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These Earth Day Initiatives Are The Real Deal

By Wendy Rodewald-Sulz / April 16, 2012

Earth Day is April 22nd, which means companies of all sizes are touting green initiatives that run the gamut from admirable to questionable. But these beauty brands are actually putting their money where their mouths are - by giving you a chance to help raise funds for the environment.

Shop to support student gardens


Year-round, a portion of every product sold by natural beauty brand Yes To goes toward the Yes to Seed Fund, which provides schools with grants to build gardens. Now the program is going global for the first time. This month, Yes To kicks off a partnership with nonprofit Mama Hope to connect Seed Fund gardens in the US with newly sponsored Seed Fund gardens in a handful of African countries. The program will facilitate cross-cultural learning via email and video chat and, by 2012, will supplement the lunches of 10,000 children across Africa with student-grown organic produce. One hundred percent of the proceeds from Yes to Blueberries Gardener's Hand Cream ($8.99) will go toward the fund.


Put your beauty budget toward recycling

In honor of Earth Day, Kiehl's has donated $100,000 to not-for-profit Recycle Across America, which aims to increase recycling levels by making the process easier and more efficient. The donation will provide 150,000 standardized recycling labels to public K-12 schools across the country. Plus, Kiehl's has created a Limited Edition Label Art series featuring Rare Earth Deep Pore Cleansing Masque ($23) packages designed by Florence Welch, Rosario Dawson, Spike Lee and Mark Ruffalo; 100 percent of the net proceeds will benefit the organization.


Save your old products from landfills

As someone who goes through more than her fair share of beauty products, I'm horrified to learn that packaging from beauty and personal care items accounts for 1/3 of all landfill waste. Instead of throwing away your empties, send them to the Personal Care and Beauty Brigade, a program sponsored by Garnier in partnership with eco-startup Terracycle. The program collects everything from shampoo bottles to lip balm tubes to eyeliner pencils (the waste doesn't have to come from Garnier products) and upcycles them into items like paving stones and reusable totes. The company provides pre-paid shipping labels for your stuff, so it's free to participate.


Plant a tree with the click of your mouse

For every Facebook "Like" that natural beauty brand Lavanila Laboratories receives during the month of April, one tree will be planted through the company's partnership with The Nature Conservancy’s Plant A Billion Trees program. Need more incentive? Once Lavanila's page reaches 4,000 fans, everyone will receive 30 percent off their purchse at lavanila.com. Plus, the company will plant another tree for each purchase made on the site.


Tame your mane to save forests


Hair care brand Phyto is also partnering with The Nature Conservancy this month to support the organization's Plant a Billion Trees campaign. Phyto will contribute $2 - enough to plant two trees in Brazil's endangered Atlantic Forest - for each bottle of limited-edition Phytopolleine Universal Scalp Elixir sold. Phyto salons across the country will also hold events to raise money for the cause. This Tuesday, April 17 from 6-9 PM, Manhattan's Phyto Universe spa will offer $20 blowouts, complimentary hair and scalp analyses and discounts in support of the campaign. Visit phyto-usa.com or call 1-800-55-PHYTO to find similar events at salons in your area.