The stats surrounding plastics in the beauty industry are not pretty, but we must educate ourselves and change our ways to start a new plastic free #ReuseRevolution!
What’s So Bad About Plastic?
Plastic revolutionised every industry from beauty, electric, food and so on by providing a cheap material that would last infinitely. That radical element of plastic has been taken for granted and is now a vital downfall of the material.
To put it into context, every piece of plastic ever made still exists. Recycling is a great solution, yet the infrastructure isn’t in place to dispose of plastics properly. It’s a system governed by market demand, price determinations and local regulations. More than 600 million tons of plastic will be produced on Earth by 2025 (that’s only FIVE years away!) and recycling systems are unable to collect that amount. In reality, only 9% of plastic is recycled globally, 40% is dumped in a controlled manner, 14% is burnt in a controlled manner and 32% ends up in the environment.
It’s What’s Inside that Counts Too
Almost all major beauty brands still add microscopic plastic particles or even liquid plastics to their cosmetic products - often used as cheap fillers. Through our showers, baths and sinks, microplastics in our everyday products (laundry detergent, skincare and so much more) flow into sewage systems, slip through the filters in water treatment plants and reach our rivers and oceans. Once there, they become a part of the plastic soup. The plastic breaks down further and further. Marine animals mistake these microplastics for food. These particles end up on our plates because we are part of the food chain…it’s a vicious cycle.
If we continue to use and produce plastic at the same rate that we do now, there will be more plastic in the ocean tonne for tonne than fish by 2050. On land, the soil on which crops grow is 4 to 23 times more polluted with microplastics than the ocean.
So, What's the Answer?
It doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom; we just need to alter our approach with sustainability and put more emphasis on the Reduce and Reuse part of the equation! It’s why Beauty Kitchen created their Return • Refill • Repeat programme so we can wash and reuse our packaging and in turn, create less packaging waste for true sustainability and for a circular, Waste Zero approach.
Education is Key!
It’s not always easy to work out whether your products contain microplastics. Some products that appear to be ‘clean’ do not contain sustainable ingredients. There’s now a free to download app ‘Beat the Microbead’ by the Plastic Soup Foundation that can do all the hard work for you. This digital tool uses machine learning software to detect more than 500 different microplastics from a products ingredient list.
You can also support sustainable businesses by looking out for the ‘Zero Plastic Inside’ logo to see which products are 100% microplastic free (like ours!).
“When it comes to plastic free beauty, we need to think about the product in its entirety. This means that the environmental impact of a products ingredients as well as its packaging must be considered. It’s not enough to stick a ‘recyclable’ logo onto a product but not consider the thousands of microplastics inside that are just as damaging to the environment.” - Jo Chidley, Founder of Beauty Kitchen.
It’s up to us to eliminate the use of microplastics before they eliminate our planet. Make a stance and join the Reuse Revolution today!
Words and images by the Beauty Kitchen Team.
See our full collection of eco-friendly accessories for hands at Bower Collective.