Top Sustainability Buzzwords To Know

Sustainability has become such an important topic, and along with it, many other eco-related terms and references have been popping up everywhere. As a result, it’s become increasingly difficult to know and understand what all the different words mean. By learning and familiarizing yourself with sustainability buzzwords, you’ll be able to select products and services from businesses that are actively supporting the sustainability movement for a healthier planet and a healthier you.

What is Sustainability?

To understand sustainability buzzwords, it’s important to know what exactly sustainability is. According to the United Nations (UN) World Commission on Environment and Development, environmental sustainability is about acting in a way that ensures future generations have the natural resources available to live an equal, if not better, way of life than current generations.1 Over the years, though, the definition of sustainability has expanded to include a perspective on human needs and well-being, along with non-economic variables such as education and health.

There are 3 pillars of sustainability, which are known and defined as:

  • Environmental Sustainability: Ecological integrity is maintained and all of Earth’s environmental systems are kept in balance while natural resources within them are consumed by humans at a rate where they can replenish themselves.
  • Economic Sustainability: Human communities across the globe can maintain their independence and have access to the resources needed. Economic systems are completely intact, and fair labor for living wages is available to anyone who wants it.
  • Social Sustainability: Universal human rights and basic necessities are attainable by everyone. Healthy communities have just leaders who ensure personal and cultural rights are respected and all people are treated equally.

The 3 Sustainability Pillars

Source: North Mist


Related blog post: What Does It Mean To Be Eco Sustainable?

Yeo Valley Organic’s Study on Sustainability Buzzwords

A study administered by Yeo Valley Organic among 2,000 adults sought to determine if sustainability buzzwords were confusing to the masses. Here are some of the findings:

  • 75% admitted that they didn’t know what terms such as “green” and “eco-friendly” meant.
  • 81% agreed that there’s a lot of jargon when it comes to sustainability and being environmentally friendly.
  • 73% agreed that there are too many eco-related words, making it difficult to differentiate the meanings.
  • 58% would like to be more educated on words and phrases associated with sustainability.
  • 74% agreed there should be more education about saving and caring for the planet.
  • 61% agreed that if we had more education around the jargon, it would lead to more people doing their best to save the planet.2

Getting Familiar With Sustainability Buzzwords

Sustainability vernacular can be seriously overwhelming sometimes. We’ve all heard and seen terms like “organic” and “zero waste,” but what do they actually mean? We’re here to help you understand the eco-friendly jargon. Here are 11 sustainability buzzwords to know:

1. Greenwashing

Greenwashing refers to marketing strategies (product labeling, ad claims, graphics, etc.) designed to make a company and/or its products appear “eco-friendly” or sustainable despite such claims being exaggerated, ambiguous, or fraudulent. If you’re worried about falling for greenwashing, check to see if the company has hard data to back up its claims. If the company hasn’t made this information available to customers, then you might have spotted a case of greenwashing.

2. Biodegradable

Biodegradable materials can be naturally broken down and returned to the Earth over time, without any processing. Ideally, but not always, these materials break down without leaving any toxins behind. The goal of supplementing biodegradable products into your everyday life is to recycle our natural resources and keep the Earth clean and free of growing landfills.

Examples of biodegradable materials and products include:

  • Bamboo
  • Cork
  • Paper
  • Beeswax
  • Cotton
  • Hemp

3. Organic

Organic farming refers to crops and animals cultivated without the use of human-made materials, such as synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, and does not contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Under the organic label, though, some synthetic materials are still allowed. Certified organic production methods reduce chemical runoff, decreasing pollution of the soil and watersheds due to not using any synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.

4. Carbon Footprint

A carbon footprint is the measure of carbon emissions produced by an individual, product, company, activity, and more. Everything has a carbon footprint, including your home, your car, each food item you consume, and so on. The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that reducing your carbon footprint is not only good for the planet’s health, but for your health as well. Ways we can lessen our carbon footprints include cycling, walking, using renewable energy to power our homes and vehicles, and reducing consumption of animal products.

