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Friday, March 5, 2021

Fostering Accessibility in the Zero-Waste Movement

Empowering Women to Reduce Waste

*Updated: March 2020

Part 4 – Empowering Women to Reduce Waste

By Kait Spielmaker

Women Reducing Waste

If you haven’t noticed already, Green Living is celebrating women this issue. Continuing with this theme, this months topic is a discussion about reducing waste as it relates to us girls. In the world of health and beauty there are a lot of things I am still figuring out. Coming from someone with a very minimal beauty routine, one that generally lacks the fundamentals of everyday makeup such as blush or eyeshadow, transitioning my skin care process to low waste was relatively simple. If you rely on eye makeup remover pads, there are many online platforms that offer reusable ones or they can be a fun DIY project.

Coconut Oil For Everything

One of my biggest takeaways in transitioning beauty to low waste: invest in a bulk size container of coconut oil. That will become an intrinsic part of your health and beauty routine. Coconut oil is the base for many DIY recipes in the health a beauty world. It’s proven to be good for your hair and skin. My favorite use for it right now is as an eye makeup remover. It works incredibly well for those heavy eye makeup days removing liquid eyeliner and mascara before bed. 

As things in my bathroom run out, I am finding minimal waste replacements to take the place of a once plastic bottle. When my conditioner ran out, I found a few different options for buying package free conditioner and landed on a brand based in New Zealand that concentrates shampoo and conditioner into bars.

Update from March 2020: After trying this conditioner bar and one from Lush, neither one of them really worked that well for my hair type, which is long and thick. Since then, I have switched back to a liquid conditioner from Lush that comes in 100 percent posted consumer recycled packaging. These packages can be recycled at home or Lush offers an incentive program that allows you to return five of those containers in exchange for a free face mask! From there, the packaging is turned into new packaging, closing the waste gap.

Lush Cosmetics Is A Slice Of Heaven (And It’s Cruelty Free!)

If you’re looking for an accessible brand where you can smell and test all the products before buying, then don’t skip Lush. Lush is a one stop shop for anything from face wash to bath bombs, is on point for aesthetics and scents, and they won’t break your wallet. I have easily switched my body and face wash to a plastic free alternative from Lush. Not to mention they are a cruelty free and ethical company. In addition to post consumer recycled packaging mentioned above, 35% of their product line is package free. 

Menstrual Cups Are Mainstream

Now for the thing no one ever wants to talk about: women’s menstrual cycles. According to Glamour Magazine the average woman disposes of 11,000 single use menstrual products in her lifetime. The discussion of periods should be an open discussion and recognized as a natural occurrence all women go through. Girls and women should be educated on all the most eco friendly ways to have a recurring cycle. I bought a Diva Cup in 2015 and I still have it.

4 years ago, many people were freaked out by the idea of using a menstrual cup because it seemed foreign and unfamiliar. Now in 2019, articles surface left and right about the importance of switching to a menstrual cup. In the time I have had mine, menstrual cups have evolved to a point where there are shapes and sized designed for all woman, so make sure to find one best suited for your needs. Taking time to research and ultimately making the decision to switch will save money and reduces waste.

Find previous articles in this series by following the links below:




Kait is a Michigan native who relocated to Phoenix, and is the administrative coordinator at Green Living Magazine. She is an avid hiker and is working on her master’s degree in Sustainable Tourism at Arizona State University.


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