Cosmetics and the Environment

By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 7:34 PM



Have you ever thought about how your cosmetic use effects the environment? It might be a safe bet to say that the average person doesn't think too hard about the effect their products had on the environment. Some people will do their part and be conscientious about how they discard of their empty cosmetics containers, but there may still be traces of the chemicals inside even after they've been emptied and rinsed. The pollution from cosmetics goes farther than their disposal, however, their production is just as bad if not worse.

Cosmetic products make up 1/3rd of all landfill waste, and though some containers are recyclable some are not. These containers are generally made of non-renewable petroleum based plastics that can take thousands of years to decompose. The leftover residues in the bottles, as well as any moisturizers or sunscreens you may have on when swimming, can leech into the water ways and throw off the reproductive health of marine life due to the phthalates they contain.

The production of cosmetics requires the use of petrochemicals, such as petroleum based petrolatum, which are non-sustainable resources. Switching to agricultural ingredients would be much more sustainable and much less harmful to the environment. In the vein of natural products, animal testing kills over 35,000 animals per year, a number that could be reduced or completely eliminated if we were to stop using chemicals in the production of cosmetics.

These are just a few of the more obvious detrimental effects that cosmetic products have on the planet. As non-sustainable, harmful and potentially deadly products, how long do we have left before we are finally forced to change our ways?

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