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Plastic 101: Microplastics and Pollution

Plastic has become a constant element in our lives, with billions of plastic items being created and briefly used daily. Our reliance on plastic has started the course of mass pollution, leading to an array of planetary issues; but the path we are currently on isn’t irreversible. Small, simple changes in our lifestyle can make leaps toward righting the ship, cleaning our oceans, and saving our planet.

With an estimated 11 million metric tons of plastic ending up in our oceans annually, it’s important to know the “what, why, and how” of plastics so we can help each other lessen the impact we make. In this blog, we’ll discuss how plastic is made, the problem with microplastics, and tips for those who want to use less plastic, along with casting a spotlight on plastic-free brands with excellent products to make going zero-waste easier than ever.

How is Plastic Made?

To make plastic, scientists must take base materials, such as crude oil, and transform them with additives, heat, manipulation, and time into a workable polymer. Though the main component of most of these plastics is crude oil, other materials, such as salt, cellulose, natural gas, and coal are also sometimes used.1

Process of Plastic from Crude Oil

Pictured: The processing of plastic from crude oil   Source: Plastic Collectors

The base ingredients are refined during the plastic-making process into ethane and propane, which are heated in a process known as “cracking” until they transform into the monomers ethylene and propylene. As monomers, ethylene and propylene can then be converted into subsequent polymers via a catalyst.2

Transforming ethylene and propylene into polymers can release toxic emissions into the air and may include potentially dangerous chemical compounds like benzene, ethylene oxide, ethylbenzene, and nickel.3 

Two primary plastics come out of the plastic-making process: thermoplastics, which can be melted, cooled, and molded until they harden, and thermosets, which are not meltable once they have been cooled. Examples of thermosets are epoxy, polyurethane, silicone, and phenolic, while common examples of thermoplastics include acrylic, polyester, polypropylene, polystyrene, nylon, and Teflon.4

Thermoplastics vs. Thermosets

Pictured: Thermoplastics vs. thermosets   Source: Buzzle 

Despite popular belief, not all plastics are recyclable. The bulk of plastic recycling is downcycling, meaning plastic degrades with each turn through the recycling process. During this process, though, most thermoplastics break down into microplastics, which can cause an abundance of planetary and health issues.

For a more in-depth look at the plastic-making process, click here

The Problem With Microplastics

Microplastics, as the name implies, are tiny plastic particles. Officially, they are defined as plastics less than 0.2 inches in diameter, which is smaller than a standard pearl. There are two categories of microplastics known as primary and secondary.

Primary microplastics are tiny particles designed for commercial use, such as microfibers shed from clothing and other textiles. Secondary microplastics are particles that result from the breakdown of larger plastic items like water bottles. This breakdown is caused by exposure to environmental factors like the sun’s radiation and ocean waves.6

Primary and Secondary Microplastics

Pictured: Primary and secondary microplastics    Source: The European Food Education Council

The problem with microplastics is that they don’t readily break down into harmless molecules. In fact, microplastics have been detected in marine organisms and our drinking water; standard water treatment facilities cannot remove all traces of microplastics. To further complicate matters, microplastics in the ocean can bind with other harmful chemicals before being ingested by marine organisms.7, 8

Many countries are taking action to reduce microplastics in the environment. A 2017 United Nations resolution discussed microplastics and the need for regulations to reduce this hazard.9 Additionally, going into 2022, the California Ocean Protection Council approved the first comprehensive microplastics strategy in the nation, which identifies early actions and research priorities to reduce microplastic pollution in California’s marine environment.

Plastic Stats and Facts

Undoubtedly, plastics have helped make a number of commodities more affordable, adding vitality to many economies, but the world’s plastic appreciation has turned into a reliance that’s damaging our planet. Here are a few interesting plastic stats and facts to take note of:

  • Nearly 380 million metric tons of plastic waste are produced yearly, which is equivalent to the weight of the human population.
  • Plastic waste is growing at an annual rate of 9%.
  • The US is the world’s top generator of plastic waste.
  • Around 70,000 microplastics are consumed by an average person each year.
  • One million marine animals die due to plastic pollution every year.
  • 75% of all plastic produced has become waste.
  • It takes around 500 to 1,000 years for plastics to decompose.
  • 73% of all litter on beaches worldwide is plastic.
  • About 91% of plastic is not recycled.10

Tips to Help You Use Less Plastic in Your Everyday Life

When we read about the scale of plastic waste in our landfills and oceans, it’s tempting to feel overwhelmed and question whether anything we can personally do would make a difference. However, the truth is that even the smallest changes of habit, accumulated over time, add up to a massive difference. Here are our top six tips for living with less plastic:

  • Try using a reusable produce bag, such as these from Purifyou, as a single plastic bag can take nearly 1,000 years to degrade. 
  • Try to avoid using plastic straws and instead purchase reusable stainless steel or bamboo ones. You can also try compostable straws like the EQUO Grass Straws.
  • Grab your own reusable water bottle, considering that plastic bottles are one of the most common sources of plastic pollution, and are frequently found on beach cleans globally. The Tree Tribe Stainless Steel Water Bottle, for example, is insulated, indestructible, and eco-friendly.
  • Composting is a great way to reduce your waste overall. When you throw away less food, you’ll use fewer plastic garbage bags and storage dishes. Check out this beginner’s guide to composting for tips, tricks, and an easy how-to.
  • You can reduce plastic waste by eliminating plastic bottles of body wash each month. Instead, try switching to soap bars wrapped in paper or cardboard, like these from ECO Amenities, for an easy zero-waste swap. 
  • Disposable plastic razors are not typically recyclable and therefore sit in landfills without ever completely decomposing. The good news is that there are plastic-free options, such as these from Preserve POPi.  

Plastic-Free Brands to Take Note Of

We all face slightly different obstacles when it comes to going zero-waste. Maybe you find it hard to kick the habit of getting your caffeine fix in a takeaway coffee cup? Or perhaps you tend to end up with excess food that finds its way into the trash? These plastic-free brands provide sustainable solutions to help you succeed on your zero-waste journey:

KeepCup

When siblings Abigail and Jamie Forsyth started a café business in Melbourne in 1998, disposable cups were being introduced into the public landscape; but as their business grew, so did their concerns about the volume of packaging being consumed, particularly disposable cups as they were lined with polyethylene and non-recyclable.

The first KeepCups were sold to in 2009 at an independent design market. People recognized KeepCup as the solution to single-use packaging and the volume of waste entering the environment. KeepCups are now used in more than 75 countries around the world and have been named a B-Corp company.

The KeepCup Reusable Tempered Glass Coffee Cup

The KeepCup Reusable Tempered Glass Coffee Cup

Made from durable tempered glass with a recovered corn band manufactured from agricultural waste in Portugal, the KeepCup Reusable Coffee Cup is designed to enjoy coffee’s craft and sensory pleasure on the go. It’s easy to pour with a press-fit sipper lid that can be removed.

To shop the KeepCup Reusable Tempered Glass Coffee Cup, click here

David’s 

After seeking out healthier alternatives for the everyday bathroom staple, Eric David Buss set out to create his line of premium, natural toothpaste made without fluoride, sulfates, artificial flavors, or preservatives. Instead, David’s toothpaste is formulated with locally-sourced, naturally-derived ingredients that safely and effectively keep your teeth healthy.

David’s, an EWG-Verified and Leaping Bunny Certified brand, is dedicated to sustainability and giving you an excellent toothbrushing experience. The brand’s toothpaste packaging comes in a recyclable metal tube that’s FSC certified. Additionally, its products are fluoride-free due to health concerns surrounding the ingredient.

David’s Natural Whitening Toothpaste

David's Natural Whitening ToothpasteDavid’s Toothpaste has eliminated many common toothpaste chemicals and replaced them with healthier high-performance ingredients to create a premium toothpaste that effectively removes plaque and naturally whitens and freshens breath. In addition, this product is formulated to restore a healthy PH balance and support your mouth’s natural oral microbiome.

To shop David’s Natural Whitening Toothpaste, click here

Pela Case

Pela Case began with Jeremy Lang, its founder, seeing firsthand the damage plastic was doing to our oceans while on a family vacation in Hawaii in 2008. Jeremy spent years experimenting with new materials to try and find an alternative to plastic that could be used in everyday products.

Pela Case has designed the world’s first 100% compostable phone case. Once they nailed down phone cases, they added AirPod cases, smartwatch bands, and other accessories. At the end of its life, no matter how short or long, you can toss your Pela accessory into the compost, and it will return to the earth. 

The Pela Phone Case for iPhone

Pela Phone CasePela cases are made from flax plants, which provide great protection from drops and scratches, as the flax creates a natural shock absorption. Additionally, when you no longer need your case, you can compost it or send it back to Pela, and the brand will turn it into a new Pela product. Pela also makes cases with cute designs to meet everything aesthetic.

To shop the Pela Phone Case for iPhone, click here

Suds & Co.

Suds & Co. carries all-natural shampoo and conditioner bars and accessories. A 3.5 oz Suds & Co.bar is equivalent to at least two plastic 16 oz shampoo bottles, and with several different types of scents and bars, you’ll be able to find one that works best for you.

Beautifully boxed with the minimalist in mind, each bar comes completely packaged in biodegradable and compostable materials. The brand has been featured in Buzzfeed, Going Zero Waste, Yahoo Lifestyle, and Health Magazine. 

