Plastic-Free July 2020: Day 29 – Lip Balm!


Chapstick, lip balm, whatever you want to call it, growing up I almost always had a stick in my pocket or purse. I grew up in New England, and those harsh, blizzard-y winters caused some pretty chapped lips.

There’s an argument that the more you rely on chapstick, the more you need it. I have definitely found this to be true, but even still, chapped lips are sometimes inevitable for me.

Seasonal changes, dry or cold air, or location changes all trigger chapped lips (for me). And sometimes it can be pretty painful. Having really chapped lips can ruin a trip. I love to go snowshoeing in the winter and if I don’t have chapstick, could very well end up bloody by the end of the trip. Gross.

We all know what a tube of chapstick looks like. It’s a tiny little plastic tube stuffed with a waxy balm, usually minty:


Or sometimes it comes in a round plastic container and we apply it with our finger. Either way, it’s usually plastic, plastic, plastic.



In most areas, Chapstick tubes are NOT recyclable:



Most chapstick tubes are made from polypropylene (#5) which many recycling facilities cannot process.

In 2012, Burt’s Bee’s launched a Lip Balm Tube Recycling Program with Terracycle. But this requires shipping the empty tubes, which means packaging and carbon emission from transport.

Reusable and compostable packaging is really the most sustainable solution.


Plastic-Free Swaps:


First, let’s talk about the most cost-effective swap. For many, coconut oil works wonderfully as a balm. You can just scoop a little into a small, reusable tin container and go from there! Shea butter also works well, but that can be harder to find plastic-free.

Paper Tubes:

erszSource: HoniBeez |

Lately, many stores, co-ops and refilleries are selling lip balm in PAPER tubes! And they’re awesome. No luck? Try Etsy!

In the Bay: has some wonderful options, and so does The Source Zero in San Jose.

In SoCal: Sustain LA and Eco Now CA

Mammoth Lakes Region: New Moon Natural Foods


For a full list of zero waste stores in your state,

visit:  US Zero Waste Stores List

U.K. List: The U.K. Zero Waste/Package Free/Refill Store List


Joyous Organics:


But today’s lip balm is from Joyous Organics, a California-based organic, zero waste company who sells all their products in glass or compostable packaging. This includes their shipping packaging!

Joyous Organics are popping up in stores across the state, like New Moon Natural Food, Tahoe. You can also order their products directly from their site.

Out of all the compostable lip balms I’ve tried over the last three years, this is probably my favorite. It’s not gritty at all and the orange smells like a creamsicle and the mint smells like a Christmas hug. Aww.



**I am not affiliated with any of the above companies. Just a happy user of their products and supporter of their mission.


Stock images:


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