It ain’t easy being green, but here’s how you can help


Morgan Brown

Brands like Love Beauty and Planet sport ecofriendly labels and ingredients. With the mission to “make you more beautiful and give a little love to our planet. We want to help make a little difference towards a happier, less wasteful planet, with every shower,” the brand brings radiance and sustainability to the beauty industry and to every spa day.

Morgan Brown, News Editor

Switching to a sustainable lifestyle involves thinking outside of the box, a task beyond the scope of the average person. For the earth warriors and environmentally conscious, easy waste-reducing alternatives to everyday products could reduce their overall carbon footprint.

“Most of the sources of plastic in the ocean aren’t coming from ocean things—there is trash in fishing, like broken lines and broken nets or from ships and things, but so much more is associated with land runoff [chemicals] going into the water,” AP Environmental Science teacher Julie Hopp said.

The essentials for human hygiene—shampoo, soap, and conditioner—come at the cost of toxic chemicals and plastics polluting local waterways once they flow down the shower drain. In previous years before its ban in 2017, these same products sometimes contained microbeads, microscopic bits of plastic that do not dissolve in water and accumulate in major oceans around the world. Although the international community eventually became aware of the reality of microbeads, the fight against similar microplastics continues. Microplastics, the name for the microscopic to five millimeter sized degraded parts of plastic, come in containers of cheap or single-use products and remain on the Earth’s surface and ocean for approximately 450 years or more. Deliberately looking out for these harmful toxins in everyday products and understanding their effect on the environment shows the value of natural, less harsh materials.

“This year, I have been able to order seven albatross boluses from Midway Island, so when we get to the pollution unit we are going to break one open—they’re like the owl pellets where the bird regurgitates after they have consumed things they are not supposed to have consumed. These boluses are supposed to be just full of plastic because Midway is in the way of the Garbage Patch (Great Pacific Garbage Patch). Trash washes up on the shores where the albatross spends a large portion of their life. They necropsy birds everyday that are just full of plastic,” Hopp said.

To stop these environmental blunders before they start, look for products like package-free hygiene products or those packaged with recycled materials from specialty shops such as The Package Free Shop. Organic and vegan materials from the brand Love Beauty and Planet, a newly welcomed brand with sustainable goals easing their way into big box stores like Target and Ulta, shows how easy green living becomes when one looks in the right places.

Single-use products like makeup-wipes, wet wipes, and makeup sponges end up adding to a person’s overall waste and consumption. Make-up wipes, similar to baby wipes, do not biodegrade. The literal tons of discarded wipes form a huge gelatinous mass in sewage systems—such as the 130-ton “fatburg” surfaced from London in 2017—exposes how the unintended consequences of consumerism add up.

An easy alternative to wipes, reusable cotton or bamboo material pads reduce the cost to the environment and a person’s wallet. Instead of paying the repeated $4-$5 fee for 25 disposable wipes, the makeup user can pay $10-$15 for a set of 25 reusable pads that last for years. Washable and soft, paying for the pads costs a one-time fee and makes taking off makeup easy. After each use, the beauty guru can throw the dirty pads into the washer-safe bag it comes with and make them as good as new again.

The typical individual sees the environmentally-friendly life as lavish or special, but the average empty-pocketed student can make changes to create a greener, more sustainable world in no time. Looking into these alternatives or other environmentally friendly options will help keep Mother Nature happy a short while longer.