Related blog post: Carbon Footprints and a Circular Economy: How You Can Contribute

5. Compostable

Compostable materials can be broken down over time, but they require specific composting conditions to do so. Composting conditions include green and brown plant materials (such as grass and leaves), moisture, and oxygen. The composting process essentially returns food scraps to the Earth where they can enrich the soil.

How to Compost

Source: EcoMena


Curious about how you can incorporate composting into your everyday life? Here’s how.

6. Circular Economy

The circular economy is a model of production and consumption which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing, and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible. In this way, the lifecycle of products is extended, and it keeps waste to a minimum. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a circular economy is a way for us to imitate the cycles of nature: make something, use it, and reintroduce it to nature as a nutrient, or reuse it for something else. The opposite of a circular economy is a linear economy (make something →  use it → discard it), the basis of our current economy which is leading to catastrophic natural resource depletion.

7. Upcycling

Upcycling is the use of wasted materials to make something different. An example of this would be using plastic bottles in shoes and clothing, which is actually being done by companies like Patagonia and Buffy. Upcycling prevents waste while also reducing the need for virgin materials to make new products.

Here are a few ways you can creatively upcycle items you have around your house.

8. Carbon-Neutral

If something is carbon neutral, it means that its carbon emissions and carbon absorption are equal, leading to net neutral emissions. Products, companies, and individuals can be considered carbon neutral by calculating an estimate of carbon emitting activities balanced against a calculation of carbon absorbing activities. Carbon absorbing activities include land restoration, planting trees, etc.

9. Carbon Offset

A carbon offset refers to an increase in carbon absorption or storage to compensate for carbon emissions. A carbon offset credit is an instrument certified by governments or independent agents to represent an emission reduction of one metric tonne of CO2. The purchaser of an offset credit can “retire” it to claim the underlying reduction towards climate benefit goals.

How Does Carbon Offsetting Work?

Source: Climate Active


10. Greenhouse Gas

Carbon emissions fall under the larger umbrella of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Often the terms “carbon emissions” and “GHGs” are used interchangeably, because the largest human pollutant and contributor to GHGs is carbon dioxide (CO2). However, there are many other problematic GHGs that are even more heat-trapping than CO2 pound-for-pound, including methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).

11. Zero Waste

Zero waste is a lifestyle or set of principles that focus on the elimination of all waste so that none of it ends up in a landfill, incinerator, or ocean. Individuals and companies who pursue a zero waste lifestyle minimize consumption, reuse, recycle, upcycle, and compost.

5 Steps to Achieve Zero Waste

Source: Keep Mass Beautiful

Humanist Beauty Practices Sustainability

Humanist Beauty knows how important protecting the environment is to ensure a healthy future for all generations after ours. We incorporate sustainability into our daily operations and business practices, and we are always striving to make Humanist Beauty more climate conscious.

We Are Carbon-Neutral

We fully support the move towards a more circular economy by maintaining a carbon-neutral footprint. To do this, forecasted annual greenhouse gases are calculated, including office operating, manufacturing, and all shipping. Through our partnership, our company has ordered credits to support reforestry initiatives that completely offset our business emissions.

We Are Striving For Zero Waste

Additionally, at Humanist Beauty, we believe that beauty should live forever – not its packaging, which is why we are now committing to becoming a zero waste brand through the help of TerraCycle’s Zero Waste Box platform.

You can send us your beauty boxes, bottles, jars, tubes, and makeup palettes. The packaging doesn’t even have to be from Humanist Beauty; it can be from any brand. We’ll even pay and provide your postage to make sending your empty packaging to us easy and seamless. Once we receive your packing, we’ll hand it over to TerraCycle to be broken down and recycled or repurposed.

Learn more about our Zero Waste Program here.

Were you familiar with all of the sustainability buzzwords covered? Test your knowledge on others with this quiz. Let us know your score in the comments.