Suds & Co. Solid Shampoo Bar

Suds & Co Solid Shampoo BarSuds & Co.’s shampoo bar hydrates all hair types with nutrient-rich ingredients, such as hemp seed oil and jojoba oil. The bars are always free from parabens, dyes, synthetic fragrance, SLS and GMOs; each bar delivers botanical nutrition to maximize hair’s growth, strength, and shine. 

To shop the Suds & Co. Solid Shampoo Bar, click herWe

Humanist Beauty Is Committed to Zero-Waste and Responsible, Plastic-Free Packaging

At Humanist Beauty, we believe that beauty should live forever – not its packaging, which is why we use the most environmentally conscientious packaging options we can. We’ve also committed to becoming a zero-waste brand through the help of TerraCycle’s Zero Waste Box platform.

Most of Humanist Beauty’s packaging is made of glass and paperboard, which is recyclable. We only use post-consumer recycled paper-based packaging for our shipping materials with no plastic void fill or tape. Humanist Beauty also minimizes the use of virgin plastic while seeking to avoid virgin plastic componentry further as we grow.

To participate in our TerraCycle partnership, you can send us your bottles, tubes, and makeup palettes. The packaging doesn’t have to be from Humanist Beauty; it can be from any brand. We’ll even pay and provide your postage to make sending your empty packaging to us easy and seamless. Once we receive your packing, we’ll hand it to TerraCycle to be broken down, recycled, or repurposed.

To learn more about our pledge to go zero-waste, click here

Which tip mentioned above will you employ to reduce your plastic usage? Let us know in the comments!

 

References

https://plasticseurope.org/plastics-explained/how-plastics-are-made/#:~:text=Plastics%20are%20made%20from%20natural,%2C%20of%20course%2C%20crude%20oil. [1]

https://www.britannica.com/science/ethylene-propylene-copolymer [2]

https://www.aiche.org/resources/publications/cep/2015/september/making-plastics-monomer-polymer [3]

https://www.woodlandplastics.com/understanding-thermoset-plastics.html [4]

https://romeorim.com/thermoset-vs-thermoplastics/#:~:text=Common%20examples%20of%20thermoplastics%20include,to%20carpets%20and%20laboratory%20equipment. [5]

https://www.plymouth.ac.uk/discover/are-microplastics-a-big-problem#:~:text=Microplastics%20are%20of%20concern%20because,small%20invertebrates%20to%20large%20mammals. [6][7][8]

https://news.un.org/en/story/2017/02/552052-turn-tide-plastic-urges-un-microplastics-seas-now-outnumber-stars-our-galaxy [9]

https://seedscientific.com/plastic-waste-statistics/ [10]

Things To Know About Climate Change

Climate change refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. These shifts may be natural, such as through variations in the solar cycle. But since the 1800s, human activities have been the main driver of climate change, primarily due to burning fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas. Climate change has many reported detrimental effects on our planet, so the call for action to change human behavior is critical.

The Causes of Climate Change

Since the Industrial Revolution, human activities have released large amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which has adversely impacted Earth’s climate. However, natural processes, such as volcanic eruptions, also affect the Earth’s climate.

Source: United States Environmental Protection Agency

 

Causes, both human and natural, that combine to the acceleration of climate change are:

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased since the Industrial Revolution due to human activities. Carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide concentrations are more abundant now in the earth’s atmosphere than any time in the last 800,000 years.1 These emissions have increased the greenhouse effect and caused the earth’s surface temperature to rise. It’s been scientifically proven that burning fossil fuels changes the climate more than any other human activity.2

Greenhouse gases to be aware of are:

  • Carbon Dioxide: Human activities currently release over 30 billion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year.3 Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations have increased by more than 40% since pre-industrial times, from approximately 280 parts per million (ppm) in the 18th century to 414 ppm in 2020.4
  • Methane: Human activities increased methane concentrations during most of the 20th century to more than 2.5 times the pre-industrial level, from approximately 722 parts per billion (ppb) in the 18th century to 1,867 ppb in 2019.5
  • Nitrous Oxide: Nitrous oxide concentrations have risen approximately 20% since the start of the Industrial Revolution, with a relatively rapid increase toward the end of the 20th century. The concentrations have increased from a pre-industrial level of 270 ppb to 332 ppb in 2019.6

Source: Global Monitoring Library

Reflectivity or Absorption of the Sun’s Energy

Activities such as agriculture, road construction, and deforestation can change the reflectivity of the earth’s surface, which leads to local warming or cooling. This effect is observed in heat islands, which are urban centers that are warmer than the less populated areas. Buildings, pavement, and roofs tend to reflect less sunlight than natural surfaces, causing these areas to be warmer.

Emissions of small particles, known as aerosols, into the air can also lead to reflection or absorption of the sun’s energy. Many types of air pollutants undergo chemical reactions in the atmosphere to create aerosols. Overall, human-generated aerosols have a net cooling effect on the Earth.

Pictured: Heat Island    Source: Land 8

Changes in the Earth’s Orbit and Rotation

Changes in the Earth’s orbit around the sun and the tilt and wobble of the Earth’s axis can lead to cooling or warming of the Earth’s climate because they affect the amount of energy the planet receives from the sun. These changes, known as Milankovitch cycles, cause climate changes on time scales of thousands of years. For example, the amount of summer sunshine in the Northern Hemisphere, resulting from changes in the planet’s orbit, appears to be the primary cause of past cycles of ice ages.  At the coldest part of the last glacial period (or ice age), the average global temperature was about 11°F colder than it is today. At the peak of the last interglacial period, however, the average global temperature was at most 2°F warmer than it is today.7

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Volcanic Eruptions

Volcanoes have played a noticeable role in climate, with recent eruptions releasing large quantities of carbon dioxide. Some explosive volcano eruptions can throw particles into the upper atmosphere, where they can reflect enough sunlight back to space to cool the surface of the planet for several years. These particles are an example of cooling aerosols.

Volcanic particles from a single eruption do not produce long-term climate change because they remain in the atmosphere for a much shorter time than greenhouse gases. In addition, human activities emit more than 100 times as much carbon dioxide as volcanoes each year.8

Source: Carbon Brief

The Effects of Climate Change

The entirety of the planet is warming. Since 1906, the global average surface temperature has increased by more than 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit (0.9 degrees Celsius), and is even more sensitive in polar regions.9 The impacts of rising temperatures aren’t waiting for some far-flung future; the effects of global warming are appearing right now.

Many people think of global warming and climate change as synonyms, but scientists prefer to use “climate change” when describing the complex shifts now affecting our planet’s weather and climate systems. Climate change encompasses not only rising average temperatures but also extreme weather events, shifting wildlife populations and habitats, rising seas, and a range of other impacts.

Scientists have documented these current impacts of climate change:

  • Ice is melting worldwide, especially at the Earth’s poles. This includes mountain glaciers, which cover West Antarctica and Greenland, and Arctic sea ice. In Montana’s Glacier National Park, the number of glaciers has declined to fewer than 30 from more than 150 in 1910.10
  • The majority of this melting ice contributes to sea-level rise. Global sea levels are rising 0.13 inches (3.2 millimeters) per year, and scientists have found that the rise is occurring at a faster rate in recent years.11
  • Rising temperatures are affecting wildlife and their habitats. Vanishing ice has challenged species such as the Adélie penguin, which is a species that has survived in Antarctica for nearly 45,000 years. Their population has since collapsed by 90% or more.12
  • As temperatures change, many species such as butterflies, foxes, and alpine plants, are on the move and migrating further north or to more elevated, cooler areas.13
  • On average, precipitation has increased across the globe. However, some regions are experiencing more severe droughts. This increases the risk of wildfires, lost crops, and drinking water shortages.14
  • Some species, including mosquitoes, ticks, jellyfish, and crop pests, are thriving. Bark beetles, for example, currently have booming populations that feed on spruce and pine trees, devastating millions of forested acres in the U.S.15

If climate change and the planet’s warming continues, we are expected to witness the following signicant effects:

  • Sea levels are expected to rise between 10 and 32 inches (26 and 82 centimeters) or higher.16
  • Hurricanes, tornadoes, and other storms are likely to become stronger. Floods and droughts will also become more common. By 2100, for example, large parts of the U.S. face a higher risk of decades-long “megadroughts.”17
  • Since glaciers store about three-quarters of the world’s fresh water, less of this incredibly important commodity will be available due to glacial melting.18
  • Many diseases will spread, such as mosquito-borne malaria and the 2016 resurgence of the Zika virus.19
  • Ecosystems will continue to change: Some species will move farther north or become more successful; others, such as polar bears, may not be able to adapt and could become extinct.20

If you want to see dramatic eye-opening photos taken around the world that document many of these climate change effects, click here.

3 Degrees Makes a Difference

Earth’s sea levels are rising at faster and faster rates as waters warm and ice sheets melt. Researchers led by Steve Nerem, a professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder, looked at data dating back to 1993 to track sea-levels and temperatures. Their findings, which were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal in 2018, show that sea levels and temperatures aren’t just rising, they’re accelerating.21

The research group Climate Central has created a plug-in for Google Earth to illustrate how catastrophic an unlikely, “extreme” sea-level and temperature rise scenario would be if the flooding happened today, based on 2017 projections from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Some of their findings and illustrations are as follows:

Now: The  Potomac River runs through Washington, DC.

The Potomac Before

3℃ Hotter: Rising sea levels will cause the Potomac River to rise and overflow into DC.

The Potomac 3 Degrees Hotter

Now: New York City sits on one of the world’s largest natural harbors.

