Personally when I first started exploring natural beauty it was for purely selfish reasons. I didn't want to be pumping crap into my body. Over time though I realised that often what was bad for me was also bad for the environment. I think due to my upbringing I've always been quite an eco-minded person, but this has definitely become more of focus and conscious aspect of my life since I made the switch. In the industry as well there is certainly more of a focus on making products that are both less toxic for humans and for our earth, which makes everything that much easier. More and more these days packaging is becoming more eco friendly, more paper and glass and less of the 'beast' in beauty - plastic.
The 'war on plastic' is doing wonders, most plastic used these day in green/natural beauty products is recyclable and often made from recycled plastic, as are products such as razors and toothbrushes. Plastic windows in packaging are being swapped for biodegradable veggie cellulose windows and brush handles made with sustainably sourced bamboo or cork (research on these is key as it's not always sustainable) Plastic micro-beads are being given the boot. Heck even bikinis these days are being made out of recycled plastic. But there's still some areas where plastic creeps in and gets over-looked. Cotton buds, Q-tips, Baby Gays, Cotton Swabs - whatever you call them we all know what they are and use them for a large variety of reasons, beauty, cleaning, personal hygiene etc etc. But often we don't consider that those tiny sticks of plastic can be adding up to cause big trouble for our environment, polluting our rivers and seas, poisoning wildlife and ending up back in our food. Scary.
For a long time now I've made a conscious effort to recycle my cotton bud sticks (a task both time consuming & a bit gross), only to find out a few months ago that they are non-recyclable! Genuinely you can't recycle them. Doh! Clearly I wasn't as green as I thought & I wasted time and effort for nothing. So to clean up my act I went a few months without using any cotton buds at all - I figured that I could easily get by without them. Unfortunately I realised that without them I was more wasteful in other ways, overusing and wasting cotton wool and tissues.
Since making more of a conscious effort with my cotton buds I've come across two great UK projects that focus on tackling the plastic cotton bud situation. The first project I came across was The Cotton Bud Project and most recently the #SwitchTheStick campaign. Both want to tackle the problem of the plastic stick, firstly to stop people flushing cotton buds down the loo (I didn't even think people did this, so that was an eye-opener for me!) and second to get manufacturers to make all cotton buds from cardboard instead of plastic. Both schemes are well worth checking out! Thanks to these schemes, (in association with FIDRA) a large number of major brands and retailers including Waitrose, M&S, Co-op, Aldi, The Body Shop, Johnson & Johnson, Tesco and Sainsburys (plus more) are all switching or have switched over to recyclable cardboard stems. Most may not be organic, but it's a huge step in the right direction!