References: [1] [2]


Single-Use Items Need to Go

The convenience of single-use items comes with a massive environmental cost. Unknowingly, your day is probably filled with single-use items that will eventually fill landfills and the ocean. The disposable coffee cups you grab in the morning from your local shop are made with hard-to-recycle materials such as styrofoam, polyethylene, or polypropylene. And the plastic straws? They’re just as dreadful for the environment.

We are producing over 380 tons of plastic every year, and it’s estimated that 50% of that is for single-use purposes.1 However, other materials besides plastic, such as paper, cardboard, styrofoam, and more, are just as bad. It’s time to become more aware of these materials and the single-use items we use regularly. That way, we will help to create a more circular economy for a far more sustainable future.

The Truth Behind Single-Use Plastic Items

Around 40% of single-use plastics are consumed and then discarded.2 Additionally, between 5 and 13 million tons of plastic is estimated to end up in the ocean every year. Single-use plastics need hundreds of years to break down in landfills. Disposable plastic items, such as plastic straws, coffee stirrers, food packaging, bags, and water bottles, never break down completely.3 Instead, they degrade and become microplastics. Plastic has an abundance of negative effects on the environment:

Wildlife Is Suffering

Every year, animals are killed by plastic. Approximately 700 species, even some that are endangered, have been affected by the material.4 Also, more than 100 aquatic species have been found with microplastics inside them, which can lead to pierced organs or digestive tract issues that can potentially lead to death.

Many seabirds, turtles, fish, and marine mammals are found with plastic bags or fishing gear in their stomachs. Currently, marine litter is 60% to 80% plastic, leaving these animals to constantly be ingesting toxic seawater that is full of chemicals from plastic decomposition.5

Our Oceans Are Full of Trash

The oceans are filled with trash, especially single-use plastic items. Our throw-away lifestyle is negatively affecting almost all areas of our ecosystem, especially the ocean.

Every year, 8 million tons of plastic enter the ocean, which is equivalent to one truckload dumped into the ocean every minute of the day. Currently, unless it’s burned, almost every piece of plastic that’s ever been created still exists today. When these plastics enter the ocean, their effects can be felt for centuries.6

The Pacific Trash Vortex, which is in the North Pacific Ocean, holds an exceptionally high concentration of single-use plastics that have been trapped by currents. It is estimated to be twice the size of Texas, and according to research, its contents are rapidly accumulating.

A map of the plastic trash vortex

The Span of the Pacific Trash Vortex. Source: Wikipedia

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Are No Joke

When disposable plastics degrade in the environment, they emit greenhouse gasses. After the plastic is exposed to sunlight, it produces methane and ethylene. These two gasses are detrimental to the environment. It is reported that emissions from the life cycle of plastic accounts for 3.8% of global greenhouse gas emissions.7 Once released, these gasses can be toxic and have adverse effects on the animal and plant habitat.

It is estimated that in 2050, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from plastic could grow to more than 2.75 billion tons. Additionally, this also means that plastic will be responsible for up to 13% of the total “carbon budget,” which is equivalent to 615 coal-fired power plants.8 The plastic binge we’ve been on is threatening the Paris Agreement, which is a legally binding international treaty on climate change.

Source: WWF

Other Harmful Single-Use Materials

Single-use items aren’t always packaged in plastic. There is a multitude of other unsustainable materials that are also heavily used and just as detrimental to the environment. A few of these materials that you likely come across daily are:

  • Cardboard: Think about how many boxes you receive on your doorstep step every month. It’s probably more cardboard than you think. Cardboard comes from wood pulp, which contributes to methane emissions while breaking down.9 Plus, imagine all of the trees cut down to create cardboard. Additionally, those juice, milk, soup and other liquid-filled cardboard packages we buy are lined with plastic or wax. This helps them retain the liquid without breaking down, but unfortunately renders the packages unrecyclable.
  • Paper: A paper bag takes 4 times the amount of energy to produce than a plastic one. Also, the energy required for paper is significantly greater than that needed to recycle the same weight of plastic.
  • Styrofoam: Styrofoam is a trademarked brand name that has come to refer to the material made from expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) or plastic foam. Styrofoam doesn’t break down properly, as it takes around 500 years to decompose.10
  • Aluminum Foil: Many food products and face masks are packaged using aluminum foil. Clean aluminum foil can be recycled, however much of the foil packaging that is used for personal care tubes, wipes, sheet masks, frozen foods, snacks, and coffee is multilayered with plastic fused to the aluminum. Some packaging is made of up to seven layers of plastic and foil. Currently, there is no machinery to separate these layers, so it becomes completely unrecyclable.
  • Glass: While glass includes some natural materials, it also requires sand. Unfortunately, we are running out of sand around the world. When these elements are removed from wildlife habitats, ecosystems can be disrupted. Glass production also releases carbon into the atmosphere.11