3℃ Hotter: New York City could suffer from floods around the city’s perimeter and low-lying areas, such as the West Village, due to extreme flooding from the Hudson River.

NYC 3 Degrees Hotter

Now: San Francisco is prominent in the technology world and is home to the Golden Gate Bridge.

San Francisco Before

3℃ Hotter: San Francisco is also a peninsula, which means it can easily flood.

San Francisco 3 Degrees Hotter

Now: Charleston, South Carolina already suffers from a flooding problem due to being flat and having a low elevation.

Charlston Before 

3℃ Hotter: If sea-levels and temperatures continue to rise, a boat will be needed to get to the city center of Charleston.

Charlston 3 Degrees Hotter

Now: Residents of New Orleans, Louisiana are no strangers to the issues that come along with sea-level rise.

New Orleans Before

3℃ Hotter: New Orleans could completely disappear underwater, and in the next century, 500,000 people will have to leave the area to stay abov.

New Orleans 3 Degrees Hotter

If you’re interested in taking a look at more sea-level predictions based Earth’s rising temperatures, you can install Climate Central’s plug-in and see what might become of other major US cities

How You Can Take Action Against Climate Change

In 2015, 196 countries signed on to a single, sweeping plan that aims to keep global warming to well below 2° C (3.6° F)—or even 1.5° C, which is known as the Paris Agreement. It aims to build on decades of gradual work by the international community to combat climate change and adapt to its impacts. To eliminate the release of heat-trapping carbon by 2050, world leaders must work together, strengthening their commitments and cutting greenhouse emissions to ensure a safe planet for future generations. However, you can take action, too.

Here are few ways you can join the fight against climate change:

Eliminate Food Waste

Food waste in the US occurs mostly in stores and at home—either because it spoils on the store shelf or before you can eat it. According to a Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) study, Americans throw away up to 40% of the food they buy.22 You can combat food waste by shopping for what you need, eating leftovers, composting scraps, and donating excess to food banks. Project Drawdown estimates that curbing food waste could avoid 70.5 gigatons of CO2, which would have a bigger impact than restoring 435 million acres of tropical forest.23

Use Clean Energy

Renewable energy is fundamental to powering the world as we move away from fossil fuels. Modelled after World War II “war bonds,” Clean Energy Victory Bonds—a bill introduced to Congress by Sen. Udall (D-NM), Reps. Lofgren (D-CA), and Reps. Matsui (D-CA)—would offer Treasury bonds as low as $25 to finance the government’s clean energy programs. Using your democratic rights, try asking your representatives to support this bill to make Clean Energy Victory Bonds a reality. Additionally, you can purchase renewable energy from installers such as Blue Pacific Solar and RGS Energy, as well as plug into renewable utilities with companies like Clean Choice Energy, which don’t require you to install any new hardware in your home to get sun and wind power.

Rethink Transportation

Overhauling the world’s transportation systems, both commercial and personal, would save as much CO2 as one billion acres of regenerative agriculture. Commercial trucks alone account for 6% of the world’s emissions—more than the collective emissions of airplanes around the globe. While individuals can’t revolutionize the shipping, flight, and automobile industries overnight, we can demand they change by voting with our dollars for public transit, using electric or hybrid vehicles, and reducing our total trips taken.

Recycle

Acquiring virgin resources—from logging trees to mining minerals—exploits more resources than recycling existing materials. For example, recycled aluminum products use 95% less energy than creating new ones.24 About 50% of recycled materials come from households; if that number were to increase to 65%, at-home recycling could prevent 2.8 gigatons of carbon emissions.25 However, recycling wrong can slow the system and create more waste, so be sure to rinse out your recyclables and stay up to date on local regulations to make sure what you recycle isn’t causing contamination.

Humanist Beauty Environmental Commitments

Humanist Beauty knows how important protecting the environment is to ensure a healthy future and planet for all generations after ours. Our products are formulated with 100% naturally derived ingredients and packaged in recyclable componentry. To complement this, we are always striving to make Humanist Beauty more climate-conscious by constantly updating and adding environmental commitments to our business practices.

We Are Carbon-Neutral

We fully support the move towards a more circular economy by maintaining a carbon-neutral footprint. To do this, forecasted annual greenhouse gases are calculated, including office operating, manufacturing, and all shipping. Through our CarbonFund.org partnership, our company has ordered credits to support reforestry initiatives that completely offset our business emissions.

We Are Striving For Zero Waste

Additionally, at Humanist Beauty, we believe that beauty should live forever – not its packaging, which is why we are now committing to becoming a zero waste brand through the help of TerraCycle’s Zero Waste Box platform.

You can send us your beauty boxes, bottles, jars, tubes, and makeup palettes. The packaging doesn’t even have to be from Humanist Beauty; it can be from any brand. We’ll even pay and provide your postage to make sending your empty packaging to us easy and seamless. Once we receive your packing, we’ll hand it over to TerraCycle to be broken down and recycled or repurposed.

A few notes about our Zero Waste Program:

  • Our Zero Waste program is presently limited to accepting packages from within the 48 contiguous states.
  • We’re a small company, so right now we can accommodate funding postage for one 1-pound package per customer per month.
  • If you’d like to pay for your own postage, by all means! Send your beauty empties with reckless abandon to: Humanist Beauty x TerraCycle, 5826 Fairhaven Ave. Woodland Hills, CA 91367.
  • We’ll keep this page updated with any enhancements to our Zero Waste program.

If you have any questions about our environmental commitments, don’t hesitate to email us at [email protected].

https://www.nap.edu/catalog/25733/climate-change-evidence-and-causes-update-2020 [1]

https://climate.nasa.gov/causes/ [2]

https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/ [3]

https://gml.noaa.gov/ccgg/trends/mlo.html [4]

https://gml.noaa.gov/ccgg/trends_ch4/ [5]

https://gml.noaa.gov/ccgg/trends_n2o/ [6]

https://science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/1/ [7]

https://science2017.globalchange.gov/downloads/CSSR_Ch2_Physical_Drivers.pdf [8]

https://www.globalchange.gov/browse/indicators/global-surface-temperatures [9]

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/geo-signs-thaw [10]

https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2680/new-study-finds-sea-level-rise-accelerating/ [11]

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/article/adelie-penguins-antarctica-climate-change-population-decline-refugia [12]

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/climate-change-species-migration-disease [13]

https://www.c2es.org/content/drought-and-climate-change/ [14]

https://www.fs.usda.gov/ccrc/topics/bark-beetles-and-climate-change-united-states [15]

https://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/climate-change-global-sea-level [16]

https://www.ipcc.ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/03/SREX-Chap3_FINAL-1.pdf [17]

https://www.usgs.gov/faqs/how-much-earths-water-stored-glaciers?qt-news_science_products=0#qt-news_science_products [18]

https://earth.stanford.edu/news/how-does-climate-change-affect-disease [19]

https://news.climate.columbia.edu/2018/03/30/helps-animals-adapt-not-climate-change/ [20]

https://cires.colorado.edu/council-fellows/r-steven-nerem [21]

https://www.nrdc.org/sites/default/files/wasted-food-IP.pdf [22]

https://drawdown.org/solutions/reduced-food-waste [23]

https://lbre.stanford.edu/pssistanford-recycling/frequently-asked-questions/frequently-asked-questions-benefits-recycling#:~:text=Aluminum.,40%20barrels%20of%20oil%2C%20130. [24]

https://earth911.com/inspire/drawdown-plan-reduce-carbon-emissions/ [25]

Top Sustainability Buzzwords To Know

Sustainability has become such an important topic, and along with it, many other eco-related terms and references have been popping up everywhere. As a result, it’s become increasingly difficult to know and understand what all the different words mean. By learning and familiarizing yourself with sustainability buzzwords, you’ll be able to select products and services from businesses that are actively supporting the sustainability movement for a healthier planet and a healthier you.

What is Sustainability?

To understand sustainability buzzwords, it’s important to know what exactly sustainability is. According to the United Nations (UN) World Commission on Environment and Development, environmental sustainability is about acting in a way that ensures future generations have the natural resources available to live an equal, if not better, way of life than current generations.1 Over the years, though, the definition of sustainability has expanded to include a perspective on human needs and well-being, along with non-economic variables such as education and health.

There are 3 pillars of sustainability, which are known and defined as:

  • Environmental Sustainability: Ecological integrity is maintained and all of Earth’s environmental systems are kept in balance while natural resources within them are consumed by humans at a rate where they can replenish themselves.
  • Economic Sustainability: Human communities across the globe can maintain their independence and have access to the resources needed. Economic systems are completely intact, and fair labor for living wages is available to anyone who wants it.
  • Social Sustainability: Universal human rights and basic necessities are attainable by everyone. Healthy communities have just leaders who ensure personal and cultural rights are respected and all people are treated equally.

The 3 Sustainability Pillars

Source: North Mist

 

Related blog post: What Does It Mean To Be Eco Sustainable?

