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beauty industry

The dark truth of bright cosmetic colours

The cosmetic industry is booming, thanks to illustrious ads, promotions by bloggers, influencers, and celebrities. But how many times have you seen or heard about the ugly side of beauty products?  Sorry for breaking this news but your precious makeup kit is contributing in a significant amount to plastic pollution and ecosystem degradation. 

The contribution of beauty products to plastic pollution

From  morning showers till good night sleeps, we deal with various cosmetic and personal care products, most of which with very fancy packaging. 

The cosmetics industry is producing more than 120 billion units of packaging globally every year, most of which isn’t recyclable

For example, an average moisturiser pot takes nearly 1,000 years to decompose. Ordinary consumers are also increasing their beauty consumption. ONS consumer trends show that British households now spend 400 % more on personal care products than they did in 1985. 

The impacts of the beauty industry on marine ecosystems.

 It’s not only plastic pollution that the beauty industry can be blamed for.

Microbeads and microplastics found in cosmetics are small plastic particles which don’t degrade easily and can somehow end up in rivers, lakes, and oceans. As they can persist in the marine environment for long, they pose a risk of entering into the marine food chain.  

Our summer holiday swimming activities in the ocean are hurting corals. A study  showed chemicals such as-Oxybenzone found in sunscreen products are toxic to corals. The chemical makes them vulnerable to bleaching, damaging their DNA, which impacts the development of baby corals.

A step towards green cosmetics

Efforts by plastic pollution activists led to consumer awareness about beauty products related issues. People are now choosing  greener’ alternatives when it comes to beauty and personal care products with ingredients  that are safe for their skin and environment. 

A recent green beauty survey, conducted by Kari Gran, further supports this claim. The survey found that consumers between the ages of 35-54 are increasingly going green with 69% of them stating that natural products are important to them. What’s more, an even larger percentage (73%) of millennial consumers surveyed now demand cleaner, all-natural products. 

Makeup industry giants are stepping up as well to minimize the plastic packaging issue. As part of the New Plastics Economy project, funded by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, L’Oréal has committed to producing rechargeable, refillable, recyclable plastic packaging by 2025. Unilever also followed a similar trend.  

As Industries have committed themselves to take  actions , we can say that we are in the right direction for now. But our individual actions are also valuable. Regardless of how big the problem is, small adjustments in our lives can limit the negative impact of the cosmetic industry on the environment.