Buy Nothing Challenge
- April 21, 2022
I’m pretty sure my husband and co-founder, Paul, is going to kill me for saying this, but…I want you to buy nothing on Earth Day. For one day, let’s put a freeze on our credit cards and put our phones down to ask ourselves: do we really need it?
The new “BUY NOTHING” concept is a challenge to curb spending. To most of us, it’s obvious that our current rate of consumption is not going to fix our problems and is likely at the heart of our climate issues. Production and manufacturing has swapped artisanship for fast, cheap solutions that sacrifice planet-safety protocols to meet demand. Shipping around the world accounts for 3.1% of the global carbon emissions according to transportenvironment.org and it’s set to increase 120% this year.
Many products are also intentionally designed to break in a short time so you must buy another without a clear way to dispose responsibly. That’s why, for one day, let’s pause and really think about what we buy and how.
Investing in technology and innovation that helps to reduce your consumption of resources or commodities has an ongoing impact on your carbon footprint. Solar and alternative energy as well as electric cars are known to be an investment that pays itself off over time. The same goes for salon processes and investing in resource reduction – ECOHEADS showerheads, LED lighting, Vish Color Management. There are so many new methods that focus on using less to do more. Don’t forget that one of your resources is time.
This is where the research comes in and why stopping yourself before the impulse purchase is important. Looking for trusted brands that are known for quality is vital if you want to make your investment last. Do they support you in maintaining the product? Will they assist you in repairing and refurbishing?
The Salon Chair Guys were built on this exact premise – maintain, repair and refurbish. When you buy your salon furniture, it’s a big investment and it’s also a huge waste if it doesn’t last. What started as a repair and refurbishment business turned into a lifeline for salons and a line of non-toxic cleaners that help salons maintain their investment.
It’s strange to think about the end-of-life before you actually invest, but this is something that your day of stay from Prime will help you consider. Look around the salon and your home – how many possessions, services or supplies cannot stay on the planet or go back to the planet?
We get asked a lot about this with many of our products at Sustain Beauty Co. At the outset, we built a program that provides a strong warranty of repair on all items to keep our tools like ECOHEADS working for years.
It also was why Paper Not Foil appealed to us. Our eco-concious colorists finally had something they could use more than once and feel good that it could break down after it was done.
And, it’s also a big conversation related to one of our newest products – Scrummi Sustainable Hair Towels. These are single-use which is usually a dirty word, but in this case the net effect on the planet is positive. Partly because of the manufacturing and raw materials, also because laundry is absolutely awful on the planet, and finally because Scrummi is certified compostable and biodegradable while salon towels, which last 3-6 months on average, do not.
That said, all of our products are procured in tandem with our strong relationship with Green Circle Salons. Their expertise in responsible disposal and the methods are vital to our decisions to align with a brand and recommend them to you. Every product has a plan.
Another consideration when investing in new tools or for decisions that find you on the fence, is whether it will take you closer to your sustainable goals. At the end of the day, it’s impossible to be perfect. Even being ‘carbon neutral’ isn’t perfection. There will always be a new step in our journey towards regenerating the planet, so it’s important to remember it’s about taking many small steps rather than one big, disruptive leap.
That’s one thing we learned early when we launched ECOHEADS in the United States. Many salons and stylists didn’t even realize the spray nozzle was saving 65% of the water and energy or that the Ping was saving them color. It wasn’t until they mixed one bowl of lightener without The Ping that they realized they hadn’t tasted bleach in months and considered just how amazing sustainable tools are. Each step, across many stylists, is making a difference.
Learning this with the help of our salons and stylists has helped us support new holistic and sustainable businesses implement change and also prioritize which investments can be successfully implemented to take you closer to your goals.
So, I encourage you to join me on my day of abstinence. While one day off the shopping grid certainly won’t save the world, it’s the shift in mindset and awareness that will.