A chart showing the top countries that consume single-use plastic. China is #1, the US is #2. Other countries are far below.

Source: Financial Times

What Are The Most Offending Single-Use Items?

Avoiding extra waste is key to reversing the environmental crisis we are currently facing. It is hard to avoid single-use items these days; however, many companies are creating innovative alternatives. By becoming aware of the negative impacts of single-use packaging and how commonly we succumb to them, the change can begin.

Here are a few of the worst offending single-use items and their alternatives:

Plastic Water Bottles

Did you know that around 25% of bottled water is actually just tap water?12 80% of plastic water bottles end up in landfills. And for each bottle, it takes 1,000 years to fully break down. As they decompose, they leak harmful chemicals into the atmosphere.

Alternatives: Opt for a reusable water bottle and invest in a tap filter at home or a filtering jug. Check out this reusable water bottle that is made out of 50% recycled material!

Paper Coffee Cups

Each paper cup, taking into account the paper, the sleeve, the production, and shipping, emits around 0.11 kilograms of CO2.13 Additionally, paper cup production results in ecosystem degradation, a reduction of the planet’s carbon absorption capacity, and the loss of trees. 4 billion gallons of water are wasted every year to produce single-use cups and enough energy to power 54,000 homes.14

Alternatives: Bring your own reusable travel mug to your favorite coffee shop in the mornings. Here’s one that is insulated and has a handle so the barista can pour your drink of choice with ease.

Disposable Utensils

It is estimated that in the United States alone, 40 billion plastic utensils are wasted every year. Plastic utensils, even when put in the recycling bin, don’t often get recycled because of food contamination and incompatibility with sorting equipment due to their small size and light weight.15

The #CutOutCutlery campaign is asking many businesses, such as Grubhub, Postmates, and UberEats, to include an option on apps for customers to decide if they want utensils included with their delivery. This would make opting out of disposable utensils the default choice.

Alternatives: There are lots of biodegradable utensils available, such as this set that’s made out of 100% untreated bamboo that’s cultivated without pesticides and fertilizers. The utensils are also BPA-free and recyclable.

Menstrual Products

Around 20 billion tampons and pads are dumped into the landfill every year. Conventional pads contain the equivalent of about four plastic bags! Additionally, the polyethylene plastic in pads can take hundreds of years to decompose.16

Alternatives: Invest in reusable pads. Try grabbing some from Rael, which is a great mission-driven brand. You can also try a menstrual cup from DivaCup if you aren’t a fan of pads.

Plastic Straws

You’ve probably seen the viral video of the sea turtle that had a plastic straw stuck in its nose. It was horrible to see, but it probably made you rethink using plastic straws. As it is, 500 million straws are used daily in the United States.17 Due to the chemicals that most straws are made of, they can’t be recycled. Additionally, the majority of plastic straws are not biodegradable and cannot be broken down naturally by bacteria and other decomposers into non-toxic materials.

Alternatives: FinalStraw created an innovative alternative to plastic straws by making a reusable silicone and stainless steel hybrid straw. It also collapses to make keeping it on hand easier.