Yeo Valley Organic’s Study on Sustainability Buzzwords

A study administered by Yeo Valley Organic among 2,000 adults sought to determine if sustainability buzzwords were confusing to the masses. Here are some of the findings:

  • 75% admitted that they didn’t know what terms such as “green” and “eco-friendly” meant.
  • 81% agreed that there’s a lot of jargon when it comes to sustainability and being environmentally friendly.
  • 73% agreed that there are too many eco-related words, making it difficult to differentiate the meanings.
  • 58% would like to be more educated on words and phrases associated with sustainability.
  • 74% agreed there should be more education about saving and caring for the planet.
  • 61% agreed that if we had more education around the jargon, it would lead to more people doing their best to save the planet.2

Getting Familiar With Sustainability Buzzwords

Sustainability vernacular can be seriously overwhelming sometimes. We’ve all heard and seen terms like “organic” and “zero waste,” but what do they actually mean? We’re here to help you understand the eco-friendly jargon. Here are 11 sustainability buzzwords to know:

1. Greenwashing

Greenwashing refers to marketing strategies (product labeling, ad claims, graphics, etc.) designed to make a company and/or its products appear “eco-friendly” or sustainable despite such claims being exaggerated, ambiguous, or fraudulent. If you’re worried about falling for greenwashing, check to see if the company has hard data to back up its claims. If the company hasn’t made this information available to customers, then you might have spotted a case of greenwashing.

2. Biodegradable

Biodegradable materials can be naturally broken down and returned to the Earth over time, without any processing. Ideally, but not always, these materials break down without leaving any toxins behind. The goal of supplementing biodegradable products into your everyday life is to recycle our natural resources and keep the Earth clean and free of growing landfills.

Examples of biodegradable materials and products include:

  • Bamboo
  • Cork
  • Paper
  • Beeswax
  • Cotton
  • Hemp

3. Organic

Organic farming refers to crops and animals cultivated without the use of human-made materials, such as synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, and does not contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Under the organic label, though, some synthetic materials are still allowed. Certified organic production methods reduce chemical runoff, decreasing pollution of the soil and watersheds due to not using any synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.

4. Carbon Footprint

A carbon footprint is the measure of carbon emissions produced by an individual, product, company, activity, and more. Everything has a carbon footprint, including your home, your car, each food item you consume, and so on. The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that reducing your carbon footprint is not only good for the planet’s health, but for your health as well. Ways we can lessen our carbon footprints include cycling, walking, using renewable energy to power our homes and vehicles, and reducing consumption of animal products.

Related blog post: Carbon Footprints and a Circular Economy: How You Can Contribute

5. Compostable

Compostable materials can be broken down over time, but they require specific composting conditions to do so. Composting conditions include green and brown plant materials (such as grass and leaves), moisture, and oxygen. The composting process essentially returns food scraps to the Earth where they can enrich the soil.

How to Compost

Source: EcoMena

 

Curious about how you can incorporate composting into your everyday life? Here’s how.

6. Circular Economy

The circular economy is a model of production and consumption which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing, and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible. In this way, the lifecycle of products is extended, and it keeps waste to a minimum. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a circular economy is a way for us to imitate the cycles of nature: make something, use it, and reintroduce it to nature as a nutrient, or reuse it for something else. The opposite of a circular economy is a linear economy (make something →  use it → discard it), the basis of our current economy which is leading to catastrophic natural resource depletion.

7. Upcycling

Upcycling is the use of wasted materials to make something different. An example of this would be using plastic bottles in shoes and clothing, which is actually being done by companies like Patagonia and Buffy. Upcycling prevents waste while also reducing the need for virgin materials to make new products.

Here are a few ways you can creatively upcycle items you have around your house.

8. Carbon-Neutral

If something is carbon neutral, it means that its carbon emissions and carbon absorption are equal, leading to net neutral emissions. Products, companies, and individuals can be considered carbon neutral by calculating an estimate of carbon emitting activities balanced against a calculation of carbon absorbing activities. Carbon absorbing activities include land restoration, planting trees, etc.

9. Carbon Offset

A carbon offset refers to an increase in carbon absorption or storage to compensate for carbon emissions. A carbon offset credit is an instrument certified by governments or independent agents to represent an emission reduction of one metric tonne of CO2. The purchaser of an offset credit can “retire” it to claim the underlying reduction towards climate benefit goals.

How Does Carbon Offsetting Work?

Source: Climate Active

 

10. Greenhouse Gas

Carbon emissions fall under the larger umbrella of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Often the terms “carbon emissions” and “GHGs” are used interchangeably, because the largest human pollutant and contributor to GHGs is carbon dioxide (CO2). However, there are many other problematic GHGs that are even more heat-trapping than CO2 pound-for-pound, including methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).

11. Zero Waste

Zero waste is a lifestyle or set of principles that focus on the elimination of all waste so that none of it ends up in a landfill, incinerator, or ocean. Individuals and companies who pursue a zero waste lifestyle minimize consumption, reuse, recycle, upcycle, and compost.

5 Steps to Achieve Zero Waste

Source: Keep Mass Beautiful

Humanist Beauty Practices Sustainability

Humanist Beauty knows how important protecting the environment is to ensure a healthy future for all generations after ours. We incorporate sustainability into our daily operations and business practices, and we are always striving to make Humanist Beauty more climate conscious.

We Are Carbon-Neutral

We fully support the move towards a more circular economy by maintaining a carbon-neutral footprint. To do this, forecasted annual greenhouse gases are calculated, including office operating, manufacturing, and all shipping. Through our CarbonFund.org partnership, our company has ordered credits to support reforestry initiatives that completely offset our business emissions.

We Are Striving For Zero Waste

Additionally, at Humanist Beauty, we believe that beauty should live forever – not its packaging, which is why we are now committing to becoming a zero waste brand through the help of TerraCycle’s Zero Waste Box platform.

You can send us your beauty boxes, bottles, jars, tubes, and makeup palettes. The packaging doesn’t even have to be from Humanist Beauty; it can be from any brand. We’ll even pay and provide your postage to make sending your empty packaging to us easy and seamless. Once we receive your packing, we’ll hand it over to TerraCycle to be broken down and recycled or repurposed.

Learn more about our Zero Waste Program here.

Were you familiar with all of the sustainability buzzwords covered? Test your knowledge on others with this quiz. Let us know your score in the comments.

References:

https://www.thebalancesmb.com/what-is-sustainability-3157876 [1]

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/brits-using-sustainability-buzzwords-admit-24772194 [2]

 

EWG and What It Means

If you’re into clean beauty, you’ve probably spotted a small green circle with the saying ‘EWG Verified’, but do you know what it means? EWG stands for Environmental Working Group, a non-profit organization that supports environmental legislation and reviews personal care products against a variety of international standards to assess their human and environmental health risks. Though criticized for scare-mongering, EWG does strive to educate on ingredient research and product safety with the intent to help consumers make informed and healthy purchasing choices.

About EWG

EWG was founded in 1993 by Ken Cook and Richard Wiles and is headquartered in Washington, D.C.1 According to EWG’s website, its mission is to “empower you with breakthrough research to make informed choices and live a healthy life in a healthy environment.”2

Since 2003, EWG has worked to address outdated legislation, harmful agricultural practices, and industry loopholes that pose risks to human health and the health of the environment. The organization employs a team of scientists, policy experts, lawyers, and data experts to help reform broken chemical safety systems and agriculture laws in hopes to create a safer environment.

EWG’s Areas of Focus

EWG maintains six key areas of focus and research: Food and Water, Farming and Agriculture, Personal Care Products, Household and Consumer Products, Energy, and Toxic Chemicals.

Food and Water

Pesticides and other chemicals used on the food we eat and in the water we drink have led to widespread health issues. There are more than 1,000 pesticides used around the world with different toxicological effects.3 Additionally, while 91 pollutants are regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that more than 60,000 chemicals are still used within the United States.4

EWG advocates for clean food and water. It maintains a Guide to Safe Drinking Water and also a Tap Water Database. It is currently beckoning consumers to sign its petition demanding that General Mills remove glyphosate from its food.

Farming and Agriculture

Industrial farming depends on large amounts of fertilizer and manure that can contain nitrate and other harmful agents. These chemicals run off the fields and contaminate rivers and lakes. Nitrate can trigger potentially toxic algal blooms in bodies of water, making them unsafe for recreation and drinking.5

Additionally, farmers live and work in conditions that can expose them to harmful substances. Often living with inadequate healthcare, farmers are at risk for acute and chronic illness. EWG is seeking state and federal solutions that will lead to safer agriculture, healthier work conditions, and better healthcare.

Personal Care Products

Personal care products are largely unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration. It’s been more than 80 years since Congress has updated the federal law designed to ensure personal care products are safe for use.6 Additionally, the FDA does not require or oversee basic safety testing of ingredients used in personal use products. Needless to say, this leaves the consumer exposed to using products that can be less than safe.

EWG maintains an extensive Skin Deep Consumer Guide to Cosmetics evaluating the safety profile of thousands of personal care products based on their ingredients. Clinical data, neurotoxicity, allergic reactions, endocrine disruption, and carcinogenicity are some of the warnings offered. Though the database has come under fire by some scientists for referencing bad research and overstating risk as well as its inability to accurately assess safety based upon actual ingredient levels in formulas (which tend to be proprietary), it still remains perhaps the most comprehensive database for personal care product safety in the world today.

Sunscreen has become a very hot topic in personal care product safety as of late. EWG maintains Sunscreen Guide to help consumers navigate and find safe sun protection.

Household and Consumer Products

Many household and consumer products can be unsafe to use regularly, such as cellphones, cleaning supplies, cookware, and food containers. Cellphones, for example, have long been blamed for radiation, and while the jury is still out on the subject, EWG helps keep consumers up to date on tips to reduce exposure.

Cleaning products can adversely affect our health and the environment due to ingredient toxicity. It’s been proven that cleaning personnel can develop lung damage similar to those who smoke 20 cigarettes a day over a 10 to 20 year period.7 Due to these issues, EWG created a Guide to Healthy Cleaning to help consumers make informed decisions.

