Low-waste Living, Make You Think, Plastic-Free Living

Sustainable Products With An Ethnicity Lens

Back in January I wrote a post on how promotion of low-waste (and also plastic-free) swaps isn’t universal…

A lot of zero-waste/low-waste folks make it seem like everyone can do the same types of swaps but- they’re not thinking of how we’re not one size fit all human beings. Basic things aren’t being considered; such as, socioeconomic status, location, ethnicity, nor health concerns. This is the reason why we need a more diversified list of influencers. Because the disclaimer of “this might not work for you” doesn’t cut it.

Maranda’s Words from January 2020

I thought I’d delve further on that concept but from the perspective of promoting swaps from an ethnicity lens. Especially since I’ve seen a plethora of recent posts promoting sustainable products created by BIPOC businesses and artisans.

Prior to this recent boost, one would really have to search to find information on sustainable products for curly natural hair. I personally spent weeks searching for options that would work for our hair types (there are 3 different hair types in my home) and didn’t come in a plastic bottle/jar. Key thing was the packaging! Before anyone comments – dry shampoo isn’t going to work for my hair.

I did find an alternative for our shampoo and oil. But had yet to find an option for leave-in conditioner and detangling spray/oil until the boost of posts highlighting sustainable products by Black businesses/artisans. I am now aware of other products that perfectly work for my ethnicity and come from a BIPOC business/artisans that I can support, promote, and at some point retail. I’m not naive for I know that folks still have to try a product and make sure it works for them, but at least now people don’t have to do these treasure hunt searches. It’s an amazing feeling knowing that people typically left out of the conversation on environmental issues and sustainable living are finally being recognized!

My hope is that this wave of promotions extends beyond social media posts. It’s time for sustainable retailers to do the same. It’s time for consumers to advocate for the products to appear on shelves without backlash. (Thank you to those that already do retail, promote and advocate for this) I’m personally going to include more options in my suggestions of swaps – even if it’s not something I can utilize. Just like I take time to diversify my influencers I need to be cognizant of my followers and their needed swaps.

What is one thing you can do to prevent us going back to a non-universal sustainable swap thinking?

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