How Your Cosmetics are Effecting the Environment
The beauty and cosmetic industry have always been a place with criticism as a result of their history of animal testing. In recent years, however, this has improved and there are many notable cruelty-free and vegan brands, but now there is a new issue on our horizons. As knowledgeable climate change activists, such as Greta Thunberg, receive more publicity, people around the world are beginning to acknowledge the effect we are having on our environment. Individuals have chosen to make changes in their lives, such as purchasing metal reusable straws as opposed to using plastic ones that end up in our oceans. Although these kinds of alterations can eventually make a difference, they are ignoring the industry which has a largely negative effect on our ecosystems.
Many luxury cosmetic brands profit off of the use of ornate and lavish packaging, which often allures costumers to their products. The downside of this type of packaging is how it is disposed of. Most commonly these packages are recyclable, and even when they are, consumers often toss them in the trash. Many sites have stated that the global cosmetic industry alone produces 120 billion units of packaging. Not only are these products difficult to get rid of, but making them in the first place is extremely water and energy intensive.
The largest issue, which is often forgotten or ignored, is the number of chemicals which go into our makeup. Although these have all been tested to ensure they are ok for our skin, it is unclear how they impact our ecosystems. When our makeup washes down our drains, the chemicals are spread through our sewers, oceans, lakes, and streams, eventually reaching the plants and animals in those regions. Through testing it has been discovered that these chemicals don’t break down, but instead accumulate together, and have led to the disease and harm of aquatic life. On top of that, the spread of these chemicals by rain water has allowed it to infiltrate our agriculture soil.
There are many beauty consumers who have attempted to get ahead of these types of issues, and have become loyal customers to “natural” or “organic” brands. Unfortunately, these brands are not much better because of the methods they go through to attain their natural ingredients. In attempts to get their ingredients in a cost effective and fast way, there has been an increase in farming and mining, ridding us of our natural resources. This has also led to an increase in pesticide use and the implementing of poor labor practices on farms.
Other aspects of these kinds of cosmetics, which people often don’t realize, have negative effects are the use of microbeads. People often favor soaps and products with these microbeads to help exfoliate their skin, but what they don’t realize is that those plastic beads you use to wash your face are being spread to our oceans. Not only is this bad because they take years to biodegrade, but they can also be ingested by fish and other aquatic animals. By way of the food chain, effected aquatic life ultimately makes their way back to us.
Fortunately, many companies have been formed or revamped with the mission of creating an ecofriendly beauty community. Some steps which these companies are enforcing are the use of recycled packaging, water-free products, and renewable energy. If you are looking to create your own Eco-Friendly beauty routine, here is a list of 10 natural, environmentally safe brands:
- Ecco Bella
- Tarte Cosmetics
- Physicians Formula
- Kjaer Weis
- Elate Cosmetics
- Body Shop