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Carbon Chronicles

Reducing my carbon impact one month at a time

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My friend and I were discussing how frustrating it is that we recycle pretty much everything apart from cosmetics. She then told me something so cute I wanted to weep: there is an animal rescue charity that uses old mascara wands to rehabilitate injured animals. The tiny bristles are ideal for combing the fur and feathers of small wildlife to nurse them back to health. (Don’t worry, the deets are at the end..!). 

Cosmetics are a growth market and the packaging is as important as the contents – it’s got to catch the eye on a shelf crammed with geegaws. There is a lot of #goodintentions on makeup packaging which might sound like the manufacturer is ethical, but in this case, deeds speak louder. Lots of makeup product packaging can’t be recycled traditionally, white or black plastic is a problem, it looks good but can’t be recycled and the ugly side to this is that over 120 billion pieces of waste are produced every year. We could eliminate 70% of carbon emissions attributable to the cosmetics industry if we simply used refillable containers. 

Companies are working hard to reduce their waste and we need to do our bit, the goodwill is there but the information is lagging, nearly half of us would recycle our makeup packaging but don’t know how.  

Looking around there are a few big and small companies around Oxford that do some really good schemes. Boot’s Scan2Recycle collects packaging and sends it to a recycling partner, ReWorked. Other big brands do it too...MAC, Lush, Kiehl’s, Origins all do a reward and recycle.  (Other companies are available..!). These schemes reuse, reform or recirculate all those cute bits of plastic, so they don’t feature in the next series of Blue Planet around a seahorse's neck. 

Even better, refill and get carbon zero on the packaging. Waitrose Oxford and a gazillion shops on Cowley Road do refillable cosmetic products. A newer kid in town, the very exciting Village Refill at Yarnton Home and Garden Centre offers a complete circular system. They sell aesthetically pleasing (yum) amber containers and refill them with shampoo, conditioner and lots of other lovely things. If you live in a village, they deliver to your door and collect the empties. I’m on my way to Yarnton now to have a peruse, potentially this could mean little or no plastic in the bathroom, where currently I’ve got my very own beautiful but nevertheless, landfill site. 

Useful links, because right now we want to help but don’t know where to start:  (others do it too!)


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Mon 3 Jun 2024

For many people, the path into yoga starts with exercise. There might be a desire to lose weight, get toned or improve fitness in some way.  As these results start to be felt, the student might explore deeper aspects of the practice; realising that yoga can be a whole healthy lifestyle, and not just a class.

Oxford Pride
Fri 31 May 2024

“Darling,” OX managing director, Jill Rayner says to me, “can you write something about Pride? Because even though you’ve moved to Australia and Melbourne’s queer scene is bigger than Oxford’s, the principle’s the same.” 

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Tue 7 May 2024

By the time this edition of OX Magazine is out, I’ll be on the other side of the world, most likely a little sunburnt and full of a lot of ramen. I’m leaving my very jammy role as Entertainments Editor to go travelling. It recently dawned on me though, that for the first time in my life I have no idea what’s next for me, and I don’t think I mind.

Rob Webster
Wed 1 May 2024

When you’ve competed against some of the best runners in the world, what do you do to improve? For Rob Webster, one way might just include yoga.