Earth Day 2024 is Planet V’s Plastic

3 min read

So serious is the plastic pollution crises that the theme for Earth Day 2024 is Planet V’s Plastic.

For the sake of human & planetary health, the global Earth Day movement is calling for an ambitious 60% reduction in the production of ALL plastics by 2040.

What’s this got to do with my Skincare?

Well, the beauty industry is responsible for over 120 billion pieces of packaging every year, the majority of which is plastic.

In fact, a huge 30% of all plastic waste in the world comes from beauty.

It’s time we all started waking up.

But isn’t recycling the answer?

No! Unfortunately not.

In the Global North, only 50% of us actually recycle our bathroom waste (have you got a recycling bin in your bathroom?), and even if we do often it doesn’t actually get recycled. Instead around 60% of it is incinerated (more pollution) or shipped overseas where it will often end up in someone else’s landfill, or worse still, our oceans.

The infrastructure just doesn’t exist to handle all the recyclable plastic waste being created by consumer products.

Is recycling plastic from the beauty industry the only issue with plastic though?

Sorry, but that’s another no. It’s not just how we dispose of our plastic that is the problem. It’s how it’s made…

Over 99% of plastic is made from chemicals sourced from fossil fuels, directly tied to increases in greenhouse gas emissions annually.

But I love my skincare and beauty, so what can I do?

Well, thankfully there are brands, just like SBTRCT, who take your skin and the plastic pollution crises equally seriously.

We’re here to show you there is another way.

Concentrated solid formulations that prioritise skin-loving ingredients over wasteful water content, use of palm oil, and of course plastic packaging.

If ever there was a time to make the switch, it’s now.

Greenwashing - what to look out for

Of course during times such as Earth Day, particularly when there is a focus on plastic, greenwashing can become even more prevalent than ever.

Here are our top tips on how to spot it in beauty….

  1. Beware of brands choosing to use misleading and nuanced language such as “single-use plastic free”. The fact is that as so little of our plastic waste is actually recycled, most plastic (even the recyclable stuff) will end up being single use even if it’s not intended to be.
  2. Using recyclable packaging doesn’t make a brand “zero waste” or “circular” in their approach. Again, the reality is that most bathroom waste isn’t recycled and so if it’s plastic it’s waste and if it’s waste, it’s polluting the planet.
  3. You may also see references to “Offsetting”, or ‘Plastic Neutral” and even “Plastic Negative”. Usually this refers to brands paying someone in the Global South to collect recyclable materials from landfill to then be recycled, in turn, “offsetting” all the polluting plastic you’re putting out into the world. Not a bad thing in and of itself, but it definitely shouldn’t be positioned as the solution.
  4. Ask the tough questions. If you think a brand isn’t being clear or isn’t being completely transparent, then challenge them on it.
  5. Look for anti-greenwashing technology - SBTRCT uses provenance technology to connect our claims to real data and evidence from our supply chain, or third-party verifications. You’ll see their interactive “Proof Point” icons on each of our product pages, validating each of our claims (e.g. Domestically compostable packaging, plastic free skincare, Cruelty Free skincare and Vegan skincare).

    And lastly, remember, being plastic free/zero plastic is the only true solution to this problem.

What else can you do?

Please Sign The Global Plastics Treaty petition calling for a 60% reduction of plastic by 2040.

Urge the United Nations and Governmental Organisations to prove the health of the planet and its citizens take priority over an industry threatening the health of every human on Earth.

This treaty has huge potential to set us on the path to a plastic-free future. Now we can help make sure it delivers on its promises.

Plastic Solutions Summit (British Beauty Council and A Plastic Planet).