Although it might seem like skincare and clothing habits are the best ways to attack when cleaning up a carbon footprint-heavy regimen, haircare also plays a very large role. Meaning, your favorite shampoos, styling products, and even combs and brushes are responsible too. Essentially, product packaging and the alarming amount of pollution in haircare products contributes to waste. Plastic packaging used in hair products often can’t be recycled. In fact, less than 9% of the plastic has been made to recycle — it often ends up as toxic pollution in the environment.
Thankfully, creating a green haircare routine with equally green haircare products can be done.
Purchase the right products
Products with low-to-zero packaging or refills will be your best friend in a sustainable routine. When you can’t find this in your favorite brand or drugstore, opt for packaging that can easily be recycled without degrading, like aluminum or glass. Of course, if plastic is your only option, try to purchase bottles that aren’t made from virgin plastics, but instead from post-consumer recycled plastics, to curb your footprint.
For the ultimate green consuming, select products that can be refilled again and again, instead of buying a new bottle each time you run out — reducing the need for more plastic bottles. Most of the time, you’ll see these refills packaged in pouches that are more sustainable than a typical bottle and hold a larger quantity of product. Translation: You won’t have to restock on refills as often.
How to recycle your current products
If you aren’t able to purchase products that are already recycled, learn how to recycle them. Sadly, recycling can be complicated, and a lot of the hair products you probably have can’t just be tossed in your kitchen recycling bin. Most of the time, you’ll need to check your local municipality to see what they accept and prepare your empties properly.
To do this, wash and dry contents of the containers, ensure your municipally will accept the material, and reuse containers wherever possible. Another thing you could do is check if the specific haircare brand has a take-back program for recycling empties. Some companies have programs that allow you to ship non-recyclables like product caps, hair gels, and hairsprays to facilities that will recycle it for you.
You can continue this route if it’s easier or just commit to more recyclable options that are package-free or refillable going forward.
Opt for waterless products
The sad truth: Traditional liquid shampoos and conditioners are made up of 70%-90% water. Waterless formulas have fewer preservatives and are activated instead by the water in your shower.
Photo via West End