Tips to Avoid Single-Use Items

Making simple swaps, like purchasing a reusable water bottle, coffee container, or straw, can spare the environment tons of unsustainable waste each year. Here are a few tips for ridding your life of single-use items for good:

  • Always have reusable bags on hand, especially for grocery shopping.
  • Cook at home more often to avoid plastic take-out containers.
  • Buy in bulk to keep away from individually packaged items.
  • Walk, bike, or take public transportation to buy items and avoid unnecessary packaging used during shipping.
  • Ask for non-plastic alternatives at restaurants.
  • Avoid plastic wrap by using reusable containers to keep your food fresh.
  • Speak out and let companies know that you care about packaging!

We’ve Signed the #StopSingleUse Petition

The Human Beauty Movement and Humanist Beauty have had the last straw. We’ve signed the #StopSingleUse petition and pledged to not sell or distribute any items that are used once and thrown away, such as sheet masks, pads, wipes, sample packets, and other single-use products. We are very aware of how single-use items negatively impact the environment and are actively striving for a cleaner, more sustainable planet.

Join us and Credo Beauty, the creator of the petition, to get rid of the items we use for minutes and then toss in the trash. Sign your name here to show your support. [1] [2],bacteria%20cannot%20break%20them%20down. [3] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9],major%20ecological%20impact%20is%20great. [10],large%20quantity%20of%20CO2%20emissions.&text=CO2%20emissions%20from%20fossil%20fuel,potential%20exists%20for%20emission%20reduction. [11],be%20relatively%20clean%20and%20pure. [12],about%200.11%20kilograms%20of%20CO2. [13],about%200.11%20kilograms%20of%20CO2. [14],put%20it%20in%20the%20recycling. [15],)%20and%20polypropylene%20(PP)  [16] [17]

Beauty Waste and Eco Buzzwords

The beauty industry generates up to $532 billion in revenue every year, but this demand comes with a massive environmental impact. With more than 120 billion units of packaging produced globally, only 9% of those products produced are recycled, 12% are incinerated, and the remaining 79% end up in landfills.1 Additionally, many of the 120 billion units are not recyclable at all.

Our ocean is becoming a sea of trash with plastic bottles, grocery bags, lipstick tubes, and powder compacts floating within the waves. Data has proven that by the middle of this century, the ocean will contain more plastic by weight than fish.2 However, many organizations within the beauty industry are becoming more conscious in terms of product packaging, sustainability, and misleading buzzwords, such as Allure and yours truly, Humanist Beauty. By becoming aware of beauty waste’s impact on the environment, you’ll see why joining the packaging revolution is necessary.

Beauty Waste Isn’t Pretty

Since 1960, plastic packaging is now used 20 times more often. 7.9 billion units of rigid plastic were used for beauty and personal care products in the United States in 2018.3 According to National Geographic, there are over five trillion pieces of plastic in our oceans. These are astounding numbers, proving that we aren’t recycling beauty products as much as we think.

In the past, many beauty and personal care products weren’t made with plastic. Soaps came as a bar, perfume was packaged in luxurious glass bottles, and hair care products were usually a pomade or powder in a tin. So why does the beauty industry rely so heavily on plastic today? The answer is simple: the plastic explosion of the mid-20th century.

During this time, the beauty industry switched its packaging methods to plastic. This is due to plastic being cheaper and easily moldable, while also being light and sturdy. Additionally, many products had to be created for different conditions. For example, soap and hair-care products began being sold in bottles so they would float to the surface of the water in bathtubs or rivers. 4


Microplastics, which are tiny globules, are used to add grit to beauty and self-care products, like exfoliators, toothpaste, and even glitter for extra shine. Essentially, microplastics are made of many plastic particles that are smaller than five millimeters in diameter.

Water filters are not designed to sift elements that are smaller than five millimeters. This is why microplastic particles are contaminating our oceans and being consumed by birds and marine wildlife. Humans are no exception to the microplastics issue, though, since particles have been found in water bottles. Consuming microplastics can eventually lead to cancer.5

The United States banned microbeads with the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015. However, many manufacturers have found loopholes in the ruling by changing their plastic particles to biodegradable plastic. While biodegradable plastic is more environmentally friendly because of its faster natural breakdown, the particles still end up getting consumed by animals.

