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The Green Parent

By The Green Parent

11th September 2020

Paula Ortega is an environmental artist & designer-maker. She's also the founder & formulator at Whitfords, a 100% plastic-free family business making vegan, botanical skincare products.

The Green Parent

By The Green Parent

11th September 2020

The Green Parent

By The Green Parent

11th September 2020

Born in Buenos Aires, I moved to the UK in 2005 and I now live in south east London with my two daughters, a teenager and a toddler (!) and my husband. My work as an artist focused on climate change, our dependence on petroleum and the world’s huge plastic waste problem.

Shortly before I gave birth to my second daughter, I decided to start studying cosmetic formulation. And by shortly, I mean while I was in the hospital waiting to be induced! I had a desire to use my problem-solving skills gained from previous disciplines and immerse myself in an area where I saw a need for a fresh approach: skincare is rife with plastic packaging and petroleum-based ingredients and I felt it was hugely important to continue the work I was doing as an environmental artist and bring it to a wider audience. Whitfords (whitfords.co.uk) was born

SELF-CARE SECRETS

There are post-it notes dotted around the house that say “Drink a glass of water” and I move them every week to avoid post-it blindness! It’s the simplest things that actually make a difference: eat well, sleep enough and exercise, and using nudges like notes allow things we overlook to be incorporated into our daily routine. I would add that drinking lots of water is paramount to complement any skincare routine!

I also wash my face every day, morning and evening, even if it’s just with water and exfoliate once a week with Whitfords’ Fruit AHA’s Exfoliating Mask – silver winner of The Green Parent Natural Beauty Award 2020.

BUSINESS PLANS

To maintain our core values of independence from plastic packaging and petroleum-based ingredients. It is a struggle we encounter everyday and makes our job 10 times harder, but we have started down this road because our planet cannot wait and we will not deviate from this promise to our customers. We have some exciting new launches coming up too!

THREE WAYTS TO BE MORE SUSTAINABLE

We always say that sustainability is a moving target and at Whitfords, we’re constantly reviewing what we do and making adjustments. It’s also part of our mission to regularly write about our ingredient and packaging choices and the reasoning behind these choices so our customers can make an informed decision when deciding to buy our products too. A good example of this is palm oil. It’s a very complex issue and is not as simple as saying no to all palm oil.

So, number one would be: make sure you do your research beyond the headlines. Our post on the topic of palm oil is a good starting point for this particular issue.

Secondly, lead with actions, rather than words, especially when it comes to consumer choices. No-one likes to be told what to do, but when your peers see you choosing or buying non-conventional options, more than likely they will ask why, which is a great opportunity to start a conversation.

Thirdly, be gentle on yourself. We all have our failings. Do your best, forgive yourself when you fall short and know some days are throwaways and can’t be recycled!

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