Even though sustainability has taken a backseats amidst the pandemic when it comes to plastic pollution, there are still plenty of things one can do to stay on track.
Single us plastic gloves have become a necessity at this point, but other areas have been very questionable because single-use plastic is NOT safer or “cleaner” than the reusable items you have at home.
Coronavirus can live on a variety of surface types. Research shows that the virus remains viable 3x longer on plastic than on other tested surfaces. But so often, misleading information is used by industries to promote and sell their products. Remember when the tobacco industry claimed that smoking was good for you? The plastic industry is no different.
The good news is that more and more companies and consumers are taking on the massive task of plastic pollution and are coming up with great solutions.
I was very excited to learn about a new clean beauty trend called Blue Beauty I read about in an Elle article. Compared to Green Beauty, Blue Beauty goes a step further. It revolves around the affect packaging has on our marine life, water wastage and minimizing the damage we inflict on our oceans.
To Clarify the Difference Between Clean, Green and Blue Beauty
Clean Beauty: non-toxic beauty, as in non-toxic when being applied to our skin.
Green Beauty: sustainably sourced ingredients.
Blue Beauty: products are safe for the environment – which includes being ocean safe as well as sustainably sourced, minimizing carbon footprint etc.
Blue = Ocean-Friendly
Blue Beauty is all about limiting plastic wastage, ways to recycle and protecting our oceans from chemicals found in our beauty products, such as sunscreens. A lot of them contain oxybenzone, which can seep into the water, where they’re absorbed by corals. These substances contain nanoparticles that can disrupt coral’s reproduction and growth cycles, ultimately leading to bleaching, causing serious damage to the ecosystem.
In 2018 Hawaii passed a bill and the small island nation of Palau announced to ban the sale of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate, another harmful chemical. Hawaii is the first state to pass such a measure, and it will go into effect as a law January 1, 2021.
Tip: When buying sunscreen, choose mineral-based sunblocks that use zinc oxide or titanium dioxide—“non-nano” size particles that can’t be ingested by corals. Also look for these certification labels on the packaging.
How Does Plastic Waste Effect Our Oceans?
Currently we have a shocking 150 million tons of plastic litter our oceans. We produce more than 300 million tons of plastic every year, and 8 million tons enter our oceans each year. It is estimated that by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish by weight in the oceans.
Plastic pollution has a deadly effect on wildlife. Thousands of seabirds, sea turtles, seals and other marine mammals are killed each year after ingesting plastic or getting entangled in it.
Further oceans provide more than 3 billion people with the primary source of protein.
'The next time you're eating a tuna steak, you might be eating decades-old microplastics contaminated with all kinds of toxins.' says University of Manchester earth scientist Ian Kane.
What To Look For When Buying Blue Beauty Products?
Gloally over 120 billion units of cosmetic packaging are produced every year, a lot of it is not recyclable.
'The answer isn’t necessarily to switch to products in alternative packaging as all materials can have negative environmental impacts.'
'The key is to identify beauty products where the packaging is refillable or reusable for another purpose; support brand and retailer initiatives who encourage the return of packaging for recycling purposes and ensure that where packaging is unavoidable, it contains recycled materials as this can reduce the overall carbon impact'.
Brands are starting to introduce PCR (post-consumer plastics) in their packaging which means no new plastic is being produced, giving the environment a helping hand.'
Tip: If made of PCR, it is indicated on the packaging.
Blue Beauty Brands
Even though still a long way to go, the beauty market has made some strides in terms of sustainability in recent years. Here are some brands that stand out and are taking Blue Beauty to the next level:
REN Clean Skincare (also available at Sephora, Dermstore)
All these brands were recommended by Elle. To read the full article and learn more about them click here.
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