When it comes to Sustainability in Beautycare or cosmetics industry, we tend to think of products that go by the labels of “green cosmetics”. However, there’s more to it than what meets the eye.
Green cosmetics aren’t always eco-friendly and have an effect on our carbon footprint. The thing to look out for are eco friendly Beauty Care products that are packaged sensibly, have natural ingredients and use less processing and no chemicals.
Let’s take a look at how it works
The Idea Of Green Cosmetics
Green cosmetics or sustainable cosmetics are beauty and skin care products that are made of natural ingredients like plant based oils, fruits, leaves, bacteria etc instead of harmful chemicals like parabens, synthetic antioxidants, petrochemical derivatives, and are packaged in sustainable materials like steel, tin or glass. It also means they are either handmade or created with little to no processing and waste creation.
However, most cosmetics that are labelled green or sustainable don’t follow this pattern and often go by only natural ingredients fortified products. So, the ideal green cosmetics are the ones which have oleochemicals made from renewable plant and bacterial sources along with packaging made of steel or glass which are 70-80% recyclable.
Harmful Effects of Cosmetics
The cosmetics industry generates a huge amount of waste, pollution and species related problems that affect our environment. The global cosmetics industry produces 120 billion units of products every year most of which are plastics ending up in landfills and oceans
- Annually, 18 million acres of forest land is lost because of conventional beauty care products. Palm oil, an essential ingredient of glycerine used in cosmetics, has resulted in 70% deforestation in Europe.
- The azobenzene used in sunscreen causes coral reef degradation which in turn is causing a rise in global temperature and climate change.
- Microplastics from body lotions, creams and other Beauty Care products regularly pollute the ocean. Studies show that over 8 trillion microbeads enter our waterways every day from exfoliating creams and scrubs used by people
- Volatile Organic Compounds from hair sprays and perfumes add to air pollution
- Most beauty products have plastic packaging or a mixture of plastic, paper, glass or metal material which is difficult to recycle. This either adds to landfill problems or plastic pollution in the ocean.
- Added to all this, conventional cosmetics often involve animal products and animal testing.
So, cosmetics and beauty & skin care products are making a heavy impact globally, accelerating the climate change process directly. The only way to cure this is concrete efforts towards sustainability.
How Eco Friendly Cosmetics Help?
- Each of these things have a low waste, low processing and low toxic effect which makes it the best alternative to reduce your carbon footprint.
- They are made from natural ingredients made of tropical fruits, natural oils like coconut oil, natural antioxidants like Aloe Vera that are rich in vitamins, minerals and other phytochemicals. Thus, they are more nourishing, self cleansing and detoxifying in nature.
- The oleochemicals derived from plants and bacteria don’t react with your body and leave no harmful toxic substances in the environment like petrochemicals. In fact, phthalates found in petrochemicals used in conventional beauty products have been linked to cancer.
- Green cosmetics are relatively easier to make and contain readily available things like fatty acids which can be easily added from plant sources.
- They create better beauty products which are more effective and last long.
- Their longevity makes it a cost effective economic solution.
How Does It Align With Sustainable Development Goals?
In recent years, a rising level of environmental awareness and easily available choices have led to a boom in organic beauty brands and startups.
The Indian beauty and personal care industry is worth 14 billion dollars!
In 2013, the green cosmetics market grew by 15% globally. Overall, the personal care and cosmetics industry is growing at the rate of 5% annually. The global organic beauty industry will be worth $25.11 billion by 2025, and India, the 8th largest beauty industry in the world, is structurally positioned to benefit from it.
As the demand for oleochemicals increases in the eco-friendly cosmetics market , Asia-Pacific is at the centre stage with 41.9% of market worth back in 2013. This is due to a huge supply of organic raw materials and a wide range of consumers at their disposal. In fact, fatty acid, the highest demand (57%) oleochemical product, is readily available from plant based natural sources in India and other Asia Pacific regions.
So, we are poised to make a mark and Indians can really drive the change for a Sustainable India and a sustainable world. By switching to eco-friendly cosmetics we are building sustainable cities and communities (sdg11), along with forging a path of Responsible Consumption and Production (sdg12), which are UN Sustainable Development Goals.