The latest movement to take over the lifestyle blogging scene is a good one: it’s all about saving the planet.

Health and beauty companies alike are slowly beginning to create sustainable product packages that have minimal impact on the environment—and if there’s any bandwagon to hop on, the green train is certainly it.

Think of all the things you have stored in your cabinets and drawer sets. You know which ones we’re talking about. It’s those products manufacturers couch in cellophane, so you’re forced to tear through layers and layers of trash before you can actually retrieve the thing you paid for. Products wrapped in Styrofoam and plastics have an inevitably short life cycle—once they’re used for packaging, they eventually turn up in landfills and could take days, even centuries, to decay. All plastics are not recyclable; it isn’t uncommon for discarded packages to leave behind toxic residue for the earth to swallow up.

What Makes a Product Sustainable?

Biodegradable products, unlike the aforementioned toxic materials, are able to break down safely and quickly, decomposing into raw materials that can be easily consumed by nature’s microorganisms (call it a magic trick of sorts).

Within the environmental market, the word “biodegradable” has perhaps been widely misused and misunderstood. Since there aren’t many strict guidelines for manufacturers to follow, you could stumble across self-proclaimed “biodegradable” products that lack valuable justifications. Greenwashing is the marketing technique used to mislead consumers into believing an organization, or its products, are environmentally responsible. It’s increasingly difficult to figure out when a product, or its packaging, is actually eco-friendly.

On your next trip to your local department or beauty supply store, try a little exercise. You can help do your part in saving the planet by just being mindful of the packages your products are sold in. When an item is efficiently packed, it means it is easier to be transported and demands less energy in the production process. This means light packaging tends to be more sustainable, because it requires less gas—and less pollution—to be shipped and transfered.

There are many other factors within the green family that can measure the sustainability of a product. This includes the energy it takes in the manufacturing process, whether or not the materials themselves are toxic, and the impact this entire cycle has on our planet.

To kickstart your journey on using eco-friendly products, we have gathered a few items below for you to get acquainted with your new lifestyle.

Eco Max Back Brush

Important Ants’ Eco Max Back Brush is environmentally friendly and entirely handmade with fair trade principles. This tool is made with sisal which is a natural fibre  extracted from the leaves of the Agave Sislana (funnily enough, it also has close relations to the plant that brought us tequila). Made in Sri Lanka and registered under The Vegan Society, all Eco Max Brushes from Important Ants use natural vegetable fibres, which ultimately makes for an excellent, plastic-free body care alternative.

Brush with Bamboo

Almost daily we get comments regarding our wrapper… "Why did you guys create a sustainable product, but package it in plastic?!" ? . We at #BrushWithBamboo would NEVER! We know better and we know that anyone looking for truly sustainable products on the market would avoid eco items if packaged in plastic. . Introducing our newest version of our #PLASTICFREE wrapper – #WOODPULP!! . . Our last wrapper was made from corn and was #compostable as well, but this new technology is even more sustainable and is #homecompostable! . Why do we use a wrapper? First off, hygiene.. We have ALL at one time or another opened a box of a product to get a closer look….. guilty ?. . Second of all, oral care product regulations… . And lastly, we know customers trying anything new like to see and feel the product for themselves before committing, which makes the accessibility of the window really convenient and the wrapper makes that possible! . Eventually we may close the box up and do away with the wrapper, but for now we are trying to get as many people as possible into the idea of ditching plastic and trying something new, so for now the window with the wrapper encourages and entices this change!! . . #HappyBrushing and #HappyComposting everyone! ? . . . #maketheswitch #ditchplastic #brushwithbamboo #bambootoothbrush #Zerowaste #eco #ecofriendly #sustainable #recyclable #biodegradable #compostable #vegan #certified #lesswaste #savetheoceans #bamboo #toothbrush

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Recognized as the world’s first plant-based toothbrush, every component used in Brush with Bamboo’s oral hygiene instrument (from the bristles, to the handle and right down to its packaging) is in fact plant-based. Its easy-to-grip curved handle is made out of organic bamboo that is certified by CERES of Germany. Since the material used comes from wild mountain bamboo there are no pesticides or fertilizers used in their products (a substance and chemical we would not want to use to clean our pearly whites).

Go Bamboo Cotton Buds

There are so many little bathroom swaps we could all be doing to make an environmental difference. Don’t forget that step 1 is to ‘refuse’; we’ve heard that it’s bad to stick small things into ears. Step 2 is ‘reduce’; how often do you need to clean your ears? Step 3 is ‘reuse’; is there a reusable product you can buy or make? Step 4 is ‘recycle’ or ‘compost’ and composting is definitely preferable. . . #ecowarrior #bamboo #gobamboo #plasticfree #reducewaste #biodegradable #naturalcotton #ecopackaging #sustainablepackaging #sustainableproducts #waronwaste #waronwasteau #zerowaste #zerowastehome #consciousconsumer #lowimpactmovement #shopresponsibly #greenliving #cleanears #bathroomaccessories

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Here’s an item that likely didn’t strike you as being non-biodegradable: cotton swabs. Yes, that’s right. The plastic sticks and plastic trays and plastic containers are just as harmful to the planet (toxicity does not discriminate in size) as any other bad plastic. Go Bamboo’s Cotton Buds are an eco-friendly substitute for your stocked bathroom cupboard. This New Zealand company uses a bamboo stick and natural cotton on their precision helpers and it is packed in a recycled cardboard box (hooray for efficiently packed items that help our planet).

Which items will you use to start your eco-friendly lifestyle? Tell us on Twitter and Instagram @HOLRMagazine, and follow us for more updates.