The Future Starts Now
Even small changes can have a big impact.
1. Alt mode Maintain a one-week diary that charts all your plastic usage and you’ll be shocked. Stock up on green alternatives to your daily essentials: stainless-steel straws, reusable cutlery and coffee mugs, and green school and office supplies. Onyx+Green, Package Free Shop and Raw Office are good resources.
2. Long game Invest in cloth produce bags (like Flip & Tumble and Simple Ecology) so you’re not wrapping all your fruits and veggies in plastic, buy reusable food wrap for your leftovers (Abeego and Etee make great alternatives out of hemp, cotton and beeswax) and carry your own tote bags to the store.
3. Pretty green Swap single-use cotton pads for Unwrapped Life’s washable bamboo rounds. Invest in a refillable makeup palette, like the one from Kjaer Weis, which allows you to mix and match products and build a custom collection. Instead of the disposable plastic razors you pick up every time you’re at the drugstore, buy a gorgeous stainless steel razor that’ll last for years—we love Oui Shave and Edwin Jagger. Multi-purpose products like The Better Skin Co.’s Amaze Balm save you the packaging (and money) of buying several different products for your every need. Use it as a moisturizer, a cuticle balm or an overnight mask. Save electricity by air-drying your hair. Products like AG Hair’s Rosehip Balm Hair Dry Lotion help prevent frizz and give you a styled look without heat.
“Set up a budget for new clothing and be willing to spend a bit more on pieces that are better made and will last longer.”
4. Lady bits Close to 20 billion sanitary napkins, tampons and applicators are dumped into North American landfills every year. Opt for a greener period with washable period panties like Thinx, silicone menstrual cups that will last up to 10 years (Lunette, Diva and Lena are popular choices) or reusable, organic cotton sanitary products by brands like Hannahpad.
5. FASHION asks: Daniel L. Benkendorf, PhD
Daniel L. Benkendorf is an associate professor of philosophy at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) whose work focuses on sustainable and unsustainable consumer behaviours.
What should consumers do to make responsible purchases? “Consumers should ask themselves questions about products, like ‘Where did this come from?’ and ‘Is the price of the product reflective of the true cost of making it?’ There are costs we don’t see—to the environment where it was produced and to the quality of life of the people making it. Consumers need to think through that process.” Will consumers ever be willing to pay more for higher quality items? “Young people today have a greater sense of what’s going on in the world, and that has contributed to a lot of movement, whether it’s toward social justice or toward sustainability and the issue of climate change. They’re looking for the information; they’re hungry for it.” Besides seeking out sustainable and eco-conscious brands, what are some simple things consumers can do to make a difference? “Find second-hand stores and thrift shops in your neighbourhood. Also, set up a budget for new clothing and be willing to spend a bit more on pieces that are better made and will last longer. So even if that blouse is not a sustainable garment, if it’s well made, you won’t have to buy another one next month when this one’s seams rip.”
6. CAUSE & EFFECT
Support beauty brands that partner with charities whose proceeds benefit environmental causes.
Montreal-based Zorah Biocosmétiques pays 1 per cent of the proceeds of its mineral sunscreen to the David Suzuki Foundation, which focuses on everything from marine protection to environmental rights.
Proceeds from the sale of Rahua’s Enchanted Island Salt Spray benefit The Pink Flamingos Project, which protects endangered species on the Galápagos Islands, 1,000 kilometres off the coast of mainland Ecuador, where founder Fabian Lliguin grew up.
Since the inception of The Burt’s Bees Greater Good Foundation in 2007, the brand has issued over $2.4 million in grants for programs in areas like honeybee health and conservation. Burt’s Bees has also been carbon neutral since 2015 and employs a zero-waste policy.
7. Stay Look for hotels that are B Corporation-certified, which means that an environmental or social mission is built into their ethos. Toronto’s Gladstone Hotel recently became the first B Corporation-certified hotel in Canada— and only the 11th worldwide—thanks to its commitment to supporting local businesses and artists and to being more eco-friendly. It has two green roofs and organizes regular sustainable food events.
8. Contain it Instead of buying (and quickly discarding) travel-size versions of all your essentials, buy one set of travel containers in various sizes that you can refill each time you travel.
9. Smart flyer According to The New York Times, “one round-trip flight between New York and California [generates] about 20 per cent of the greenhouse gases that your car emits over an entire year.” If eliminating air travel is impossible: (1) Try to take non-stop flights, because the more times the plane takes off, the more fuel it uses. (2) Travel light—the heavier the aircraft, the more fuel it burns. (3) Flying business or first class leaves an even bigger carbon footprint—because fewer passengers are accommodated in those cabins— so book yourself into economy instead. (Finally, an advantage to going coach.) (4) Flying is more fuel-efficient over long distances, so for shorter trips, consider alternative means of transportation.
10. Flight path Some airlines offer carbon offsets by, say, donating to conservation efforts or funding a renewable energy project. United, Delta and JetBlue are on board with this.
Buy groceries in stages, so you don’t end up throwing away produce you weren’t able to use by its expiry date, and keep a log of how much you and your family eat in a week. Eat “ugly”
produce. Tons of good produce is discarded because it’s bruised or naturally imperfect and doesn’t meet store standards. Companies like FlashFoodBox, an Ontario-based subscription service, work with local farmers to rescue “imperfect” produce, including potatoes, apples and root vegetables, before it’s tossed out. Grocery chain Loblaws offers fresh and frozen foods under a lower-priced line named Naturally Imperfect. Produce is best when bought fresh and
in season, because this involves the least amount of intervention. Learn what to buy and when. If you don’t know how to cook an unfamiliar vegetable, just ask the vendor.
The 2018 Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid can travel 50 kilometres without any gas.
Travelling via hybrid car is a surefire way to reduce your carbon footprint—but it doesn’t necessarily feel like a “cool” way to get from point A to B. (You’ve seen the Prius memes, right? These cars aren’t exactly like private jets.) Now, to be totally honest, I’m not exactly an authority on automobiles. When I got behind the wheel of Porsche’s 2018 Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid at the beginning of a four-day East Coast road trip, I had to reach into the glove compartment to peek at the owner’s manual.
Here’s something I do know a lot about: luxury (a.k.a. feeling really, really cool). When you drive a four-seater sports car with a red leather interior for 50 kilometres without any gas, you quickly realize that efficiency doesn’t have to undermine comfort and performance. Here is something else I know: At this very moment, roughly 1.2 million people are sailing through the sky on nearly 10,000 flights. And here’s something that you probably already know: This is very bad news for the environment.
Sometimes, air travel is necessary. But with the increasing frequency of budget flight options, it can seem like a good idea to book a spontaneous weekend getaway to Los Angeles, Paris or Cancun. Instead, we urge you to hop in your car, slide the sunroof open and hit the road for a couple of days. The journey will be more comfortable, the food options will be better and you can take all your 200-millilitre cosmetics with you.
MOTHER ERTH THIS COMPANY TRANSFORMS MANUFACTURERREJECTED PLASTIC DESTINED FOR LANDFILLS INTO COLOURFUL REUSABLE BAGS.
THE BETTER SKIN CO. AMAZE BALM ($47 ) UNWRAPPED LIFE BAMBOO ROUNDS ($17 FOR 7) AG HAIR ROSEHIP BALM ($28)