Published on April 22, 2022 at 8:00 AM PST
Happy Earth Day!
Here at No, Thank You, our mission towards sustainability and environmental consciousness is just as important as our commitment to inclusivity, quality, and transparency. We as a population have a long way to go (us included, of course!) but every little bit helps make an impact. This Earth Day we’re checking in with our Chief Product Officer, Sammie to gain some additional insight on sustainability in the cosmetics industry, what to look out for as a consumer, and some helpful tips to better do our part.
From a formulator’s perspective, why is it important for cosmetics brands to focus on sustainability/environmental impact?
Sammie: The beauty industry is one of the top contributors to waste and pollution, creating about 120 billion units of packaging per year. Right now, the main focus is on sustainable packaging. Technology around bioplastics and recyclable packaging has come a long way in recent years, but there is no easy answer to sustainability. A lot of these newer materials can’t be recycled at every recycling center, or can only be recycled a certain number of times. Even glass packaging has its challenges. The raw materials for glass packaging might be more sustainable, but because it is heavier, it takes a lot more carbon emissions to transport the products. In terms of ingredients in the formulas, there is still a lot of development being done to make materials more sustainable. Upcycling ingredients is starting to become a big trend with suppliers. Choosing ingredients that are farmed and harvested using sustainable methods, is also really important. The raw material suppliers play a huge role in this, and having a good relationship with them makes a big difference. There is definitely a lot more research and technology that needs to be developed around sustainability, but we are moving in the right direction.
How do NTY CBD Skin Care products take a sustainable approach?
Sammie: All of our packaging is recyclable and made from sustainable materials. We don’t use any plastic. Doing proper research on the ingredients is also important. For example, palm oil is extremely common in the manufacturing of raw materials. I am always looking for suppliers that can make an ingredient palm oil-free, or at least grown and harvested sustainably. Luckily, suppliers are always coming out with more sustainable versions of ingredients and new technology to promote sustainability.
When sourcing ingredients, what do you look for to make sure you’re helping reduce a carbon footprint?
Sammie: Having a good relationship with suppliers is key. They are always coming out with new ingredients, so staying up to date with what is going on in the industry and keeping up with new studies is important. Buying palm oil-free, and using ingredients that won’t accumulate or harm the environment are two of the biggest things I look for. How the raw material is produced or grown is also very important. Plant oils tend to be grown by farmers not using sustainable practices and can be a big contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. I am always looking for farms and suppliers that produce materials sustainably.
What are some not-so-conscious ingredients we should be on the lookout for in cosmetics products?
Sammie: Microplastics are probably the #1 thing to watch out for. Those are going to be those little exfoliating beads in a lot of cleansers. They are banned in a lot of places, but they still exist. Another type of ingredient to watch out for is ethoxylated ingredients. They contain carcinogens (1-4 dioxane) that can accumulate in the environment and contaminate our groundwater. PEG’s are one of the more common ethoxylated ingredients. PEG is short for Polyethylene Glycol. It is mostly used as an emulsifier. Chemically, it is considered a plastic, but it is able to dissolve into the water. There isn’t sufficient data to support that it is harmful to the environment yet, but it is still an ingredient I would try to avoid just in case.
Clean has quickly become the buzzword in the industry – are all “clean” products sustainable?
Sammie: Absolutely not. In fact, oftentimes “clean” brands increase carbon dioxide emissions more than a “non”- clean brand. A lot of natural ingredients exploit the environment more than a synthetic ingredient does. For example, it takes 8,000 roses in order to produce just 5mL’s of rose absolute, just to make a product smell like roses. Whereas a synthetic fragrance can be produced in a lab and save all the land and resources required to grow and harvest roses. Synthetic ingredients are often much more sustainable, effective, and can cause less irritation than “natural” or “clean” ingredients. It is all about finding the right balance between using synthetic ingredients and natural ingredients.
What are some easy newbie tips you can share for a skincare consumer looking to do their part in being more environmentally conscious?
Sammie: Not over-consuming is a big one (and probably the most difficult for us skincare junkies). Since packaging is the biggest contributor to the pollution caused by the beauty industry, only buying the products that you need and will use makes a big difference. Reusing the jars is also a fun way to be eco-friendly, especially with so much beautiful packaging on the market now. A lot of brands, especially indie brands, are making some steps forward to become more eco-conscious. Usually, a brand will let you know what they are doing to be more sustainable, and you can shop with them more. Another thing to keep in mind is since a lot of skincare products come in recyclable packaging, it is important to make sure they are rinsed clean before you put them in the recycling bin. Dirty packaging can contaminate other recyclable products during the recycling process, making everything end up in a landfill. This also applies to other household recyclable products as well, not just beauty products. It can be very easy to feel like you’re not doing enough for the environment, but don’t let that discourage you or make you feel guilty. It is next to impossible to live a completely sustainable life. You don’t have to go full eco-warrior to save the planet. Small steps can make a big difference over time.
How are you celebrating Earth Day this year? Do you have any best practices or tips you’d like to share? We’re all in this together and love to learn from our community!
Let us know on Instagram @NTY.co and be sure to give us a follow for all the latest tips and tricks.