Energy

States like California are leading the renewable energy movement by implementing policies that promote and support emission-free energy. This has caused forward-looking utility companies to move away from dangerous and expensive coal and nuclear power. Currently, EWG is working to advance the clean energy economy by harnessing expert analysis and data-driven resources to show how clean energy protects our health and the world we’re living in.

Reliance on fossil fuels has had devastating consequences to the environment and human health, so EWG has published a Guide to Solar Energy to further knowledge on this pressing issue.

Toxic Chemicals

EWG has advocated to eliminate toxic chemicals from food, water, clothing, and other goods, and it has also compiled a list of the most common toxic chemicals consumers come in contact with daily. Scroll to the bottom of this page to learn more.

What Does EWG Verified Mean?

The EWG Verified mark denotes products that have applied to be evaluated by the EWG research team, that meet strict criteria and safety standards, and that pay a licensing fee to use the mark in commerce. Meeting EWG’s full criteria is no easy feat.

EWG’s Standards and Criteria

Health standards in EWG’s criteria include:

  • Products must provide an expiration date or a “period of time after opening.”
  • Products must score a “green” in the EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.
  • Products cannot contain any ingredients that are listed on EWG’s “Restricted” list or “Unacceptable” list.
  • Products must be fully transparent and list all the ingredients used on the label.
  • Product manufacturers must develop and implement good production processes.

Companies with EWG Verified products must:

  • Submit all reports of product issues or serious adverse events to the U.S. Food and Drug Association and the EWG.
  • Agree that EWG can perform random product testing to ensure all products meet the EWG’s standards and criteria.
  • Fully understand that the Skin Deep database is dynamic so the scoring system can change due to EWG’s “Restricted” and “Unacceptable” list being reviewed and updated annually. A phase-in period is allowed for companies to comply with the updates.

EWG’s extensive Unacceptable and Restricted ingredient lists contain thousands of materials along with reasons why they are deemed unacceptable or restricted. EWG explains the entirety of its strict criteria here.

EWG Hazard Score

How To Get EWG Verified

It is evident that EWG cares about human health and the environment, so products need to be very specifically qualified to join the EWG Verified program. To achieve verification, here are the steps that must be taken:

  1. Review the full criteria, including the unacceptable and restricted lists.
    1. Full Criteria for Personal Products
    2. Unacceptable List for Personal Products
    3. Restricted List for Personal Products
  2. Download and complete documents required for the application:
    1. Disclosure Agreement
    2. Product Ingredient Spreadsheet (must be completed for every product)
  3. Read EWG’s Safety Substantiation Notice
  4. Complete the Application Form
  5. Within 2 to 4 weeks, an update will be given. If the product is eligible to move forward in the verification process, documents will need to be submitted to prove that the product complies with applicable restrictions. Once the documents are submitted, another update on the approval of the product will be provided within 4 to 6 weeks.
  6. The licensing contract and master affidavit will be delivered once the product is approved.
  7. Once the contract is finalized, access and training on how to use the mark will be provided.

EWG Verified Logo

Humanist Beauty Herban Wisdom™ Facial Oil is EWG Verified

Humanist Beauty Herban Wisdom™ Facial Oil is EWG Verified, which means that we have met EWG’s criteria for being fully transparent with ingredients used, maintaining good manufacturing practices, and being fully committed to human health and the environment.

Herban Wisdom™ Facial Oil is made from 100% naturally-derived vegan ingredients, along with being cruelty-free, dye-free, gluten-free, paraben-free, and triple-tested. View its complete ingredient glossary on our website, and shop the Herban Wisdom™ Facial Oil here.

 

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_Working_Group [1]

https://www.ewg.org/who-we-are/our-mission [2]

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/pesticide-residues-in-food#:~:text=There%20are%20more%20than%201000,different%20properties%20and%20toxicological%20effects. [3]

https://blog.primowater.com/blog/common-chemicals-in-tap-water#:~:text=While%2091%20pollutants%20are%20regulated,used%20within%20the%20United%20States. [4]

https://www.betalabservices.com/nitrates-in-water/#:~:text=Algal%20Bloom%20in%20Florida%20and%20the%20Role%20of%20Nitrates&text=Algal%20bloom%20is%20defined%20as,referred%20to%20as%20nutrient%20pollution. [5]

https://www.ewg.org/areas-focus/personal-care-products/cosmetics [6]

https://www.econsciousliving.com/chemicals-in-cleaning-products/

Top 10 Environmental Charities to Support

If you’re reading this, chances are you care a lot about environmental charities, advocating for climate change, and upholding the planet we live on. There are numerous facets in the fight for climate justice, such as environmental health and justice, education, conservation, and advocacy. With that being said, there are also an abundant amount of nonprofit environmental charities looking for support. With so many out there, how on Earth are you supposed to choose?

Using Charity Navigator, which is a charity assessment organization that evaluates thousands of nonprofits, we’ve rounded up the top 10 environmental charities to support right now. Here are the most recommended environmental charities, as listed by Charity Navigator, to keep an eye on:

1.   Earthjustice

EarthJustice Logo

Earthjustice was founded in 1971 to challenge those who put profit and power before people and our planet. It’s comprised of 160 environmental lawyers who wield the power of law and the strength of partnership to protect people’s health, preserve magnificent places and wildlife, advance clean energy, and combat climate change.1 Additionally, Earthjustice has over 500 clients, whom they represent free of charge, that consists of community organizations, Indigenous groups, Tribes, national nonprofits, and more.

A few of Earthjustice’s recent victories in the courtroom include:

  • The ban of brain-damaging Pesticide Chlorpyrifos in New York2
  • Protections of “America’s Climate Forest” from major old-growth logging3
  • The end of the world’s largest fracked gas-to-methanol refinery4
  • Suspending a 49,000 hog farm in the Mayan Community of Mexico5
  • And many more.

Earthjustice promises to always move forward with taking on high-stakes cases for an enduring impact and continue crafting regulatory, legislative, and communications strategies to solidify the lasting impacts of their victories.

Check out its Action Tip Guide to find your way to speak out.

2.   The Climate Reality Project

The Climate Reality Project Logo

In 2006 former US Vice President and Nobel Laureate Al Gore caught the attention of the entire world with his Academy Award-winning film, An Inconvenient Truth. Later that same year, he founded and formed what would soon be known as The Climate Reality Project, which focuses on making urgent action a necessity for a global solution to the climate crisis.

The Climate Reality Project actively recruits, trains, and mobilizes individuals to become powerful activists that can transform society. It teaches exceptional skills and provides campaigns and resources to push for climate action and policies that will accelerate the world’s transition to clean energy.

Currently, The Climate Reality Project has trained over 31,000 activists that fight for climate change in their 10 branches, which are located in Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, The Philippines, South Africa, China, and the United States.

To learn more about The Climate Reality Project’s training and how you can make a difference, click here.

3.   National Environmental Education Foundation

NEEF Logo

The National Environmental Education Foundation, or NEEF, was created in 1990 as a nonprofit to complement the work of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Today, however, the NEEF is dedicated to creating opportunities for people to experience and learn about the environment to improve their health and the planet. 

NEEF maintains that caring and supporting the planet shouldn’t be limited to one group of people, which is why it offers a variety of grants and awards to help organizations build diversity. Additionally, all of its programs and online courses are designed to reach audiences of all perspectives, backgrounds, and geographies, and identities.6

DE&I Goals

Source: NEEF

If you’re interested in learning more about NEEF’s online courses and how to further your knowledge of the environment, sign up for its newsletter to stay informed.

4.   350.org

350.org Logo

Founded in 2008, 350.org aims to build a global climate movement with ordinary people working to end the age of fossil fuels and build a world of community-led renewable energy for all.7

Here’s how 350.org plans to get there:

  • Support community-led energy solutions for a fast transition to 100% renewable energy for every single person.
  • Bring all oil, coal, and gas projects to a halt by utilizing local resolutions and community resistance.
  • End all financing and social licensing for fossil fuel companies.

The organization has done amazing things for the environment thus far, such as playing an instrumental role in bringing about the Paris Climate Agreement. Additionally, last year, 350.org organized the biggest climate mobilization in history, known as the Global Climate Strike, which saw over 7.6 million people taking to the streets to demand climate action.

To get involved and find a 350.org group near you or start your own, venture around this interactive map.

5.   1% for the Planet

Established in 2002, 1% for the Planet was created by B Corp Brand founders Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia and Craig Mathews of Blue Ribbon Files. The duo pledged to give 1% of sales back to the environment…even if they weren’t profitable. According to Yvon, the intent of 1% of the Planet is “to help fund these diverse environmental organizations so that collectively they can be a more powerful source in solving the world’s problems.”8

Currently, 1% of the Planet has more than 3,000 members who help spread the word and fight for their 1%. For example, Jack Johnson, a long-time member of the organization, showcases his 1% by leading missions to preserve the shores of Hawaii. Additionally, his 2005 album, Between Dreams, was the first to carry the 1% label, and his 2005 world tour promoted 1% of the Planet’s mission and helped to launch the organization.9

This charity has given hundreds of millions of dollars to environmental nonprofits around the world. The total giving by 1% of the Planet across its 6 core areas are:

  • Climate: 41%
  • Land: 21%
  • Water: 15%
  • Food: 10%
  • Wildlife: 7%
  • Pollution: 6%

You can view 1% of the Planet’s solutions regarding its 6 core areas here.