Here are a few natural alternatives to microplastics:

  • Ground Fruit Kernels
  • Nuts
  • Honey
  • Sand
  • Beeswax
  • Seeds
  • Sugar
  • Oatmeal
  • Ground Coffee
  • Salt

Excess Packaging

Packaging is the number one contributor to plastic production in the world and offender for plastic waste pollution.6 Additionally, research has found that packaging accounted for 146 million tons of plastic every year.

Plastic is not the only waste that’s created by the beauty industry. Cellophane, cardboard, and paper waste are also problematic. For example, paper boxes used as outer packages for toothpaste and large cream jars – items that have space for legal copy and don’t require another layer of protective material – contribute to deforestation, increased water consumption, and CO2 emissions.7

While many beauty and self-care products come in glitzy and luxurious boxes, the fact of the matter is that it’s just not necessary. Cutting out waste pollution is crucial, and the extra packaging needs to go.

Recycling Plastic Products

Plastic packaging that is necessary should always be reusable, recyclable, and compostable. Necessary plastics are containers that could potentially be dangerous to our health and safety. For example, plastic is used in shower packaging because glass bottles (with their tendency to break when dropped) are not practical.

By making sure packaging can be recycled responsibly, our environment will move towards a more circular economy, which is a way for us to imitate the cycles of nature by making something, using it, and reintroducing it into nature as a nutrient or something else. The loop of a circular economy entails the elimination of waste, regeneration of natural systems, and keeping materials and products in use.

TerraCycle, an American recycling company that recycles products like coffee pods, contact lenses, and other types of waste, is tackling the recycling issue from many angles. The company recognizes that almost everything can be recycled. TerraCycle collects typically hard-to-recycle items through natural, first-of-their-kind programs. Many beauty brands, such as Garnier, Colgate, Weleda, and now, Humanist Beauty, have worked with TerraCycle to offer a free recycling program for beauty waste.

How You Can Help Cut Down Waste Pollution

Cutting down the beauty industry’s waste production will take time, but there are a few things you can do to aid in the quest for a healthier environment:

  • Avoid buying or using single-use items, and consider the life cycle of your purchase.
  • Choose products that have reusable and recyclable packaging. Also, take advantage of refill and recycling initiatives.
  • Read ingredient labels to see if they contain any enviro-damaging material in the form of microbeads or glitter (look for polyethylene or polyurethane). If they do, don’t buy them.
  • Replace short life cycle items, such as plastic shower sponges, for more natural options like plant-based loofahs.
  • Use all of a product before buying more.
  • Download the Beat the Microbead app to check your products at home.

Allure’s Sustainability Pledge

On Earth Day, Allure affirmed their commitment to choosing their words with clarity and certainty when reporting on “sustainable” packaging. Allure addressed that many significant strides are being made to eliminate beauty waste; however, there is more that needs to be done to fully understand the realities and impacts of beauty waste on the planet.

Allure will now be more conscious when it comes to sustainability buzzwords that they’ll no longer employ, or will only use with careful consideration of qualifications. Here is its pledge further in-depth:

  • Allure will no longer mention the word “recyclable” when it comes to any type of plastic. Considering that only 9% of plastic waste has ever been turned into something that can be used again, it’s obvious that the term “recycling” isn’t being utilized correctly. Using less plastic is the only way to solve the problem.
  • What does “green” mean? Who knows. Allure won’t use the word “green” unless it’s describing something verdant in color.
  • Allure will only use the word “biodegradable” with vast specifics. The word is defined as “of a substance or object that’s capable of being decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms. However, most plastics are stable in landfills, due to petroleum being processed into plastic thus making them no longer biodegradable. Additionally, most landfills don’t have enough oxygen to break down the plastics.
  • The word “compostable” will only be used by Allure when describing a product that can be broken down by a residential composter. Additionally, the product must be broken down in around 90 days with zero soil toxicity. Many composting programs divert organic material into valuable products, but only 4% of Americans have access to curbside pickup to transport their compost. According to TerraCycle, only 10% of industrial facilities accept compostable plastics.
  • Allure recognizes the term “zero-waste” as being undefined, so they will no longer use the word. Instead, they will consult with the brand to explain exactly what “zero-waste” means.
  • Unless a product doesn’t exist, Allure promises to never describe a product as being “Earth-friendly.” This also goes for the terms “eco-friendly” and “planet-friendly.”

