When I buy a lovely new moisturizer, the first thing I do is get it home and take it out of the box and use some. The bottle goes onto my dresser and once I have reviewed the ingredients for the 3rd or 4th time (ingredients are my obsession and I get immense pleasure knowing what I am actually putting on my skin) the box goes in the recycling bin. I cannot bear to think how many boxes I have chucked in the recycling over the years and in my opinion there is too much packaging in the beauty industry. Apparently I am not alone in my opinion. Research conducted by Choice indicated that Beauty items are amongst the most frequently cited for excess packaging by consumers. What’s more most Australians don’t think enough is being done to get rid of unnecessary packaging.
In defense of beauty packaging, in many cases, the actual product bottle is too small to list the ingredients and so they are listed on the outer packaging. Add to this that many of us that buy organic and natural skin care do not want home-made looking bottles on our shelves, we want products that are good for us, good for the planet and that look good (Green Glamour!). Fortunately, given the growing eco consciousness, the beauty industry is responding with post-consumer recycled packaging, new packaging methods and materials such as bamboo products, bio plastics and use of soy ink instead of traditional petrochemical based products.
Post-consumer recycled content (PCR) is basically any material previously used by a consumer and generally includes paper, plastic, steel and rubber. A prime example of this is Eco Tools brushes which use PCR aluminium for the ferrule (the bit that joins the handle to the bristles) on their brushes. Eco Tools also use fast growing bamboo for the brush handles, replacing less sustainable slow growing timber or plastic. A new company on the market, Pure & Green Organics set out with the aim to not only produce an ACO certified organic range but also to minimise any environmental impact from the product packaging and as such was the first company in the world to use 100% PCR cardboard caps on their products. In a recent change to their product packaging, Devita have changed the exterior packaging to 100% PCR cardboard with recyclable glass bottles replacing plastic product packaging.
Bioplastics are a growing market in the packaging and not just for beauty products. Organic materials such corn or sugar resins are being used as an alternative to petrochemical based plastics. Apart from not requiring non-reusable materials, plant resins require 33% less fossil fuel resources and emit 42% less greenhouse gases than bottles made from PET (petrochemical plastic) 1. Pure & Green Organics use BIOpack bottles from renewable plant sugar resources (PLA – short for Polylactic Acid). PLA is compostable and biodegradable in industrial composting conditions, but it will not degrade or disintegrate on shelves.
I would love to hear your thoughts on product packaging and any stories you have about the worst offenders, be they beauty products or others. Noodle packages come to mind. I buy noodles for my dogs sometimes and they are individually wrapped noodle blocks and then have an additional layer of plastic around the whole lot. What a waste! And individually wrapped tea bags, in cardboard boxes with more plastic on the outside! Enough – let’s hear from you!
1. Natureworks LCA Consultants ReportTwitter It!
An article from the UK Telegraph reported on a recent survey which found that women typically use up to 13 products on a daily basis, most of which contain more than 20 ingredients, including additives. This statistic is alarming particularly if you consider that many of those chemical have long-term toxicity issues. The article went on to say that the biggest chemical offenders are perfumes which contain an average cocktail of 250 ingredients, with some containing as many as 400.
Another issue is the trend in ‘aluminium free’ deodorants, many of which contain additive ingredients that have been linked to cancer, hormone problems, skin conditions and allergies. I actually discussed this in a recent video blog about deodorant use.
The report also found that lipstick contains on average 33 ingredients, body lotion 32, mascara 29, and the purest product, hand moisturiser, 11. Now it is not to say that all of these chemicals have issues and if they are 100% natural or certified organic, then long term toxicity shouldn’t be an issue at all. But we have certainly come a long way from the basic “wash and go” routine of old. When I counted up what I applied daily it was quite a long list:
In the morning I use: face wash, treatment face serum, moisturiser with SPF 30, eyecream (sometimes), deodorant, body moisturiser with SPF 30, hair wax and if going to work I also add perfume, mineral make up, mascara and lipstick.
In the evening I use: face wash, treatment face serum and eyecream.
Then sometimes I add in: a mask or exfoliant, eye shadow and non-toxic nail polish.
I count 14 products a day as average which surprised me. Fortunately I only use natural and organic products so I feel good about what I put on my skin.
The key thing to consider to remember is that a certain percentage of whatever we put on our skin will be absorbed. It then has to be broken down and detoxified by the body. The body has a harder time processing and eliminating synthetic chemicals than it does natural ones. This is because in the scheme of things, our body’s have only been exposed to synthetic chemicals for the last 60 years or so and this isn’t long enough for us to adapt to this onslaught. Decrease the toxic burden on your body by reducing synthetic chemical use around the home in these ways:
cleaning agents. He made this choice to reduce his exposure to cleaning chemicals and we benefit as a result.
I would love to hear how many products you use every day and if you are happy with your choices. Tell us also the ways you reduce your toxic load. As always, I love to hear from you.Twitter It!
One of my favourite eco reads is Peppermint Magazine. It is full of excellent green and eco products, concepts and activities. Printed on recycled paper with soy ink it also smells great…I know this sounds weird but…well just smell it for yourself.
Edition 4 is about to sit newsagent stands (from November 19th). This edition is a Christmas Special featuring so much…including:
A green Wish List, recycled wrapping ideas and DIY pressies & decorations, a sustainable summer survival guide with everything you could need to help make lighter footprints on the sand (swimsuits, hats, shoes, beachbags, sunglasses…), ‘Green-Eyed Monster’ – a mini kids tshirt shoot, Model Citizens – models who are more than just a pretty face, an eco fabrics guide, a new vintage section featuring vintage swimsuits and also a vintage shopping ‘how-to’ guide, an exclusive interview with Daryl Hannah (celeb eco-activist), Hopenhagen – explaining Copenhagen and what you can do, an interview with Franny Armstrong – director of climate change doco The Age Of Stupid, a new arts section, Deborah Lindquist, Rachel Cassar, Heidi & Seek, The Uniform Project, Polli, lots and lots of beauty features, mountains of fashion, and more, more, more!
And congratulations for all those at Peppermint Magazine. Yesterday at the Publisher’s Australia Bell Magazine Awards in Sydney, Peppermint Magazine scooped up 3 awards – Best Sustainability in Publishing, Best Design in the ‘Consumer’ magazine category, and best overall Graphic Designer of the year.
It really is a great mag! And if you subscribe this month, you have the opportunity of receiving a $30 voucher for Vitale Natural!Twitter It!
Free eBook for clear skin:
Receive this free eBook by clicking on this link: Glowing Skin