6.   The Sierra Club Foundation

Sierra Club Foundation Logo

The Sierra Club Foundation was founded in 1960 and relies on both individual and institutional donors to fund its campaigns for innovation, to help build capacity in the environmental movement, and to create partnerships between allied organizations. Its mission is to educate and empower the people to protect and improve the environment.

According to its website, The Sierra Club Foundation’s goals are:

  • Solve the climate crisis by transitioning to a resource-efficient, clean energy economy
  • Secure protection for public lands and water and promote healthy ecosystems
  • Expand opportunities for more individuals to enjoy, explore, and protect the planet
  • Build a diverse, inclusive environmental movement that reflects and represents today’s American public

The Sierra Club Foundation’s collaborations with various nonprofits associations and community groups have helped further its cause with successful campaigns such as Our Wild America, Beyond Coal, and Sierra Club Outdoors.

If you’re interested in becoming a member, fill out the form here to get more information.

7.   Friends of the Earth

Friends of Earth Logo

Friends of the Earth was established in 1969 in San Francisco by Donald Aitken, David Brower, and Gary Soucie. In 1971, it became an international network of organizations with a meeting of representatives from four countries: the United States, Sweden, the UK, and France. Today, though, Friends of the Earth operates in 71 countries.

Friends of the Earth pushes for reforms that are needed to make our planet more sustainable and healthier. The organization has three main principles that guide its work, which are being bold with a fearless voice, fighting for a systematic transformation, and organizing and building long-term power.

This international organization covers a wide array of environmental and social issues, such as:

  • Climate, Gender, and Economic Justice
  • Promoting Biodiversity
  • Defending Human Rights
  • School of Sustainability
  • Food Sovereignty

To take a deep dive into its current campaigns, such as the “We Can and Must Save Our Pollinators from Extinction” effort, take a look at its current list to see how you can make a difference.

8.   Union of Concerned Scientists

Union of Concerned Scientists Logo

Founded over 50 years ago by scientists and students of MIT, the Union of Concerned Scientists has now grown into a national movement. It is composed of 250 scientists, analysts, policy, and communication experts that aim to use rigorous, independent science to make change happen.

The experts and everyday members of the Union of Concerned Scientists work tirelessly to:

  • Combat climate change and alleviate the harm caused by the heat, sea level. risings, and other consequences of runaway emissions.
  • Create sustainable alternatives to feed, power, and transport ourselves.
  • Reduce the threat of nuclear war.
  • Fight back when large corporations mislead the public.
  • Ensure that solutions further racial and economic equity.

The Union of Concerned Scientists has an abundance of successful wins, but most recently, the charity achieved the enactment of California’s 100% Clean Energy Bill. This bill allows California to step front and center to lead with scientific innovations that will slow climate change.

You can engage in the Union of Concerned Scientists’ campaigns and missions, too. Click here to view its brochure to learn more.

9.   Nature and Culture International

Nature and Culture International Logo

Nature and Culture International (NCI) was founded in 1997 by San Diego businessman Ivan Gaylor after he witnessed the destruction of the Amazon while flying across South America. Ivan then met with Renzo Paladines, now the NCI Vice President and Director of Naturaleza y Cultura Ecuador, and together they created an ecosystem conservation project, buying land that was threatened in southern Ecuador.10

Currently, 91% of NIC’s staff work in South America and Mexico, leading fights for the protection of the most biodiverse forests in the world and the natives who live in them. They’ve conserved 21 million acres of forest that holds 3.4 tons of carbon, which helps keep deforestation at bay. NIC has also worked with 32 indigenous communities that are committed to the protection of their land.

NIC’s reserves are huge. Here’s a way to visualize them in comparison to Oahu, the main island of the state of Hawaii which is 382,000 acres:

  • The Entre Rios Reserve in Bolivia is close to the size of Oahu.
  • The Maijuna Indigenous Reserve in Peru is 3 times the size of Oahu.
  • The Pastaza Reserve in the Ecuadorian Amazon is 17 times the size of Oahu.

A Map of Oahu

Source: NIC Website

The NIC was featured on PBS with a small documentary detailing its mission and how even one person can make a difference. You can watch the episode here.

10.   As You Sow

As You Sow is the nation’s non-profit leader in shareholder advocacy. It was founded in 1992 to harness the power of shareholders to create lasting changes that benefit the planet, people, and profit. Its mission is to build a safe, just, and sustainable world where the protection of the environment and human rights is central to corporate decision-making.

As You Sow works directly with corporate CEOs, management, and institutional investors to discuss how changes can be made for more eco-friendly corporations. The charity further presses the importance of long-term decisions and how ignoring the impact of its policies and actions can cause negative implications down the line for the planet and people.

The organization actively publishes its resolutions with corporations on its website. A few of the most recent are:

  • Amazon was asked to reduce the use of plastic within their products
  • Automatic Data Processing (ADP) and AutoZone were asked to issue a report that discloses their plans to minimize greenhouse gas emissions that are aligned with the Paris Agreement goals
  • Booking Holdings was requested to allow shareholders the opportunity to vote on the global climate benchmarks they approve or disapprove of that are mentioned on the company’s publicly available climate policies and strategies webpage

As You Sow keeps an up-to-date blog where it discloses the campaigns it is currently working on. Additionally, if you own a company or invest, it has a voting page on its website that prompts on how to vote for shares.

Humanist Beauty Supports Carbon Fund

Humanist Beauty knows the importance of supporting environmental non-profits to stand tall against the climate crisis we are currently enduring. The brand maintains a carbon-neutral footprint by calculating annual greenhouse gas emissions, which includes office operations, manufacturing, and all shipping. Through Carbon Fund, Humanist Beauty has ordered credits to support reforestry initiatives that completely offset greenhouse gas emissions.

CarbonFund Partner 2021 seal

Carbon Fund is a leader in the fight against climate change by providing education, carbon offsets, and reductions, and reaching out to the public. Carbon Fund, along with Humanist Beauty, is always taking actions to move towards a sustainable future where our planet and people are healthy.

References:

https://earthjustice.org/about [1]

https://earthjustice.org/news/press/2021/new-york-bans-brain-damaging-pesticide-chlorpyrifos [2]

https://earthjustice.org/brief/2021/americas-climate-forest-now-safe-from-major-old-growth-logging [3]

https://earthjustice.org/news/press/2021/washington-climate-activists-celebrate-victory-over-massive-fracked-gas-refinery [4]

https://earthjustice.org/news/press/2021/mexican-supreme-court-ruled-in-favor-of-mayan-community-suspends-49-000-hog-farm [5]

https://www.neefusa.org/about-neef [6]

https://350.org/about/ [7]

https://www-onepercentfortheplanet-org.sandbox.hs-sites.com/en/about?__hstc=129216466.b5f82f8f6f031650bf46d7630076e39c.1627243523289.1627243523289.1627243523289.1&__hssc=129216466.1.1627243523290&__hsfp=1861548089 [8]

https://www.johnsonohana.org/about#:~:text=In%202004%2C%20Jack%20Johnson%20became,helped%20to%20launch%20the%20organization. [9]

https://www.worldlandtrust.org/who-we-are-2/partners/nature-and-culture-international/#:~:text=Nature%20and%20Culture%20International%20(NCI,while%20flying%20across%20South%20America. [10]

Single-Use Items Need to Go

The convenience of single-use items comes with a massive environmental cost. Unknowingly, your day is probably filled with single-use items that will eventually fill landfills and the ocean. The disposable coffee cups you grab in the morning from your local shop are made with hard-to-recycle materials such as styrofoam, polyethylene, or polypropylene. And the plastic straws? They’re just as dreadful for the environment.

We are producing over 380 tons of plastic every year, and it’s estimated that 50% of that is for single-use purposes.1 However, other materials besides plastic, such as paper, cardboard, styrofoam, and more, are just as bad. It’s time to become more aware of these materials and the single-use items we use regularly. That way, we will help to create a more circular economy for a far more sustainable future.

The Truth Behind Single-Use Plastic Items

Around 40% of single-use plastics are consumed and then discarded.2 Additionally, between 5 and 13 million tons of plastic is estimated to end up in the ocean every year. Single-use plastics need hundreds of years to break down in landfills. Disposable plastic items, such as plastic straws, coffee stirrers, food packaging, bags, and water bottles, never break down completely.3 Instead, they degrade and become microplastics. Plastic has an abundance of negative effects on the environment:

Wildlife Is Suffering

Every year, animals are killed by plastic. Approximately 700 species, even some that are endangered, have been affected by the material.4 Also, more than 100 aquatic species have been found with microplastics inside them, which can lead to pierced organs or digestive tract issues that can potentially lead to death.

Many seabirds, turtles, fish, and marine mammals are found with plastic bags or fishing gear in their stomachs. Currently, marine litter is 60% to 80% plastic, leaving these animals to constantly be ingesting toxic seawater that is full of chemicals from plastic decomposition.5

Our Oceans Are Full of Trash

The oceans are filled with trash, especially single-use plastic items. Our throw-away lifestyle is negatively affecting almost all areas of our ecosystem, especially the ocean.

Every year, 8 million tons of plastic enter the ocean, which is equivalent to one truckload dumped into the ocean every minute of the day. Currently, unless it’s burned, almost every piece of plastic that’s ever been created still exists today. When these plastics enter the ocean, their effects can be felt for centuries.6

The Pacific Trash Vortex, which is in the North Pacific Ocean, holds an exceptionally high concentration of single-use plastics that have been trapped by currents. It is estimated to be twice the size of Texas, and according to research, its contents are rapidly accumulating.

