The focus of week 2 is: personal care products
- Plastic bottled shampoo to shampoo bars
- Plastic Bottled conditioner to bars/glass bottled hair treatment oil
- Empty plastic bottle for DIY products
- Making unnecessary purchases
- Eg. buying new makeup before the old ones run out
Personal care is a huge and indispensable part of people’s lives; however, its part in damaging the environment is only going to be larger.
Not surprisingly, plastic remains the main issue. It is ubiquitous in our personal care routine, yet, we may not realize how prevalent it is. Think about the products in your bathroom, small things such as toothbrushes to big things as shampoo bottles, they all contain some plastic.
What is going on with the packages?
Packaging is not always made of plastic: solid bars, metal containers and glass jars used to fulfill their purpose well, until the invention of the showers. With the showers, people’s acceptance of liquid form of cleaning products has increased. People also need the flexibility and waterproof nature of plastic to make it easier for them to store their products in the shower.
Plastic was being continuously applied on the packaging in the mid-20th century, not limited to the personal care products. It has increased over 120 folds in the past 60 years(The beauty industry generates a lot of plastic waste. Can it change?).
Yet the worst does not appear in the packages, but what comes after. 91% of the plastics have never been recycled at all, and the majority of that end up in the landfill. It might take several months to years to finish a product depending on the type, but it takes much longer than that to decompose the plastic in the landfill afterwards(Waste in the beauty industry – the plastic pollution problem).
What can we do?
As consumers, we need to have the awareness and pick out the most Eco-friendly packaging among all the options presented to us. Eco-friendly packaging includes but is not limited to: glass bottles with metal lids, paper packaging, biodegradable materials. I will keep updating some of the swaps and my thoughts on them.
It is undeniable that some sustainable options are more expensive and less convenient. So one other alternative is to DIY some more natural products at home and up-cycle the bottles that you have finished.
Also, we do not need 20 shampoo bars piled up in the house, try to finish everything you have before purchasing a new one. It may take several tries for you to find the most ideal product, but please still try to finish it as long as it’s still somewhat acceptable and does its job fine.
What can companies do?
As consumers, we are limited to the choices on the shelves, but the companies have the opportunity to eliminate the waste from the beginning by:
- Implementing plastic-free packaging
- Make the products refillable
- Be aware of the products. (eg. less one time disposable products)
- Check out New Plastic Economy
BTW, the image is an upcycled bottle with some rosemary, which I can potentially turn into some hair rinse.