Sustainable health and well-being should form part of your goals, much like any other you use to reduce the impact of your household on the environment. Like any of these, such as reducing energy use, it can take time to get into the swing of things. But also, like these, it is worth doing to lower how much you contribute to global issues. From disposing of packaging correctly to analyzing packaging and using what you need, here are some useful suggestions.
Know the Brands and Products
Not all brands make and package things equally, and some don’t keep any kind of environmental goals in mind when making products. Going with brands who consistently try to make a difference means you can also make a difference. Medical packaging is probably beyond your choice, but companies like Jones Healthcare Group are changing the pharma industry with their sustainable products. But you do have control over some of the other off-the-shelf products.
There are many brands you use when buying products for your personal health and well-being. These include personal hygiene products, such as soap and shampoo, and the clothing you wear for working out. Fortunately, there are some brands pushing sustainability goals more than others, and they almost always proudly claim to do so. A little research is all it takes, but some of the most sustainable personal care brands include Ethique, Aveda Love Beauty, and Planet.
Dispose of Packaging Correctly
You may not be able to choose the packaging a manufacturer uses, but you can help by making sure it is disposed of correctly. We are seeing a great shift away from single-use plastics today. And more brands are adapting paper and bamboo for packaging. Even so, there are still over 165 million plastic medication containers that wash up on land from the sea or enter landfills. There are correct ways to dispose of your used medication and other plastic containers.
An unused or out-of-date medication is best returned to the pharmacy you bought it from. The cardboard and blister packs are recyclable, and the medication itself can be destroyed. Personal products such as shampoo or toothpaste are safe to drain through your home’s water system, and do this when you are taking a bath or shower to use less water. The plastic bottles and tubes are usually safe to go into your home recycling bins if it states this on the packaging.
Sustainable Health with Organic Alternatives
Many of the standard off-the-shelf products we use are made in harmful ways and have a huge environmental impact. One of the key ways to reduce this is to use organic alternatives. Before you go exclaiming that they are expensive, there are some things you need to know. Organic products such as soap and conditioner bars are more expensive initially. However, they last much longer than a traditional product. So they actually save you more money in the long term.
However, the main reason for using organic alternatives is that they are much healthier. They are healthier for you as a consumer and healthier for the environment overall. Quality organic products don’t contain harmful chemicals that will irritate your skin or cause long-term issues. They are also always made with the environment in mind. This means 100% organic materials and ingredients, sustainable ingredients, and a much lower carbon footprint than other products.
Know What to Look For
Brands want you to buy their products, so they make the packaging as appealing as possible. Yet you shouldn’t dismiss the packaging as advertising because there is a lot of info on the back if you look for it. This can be a massive help when looking to switch, as certain things are required by law. So, keep an eye out for a few things when looking at a brand’s packaging.
Analyzing the branding and packaging
There are many brands that still don’t even bother to use sustainable practices, and this can harm your personal goals. When using a brand, take a quick look at the back of the packaging and look for some things that show commitment. Some common things to look for include:
- Claims that the packing is made from biodegradable and recycled materials.
- A reduction in the amount of non-recyclable material being used in the packaging.
- Products with refillable and reusable packaging, such as bottles for medication.
- Brands that have made the switch to paper-based packaging and replaced plastics.
- Correct directions for how to dispose of the product’s packaging correctly and safely.
Manufacturer claims to look for
As well as information about recycling and other things, brands with further commitments are often proud to display them on their websites. But they will also do so on the packaging. Some of the most reputable claims to look out for include but are not limited to the following:
- Whether a brand uses vegan-friendly packaging and ingredients in its products.
- Try to look for claims of organic ingredients rather than natural in products like soap.
- Look for logos and symbols that state a brand doesn’t test products on animals.
- Be aware of chemical ingredients and ingredients listed as e-numbers.
- Keep an eye out for ethical claims such as Fair Trade policies from the brand.
Try to use products with recycled materials, as this shows a commitment by the brand to at least reduce waste. Some brands also offer refillable packaging (even Armani fragrance) to help you reduce your own personal waste. And keep an eye out for claims on packaging, some of which can be misleading. This includes using natural ingredients, which are often anything but.
Communicate Better with Clinics
One of the easiest ways to become more sustainable in healthcare is to adapt how you interact with care providers. One of the simplest examples is giving them your email address or phone number and making these your preferred contact methods. This way, they don’t need to send out letters every time they need to see you. Many practices now also offer free SMS services that will alert you to upcoming appointments or can automatically schedule them on your behalf.
It also helps to keep in touch with healthcare providers and be proactive in your own healthcare. Sustainable medicine relates to keeping patients as healthy as possible for as long as possible. And although healthcare providers offer this, you also have a role to play. Not listening to advice and doing the bare minimum can place a strain on the healthcare system itself. This means more resources are needed to provide care than otherwise would be, and this increases waste.
Use Only What You Need
Personal care is vital, and it is advised that you shower and brush your teeth every day. But of course, this uses the resources needed, including water. You may even overuse the products themselves. For example, a pea-sized amount of toothpaste is needed. And you probably throw away shampoo when there are still a few washes left in the bottle. All this contributes to your overall household waste, which is reduced by using only what you need until it runs out.
Water is also needed when looking after yourself. But water is one of the most wasted resources we have. From water leaks alone, the USA wastes 900 billion gallons of water each year. Addressing leaks is important. But you can make a big impact by using what you need. For example, try not to leave the water running when brushing your teeth, and it is recommended you use cold water, not hot. And taking showers instead of baths uses less water than taking a bath.
Be Aware of Your Personal Impact
You can make many changes to be more sustainable at home with your health and personal care. Even minor adjustments can make a big difference, especially when combined with others. Because of this, it helps to stay aware of the impact you make personally when you fail to be more responsible and recognize the good you are doing when you are. Making these changes and incorporating them into your lifestyle isn’t an easy thing to do, and it takes time.
However, being mindful of them makes it easier to slowly integrate them into your home activities, personal care, and work. Over time, you will also begin to notice areas for improvement and be able to buy products more responsibly. And when you get good at this, educating others, such as your family, becomes much easier. And together, everyone can slowly but surely become much more sustainable in our everyday lives. But it takes some dedication.
Switching brands is a major first step towards sustainable health and well-being and a big personal goal. Some brands offer much more sustainable products and even packaging. But you must also play your role and dispose of things correctly. It also helps to look for certain things on packaging, such as the brand’s commitment to recycling and animal testing. Personally, you can also become more sustainable by using only what you need and reducing your water usage.
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