For most of us, when we need to stock up on our toiletries, we visit our go-to CVS branch. It’s where we can get our essentials, from shampoo to shaving kits. We may not pay attention to this before but most, if not all, of the products there are made of plastic. Their containers, for one, are totally made of plastic. Plus, many of them contain chemicals that are harmful to the environment. It’s fair to assume, as well, that these products were shipped in thousands of boxes and plastic wrappers.
But before we go down that rabbit hole, let’s remember that there are alternatives. There are small businesses around the country that offer products that are free from plastic, chemicals, and form of environmental cruelty. We can buy shampoo bars instead of buying a shampoo that comes in a plastic bottle. We can even buy refillable tubes of teeth whitening gel. This is so we don’t constantly buy and throw out tubes of plastic.
With such products, not only are we taking better care of ourselves and our families, we’re also caring for our communities and the environment. These are the social enterprises that offer self-care solutions that are rooted in sustainability.
Based in New York City, Package Free is a shop that promotes a zero-waste lifestyle. It was launched by Lauren Singer, a young businesswoman. She’s an advocate for environmental sustainability. This advocacy was fueled by the college courses she took on environmental studies. She was also inspired by her time working in the New York City Department of Environmental Protection. With her popular blog, Trash Is for Tossers, she shared her ideas and tips for living a more eco-conscious lifestyle to a wide set of audience.
Through Package Free, she sells essentials such as bamboo toothbrushes, plastic-free hair ties, and sunscreen that comes in a tin. All of her products are made from organic and vegan materials. Nothing is made of plastic or harmful chemicals. Through her products, people would be able to properly care for their bodies without causing any damage to nature.
Soapbox is a store that carries products for hair care and skincare. The products are made from organic ingredients such as coconut milk, tea tree oil, and many others. They promote a clean and healthy lifestyle by not exposing their customers to harmful chemicals. In turn, they’re also minimizing their environmental impact by not using such harmful chemicals.
But what makes Soapbox interesting is that it’s a great example of a social enterprise. It’s a business in the beauty industry, yes. But their mission takes a step towards social impact. They do so by donating a bar of soap for every product that was purchased from the store. Overall, they’ve donated more than 18 million bars of soap to underserved communities in countries such as Cambodia, India, and Sierra Leone.
Sometimes, part of our self-care routine is setting the right mood. What helps with that are essential oils that spread a soothing scent around you. Savhera is one of the stores that can help with that. It carries a wide range of essential oil products. And what’s even greater is that these oils are created with organic products. The store also sells various equipment such as diffusers and oil burners.
But what makes Savhera interesting is that it’s also a prime example of a social enterprise. Part of their revenue from selling essential oils go to organizations that support women. But not just any woman. They specifically advocate for those who survived sexual exploitation in India and the United States. Savhera’s contributions help these women gain skills that would lead them to more dignified employment.
When Love Goodly was still being developed as a store, its founders, Justine and Katie were influenced by their own experiences and lifestyles. Justine is a breast-cancer survivor. Her experience helped her realize the importance of living a healthy lifestyle, one that’s not heavily reliant on harmful chemicals. Katie, on the other hand, was influenced by her vegan lifestyle and the ethics that she follows because of it. Together, they created a store that would offer people beauty products that are vegan, cruelty-free, and healthy.
Part of their revenue goes to support their causes for animal welfare and women’s health.
Stores like these four make it easy for us to rely on beauty products that also protect underserved communities and the environment. So by buying such eco-friendly products, we’re gaining a deeper understanding of an important intersection in our society. And that is the intersection between self-care, sustainability, and community-building. With this belief, we are taking care of ourselves by also taking care of our communities and the environment.