Recycling or repurposing plastics helps to reduce their environmental footprint or plastic pollution. However, single-use plastics like cutlery, straws, and bags are usually challenging to recycle because they may fall into the crevices of recycling machinery.
The best approach for us here at Leanora & Co is to seek sustainable alternatives to polyethylene plastics — alternatives that have a much shorter lifecycle and less negative impact on our environment.
Plastics dumped in landfills often interact with water to form hazardous chemicals. When these chemicals find their way underground, they degrade groundwater quality. This contaminated water will find its way to our reservoirs and the water we consume.
Wind also carries plastic waste from one place to another, creating litter which causes plastic pollution. The deposited plastic can get stuck on fences, poles, electrical towers, etc. which is plastic waste.
The bulk of global oil production goes into the manufacturing of plastics. This creates a situation where the ever-growing demand for plastics contributes to climate change and undermines the push towards a more fossil-fuel-free world.
THE PLASTIC PROBLEM
Most businesses are heavy users of plastic packaging. Large bottling companies like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo use millions of plastics each year. The growing recognition of the harm caused by plastics was to the environment is pushing businesses to adopt alternative eco-friendly packaging materials.
We must have plans to lessen our environmental impact as small businesses, including many-core shifts to more sustainable packaging.
Plastic production is energy-intensive and produces a high quantity of greenhouse gases. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that carbon dioxide emissions will reduce significantly if more people switch to sustainable and or recycle plastic and up for zero waste make-up. This practice would reduce waste immensely in the beauty industry. As plastic waste plays a huge role in plastic pollution which disrupt our environment and eventually our health and our skin health.
IS IT ALL BAD?
Plastic packaging is demonized, and for many good reasons. While plastic was initially seen as a breakthrough material when first synthesized. It was easy to mass-produce, long-lasting, versatile, etc. The environmental effects of mass plastic usage have been keenly felt in recent years.
Due to poor product design and lack of political infrastructure, most plastic waste is sent to landfills or disposed of in the environment. 9.2 billion tons of plastic have been produced, of which only 9 percent have been recycled properly.
Much of the plastic waste that pollutes the environment is from single-use plastics. Single-use plastic is made from fossil-fuel-based chemicals like natural gas or petroleum. It is meant to be disposed of right after use which is not sustainable or eco-friendly.
Single-use plastic packaging underpins our throw-away culture and can be seen everywhere: the straw in your iced coffee, the wrapper for your candy bar, the cup for your smoothie, the plastic bag for your takeout, plastic water bottles, and much more. Typically, these plastic products are meant to be disposed of within minutes from the time they are purchased.
40% of plastics produced every year are single-use plastics, and the primary reason why plastic pollution is such a big issue is that we don’t recycle and reuse enough plastics.
When plastics are disposed of and sent to a landfill, they end up polluting the environment because plastics contain additives that make them flexible and durable. Experts estimate the time taken for plastics to break down to be 400 to 600 years. Millions of tons of virgin plastic are produced each year, and the majority of used plastics are sent to landfills or its disposed of in the environment causing harmful plastic pollution. 80 million tonnes come from the US alone every year.
Although plastic polymers have proven to be incredibly useful and versatile, they’re not biodegradable, and they’re made from toxic compounds that are harmful to the environment and to human health which also affect healthy skin.
Microbeads and microplastics like glitter are impossible to remove out of oceans. Avobenzone, in sunscreens, is now proven to deplete coral reefs. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in fragrances and hairsprays contribute to smog and air pollution. The indiscriminate use of palm oil in 70% of cosmetics has led to massive deforestation.
Governments Taking a Stand
Governments around the world are taking steps to control the use of plastics. Here in Canada the government has made several steps According to Samantha Bayard, spokesperson for Environment and Climate Change Canada, a draft of the proposed regulations will be published “in the coming weeks,” followed by a period of time allotted for the public comment. The ban on six single-use plastic items, including checkout bags, cutlery, and straws, is part of the federal government’s larger plan to eventually eliminate plastic waste to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
A key part of Canada’s plan to achieve zero plastic waste by 2030 is a ban on harmful single-use plastic items where there is evidence that they are found in the environment, are often not recycled, and have readily available alternatives
Many other countries have also banned single-use plastics entirely, while some others (like the state of New York) only target commonly used plastics like plastic shopping bags, straws, stirrers, and takeout containers.
The Long & Short of It
We are not hopping on the sustainability bandwagon. We are surrounded and built on sustainability and more eco-friendly, effective, product choices for you. We love our planet and our customers and thus we want to help in the elimination of plastic waste which is the cause of plastic pollution that is damaging our environment which will impact our lifestyle and our skin health.
However, this change can only happen when we work together sustainably, so we need your support not only to purchase our true beauty organic skin care products but also to have a better environment which mean healthier food = better health which helps with healthier skin overall.