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World Environment Day 2021: The Beauty Industry Generates a Lot Of Waste; The Environment Impact Of Beauty Products

World Environment Day is a great time to create awareness about the need to protect our environment from rapid degradation caused by plastics and pollutant particles in the air. While we sometimes pride ourselves on being quite aware of how our actions, or lack thereof, might contribute to the deterioration of our eco-system, we sometimes choose to bask in the glow of ignorance and turn a blind eye on how the products we use might be supplementing to the destruction of our planet. The Beauty Industry is one of the predominant factors augmenting our environmental crisis.

The Beauty Industry is one of the most glowing/growing businesses in the world. Worth over $500 billion (around 35.5 trillion), the industry is estimated to grow to $820 billion by 2023.  The figures might be higher. Beauty pollution (as frivolous as it sounds) does play a vital role in our environment. While they might be just supporting cast in this disaster movie, they do quite the damage with their role in the ecosystem. Perhaps we should be paying closer attention to the environmental impact of beauty products.

Microbeads and microplastics used in beauty products and packages are impossible to filter out of the oceans. These toxic chemicals in cosmetics seep through the drains ends up in oceans damaging the ecosystem and leading to aquatic deaths. Cosmetic packaging made out of plastic can take hundreds of years to break down in landfill. They also end up in the soil. The avobenzone in sunscreens is proven to deplete coral reefs. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in fragrances and hairsprays also contribute to air pollution. Cosmetics with Palm Oil lead to rapid deforestation and climate change.

Every beauty product has some kind of chemical or packaging that is detrimental to our environment. A 2017 survey by beauty e-tailer Skin Store found that the average woman used no less than 16 products just on her face, including beauty and personal care items like shampoo, soaps, razors, combs, toothbrushes, tweezers,  blenders, cleansing tools and filers.  If you use one unit of toothpaste or soap, odds are you would have discarded close to 500 pieces in 10 years. That’s a lot of waste.

Even with many beauty brands now getting on the clean beauty wagon and pride themselves on being organic green brands who use efficient recycling, non-toxic packaging, they still fail to address the problem of the disposal of waste. Most of these brand aren’t 10O per cent clean. They still have to use actives and preservatives for optimal benefits.

However, some companies are finding ways to reduce their waste by using biodegradable packaging and digging into ways to provide refills in not plastic containers.  Olay dived first and started offering refillable container with a carton made of recycled paper for their best-selling Regenerist Whip Moisturiser. Pahadi Local – an Indian homegrown brand- collects empty containers of its products from the doorstep and then sterilize and reuse them for future packaging needs. Beauty brand Nykaa started using sustainable packaging solutions, with cardboard and paper bubble wrap. Initiatives like this, however small, does help to restore our ecosystem.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Jun 05, 2021 03:19 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website latestly.com).

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