Plastic pollution is the accumulation of non-biodegradable objects and particles in the Earth’s environment that adversely affects wildlife (including humans) and habitats. Plastics are inexpensive and very durable. As a result …. levels of plastic production by humans is very high.
WHAT IF THE MOST INSIDIOUS PLASTICS
BEGIN FAR BEFORE THE CONTAINER & PACKAGING?!
While plastic containers and packaging, especially non-recyclable, virgin or newly made plastics, are, obviously, terrible for the environment ….
The plastic problem begins well before the container and requisite packaging materials are considered!
The container is the end game of a very long, substantially damaging process!
Unsustainable farming practices, extraction methods, refining, processing, testing, recombining, packaging, petroleum supported distribution ….. These industries support 100’s of 1000’s of environmentally ruinous factories globally that substantially damage the environment WHILE producing environmentally harmful ingredients AND their requisite packaging (ecosystems cleared for land, heat & CO2 created, air, water & soil polluted, electricity used, transportation systems required, retail environments supported etc.).
Looking at your modern eye cream, facial moisturizer, sunscreen, deodorant, toothpaste, hand cream, eye shadow, face mask, diapers, tampons, cleaning supplies and soaps ….
you might see the ingredient “sodium polyacrylate.”
Looking at these same products, plus your shampoo, shaving gel, dish soap, hand soap, laundry soap, styling gel, hair spray, conditioner ….
you may see an ingredient called “carbomer (carbopol).”
You might also find chemicals like: “propylene glycol (propane-1,2-diol) (PG)“.
PG is responsible for the consistent texture of lipstick, the smooth, creamy consistency of lotions/creams/gels and all formulas containing an oil substance with water. PG contributes to the long-lasting effects of perfume/fragrance/parfume, and the extra foaming action of soaps, shampoos, and detergents.
Propylene glycol is the third “product” along a complicated chemical processes that begins with propene, a byproduct of fossil fuel.
- First fossil fuel is extracted, processed and refined leaving propene and several other by-products behind.
2. Propene is then converted to propylene oxide, a volatile compound frequently needed for the creation of polyurethane plastics like foam beds, footwear and laminate flooring, and flooring coatings.
3. Next, through a hydrolyzation process (chemically separating molecules by adding heated, pressurized water), propylene glycol results.
PG alone penetrates the skin so quickly that the EPA warns factory workers to avoid all skin contact to prevent brain, liver, and kidney abnormalities.
These chemicals, and thousands like them, are in the same family, called “synthetic polymers.” Typically, they are derived from petroleum oil (although pretty much any oil could work).
At some stage in their refining and processing for particular uses, various tiny and enormous solid & liquid plastics are formed. They do not biodegrade, and can last for hundreds of years.
These chemicals gained rapid acceptance by manufacturers of:
skin care &
household cleaning products
because they have a large number of uses, they can be cheaply purchased & they last for a very long time, in a consistent state, in fluctuating temperatures and climates.
Thickening & gelling polymers: These are used to increase thickness in things like shampoos, conditioners, creams, soaps, gels and lotions. Formulas appear more rich, smooth, and creamy. Examples include polyethylene glycols (PEGs) and carbomers.
Fixative polymers: These are the ones that help fix the hair in place. You’ll find them in sprays, lotions, gels, and foams. Examples include polyimide-1, polyquaternium-11, and PVP/VA copolymers.
Conditioning polymers: These deposit, adhere, or absorb into the proteins of the skin and hair. They coat the skin and hair making it feel soft and smooth. Examples include polyquaternium-6, polyquaternium-7, and polyquaternium-11.
Silicones: These are polymers that contain silicon atoms or silicates. They are supposed to help protect, condition, pearlize skin by coating it. They also thicken, and emulsify ingredients. They are added to body wash, hand soaps, laundry soaps, dish soaps & other cleaning products to help reduce the irritation of harsh chemical surfactants.
Other applications in these categories include processed food, e-cigarettes, medications, and many more edible & topical products.
PLASTICS IN PRODUCTS LABELLED NATURAL??
Bioplastics have been around for decades. Like petroleum based plastics, bioplastics are made through a number of different processes depending on end usage. Basically, microorganisms of various kinds (some genetically engineered) are grown and processed to mass produce biopolymers in fermentation tanks. These polymers are then extracted and chemically processed into plastics.
While slightly “greener”, the methods used growing and chemically processing these materials still carries substantial impact to the environment, although some of them are biodegradable in particular circumstances, after some time.
Marketing and labeling a product or ingredient as “natural”, or even organic, is something that could be sort of true at the start point of extraction & processing but should be viewed with a hefty amount of suspicion in our opinion!
Products advertised as “Natural” are rarely entirely natural, or, at least, don’t end up still being “natural” by the time they make it into their container.
When it comes to food, everyone seems to know what “highly processed” means. People can understand that farm fresh organic produce is best for you and your family, but ….
it seems this logic hasn’t quite hit the same mark in the skin care, personal care and household cleaners industries.
In our opinion, if any ingredient listed is illegible …. even those gorgeous natural oils and essential oils (I want plain English in brackets along with the lovely Latin plant genus name) …. then …. it’s a “highly processed” ingredient!!
Advertised as a “green” biodegradable starch based exfoliating agent with softening & emollient properties …. it’s actually a plastic also used to make yogurt cups.
PHA’s, cousin to AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) and BHA (salicylic acid), such as gluconolatone, galactose, or lactobionic acid, are advertised as effective peeling ingredients for fresh, acne free, youthful skin. PHA’s can also form orthopedic pins, surgical mesh, sutures, loose fill packaging and disposable tableware.
When I investigate ingredients …. I don’t google what they do for skin!!! I google how they are made & their commercial uses.
So …. If it’s not written plainly …. If you can’t read it, or understand it. If it’s got a long complicated chemical sounding name ….
It’s NOT natural & certainly shouldn’t be edible or wearable (topically applied) on a daily basis!!
Polymers are a complex, extremely diverse class of chemicals, with 1000’s of derivatives and applications. We can’t really list them all or all the specific safety concerns of each one.
Additionally, there just isn’t enough scientific data yet examining the long-term use of these chemicals with regularity, in isolation and, especially, in the hundreds of quite accidental combinations many people are exposed to today.
So far, these chemicals don’t appear completely unsafe for the human body in very small doses ….
these days, the evidence is mounting. We are using so many, so frequently and so routinely, that they do appear to be causing problems and, obviously, they are very bad for the environment.
SORRY …. THERE’S MORE:
WE BUY THEM, WE USE THEM …. DAILY …. AND THEN ….
WE WASH THEM OFF!
These NON-BIODEGRADABLE, or semi-biodegradable marine-toxic ingredients in our skin care, personal care and household cleaning products enter the water table, reservoirs, soil and ocean when they are washed off or rinsed down the sink by the user during a bath, shower or cleaning duties (also via excretion, since some of them do pass into the body).
Modern filtration systems DO NOT prevent many of these pollutants from entering the waste water system and fresh water systems.
They eventually DO make their way into the soil, animals, fish, humans and the ocean, therefore, cyclically contaminating the food chain.
THERE IS A BETTER WAY!!!!
PUT FOOD ON YOUR FACE!
I support sustainable agriculture producing real food & organics that can be made into everything we need !! ….
Not factories producing anything else!
Thank Youx for going Couxcoux Toux!!