What does sustainable mean anyway?
First things first, what does being sustainable even mean? In simple terms, it means ‘being able to continue over a long period of time’. In the environmental context, it means to attain an ecological balance that allows our species to thrive over a long period of time. In the socioeconomic and environmental context, it’s related to maintaining access to resources and opportunities to allow all people to thrive over a long period of time.
Is current personal care a problem?
When we look at the personal care products that are most commonly used through the lens of the definition provided above; it becomes clear that personal care is far from being sustainable. Liquid shampoos, conditioners, lotions that are being manufactured using harsh chemicals and packed in plastic disturb the ecological balance.
These harmful chemicals come disguised as care but in fact disrupt our endocrine system. Exposure to phthalates is known to cause a negative impact on our reproductive health. Some of these harsh chemicals disrupt estrogen levels and are linked to breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.
The assertion that plastic waste might actually outweigh all the fish in our oceans by as early as 2050 is terrifying too.
Why is living sustainably important?
When people say living sustainably is important to preserve our environment, they often forget to emphasize the “why”. There’s a delicate relationship between our health and our environment.
As our air becomes more polluted and riddled with microplastics, we become more ill. The level of pollution we’re exposed to changes our brain structure. Many report experiencing dizziness, memory loss and other issues.
As these harsh chemicals are often petroleum-derived and don’t naturally degrade in our environment, they accumulate in our water sources and food chain. We’re ingesting these chemicals and microplastics through the water we drink and the food we eat. Yes, we’re pooping microplastics.
While it’s difficult to say the long-term implications of this toxic substance’s accumulation in our body, one thing is clear – it’s not good and more research is required to determine exactly how bad it is.
Living sustainably means to live a healthy lifestyle. To us, every act of living sustainably is an act of self-love.
Does individual action make any difference?
Short answer, very much so. It’s individual action that has made the beauty and personal care industry one of the most lucrative and highly competitive industries. In India itself, people buy over ₹18 lakh crores of personal care products every year.
On average, women use over 12 personal care products in a day and men around 7. Women are also exposed to over 168 chemicals found in these products, some safe and some unsafe.
By switching to sustainable and healthier products, you immediately eliminate the risk of being exposed to these harsh chemicals every day. You also create demand for sustainable products and help more responsible brands, like ours, win over legacy brands that have polluted our water, food and bodies.
Having run The Switch Fix for over three years, my core memories involve speaking to customers and hearing how The Switch Fix has helped them live sustainably. I always feel joy and motivation to further grow our ambition and continue competing with (and winning over) unsustainable brands.