I believe that there is no such thing as good plastic. Plastic has become, undeniably, one of the hottest topics in beauty. And the beauty industry has a lot to answer for. With 95% of packaging thrown away, packaging is one of the biggest sustainability challenges facing the beauty industry. For too long, beauty brands have been able to hide behind buzzwords—sustainable, recyclable, eco-friendly, counting on consumers not digging deeper to discover the reality.
Well, enough is enough. It’s time to face the reality of the impact that our plastic addiction is having on our planet. You can use as much post-consumer recycled plastic as you like, champion a plastic circular economy theory, or run recycling programs for your plastic waste.
However, all this time, effort, and investment is not the long-term solution, nor is it a resolution. Plastic will always degrade as it is recycled, and our recycling infrastructure will always fail to meet the sheer volume of plastic waste we create. These complicated and expensive systems will inevitably push brands towards the quick fix—single-use plastics.
There are clear challenges with recycling, with processes and regulations differing from country to country, state to state, and borough to borough. The fact that only 2% of plastic packaging currently is made of recycled plastic, and only 9% of plastic is recycled, says it all.
We are destroying our planet, harming marine life, and contaminating the water our children drink with microplastics.
The damage we’ve done as a result of our fast-beauty, cost-cutting mentality is shocking. It is time to make alternatives to plastic the norm—developing supply chains, investing in education around plastic alternatives, improving recycling infrastructure with a focus on genuinely sustainable materials such as aluminum.
It is about all starting to move towards the same end goal. We are not perfect, but we must now call out and make accountable both brands and retailers, who continue to try and pull the wool over the eyes of consumers when it comes to bioplastics.
There is no such thing as good plastic—it is time to wake up.
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