A map of the plastic trash vortex

The Span of the Pacific Trash Vortex. Source: Wikipedia

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Are No Joke

When disposable plastics degrade in the environment, they emit greenhouse gasses. After the plastic is exposed to sunlight, it produces methane and ethylene. These two gasses are detrimental to the environment. It is reported that emissions from the life cycle of plastic accounts for 3.8% of global greenhouse gas emissions.7 Once released, these gasses can be toxic and have adverse effects on the animal and plant habitat.

It is estimated that in 2050, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from plastic could grow to more than 2.75 billion tons. Additionally, this also means that plastic will be responsible for up to 13% of the total “carbon budget,” which is equivalent to 615 coal-fired power plants.8 The plastic binge we’ve been on is threatening the Paris Agreement, which is a legally binding international treaty on climate change.

Source: WWF

Other Harmful Single-Use Materials

Single-use items aren’t always packaged in plastic. There is a multitude of other unsustainable materials that are also heavily used and just as detrimental to the environment. A few of these materials that you likely come across daily are:

  • Cardboard: Think about how many boxes you receive on your doorstep step every month. It’s probably more cardboard than you think. Cardboard comes from wood pulp, which contributes to methane emissions while breaking down.9 Plus, imagine all of the trees cut down to create cardboard. Additionally, those juice, milk, soup and other liquid-filled cardboard packages we buy are lined with plastic or wax. This helps them retain the liquid without breaking down, but unfortunately renders the packages unrecyclable.
  • Paper: A paper bag takes 4 times the amount of energy to produce than a plastic one. Also, the energy required for paper is significantly greater than that needed to recycle the same weight of plastic.
  • Styrofoam: Styrofoam is a trademarked brand name that has come to refer to the material made from expanded polystyrene foam (EPS) or plastic foam. Styrofoam doesn’t break down properly, as it takes around 500 years to decompose.10
  • Aluminum Foil: Many food products and face masks are packaged using aluminum foil. Clean aluminum foil can be recycled, however much of the foil packaging that is used for personal care tubes, wipes, sheet masks, frozen foods, snacks, and coffee is multilayered with plastic fused to the aluminum. Some packaging is made of up to seven layers of plastic and foil. Currently, there is no machinery to separate these layers, so it becomes completely unrecyclable.
  • Glass: While glass includes some natural materials, it also requires sand. Unfortunately, we are running out of sand around the world. When these elements are removed from wildlife habitats, ecosystems can be disrupted. Glass production also releases carbon into the atmosphere.11

A chart showing the top countries that consume single-use plastic. China is #1, the US is #2. Other countries are far below.

Source: Financial Times

What Are The Most Offending Single-Use Items?

Avoiding extra waste is key to reversing the environmental crisis we are currently facing. It is hard to avoid single-use items these days; however, many companies are creating innovative alternatives. By becoming aware of the negative impacts of single-use packaging and how commonly we succumb to them, the change can begin.

Here are a few of the worst offending single-use items and their alternatives:

Plastic Water Bottles

Did you know that around 25% of bottled water is actually just tap water?12 80% of plastic water bottles end up in landfills. And for each bottle, it takes 1,000 years to fully break down. As they decompose, they leak harmful chemicals into the atmosphere.

Alternatives: Opt for a reusable water bottle and invest in a tap filter at home or a filtering jug. Check out this reusable water bottle that is made out of 50% recycled material!

Paper Coffee Cups

Each paper cup, taking into account the paper, the sleeve, the production, and shipping, emits around 0.11 kilograms of CO2.13 Additionally, paper cup production results in ecosystem degradation, a reduction of the planet’s carbon absorption capacity, and the loss of trees. 4 billion gallons of water are wasted every year to produce single-use cups and enough energy to power 54,000 homes.14

Alternatives: Bring your own reusable travel mug to your favorite coffee shop in the mornings. Here’s one that is insulated and has a handle so the barista can pour your drink of choice with ease.

Disposable Utensils

It is estimated that in the United States alone, 40 billion plastic utensils are wasted every year. Plastic utensils, even when put in the recycling bin, don’t often get recycled because of food contamination and incompatibility with sorting equipment due to their small size and light weight.15

The #CutOutCutlery campaign is asking many businesses, such as Grubhub, Postmates, and UberEats, to include an option on apps for customers to decide if they want utensils included with their delivery. This would make opting out of disposable utensils the default choice.

Alternatives: There are lots of biodegradable utensils available, such as this set that’s made out of 100% untreated bamboo that’s cultivated without pesticides and fertilizers. The utensils are also BPA-free and recyclable.

Menstrual Products

Around 20 billion tampons and pads are dumped into the landfill every year. Conventional pads contain the equivalent of about four plastic bags! Additionally, the polyethylene plastic in pads can take hundreds of years to decompose.16

Alternatives: Invest in reusable pads. Try grabbing some from Rael, which is a great mission-driven brand. You can also try a menstrual cup from DivaCup if you aren’t a fan of pads.

Plastic Straws

You’ve probably seen the viral video of the sea turtle that had a plastic straw stuck in its nose. It was horrible to see, but it probably made you rethink using plastic straws. As it is, 500 million straws are used daily in the United States.17 Due to the chemicals that most straws are made of, they can’t be recycled. Additionally, the majority of plastic straws are not biodegradable and cannot be broken down naturally by bacteria and other decomposers into non-toxic materials.

Alternatives: FinalStraw created an innovative alternative to plastic straws by making a reusable silicone and stainless steel hybrid straw. It also collapses to make keeping it on hand easier.

Tips to Avoid Single-Use Items

Making simple swaps, like purchasing a reusable water bottle, coffee container, or straw, can spare the environment tons of unsustainable waste each year. Here are a few tips for ridding your life of single-use items for good:

  • Always have reusable bags on hand, especially for grocery shopping.
  • Cook at home more often to avoid plastic take-out containers.
  • Buy in bulk to keep away from individually packaged items.
  • Walk, bike, or take public transportation to buy items and avoid unnecessary packaging used during shipping.
  • Ask for non-plastic alternatives at restaurants.
  • Avoid plastic wrap by using reusable containers to keep your food fresh.
  • Speak out and let companies know that you care about packaging!

We’ve Signed the #StopSingleUse Petition

The Human Beauty Movement and Humanist Beauty have had the last straw. We’ve signed the #StopSingleUse petition and pledged to not sell or distribute any items that are used once and thrown away, such as sheet masks, pads, wipes, sample packets, and other single-use products. We are very aware of how single-use items negatively impact the environment and are actively striving for a cleaner, more sustainable planet.

Join us and Credo Beauty, the creator of the petition, to get rid of the items we use for minutes and then toss in the trash. Sign your name here to show your support.

https://www.google.com/search?q=how+many+plastics+are+used+yearly+for+products&rlz=1CAZLOS_enUS930&oq=how+many+plastics+are+used+yearly+for+products&aqs=chrome..69i57j33i160.10495j1j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8 [1]

https://www.wwf.org.au/news/blogs/10-worst-single-use-plastics-and-eco-friendly-alternatives#gs.3q5ser [2]

https://www.columbiatribune.com/news/20190107/ask-scientist-why-is-it-so-hard-to-decompose-plastic#:~:text=Most%20plastics%20in%20use%20today,bacteria%20cannot%20break%20them%20down. [3]

https://cbmjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13021-018-0115-3 [3]

https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/ocean_plastics/ [4]

https://plastic-pollution.org/ [5]

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/11/chart-of-the-day-this-is-how-long-everyday-plastic-items-last-in-the-ocean/ [6]

https://theconversation.com/plastic-warms-the-planet-twice-as-much-as-aviation-heres-how-to-make-it-climate-friendly-116376 [7]

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/15/single-use-plastics-a-serious-climate-change-hazard-study-warns [8]

https://cbmjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13021-018-0115-3 [9]

https://sciencing.com/facts-about-landfill-styrofoam-5176735.html#:~:text=According%20to%20Washington%20University%2C%20Styrofoam,major%20ecological%20impact%20is%20great. [10]

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17583004.2018.1457929?journalCode=tcmt20#:~:text=Glass%20is%20one%20of%20the,large%20quantity%20of%20CO2%20emissions.&text=CO2%20emissions%20from%20fossil%20fuel,potential%20exists%20for%20emission%20reduction. [11]

https://www.nrdc.org/stories/truth-about-tap#:~:text=In%20fact%2C%20an%20estimated%2025,be%20relatively%20clean%20and%20pure. [12]

https://ourworld.unu.edu/en/storm-in-a-paper-cup#:~:text=According%20to%20one%20study%20on,about%200.11%20kilograms%20of%20CO2. [13]

https://ourworld.unu.edu/en/storm-in-a-paper-cup#:~:text=According%20to%20one%20study%20on,about%200.11%20kilograms%20of%20CO2. [14]

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lauratenenbaum/2019/07/16/plastic-cutlery-is-terrible-for-the-environment-and-we-dont-need-to-have-it-delivered/#:~:text=Some%20estimates%20put%20the%20number,put%20it%20in%20the%20recycling. [15]

https://friendsoftheearth.uk/sustainable-living/plastic-periods-menstrual-products-and-plastic-pollution#:~:text=One%20estimate%20is%20that%20pads,)%20and%20polypropylene%20(PP)  [16]

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MGVXFWJ?tag=dotdashtreehu-20&linkCode=ogi&th=1&psc=1&ascsubtag=5087056%7Cn057b7a156a374946b49aa4bf9af0226522 [17]

Beauty Waste and Eco Buzzwords

The beauty industry generates up to $532 billion in revenue every year, but this demand comes with a massive environmental impact. With more than 120 billion units of packaging produced globally, only 9% of those products produced are recycled, 12% are incinerated, and the remaining 79% end up in landfills.1 Additionally, many of the 120 billion units are not recyclable at all.

