Coming Clean- Plastic Free for a Year
I am really excited about this months post with my guest Jaime Boddorff -- founder of Cottier Studio (a plastic free beauty product/home goods company). Jaime founded Cottier Studio after going plastic free for a year!
I met Jaime at her dear friend's wedding while I was doing the makeup. I overheard her talking about her lifestyle with minimal plastic use and I was super intrigued. Honestly, I am not as conscientious about my plastic usage as I want to be and I selfishly wanted to interview her for some personal tips. When she told me that she started a small plastic free beauty line and was already shipping products to Australia, I knew she totally needed to get on here and do a guest post.
Jaime has developed practical approach to zero waste, low-waste, and plastic free living and I know we can all learn a ton from her.
Hi everyone! My name is Jaime Boddorff. I started Cottier Studio, a plastic-free bath/cosmetics and home brand. I’m also a photographer, 5 Gyres Ambassador, and a naturalist (like Darwin! But less famous...), but more importantly, I’m here to share information about plastics and going plastic-free with you, thanks to Suzanne!
You may be shocked to hear this from someone who boycotts plastic on a daily basis: plastic isn’t bad. It’s an incredible material. I, personally, thank plastic for saving elephants, because without plastic, elephants would have become extinct by the early 1900’s. Plastic was invented as an alternative to ivory billiard balls in the late 1860’s. The New York Times printed an ad for a competition: the first person to come up with a viable alternative would be awarded $10,000, and within two years plastic was born. It was an early iteration of plastic, but it was plastic, and it has gone on to save millions of lives in the medical field since then.
Essentially, plastic is a marvel of sorts. What is bad is the way we use it, think about it, or perhaps more realistically, how we don’t think about it. In today’s society, it’s a throw away item. It’s considered single-use, but it lasts for hundreds and thousands of years. Think of it this way: every piece of plastic created still exists in one form or another. Every piece of plastic we’ve ever touched in our lives still exists. Plastic has only been around for 150 years, but it takes an estimated 500-1000 years to break down. Not biodegrade… just break into smaller pieces. Crazy!
Practical Steps to become Plastic-Free
Most of our plastic waste comes from food packaging, plain and simple. I’ve put together some tips to help cut down in the kitchen where most plastic waste is created.
1. Ditch the plastic bags. This is the easiest and biggest change you can make. And I don’t just mean grocery bags. Throw 5-10 drawstring bags in your reusable grocery bag for produce and bulk items, and voila, you’ve cut down on at least 300 plastic bags in a year. So easy! Imagine if just 60 people in every US state did this… it would cut down on 1 million plastic bags every year! (oh yeah, I definitely did the math on that one)
P.S. If you forget reusable drawstring bags, most grocery stores have a bakery section with paper bags. I definitely have snuck a handful of those back to the produce section in a pinch.
2. Put together a to-go kit to keep it in your purse. Mine includes two metal travel sporks (works for salads at lunch, and then ice cream to balance out the salad), a metal straw, and a wide mouth mason jar. I never have to take plastic cutlery on the go, and every time I go out for a cup of coffee or iced latte I can avoid a paper or plastic cup. Also, most coffee shops give a discount for bringing your own mug! I’ve even used my mason jar as a to-go container when eating out to avoid styrofoam. Sure, I look like my grandma, but honestly, is there anyone better?
3. Bring your lunch. This one can be hard for busy schedules, and I struggle with it too (hence the to-go kit… salad bars with compostable containers are my best friend). If you can double your dinner and save half for tomorrow’s lunch, it’s not only earth-friendly, it saves a ton of money. If you do go out for lunch, burritos, which are wrapped in aluminum, one of the most easily recyclable materials, are a great option for “avoiding plastic”… Am I right or am I right?
4. DIY. Getting hands-on in your down time can be relaxing and therapeutic, so why not? Sewing drawstring bags to take grocery shopping is a fun creative project. Since going plastic-free, I've discovered how easy and cheap it is to make hummus and yogurt. Learning to make tortillas has also been a game changer in the taco arena. And so easy!
5. Refill stations are becoming more common. A lot of health food stores are increasingly adding refill stations where you can bring your own containers, weigh them in-store for a tare weight, then refill soaps, shampoo or conditioner, various cooking oils and vinegars, honey, basically anything liquid you would use in your kitchen, bathroom, or for cleaning. In Maryland you can find refill stations at Mom’s Organic Market.
About Cottier Studio
Cottier Studio started when I was working in dispatch and rescue at a wildlife hospital for marine mammals, primarily sea lions and seals. I was constantly seeing these beautiful, fascinating creatures entangled in plastic human trash, or worse, hearing about plastics found in the stomachs of these animals.
At the time I had been plastic-free for about a year, but I was struggling to find plastic-free bath and cosmetic products. I wear very little makeup regularly, but I still wanted some basic plastic-free, affordable options with minimal ingredients that I understood without the need to go down an internet black hole.
I started making tinted lip balms just for myself and as gifts for friends, and people were constantly telling me I had a great business at my fingertips, so I gave it a shot and I’ve been having a blast! I’ve since added deodorants, a coffee scrub that I, personally, use religiously, a glossy shimmer stick, candles, and I’m currently testing a cheek tint and lotion that I’ll hopefully release by late summer.
I’m also in the midst of working on new earth and ocean friendly labels/packaging, as production has been growing and I’m looking for a more streamlined approach that retains the unique, handmade quality. I’m really excited for the new designs, and they should be released by late summer/early fall. A few products I currently offer will also likely become available in glass or tin containers as well to accommodate a longer shelf life since shops are inquiring about carrying Cottier Studio products. Lots of fun developments on the horizon!
Jaime's Favorite Lip Tint (from her line)
I love the Urchin Pink tint. I use it constantly. You can use a light layer or really build it up for a more obvious shade, but it retains a classic pink, yet still a natural look.
Jaime's Plastic Vice
Ooof Trader Joe’s. It’s ridiculous that they wrap their cucumbers in plastic. Cucumbers have a skin! It makes me so mad, but I can’t resist their snacks. Whenever I go, I have to go tunnel-vision style to the salsa jars and pound plus chocolate bars. They always put the pound plus bars at the end of the aisle so thankfully I can just sneak in and grab it without going down the ENTIRE aisle of chocolate covered everything and peanut butter cups and cookies in those plastic tubs. On the plus side, I eat way less junk food now than I used to.
Plastic-Free Resources (Jaime's Picks)
Great news, Everyone! Jaime set up a promo code for all my readers on the Cottier STUDIO site. Please enter, "naturalmakeup" during check out for 15% off your entire order.
I ordered a few things and once I receive my package, I will show you in my Instagram stories. The video will be saved under, "Reviews" so you can check it out anytime!