Happy National Recycling Day! Whether or not recycling is already a part of your everyday life, today is a great day for all of us to evaluate our wasteful habits. In 2017, the United States was responsible for 267.8 million tons of waste with 13.2% of it consisting of plastic. The beauty and cosmetics industry is a major contributor to our plastic waste due to single-use plastics and microplastics. Annually, the industry produces more than 120 billion units of plastic for packaging with a majority of it being unrecyclable. This is due to the fact that beauty/cosmetic packaging is typically too small for recycling standards, consists of multiple material types which can not be easily separated, or consists of non-recyclable materials. Overall, this leads to an abundance of collected waste but together we can help make our Earth a healthier place.
Just because a product is recyclable, does not mean it won’t end up in a landfill. There are many factors that go into the decision of whether a product becomes recycled after it’s thrown away. Most recycling centers in the United States only accept two out of seven recyclable plastics. The others end up in landfills. In addition, other factors are taken into consideration during the sorting period. For example, some plastics have integral glitter or topical finishes that make them unable to be recycled. And did you know, black plastic typically ends up in landfills no matter what? That's because the black color absorbs the light from the optic reader and it’s unable to determine what type of plastic it is.
Many companies are working towards reducing plastic waste and finding more earth-friendly alternatives. By replacing just a few of your everyday items with these, you can significantly reduce the amount of landfill waste you create each year. And isn’t that better for all of us? Here's a few types of products to look for and some brands that have made strong efforts to go green:
Get naked! Some companies have taken an alternative approach to packaging by designing their products in a way where they don’t need to be packaged. In other words, naked products! A common method is to make the products, most commonly for skin and hair, with little or no water. Not having water in the product eliminates the need for synthetic preservatives and plastic packaging. A well-known example of this idea is Lush’s “naked” products. They account for about 35% of Lush’s product line and include soaps, scrubs, serums, shampoo/conditioner bars and more.
Zero waste is based on the idea of eliminating single-use products as a result not sending any waste to landfills, incinerators, or our oceans. The main idea behind it is to redesign products in a way that they can be reused, expanding their lifetime, thereby reducing what gets thrown away. A great way to start contributing is eliminating unnecessary throw-away items from your household. For example, switching to glass jars instead of plastic containers and one-time use ziplock bags will go a long way.
Another effective way to contribute is by switching to brands that have zero waste packaging. Ilia Beauty and Loli Beauty are two examples of companies that have done a great job at contributing to zero waste. Ilia uses aluminum packaging and has their own recycling program. Loli products are sold in “MADE SAFE” food-grade containers that feature a compostable label and can be reused as food storage.
A highly concentrated product is one that is typically in tablet, powder, or liquid form and only features the active ingredients of its alternative. For example, an average bottle of cleaner is 90% water so why waste extra packaging and pay extra shipping costs when we can add the water ourselves? By switching to high concentrated products, it helps eliminate single-use plastic bottles, and reduces the fossil fuel burden of all the extra weight during shipping. It’s a win-win for both our planet and our bank accounts. One company that's main focus is highly concentrated products is Blueland.They offer soap tablets for hands, laundry, dishes and dishwashers, along with glass bottles to keep the product in.
Refillables and Reusables
Refillable and reusable products have become a growing part of our society in recent years due to their environmental and financial benefits. Many industries are taking part in this earth-friendly trend in order to keep non-biodegradable products out of our landfills.
The food packaging industry has created alternatives to single-use products like beeswax wraps, mesh produce bags, silicone food bags, reusable coffee filters, and refillable water bottles. There’s also alternatives to basic household items like dryer balls (instead of single-use dryer sheets), microfiber cloths for cleaning, and silicone/metal straws. An easy way to start reusing is by using tote bags instead of plastic bags when you shop. Most plastic bags are non-biodegradable so it can easily take them 700 to 1000 years to break down and in result pollute our environment. Using just one reusable bag can replace 22,000 plastic ones, which can help significantly decrease our waste. There’s also incredible innovation happening in refillable packaging across all consumer goods. Loop, a zero waste platform, is a great example of this. They offer a variety of brands in refillable packaging that customers can return once they’re done. After it’s returned, the packaging is sanitized then refilled to be sent out to another customer.
The beauty and cosmetics industry has also been making efforts towards creating refillable and reusable products. Here at Renzoe Box, we’re doing our part in reducing waste by allowing you to create your own makeup palette with Renzoe Pods. Once you’re done with a shade, you can easily replace it with another pod instead of buying a whole new palette. We also offer a full-circle exchange program: send 6 empty Pods and we’ll send you 1 for free. Humankind is another example we really love. They have created a refillable deodorant line to replace the typical single-use plastic containers that aren’t easily recyclable.
In order to help our Earth, we all need to start taking more personal responsibility when it comes to purchasing sustainable products, reusing them, recycling, and overall reducing our waste. Every little bit matters, and you can help! There are many sustainable alternatives on the market so if we all just switched to one or two of these products, we could make a huge difference in decreasing waste. For information on recycling in your community, visit How2Recycle.
Sustainable to-do list:
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