Consumers view plastic as the least environmentally-friendly form of packaging, and brands are taking this shift in perception seriously. Many brands in the beauty and personal care industries are finding innovative ways of changing their products’ packaging to more eco-friendly options, and the shampoo industry isn’t standing still. Consumers have made strides to ditch single-use plastics like plastic water bottles and straws, and shampoo bottles are the next to go!
PLASTIC BOTTLES POLLUTE
Despite the fact that shampoo bottles are recyclable, they are often overlooked when discussing consumer product impact on the environment. This is because the idea that all plastics that can be recycled, are recycled isn’t really true. Only 50% of plastics are actually collected to be recycled, and of that, only about 7% are actually made into new bottles. Much like plastic water bottles, the majority of plastic shampoo bottles end up in landfills. In the US alone, over 550 million shampoo bottles end up in landfills each year.
To make matters worse, it could take up to 1,000 years for a plastic bottle to break down. The bad news doesn’t end there though; through the process of breaking down, plastic turns into microplastics (small plastic pieces less than five millimeters long), which can end up in our oceans, ultimately endangering and even killing marine life. Plastic also absorbs toxins from the environment it’s in, so it can be deadly to any type of wildlife that consumes it.
CHEMICALS IN GENERIC SHAMPOOS AND THE ENVIRONMENT
It might seem counterintuitive to think that a product created to clean your hair is actually harmful to other living organisms. Many shampoos are filled with chemicals that are harmful to the ocean’s ecosystems. As you wash away the dirt and oil from your hair, the chemicals in shampoo are sent down the drain into the water supply.
These harmful chemicals have been found in wastewater, surface water, sediment, groundwater and drinking water. Luckily, drinking water is treated, so we don’t ingest these chemicals. However, other water sources are not treated. These chemicals can be harmful to both the aquatic life in their ecosystems and the animals that drink from these bodies of water. Studies have shown that chemicals from personal care products can change the hormone levels of aquatic organisms, causing a variety of health problems and inhibiting their ability to reproduce.
HOW WE CAN MAKE IT RIGHT
Consumers are becoming more and more ecocentric and brands are making strides to create products that consumers feel good about purchasing. Here are a few easy ways to help the environment, while keeping your hair clean, healthy and full of life:
Opt for shampoo bars vs traditional bottled shampoo:The latest innovation in hair care that consumers feel good about - shampoo bars - is here to stay. Shampoo bars are usually made from all-natural ingredients, and are packaged in recycled or biodegradable material such as paper. They also last longer and are travel friendly, so getting through TSA will be a breeze.
Be responsible:Make it a point to actually recycle that paper your shampoo bar comes in and avoid letting the shower run unnecessarily.
Do your research:Check the labels of your products and avoid harmful chemicals such as (but not limited to):
- Propylparaben, Isopropylparaben, butylparaben
- PEG, PPG, Polysorbate
- Formaldehydes (quaternium-15, hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea)