Podcast 118: Plastic is not the enemy – we are

Plastic packaging is not the enemy

We all agree that global plastic pollution is a staggering problem. While figures vary, it is estimated that the personal care industry alone creates 100bn units of plastic packaging a year. With the world’s population at around 8bn, this means each of us is responsible for 12.5 pieces of plastic packaging waste from our cosmetics, toiletries and other personal care products.

In this Green Beauty Opinion, we pick up on key issues of plastic waste raised in the last episode with guest Peter Wang Hjemdahl, co-founder of rePurpose Global. Here, Formula Botanica CEO and podcast host Lorraine Dallmeier sounds a note of realism and cautious optimism about how beauty can tackle its plastic dependency.

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Subscribe on iTunes Subscribe on Spotify Subscribe on YouTube Plastic beauty packaging won't be phased out completely. Plastic itself is not the enemy. We are. @FormulaBotanica podcast challenges us to be responsible, ethical users of plastics. #plasticwaste #beautypackaging #plasticpackaging Click To Tweet

While at first sceptical of offsetting and plastic waste credit schemes, Lorraine says that realistically a plastic-free beauty industry is not likely in our lifetimes. Offsetting and credits that help pay for the removal of plastic and global activism on plastic pollution are valid. Entities like rePurpose Global are making us aware of our responsibility to reduce, recycle and repurpose plastic already in circulation. This in itself is a first vital step to tackling the issue.

Sustainability is a journey not a destination and we have to acknowledge that plastic is here to stay. Lorraine explains that plastic in itself is a fantastic invention. It is our use – or misuse – of plastic coupled with the lack of capacity worldwide to recycle and retain plastics within the supply chain that are at fault. Plastic is not the enemy. We are, along with the waste we create.

Beauty and personal care industries should embrace circularity. We have seen this in action with past podcast guests, such as the US beauty company Meow Meow Tweet that pioneers a return-and-refill scheme to keep their plastic packaging in circulation. If all plastic in beauty could be cleaned and refilled and also made of PCR plastics, that would be an enormous achievement.

Lorraine challenges us to seek out beauty brands that use plastic responsibly and to cut down on our own consumption. Using less plastic and being responsible for plastic waste on our doorstep is how we start to tackle those staggering figures, and make the beauty industry a more sustainable and better place.

Thank you for joining us for this episode of the Formula Botanica Green Beauty Conversations podcast. If you enjoyed listening, please share, subscribe and review this episode on iTunes, Spotify or Youtube so that more people can enjoy the show. Don’t forget to follow and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Lorraine Dallmeier

Lorraine Dallmeier is a Biologist, Chartered Environmentalist and the CEO of Formula Botanica, the award-winning online organic cosmetic science school. Read more about Lorraine and the Formula Botanica Team.

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