Beauty

6 easy ways to reduce plastic usage if you don’t know where to begin, according to Lush’s co-founder

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Lucy Partington
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Easy ways to go plastic free, a beginners guide

Every little helps when it comes to reducing the amount of plastic you use. Here, Rowena Bird, co-founder of Lush, tells us the best places to start.

The conversation around cutting down on single-use plastic and generally being more conscious about living a sustainable life is one that’ll always be around.

But the problem is that it’s become such a huge part of our everyday lives that, for anybody who is yet to start making steps and begin their plastic-free journey, it can be quite an overwhelming thing.

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When there’s so much you can do, how possible is it to change your mind set overnight? It’s one of those situations where you find yourself being bombarded with information from every angle and it makes you want to curl up into a ball and just do nothing.

But don’t worry and don’t feel guilty because you’re not alone. That’s why we’ve spoken to Rowena Bird, the co-founder of Lush and the person responsible for producing the brand’s packaging-free make-up range to find out what her top tips are for anybody who wants to start reducing their usage but don’t really know where to start.

Here’s what she had to say…

Start small

“Do things you can live with, if you start too grand you will give up before a habit can form. Small things like remembering a re-usable bag when you go food shopping and buying a re-usable water bottle or coffee cup are a good first step. I always have these about my person. [Before lockdown] I also carried a set of cutlery, including straws – a friend made me a beautiful carry case for them, so they would go everywhere with me. I like bamboo ones.”

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Don’t dismiss the ugly fruit and vegetables 

“When food shopping, choose the loose unpackaged fruit and veg… I often go for the ugly ones that no one else wants, as otherwise it just gets thrown away. Just pop it naked into your basket – you don’t need the plastic bags. I have reusable mesh bags in my shopping bag and I put loose fruit in those.”

Adapt your make-up routine

“Experiment with your cosmetics as well – try one of our naked lipstick refills, they are wrapped in wax (like a Babybel) and once peeled can be popped into any empty lipstick case. Or you could use one of our gorgeous plastic-free vintage style cases, made from partially recycled aluminium and brass.”

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Skip shampoo bottles 

Shampoo bars are a fantastic and easy way to start reducing your plastic usage - one Lush Shampoo Bar is the equivalent of three 250ml plastic bottles of shampoo and lasts up to 85 washes. Over the last 14 years we’ve sold 41.3 million solid shampoo bars globally. This has saved 124million plastic bottles, which equals 3100 tonnes of plastic.”

Stop with the make-up wipes already

“People still don’t know (or they don’t care) that wipes contain plastic and insist on throwing them down the toilet. Facial wipes make up 93% of the material found in sewer blockages, according to Water UK, so by making this small switch you’re having a big impact.” Find our round-up of the best eco-friendly biodegradable facial wipes here.

Become an every day litter picker

“I would also add a little plea here, please don’t just walk past other people’s litter: if you see it, pick it up. Even if it’s just one plastic bottle, that’s one plastic bottle that won’t end up in the ocean and potentially in a whale’s stomach.”

Main image: Getty

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Lucy Partington

Lucy Partington is Stylist’s beauty editor. She’s obsessed with all things skincare, collecting eyeshadow palettes that she’ll probably never use, and is constantly on the hunt for the ultimate glowy foundation.

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