In 2019, it’s easy to find brands that align with causes that are important to you but finding those that walk the walk can be more difficult. An increased focus on sustainability and the health of our planet has caused brands to begin rethinking everything from packaging to ingredient sourcing.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), product packaging and containers make up a major portion of municipal solid waste, amounting to 77.9 million tons of generation in 2015. It’s easy to see how this amount of waste has very quickly negatively impacted the planet.
Thankfully, brands around the world are quickly adapting to the increased demand for environmentally sound business practices and packaging improvements. Swapping out your current stable of products for sustainable alternatives has never been easier. We talked to a few of our favorite low-waste brands about their sustainability philosophies and the impact they’ve had so far.
Check out the brands that are making sustainable essentials you can buy guilt-free.
This Saratoga Springs, New York-candles are made with domestically grown, sustainable soybean wax and cotton wicks. Not only does this make the product sustainable, but it also increases the burn time and extends the life of your candles. Many of their products are packaged in either glass or aluminum which can be recycled or reused.
The Plant The Box Collection might be the most special product this brand offers. The scent of each candle is inspired by a different plant and is packaged in a biodegradable, seed-infused box. This way, you can enjoy the candle and grow the plant that inspired it.
Known for honoring skin health above all else, the minds behind evanhealy take sustainable harvesting practices just as seriously. They work with family farms, tribal villages and self-governed women's cooperatives around the world to secure ingredients like argan oil, shea butter, and tulsi in ways that benefit the communities that grow them. Each product is made with hand-sourced ingredients in small batches. Eco-friendly packaging, including recyclable glass and aluminum, is another part of evanhealy’s sustainability ethos.
When you think of innovative approaches to sustainability, deodorant brands probably aren’t at the top of your list. Natural body care brand, Duggan Sisters has rethought the application and formulation of deodorant — making a product that doesn’t harm the user or the planet.
The powder formulation is made with a sodium bicarbonate base that is mined from the Earth using an environmentally sound and fully sustainable water process. It can be purchased in a refillable stainless steel decanter or in a recyclable travel-sized container. Their ingredients, including medical grade Australian botanical oils, exceed organic standards and are primarily wild-crafted.
“From our inception, we have created and held a unique space in the personal care industry,” said Mary Duggan, president of Duggan Sisters. “Our stainless steel decanter is purchased once in a lifetime. With this unique concept, we have invited consumers into a deodorant experience that is highly effective, completely healthy and fully sustainable.”
With this approach, Duggan Sisters is the only deodorant brand to have kept over 600,000 single-use plastics out of landfills.
Sustainability is a major pillar of clean beauty brand, Kjaer Weis’ philosophy. The brand’s innovative refill system allows customers to purchase their favorite products in hefty, weighted packaging that feels opulent and will last a lifetime. As products run out, you can refill the compacts with new colors or your standard favorites.
“The idea behind the packaging was to have something super luxurious yet still sustainable,” creator Kirsten Kjaer Weis told Nordic Magazine in 2018. The architecturally designed metal packaging can’t be recycled but the refill cartridges can. Every single product, from mascara and eyeliner to lipstick and foundation can be refilled, helping to reduce both costs to consumers and the production of waste.
Developing sustainable grooming products was part of what inspired the creation of the O’Douds Apothecary brand in February 2014. The team closely monitors the sourcing and sustainability of all packaging and ingredients. The foundation of O’Douds’ sustainability philosophy is the rejection of ingredients that originate from the petroleum industry. The use of palm oil is also entirely avoided because its harvesting is known to lead to high carbon emissions and deforestation.
Most O’Douds products are packaged in glass, metal or eco-friendly paperboard. Shower products are currently packaged in plastic bottles for safety reasons, but the brand is looking into making the switch to recycled plastics and other alternative solutions.
Flora’s mission is to create organic products for a healthy lifestyle while protecting the earth. They work with organic farmers, family-owned companies, and ethical, women-driven enterprises to source sustainable amounts of high quality, botanical raw materials. Additionally, Eco-friendly packaging including glass bottles, blister-packs, and biodegradable materials is used for all products.
“We have an active Health & Safety Committee that reviews all our procedures to ensure we avoid harmful chemicals and do not interfere with the sensitivities of our environment,” shared Jose Furtado, U.S. National Sales Manager, “Our purpose is to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. While embracing the past and the future simultaneously, Flora will always stay true to its founding principles of respect for all life and environmental stewardship.”
Some of our best-selling soaps come from Kala, a Rhode Island-based bath, body and home brand. They use recycled paper to package their bar soaps and all of their boxes are made locally. However, the largest sustainability effort Kala has made has been rethinking its use of palm oil.
“We upgraded the soap base on our domestically-produced bars to Rainforest Alliance Certified Palm Oil,” shared Creative Director Alice Smith. “The palm oil is responsibly sourced from a family-owned and operated farm with full transparency and 100% traceability. You can find the Rainforest Alliance seal on a number of Kalastyle's products, which indicates quality farm management, and commitment to effective conservation and sustainable practices.”
With this effort, Kala is committing to the prevention of deforestation and the loss of biodiversity in communities around the world.
Uncle Harry's Natural Products
In 2018, Uncle Harry’s Natural Products updated its mission statement to prioritize waste reduction for the entire company. This includes incorporating the use of sustainable shipping materials, redeveloping order packing procedures and changing manufacturing processes. Known for offering the cleanest and most affordable body care products, Uncle Harry's prides itself on using only the finest quality, minimally processed food-grade ingredients, including local, organic, cruelty-free, and sustainable raw materials.
Some products are now being offered in bulk sizes in an effort to reduce waste and plastic lids are being eliminated in favor of a sustainable metal option.
“We only have one Earth and we are committed to its responsible stewardship, thus enabling future generations to thrive and prosper,” shared the team at Uncle Harry’s. “After all, you can’t make earth-friendly products at people-friendly prices without Earth and people!”