As a consumption-oriented society, we are used to immediate gratification and disposable purchasing. The majority of what we buy ends up in landfills that will stay for decades after we use them.
Jacob Lanphere, professor of environmental science, said that “our lifestyles typically are geared towards single used transactions.” All the plastic we use in our daily lives, from your morning run to Starbucks to the Head and Shoulders shampoo you use at night.
The discussion of transitioning from the products you currently use to sustainable options can seem a little overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. All it takes is a little planning.
Department stores such as Target have started to help make these small changes in our products a little easier by carrying sustainable and affordable brands. Callie Totaro, enviornmental science major, encourages department stores to carry more sustainable brands.
“If people keep increasing the demand for sustainability, stores will be forced to meet the demand and carry more of these sustainable products,” Totaro said.
So what makes a product or brand sustainable? What are some key factors you should look for in your products to become more sustainable? A tremendous factor in pollution is the amount of waste we contribute just from the packaging of our products. Take a look at the products in your bathroom. Your hair products, your toothpaste, all will be thrown away once empty.
Switching your toiletries is an easy place to start transitioning to sustainable products.
One brand to check out at Target for toiletries is Hey Human. Co-founded by Jada Pinkett Smith, the company offers a variety of toiletries such as body lotion, body wash and toothpaste. The brand is 99% plastic-free and packaging comes in recyclable aluminum bottles. Their products are also made ethically, all of them vegan and cruelty-free.
Some brands that Target carries such as Faith in Nature and Hello offer different levels of sustainability. The beauty brand Faith in Nature, carries hair products made out of 100% recycled and recyclable materials such as bottles or in the bar form. Using a shampoo or conditioner bar requires less packaging, but some may prefer using it in bottle form.
Another sustainable alternative is using toothpaste tablets. At Target the brand Hello carries toothpaste in tablet form or in the traditional tube packaging. The tablets come in an aluminum box and require less water to activate.
Some may prefer using a tube that Hello carries in recyclable aluminum. Having these options makes it easier to use products that produce less waste. These companies help fit sustainable living into your lifestyle.
For the makeup department, Eco tool has started to go in the right direction with creating sustainable products. At Target they now sell compostable and biodegradable beauty blenders.
Lanphere said a good product to start your sustainable journey is water bottles. There are many options for reusable water bottles. Klean Kanteen at Target has a wide variety of different bottle sizes and reusable straws.
For some people, a sustainable lifestyle may seem overwhelming or expensive. There are many different parts of your life you can start making a change.
“Just focus on making one positive change at a time,” Totaro said. “If you want to make a game of it, challenge yourself to make one new sustainable switch each month. This way you give yourself time to form the habit and it’s more likely to stick. Don’t burn yourself out.”
Natalie Cruz, sophomore enviornmental science major, said she likes to focus on sustainable products and products that can be used in place of plastics, such as resuable bags.
“It is important for brands to be sustainable because businesses need to focus on reducing waste and minizing our carbon footprint,” Cruz said.
Cruz shared some of her favorite sustainable products from Target and reccomendations for an easy start towards sustainability.
“Some sustainable products from Target that I would reccomend include Native, plastic free deodorant and Stasher, which is an alternative to resealable plastic bags.