In this life, we will only get one body to look after,
and only know this one big, blue beautiful planet to call home.
In the pursuit of 'beauty', of cleanliness, of health and even of basic dental hygiene; we are ignorantly poisoning our bodies, our environment, and a whole range of other species who likewise depend on the kind of delicate ecological balance that is responsible for Life being possible on Earth.
Part of the reason for this is that there are a lot of chemicals commonly used in personal care and household cleaning products that are frighteningly toxic, but perfectly legal for companies to use. These chemicals are manufactured in massive quantities, every day, and get used by billions of us all around the world, every day.
Also, there is a lot of false advertising and misleading labelling in the cosmetics industry, especially the 'all-natural' cosmetics companies. Meaning that consumers who really do care are unwittingly contributing to the problem. The only way this will stop is if people get savvy about understanding product labels & ingredients lists - so get savvy y'all!*
Maybe substances like Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, Phenoxyethanol, Propylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Dimethicone or Hydroquinone aren't going to kill us anytime soon, and yes, in the modern world almost everything about our lives is carcinogenic. But, for my part, I cannot justify the use of known skin irritants, neuro/liver/kidney toxins and these 'apparently essential' synthetic preservatives in personal care products when their production and daily expulsion into the environment by our species is upsetting the ecosystems that support other species. It seems ridiculous that our caring for our bodies need degrade the environment at all, surely there are simpler, safer, natural alternatives.
Why can't we clean and pamper our bodies without doing some form of damage to this incredible planet that sustains us? What impact does all that shower gel from all of us showering every day have on all the fish downstream? What about further up the chain during production of the ingredients that go into these bottles? Why isn't it possible for cosmetics to do good, to be like multivitamins for the skin rather than be full of known irritants or else technically 'safe', semi-naturally derived, mostly synthetic filler? And what about the bottles themselves? Whose shoreline do they end up on? Also, why can't they simply be refilled rather than tossed out every month?
If we're being real here, we simply can't keep ignoring the power we have as consumers to instigate change in the market.
If our lives have to become more sustainable, which they do, we really can’t keep buying and discarding plastic like we do, and we can't keep slathering it onto our skin and putting it into the food chain in the form of synthetic chemicals and microplastics.
I started cleaning and refilling my empty plastic bottles with my own products rather than buying new products in new bottles, and I want to extend myself to do the same for others interested in reducing waste, who may not have the time or interest in making such stuff.
Plastic isn’t the whole problem, but it is a significant one.
Recycling plastic is actually called "down cycling", because the melting process reduces the quality and versatility of the plastics, as well as spewing out seriously toxic fumes.
We can’t keep buying things that demand more plastic be created. Plastics also leach toxic chemicals as they break down in the environment, a process we think takes 500-1000 years, and they use a lot of energy to create and recycle.
You get the message - enough with all the plastic.
One individual can’t do much to change this problem, but a whole lot of individuals changing habits together can.
*here are some great places to start:
Personal Care - information based on scientific facts
Chemicals to avoid
What makes a cleansing ingredient more harsh or more gentle?
Are you sick of 'greenwashed' cosmetics?
Realize Beauty - cosmetic chemistry explained properly
Benefits of macadamia nut oil in skin care
Uses for essential oils
THE NATURAL HAVEN - Science and natural hair
Parfum - what is a synthetic fragrance really?