One of the simplest ways to make the switch to a cruelty-free lifestyle is to start thinking about where and when you shop.
While many stores and brands are mindful of their impact on animals and the environment, you’d be surprised just how many are not.
You may not be able to change the world all by yourself, but this doesn’t mean that your actions don’t matter. There are small ways you can make a big difference. Simply by being conscious of your impact upon the planet in your everyday life. Once enough people across the world start to adopt these small behavioural changes, the collective impact they have upon the world could be significant.
In this article, we explore three easy ways you can adjust to a cruelty-free lifestyle, starting today.
1. Pull the plug on palm oil
Palm oil, a type of vegetable oil derived from the African oil palm tree, is found in more than half of packaged supermarket products, cosmetics, cleaning products and fuels in the UK. In fact, in the EU 7.7m tonnes were used in 2017 alone.
Because of the huge demand for palm oil, vast plantations are springing up at an unbelievable pace. It causes mass deforestation and the displacement of indigenous people. More than 27m hectares of the earth’s surface is taken up by palm oil plantations. Not only is this having a devastating effect on wildlife, it’s exceptionally bad for the climate.
The good news is that, as of December 2014, labelling regulations in the EU required products to clearly indicate whether they contain palm oil. So before loading up your shopping basket, check the label first.
What’s more, if you discover your favourite mascara or lipstick contains palm oil, a quick search on Google will return a list of palm oil free alternatives. You can be safe in the knowledge your chosen product is environmentally friendly.
Finally, if you’ve forgotten to do your research before you head out, simply ask a colleague while you’re in-store. Many large retailers now educate their staff on all things related to sustainability. Then they can point you in the right direction on the shop floor.
2. Ditch the dump
Slow progress is being made across the world as we become increasingly conscious of the environmental impact we are having. According to the British Retail Consortium, for example, the British high street has more than halved the amount of wasteit sends to landfill in the last decade.
While this is a fantastic achievement, there is still a lot to do.
Some larger retailers have cut their waste almost completely. Stores like Debenhams leading the way: in 2018, they were able to divert 97% of their waste away from landfill.
Shopping responsibly with a retailer known for its commitment to both corporate responsibility and sustainability is a great first step. So, before heading into your local department or drug store, check out the brand’s waste policy. Vote with your feet. Dozens of eco-conscious retailers will make this information readily available on their website.
Once you’re finished with your products and you’re ready to throw them away, stop. Always take the time to recycle the packaging properly. Clean plastic with soap and water, crush cans, and ensure any sticky labels are removed.
3. Say no to animal testing
Did you know that millions of animals are killed each year in cruel testing of cosmetics, toiletries and medicine?
The practice of animal testing started almost 100 years ago and is now used by countless multinational corporations worldwide. Common animals chosen for testing are rats, guinea pigs, rabbits, dogs, cats, monkeys and mice.
This one’s a real no-brainer. Research your favourite brands and products to find out if they’re tested on animals before you buy. If they are, it’s time to rethink your beauty regime.
Take it one step further and raise the issue with the brand via social media. While one voice may not change the world, several thousand can tip the balance.
If your aim is to be a more responsible shopper, look out for brands which are open about their sustainable commitments.
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