Humanist Beauty applauds Allure’s buzzword revolution. Allure’s pledge is clear, concise, and adequately evaluates all the problems with wrongful descriptors that are severely overused and lack truth.

Humanist Beauty’s Circular Movement and Zero Waste Program

At Humanist Beauty, we believe that beauty should live endlessly, but not its packaging. While we don’t call our product or packaging zero-waste, we do strive to use the most environmentally conscientious packaging options possible:

  • The majority of Humanist Beauty’s packaging is made from glass and paperboard, which is recyclable.
  • We use post-consumer recycled paper-based packaging for our shipping materials with no plastic void fill or tape.
  • Humanist Beauty minimizes the use of virgin plastic while seeking to further avoid virgin plastic componentry as we grow.

Humanist Beauty praises Allure’s assurances and will also spread the knowledge with our own Zero Waste Program that is in conjunction with the TerraCycle Zero Waste Box.

Send us your beauty boxes, bottles, jars, tubes and makeup palettes. The packaging doesn’t even have to be from Humanist Beauty, it can be from any beauty brand. We’ll even pay and provide your postage to make sending your empty beauty packaging to us easy and seamless. Once we receive your packaging, we’ll hand it over to TerraCycle to be broken down and recycled or repurposed.

Here are a few notes about the Zero Waste Program, because we promise to always be transparent:

  • As of right now, our Zero Waste Program is only accepting packages from 48 contiguous states.
  • Humanist Beauty is a small company, so right now we can only accommodate funding for a 1-pound package per customer per month.
  • If you’d like to pay for your postage if you have more than one pound of packaging, feel free to send it all to: Humanist Beauty x TerraCycle, 9400 Corbin Ave. #1065 Northridge, CA 91324.
  • We will keep this page updated with any further enhancements to our Zero Waste Program.

If you’re interested in sending us your packaging, you can fill out the form here to receive your prepaid return label. We are excited to take this step with you to help conserve our precious planet and its resources.

References: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5],plastic%20pollution%20in%20the%20oceans. [6] [7]

Carbon Footprints and a Circular Economy: How You Can Contribute

Humans have thrived on Earth for millennia; from the beginning, we have always been a part of nature. However, since the Industrial Revolution, we have increasingly polluted the precious planet we call home. During this time, machinery was introduced such as the power loom and cotton gin to increase quality and efficiency over human labor. Reliance on fossil fuels for energy overshadowed the use of renewable energy sources like wood, water, and wind. These changes have caused domino effects that are now becoming crippling to our planet and our health.

Awareness of our global environmental crisis has sparked the urgent call to move away from a linear economy toward a circular economy. In contrast to the linear economic model, where we take, make, use, and waste, the principle of a circular economic model is regenerative, not extractive. It is where we take, make, use, recycle, reuse, repair, return, and strive to minimize waste as much as possible.

Diagram comparing a linear economy to a recycling economy to a circular economy

To reduce our carbon footprints, we must reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, minimize our urge to buy brand new items, and reuse/repair/recycle with rigorous habit.

Why are Carbon Footprints Important?

On average, each American citizen has a carbon footprint of 16 tons, which is the highest in the world.1  In other countries, the per capita average is around 4 tons.2  According to various studies, the ideal carbon footprint is closer to 2 tons.

If our carbon footprints continue to skyrocket due to fossil fuel extraction, pollution and waste, climate impact will become even more dangerous in the form of global temperature risings, severe weather, higher ocean temperatures, a decline in Arctic sea life, and decreased snow cover. These occurrences are all linked; warming oceans fuel horrific hurricanes. Higher, drier temperatures lead to melting ice caps and increases in wildfires. Our consumptive behavior has a long-term effect on our entire planet.

