and top with water. Then press the herbs down & refill, if needed. Perfect for popping in casseroles/tomato sauces/gins - depending on the herbs! Also, if you grow tomatoes and your crop is too big to eat, freeze them and I guarantee that your tomato sauce/lasagne/parmagiana etc will taste a hundred times better, when you use them, especially if you have a variety of tomatoes.
Trade in your phone: I could probably keep going, but the final obvious one to me, is to trade in your phone when you upgrade, instead of just leaving it in a drawer, or sell it - either privately or in a shop. It's such a waste to keep a pile of old phones and there will always be someone who needs a new phone (albeit secondhand or refurbished).
What do you do in your everyday life to help protect the planet? I'd love to hear! Like I said, I'm in no way a perfectionist, but I try my best every day. Recycling goes without saying, as I think it does for everybody!
Thanks for reading!
All products are bought by me, unless otherwise stated. Anything marked with a * has been kindly gifted, without obligation. I don't do sponsored posts. Opinion is always my own. Affiliate links may be used.