just recycling just isn't enough
a $500 billion per year global personal care industry relies on plastic. globally the packaging industry for the personal care industry makes up nearly $25 billion in sales.
120 billion units of packaging are produced every year by the global cosmetics industry. the cardboard that envelops perfumes, serums and moisturizers contributes to the loss of 18 million acres of forest each year.
142 billion units of plastic packaging were generated globally by the beauty industry in 2018. almost 70% of plastic packaging on us products (not just personal care) end up in landfills about 8 million metric tons of plastic, mostly in the form of plastic bags, bottle caps, plastic water bottles, and styrofoam cups, are thrown into the ocean annually. that’s the equivalent of one garbage truck of plastic being dumped into our oceans every minute.
so much of this debris pollutes our oceans that plastic islands are starting to form, some as much as 50 meters in length. larger marine garbage patches have formed across oceans, with the vortex of ocean currents pushing plastics waste together in huge, swirling masses of garbage. more recently, oceanographers and ecologists discovered that as the sun breaks down these plastics into tinier and tinier pieces, a process known as photodegradation, about 70% of marine debris actually sinks to the bottom of the ocean, meaning we really have no clue how much plastic humans have polluted into our oceans.
in the end, this debris brings catastrophic effects to marine life. sea turtles often mistake plastic bags for jellies, their favorite food, and then go on to die of starvation. albatrosses mistake plastic resin pellets for fish eggs and feed them to chicks, which die of starvation or ruptured organs. as they degrade, plastics leach out colorants and chemicals, such as bisphenol, a bpa linked to environmental and health problems. conversely, plastics can also absorb pollutants, such as pcbs, from the seawater. these chemicals can then enter the food chain when consumed by marine life.
recycling alone is not enough. we need to take active steps towards removing plastics from our waste stream all together. thanks for doing your part to be part of the solution.