Our ocean is becoming a sea of trash with plastic bottles, grocery bags, lipstick tubes, and powder compacts floating within the waves. Data has proven that by the middle of this century, the ocean will contain more plastic by weight than fish.2 However, many organizations within the beauty industry are becoming more conscious in terms of product packaging, sustainability, and misleading buzzwords, such as Allure and yours truly, Humanist Beauty. By becoming aware of beauty waste’s impact on the environment, you’ll see why joining the packaging revolution is necessary.

Beauty Waste Isn’t Pretty

Since 1960, plastic packaging is now used 20 times more often. 7.9 billion units of rigid plastic were used for beauty and personal care products in the United States in 2018.3 According to National Geographic, there are over five trillion pieces of plastic in our oceans. These are astounding numbers, proving that we aren’t recycling beauty products as much as we think.

In the past, many beauty and personal care products weren’t made with plastic. Soaps came as a bar, perfume was packaged in luxurious glass bottles, and hair care products were usually a pomade or powder in a tin. So why does the beauty industry rely so heavily on plastic today? The answer is simple: the plastic explosion of the mid-20th century.

During this time, the beauty industry switched its packaging methods to plastic. This is due to plastic being cheaper and easily moldable, while also being light and sturdy. Additionally, many products had to be created for different conditions. For example, soap and hair-care products began being sold in bottles so they would float to the surface of the water in bathtubs or rivers. 4

Microplastics

Microplastics, which are tiny globules, are used to add grit to beauty and self-care products, like exfoliators, toothpaste, and even glitter for extra shine. Essentially, microplastics are made of many plastic particles that are smaller than five millimeters in diameter.

Water filters are not designed to sift elements that are smaller than five millimeters. This is why microplastic particles are contaminating our oceans and being consumed by birds and marine wildlife. Humans are no exception to the microplastics issue, though, since particles have been found in water bottles. Consuming microplastics can eventually lead to cancer.5

The United States banned microbeads with the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015. However, many manufacturers have found loopholes in the ruling by changing their plastic particles to biodegradable plastic. While biodegradable plastic is more environmentally friendly because of its faster natural breakdown, the particles still end up getting consumed by animals.

Here are a few natural alternatives to microplastics:

  • Ground Fruit Kernels
  • Nuts
  • Honey
  • Sand
  • Beeswax
  • Seeds
  • Sugar
  • Oatmeal
  • Ground Coffee
  • Salt

Excess Packaging

Packaging is the number one contributor to plastic production in the world and offender for plastic waste pollution.6 Additionally, research has found that packaging accounted for 146 million tons of plastic every year.

Plastic is not the only waste that’s created by the beauty industry. Cellophane, cardboard, and paper waste are also problematic. For example, paper boxes used as outer packages for toothpaste and large cream jars – items that have space for legal copy and don’t require another layer of protective material – contribute to deforestation, increased water consumption, and CO2 emissions.7

While many beauty and self-care products come in glitzy and luxurious boxes, the fact of the matter is that it’s just not necessary. Cutting out waste pollution is crucial, and the extra packaging needs to go.

Recycling Plastic Products

Plastic packaging that is necessary should always be reusable, recyclable, and compostable. Necessary plastics are containers that could potentially be dangerous to our health and safety. For example, plastic is used in shower packaging because glass bottles (with their tendency to break when dropped) are not practical.

By making sure packaging can be recycled responsibly, our environment will move towards a more circular economy, which is a way for us to imitate the cycles of nature by making something, using it, and reintroducing it into nature as a nutrient or something else. The loop of a circular economy entails the elimination of waste, regeneration of natural systems, and keeping materials and products in use.

TerraCycle, an American recycling company that recycles products like coffee pods, contact lenses, and other types of waste, is tackling the recycling issue from many angles. The company recognizes that almost everything can be recycled. TerraCycle collects typically hard-to-recycle items through natural, first-of-their-kind programs. Many beauty brands, such as Garnier, Colgate, Weleda, and now, Humanist Beauty, have worked with TerraCycle to offer a free recycling program for beauty waste.

How You Can Help Cut Down Waste Pollution

Cutting down the beauty industry’s waste production will take time, but there are a few things you can do to aid in the quest for a healthier environment:

  • Avoid buying or using single-use items, and consider the life cycle of your purchase.
  • Choose products that have reusable and recyclable packaging. Also, take advantage of refill and recycling initiatives.
  • Read ingredient labels to see if they contain any enviro-damaging material in the form of microbeads or glitter (look for polyethylene or polyurethane). If they do, don’t buy them.
  • Replace short life cycle items, such as plastic shower sponges, for more natural options like plant-based loofahs.
  • Use all of a product before buying more.
  • Download the Beat the Microbead app to check your products at home.

Allure’s Sustainability Pledge

On Earth Day, Allure affirmed their commitment to choosing their words with clarity and certainty when reporting on “sustainable” packaging. Allure addressed that many significant strides are being made to eliminate beauty waste; however, there is more that needs to be done to fully understand the realities and impacts of beauty waste on the planet.

Allure will now be more conscious when it comes to sustainability buzzwords that they’ll no longer employ, or will only use with careful consideration of qualifications. Here is its pledge further in-depth:

  • Allure will no longer mention the word “recyclable” when it comes to any type of plastic. Considering that only 9% of plastic waste has ever been turned into something that can be used again, it’s obvious that the term “recycling” isn’t being utilized correctly. Using less plastic is the only way to solve the problem.
  • What does “green” mean? Who knows. Allure won’t use the word “green” unless it’s describing something verdant in color.
  • Allure will only use the word “biodegradable” with vast specifics. The word is defined as “of a substance or object that’s capable of being decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms. However, most plastics are stable in landfills, due to petroleum being processed into plastic thus making them no longer biodegradable. Additionally, most landfills don’t have enough oxygen to break down the plastics.
  • The word “compostable” will only be used by Allure when describing a product that can be broken down by a residential composter. Additionally, the product must be broken down in around 90 days with zero soil toxicity. Many composting programs divert organic material into valuable products, but only 4% of Americans have access to curbside pickup to transport their compost. According to TerraCycle, only 10% of industrial facilities accept compostable plastics.
  • Allure recognizes the term “zero-waste” as being undefined, so they will no longer use the word. Instead, they will consult with the brand to explain exactly what “zero-waste” means.
  • Unless a product doesn’t exist, Allure promises to never describe a product as being “Earth-friendly.” This also goes for the terms “eco-friendly” and “planet-friendly.”

Humanist Beauty applauds Allure’s buzzword revolution. Allure’s pledge is clear, concise, and adequately evaluates all the problems with wrongful descriptors that are severely overused and lack truth.

Humanist Beauty’s Circular Movement and Zero Waste Program

At Humanist Beauty, we believe that beauty should live endlessly, but not its packaging. While we don’t call our product or packaging zero-waste, we do strive to use the most environmentally conscientious packaging options possible:

  • The majority of Humanist Beauty’s packaging is made from glass and paperboard, which is recyclable.
  • We use post-consumer recycled paper-based packaging for our shipping materials with no plastic void fill or tape.
  • Humanist Beauty minimizes the use of virgin plastic while seeking to further avoid virgin plastic componentry as we grow.

Humanist Beauty praises Allure’s assurances and will also spread the knowledge with our own Zero Waste Program that is in conjunction with the TerraCycle Zero Waste Box.

Send us your beauty boxes, bottles, jars, tubes and makeup palettes. The packaging doesn’t even have to be from Humanist Beauty, it can be from any beauty brand. We’ll even pay and provide your postage to make sending your empty beauty packaging to us easy and seamless. Once we receive your packaging, we’ll hand it over to TerraCycle to be broken down and recycled or repurposed.

Here are a few notes about the Zero Waste Program, because we promise to always be transparent:

  • As of right now, our Zero Waste Program is only accepting packages from 48 contiguous states.
  • Humanist Beauty is a small company, so right now we can only accommodate funding for a 1-pound package per customer per month.
  • If you’d like to pay for your postage if you have more than one pound of packaging, feel free to send it all to: Humanist Beauty x TerraCycle, 9400 Corbin Ave. #1065 Northridge, CA 91324.
  • We will keep this page updated with any further enhancements to our Zero Waste Program.

If you’re interested in sending us your packaging, you can fill out the form here to receive your prepaid return label. We are excited to take this step with you to help conserve our precious planet and its resources.

References:

https://www.beatthemicrobead.org/plastic-free-beauty-the-new-normal/ [1]

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2016/01/20/by-2050-there-will-be-more-plastic-than-fish-in-the-worlds-oceans-study-says/ [2]

https://www.allure.com/story/beauty-industry-packaging-waste [3]

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11059363/ [4]

https://www.treehugger.com/plastic-particles-are-raining-down-remote-areas-4855410 [5]

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/oct/30/us-and-uk-citizens-are-worlds-biggest-sources-of-plastic-waste-study#:~:text=The%20US%20and%20UK%20produce,plastic%20pollution%20in%20the%20oceans. [6]

http://www.gittemary.com/2020/03/how-sustainable-is-paper-cardboard.html [7]