If you’re interested in calculating your own carbon footprint, you can do so here. It’s a free evaluation that will indicate the areas of your life that you can alter to achieve a smaller carbon footprint.

A Circular Economy Will Greatly Impact the World’s Carbon Footprint

According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a circular economy is a way for us to imitate the cycles of nature: make something, use it, and reintroduce it to nature as a nutrient, or reuse it for something else. The loop entails the elimination of waste, regeneration of natural systems, and keeping products and materials in use. Today, we have the technology to change manufacturing processes to support a circular economy, but systemic change is never easy. To make the global impact necessary for the health and longevity of our planet, major changes will be needed from most of the world’s businesses, governments, and consumers.

We will all need to do our part to preserve Earth’s resources and dramatically minimize pollution. There are small changes that you can make to help propel the transition to a circular economy while shrinking your own carbon footprint. Here are a few ideas:

Your Transportation Methods Have an Effect on Your Carbon Footprint

Electric cars are a wonderful step towards minimizing your carbon footprint, considering they use almost zero fossil fuels. Hybrid cars are also a good option. They don’t eliminate the use of fossil fuels, but they do reduce them greatly.

It is also important to be aware of the way you drive. According to a study administered by Columbia University, you should avoid unnecessary acceleration and braking which can result in 40% more fuel consumption.3  Not only does that mean spending more money at the gas pump, but it’s dreadful for your carbon footprint, too. Listening to calm music may help you drive more serenely.

Air travel is also a contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Taking a long-haul flight generates more carbon emissions than the average person in dozens of countries around the world produces in a whole year. The pandemic has curbed air travel significantly, which has had a positive impact on pollution, however travel is forecasted to increase as COVID19 herd immunity increases. If your air travel starts back up, you can offset emissions from your flights by donating to sustainable projects. For your next big trip, you can do this by visiting Native.

Ways to Reduce Your Home’s Carbon Footprint

If you spend a lot of time in your home, optimizing your household energy is an important step towards shrinking your carbon footprint. Getting a home energy audit is helpful for calculating the energy you use. To reduce your energy consumption, you can:

  • Turn down your water heater
  • Use LED lightbulbs
  • Turn off lights in rooms that aren’t being used
  • Switch to energy-efficient appliances
  • Take shorter showers
  • Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth

Renting or purchasing solar panels as an alternative source of energy can have dramatic benefits. Proper insulation can help avoid unnecessary energy expenditure to heat and cool your home.

The Groceries You Buy Have an Impact on Your Carbon Footprint

Going vegan is not for everyone though it is better for the environment to cut red meat out of even a few meals throughout the month. Cow farming transmits a substantial amount of emissions into the atmosphere, and it’s even been proven that these emissions are more dangerous than CO2 from cars.4  Next time you’re eyeing the red meat section, try grabbing ground turkey or tofu instead.

Avoid allowing rotten food to collect in your fridge. Strive to always use the ingredients that you pick up from the grocery store, as food waste is very damaging to the atmosphere and your carbon footprint. Americans discard around 40 million tons of various foods every year.5  Endeavor to purchase only the food that you’ll consume during the week to overbuying perishables that will go uneaten.

Strive to eat all your leftovers. Take the extra piece of chicken breast you made last night for lunch and use it the next day in chicken tacos. Or mix your random veggies for a salad so they don’t spoil. Small changes can make a big impact in the long run.

Humanist Beauty is Carbon-Neutral

Humanist Beauty supports the move toward a more circular economy. The brand maintains a carbon-neutral footprint. To do this, forecasted annual greenhouse gas emissions were calculated, including office operations, manufacturing, and all shipping. Through Carbon Fund, Humanist Beauty has ordered credits to support reforestry initiatives that completely offset emissions. Additionally, Humanist Beauty products are formulated with 100% naturally derived ingredients and packaged in recyclable componentry.

You can learn more about Humanist Beauty’s mission, values, and environmental commitments here.

References: [1] [2] [3] [4],30-40%20percent%204%20of%20the%20US%20food%20supply. [5]